Friday, October 29, 2010

DREAM...the impossible dream (and course maps too)!

I can hardly contain my excitement....course maps for IMTX are slowly but surely posting to the website. I will have to resist the urge to go bike 112 miles tomorrow on the course!!!!

While a picture of the swim course hasn't been posted, we know it will be a point to point swim starting at North Shore Park, heading to South Shore Park where we turn around and then head through the Waterway system to transition. I have to admit, I'm not sure how me and 2,499 of my closest friends are going to squeeze in there but that's ok! Time to practice full contact swimming. I'm thinking of inviting about 50 people to Keith's house and have us all jump in at the same time...that should do the trick.

The bike course looks awesome! I honestly can't wait to get out there and ride the portions I haven't already been on. The best part of the bike course (other than the finish) is that it goes right by Keith's neighborhood on the way back to transition!!! My estimate is this is around mile 100 and I honestly can't think of a better way to end my bike than with seeing my friends & family SO close to the end of a very long & probably lonely 112 mile journey! I know the picture I'm including is small so if you want to see it a little better, go to and check it out for yourself.

I read the directions for the run course and as expected, it will be a 3 loop course at the front of The Woodlands staying in the area of the mall, Waterway, Market Street, etc. This makes perfect sense and I think it will translate to lots of spectator support. The fact that it's a 3 loop course is appealing to me because I know everyone I will want to see will set up chairs at one spot and I'll get to see them THREE WHOLE TIMES before finishing. If this isn't motivation, I don't know what is. I've decided I will start incorporating the IMTX run course in my weekly runs. Some may say that will get boring but I don't care! The more I'm on that course, the more I can visualize how I'll handle different situations. Visualizing race day will become second nature! Can you feel the excitement through the words I'm typing?!?!

I've got a couple of big races to get through first. Ironstar is next week (I think I may have mentioned that lol). IMTX 70.3 is in April, just 6 weeks before the big day. Wow! It's going to be here before I know it. With every day that passes, I'm one day closer to my first half Ironman and I'm so excited.

I know it's early but you know me...I plan. That's just what I do. Anyway, Keith & I will be coming up with a plan for friends & family to have somewhere to hang out while I'm on the IMTX course. Between my house (also close to the bike route) and his, we'll have plenty of comfy space for everyone to eat, relax, hang out & have fun while I'm working towards a goal I never thought I would achieve. As cheesy as this sounds, it's bringing a tear to my eye as I think about it! I've already visualized the finish a million times and every time I do, it involves LOTS of tears, LOTS of smiles, LOTS of family and me doing the centipede across the finish line.

Monday, October 25, 2010

A bad training day is still better than a good day at the office!

A half ironman isn't easy, why would training for one be?

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 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

"Just Say No" to goals!!!! Huh????

I can feel the excitement slowly but surely morphing to anxiety. Not the bad anxiety that makes you want to throw up (not yet at least). It's a good anxiety. Not as good as Christmas morning when you were a kid...somewhere in the middle.

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 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

"Let's see how far we've come" - Matchbox 20

I am now only 3 weeks and 2 days away from my first Half Ironman (or 70.3) race. Time is flying by at lightning speed and I feel like if I close my eyes, I will wake up and it’ll be race morning! This is going to be a tough race but I’m looking forward to it. My training has been going well and I’ve been making corrections to issues I’ve been having. I’m not going to be a speed demon on race day but it’s not about that. My goals at this race are simple: (1) Enjoy the day, (2) Focus on hydration, (3) Push myself in the swim and (4) Stay on top of the mental game. If I can finish with a smile, I will be a very happy girl.

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

Are we there yet?

The title of this blog update was one of my favorite questions growing up when we went on road trips. I often found myself yelling this out from the very back of the van to the front. Those were the days.

Our Sunday bike ride was 60 miles with a 45 minute run after. I know most who probably read this don't think this is crazy at all but most people who know me in my normal, every day life do! 60 miles is going to take a rider like me over 3.5 hrs to finish and so to think you might hear "Are we there yet" isn't out of the question.

I want to make this short and sweet. The bike was awesome!!!! After having my coach refit me on my bike, she assured me it would feel different and I should expect to get more power. Maybe part of this was mental for me b/c I believed I would have more power and more power I had!!! I haven't had the most stellar rides since getting my new bike and I had been blaming a lot of that on my fall. Whatever the reason, this was another good confidence booster to have as I get closer to my first half ironman.

I feel like I've been training forever and I find myself asking again, "Are we there yet"? Almost! In 5 short weeks, I will be putting everything I've learned to use and will tackle the half ironman distance. 1.2 miles in the water, 56 miles on the bike and 13.1 miles running all in less than 8 hours. It's still so funny to me because for once, the swim isn't even a concern of mine. I already respect the swim (b/c I'm not that good at it) but more importantly, I KNOW I can do it. The swim is my time to think about the rest of the race and calm myself. A few years ago the swim was my time to pray not to die! I know I can do the bike. I may not be the quickest on two wheels but I know how to pace myself and I know how to hydrate properly and again, I KNOW I can do it. Ironstar will be a hilly race (by Houston standards) but I'm learning to like hills. A little. The next 5 weeks I'm going to focus on getting stronger coming off the bike so I can have a better run. I should be able to accomplish this now that my bike fits the way it was meant to!

Training is going well, I'm healthy, I feel strong and I feel ready! Are we there yet? Hell yeah!!!