Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Empire State of Mind

It's time for a shout out to Jay Z & Alicia Keys as I've been singing...errrr rapping "Empire State of Mind" to myself most of the day. Tomorrow is the day I find out if I am one of the lucky 8-12% of non-Tri State residents to make it into the NYC Marathon. I am so torn right now as this is a bucket list race for me but at the same time, I really think I'm going to want to do some fall triathlons and I'm goign to have to figure out what my priority is. Yes, yes. I know I promised the running side of me that running would be the focus after IMTX but I may have to go back on that promise. Chances are pretty slim I'll get in so I'm sure I'm worried about nothing. And if I do get in, I can always pay the hefty race entry and defer to next year. Hmm. We'll see.

Getting into NYC won't prevent me from doing tri's....it will just require me to be smart about which races I sign up for. It will prevent me from doing Oil Man (formerly Ironstar) which I really would like to do as I would LOVE a PR. :) At the same time, how I wouldn't love to be one of those specs of colors running on the bridge in the scene to the right. Holy crap, I wonder what the weight limit is on that bridge?!?! Sure doesn't look like I would have much space to myself. Hmm, what exactly is my malfunction? Why is that I enjoy these types of activities? My mom assures me she doesn't know where this trait came from as she informed she was not a carrier.

Whatever happens with the lottery tomorrow, I know I'm going to have a great fall and will have lots of fun races on the calendar. I'm a planner and so the suspense right now is killing me. Come on Wednesday!!!!!

Monday, April 25, 2011

What doesn't make you stronger will kill you?

I'm still laughing about the title of this post. While most people might say "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger", I think the blog title is basically the same thing. I can't take credit for this either as it was said to me by my friend & training partner, Michelle. Let's just say our 90 mile ride wasn't quite as uneventful as I had hoped. But maybe we should back up a bit. :)

Our normal Sunday ride was moved to Saturday morning due to the Easter holiday. Michelle, Stew & I were meeting at Terramont Park for our 90 miles on the roads of the IMTX course. My phone rang at 5:30am and it was Chris, letting me know she'd be joining us (don't worry, she didn't wake me up as I'd been up for 30min already)! As I packed my drinks the night before, I realized Keith hadn't been able to fix my drink cage before going out of town so I was going to need to make some modifications. No problem! I had spare change collecting in my car, purse and couch that I would scrounge up and just buy drinks in Richards, our turn around mark. Crisis averted! I decided I would also freeze a bottle of sports drink and attach it to my CamelBak. As I rigged this up Saturday morning, it occurred to me it may not be the best idea. See, there is a bungee cord type thingy on the CamelBak but I think it's intended to keep gear like clothes secured, not a 24oz frozen bottle that could double into a rocket when a bump in the road presented itself. I showed Stew how tight I had it attached and then shook it vigorously, asking him what he thought. He looked at me sympathetically (I think he felt sorry for me that I actually thought I had a good idea) and told me he thought I might just leave the drink behind. I think he had the visual of his wife riding directly behind me, we hit some bumpy road and it shoots off and hits her in the head (I know that was the visual Michelle had when I shared my "great" idea). Poor Stew didn't know he would have two wives to take care of every time we set off on a ride. Before I go on, I just have to say I so appreciate Stew taking care of me and helping me out on long rides. He's helped me with my tires, given me advice and always answered questions I've had. Keith owes him big time!

We set off shortly after 6:30am and took the time to warm up appropriately. I truly love the early parts of these rides b/c we have time to chit-chat a bit and settle in before getting on to the heavier traveled roads. We were taking Fish Creek out to 2854, crossing 105 and heading into the Sam Houston National Forest. While it was certainly humid, it was a beautiful day! Chris had a shorter ride and so turned back on 2854 while Michelle & I forged ahead. Both of us have proven to be navigationally challenged at times but I'm happy to report we didn't get lost once! Honestly, if we did, I wouldn't admit it b/c we should know this course really well by now. We got to Richards feeling great and looking forward to the rest of the ride! We saw so many familiar faces while there and it was really nice to break up the ride a bit. We were half way done and set off the way we came.

Shortly after turning around, we came across a huge snake in the road. Michelle spotted that thing from 1/2 a mile away and alerted me and anyone else in a 50 mile radius with her yelling. I couldn't help but laugh b/c she kept hollering even after we passed the nasty thing. We have no idea what kind of snake it was but all I know is that it was still moving and I did't want to know if it was poisonous. As we turned back on to 149, we saw Coach G & Greg and attempted to draft off them a bit. The wind was out in full force and not being very nice to us. I was not having fun. Somewhere between 60 & 65 miles, I was having crazy back pain. As we turned on to Lone Star Pkwy, Gena & Greg had pulled off so she could stretch her back and I was so happy because mine was killing me. I put my head down and tears just started flowing. Looking back now, I should've composed myself better b/c I know good & well that 60 miles seems to be the point for me on every ride where I have "mental" issues. Whatever the case, what was going on in my back was far from mental. When Michelle realized I was in tears, she came to console me. Gena asked if it would help to know I wasn't the only one in tears. While I would never wish anyone to be in pain, I was very grateful Coach could relate to me that day. We started back up and kept battling the wind. About 6 miles later, we were stopping again. Man, this was going to be a rough time back. I told Michelle to go without me b/c I didn't want to ruin her ride but she wasn't hearing it. She refused to leave us and really was a great cheerleader for us. I'm so glad she stayed with us!

2854 isn't too bad and I usually enjoy being on it b/c I know we're closer to home but I hated it on Saturday. The wind was not letting up and I was over the ride. We turned off on Honea Egypt thinking it might shave off a few miles and help us get back easier but we were a little wrong. This was one heck of a winding road with lots of traffic. All in all, not too different from Dog Loop so we didn't mind too terribly much. Well, at least not until we turned one of the many curves and saw an uphill. I'm sure the hill wasn't really that big but after the ride we had, it may as well have been Mount Everest. Ok, maybe not that big. Maybe more like Kilimanjaro....big but not super challenging. :) And then, like a Cadbury Cream Egg on Easter morning, we were hitting Fish Creek just 1 mile from 1488. YES! By this time it was H O T, Gena was dry (no more fluids) and I was about 4 sips from being dry. We bought water and Gena got a fountain drink....Dr. Pepper (aka my kryptonite). After having as much as she needed, Gena let me have some and I tell you it was the best Dr. Pepper I have ever had. As soon as this bubbly drink hit my lips, it was like the sweetest nectar! Two sips and I was feeling good. Michelle had a little too and we were back on our way. 5 miles and we would be done (well not really b/c we still had to run).

As we pulled into Terramont, I was so happy to be done. I was amazed though b/c it seems like once we hit 80 miles, the pain started to subside and I didn't want to quit as much as I had wanted to earlier. In fact, I was looking forward to a slow run off the bike. Gena had already shortened my run and I shortened further still to only 11 minutes. While it wasn't easy, my long workout for the weekend was done.

Sunday morning I woke up to run and had my usual bfast before my long workouts. Only this time, I threw it up on my dog's head. Gross. What was going on with me? I decided I would run anyway but knew I wouldn't make it a full 18 but that would be ok. After my run, I called Gena to talk about what was going on with me. Saturday, I wanted to quit. I was done. Mainly, I was doubting myself and my abilities big time. Sunday I was looking at it with a better perspective and knew I didn't want to quit but needed some advice/support. Having a coach is beyond invaluable. And having a coach like Gena is really even better. Because she's racing too, she knows exactly how her athletes feel. It means so much to have her tell me she's been there before and knows what I'm going through but to keep going b/c she knows I can do it.

Training this past weekend was beyond hard and I know training this coming weekend won't be much easier. I have 100 miles on the bike that I will be doing alone due to my schedule. For me, this is going to be a big test of how much I want this. I won't have Gena or Michelle there to keep me going. I won't have Stew to answer my dumb questions. I won't have Keith to come and get me if I call it quits. Once I set off for 100 miles, I'm in. Gena told me how "lucky" I was to have these experiences because come race day, I'm going to know exactly what to do. What an awesome way to look at things. I'm not getting lemons thrown at me for nothing! I just need to make a big ass pitcher of lemonade. :)

I couldn't have gotten through this weekend without my teammates, friends AND family. Without Michelle & Gena, I really think I would've figured out a way to have someone come get me. Period. Chris didn't know it but the text she sent me about the wind cracked me up and I read it right when I needed a laugh. After the workout from hell, I talked to my mom, Stef & Keith and told them all I wanted to quit. And they all told me not to. There are so many others who have been a great support to me through all this with their kind words but this weekend, these folks really had the most impact on me and I just wanted them (and everyone reading my blog) to know how much I appreciated them!

This is the final build week and I'm told taper "madness" will start next week. I think I can I think I can I think I can I think I can.

Have a great week!!!!

Friday, April 22, 2011

I'm not crazy, I'm just a little unwell - Matchbox Twenty

If I've been asked once, I've been asked a thousand times....are you crazy??? Seriously? Do you really have to ask me that question? Of course I'm crazy but this isn't something new that's come about as a result of signing up for an Ironman. No, no. I've always been just a little left of center...just ask my family.

I'm really not surprised I get asked if I'm crazy when I tell someone I have an "easy" 70 mile ride this weekend. Or how about when I say I'm going out for a "quick" 10 mile run? That usually gets a funny stare every time. The best is when I tell someone I'm soaking my wetsuit in the tub to get it nice and clean after swimming in crap infested water with dead fish floating around in it. Crazy is relative though (or at least that's what I tell myself in hopes of feeling better about my chosen hobby).

I had another IMTX dream last night although I can't remember most of it. The part I do remember is totally weird. We were on the bike course and they decided to make it a 5 loop course of The Woodlands and there were timing mats every 5 miles. After finishing the bike, I didn't feel like running so I skipped along the course. Seriously? Am I 5? My face was wet and I kept wiping it but it kept getting wet. I then woke up to Leia licking my face. All in all, not a bad dream but a little odd. Anybody with a dream book, feel free to look that up!

I almost forgot about my spectacular swim at the 24 in Sugar Land this week. I had a dr appt on that side of town so decided I would go to that pool since the one in The Woods is closed. You all know good & well I'm not fond of 24 pools but now I downright hate them. First, the one at my gym is closed until "further notice". Umm, inconvenient! Do they not realize I'm training for IMTX? I know it's for the best as I'm sure they're ridding the pool of whatever it is they put in it that makes my skin itch for days after swimming. And hopefully whatever they are doing will make it less cloudy. Anyway, I digress. The pool in Sugar Land is older and kind of sketchy. It is definitely larger than the pool in The Woods BUT they dedicate nearly half of it to folks doing absolutely nothing productive in the water. When I arrived, there were too guys hanging out in the big section just chit chatting. There was a lady floating on her noodle. Then there was another dude doing martial arts. In the water. Finally, there was a pretty big older dude doing giant arm circles while standing in the water. There are 3 lanes for lap swimming roped off but they are BEYOND narrow. Additionally,the lane ropes are clearly too long for the pool b/c they don't stay nice & tight...they move around when you swim, making your lane even more narrow. As I arrived, a lady got out and I had a lane to myself. I had no intention of sharing the lane I was in as it was just way too small. I started my 4,000 yd workout and settled into a nice groove. Everything was feeling good. I wasn't itching and it wasn't too cloudy. Arm circle man moved closer to my lane and every time I got to his end, I was treated to lots of splashing. Oh goodie. I got back to the end I started at and noticed folks showing up, waiting for lanes. The folks in the other 2 lanes were there longer than me so they would have to get out before I even thought about it. Normally I would look to see which of the folks waiting would be most acceptable to share with but decided that just couldn't happen in this lane. It wouldn't have mattered anyway. One of the folks was an old dude in a Speedo one size too big, the other was a lady with not one but TWO noodles and the third guy scratched his butt as I looked at him. Nope. You yahoos are just going to have to wait until my workout is done. As I was finishing up, I had a few kicking drills to do and strapped on the fins and grabbed the kickboard. Just then, some little dude swam under the lane ropes and into my lane. He popped up and I barked, "EXCUUUUUSE ME". His response? "Oh". About this time I really wished I had cool gadgets like James Bond and could press a button and have blades pop out of the front of my kickboard. I told him there was no room in the inn (my lane) and I would be done shortly. He clearly could tell I would kick his butt and got out of my lane and went & swam in the hot tub. Yes, I saw him try to swim in it. Wow. Needless to say, I feel I'm getting closer & closer to kissing 24 goodbye and running to the open arms of Villa.

So what's on the agenda this weekend? 18 miles by foot, 90ish miles on the bike followed by a run and an OWS if I can manage it. If not, I'll be headed to a pool to get my swim on. I'm looking forward to my ride tomorrow and am hoping it is uneventful and dry. I've been a good girl this week and think this is not too much to ask.

4 weeks from today I will likely be sitting on my couch, resting. I'll probably be getting ready to check my bike in. IMTX is F O U R weeks from tomorrow. As I think about it, my palms become sweaty and my HR increases. I am nervous, anxious, scared and excited. This big day will be here before I know it. Wow!


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Swim. Bike. Run. Repeat. 33 days until IMTX!

Ever feel like you're doing the same thing day in & day out? While I may have felt like that the past few months, I definitely feel that way the past few weeks. I start with my normal routine with the dogs every morning, then it's the daily grind of good 'ole EY and then it's training. That is my life. Period. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining. But I'd be a liar if I said I wasn't looking forward to May 22nd when IMTX is done and I'm purchasing some finishers merchandise....or even May 23rd when I'm off work and HOPEFULLY lounging by a pool with a fruity drink in my hand (pina colada here I come).

So what's happening in my wonderful world of training? Well, I'm glad you asked! The highlight of my weekend was by far my 65ish mile ride on Sunday. A large group was meeting at the front of The Woodlands to ride the IMTX course. Because I didn't have 100+ on my schedule, I opted to to start from Terramont and ride with my training buddy, Michelle. Dee & Stew were with us and set off on their way. Michelle & I chit chatted our way down Terramont and laughed a bit about my Galveston experience. We agreed the worst was behind me. As we turned on to 2978, I heard a noise followed by Michelle hollering at me. I lost a water bottle....again. I hopped off my bike only to be accused by Michelle of trying to kill her again (yes, this happened before). LOL. She handed me my water bottle and as I went to put it in my rear mounted cage or whatever it's called, I noticed the stupid thing was hanging by nothing at all. I looked and noticed the bolts were gone. Seriously? I decided to leave the holder and the extra hydration on the corner and called Keith to come pick it up as I was done with it! If I needed something to drink, I would just buy it later. We had another good laugh and I decided it was best not to jinx myself by even talking about my bike. Or Galveston.

After that, the ride was very uneventful. We were doing an out & back and planned on turning around after 2hrs. As we approaced the two hour mark, we realized we both had to pee. I thought this was odd for me as I normally don't have to pee so early in a ride. Duh! It was colder than normal, we weren't sweating as much and were taking in more fluid....hence the urge to pee. We turned around and it was evident neither of us were going to make it to Hey Guys, a bar off 2854 we thought would surely have a bathroom. Michelle remembered a church off 149 and thought that might be our place. I kept thinking there was surely a gas station somewhere. We came upon the quaint little baptist church and pulled off. A few folks were outside and recognized we were in need. Not only did they let us use their nice, clean facility but they also watched our bikes and offerred us food! I should have had them pray for my bike but it didn't occur to me at the time. Anyway, thank you 149 Baptist church for saving us from having to pee on our bikes or pee in the bushes and run the risk of getting a snake bite. I told Michelle that under no circumstances would I suck venom out of her butt. Oh yeah, Michelle & I decided we are both HOT MESSES and must have shirts to advertise it. While I didn't make good on the bedazzled 70.3 visors, I have a feeling the shirts will become reality. :)

So that's my update and I'm sticking to it. It's getting late and the dogs want to go out for their evening walk. It's 33 days until IMTX and I can't believe it. Oh! I nearly forgot.....the lottery for the NYC Marathon closes tonight and that means they will be drawing names soon. Since the chances of getting picked are between 8-12%, I'm not holding my breath. In all honesty, I'm super anxious to find out I didn't get it so I can sign up for some tri's in the fall and begin settling the score with that city I'm trying not to mention but is often referred to as the Redneck Riviera. :)

Happy training!!!!!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Back in the saddle again...and lovin' it!

I'm happy to report I'm feeling back to normal. Still bummed about Galveston but have decided I am definitely NOT pulling out of IMTX and I am definitely going back to Galveston to race at some point in the future. I'm patiently waiting to hear the outcome of my NYC Marathon lottery application as this will dictate my fall races. I have found myself going from praying I get in to NYC to hoping I miss this year too so I can go to Galvestion in October for the 5150 (Olympic distance race). Stay tuned!

Due to my depressing mood following Galveston, I decided I needed to workout Monday even though I had a scheduled rest day. Part of me felt like I hadn't really earned a rest day so I better get back to training! I decided to go for an easy swim at the Nat. Chris messaged me earlier in the day to let me know she would be going. I think she went to make sure I went and to cheer me up b/c she's sweet like that. :) I went up there and we split a lane and pretty much did what we wanted. It felt great! I was more sore than I thought I would be but so grateful to be in the water. Tuesday brought a nice bike workout on the trainer and that went well too.

Last night I was back to the pool and we had a light crowd at the Nat. Coach Steve told me we would be working on my stroke b/c it was looking pretty pathetic. Fine by me! He gave me some pointers and then sent me on my way. Wow! What a difference from before. After just a few sets I could feel a difference. I felt stronger in the water when I focused on my stroke. It's funny you have to slow down to go faster. It seemed that every time I fixed one issue, Steve pointed out another. Geez! How bad am I? I must've looked concerned b/c he told me he was just being nit picky. After my 3rd set of 12x25, I was feeling good and anxious to hear what Steve thought. "Wow, you're starting to look like a swimmer" is what I heard from the deck. YAY!! I was so excited to hear those positive words. He bent down and asked me if I knew what I would hear if he was impressed w/ what I did (umm, no b/c I've never heard that type of feedback from you I thought). "Ooh la la. And that 25 was an OOH LA LA". Oh my gosh! I left the pool on cloud 9. It's one thing to hear the positive feedback but to also feel the difference in how I was moving through the water confirmed that I was making progress. I've got to keep this up b/c it's obviously more comfortable for me to swim "wrong" than right.

So what's on the agenda this weekend? 15 mile run after work tomorrow (yay), open water swim on Saturday if I can find anyone to go to Lake Windcrest with me and then 4hrs on the bike Sunday. The bike. Hmm. Right now my sweet little QR is in the shop for her tune up. Oh, I'm also getting a new front tire. :) I'm hoping to have a better ride this Sunday than I had last!

Happy training folks! IMTX is 5 weeks from Saturday. F I V E weeks!!!!!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Cramp Cramp Flat Flat: IMTX 70.3 Race Report

Many of you reading this already know the outcome of my race yesterday. Even though I'm well beyond disappointed and had no desire to write a race report, I felt like mentally, it would be a good thing to do.


I got to Galveston as planned Saturday morning and spent time at athlete check-in, doing a little shopping in the Ironman store and then catching up with teammates & friends. Because there was a sprint race on Saturday, my room wasn't for ready at check-in so I relaxed on the patio for an hour or so. The atmosphere of this race was WAY different than Ironstar...Ironman sponosored events are like that I guess! I loved all the excitement in the air. We had an early dinner that evening in the hotel as nobody really wanted to venture out. Dinner was fun and there were lots & lots of laughs. After doing a few things here & there, I was in bed and it was lights out by 10pm.


Pre-Race: My alarm was set for 4am as transition opened at 5am. I wanted to get down there plenty early to avoid the crowds and unneeded stress. My swim wave wasn't until 8:35am so I had LOTS of time to spare. I went back to the room, checked out of the hotel and then headed back to transition to do a last minute check of my area and meet up with my friends. Lynn had a great idea and grabbed a table for us to sit as we waited nearly 2 hrs to get the chance to start our race. As if it's not bad enough to get older, now I've got to be in the 2nd to last swim wave. Ugh. I put on my wetsuit with the help of Lynn's sister Leslie (an expert wetsuit fitter...lol) and was off to the dock. It's almost time!!!!!!

Swim: Lining up on the dock, I got to see Misty & wish her luck before she was off (she was in the wave ahead of me). I'd already wished luck to Gena, Lynn & Michelle who were in the wave after me. For this start, we would be jumping off the dock and then treading water for about 2 minutes. Lynn had reminded me to hold on to my goggles when I jumped in and so I did (or thought I did) but they popped off anyway. Salt water in the eyes when you're wearing contacts stinks but it wasn't as bad as I thought. I put myself in the 2nd row of swimmers as I'm really trying to build up my "toughness" in the swim. I'm going to get hit a lot in IMTX so I figured get hit a lot now. The countdown began, the horn sounded and we were off! I was swimming very well. Probably went out a little harder than I should have but Coach said if I was going to push any event, the swim is where I had the "ok". The water was more rough than it looked from shore. Probably because of all the bodies flailing around me! As I rounded the first turn, I started feeling cramping in my left calf. This happens to me a lot in the water. I hadn't warmed up (we weren't allowed to) and it was cold so I figured those were the culprits. I also didn't have my pre-race banana so I blamed that as well. I decided I would swim as long as I could w/ the cramp. It finally got to the point I couldn't kick. I stopped and treaded water, trying to stretch it out but nothing. A kayak was nearby and saw me so came over so I could hang off it. I told him do NOT move forward b/c I knew that would DQ me. I was watching the time nervously. 2 MINUTES later, my cramp was gone and I took off. He asked me if I was ok and I assured him I was. By this point, the faster swimmers in the wave behind me had caught up but there were still plenty of orange caps (my group) in the water. Either way, I wasn't letting that get to me. This is where it started getting rough. Chop from the wind, waves from the jet skis and splashes from all the swimmers was ridiculous. By far, this was the most challenging swim I'd ever had but I was staying so calm even when taking in gulps full of salt water. The final red buoy representing the turn to shore was in sight and I started to swim hard and then the second cramp hit. Right leg this time. W T H? I couldn't believe it. Another kayak was nearby and I gave him the same instruction to not move forward. Hell, he even swam backwards. I hung on and desperately tried to get the cramp worked out. I can't believe this. I laughed and then started burping like crazy. The poor kid on the kayak was probably wondering why he couldn't get one of the hot, non-burping triathletes to help. I apologized and then burped 5 more times. The cramp was worked out and it was time to go again. For the final stretch in, I swam as hard as I could. I had gas in the tank thanks to the nearly 4 minutes of rest I got with the cramps. The problem was I could feel the cramps still...you know, that bruised feeling? I had that in both calves. Anyway, it was time to exit and I hopped out on the ramp they had and tried to run but the calves had another plan. Walk. Damn, I really wanted to make up some time. I got to the wetsuit strippers and had them help with the wetsuit. I saw Tammie, Keith, Leslie, Coach K, Brandi & Philo. Maybe there were others...I just don't remember. Oh, I do remember Bill being out there (Leslie & Lynn's dad). The swim was less than stellar but I was in good spirits. Hey, cramps happen. The good news was I didn't freak out in the swim and I didn't get sea sick. All in all, I wasn't too upset.

T1: I burped all the way over to spot 1878 where I was racked. I was happy to see there were still plenty of bikes left so I wasn't horribly slow. I was slow, don't get me wrong. I wasn't last though. Michelle and I came out of T1 together so I was so happy to have my riding buddy with me on the course. This was going to be a great bike!

Bike: As we headed away from Moody Gardens, it became painfully clear this was going to be a slow bike. The wind was nasty but everyone would deal with the same conditions. As we were headed out, a bunch of men were headed in. Pros? Fast age-groupers? Damn, how is that possible? Oh yeah, they started at 7am, I didn't get in the water until 8:35am...that's how! Anyway, my first rule was to pay attention to my HR monitor. I heard it beep so I knew I was out of zone 2 so I slowed. Michelle passed me so I decided to just keep my eyes on her and hopefully I would catch up later and we would be starting the run course together. I returned to zone 2 and settled in. I took in water at first to make sure there weren't any stomach issues from all the salt water. After that, I started my nutrition as planned. The wind was brutal. Yeah, this is a flat course but I will tell you now I will take hills any day of the week over that wind. Before I knew it, I was passing the 15 mile mark and was really happy. The turnaround wasn't too far ahead and I wasn't passing any women heading back to transition. That meant I wasn't too far behind and I was in good shape. And then it happened. Flat tire! OH MY GOSH. No no no. After my initial freak out. I got to work on changing it. I had extra tubes and had changed a flat before...just never in a race setting. It took me about 10 minutes to get it done and I was on my way again. I had seen several teammates pass as they headed back to transition. Ok. I'm still ok. I could see lots of cyclist on the horizon behind me. I got on the bike and pedaled a little harder and reminded myself to stay in zone 2 as this was still a training ride. I could see the cell phone tower marking the turn around. I was feeling good. And then it happened....another flat. Are you serious? No time to freak out now. I hopped off my bike, used my final tube and went to put air in. I broke the stem and couldn't fill it. What the hell? This was my fault. I was moving fast, I wasn't being careful. That's it. Now I was getting worried. A girl headed back to transition yelled to me that the mechanics were behind her helping someone and headed my way. Great! I decided to start walking in their direction though. I mean, I may as well cover some ground right? As I walked with my bike, I was passed by cyclist after cyclist. I was getting worried. It had been at least 15 minutes, maybe 20. Where were they? On the other side of the road, there were 3 other ladies changing flats. Where were we? The mechanics showed up to help me. They told me there were LOTS of flats and that they were slammed. They said something about tacks on the road? They even had them in their tires. I looked down Seawall (or whatever it's called at that point in Galveston) and I saw a motorcycle cop. I asked one of the mechanics if that's what I thought it was. "The turtle? No way, you're fine." The turtle is the cop who follows the last cyclist. If I wasn't ahead of him, I was done. He stopped by us and confirmed he was who I thought he was. I dropped a few expletives and for a moment, thought my day was done. The mechanics yelled at me to get on my bike and ride hard...I could still make it. The cop then yelled at me to go. Ok, I will! I pedaled like noone had pedaled that day. The turn around was only 3 miles ahead. I saw something in the distance...another cyclist. I was not going to be last so I chased that poor girl down and passed her before the turn around. After that, I would pick a body in the distance ahead of me and have the goal of passing them. I did this over and over and over and over and over again. At this point, I had no choice but to get out of zone 2 if I would have any hope of making the cutoff. At this point, I heard stuff hit the ground and turned back to see my tools flying out of my bike bag. In my haste, I forgot to zip it. Oh well. I'm not going back now. It was time to take in nutrition but I didn't want to slow down. I reminded myself that if I didn't stick to my nutrition plan, the race would definitely be over for me at some point. I wasn't passing out again. I passed a rest stop thinking/hoping it was the last one and I was good to go. I kept pedaling as hard as I could. I was between 17-18mph for quite a ways. I kept telling myself to do what I had to do to get to the run course and I would deal with it when I got there. If I had to walk it, I would. I knew I was going to hard to be able to have a decent run but that didn't matter. I was getting closer and closer. I was getting close to 50 miles. Not much left. The last rest stop was coming up and I saw a cyclist pulled off. Bummer, to have issues at this point. Then I saw him. Dave was standing in my way. He told he was sorry but I had just missed the cutoff. What? No. I looked at the other cyclist and she confirmed I missed it by about a minute. Are you serious? I was heart broken. I had just worked so, so, so hard to make it back. I was emptying my tank. This couldn't be happening. A few minutes later he said he was sorry but needed my chip. This is when I started to cry. Rider after rider after me was stopped...about 13 of them. These were all the ladies I had passed trying so hard to make it back and not be last. I walked away from the group and just cried. A nice volunteer tried to console me but she could tell nothing she could say would matter. The other ladies pulled off the course were furious. They said we were pulled too early...that the cutoff in the athlete guide hadn't been hit yet. I wasn't paying attention to any of it though. At this point, it didn't matter. He took our chips and radioed in that he had us. He wasn't letting us back on the course. I asked to borrow a phone so I could call Keith and tell him what happened. I knew that by this point, he was worried. I later found out that an ambulance had gone into the area and he was nervous I was in there....like last year. Nope, I just got pulled from the course.

T2: Dave gave us a ride back to transition. I didn't expect to head into T2 without my chip, pulled from the race and in tears. I couldn't make eye contact with anyone. I was completely defeated. There were people leaving transition with their bikes and their medals. I was beyond jealous. Looking at the people on the course, I was jealous. I couldn't stop crying. I packed my gear up and let Keith know I was headed to the truck. Brandi called to check on me and I was just crying. As I made my way to the parking lot and ran into Stew and let him know what happened. Poor guy probably didn't know what to say...tears were flowing, I wasn't looking at him in the eye. I honestly didn't want to see any teammates b/c I was so embarrassed. Another race in Galveston I didn't finish.

As I made my way to my truck, I saw my 3 sisters, my nephew and my niece....and of course Keith. He said they all could tell when they saw me how upset I was. I couldn't lift my head up. I just cried. Cristian had picked me a flower and gave me lots of hugs. Avery crapped her pants...her way of saying she loved me. They all told me it was ok and not be discouraged. They were all proud of me. This meant so much but nothing was helping. I got in the truck and headed home. No finishers medal. No finsihers shirt. No bonding with my teammates. I cried the whole way home. I called my mom and told her I wanted to pull out of IMTX. I told Keith the same. I have less than 6 weeks until this race and just don't know if I can. I got many sweet texts. Jill reminded me that Galveston was NOT the prize, IMTX is. I'm trying to remind myself of that.

It's a new day. I do feel a little better but I'd be lying if I said I knew for certain what I was going to do. I'm not a quitter and I don't give up. What happened yesterday was "one of those things". I should be proud of the fact that I gave it my all when I could have easily said, forget it! I'm hoping that a swim tonight (or some other workout) will get me there.

I really am grateful for my friends and family who talked to me/ messaged me yesterday. Knowing that you still believe in me means sooooo much. I feel like I let so many down yesterday and it just makes me sad. I think what would be worse would be to give up on IMTX now. I don't know.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A Tale of Two Cities

The past week has been a whirlwind! Keith & I left for Chicago on April 1st via Penske truck and headed for Chi-Town to visit Keith's daughter Heather, her hubby Mike AND his GRANDBABY....Addie. The drive went well and Keith kept me laughing most of the time with his trucker talk. I'm still not sure a Penske truck qualifies as a "rig" but who am I go judge. I haven't had a chance to post pics yet but will soon. The highlight of the drive was definitely eating at my first truck stop diner. Talk about good people watching! After 18hrs on the road, we finally reached our destination...South Elgin, IL!

What a great visit we had! Addie is absolutely adorable and Mike & Heather are doing great! As I mentioned before, they moved from Arizona while she was VERY prego and to top it off, bought a home when they got there so it's been several months worth of "firsts". Anyway, Papa & Gigi (my nickname that we hope Addie will take to using when she sees me) were SUPER excited to be there and would've loved to have stayed longer. I have a feeling we will have lots of visits to Chicago in our future. :) The big surprise of this trip was how sweet their awesome dog, Gracie was. Being there was a new person in the family (Addie), we weren't sure if Gracie would be happy or feisty when we arrived. On top of that, I wasn't sure how I felt about sharing a nickname with Gracie (sometimes they call her GG which is like Gigi). I mean, who really wants to have the same name as the dog? I do!! I couldn't be happier to share a nickname with this pup! Gracie is an awesome dog and soooo pretty! She became my little buddy by the end of the trip and I was very sad to say goodbye to her.

We got home late Tuesday night and it's time for me to switch my focus to a little race I have this weekend by the name of IMTX 70.3. I'll be truckin' down to Galveston in a few short days to race my 2nd half ironman distance and this time, it's an mDot race. I'm not feeling the same exact excitement I did right before Ironstar but I think that's normal as that was my FIRST. I can tell you I feel very, very ready. My bike is definitely stronger than it was in November and I would say my swim & run are probably about the same. My only real anxiety has to do with the swim and how choppy it will probably be. I swam at Lake Windcrest a few weeks ago and felt sea sick and I think that was nothing compared to what Galveston can be. My coach told me to worry about only what I could control so it's time to stop thinking about the swim conditions and instead focus on how I will "attack" this race.

Galveston is a C race for me which means it's basically a long training day. The mother of all brick workouts. I will have to focus on MY race and not get caught up with who is or isn't passing me. This race serves a specific purpose for me and is going to make me that much more ready for my next big race in SIX SHORT WEEKS. All in all, I'm ready to get this show on the road and see what happens. I do hope I'm met with the same joy I had when I crossed the finish at Ironstar. I was on cloud 9 for weeks...probably all the endorphins released from 7+ hours of exercise! Either way, I'm ready to feel that way again.

Happy Wednesday to everyone!!! Be looking for another post before race day!