Friday, December 31, 2010
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
The music side of this is coming together nicely. There are a few songs I'm really liking but will keep those under wraps for now. Documenting the journey via pictures is going well enough. I've got tons of pictures from races and now want to start getting some training pictures. I'm sure my teammates are going to be uber excited when I start showing up with my camera and tripod on long runs/ride & lake swims. I decided I need a video element of all this too so I bought a Flip Video a few weeks ago and will add that to my arsenal of cool things to help me make this "Ode to Ironman" (yes, feel free to help me with a better name). The available memory on my trusty laptop is quickly disappearing and I find myself getting closer & closer to rationalizing forking out some dough for a Macbook. :) Now I truly digress.
I'm experimenting with the Flip Video now and so am using my blog as the testing ground. Here's a short video of my super cute nephew putting together a puzzle. He's pretty much a genius. :)
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
I thought now would be a good time to share my WHY. I think if you know me well, it makes perfect sense. I love a challenge. I love new things. I love being outside. I love doing something that nobody thinks a human should do. And I really love doing something nobody thinks I can do. Don't get me wrong, nobody has told me flat out I can't do this but I've seen the look on their face and I know they have their doubts. That's ok, there are days I have my doubts too (thankfully not many of them). To me, there's nothing better than proving to myself that I'm a lot tougher than I give myself credit for.
It's been about 6 months since I signed up for IMTX and I have 5 months left to go. It's been a heck of a ride so far. I've had challenges balancing my work life with my workout life. For those of you reading this who work for or who have worked for EY, you understand. This is a demanding place to work which I actually like (Type A personality). In the past, I've never had a problem working ridiculous hours and actually wore it like a badge of honor....someone not in client serving works just as hard as our client serving folks! For the past year though, I've had things I want...I NEED to do. Half ass training may be ok for a sprint or even an Oly but definitely not for a 70.3 or a 140.6. I also don't like half assing anything so it was really tough for me earlier this year to feel like I was letting everyone down...my coach, my teammates, my coworkers. I've worked super hard this summer & fall to find some balance. It's not always easy but I'm doing it. And it's going to get even more difficult in the coming months but I'm up for the challenge!
Before joining Woodlands Fit in 2007, I never thought I would run 13.1 miles. Why would I want to anyway? Driving 13 miles can suck on a bad traffic day. I had a lot of personal things going on and was kind of in a downward spiral. When I started really focusing on running, I snapped out of it and was happy & excited to have something to look forward to. As I went through training, I signed up for races and could see improvement. I loved it. Not only did I enjoy the running but I was getting better. I'll never be supa-fast but that's ok! As the 2008 Houston Half approached, I had my doubts but I showed up and ran. I had no goals except to finish. I didn't know what to expect anyway! My training runs were always slow so I figured finishing in 2.5 hrs would be reasonable. When I finished the run and consulted my trusty Garmin, I saw I had finished in 2:10 and change. Even I knew this was good for a first effort. I did it. I ran the whole way save a few water stops at the end and I felt good.
It may seem I'm digressing a bit but trust me, I'm not. That one race helped me learn that you (me, you, anyone) can do whatever you set your mind to. You just have to want it bad enough. As I reflect on races since then, I can tell you the ones where I've had sub-par (IMO)performances are ones I didn't go into with the same excitement and "want" as I did my first half marathon.
Fast forward to WHY IMTX? Well, because I want to. I really, really, REALLY want to. Yes, I want to wake up bright and early on May 21, 2011 and put on my Team sTRIve swimsuit and hop in Lake Woodlands for 2.4 miles of fun with my teammates and a whole lot of people I don't know. I want to get out of the water (with a smile) and run through T1 and head for my bike and then go for a 112 mile ride on roads I will know like the back of my hand because I've trained on them. After spending most of my day on the bike, I want to get in & out of T2 as fast as I can and embark on the last 26.2 miles of my journey. And most of all, I want to cross the finish line with a huge smile because I just accomplished something I never imagined I would do or could do in a million years. I want to see my friends and family at the end and just celebrate what a huge accomplishment so many of us will achieve that day. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about WHY I'm doing this.
So there you have it! For those of you who were curious, now you know why I'm doing something most think is just stupid. For those of you who weren't curious but made it through the end of this post, you're awesome for reading! :) I'm actually including a link to a YouTube video that just makes me cry every time I see it.
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
On November 29th, I realized I was no longer on Cloud 9 from my 70.3 race. I woke up that morning and the feeling I had every other morning between November 8th & then was very different. I was happy, don't get me wrong. I just wasn't SILLY happy anymore. When I looked at the calendar, it dawned on me I was 22 days past my race. See?!?! This number keeps popping up in my life!!!
So now, it's time to get back to reality. I'm back into a regular, somewhat normal training schedule. I am about 23 weeks from IMTX which means I'm a mere 17ish weeks from my next 70.3 and only 7 week from the Houston Half Marathon. So much for off season huh?!? I did just find out my regular cheerleader for the Houston Half won't be there. Yep, Keith has to be out of town for work that weekend. Major, major bummer! He hasn't missed many races at all and so it will be very strange to not have him out there. It's not the end of the world...this is my 4th Houston Half. It'll just be lonely when I'm approaching mile 6 and he's not there, smoking while riding his bicycle! LOL.
I had my first group training ride in awhile this past weekend. It was a cold, cold morning but had a good ride. Not fast at all but it wasn't scheduled to be. While I know this HR training is going to pay huge dividends come May, it can be frustrating riding 14 mph so you can keep your HR at it's target. Coach promises I will see a difference and I trust her so stick with it I will!
I think I may have mentioned before I've started working on compiling pictures that I'll put together in a video montage type thing. I want to capture my journey to Ironman in pics and thought this would be a cool way to do it. I've spent free time searching for the perfect song/songs to use and am having a little trouble finding the perfect ones. Top picks right now are from Rascal Flatts, Garth Brooks, The Wall Flowers & Foo Fighters. Random, I know. Here's a fun game....can you guess which song by the artists above are the ones I'm thinking of using? I love games!
With that, I'm off but I'll be back soon!!!
Monday, November 29, 2010
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Monday, November 8, 2010
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Bonnie Mae Brian Seliger (March 4, 1927 - November 2, 2010) - Grandma Seliger was my step-dad's mom but thought of us as her grandkids just the same. Grandma Seliger was a very neat lady and we were lucky enough to spend special time with them growing up. On Sunday, Grandma Seliger will accompany me on the 1.2 mile swim as she is the lady who taught me how to swim many, many years ago. Her tactics may have been unconventional but a whole generation of Seliger's learned how to swim because of her. "Camp Grandma" is where I was introduced to cicada's, the art of microwaving Jell-O pops, making homemade stationary, The One and Only Genuine Original Family Band, Dr. Pepper, swimming and many more things. I will always cherish the time I spent in Lubbock, Texas.
Angela Loffredo Cerami (March 23, 1919 - February 1, 1995) - Her whole life, Grandma Cerami insisted she was "Angeline" but when my mom found her birth certificate (or some other important document), it showed "Angela". Grandma Cerami was something else. As a little girl, I remember visiting her after having already eaten only to find that she had prepared enough spaghetti to feed a village...and not a small village. Telling her we weren't hungry meant nothing as she expected us to eat. There were many years I didn't get to see my grandparents but I wrote to them often and called when we could. After many years of being away from Buffalo, I got to go back to visit my family and see my Grandma. She was sick with breast cancer and we knew she probably didn't have long to live. As long as it had been since I had seen her in person, she was just how I remembered. I am so glad I was able to go back and spend time with her as an adult. A few months after my 20th birthday, Grandma Cerami passed away. I was given a rosary that belonged to her and I will have that with me as I run (jog) 13.1 miles. I figure the rosary is easier to carry than one of her cookbooks!!
Some of you reading this may think this is cheesy or even odd and that's ok. For me, it's a way to remember three people who had a huge impact on who I am today. Without them, or anyone in my life, I wouldn't be where I am and I wouldn't be attempting to do what I'm going to do on Sunday.
Rest in peace Bonnie, Hazel & Ang!! I love you all and I hope we have a lot of fun come Sunday!
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Monday swim went extremely well. We swam a broken 1,500 and I had my best time to date. The pace I kept is one I really feel I could maintain although never have in a big race. We'll see if Sunday is the day. I've got coached swim tonight too and it will be an "easy" workout. I'm looking forward to getting in the water and doing some visualizing for Sunday. Yee haw!!
Last night was an easy track workout consisting of a 1 mile warmup, main set of 6x400 and a 1 mile cool down. I love 400's! Misty & I headed to the track and did a pretty good job pacing. We tended to start out too fast and would take turns lecturing each other on slowing down. Well, maybe not lecture but there was a lot of, "we started too fast again" or "stop chasing the other runners". We were at the same track OutRival works out at so it was nice to see some familiar faces and not feel totally alone out there. We missed our teammates though. I rarely get to do track workouts with the group anymore b/c I just can't get there from work. The past month or so those training for IMFL haven't even had track workouts b/c "Ironman races aren't about speed" as coach said. Boy was I glad to hear that b/c my IMTX probably won't be described as speedy. :)
Packet pickup starts today but I'm waiting until Saturday to get mine. No word yet as to what's going on with the swim course. Val is getting her packet tonight and she's promised to give me the scoop (if there is any). I am definitely to the point where I don't care what they do about the swim so long as they don't cancel it. If we have to walk part of it, so be it. We'll all be faced with the same challenges. I just want my first 70.3 to be a true 70.3, not a 69.1. That doesn't even round to 70!
I've been thinking so much about this race. This is the strangest pre-race feeling I've ever had. I feel strangely calm about it. Maybe part of it is b/c I know what's done is done and nothing that happens this week will change anything. Maybe it's b/c I know this isn't about how fast I finish but about finishing. Period. Maybe for once, I really believe in myself. I'm not saying I never believe in myself but if you've raced, you know what I mean. It's easy to doubt if you'll be at your best on any given Sunday (or race day).
My biggest focus the rest of the week is nutrition. I'm trying to be mindful of the carbs, proteins & fats I'm putting in my body, always asking myself if this is the best fuel I can find. I'm hydrating like it's going out of style. Sports drink is accompanying me everywhere. I feel good.
Well, those are my hump day thoughts. I'm curious to see what tomorrow brings and if everything I'm feeling now will continue or if the nerves will start to creep in.
Monday, November 1, 2010
Friday, October 29, 2010
Monday, October 25, 2010
I had high hopes for my long ride this weekend....50 miles on the Ironstar bike course. This would be my chance to scope out the course and see how I might handle it. I had been looking forward to this ride all week. I WANTED to ride this course.
The morning started off well enough. We had a huge group heading out which was a lot of fun to see. After a short warm up, the super fast group took off. We started at 105 & Walden Rd. and pretty much stayed together to Richards. I did my best to stay with the pack but was having a lot of trouble pain wise due to the bruised crotch I was still sporting from last weekend. I wasn't too far back so wasn't really worried about it at this point.
Heading back out on the road, I drifted back a little further. I was frustrated with myself for not staying closer to the pack so I was probably letting in some negative talk but still didn't think it was too bad. As I approached the turn around point, I saw the pack and my coach let me know I didn't have far to go. I made the turnaround and got down about a mile or so when I decided I wanted some Gu chomps. I opened my aero bag and was pulling out some chomps when my truck key flew out of the bag. One bounce on the road, second bounce in the grass. I turned around as quick as I could do so safely & easily and started looking for my key. 10 minutes later, key was in hand but teammates were long out of site. Damn. I got back to 1486 and it was time to decide: left or right. I went right and went & went & went & went & went. No site of teammates, nothing. I second guessed myself and decided to start calling someone near a computer to pull up a map. Long, long story short, I turned back and went the other way on 1486 assuming I had gone the wrong direction. Little did I know but had I gone a few more miles, I probably would've run into my teammates who were waiting for me. At this point, I was just getting angry & frustrated. Angry at myself for not remembering my map. Frustrated that this ride was quickly going down the crapper. I tried to just take it easy & not stress out b/c at this point, there was nothing I could do but figure it out.
I made it back to Richards where I stopped to refill my fluid and check in with my mom. I had decided at this point to just get back on 149 and head to 105 where I would then be 2-3 miles from my truck. Easy enough. I get back on the bike and the negative talk starts again. Why are you here? What makes you think you can actually finish a 70.3 race? You do realize as bad as this is, you'll be on the bike WAY longer during Ironman. I finally said, "SHUT UP" out loud. I was tired of the self-doubt and knew I had at least 20 miles back to my truck. 20 miles of wind & hills. Now was not the time to doubt myself. YOU CAN DO THIS! After that, it was like a switch had flipped and I knew it was going to be fine. I had told my mom I would check in with her periodically just so somebody knew where I was. I had been on the road since 8am and it was not approaching 12:30pm. A 50 mile ride had long exceeded 50!
As I made my 2nd venture of the day through the Sam Houston National Forest, I decided to just take it all in and enjoy the fact that I was healthy enough to bike for 4+ hours in a day! Sure, I ran out of fluids but I was prepared and bought more. It could be WAY worse. 12 miles to Montgomery, 19 miles to Huntsville. Yes! Almost there. I pull in to Montgomery and by this time, traffic has really picked up and it's time to cross a pretty big highway by myself. Yuck! The good news is I did it and did it safely so GO ME. My car was about 2 miles away at this point. I pedaled my little heart away paying no attention to the remaining hills. Wal-Mart was in site and so was my truck!
I got back to my truck, the only Team sTRIve person still out on the road long after an 8am start! While I had done a good job cheering myself up on the ride, I was done. It was time to go home and shower and relax. I had biked approximately 70 miles....my longest distance to date! So what if it was unintentional? :) A little while after being on the road, a teammate (and friend) called to check in on me. Lynn's really helped me out by helping me understand this stuff happens and it's ok. We had a good laugh about my adventure.
After being home a few hours, the negative talk creeped back in & I really started doubting whether or not I should be signed up for these long races. I broke down in tears. After about 30 minutes of self-pity, I knew I needed to put on my big girl panties and chill out. All workouts aren't going to be good. All races aren't going to be good. That's life. What's important to remember is that I've done the training. I'm healthy, I'm ready and I'm determined. If you ask me, those are 3 things that are really going to help get me though Ironstar Half Ironman in less than 2 weeks. The key is to come away from a "bad" workout with lessons learned & a good attitude.
For me, the lessons are easy. (1) Don't forget your map! (2) Review your course several times before heading out. (3) A bad training session is one you never attempt, not one that you finish!
Today is a much better day and I'm starting to feel back to normal. My body is tired and so is my brain from having over analyzed everything yesterday. I'm back at it tonight with a swim workout (that will have to be easy) and then mile repeats at the track tomorrow. I've got less than 2 weeks to race day and I am READY!
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
The week started off with a great clinic put on by Lonestar Multisport. Kim Hager (Coach K) was the speaker and was covering race day mental preparedness. I wasn't about to miss this topic because I know this is my demon. I thought maybe the tides were changing since I had such a positive mental race at the Houston Oly but after a very tough workout this weekend, the stupid voices in my head started in again. After nearly 65 miles on the bike, I started a very slow 30 minute run. I tried so hard to focus on the positive....no calf cramping! Had I been strong and just basked in that glory, I think it would've been good. But no, I had to start paying to attention to the fact that my body felt like a sack of bricks...probably why it's called a brick workout. I tried my best to make my legs move faster and they just wouldn't. Every muscle that could be sore was sore. Only 10 minutes into the run I found myself wondering if I had what it took to finish a half ironman. Ahh, crap. I'm so glad our thoughts aren't broadcast for all to hear because I would've been getting some strange looks from folks wondering why I was yelling at myself. I tried to tell myself I had what it took to finish but then my back would chime in as if to say, "speak for yourself". ENOUGH! I finally told myself to shut it and finish this run. I digress but this was important to mention as it totally supports my desire to attend this session! So many things had an impact on me. I've come away with some great ideas to help me get through this race. I'm going to tape some encouraging words to my bike frame...maybe I'll even Sharpie them on my forearm. We'll have to see how crazy I feel that morning! I'm going to visualize the last 25% of the race every night before I go to bed. I'm going to finish this race.
I emailed Coach G to verify I wouldn't be setting any time goals for this race and sure enough, I won't be. My mission is to race & embrace this distance. Finish with a smile. I'm confident there will be tears too. I'm hoping for 90% tears of joy and 10% tears of relief. Ok, maybe 80/20. :) Either way, there should be no pressure for this race. I'm not sure if Coach G reads my blog so I'll let you in on a little secret...I do plan on pushing the swim. I've never pushed the swim in a race and I figured this might be a good time to give it a go. If she is reading this, I'm just kidding! :)
This no goal thing might not be a bad idea. The first time I ran the Houston Half I set a PR that I haven't touched yet. Maybe I'll go into that race Garmin & expectation free and just see what happens.
Up next for me? Training, training & more training. This weekend I'll be riding the Ironstar bike course and am super excited to see how that goes. I also have a 14 mile run scheduled for Friday morning. Good thing I'm off on Friday and the only tough thing I'll need to do all day is figure out how short to cut my hair!
Until next time!
Friday, October 15, 2010
We’ve been asked to compile our race results for the past few years for our coach. Wow, what an eye opening exercise this has been! You know, I heard recently that a teammate expressed some surprise to hear about a good swim I had and it bothered me at first. As I thought about it, I realized nobody is as surprised by my progress in the water as I am! For every race I’ve had this year, my swim pace has been steadily dropping. I’m not talking big drops, a few seconds here and there. This week part of our swim workout was to swim 3x500 and focus on our pacing. My times were 10:23, 10:22 & 10:21. Spot on! As I looked at my time, I remembered one of my very first tri’s where I swam a 300 in 10:41. I’m swimming a farther distance FASTER. So if you’re surprised by my progress, that’s ok….join the club!
I finally got to participate in 10 for Texas this past weekend. This is the 3rd time I’ve signed up and the 1st I’ve been able to run as I’ve had stress fractures the past two years. The day was gorgeous and I enjoyed every bit of my run. This was to be a run where I really needed to stay in the proper HR zones. As we lined up at the start, I felt a tap on the shoulder and didn’t really need to turn around because I already knew it was my coach and I already knew what she was going to tell me….don’t race. I’m not going to lie, it’s very hard not to get caught up in the excitement of race morning but I knew it was more important to follow instructions. I ran by myself the whole way with the exception of the first mile or so. I don’t mean to be an anti-social runner…there are just times where I really need the quiet to think about “stuff”. I was proud of my finishing time and more proud of the fact I’m learning to stick to my workouts!
After Ironstar Half Ironman, I will have a much deserved break and then will return to racing on Thanksgiving morning with the GE Run Thru the Woods in The Woodlands. I already know this race is to be by “feel” since I’ll be coming off my longest race ever and I’m ok with that. The real reason I sign up for this race is so I can enjoy Thanksgiving dinner guilt free!
My next project is to work on making my blog a little cooler as I get bored looking at it! Wish me luck! :)
Monday, October 4, 2010
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Even though my time was slower than what I wanted, I had a BLAST with the swim. I used to be so afraid of open water swim starts but not anymore. I respect the start but I don’t fear it. Every part of my body was smacked, grabbed, poked, touched, rubbed against and I didn’t let it phase me. I found a pretty clear line that kept the buoys on my right and I just relaxed and swam. Before I knew it, I was rounding the yellow buoys (watching many swim right into them) and headed to shore. I lost all my fellow sTRIver’s at the start so had no clue where anyone was. “That’s ok” I told myself. “Race YOUR race”. I started my second loop getting in just as the blue wave was on their way. Merging in water is way harder than merging on the highway. No worries though. I found another line and just swam. Next thing I knew, the swim was done. Huh? How did that happen so fast?
I wouldn’t normally give the run to T1 it’s own section but given it was red carpeted and at least .25 miles, I think it’s deserved. I told myself getting out of the water that I was running the whole way to T1 no matter what. Walking the red carpet is only acceptable if you’re wearing an evening gown and heels, not a tri suit. It wasn’t pretty but I ran the whole way and managed to keep a smile on my face even though the thought kept running through my head that people were taking pictures of me running after swimming and I sure hope I didn’t look like a whale. Vain, I know but whatever.
Not much to say here. The bike was flat and windy. Coach G wanted me in aero more and so I did focus on that. I had some issues w/ my hydration bottle not staying put and then losing another straw. WTH? I lost one on my 62 mile ride, how in the hell did I lose another? Whatever. I’ve still got one working straw so I’ll make it work. While overall I’m happy with what I did on the bike, I know I can do better. I’ve definitely had some trouble moving past the crash I took when my bike was brand spanking new! I get more comfortable every time I ride so I’m moving in the right direction, just not moving as fast as I’d like. The way I look at it, I’ve got 6 weeks of riding left before Ironstar to build back my confidence. Seems doable to me! The good news here is my mount & dismount went smoothly and I clipped in & out with no issues. Hey, small victories baby, small victories!
I hate saying anything negative at all about this race because I REALLY was so pleased with it but…..Well, let’s just say the run wasn’t my friend on Sunday. Immediately after hopping off my bike, I was made painfully aware of the massive cramps in both calves. Seriously? I hydrated like crazy and I even switched back to the drink that had more electrolytes. Why? Why? Why? Deciding I didn’t want to sound like Nancy Kerrigan, I quit asking why and just went with it. I knew from Clear Lake the cramps wouldn’t last forever so I just needed to work through it. I spent the first 3 miles walking a LOT more than planned. I was forced to running for 2 – 3 minutes and then walking for 15 – 30 seconds. I repeated this up until mile 3 when the cramps FINALLY went away. After that, I was able to run far more normal! Even though the run time is not what I’m capable of by any means, I was beyond happy because for once, I didn’t let any negative talk in my head. I smiled, chatted with fellow runners and knew that no matter what, I was going to finish smiling. How in the world could that be a bad run? After hitting the 5 mile marker outside the stadium, I was barely able to contain my excitement. 1.2 miles left and I get to collect my medal and enjoy. In the distance I saw sTRIve green and knew it was my coach. “Where have you been?” she asked. Hmmm. I just smiled and shrugged. Coach G ran with me a bit and gave me a great pep talk. I was going to see mile 6 in just a minute and after that, she outlined how many turns I would have, where the sTRIvers would be and then, the finish. She wanted me to push it and didn’t care if I vomited. LOL. Umm, there are cameras coach! I took off running with my smile and saw the 6 mile sign. All of a sudden I hear, “I can see you. Run HARDER.”. The irritating voice continued for several more steps. Coach wasn’t about to let me slow down. A strong finish is what she wanted and that’s what I was going to deliver. I rounded the corner and saw Keith & Hannah (the best cheerleaders ever). Another corner rounded and there were the sTRIVers. YAYYYYY! At that point, I told myself to treat it like a 400 (even though I had far less left) and just sprint the rest of the way. A nice lady cheered for me and told me “way to sprint to the finish”. I crossed the finish and just smiled!
The fact I’m still this happy about finishing with a time slower than I wanted is amazing to me. And it proves to me how much I’ve grown over the past year. This was the first race that I really understood what it meant to “race your own race”. Make no mistake though, I’m expecting to PR my next Oly!
1. I’m MUCH tougher than I give myself credit for.
2. I don’t suck at swimming any more. J
3. Need to figure out the cramping issues so I can have the run I’m meant to have!
4. I really, really LOVE racing.
Monday, September 20, 2010
Sunday was my longest ride to date....a whopping 62 miles of hills, hills and more hills! I really had fun on this ride...a lot of fun! I went into it w/ a few goals: (1) focus on hydrating, (2) practice shifting gears and (3) not worry about what everyone else was doing. I'm proud to say I accomplished all 3 goals and finished the ride feeling healthy, happy, ready to run (if I needed to) and SUPER hungry! A few take aways were (1) I need to get out on group rides more and (2) I need more hill training. Whoever said Texas is flat hasn't ridden in Montgomery Country!
It's race week this week and I'm starting to get excited for Sunday as this will be my "real" first Olympic distance race. My last Oly wasn't an Oly since the swim was cancelled and I passed out on the run course. Oops. I'm definitely looking for far different results this weekend. I haven't really set a goal for this race...mainly just not to pass out and to finish smiling. Sure, there is a time in my head I would like to beat but I'm not going to jinx myself by putting it to paper. :)
I'm looking forward to a fun training week! I'm sure more posts will follow!