Friday, December 30, 2011

My Letter to Columbus Racing Companies

Dear Columbus Race Companies,

This weekend I have signed up to run Run CBus's River Run 5K. Originally I had wanted to run the First on the First 5K, but the price was $35 ($40 by the time I decided to sign up), which goes against my rules of paying more than $10 per mile. The River Run was $25 which is still outrageous but at least doable. Both these races had good swag. The River Run has a long sleeve tech shirt, which they did not have available when I picked up my packet, a finisher's mug, chip timing, and refreshments at the finish. The First on the First run had a long sleeve tech shirt, chip timing, medals for all finishers, and a meal at the finish.

Here's my complaint...I don't need all that swag. And I think a lot of "regular" runners would agree with me. I would love to go back to having cotton shirts or an option for no shirts at all. I can't even close my drawers because of all the shirts and most of them don't fit anyway. And, why do I need chip timing for a 5K? If I want to bust out a PR, shouldn't I line up closer to the front? A mug or a medal for all finishers? It's a 5K not a marathon.

I want the race companies to go back to the basics. I want my 5Ks to cost no more than $15. And really, I only want to pay $10. I hope you will take my suggestions into consideration.

Sincerely,

Meredith

Monday, December 26, 2011

My Midlife Crisis

My therapist says I need to be more real and authentic, especially in my public life. So here it is...

I'm going through a midlife crisis.

There's a lot to plays into this but this post is going to focus on the external: I am super self-conscious and generally loathe my appearance. Recently I went back to work. And once again I'm working in retail at a highly stylish company filled with young, attractive people. Although I am really enjoying my work and love the people I'm working with, being in my mid-30s there makes me feel like a dinosaur and I think I'm trying to overcompensate.

I mentioned on a Facebook post a few days ago that I was interested in going blonde and piercing my nose. My aunt said I was going through a midlife crisis. Another really good friend of mine said I needed to stop working with the youngin's. What I really need to do is be comfortable with myself. Instead I did this:



Yep, I went blonde. This picture doesn't do it justice. It's shockingly blonde and not natural looking whatsoever. I kinda hate it. People are gonna stare and it's made me feel even more self conscious.

But I now have a plan for my 2012 resolution...

**Update**
The next day my hair was still hideous and I was still hating the color. I immediately called the salon, made an appointment for a re-do, and got my hair colored back to it's "natural" color. Of course, it's not all that natural looking now. It's a little bit warmer than my natural color with a touch of red to it, but it's WAY better than the "blonde".

Monday, December 19, 2011

Week in Review

After my sub-par week of running last week, I decided to get back on the running band wagon this week. And I kicked it off by officially changing my marathon status to half marathon for Houston. Relief!

Monday - 3 easy miles with Dave. He's getting over a cold and he just wanted to get through the run without feeling awful.

Tuesday - Yoga. Yes you read that right. I actually really liked this class. It wasn't really traditional yoga in the sense where your arms shake and you hold poses forever. It was more like an hour of stretching and I felt really relaxed afterward. Good thing, because I had to spend the rest of the evening with my entire family. :)

Wednesday - 5 miles with the 3 middle miles at a sub 8:30 pace.

Thursday - off

Friday - off

Saturday - Easy 5 miles with Dave. No watch, no heart rate monitor.

Sunday - 11 miles at an 8:45 pace.

The plan for Sunday was actually 15 miles working our way down to an 8:30 pace. The day started rough. I have a hard time on Sundays because I ALWAYS wake up with a headache (I can't oversleep or else it gives me headaches), so I just wasn't feeling well from the start. Then I had to wait over an hour for Dave to wake up. In addition, he didn't have his Garmin or iPod charged and plugged them in before we were to leave. I threw my Garmin at him, told him I'd figure out the distance, and just left. The first mile I did by myself, then I waited for him to catch up. Then he pushed the pace to wear I wasn't comfortable and it was all downhill from there. Here's the problem:

I have monsters in my belly.

Okay, maybe not monsters, but I have an ulcer. I don't think I've talked about this yet on the blog. Five years ago I started developing some pain in my lower chest. I was tested out the yin yang for everything. I had an asthma test, I had an EKG, I had a CT scan, and finally they concluded nothing. The pain persisted but was manageable. Last year as I was training for IM Louisville the pains came back and became a constant burn. I saw the doctor again and he said it was an ulcer. He prescribed me prescription-strength Prevacid which worked really well. As the training ramped up for my ironman this year, my stomach started to bother me again. I went back to using Prevacid and was also using Zantac around my meals and it wasn't doing anything. Between my botched Beach2Battleship non-attempt and up until about 2 weeks ago, I was in agony. I was sick every night. I didn't want to eat dinner because I knew I'd be sick. I went to the doctor again and this time I was prescribed Nexium and also was referred to a sports psychologist.

Where the heck is this story leading?

Because of the hole in my stomach, the foods I love to eat are now no-nos. But, I'm having a hard time giving them up. One of my favorites is my homemade spaghetti sauce. Not only is it spicy, but tomatoes are really bad for ulcers since they're acidic. Of course, we had spaghetti for dinner on Saturday night. Not only did I have a headache when I woke up Sunday morning, but my stomach was on fire. And I'm discovering that the quicker I run, the more my stomach bothers me. It's been so frustrating as my body is telling me I can run those 8 min/miles that I want to be running, but my stomach is only letting me run 9:00s. ARGH!

Hopefully with the therapy and the Nexium, I will get back to being the person I want/need to be. For now, I'm dealing.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

2012 Schedule

I know I said I would not set a race schedule for 2012. And although this might look like a schedule, it's really not. I am currently, not working with a coach, I'm making no "A" races, and I'm just gonna go with the flow. I will not wrap my life around training and racing this year. So here's what I'm thinking about for 2012:


January :





February:

2/12 - Columbus Winter Run 15 miler

2/26 - Last Chance for Boston marathon relay (with Dave)



March: ?



April: ?



May:


5/28 - Dave and Meredith's running adventure



June:

6/2 - Greenswell Aquathlon (1 mile swim/5k run)




July:

TBD - Lakeside to Kelly's Island Swim (2 mile and 4 mile swims)

7/14 - Greenswell Aquathlon (1 miles swim/5k run)




August: ?



September: ?



October:




November: ?



December: ?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Miscellany for Thursday

Gosh, there's just not much to talk about in the winter months. So, here's a few somethings that have been on the brain.
  • I switched to the half marathon in Houston. Yes I've been doing the long runs in the marathon training and I enjoy the distance training, but my heart wasn't in the marathon. Frankly, it's not much in the half marathon either but I think the half will suit me much better right now. I think I am going to continue to keep the super-longs run though just so I can have someone to run with.
  • I am excited to see that Greenswell has added two aquathlons to the schedule next year. I'm in!
  • I have only asked for $$$$ for Christmas this year. I started a new job in September that has required me to completely redo my entire wardrobe. I get a fat discount and I've been using it, but I'm still looking to get a few more outfits.
  • I am looking for the perfect red lipstick. Here's what I'm looking for: prefer it to be long-wearing, cannot fade to pink, must be a blue-base (ladies, you know what I'm talking about), prefer it to be shiny or a gloss to a matte lipcolor. Any suggestions?
  • I'm also looking for the perfect daytime lip color. Nothing in the pink family, but something with just enough color that it looks like you're wearing a little something. Suggestions?
  • Feeling great about myself, huh? (sacrasm, see previous two bullet points)
  • Are you digging the new look of Facebook Timeline? I think it looks a lot like MySpace, which I'm way too old for, but otherwise I think it's pretty rad.
  • Dave and I are planning an epic weekend trip this spring. It's going to be amazeballs!
What else? What's on your mind? What am I missing?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Weekly Update

I only ran two days this week for a total of 9.6 miles. Dave was sick and I didn't have anyone to run with. Mostly, I just wasn't feeling it.

Right now I kind of feel like a speck of dust just floating in space. I'm unmotivated, I'm unhappy, and I'm lost. For 11 years I've out together my goals and set out a plan and now I've got nothing. I don't know what to do with myself. I so badly want to pick out some races and look toward 2012 but I can't and I shouldn't.

Like everyone else yesterday, I watched the NBC broadcast of the Ironman world championships. For the first time in a long time it did nothing for me. I didn't cry. I wasn't motivated. In fact, I was a little bit bored by it and if anything, angered by it. I'm so sick of watching it and everyone else around me and making it look so easy. I'm so effing sick of the ironman! And yet this morning I said in my head, "give it one more year. Give it another try".

I'm not going to. I'm not ready. If I tried again now it would be for all the wrong reasons and would probably end with the same results because I'd be doing it for all the wrong reasons. But I need a plan of some kind, even if it's small. Right now I'm just a speck of dust floating in space.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Year of Awesome #4 - Save a Horse, Ride a Bull?

This Year of Awesome moment (and yes, it's just a moment) happened on accident. We were working the photo booth for one of our favorite charities, A Kid Again, this past Saturday. Their holiday party broke down into age groups and we were stationed in the Teen Room. In the teen room were us, an obstacle course, Wiis and Xbox Kinnects, arts and crafts, and a mechanical bull.

Confession: As I've gotten older things have become more difficult, I've developed some fears, and things aren't as much fun as they used to be. For example, those who know me well, know that I'm scared to death of roller coasters. This hasn't always been the case. I used to love roller coasters, especially wooden ones. Now not only do they scare me, they hurt me and make me sick.

Like I said, there was a mechanical bull stationed right next to us at this Christmas party. Dave was really pushing me to do it, but I worried about falling or being sick or making a fool out of myself. But I promised myself that the Year of Awesome was all about getting out of my normal rut and trying new things.

So here it is, evidence I tried this. Needless to say, I will not be making an appearance at the rodeo any time soon.

And oh, how much I love Justin Beieber (sarcasm implied).

Thursday, December 01, 2011

November Totals

Ahhhh, back to running and nothing else. And November was a great month because for some crazy, global warming reason, I was able to do most of my runs, especially my long runs, in shorts and t-shirts. Love! And I'm following a three-day-a-week plan which means my world no longer revolves around training. (Of course, I've gained three pounds this month so maybe I ought to pay a little more attention.) It also means there are no easy runs either. For the first week of November I did nothing. Not a thing. The second and most of the third week I was training for the half marathon. The rest of the month was spent training for the marathon, although I still haven't made a decision. What? I have until January 6th! :)

Running - 82.02 miles

Weight Lifting - 1.5 hours (one hour of weight lifting, one hour of core work)

I'm going to be close to hitting 1000 miles of running for 2011. We'll see what December brings...

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Year of Awesome #3

So, the Year of Awesome is kind of a cop-out as it's something we do frequently, but only when it's not wedding season, which is only like 3 months a year. Last week we went to the movies and saw The Muppets. And we went to a matinee which means we were the only people at the movie without kids in tow.

Dave and I are big Muppet fans. We grew up on the Muppets. My days were spent with Sesame Street, The Muppets, and Fraggle Rock. I loved Jim Henson. I had a picture of him on my walls. I cried when he died. So when we found out there was a new Muppet movie coming out we squeeled with delight.

It didn't disappoint either. If you got kids or even if you don't, you have got to go see The Muppets. Awesome!

What should be our next "Year of Awesome" activity?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Houston Long Run #1

Since I can't make a decision between the full and half marathons in Houston, I've continued to train for the marathon merely for the face I want someone to run with and Dave's training for the full.

This weekend marked our first of three 20 milers. (I actually think there was a fourth but that was before I started training.) Our plan called for race pace plus thirty seconds which would have had us somewhere in the 8:48-8:55 range. But, Dave just wanted to get through it so I set my watch to pace us between a 9:00 and 9:15. I told him I was going to start slow and work my way into that pace. A scant two miles into the run I was already feeling bad and wanting to turn around. Dave did too, yet we knew that the weather was going to be bad later in the weekend so we really needed to continue with this run. Silently, we continued on. Eight miles into the run we were still pacing over a 9:30. I was comfortable and Dave was silent. When I trained with Andrea, we used to talk and talk and talk for an entire 20 mile run. I'm learning with Dave, he likes to do his own thing and not talk. Thank goodness I've become accustomed to wearing my iPod or else it would be a lonely run even with him there.

About nine miles into the run I went through my usual low point. Most people encounter these walls late in their runs or bikes. I always find them to be earlier, like 10 miles of a run or 40 miles of a bike. By mile 12, though, I was in the zone. Dave was continuing to be silent but I could tell he was suffering. Our pace hadn't moved much. We were now averaging under a 9:30. The per mile pace was picking up but we were not where we had hoped. With six miles to go we took a pit stop and I wasn't sure Dave was going to start again. He wasn't having fun. I made sure he was right with me. I was feeling fine and I knew I could pull him through this run.

Finally we made it back to our neighborhood with just under 3 miles to go. There would be running around through the neighborhood. Not something I particularly like to do, but I knew the 20 miles was within reach and I was willing to do it. I was picking up pace (Dave told me I was turning 8:20s) and I made sure Dave was right on my hip. If it's his goal to run this time, I'm gonna make sure he can achieve it. Suddenly he was cramping and we had to stop with just two miles to go. No, we are not going to stop! He stretched it out and we were off again. The longest and quietest two miles ever. I could hear him moaning and it was rough. Finally we hit the 20 mile mark in 3:06:xx for an overall pace of 9:19.

Sure we were short of our pace goal, but the first twenty miler is all about getting it done. We have two more to hit our pace goals and next time we're going to do it differently. Twenty miles at one pace is hard to digest. But twenty miles broken into 6-8 mile segments at increasing pace is easier to wrap my head around. Plus, it's the way I like to run. I still haven't made a decision about the race. A lot of it depends on my stomach (I've been battling an ulcer now for quite a while and the last four weeks I've been sicksicksick) and my shin which is bothering me. The journey continues...

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Flying Feather 4 Miler 2011

Physically, I'm coming along just fine. I'm getting my speed back. I'm enjoying running. Mentally, ironman has effed me up badly. Honestly, I'm scared to race. Not even race, just participate in a race. I am so scared of what might happen that I don't even want to try. Even this silly four mile race I was scared to do. I woke up this morning feeling ill and tried to talk my way out of it. Didn't work.

Dave and I were lined up next to the 32:00 pace group. Yes, this race had pace groups. Good grief. I didn't think I wanted to run this fast but I knew if you didn't line up a little faster, you were going to have to work your way through the crowds. Dad was lined up behind us around the 36:00 pace group. We started out and I started conservatively. I am not a big fan of shorter races (anything shorter than 10 miles) because it doesn't give me enough time to work into my pace. I'm a 'start-slow-finish-fast' kind of runner. Quickly I was being passed left and right. And soon by the 34:00 pace group. Wow! Really? I'm sucking this badly. That's when my stomach dropped, I felt terrible, and just wanted to quit. I'm so tired of this. But looking ahead I saw the 32:00 and 34:00 pace group were right next to each other so something wasn't right. I didn't see the 1 mile mark and therefore, didn't look at my watch so I had no idea how fast or how slow I was going.

As timed moved on, however, I started to get more comfortable and the pace was picking up. I arrived at the two mile mark, checked my watch and I was at 16:40ish. I was still behind the 34:00 pace group so something wasn't right. Obviously, they were pacing too quickly. I continued to gain speed and by the three mile mark I was right with the 34:00 pace group and my watch said 24:40ish - still ahead of a 34:00. I was still feeling great, the breathing was controlled, so I decided to pick up speed again. I got ahead of the 34:00 group and was gaining on the 32:00 pace group although I never caught them. Finally it was over in 32:12. So again, the 32:00 group was pacing fast too.

You know, an 8:03 pace is not where I want to be, but having had the mental struggles and the lack of speed training, I've had, I'll take the 8:03. This race was a victory of me. I'm proud of myself for overcoming my fear and racing the way I like to race. I really do not like the shorter races, but maybe doing more of them will help with my confidence and speed. Onward and upward...

Yes I am wearing capris (or as I like to call them, knickers). Leave me alone!!! :)

Update: My official time was 32:11 and wouldn't you know my dad finished one spot behind me at 32:12. Sandbagger! (Him, not me.)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Weekly Update

You know, I obviously knew I had a good base going into running training, but I had no idea that things would come back as quickly as they would. While I was flying through a run this week I thought, maybe I'll just stick with the marathon instead of switching to the half. Let's back up...

Monday we celebrated my dad's 60th birthday so there was no working out.

Tuesday we had basketball tickets. Again, no working out.

Wednesday was track day. This week's workout was:
1 mile at 7:02
2 miles at 7:35 pace
2 X 800 at 3:23
warm-up/cool-down/rest intervals

Difficult to follow as (a) it was dark outside and (b) I was wearing gloves.

I hit the first mile spot-on: 7:00. The next two miles were 7:24, 7:26. Then I did the 800s. I did the first one in 3:26 and was NOT very happy I did not my interval. So I blasted the second one to a 3:19. Overall, the run was 7 miles.

Thursday we went to the gym and did "Core" class. This was one of the hardest classes I've ever attended. It was a half hour of abs and nothing else.

Friday I was too sore to do anything. I couldn't cough, couldn't laugh. My abs were killing me.

Saturday I ran with the training group. I did a quick 7 miles: 58:45, 8:24 pace.

After the run on Saturday I was feeling pretty confident with the way things were going so I thought, maybe I would give the full marathon a try. I know I said I wouldn't train for another race for at least a year, but following the "Run Less, Run Faster" program is a lot less of a commitment than Ironman training. Plus, Dave's training for the marathon and because he's gotten faster we can now run together. For the first time in three years I would have a training partner.

Sunday: the full marathon program called for 18 miles at an 8:48. Sure, I hadn't done anything of that length since August, but hey, why not? So we set out and within a few miles were right on pace. That fun was short lived as I was struggling around mile 8 and threw myself a little pity party. This pity party continued for the next two miles. But then I got into the groove and was feeling great. As the miles ticked off, Dave kept saying, we're running too fast, but he never asked me to slow down either. Finally we reached an intersection where I needed to decide if I was going to try to finish the 18 miles or split off from Dave, run to my parents' house, and do about 15 miles. I knew I could finish the 18 miles, but I also hadn't run that far in several months. I didn't want to risk injury this early in the training. I also knew that running 15 miles set me up for the marathon or the half marathon, whichever I decide to do at Houston. So, I turned from Dave and finished the 15 miles at an overall pace of 8:43. Woop!

Will I run the marathon? I don't know. I have until January 6th to decide (and pay a fee). Here's what I know:
  • Can I run a PR marathon? No.
  • Can I qualify for Boston? Probably not. Plus, I'm totally screwed by the age group as I will be 34 for two years. In 2012 Boston is on my 34th birthday and in 2013 it is before my birthday, hence I will be 34 for two years of the race.
  • Can I run a good marathon and be happy with my performance? You know, I'm not sure I can answer that. Honestly, I always want to do my best. But will I be happy just doing the half marathon? I don't know the answer to that either. For now, I think I'm going to switch over to the marathon training program and see how it goes.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Year of Awesome #2

Number two for the 'Year of Awesome' was attend a sporting event. I'm sure this will happen more than once as Dave and I are sports fanatics. Last night was a great event as we had tickets to the Ohio State-Florida men's basketball game. We have been attending the OSU women's games for years as my aunt and uncle have season tickets and they give them to us, but this was the first time in a quite a while that I attended a men's basketball game. OSU is currently ranked #3 and this was one of our big games of the year. And it didn't disappoint. Even though we had nose bleed seats, we still had a great view and it was a great game. Go Bucks!

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Year of Awesome

Having spent two years training for Ironman and 8 years before that training for marathons, I'm pretty burnt out. I promised myself and the husband that I would not "train" for the next year. I would not create a race schedule. I would do races for fun, run with people, and just relax. Now that I have a lot more time, Dave and I decided to call this our "Year of Awesome!" The plan: do something each week that gets us out of the house, is unique, could scare us, and generally is awesome.

We kicked off our Year of Awesome with our personal hero of awesome, Bert Kreisher. Who? One of our favorite shows is on the Travel Channel, Bert the Conquerer. In it, Bert travels around the country competing and completing unique tasks like jumping off a building in Vegas, bungee jumping at a mall in Canada, competing in the wife carrying contest, etc.


Two weeks ago I was walking through the mall and saw Bert's name was on the marquee for the local comedy club. I didn't even hesitate; I bought tickets on the spot. The show was raunchyraunchyraunchy but soooo funny. And now the year of awesome ball has started to roll...

We've started to create a list of things to do. Some things include:

1. Go to the comedy club. Check!
2. Go bowling.
3. See a play.
4. Go to a shooting range.
5. See a movie.
6. Go snowtubing.
Etc....

What would be on your list of awesome? What should we add to our list?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Week in Review

Last weekend, after one 2-mile run, watching the New York City Marathon and the Hood to Coast documentary (more on that this week), I was ready to get running again.

Monday Dave and I met up after work, went to the gym, and attended our favorite class "Simply Strength". The best way to describe this class is 'aerobic weight lifting'. It's one hour continuous, vigorous activity with small weights. I think this is a great class for endurance athletes because you're not going to build bulk, but you're going to gain muscle and get a good workout. Monday was the first time I have done any weight lifting since May or June. Right from the start, this class was kicking my butt. How could I be just one week out from being able to do an ironman to not being able to do 20 squats? What the what?!?! That's the sign of a great class.

Tuesday I woke up and could barely move, but the first track workout of my new training program was on the schedule. Much to my surprise I totally rocked it. You can read about it here.

I took Wednesday off. I needed it. Between the weight lifting and the track workout, I could barely get out of my chair and walk to the bathroom at work. :)

Thursday was supposed to be a tempo workout, but I decided to do my week's "long" run since my running friends would be at Highbanks Metro Park on Saturday to do 6ish miles and that would be my tempo. Hills = tempo, right? The week's long run was 8 miles at 8:27s. Dave also had 8 miles on the schedule so we headed out together right around dusk. I was suited up for the weather and, although we would be on the bike trail, I was still wearing my reflective vest and headlamp. Just three miles into the run I tripped on a pine cone, rolling that damn right ankle, and I went down again. Luckily this time, I pretty much fell on my side and only banged up my knee a little along with a few cuts and a bruise on my left thigh. I continued the run but I couldn't see a thing. It seemed so dark outside. I was struggling to maintain pace but I wanted to see what I was doing and not fall again. With less than three miles left, I saw Dave coming towards me. He had turned back around to run with me. What was amazing was Dave's headlamp was like three times as bright as mine. Next week, I'll be getting a new headlamp. Overall the run wasn't bad. I chose the first and last mile as warmup/cooldown and managed the rest of the miles between 8:11 and 8:41. Another successful run.

Friday we wound up getting together with friends and got to bed really late so Saturday I did not join my friends at the metropark. What that meant, though, was that I was going to have to do the tempo run. The run was 7 miles with 4 of them at 7:50s. I have spent two years running 9:00-10:00s and now I was going to have to pull off 7:50s. That's a big jump. And I freakin' nailed it again. Three for three this week! I hit the first set of two miles at 7:51 and the next two miles at 7:49. That 7 miles I pulled off at 59 minutes. Boom!!!!

I had a lot of doubts going into this week. I just didn't know if I was ready to jump back into pushing myself again. I wanted to continue my pity party. But, I loved this week. The runs this week were a huge victory for me. And here's the crazy part, it wasn't that hard. Sure, I was working, but it was amazing how easily I was breathing, how quickly I was recovering from the intervals, and how natural the pace seemed. It's got me excited again about running. Screw triathlon! I'm a runner!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Foto Friday

There is really only one place in Columbus to run long. Or at least, so it seems on a Saturday morning - HUNDREDS of runners! Last week, it actually looked really cool with the steam rising off Antrim Lake.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Back on (the) Track

Today was a bit of a rough day. All day long it just felt like I couldn't do anything right. By mid-afternoon I was toast. I came home from work and crawled in bed. Less than an hour later Dave came home and that meant one thing, it was time for my first track workout in two years. I am currently signed up for the Houston Marathon, soon to be half marathon, and it's only 9ish weeks away. Back in May I ran a 1:44ish at the Capital City Half Marathon and I wanted to at least be able to duplicate that effort. So I picked up Dave's "Run Less, Run Faster" book and found a plan for a 1:45 half marathon. The first workout:

warmup
2 X (6 X 400) at 1:39
1:30 between each 400
2:30 between sets
cool down

Yes you read that right...TWELVE FREAKIN' FOUR HUNDREDS!!!

Needless to say, this workout scared me. Being that (a) I had a rough day and (b) this workout felt out of reach, I had a total meltdown on the track just a half mile into the warm up. I cried and cried and cried. And then I got my shit together. I love to run. I could totally do this.

And I did. I freakin' nailed those 400s...

1. 1:38
2. 1:35
3. 1:35
4. 1:34
5. 1:35
6. 1:35
7. 1:36
8. 1:36
9. 1:37
10. 1:36
11. 1:37
12. 1:37

Twelve 400s all under a 6:40 pace. I am so excited about this workout. I am so proud of myself for getting it done and not giving up. It's baby steps, but I'm starting to feel like the old Meredith is back.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Foto Friday

If you haven't noticed, I am a proud owner of a nice iPhone 4s. I have been enjoying being able to shoot HD video and have a great camera always at the ready. And my favorite app is Instagram.

This picture we took on the way back from the race last weekend. This is from the first snowfall as we were driving through West Virginia.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Domo Arigato, Mr. Roboto

Yeah, we had a lot of time in the car last week...

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Versatile Blogger

Melissa at Double Jogger Diaries tagged me for the Versatile Blogger Award. I am supposed to say 7 random things about myself and then tag other people. It's really hard for me to come up with 7 things as I've been blogging now for six years and I think this blog is an open book, but here we go...

1. I have never had a manicure (although I got fake nails put on for my wedding - I looked like a tool), pedicure, or message. I am kind of repulsed by the thought of others touching me.

2. I miss my long hair insanely. But then I see a picture of Michelle Williams or Stephanie Gosk (NBC reporter) and I think, "yeah, I kind of like my short hair."

3. I'm not going to lie, I pretty much dread every workout. It's a real struggle to get out the door most days. Honestly, I don't love to run, bike (especially biking), swim, or weight lift. I like them enough to take the first step. But I know I will always feel better after a workout.

4. In all my years of running, I've only had one small blister (first marathon) and never had any black toenails or lost a toenail. I have, however, had three broken bones (foot, shin, finger) from running.

5. I studied engineering because, well how should I put this delicately, I dated guys who I thought weren't exactly going to be able to support a family. (This was before Dave.) I thought I was going to have to be the breadwinner (turns out, I was wrong about those guys). I always thought I would get married later in life and would establish myself as a career woman. But, instead, I got married straight out of college and married a wonderfully smart guy who can support me and a future family if we decide to have one. If I were to go back and select a college major all over again, though, I would still choose engineering. I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of it.

6. I have never slept in the buff. I have never sat around or walked around the house naked. Shoot, if I could shower with clothes on I would. I can't stand to not be clothed.

7. The most beautiful beach I've ever been to in the world was Orange Beach, Alabama. And I've been to beaches in Hawaii, Bahamas, and Mexico. Surprising, huh?

Okay, I'm supposed to tag bloggers and whatnot. But, I'm not going to. If you want to play along, please feel free and do so. And tomorrow, one of the most awesome videos ever.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

October Totals

October was a mixed bag. By now you know I was secretly still training, but I also was dealt a hand of illness and injuries leading into my non-race. Up until this month I was really good at writing down all my workouts and keeping track of hours and miles, etc. But going back to work full time and having 8 or 9 photo booth events this month kinda put the squash on that. Here's what I think is correct:

Swim - 10,500 meters ~ 6.5 miles

Bike - 200.99 miles - Seriously, 0.1 miles short of 201?

Run - 50.76 miles - Considering what bad shape I was in with my back, I'm a little surprised at this number.

I haven't got a clue what I'm going to do in November. Run? Swim? Sit on the couch? Although, I am less than 100 miles short of 3000 miles on my bike this year. I might have to find a way to do that. The season is officially over and what's next is anyone's guess.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Not a Total Failure

It's hard not to think about the last two years and not think "total failure". At least that's what I thought after Ironman Louisville last year. This year I'm a little more grateful for what I've achieved instead of what I've failed. In the last two years I've:



  • PRed in the 70.3 distance with each race I've done. My first 70.3 was in 2005 and I did a 6:10. Then in 2008 I did it again and finished with a 6:09. Last year I did IM Kansas 70.3 and finished with a 5:46 - a HUGE PR! This year I only was able to take a few seconds of that PR, hanging out now with a 5:46:05. I have come to really like the 70.3 distance and think I can do even better.

  • I have continued to improve my time in the Olympic distance and even walked away with a top-10 age group finish at Rev3 Knoxville this year. To me, that's big.

  • I placed in my age group in every "local/small" race. Despite not printing that, it was goal of mine for 2011.

  • I won my first triathlon this year!!!

  • I rocked a half marathon (Capital City Half) without any specific training.

It's also easy to forget that there was life before Ironman. I have had great success at running and am looking forward to getting my running back on track. Sure, I really want to become an ironman, but I have to remember that I've run Boston four times too. I may never become an ironman, but there are a lot of people who will never run Boston no matter how badly they want to. My athletic career is not going to be defined by this "failure." And someday, ironman will be a success along with many more other successes to come.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

My Confession

Confession - Yesterday I was signed up to participate in the Beach2Battleship full ironman. I made the decision to sign up for this race shortly after Cedar Point. B2B was technically sold out, but had opened 25 more charity slots. For days I wrestled with making this decision but when the slots were down to 4, I jumped and signed up. I felt right away that I had made a horrible mistake. I had spent an ungodly amount of money to participate in yet another ironman and I was stuck. I figured, though, I had seven weeks to get back in the game. But as you know, those seven weeks were disastrous with going back to work, hurting my back, having bad saddle sores, catching a cold, and finally falling and busting up my knee.

Nonetheless, Wednesday we packed up the car and began our trip to Wilmington, North Carolina. Earlier in that day I began to feel the internal tension and nerves that ironman continues to serve up. By dinner time I was full-on nauseous and barely kept that dinner down. Thursday was no different as breakfast was a little bit of cereal, lunch was a little bit of sandwich and then I did something truly embarrassing - I cried when I picked up my race packet. We checked into our hotel and I was going south fast. I began to panic and kept telling Dave over and over again "I just wanted to go home." Thankfully, our hotel had a "happy hour" and just one glass of wine later I was feeling fine. But, I still couldn't eat dinner and I was a blubbering mess by the time I crawled into bed. Friday I had a full-blown panic attack - sweating, sobbing, heart racing, full-on nausea. All of this over a stupid race. A stupid race I have at least tried before. I never unpacked my bag and told Dave I was ready to go home. He checked us out of the hotel, then checked us back in. We went over to the Convention Center where I turned my chip in and then got it right back. Seriously, I could not have been more of a mess. I sobbed uncontrollably as I called my coach. She talked me down and I agreed I would give it a try. That lasted all of 30 minutes. We turned in our keys at the hotel and we were off. For the next two hours, Dave tried to convince me to turn around and at least give it a try, but there was no listening or reasoning with me. We drove half way home on Friday, and made it home yesterday.

What the hell?!?!

To say I'm embarrassed is an understatement. Which is also to say that I'm mad, angry, upset, and sad. I so badly want to be an ironman. I so badly want to put all this behind me. But, I'm just not ready. What I haven't really spoken about and have completely internalized is Louisville. Louisville did some serious damage to me mentally and I just haven't recovered. Unless you were inside my mind and body on that day, you have no idea what I saw or experienced. Honest to goodness, I think I am suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. That race feels like it ruined me. Every time I read a race report from an ironman all I fixate on is how sick they were - everyone feels crappy during that race - and I can't get past how awful I felt and then being shipped away in an ambulance in Louisville. I CANNOT move past that. Physically, I know I am ready for the ironman, but for some reason my head cannot make that leap with me. Truly, I was ready for Cedar Point, but given that it ended poorly, I just wasn't ready to move on so quickly to Beach2Battleship.

So what's next? I don't know. Maybe that's a good thing. Ironman will always be there and someday, someday I will do it. It just won't be any time soon. What I need before then is to live life, have fun, gain more experience, and learn to love racing again.

Tomorrow I will hang up my bike and I don't plan on getting on it for a long time. I plan on doing some yoga, pilates, weight lifting, and a lot of running with friends. I am currently signed up for the Houston Marathon, but in all honestly, I'm going to switch to the half marathon. I need to find myself again. The person I was when I rocked the Boston Marathon in 2009 is not the person I am now. Heck, if you told me to go out and run Boston tomorrow, I probably couldn't do it for fear I wouldn't be able to do it. In the future I will be that beast again. Today I am Meredith. And that's all I need to be.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

I Fought the Asphalt and the Asphalt Won

I played tennis in high school. One summer I went to tennis camp at a local university and just one or two days into the camp, I rolled my ankle so badly that the doctors weren't sure if it was broken or not. I was so swollen they couldn't read the x-ray. The doctor concluded it was not broken. I will now, gracefully, disagree as it clicks and pops every time I walk or move it and it has been weak and a sign of trouble for my running ever since then.

******

Friday was supposed to be a swim day. I had packed all my gear and brought it to work with me. But on my way to work, while thinking about the swim, I thought, "Hmmm, I don't think I packed a swimsuit." And sure enough, I didn't. Thank goodness I discovered that before going all the way to the pool and beginning to change my clothes. So, I decided to switch gears and run after work. I invited Dave to ride his bike with me and he agreed.

I've been going to physical therapy for my back and it's feel TONS better, but despite all that, my running still feels a little off. I just don't have very much strength on my right side and it feels like I'm kind of dragging that foot a little. The run was going well, though, if not a little slower than I liked.

video

(Don't I look fat and slow?! And that abrupt change in scenery in the video....yeah, that's Dave getting his jeans caught in his chain.)

With just over a mile until we got home and the run was over, my right ankle rolled, and down I went. Fast and hard! I rolled over and sat in the grass for a minute. My ankle was throbbing but okay. My knee and hand however, were a mess. My hand was killing me and my left knee was oozing blood all over the place. I got up, dusted myself off, and started to cry. Not because I was seriously hurt, but because it just seems like things went from great to horrible in zero time flat. I was riding high leading into Cedar Point and then everything went wrong. In the several weeks since the race I've had food poisoning (during the race), hurt my back, got really bad saddle sores, caught my first cold in 18 months, and then this. I feel like the universe is trying to tell me to hang up my bike and move on.

Back to reality, as soon as I got myself back up and began my sob story, Dave got a phone call from friends we were hoping to make plans with. So here I am bleeding and limping my way down the sidewalk, while Dave is on his cell phone. A car stops and the man says, "I saw you fall, are you okay?" How embarrassing!!! I'm sure he was worried Dave was calling 911 and I had was a deep cut on my knee.



By this time it was past dusk and getting quite dark. I was wearing all black and my sidewalk was about to run out. I still had one mile home and only the road to do it on. Dave too didn't have any lights on his bike. I decided it was time to finish the run instead of walk home, so I cut through a park I was sure was going to be darkdarkdark and muddymuddymuddy. To my surprise, part of the park had been paved between our neighborhood and the road so there was no mud and now I never have to run the roads again!

Two days later, I'm still a mess. I can't get to the pool to do any swimming because I really did a doozy on my knee. I took off so many layers of skin that it has yet to scab and is still oozing yuck. My hand is painful and bruised but manageable. At least among the last couple of times I've fallen (here and here), this one was quite mild.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

It's Time To Grow Out My Hair (Again)

If you missed it, I cut all my hair off in July.

I went from this:


To this:



I've had days I've loved it and days I've hated it, but I've gotten a lot of compliments on it and it's soooo easy, so I decided to keep it. Until today....

...Friday I started to get a little tickle in my throat. Throughout the weekend it became a full-blown cold. Crap! I haven't had a cold since March 2010. It's now Wednesday and I'm still really sick. Surprisingly, my sinuses are pretty clear, but my throat on the other hand is a mess. I sound like a freakin' man and needless to say, I'm coughing up, um, gross stuff. On the way to dinner tonight, Dave and I decided to pick up some Mucinex. We took it to the counter and we were asked for our CVS card. We didn't have it so I gave the woman our phone number to look up the phone number. Then she asked me my age. What? I thought it was to verify the card number, so I pointed to Dave because the account is under his name.

Here's where things went a little crazy.

The woman said, no, I need yours. If he gives me his age I need to see his ID. Um, what? She said it was because we were buying Mucinex. This confused me even more because we didn't buy it at the pharmacy counter, just off the shelf. So she says again, I need your age or I need to see his ID. So I asked, why do you need to see his ID and not mine. She said it was because he looked under the age of 18.

WOW!!!

First of all, you've delighted my THIRTY FOUR year old husband, but you've really insulted his YOUNGER wife. She actually thought he was under 18. Dave and I both look young, but not 18 young. Maybe 25 young. Then, to dig her hole deeper, she then said, "you should take it as a compliment." And what should I take my non-compliment as?

Obviously, it's my soccer-mom hair. It's time to grow it back out. I want to be "18" again.

Friday, October 14, 2011

I Should Have Gone to Medical School

I made a promise to myself that if my back still hurt this past Monday that I was calling the doctor. When I called, however, because of the marathon this weekend, I couldn't get in until Thursday. Good grief! Of course, Tuesday I woke up and my back was feeling a lot better. And again on Wednesday. So Wednesday I did a small brick that included a half hour run. I barely got going and the back was really bothing me. I stopped and thought, this is stupid! But, I wanted to do the workout come hell or high water. So I started walking for a minute, jogging for a minute. I was only averaging 15 minute miles but I was getting it done. By the time I reached half way, I was starting to jog and pick up a little speed. I "ran" the remainder of the run. I spent the rest of the evening icing my back (as I have every day for two weeks).

Thursday was my doctor's appointment. To my surprise, he didn't remotely think it was a stress fracture. He didn't even take an x-ray. He immediately thought it was my SI joint. Yes! I had successfully self-diagnosed myself on the internet. He tried some manipulations like a chiropractor would. My back didn't even crack. He then did a little ART, which hurt like a mother-effer!!! He had me walk around and it was feeling okay. I was then scheduled for physical therapy later that afternoon.

The physical therapists took a look at things, did some measurements and concluded, my body is all twisted to the left. My back is all jacked up on the right side--I had knots in my back along the spin and in my butt. She did some exercises to try straighten things out and taught me a few stretches to do on my own. She then did ultrasound and more deep tissue massage on my butt and back. Ouch! For sure I was walking out of both appointments with bruises on my buns. I go back for two more PT appointments next week.

Today I feel really good. I'm excited to give running a try this weekend and very, very thankful it wasn't anything more serious.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Hey Jealousy

It's not secret, I'm competitive. But what others may not realize is that I'm not really that competitive with other people, I'm super competitive from myself. I expect nothing short of perfection from myself. Since switching to triathlon, perfection has been a hard pill to swallow. Not only can I not measure up with swimbikerun, I'm finding that training for ironman the last two years is really screwing with my running speed.

This past weekend I was glued to my computer watching the Ironman world championships. I had five people (friends/teammates) I knew doing the race. And they all kicked butt. They did exactly what was expected of them. How do they do that? How are they so consistent? How are they so fast? What are they doing that I'm not that makes them super-stars?

Then my former training partner, Andrea, ran the Denver Half Marathon yesterday. For years we (including a third girl) have been trying to get qualifying standards for the NYC Marathon. Being that those standards have changed to, honestly, completely unreasonable standards starting next year, this year is the last real shot to do that. Personally, I have no desire to run NY, but I would like to know that I could qualify. Well yesterday Andrea finally got her qualifying standard and it was BIG!!! The standard was a sub-1:37 half marathon. She had run a 1:36 earlier this year but unfortunately it was on a non-certified course. Yesterday she tore that course up running a 1:33. Her pace was almost as fast as my 5K pace. Seriously.

I have to admit, I'm soooo jealous of what everyone else is doing right now. I want to be fast. I want to be able to go to Kona (shit, I'd like to just finish the damn ironman). I want to be able to continue to bring my running times down. I want to be a super-star!

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Falling Apart

**I know you all love a good TMI story, so here you go!**

When I returned from Cedar Point I was angry. I took that aggression out on my bike. Just two days after my failed race I took that bike out for a quick 30 mile jaunt, mashing as hard as I could. It was a great ride, except I made a critical mistake. I rode that ride in an old pair of bike shorts. I developed some nasty saddle sores. In the three weeks since that race those sores have come and gone, but this weekend they came back with a vengeance. While doing a little grooming, um, I noticed my saddle sores had grown into full-blow blisters. I tried to pop them, ew, with no success. Yesterday I rode a designed trainer ride that may have been the most painful thing I've ever done. I even stopped at one point to drain one of the blisters. Ew! This morning when I woke up the blisters were HUGE and I was in pain. I called the doctor and got in this afternoon.

Now, if you guys know me personally, you would know that this was a risky move. You see, my doctor is a good friend of mine. I have run with him for years. We are on a first name basis. So for me to show him my hoo-ha was a big deal. Luckily, the appointment was done with sensitivity and discretion and I may be able to look him in the eyes again. :) And the decision? Well, he did nothing. I thought he would drain them but he didn't. He recommended padding them with a band aid while riding, which I did yesterday, getting a new fit on my bike, and getting new shorts and chamois cream. Awesome. (Yes, that was meant to be sarcastic.)

So were these blisters really caused by one ride in one bad pair of shorts?

Here's the second half of my story.

I eluded in my last post that there have been some major changes in my life. A little over a month ago, while hanging out with friends, I mentioned to them that I was interested in getting a part time job once ironman was over. Immediately the wife popped up saying I should work for her husband, a good friend of mine, as he would be hiring part time seasonal employees starting in October. Perfect! Except, I was worried about being seasonal as there was no guarantee that I would be hired on at the end of the holiday season and be able to continue with the part time work. In the mean time, though, this same friend had a full time position open. I thought about it for a few days and figured, I could make that work. Before I had even finished filling out the online application, HR had contacted me asking for an interview. And the ball was rolling. I had a phone interview on a Wednesday, a face-to-face interview that next Tuesday, two weeks later I had an offer, and I started three days after that, which was last Monday. Life went from zero to 60 in no time flat.

Last Tuesday I started to notice some pain in my back/tailbone area. It was the same kind of pain I had after I fell down the stairs this past February. As the week went on the pain stayed and maybe even got a little worse. I have no idea why I was having this pain. Was it the three photo booth events we had over the weekend? Was it because I wasn't used to sitting all day in a hard chair? Did I do something while doing my last long run?

Now it's a week later and the pain is still very much there. I feel it with every step I take. I have been taking ibuprofen around the clock. I have iced it. I have put a heating pad on it. I have moved all my runs to the elliptical machine. I have taken a little (although not much) time off. Today I attempted a long run. I got in about 14 miles before I had had enough. The pain was intense and I couldn't take it anymore. Frustrating! I had planned on a much longer run than 14. My legs and lungs felt fine, but I couldn't handle the pain in my back anymore.

Is it a pinched nerve (I've struggled with this since my fall down the stairs)? Is it a pulled muscle (I did set the photo booths up by myself over the weekend--not the smartest idea)? Is it something worse, like a stress fracture in my tailbone/pelvis?

So this brings me back around to my blistered saddle sores. Is the pain in my back, although I don't notice it when I ride, causing me to change my position on the bike? Whatever the hell is going on, I feel like I'm falling apart. I feel like my body is telling me that enough is enough. I need a break.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

September Totals

After my disappointing race at Rev3 Cedar Point, I decided to keep training. There's no race scheduled, but I just find comfort in the training. My next plan is the Houston Marathon and I'm not quite ready to start my specific training for that, but I wanted to keep my mileage high in preparation for that.

Sometime earlier this week I tweaked my back. I don't know how I did it or what exactly I did, but I'm working through it. Today I will be moving a run to the elliptical machine. But, the plan, is to keep on trucking on...

Swim - 18,500 meters (~11-1/2 miles)

Bike - 303.28 miles - I had a 100 miler I was planning on doing last week, but I got rained on twice, was cold and wet, and decided to call it a day. I got in 72 miles.

Run - 46.73 miles - I enjoyed a descending 18 miler last weekend that I did perfectly without EVER looking at my Garmin.

Training and life has changed drastically in the last week. More information on that soon...

Friday, September 23, 2011

Pictures from Cedar Point

It took me a few days to process everything out. Truth of the matter is, I was sick. There's nothing I could do about being sick. Had I not been, I would have finished the day as an ironwoman. That's the risk you take when choosing to do epic endurance racing. You put all eggs in one basket and that basket has got to hold steady. Surprisingly, I'm okay with all this. There will be other races. For now, I'm just laying low and continuing to swimbikerun for fun.

I've finally downloaded all the pictures Dave took from Cedar Point. There's not all that many of them since the day stopped half way through the bike, but I thought I'd share what I had.







Mine's the midget bike.



REALLY not looking like I'm feeling good.

But, giving the double thumbs up that the first half of the swim has gone well and I'm okay.

Pointing to Rachelle, showing she was right beside me. This was funny as we had discussed we were doing the whole racing holding hands.





And this is what I looked like after midnight, completely drugged up and barely able to keep my eyes open having spent the whole day tossing my cookies. Good times!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Thursday Thoughts

And....I'm back. I'm not doing much of anything so I haven't really had much to say. My mom pointed out something to me earlier today that I thought would make a great Thursday Thoughts. It's been a long time since I've done a Thursday Thoughts. Welcome back, Mer. Welcome back.

My mom pointed out to me today that it's Banned Book day. I'm not exactly sure what that means, but it lead into a conversation about a book I just read. I recently read "Tweak" by Nic Sheff. I had read his dad's book, "Beautiful Boy" earlier this year and wanted to read the other side of the story. Basically, it's Nic's personal telling of his drug addiction. It was a good book. Not as good as his dad's but a good book nonetheless. Here's my problem with it, though. It is very detailed and descriptive about his drug use and sex life, and use some very bad language. Normally, this wouldn't bother me in a book. Hell, I talk that way myself. But what bothered me was I picked this book up in the library in the teen section. This book is definitely not appropriate for teenagers. I even complained to the library about it. They wanted me to fill out an online book report that they would consider, etc. I didn't do it. This book shouldn't be banned, but it certainly shouldn't be in the teenage section either.

So, what book do you consider controversial? Should it be banned? Why?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Rest of the Story

Sigh...

As you've probably figured out by now, my ironman didn't go as planned. I have been healthier than I've ever been for the last year and a half. Not a sniffle or a sneeze. Nothing. I have been a complete germ nazi: washing my hands like a mad woman, avoiding social situations, getting flu shots, sleeping in separate beds if Dave was sick. And it has worked for me.

Saturday night before the race I started feeling really sick to my stomach while at dinner. I chalked it up to nerves, but it had me so rattled I couldn't eat dinner. I had about three bites of my dinner and that was it. When I went to bed that night I continued to feel sick. Really sick. I had heartburn that stretched from my belly button to about mid-chest. I ate a tums and tried to eat some bread, but nothing was really helping. When the alarm went off on race morning, I had gotten about four hours of sleep. And I was still feeling really bad. Really bad. I tried to eat some breakfast but it just wouldn't go down and I was starting to get worried about how bad I was feeling. Before I knew it was I was in the bathroom vomiting and there went any bit of nutrition I had in my body. Nothing else was eaten that morning.

We went down to the race site to set up my transition and I was feeling better. The nerves seemed to have passed as I was now feeling more comfortable with the race day ahead. Before I knew it, I was in my wetsuit, standing in the sand, waiting for the starting horn to sound. And then my day began. I was walking into the water and feeling okay.

The swim went fantastically. I felt comfortable. I was swimming well. It was all seeming a lot easier than I imagined it being. And then the swim was over. I was out of the water around 1:21 which is exactly what I expected. I walked from the beach through transition and everything seemed to be going as planned.

I was out on the bike and I was working the plan. My heart rate was really low and my legs seemed to be turning over well. On the way out I hit a bump and lost a bag of nutrition. I simply stopped and went back for it. This happened again around mile 10 as I launched not only a bag of nutrition but a water bottle. Again I stopped and went back for it. Something happened around mile 10 that started to have me concerned: my nausea was coming back. I was feeling sick to my stomach, my head was spinning, and I was losing power in my legs. It was WAY too early to be feeling bad. But, I kept at my nutrition taking all that was scheduled and not losing any of it. Once I made it to Milan I started looking for a port-a-john. My stomach needed a reprieve. Of course, I didn't find one. It was during this time too that I started dry heaving. The road out of Milan is a long stretch with the wind at your back. I expected to be flying down this road. Instead I was struggling to do 15mph and my stomach kept flip-flopping. I kept trying to tell myself, it will pass, but it wasn't passing. I was making deals with myself...it's okay to slow down; you can walk the marathon and still be fine; just make it to the start of the second loop; make it to Milan and call Dave and have him talk you down. At mile 40 was an aid station and I stopped. I called Dave and was panicky. I didn't know what to do. I was dry heaving and couldn't gain any ground on how badly I was feeling. I took a break, ate a pretzel from a spectator. Things were just not going well. The bike tech called medical and asked what to do. It was then he said he would not allow me back on the course and my day was over. He drove me back to transition and escorted me to the medical tent.

In the medical tent they gave me some anti-nausea medicine which worked wonders. I was able to get some lunch and despite feeling like a complete zombie, I was feeling much much better. Disappointed, but physically better. I watched the rest of the race and cheered on my friends and teammates.

Around 10:00pm we all headed to dinner. It had been about 8 or 9 hours since they had given me my medicine and I was starting to feel sick again. Really sick. As Rachelle and my family ate dinner, I sat in the parking lot continuing to vomit. The poor people at Pizza Hut took pity on me and sent me home with crackers and a Sierra Mist. When we made it back to the hotel, I was still feeling horrible and made the decision to head to the local emergency room. Once there they hooked me up with a saline drip, a shot of anti-nausea medicine, a shot of Pepcid, and a concoction of laticane and some other heart burn medicine. I took a little nap and they sent me on my way. We got back to the hotel around 2:00am and I slept until about 8:00. Yesterday I felt much better and was able to eat and drink as normal, although the dizzies have continued and I'm still not feeling really confident about eating.

So where does this leave me? Still without an ironman finish and frankly, out of time. I WILL NOT devote another year to this. The plan was to move on with my life: go back to work, start a family, be a real person without the pressures of racing or training. Ten years has been enough and I just want to take a break and enjoy running with friends and family again. I want to be able to go on a vacation that is not focused around a race. I want to be able to wake up and say, today I'm going to go for a run, or say, not today. I have looked at my short term options and I'm just not sure I'm that into it. Can I devote another 5-6 weeks? Sure. Do I care? I don't know. And I know that if I'm waffling, the answer needs to be no. Do I still really want to finish an Ironman? Absolutely. I just may need to change things up. My family has always teased me about being a total worry wart and not being able to control my nerves and they are absolutely right. I'm not sure I will ever be able to control that enough to handle ironman. (This weekend was not about nerves, though. I was sick or had food poisoning.) Dave and I have talked a lot about doing this together. I think that would certainly help my nerves and take the pressure completely off. I'm not gonna lie, I feel a lot of pressure when it comes to ironman. I have had A LOT of success with running. I think it's totally natural that myself and others think that it's going to translate to ironman/triathlon. In some ways it has. In others it hasn't. My teammates had fantastic days at Cedar Point and knowing that I could not compare to them would have had me feeling disappointed in my race performance even though ironman is all about finishing. But I also think about the flip side. What if I never do an ironman? Am I okay with that? I think a lot about Steve Stenzel when I get to this option. He's a fantastic runner, but has never done a marathon. Is a marathon that important as a runner? No. He has found he's better at short course and that not ever runner has to be a marathoner. Can I get to that point and be okay that I may never be an ironman? I don't have that answer yet.

And so I'm left here feeling disappointed and empty. Very empty. And sad. I just don't know what to do or think. I just don't know.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Check Up

With only four days to go until THE BIG ONE!!! (OMG ONLY FOUR DAYS!!!) it's time to do a little check up. A mental and physical inventory, if you will.

Mentally, I'm feeling surprisingly great. Last year I was scared out of my mind. I couldn't sleep. I struggled to eat. The enormity of it scared the crap out of me. I would envision the finish and I would lose it. This year, things are different. I've had GREAT training - not only physical - but great mental training. I'll admit it, last year I would do bike rides with my iPod stuck in one ear. I was bored by the training. I just couldn't get my head wrapped around it. This year my mind is sharp. For very long stretches of my bike rides my mind would completely wipe. This happens to me when I run and it has served me well. In addition, I'm approaching the race differently. Last year I put a lot of pressure on myself to do well. I felt like I had something to prove. And although I think I'm going to do great this year, I don't care if this race takes me all damn day. I'm finishing it no matter what. I'm approaching the race as three separate parts and thinking of each of them as practice. Even breaking up each sport separately, I'm even going deeper than that. For the swim, I'm thinking only four strokes at a time. This is how I breathe when I swim. I will only concentrate on my form and four strokes. For the bike, honest to goodness, I'm breaking the ride up into 5 minute and 15 minute segments. This is when I take my nutrition. The bike will be just a big eating-fest to get to the next segment. I'm not going to think about how long I've been on the bike course or what my average pace is. It's all about heart rate and eating. The run is about 50 steps. Yep, "Just 50 Steps." I even wrote that on my sticker that will go on my Garmin. I can truly count to 50 over and over again for an entire marathon. And if it comes to that, that's what I'll do. Mentally I'm feeling really strong and relaxed leading into the weekend.

Physically, things seem to be falling into place. The minimal workouts have caused me to be a bit jittery. Like, I have too much energy. I DO have too much energy - I haven't been able to nap at all. But, I have been sleeping soundly. Last night I got over 8 hours of sleep. No nightmares either. I've closely monitored my weight during training. After losing 10 pounds between November and March, I haven't gained a single pound of it back. This week, although I'm feeling pudgy and bloated (and can tell my clothes are fitting a bit tighter), still no weight gain. My workouts have been spot on. Swimming is controlled, biking is relaxed, and running feels very natural.

So, what do I expect this weekend? Well, I've decided to take the timing expectations out of it. Sure, I'm sure I can swimbikerun X:XX:XX, but who cares. I want to be proud of how I approached the race. I want to have fun and smile and ENJOY the experience. I want to walk away from this entire two year ironman process and say yes, I did this. It doesn't matter if I go 11 hours or 16:59:59. In the end, I will still be an ironman.

See you there...

Thursday, September 01, 2011

August Totals

With only ten days to go the work is over. August was another hot month full of workouts. I didn't do all of them, I think that's impossible, but I did the quality workouts. It's all behind me at this point. What's done is done and there's nothing more I can do about it. I feel I've had a great summer of training and I'm ready to roll.

54 hours, 31 minutes of training

Swim - 21,675 meters ~ 13.5 miles

Bike - 520.72 miles

Run - 83.03 miles

In other news...On tap today was a two hour bike ride followed by a 15 minute transitional run. Last "big" workout. Things were going great. I was flying down the road. But things were different too. A road that I ride all the time had recently been chip-sealed and then I got caught in a rain deluge and had to take shelter in the garage of a house being built. At least the construction workers were nice and understanding. I was on my cool down, having just left my parents' house and heading home, when things started to feel different, squishy. Crap! A flat tire! I have, literally, ridden thousand of miles this year and this was my first flat tire. And being that my bike has already been to the shop for it's final tune-up before The Big One!!! my race wheels are already on. I've never changed a flat on my race wheels. Well, now's the time to figure this out. I took my water bottles off my bike and laid them down so they wouldn't leak out. I emptied the contents of my bike bag to get the tools and supplies I needed. Then I turned my bike over to inspect my back tire (why is it ALWAYS the back tire???) to see if I had punctured it. Sure enough, I found a small pebble had punctured through the tire into the tube. I dusted off the tire and then took it off the bike. This is where things got a little tough. I ride HED3 race wheels, which don't have spokes on them. So the pieces you use to take the tire off the wheel, which usually attaches to the spokes to make it a little easier, didn't work exactly the way I needed them to. Needless to say, though, I was able to get the tire off the wheel and continued changing the tube. I got everything situated, struggled to get the tire back on the wheel, and then tried to get the CO2 cartridge to fill up tube. But, it wasn't working. What? Why? I called Dave and he told me to hold onto the valve stem as I pushed up with the cartridge. Still wasn't working. Then I figured it out. Where was the bolt that goes on the valve stem? Crap! It was inside the tire. So I had to take half of the tire off the wheel again, take the valve stem out of the hole, take the stupid bolt off, and then redo my work. This time because my fingers were in so much pain from trying to get the tire back on the first time, struggled even more to get it on the second time. I was sweating like crazy!!! Finally, the last bit of tire got behind the rim and I was able to get the CO2 cartridge to work this time. I was worried about popping the tube, because it was the only one I had, so I filled it up just enough. Although it was okay, it was still a little squishy on the ride home. But, good job me!!! Hopefully, the flat tire is behind me and it won't happen again in a week. If it does, though, I'm confident in my abilities to get that sucker changed now!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Time and Change

Saturday Dave and I made our way down to Louisville, went to bed early, and rose early on Sunday morning to spectate our friends and teammates participating in Ironman Louisville. Although unspoken, I could tell there was a little tension in the air between us and we were thinking the same thing....What if I went down there to spectate and it was a horrible experience and I wanted absolutely nothing to do with the ironman ever again?!

We got down to the swim start and the water works had started already. Yep, I was crying. Not because I was sad, but more because this was supposed to be my race. I felt cheated. I was jealous that it wasn't me out there. I wanted revenge. The tears dried up quickly and we began screaming our heads off. We saw a few of my teammates head out on the bike and then it was up to LaGrange to watch the bike portion of the day. We were three for four picking our friends out, and the fourth one threw us for a loop as she was not wearing what we expected her to wear. LaGrange was fun, but quick and then we were back down to Louisville to see the runners head out on the marathon. I was having a good time....

But then we got to the finish line area to watch the runners for the remainder of the day and that's when it happened. I could not stop crying. This is where everything went wrong last year. What I had wanted for so long didn't happen. But you know what? Spectating yesterday didn't break me. I walked away yesterday feeling rejuvenated and EXCITED to give this another try in a few days. It's my turn. I've waited long enough. I WILL do this....

Friday, August 26, 2011

Spell Check

I once saw a segment on one of the morning news shows about two guys who took a cross country road trip, correcting spelling and grammatical errors along the way. Of course, they wrote a book about it. I've not read the book, but I certainly "get" these guys. Both Dave and I were raised to spell, use grammar and sentence structure correctly. And although we don't always get it right (as I'm sure I just botched that last sentence), we're totally going to correct others who can't get it right. :)

I bring you the newest addition to the blog, "Spell Check".

Today's Spell Check is courtesy of the photo/electronics department at the local Meijer store:



I 'guarantee' spell check would have highlighted that one.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

One Year

It's been one year since my failed attempt at Ironman Louisville. And it's 17 days until I try again at the iron distance. I've learned a lot in that year.

Dave has said to me that I was in denial about ironman last year. The first time he said that to me it just pissed me off. Pissed me off to the point that we had a huge screaming match about it in a car in a parking lot. I just don't like the word "denial". I knew exactly what I was getting into. I had spectated two ironmans, I had done three half ironmans, and I had put in the training. I was ready. Or so I thought.

Having gone through a second year of ironman training, I don't think I was ready for Louisville. I don't think I was in denial, but I certainly wasn't in the physical and mental shape I'm in now. Last year I just went through the motions. You can fake your way through a marathon. You can't do that in ironman. And my big fat DNF last year proved that. This year I have faked NOTHING! I thought I was mentally tough last year. Ha! This year my head is locked and loaded. I thought I was physically in shape last year to finish the race. This year I don't 'think', I know I'm physically capable of doing this.

It's taken me a long time to shake the demons of that DNF. A few days after the race last year I actually wrote on my Facebook page that I would have rather died than having to face the embarrassment of the DNF. It took me a long time to feel comfortable racing again. I felt like the whole world was watching to see if I was going to fail again. After I botched the National Marathon in March is when I took back control and established that I needed to do this for me and no one else. I don't care what time it takes me to finish. I don't care who's watching or following me online. I don't care that I'm representing a team or sponsors. This is all about me and finishing the biggest goal I've ever established. And because I've been able to shake off everything else, not only do I think I'm going to get the finish I ultimately deserve (Star, you will never know what that one sentence has done for me this year), I think I'm going to have a great race and experience.

This weekend Dave and I are traveling to Louisville to (a) see my aunt and (b) spectate Ironman Louisville and cheer on my friends and teammates. Although I'm hoping this experience will be my pep rally for my race, I'm also hoping to throw away those last bits of doubt I have. It's almost as though I need closure from Louisville to move on to my race. It's time to close that book and look ahead two weeks to when I WILL FINISH WHAT I STARTED!!!!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Dress Rehearsal

This week is Peak Week - the biggest week of training before the race. Technically taper starts next week, but with the hours still being around 15 next week, it doesn't quite feel like a taper. Yesterday I finished up my final long run - an hour bike ride followed by a 20 mile run which I did at an 8:47 pace. It's the quickest long run to date. I have nailed all of them - two 16s, two 18s, and one 20 miler. I have used each of my long rides and runs as dress rehearsals. I once heard that "Perfect practice makes perfect" and that's what I've tried to emulate during my training. I have worn what I'm going to wear in the race. I have practiced my nutrition and hydration as I'm going to do in the race. I have worked on my mental stability as I'm going to need in the race. With a mere three and a half weeks to go, here's what I've nailed down.

Swim
I have swam more open water this year than in years past training for triathlon. I am feeling calm and relaxed in open water now. I hope to use that zen in the race to keep myself calm and remember there's a lot more race to go. Depending on the water temperature (I heard it was warm on the news) I plan on wearing my long sleeved TYR Hurricane Cat5 wetsuit. If it's too warm for that, I've got a no sleeved wetsuit or a swim skin (although not WTC legal, I think it can still be used under USAT rules). Otherwise I'll just swim sans wetsuit. I'm allergic to my wetsuits and my swim skin chafes me badly, so I have no problem swimming without. I did it in Louisville, I can do it again. I plan on wearing my team tri top, my bike shorts, and my calf sleeves underneath my wetsuit. My Garmin will be on my arm as will my watch. (Why both? More on this in a minute.)

T1
My goal is to minimize time in transition. Yes I want to make sure I get everything I need, but why waste time in transition? Even though the goal is to finish, it's still a race and I still want to be competitive. In T1 I will get out of that wetsuit, put on my socks and bike shoes, helmet, and sunglasses. I will spritz on a little sunscreen and use a little chamois cream. Hydration and nutrition will already be on my bike.

Bike
So you asked, why wear both a watch and a Garmin? Because that's how I've been training for the bike. The Garmin will go on my bike and used as a bike computer. I will be tracking speed, average speed, rpms, and most importantly, heart rate. The watch on my arm will be used to determine when to take salt tabs, eat, and hydrate. The type-A+ personality that I am has this crazy schedule where I drink every five minutes, eat every thirty minutes, and take a salt tab every thirty minutes. It's not complicated but it keeps my mind fresh because I'm always thinking of the next time I must eat or drink (along with constantly checking my heart rate). I will be using the Gatorade on course. I have trained with Gatorade all summer. I will be supplementing water as needed. I will be using a combination of strawberry Gu Chomps and vanilla Gu based on what time it is. My plan is very intricate, but it has worked for me.

T2
I actually think my T2 is going to take longer than T1 which is opposite than most people. As I mentioned in the swim section above, I will be wearing bike shorts. Good for people who can do the full 112 miles in a pair of tri shorts. I am not one of those people. In T2, I will change into my tri shorts and change my socks to running socks. I will be wearing my lucky Boston Marathon ball cap. I will take the watch off my arm and will be using my Garmin to finish out the race. I will spritz myself with a little more sunscreen and spritz myself with some TriSlide for my underarms and chest. I will be wearing my water belt. I will take off my heart rate chest strap. And most importantly I will put on my garage sale sticker over my Garmin. What????

Run
I have debated and debated about the water belt. Frankly, I don't want to wear it. There are water stations, for crying out loud! But I've gotten used to it. It doesn't move and I don't really notice it's there. It will allow me to bypass the aid stations and keep to the routine that has worked for me. It also has a large pouch on it that will allow me to carry my gels and salt tabs. I don't like, though, that I will have to stop and fill it up probably three times and that I will probably have to stop and walk to get out the gels and salt tabs and take them. But pretty much everyone walks through the aid stations to do that so I'm okay with that. Again, that's how I've practiced. I will be taking a gel and salt tab every four miles starting at the two mile mark. So why the sticker??? I like to run by feel. I know what the different heart rate zones feel like without ever looking at them. I know how to go hard and when to back off. With years and years of running under my belt, I have become quite good at understanding pace. If I get wrapped up with what the Garmin says it will drive me insane. I plan on keeping that sticker on for a good 10-13 miles and maybe for the whole marathon. So, as my husband says, why even wear the Garmin? Well, that's a good question and something I've been wrestling with. But because I will have started my Garmin and used the multisport function since the beginning of the race, I'd like to keep it on so I at least have a record of my race.

Most importantly, I am going to STICK TO THE PLAN!!!! I am going to remember to smile a lot and to have fun. And hopefully have the day I've been dreaming of and practicing for.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Product Giveway Winner (and other stuff)

Sorry I'm a day late on this. If you knew what kind of crazy week I'm having....

There were all of five entries into the ClipE product giveway. To not complicate matters, I numbered them one through five and then rolled a dice (die?) Drumroll please! And the winner is Tri Like Mary. Please contact me through my profile page, send me your address, and I'll get the ClipE in the mail to you this week.

Now on to other things...

Last week I did something stupid and upgraded the software on my Garmin 310XT. I did this because I saw there was now a way to track open water swimming while wearing the Garmin on the wrist. The problem was, I had already downloaded the newest software update when I read the reviews that the "swim" function under "other" really wasn't all that accurate. Of course, all of my data was wiped clean so I had to reprogram and reset everything, but I'm finding things about the update that I really don't like. For example, this morning I had a 2:45 run on the schedule that had four timed steps in it, but when I was done with that time, I decided I wanted to go on and finish 20 miles instead of whatever mileage I had done in two hours and 45 minutes. The old software would continue counting based on wherever you finished. So I had done about 18.75 miles in that 2:45 and if I had continued the time, it would have told me when I hit 19 miles. Today it started the mileage over at 2:45 and gave me "step #5" as the next full mile. I've also had problems with it picking up an automatic wheel size while riding so it would have it programmed for riding on the trainer (something I do every week). And I do not like the way that it downloads multiple workouts in one day to Garmin Training Center as one workout with multiple parts. How do I separate those workouts so I can upload them separately into Training Peaks for my coach?

If you have any answers to above, I could really use your help. Basically, though, I want to reset the Garmin so it goes back to the software I had when I bought my Garmin (it's over a year old). Is there any way to do that? Help please!

Friday, August 12, 2011

What a Night!

I rarely watch the local news, but last night I happened to catch it after the finale of "So You Think You Can Dance." The first story was a breaking news story about a murder that had two crime scenes. One was where the body was found in a neighboring town and one was where the shooting occurred, which happened to be in a neighborhood across the street from where we live (less than a mile away). They said the suspect was on the run and was headed to North Carolina. They gave his car make and model and his license plate. The news also said another person was wanted for questioning and that he had also fled but they were looking for him. That second person was on the loose around here and you could hear the police helicopter overhead. A half hour later, as we were still watching the news, that second person had been found and had been apprehended. I went to bed feeling okay.

Around 2:30-2:40am I was awoken by sirens. We hear a lot of sirens around here as we live between police substations and two firehouses. But this was different. Those sirens were close. I got up and looked out the window to see six police cars FLY down our neighborhood street along with an unmarked car behind them. For the next, like 20+ minutes, there were sirens and sirens and sirens. And the helicopter was back and it was close.

I woke Dave up. He was already awake. I was scared out of my mind. THIS MURDERER WAS IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD!!! (This is what I thought. All of this was going down less than a mile away) I was in full panic mode. I was cold and shaking and I thought I was going to throw up. For the next half hour to 45 minutes we just laid there listening to what was happening. I really had to go to the bathroom but I didn't want to get up or make any noise or turn on the lights and draw attention to our house.

Around 3:30 I asked Dave if there would be a breaking news story on any of the local news' websites. We both grabbed our phones and started searching. We didn't find anything that had been updated since 2:15am, but the stories gave a little more details. Turns out the victim and suspect were recent graduates of the local high school. It was the suspect's girlfriend who had been murdered. The police had been called just one day earlier in a domestic dispute between the two. Dave read the name of the suspect and it hit me. I knew that kid (man - he's 18). I had coached him and his twin brother. And it was probably his twin brother who had been the one who ran and was apprehended. My heart sank. He was a good kid. What happened?

He had been calling family and friends from his cell phone while driving around town. The police had been pinging his phone and had spotted him around 2:00am just down street from here. They chased him just a few miles, to basically where all this started, and that's when we heard all the sirens.

Finally around 4:00am (yes, still awake), I found an article that said the suspect had been killed in a police involved shooting. I felt better that I could go back to sleep, but I did not feel good about what had happened. The local news came on at 4:30 and I got up to watch it. It didn't offer a whole lot of information. They didn't even say if he had killed himself or if the police had killed him. The 5:00am news was on the scene, which was not where they said it was on all the news sites, still had little information. Finally around 5:30am, I crawled back into bed.

At 8:30am the police helicopter was back overhead. We read an article that said the suspect had been killed by the police. I guess five officers including SWAT officers shot at him as he drew his gun when he was stopped. So sad. So very sad.

A few months ago there was a huge drug bust just a few houses from us. And now a murder less than a mile. I thought I lived on the safe side of town?