Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Casualties of an Ironman

It wasn't all puppies and lollipops. Is that even the saying? I don't know but I'm going with it. So yeah, I'm talking about my favorite topic....IRONMAN!

As I mentioned before, nobody bothered to tell me about Ironman Blues which I've now researched and have learned IS real so don't make fun of me for tearing up and getting all sad when I talk about how my day is over and I wish I had it back. In addition to the blues, there were lots of other things I experienced after IMTX that I definitely won't miss. Join me as I take you on a tour of my IMTX casualties.

Casualty 1: Toenails

Well, I may be speaking too soon. I hope I'm speaking too soon. I've heard of people losing toenails in marathons so I'm not sure why it didn't occur to me that I just might lose a toenail after May 21st. There are two toes that are in jeopardy and I'm just not sure how it will turn out. On my right foot, there is no discoloration at all (that I can see through my hot pink polish). The nail feels a little weird though. Kind of like there is something under it. The left foot is a different story. Their is a clear purple-ish color coming through the polish. There is also discoloration to the right of the nail. In addition to the discoloration, this nail feels very weird but is not loose at all. If I lose a nail or two, believe me when I tell you I will be painting my skin to make it look like there is still a nail there. I have no intention of going through the summer and not wear cute shoes. This weekend I'm hoping to sacrifice something to the toenail God so I can avoid having to paint on a nail.

Casualty 2: My complexion

Hate me if you want but I've never had problem skin. Maybe for a time in high school before I figured out I had to wash my face daily. My point is, I've never had acne or anything remotely like it. I rarely would break out in my teens and even more rarely as an adult. Well, about 2 days after Ironman, I had 4 zits on my face! At first I thought I had mosquito bites as there was no way I had that many zits! While I'd like to think the reason for the breakout was all the toxins in my body being forced out of me after nearly 16hrs of exercise, I think it's far more likely I had lots of clogged pores from sweating like a dog for nearly 16hrs. I'm thinking the rode gunk I kicked up on the bike and the run found a nice home on my face and went to work clogging all my innocent pores up. Gross. I found myself washing my face multiple times a day and using whatever facial "magic" I could find in my medicine cabinet. Shout out to Neutrogena & Clinique for getting my skin back under control.

Casualty 3: My feet

Yes, feet are separate from toenails. I honestly did not think I would come away from IMTX with a blister, let alone 9 blisters! Yes ladies & gents that is 9 as in almost 10. My left foot boasted 5 blisters while my right foot got away with 4. So what happened? Well, water hoses and super soakers is what happened. Because it was so dang hot on the run course, runners were getting squirted with hoses IF we wanted to. Sign me up fellas! After getting off the bike, I was pumped to get squirted. Unfortunately, it never occurred to me that all the water would settle in my shoes. While I did pack dry socks in my Special Needs bag, I made the decision to not put them on. Slick move. When I got home after the race, I knew my feet were going to look nasty but had no idea they would look THAT nasty. I was able to pop all but 1 blister on each foot. The one on my left foot deserved it's own zip code. If my foot was a person, that blister was it's baby during the 8th month. The sucker was HUGE. I tried to pop it...took a needle and stuck it straight in and nothing happened!

Casualty 4: Most skin above the belly button

Chaffing doesn't adequately describe what I had going on after my race. After the swim I knew something had rubbed but didn't know what as I didn't wear a wetsuit on top. As soon as water hit me, I felt a burning sensation. As I prepared for my ice bath when I got home, imagine my horror as I pulled of my heart rate monitor only to find it had nearly cut me through. Ok, maybe I'm exaggerating a wee bit. I was shocked to see the damage done even with having used Glide. Again, I was soaked the entire run AND I didn't reapply Glide. On top of that, I'd never worn my heart rate monitor 16hrs before so it makes sense that it did the damage it did. Tonight, I still have scars from where spots were rubbed away. Oh, and let us not forget the tender area on both boobs. What tender area you ask? Well, the outside. I don't know if it was seams in the sports bra or what but I had two spots that to this day, still look straight nasty. If I were a nude model, I'd be fired. Just to point out, I had no idea where the chaffing in the pic came from and Greg asked if I had put a cold sponge in my shirt, behind my neck. Indeed I did! Well, they clearly used the scouring sponges, hence the damage to my neck.

Casualty 5: My appetite

Immediately following the race, the thought of food was enough to make me hurl. I knew I needed to eat so forced myself to have a pb&j sammie at about 2am. Since then, I've mainly been wanting whatever is bland. Nothing has sounded really good since before the race and whenever I do try to eat something I usually love, my tummy lets me know immediately it's not happy with me. Note to self: the pineapple jalapeno mojito last night was a REALLY bad idea.

Casualty 6: Anything I wore on the run course

Let me just tell you that the clothes I wore for the run had to be washed twice to get the stink out of them. I made the mistake of throwing the dirty clothes in the washer after the race but not washing them until Monday b/c I never went back in the laundry room. I will never make that mistake again. YUCK. I have never smelled as bad as I did that day.

So that's about it. For those of you reading this who now want to do an Ironman, I promise I will tell you about all the nasty stuff that will happen to you so you aren't caught off guard like I was.

It's time fore B-E-D and I'm hoping to sleep like a baby!

Next Post? Hmm, I'm just not sure. Maybe I'll be ready to share my official race calendar for the remainder of the year? Ooooooohhhhhhhhh. And maybe I'll have decided by then if I'm going for IMTX 2012 or 2013. Don't you just love being in suspense??????

Monday, May 30, 2011

Leia & Sophie get their mommy back!

While there have been times I've found myself going a bit stir crazy post-Ironman, I have so enjoyed not rushing anywhere. I feel like days have gone from 24hrs to 30hrs!! I love this and can really get used to it!

Sophie & Leia have had tons of mommy time this past week. We've gone on walks, played fetch and been generally lazy around the house. Keith left Sophie with me when he returned to Fort Worth Monday and that little dog slept at my feet all day long. I loved how they wouldn't leave my side!

Leia & I went on a long walk today and the poor thing got so tired on the way back, I had to pick her up and carry her for about 1/2 mile. I got some strange looks from people passing me by and from cars on the road. Leia likes to be carried like a baby...she always has. I cradle her in my arms, she throws her head back and lets her tongue hang out. Weird? Maybe. Cute? Absolutely!

I've had several easy workouts this week. Several long walks, an easy swim and a handful of easy rides. I may or may not give running a shot this week. The blisters are all pretty much healed and my feet feel much better. My legs haven't felt heavy until I've tried to push the pace a bit on the bike. I'm told everything is perfectly normal.

Welll, that's all I've got for this beautiful Monday. Hope you've all had a great weekend. I'll be back soon!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Buh Bye Ironman Blues!

To all my Ironman friends who didn't give me the heads up that I might feel a little blue come Monday, SHAME ON YOU. As I sat in bed Monday morning, I burst into tears because the race I had been looking forward to and training for the past 10ish months was gone. Just like that. I seriously thought I was going crazy. Who cries b/c they are done with 140.6 miles? I was glad to hear this was "normal". I have to use quotes b/c it has become perfectly clear to me that triathletes are anything but normal.

I have to tell you, the past few days have been really nice. I've been able to relax with my puppies and not rush anywhere. It has felt so good to relax and not feel guilty about it and not be worried about what workout I'm missing. Ahh. I won't lie though, I'm looking forward to hitting the gym for a nice, easy swim or little spin on the bike. No running. Not yet. What I'm most excited for though is to talk with my coach about the races I've selected for the remainder of the year and go over my goals. I will be doing a few races I've done in the past specifically because I want to see how I've improved. I am so excited! I'm also looking forward to coming up with a long term plan...which I'll be sharing with you all as soon as I've figured it out. I can tell you that a major fire was lit under my backside on Saturday night and the athlete within that I've been saying isn't there came busting out! A lot is going to change for me in the coming weeks & months and I'm just so looking forward to it all. For now, I want to continue enjoying this huge accomplishment. I am so very proud of myself!

I continue to hear such wonderful words of encouragement from all of you. I truly have an amazing support system. I really don't think I will ever be able to tell each of you how much you meant to me through all this. I'm so far beyond lucky, it's just not even funny!

My lunchbreak is over so it's time to bring this post to an end. I'm thinking my next post will be an ode to Leia & Sophie who are very happy to have their mommy back! :)

Monday, May 23, 2011

IMTX Race Report

The last post had me in tears typing it, what do you want to bet this one will too? I want to warn you now, this is going to be long b/c I don't want to leave out a thing. May 21st is a day I don't think I'll soon forget and I want to relive it. I know this is going to sound strange but I almost wish I could turn back the clock and have the day back. It's not that I want to change anything I did, it's because I want the many special moments I experienced back. And so the tears begin again! Hold on while I get some Kleenex. :)


Nothing will ever prepare you for the mass start of an Ironman. After the 80 or so pros go, the remaining 2200 people get in the water and wait for the age group start. I made my way down the chute and tried not to lose my friends. We got in the water and swam out to the spot we were to tread for the next 8ish minutes. Wow. I looked back to the "beach" area and there were so many people still lined up. As Michelle & I looked around, all we saw were bright green caps (the men). Where were all the chicks? Oh wait, only 25% of the competitors that day were females. Before we knew it, the gun was off and the swim was on like donkey kong!

I've heard the mass start be compared to being in a washing machine and that's a perfect description. Water & bodies were everywhere but I stayed very calm. Having cramped up so severely in the water in Galveston, I was very nervous about what this 2.4 miles would bring. I made the decision earlier that week that I would kick as little as possible for this race as I wanted to avoid any chance of cramping. I swam this distance before and finished in about 1hr 46min so I knew I would be slower by doing that but really didn't mind. I kicked some, don't get me wrong, I just tried to limit. I took in massive amounts of water 3 different times and had to stop, tread and let it clear out. Each time I was fine though. No freaking out. Nothing. I was keeping my head in the swim. I counted strokes between buoys and visualized the turn buoy. Before I knew it, I made my first turn and was feeling good that I was making steady (even if slow) progress. Every now & then I would start thinking about the bike and reminded myself to stay in the swim. One event at a time. One stroke at a time. As I came upon the canal, I was excited b/c I felt like this was the home stretch. Well, that was the longest, most miserable home stretch. As soon as I entered the canal, I got REALLY queasy. Hmm, how do you get rid of that feeling when you're laying flat? You don't! I knew it was temporary and just needed to hang in there. At this point, I started to feel like I was swimming through Jell-O. I felt like I wasn't moving and so reminded myself to chill out and focus on my technique. The stairs to exit were ahead on my left and I couldn't be more thrilled to get out of the water! It's funny because as I headed to get my gear bag, I KNEW I was going to be an Ironman that day.

Time: 1:59:02 - There is no other way to describe this other than dismal BUT I was ok with it (a huge sign that I have really grown as an athlete). I absolutely swim better than that so was a little disappointed but know that I gave the swim may all so it's hard to be disappointed. :)


In Ironman events, many folks will change between each event so that you're wearing whatever is most comfortable for each discipline. When I made my way into the changing tent, I was greeted with "JENNY" by Jill & Shellie. I was so lucky to have them helping me get ready for the bike. Shellie was fast at work pulling my gear out and getting me organized while Jill reminded me to slow down and relax. Another volunteer came over, Jill's friend Lisa I think. She reminded me I wouldn't be winning my age group so it was ok to take my time. They calmed me so much. I was SO lucky to have these ladies help me out.

Time: 8:34 - Umm, hot damn! I wouldn't have been NEAR this fast in T1 without Jill & Shellie!!! :)


In all honesty, this is the part of the race I was most looking forward to on Saturday. Even though I've had terrible luck the past few months, I just knew in my heart that IMTX would be different. I started off on the bike and knew I'd be taking in water the first 20 minutes so my body would have a chance to settle before starting in on Perform. My plan was simple, stay in HR zones 1-2 until mile 80 and then I could push it. Coach G had told us countless times that if we followed this advice, we would be passing people at the end of the bike.

Going through The Woodlands, I was so excited to see folks outside cheering us on. How fun! This was the motivation we needed as we embarked on 112 miles. When we were at swim start, we were told there would be a tailwind the first 40-50 miles and then headwind the rest of the way. Hey, this is what we're used to so bring it! God was good to us Saturday because we had cloud coverage for a good portion of the bike which really helped keep the temps down. Don't get me wrong, it was hot AND humid but it could've been much worse! It felt like in a blink of an eye, I was coming upon the 50 mile mark. I was on Bays Chapel approaching 149 and looked to the left and saw Hannah setting up chairs....I made it before they expected me! As I turned the corner, there were Emily & Keith! I yelled "hey guys" to them and loved the look on Keith's face. He didn't think I'd be there yet. Oh yeah!

My nutrition plan was going well. Knowing the temps would be warmer, I added an extra water bottle filled with Perform to my bike set up and was so glad I did. I also made sure to take fluids from each of the aid stations just to have extra. I ate on schedule, remembered my salt sticks and popped Advil for good measure. We had to reach the 60 mile mark by 1:40pm in order to continue on the race. Having been pulled in Galveston, I didn't want this happening again. I started thinking about things that could go wrong but instead of freaking out, I just came up with a plan of how I would handle the situation. I hit 60 miles and started to cry. Usually this would've been the point in the ride where I was having mental challenges. Not Saturday. Saturday I was just SO happy to have hit that mile marker WELL before the cutoff. The tears I had were sheer happiness.

Keith, Hannah & Emily were all over that bike course! I was SO happy to see them so often...what a huge lift for me. Their cheers stayed with me long after they passed me in their well air-conditioned car. And Emily had her adorable puppy, Noelle with her. In no time at all, I saw the 105 junction sign and was so excited. I had just pedaled through the worst part of the ride for me and I was feeling incredible! I was close to 80 miles and knew I would get to pick up the pace a bit soon. As I approached the intersection, there was my cheering section which now included Stef, Avery & Doug. Yay!

With one hill left to climb, I'd be on Jackson Rd for about 8 miles and then as far as I was concerend, it was the home stretch baby! Time felt like it was flying by. I glanced at my Garmin and everything was in order. Glanced at my watch and I was making up the time I gave away in the swim. Most importantly though, I was having no back pain, no foot pain, no issues. It was true...all the bad luck was left in Galveston. And just like that, I was on 2978 and saw the 100 mile sign. O M G. I got out of aero and did a little fist pump. Tears started again because I was so dang happy that I was having a solid ride. No, I wasn't blazing fast (averaged 15mph) but for this type of race, in these conditions, I did exactly what I planned to do. Major score! As I passed my neighborhood, I was expecting to see my support crew but they weren't there. Hmmm. Where were they?

Gena was right, between miles 80 & 112, I only got passed once. I passed one fit dude after another and felt a surge of pride not because I was passing dudes but b/c I had listened to coach and it was paying off. When I finally was passed, it was at Woodlands Pkwy and almost Grogans Mill. I hit a space in the road, my wheel got lodged for the slightest of a moment and I felt my bike start to go down. I was in aero and was nervous. I managed to keep control of the bike and didn't go down. Whew. That was close! T2, here I come!

Time: 7:28:04 - Very, very pleased with my ride. I had figured I would be somewhere between 14.5 - 15.5mph on the bike so was very happy to execute.


Let me just say that my volunteer in T2 was not near as good as Shellie & Jill. Seriously. The lady went to get me ice water and then came back and set it on the chair. She dumped my bag out on the wet, nasty grass. She then told me my shorts didn't look like they would fit me (excuse me?). As I started putting Glide on and getting ready, she sat down and DRANK THE WATER SHE GOT FOR ME and then proceeded to tell me how hot it was and she needed to sit for a minute. Really? For the record, the shorts fit fine, they were just tough going up over a wet, sweaty butt! Suck it sweetie!

Time: 10:48 - just a little slower than I wanted but I feel confident I can blame that on the volunteer. :)


I've never run a marathon so I had been wondering how 26.2 miles on my feet would go after the swim & bike. As I exited transition, I immediately realized my legs felt good. Training was paying off big time. My plan was to run 4, walk 1 throughout. I started out walking a bit just to make sure I was situated and good to go. I started taking in Perform as quickly as I could and I was surprised to see my bottles stayed relatively cool (thanks to the tips shared by Kathleen). It wasn't long before the first aid station and I was happy to get hosed down by the nice volunteers. As I turned on to East Panther Creek, I felt so happy. Keith & Hannah were up ahead and I was so glad to see them. Volunteers & spectators on the run course were awesome! There was a bit of shade on Woodlands Pkwy before hitting South Shore Park and NO SHADE! Oh well, I had sponges and fluids. I was good. The first loop seemed to fly by. In no time at all, I was turning into Market Street and saw my family and tons of other folks I know! This was electrifying. I looked to my left and there was the finish line as I was starting my next loop. Oh well. I was sticking to my plan and making new friends along the way. Strive support, family, friends in the area...everyone was out & about!

I got into South Shore Park, I came upon my friend & teammate Lynn. She was a sight for sore eyes! Lynn & I stayed together the next few miles. For me, I saw her at the perfect time. I wasn't feeling completely down but I was looking forward to having this race done & done. There were some tears at this point but it was all good. I tried not to annoy Lynn too much with my chatter. Lynn & I parted ways somewhere along the Waterway. To have so many teammates on the course was AMAZING. As I approached Market Street and the end of my 2nd loop, I decided to stop off at special needs and get a couple things out of the bag. I should've changed socks but didn't (a mistake I'm paying for today). I grabbed some Girl Scout Cookies and a shirt I had brought that says "I Love Mom". My plan was to wear it at the end but I knew I wouldn't be able to access special needs again and more than that, I didn't want to carry ANYTHING for another loop. I grabbed the shirt and waved it as I passed my family and tossed it to my mom. :) Jill & Shellie were there cheering me on and checking on me. I actually saw them at the end of the 1st loop too so it was awesome to see them again. They had been out there as long as me volunteering! Geez!

The cutoff to start the final loop was 10pm and I started it at about 8:50ish. HUGE smile on my face. While I didn't have a doubt all day, I KNEW beyond a shadow of a doubt this really was my day.

I switched on my headlamp and was on my way to finish my final loop. At this point in the race, I was drinking more defizzed cola and Perform but that was part of my plan so I was ok. My 2nd loop was a bit slower than I planned but I was in no way in any danger of not making the midnight cut-off. My first order of business was to adjust my running plan. I was walking more but no longer able to keep up the 14:30min/mile speed walking pace I was doing earlier. I wanted to have an idea of when I would finish so I started doing math. Let me tell you, math during an event like this is impossible. I decided I would try to run 3 min, walk 2 min and just adjust as needed. Mile markers were coming and going. I was back on the Water Way and while spectator support had thinned out, there were still plenty of folks out. I saw Colin heading back towards the finish as I approached the turn around and was SO happy to see a familiar, happy face. This was Colin's first IM too and I was so happy for him. At the 24 mile mark I was finally able to do math and realized making it in under 16hrs really was achievable but I would need to at least run 3 min and try to cut my walk time to 1 min on each interval. Done! The 25 mile marker was before me and I was giddy. 1.2 miles left. I started to make final preps for my finish. I took off my headlamp, blew my nose and tried to straighten my sweaty clothes. I was getting close to the turn in to Market Street and there was Luke (my brother). He was running me in a bit and I told him I had nothing left to push. He told me it was ok, just run the pace I was. I turned the corner and the energy there was all I needed. My family was SO excited for me. I saw tons of friends...Virginia, Misty, Gena, Brandi, oh my gosh, the list goes on. I did have something left in my depleted tank! People were walking this final stretch but I was determined to finish strong. I ran as hard as I could. I turned the final curve and saw the lights and clock. I could see it was 15:54 something or other. O M G. This is it! I threw my arms in the air and screamed and cheered and ran as hard as I could. And then I heard what I had been dreaming of hearing all day...heck, what I've dreamed of hearing for 10 months....."Jennifer Miller, you ARE an Ironman"!!!!!!

Time: 6:08:17 - My first marathon was at the end of a day where I swam 2.4 miles and biked 112 miles. Really?????

FINAL TIME: 15:54:45

After crossing the finish, I hugged everyone I saw. I don't remember who I saw when but I know Gena & Brandi were off to my left and I got to hug them. Chris & Leslie were back there, my family. Virginia Brown was there to cheer in me & teammate Dee. Jill was there...Shellie. I was overwhelmed. I had my medal, my hat AND my shirt. I kept telling everyone I did it and did it under 16hrs which was my secret wish. My nephew Cristian kept yelling, "Jenny, Jenny! You are an Ironman".

As this day approached, I was told countless times it would be an amazing experience. I always wondered just how amazing it could feel to put your body through this but I can now tell you it is truly AMAZING. I savored every moment out there. It was so much better than I ever imagined.

It's Monday morning and I'm so sad the day has come & gone. I find myself sitting here, wishing I could have it back. I don't think it's just the day I will miss...it's my teammates on the weekends. This is the life I've lived the past 10 months, what will I do with all this spare time?

My blog isn't going away. While I may need to change the name, I'll continue to blog about my races. It's too early to know if/when I'll do another Ironman but I've clearly been bit by the bug and I very much want to sign up for another. I know my body needs a break though. I've got time to decide.

This has been an amazing journey. You know the saying, "it's not the destination, it's the journey"? Well I believe that 100% but let me tell you, on Saturday night, the destination was pretty dang magical!

IMTX - Pre Race

I'm finally sitting down to type my race report and thought it would be best to split up the post into two sections as there really is so much to say and some of you have said you REALLY want details. And you know me, I aim to please! This post is just going to cover the hours before the race started.

Given the nerves, I slept fairly well Friday night. I finally hit the hay at 10pm and slept fairly soundly until my alarm went off at about 3:45am. I had as much as my breakfast as I could but was having a really hard time eating that early. I picked Keith up at 4:15am and he drove me to transition. While my bike & gear bags were dropped off the night before, I had to pump my tires, put my hydration on my bike and put last minute items in my gear bags. I saw some teammates before and all were in good spirits and ready to start our amazing journey. Stew, Michelle & I walked over to HEB where Keith waited for us as he was now going to drive us to swim start which was about .25 miles away.

Wow! Swim start was pretty cool. Everyone was sitting in the parking lot relaxing before it was time to get in. We quickly found Team Strive and after a trip to the (still clean) porta-potties, we too rested. We dropped off our special needs bags and then started taking clothes off so we could drop our morning clothes bag. As Michelle & I walked over to drop our bags, they started playing the national anthem and I looked to Michelle and saw the tears. And then my tears started. Lol. I told you we're quite a pair! It was time to start getting our gear on for the swim. Water temp was about 78/79 degrees which meant wetsuits were allowed but if we chose to wear them, we would not be eligible for age group awards. LOL, no problemo!

Before we knew it, we needed to walk over to the lake b/c the pros were about to go off and as soon as they did, we needed to get in the water. Tears were really kicking in now. I was S C A R E D. I got lots of hugs from Keith, Michelle, Stew,Team Strive family members. Is it too late to back out? I didn't want to of course, I just couldn't believe our time was upon us!

Some of the Strivers had gone up ahead and it was me, Michelle, Stew & Dee heading over to the lake. We got in and I felt like I quickly lost Dee & Stew but Michelle was right next to me. We found the place we would stage ourselves and luckily, found the other Strivers. Now, we wait.

The emotions I felt that morning are hard to explain. Excitement, fear, anxiety, stress, happiness...wanting to vomit. What I had trained for the past 10 months was here. The train was in the station and it was time to hop on. Spending time before the swim start with Keith and my teammates was awesome. ALMOST everyone who played a part in getting me there that morning was there (obviously many of you reading this weren't there and that would've made it perfect).

Stay tuned for the very long race report!

Friday, May 20, 2011

IM Eve

Today has been an emotional roller coaster. All week I've felt super calm and had been wondering when the anxiety would kick in. As I put the final touches on my bike & run gear bags, it hit me! I would burst into tears randomly for no reason or for good reason. It didn't really matter.

Last night was the welcome dinner and it was pretty inspirational. Very inspirational. We heard some cool stats for this rate. 55% of all participants are from the great state of Texas. 700+ are first timers and 25% are women. It was awesome having the chance to spend this time with my teammates and of course, Keith. What a great, great night!

Today started off with a practice swim in Lake Woodlands and then a quick bike to make sure it was in good working order and then a short run. Everything felt good despite the super humid weather. Tell me again why I thought an Ironman in Texas in May was a good idea? After that, it was time to get the bags ready and the bike checked in. Keith came over to help me out and I was a mess, bursting into tears every so often. He then asked me if I wanted to carry some of his mom's ashes on the ride with me and I REALLY burst into tears.

As I sit here now thinking about dinner and my big day tomorrow, I'm still feeling overwhelmed. Having never been "athletic", I'm attempting something that many super fit people would never try. There were times over the past few days I felt so out of my place when looking at all the trim & ripped REAL athletes. But that's ok. :) As I lay down tonight, it will be hard to go to sleep when I know thoughts of the race will be sprinting through my head. The most important thing for tomorrow is to do my very best and never give up. I've met lots of new folks this week and all who have been to this dance before, offerred up tips. Focus on the event I'm in at the moment. When swimming, think about the swim and don't worry about what's next. Same for the bike & run. Be in the moment. Ok, tears again.

There are so many people I want to thank and I will thank EVERYONE in the coming days but for tonight, there are a few I want to thank.

My family, both immediate & extended. I can't tell you how much it has meant to me to have so many words of encouragement from family I haven't seen in years and have only recently reconnected with. Family is family no matter how much time has gone by or how far you are. I love that. Of course my immediate family has been wonderful. Stefanie has been to almost every single one of my races and my mom & other siblings have made it to as many as they could. They do a lot of sitting and waiting but they don't seem to mind. I'll never forget my first tri and I was doing HORRIBLE. My mom came out on the run course with me and encouraged me to keep going and saw me cross the finish. Tears again.

My coach Gena & my teammates have been awesome through this. Having training partners and now friends to lean on is incredible! I'm so excited for each of my teammates who are racing tomorrow, especially the first timers. Michelle has been an incredible training partner. We've shared so many laughs on the bike....between her navigational skills and my ability to launch water bottles in her general direction, there was never a dull moment. Stew has also been awesome, always answering my dumb questions when we're getting ready to ride. Keith owes him BIG time! And I can't forget about Chris who was my lane mate in the pool for so long. This lady would push me & push me, heck, we pushed each other. Honestly, I could say something about everyone but don't have the time this evening! I promise that in coming posts there will be more thanks!!! Lynn, Leslie, Dee, Misty, Brandi, Colin & Greg have all said something to put a smile on my face, make me laugh or encourage me.

I of course can't forget about Jill who got me into tris to start with. Thank you SO much for getting me hooked, always offering advice and being so encouraging. I can't wait to see you on the course tomorrow and I hope you make it to the end to watch me! Special thanks to Shellie & Kathleen as well who have given me great advice....Kathleen throughout and Shellie recently as we FINALLY met!!!

Finally, I have to thank Keith SO much. He has been so encouraging throughout this journey and has told me a million times how proud he is. The past week he's been especially wonderful and has helped me with everything I needed. It's funny b/c back in 2005 I was going to give up tris (after doing 2) and then he surprised me with a road bike for Christmas. Well, I couldn't give up then. And then I signed up for IMTX and he surprised me with a tri bike b/c he wanted me to have something better for the race. I'm a lucky, lucky girl. Thank you baby!!!

Ok, it's time to visit with Stef, Doug & Avery who made their way up here today. I will be doing a last check of my special needs bags and then trying to sleep. I keep telling myself it's not the destination, it's the journey. I will give it my all tomorrow. I won't give up. I will gut out the run b/c that's what I'm going to have to do. And God willing, I will cross that finish line before midnight and get to hug anyone and everyone still there!!!! I absolutely can't wait.

Thank you ALL for supporting me so much through this. Every email, text, blog post, everything has been so appreciated. I'm so looking forward to a blog post tomorrow with the story of a lifetime!!!!!!

Good night!!!! Wish #325 lots of love & luck!!!!!!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

IMTX Wardrobe!

Serioulsy, where has the week gone? It's Thursday evening & I've just returned from the Welcome Dinner. More on that tomorrow as I promised Keith I would go to bed but really wanted to get this out as many have been asking for it. I am happy to finally share with you my IMTX wardrobe!!!!!!!!!

The top picture is obviously a swimsuit. :) This is the new Team sTRIve suit. The one I ordered did not fit (a little on the big side) so Coach G let me borrow one of hers. Score! I LOVE this suit. I know many of you are disappointed Wonder Woman isn't making an appearance. That suit is a little big in the straps and so I felt it was smarter to go this route.

The middle picture is my super cute bike outfit. The only thing that would make me love this outfit more is if my shorts had blue in them. Oh well. At least I'll have matching gloves and socks!

Last but not least, please see the last picture to get an idea of what I'll be sporting on the run. As of right now, I'm undecided between the short sleeve shirt and the running singlet. My gut tells me I'll go the route of the sleeveless though.

So there you have it folks, my much anticipated unveiling of my wardrobe for the day. :) Tomorrow I will give you a longer post with more IMTX pics.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The LOVE/HATE Edition

As I sat eating My Shit Foods yesterday, I found myself reflecting on the week I'd had to that point AND the major week ahead. Taper madness has given me the opportunity to think about the things I'm loving & hating most right now. Let us proceed.


1. Slowtwitch - The message boards have kept me thoroughly entertained the past few weeks. There is always some thread that seems to just lift my spirits at just the perfect time. It started with all the talk about wetsuit vs no wetsuit at IMTX. I especially loved the threads that said anyone who wears a wetsuit at IMTX shouldn't be there. Well, I will address those comments in the next section. All I have to say is all the posts about the weather on May 21st really were funny to read. It's Texas. In May. It will be hot. Duh. Thanks for getting me through lunch today Slowtwitch!

2. Wind - See, I could've said I hated you but that would be expected so instead, I love you! In all honesty, I'm over the windy days BUT am grateful to have had them as I know it's making me stronger for race day. That being said, I would truly appreciate more tailwind and less headwind next week. Thanks so much!

3. John Rich & Lil Jon - I am hooked on The Celebrity Apprentice and more importantly, I'm hooked on JR and LJ, my pet names for them. I am so excited these two made it to the final 4! Seriously, could you have a crush on any two more random folks? While I used to hate hearing "Save a horse, Ride a Cowboy", it's now become my favorite song thanks to John Rich! He has such a way with words. :)

4. DeSoto Speedtube - To fully appreciate this, you'll need to see item #2 in the Hate section. Let me just say I love DeSoto! The Speedtube is basically wetsuit pants. You enjoy the benefit of wearing a wetsuit but avoid overheating by having your upper body covered. I tested mine out last night and it was love at first site. Well, love only after I managed to pull that tiny sucker over my ample bottom!


1. My left foot - I know I shouldn't hate my own foot but I do. Maybe it's running form, maybe it's past injuries, maybe it's b/c of my lack of arch....whatever the cause, I'm tired of the random pain in my left foot. Be consistent! Either hurt, or don't hurt. I take that back. Only be consistent if you will stop hurting. No, I haven't gone to the doctor and I have no intention of going until after IMTX. I can go run 16 miles and feel nothing but then have a 5 miler where it just annoys the crap out of me. Sometimes it gives me grief on the bike, sometimes it doesn't. My left foot is so moody. If it knows what's good for it, she'll cooperate on May 21st and keep me from cursing her name!

2. Haters - So back to Slowtwitch. The thread about wetsuits really, really bothers me. More specifically, the person who said anyone who wears a wetsuit for IMTX shouldn't be racing. To you, I say SUCK IT HATER. So for those of you non-triathletes out there, let me briefly explain. Wetsuits are legal in water temperatures up to 76.1 degrees Farenheit. Wetsuits are ILLEGAL in temperatures over 83.8 degrees Farenheit. I know you're all very smart and you can see there's a gap there. You might be asking what to do in temps between 76.1 & 83.8? Well, for those temperatures, wetsuits are allowed BUT an athlete would not be eligible for age group awards. You know, it's a personal decision what someone might do for temps between 76.1 & 83.8 degrees. Do some people wear wetsuits b/c they help them go faster? Yes. Are some more comfortable with them? Yes. Is it smart to wear a full wetsuit in those temps, umm, no. Again, it gets back to a personal decision and knowing your body and how it responds to heat. For me personally, if the water temperature is warmer, a wetsuit is a bad idea b/c I know I'll get warm and don't want to overheat. Hence the purchase of the Speedtube. I'm not going to place in my age group anyway so being ineligible for prizes is not an issue. I just think it's rude & inconsiderate for someone to say I shouldn't be there if I choose to wear one.

3. Wind - Sorry, after swimming at Lake Windcrest last night, I'm back to strongly disliking the wind. Don't get me wrong, the conditions provided me good practice and I actually felt like I swam pretty darn well. That being said, getting slapped around by the waves just got old.

So there you have it. My love & hate list for the week. I know I keep talking about my race day wardrobe and I believe I'm at a point I can photograph my outfits and post them...I just need to do some more laundry! The good news is I have worn everything I'm still considering for race day so I know everything works and feels good. I'm still trying to figure out how much sTRIve gear I can incorporate given our clothing order was cancelled (boo).

Happy Thursday to all! I'm sure I'll be back for another post before the weekend is over! :) Ooh, shout out to Keith's daughter, Caitlin!!!! She'll be graduating from Texas State this weekend. She has done AWESOME in school and will be moving on to TCU for grad school. Go Caitlin! We're proud of you!!!!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Warning: The following post does contain information many will deem as "TMI". Please proceed at your own risk.

Don't worry, the entire post won't be gross. And for the sake of dragging it out, let's just cut to the chase. I've been focusing on eating healthy the past few weeks and will do so up until IMTX. Yes, I realize last night after swim I enjoyed not one but TWO margaritas with Micah, Dee & Keith but it was Cinco de Mayo and given my nephew is half Mexican, there was no way I couldn't celebrate. Yes, I HAD to have the margaritas in honor of my 4-yr old nephew! :) So now that I've completely digressed, let me get to the TMI part. I've been consuming meals from My Fit Foods and have been enjoying the benefits of increased energy and easy mealtime planning. And while I do appreciate the fact it's making me more "regular" (I really hope you know what I mean so I don't have to spell it out), it's also making me really gassy. I'm not going to try to lie here, I used to take pride in the fact that I could fart on command. For the talent-less, this was a talent. I mean, it just never got old. And for the times I couldn't perform, I usually had a whoopie cushion on hand. I fondly remember one year at girls camp (for church no less) I brought a whoopie cushion and at night when everyone was climbing in their sleeping bags, I would squeeze it and giggle until I fell asleep. At our church service, I took it in and stuck it under my dress and did the same thing all through church. I wasn't embarrassed at all. I loved it. This week, I haven't needed a whoopie cushion though. Given I've been dating Keith for six L O N G years now, I of course shared the news with him while watching Modern Family. And when I say I shared the news with him, I didn't tell him, I showed him what was happening to me. Don't be horrified, he finds my pooting skills endearing. But even Keith was amazed by the frequency. When I woke up this morning, I discoverd the "Fit" on all the My Fit Foods in my fridge had been replaced and they all now read, "My Shit Foods". Yes, Keith went in and vandalized my meals. I have to admit, I haven't laughed harder this week and it really is fitting.

So now that we're done with the gross part of the post, it's time for some training/pre-IMTX ramblings. Our new uniform order will not arrive in time for the race so I find myself once again revisiting what I'll be wearing on race day. The planner in me is very distraught by this. I mean, I should know absolutely what I'll be wearing! Don't cry for me just yet Argentina...I have some ideas. The swim is easy. If I'm able to wear a wetsuit/Speedtube, I'm going to wear my NEW sTRIve swimsuit as it's super cute. Unfortunately it's a little big so wearing it alone is a big NO NO as I don't want the drag it will create. If the water temp is over 83, I'll be wearing either the Wonder Woman suit or the old sTRIve suit. I've worn both in OWS and they both work. I do have two bike outfits that have been tested and work for me so I'll be prepared for either. The run is wear I'm still undecided. Outfit 1 is just plain cute and easy for Keith to spot. Outfit 2 would include flying the sTRIve colors. I had planned to wear the new team tank I ordered but since that won't be here, I may just go with the team singlet. We'll see.

Training itself is going fine. Taper week has been ok....a little nerve wracking. My legs have felt sore almost every day which makes NO sense at all. Last night Dee told me about phantom pains as she's getting them. Hmmm, maybe that's what my sore legs are b/c there is no reason for me to be sore this week. This weekend I am to run no more than 13 miles and my long ride is only 4 hours. My sister told me I shouldn't say "only" b/c 4 hours is still a LONG time. I can't help that I'm brainwashed to think 4 hrs is short! Blame my coach! For those who are counting, we're only 15 days away from IRONMAN TEXAS. Yep, 15!

I'm hoping to settle the IMTX wardrobe dilemna in the next few days and when I do, I will be posting pictures of what I'll wear. I want my fans to know how to spot me! I'm also going to be riding the IMTX course on the back of Keith's motorcycle this weekend and will try to get some pics! I'm so excited. Yes, I've seen the course but we want to map out where Keith MIGHT try to find me on race day. And I want to get out there one last time and see the course in all her glory!

Good luck to all racing CB&I this weekend! I'll be there to volunteer AND cheer you on!

Monday, May 2, 2011

"I'm solo, I'm ridin' solo"

Last week was a big training week for me...my last build week. The two workouts I was most anxious about were my 100 mile ride and my 2.4 mile open water swim. In my head, it was do or die!

Due to a ridiculous schedule and the March of Dimes Walk (which I'm in charge of for my company) being Sunday, I would have to move my 100 mile ride. Saturday was no longer an option due to the OWS and a post swim clinic with Team sTRIve. I decided I would take part of a personal day from work and ride on Friday. I knew I would be doing it alone but felt comfortable with the route I had mapped out. I set off around 6:45am and headed for Richards. While windy, the ride out was great. I was making excellent time and was feeling bueno! I was a little nervous to take some of the backroad portions of the IMTX course in the event something happened or I stumbled upon a banjo playing redneck but decided I would be fine. Before I knew it, I was pulling into Richards and checking in with my mom & Kelley Golden to let them know I was doing fine. As I headed back the way I came, I spent a lot of time visualizing IMTX and what I would do come race day. I played back in my head all the cruddy rides I've had and all the mishaps and formulated my gameplan for overcoming on race day. In a blink of an eye, I was coming upon my turn at Lone Star Pkwy! I decided I would stop at a Shell station off 105 to buy more Advil and use the facilities as I was hydrating like a champ. I checked in with mom & Kelley only to learn Kelley was very nearby and had goodies! It was SO nice to see a happy, familiar face along the course. I was at the 70 mile point already and was really excited to see someone! This is typically the point in my ride where I start feeling like getting off the bike and question my sanity/ability. Not on this ride though. I bid Kelley farewell and set back off on my ride. As I crossed 105, it occurred to me that I hadn't had a tailwind once! I was climbing a hill, facing a nice headwind and was annoyed. Just then, Kerry & Dan came riding up (fellow sTRIvers). Yay! I was going to get to draft for a bit. :) Besides the drafting, it was nice to see more familiar faces. After they dropped me like a bad habit, I was on my own to face the wind the rest of the way home. I added on some mileage at Woodlane and thought, "hmm, I think I might go 112 miles". I headed towards Terramont Park and realized it was time for a pit stop. It was hot, I was tired but feeling good. There was no point to go 112! I decided to head home and get cleaned up as I didn't want to jinx what had been a wonderful day on the bike!

Saturday morning the alarm (annoyingly) went off at 5am so I could get some breakfast before heading for my longest open water swim yet....2.4 miles on the IMTX course (but not THE IMTX course). In my head, I didn't really want to swim the full distance but didn't know why at first. Later I realized it was just a fear of what I might encounter on the swim. Keep in mind, my swim in Galveston was horrible with more cramping than I've ever had in the water and it took me a lot longer to swim a distance I had already covered once before in a much faster time. Having gone 105 miles on the bike Friday, I was concerned I would have cramping but knew I had hydrated plenty and would hopefully be ok. I started the first loop and made a very conscious effort to swim steady. I wanted to avoid leg cramps so that would mean I would need to limit the kicking and not try to go too fast. I set into a nice pace and just held it. Before I knew it, I was making the turn around the red buoy and heading back to Northshore Park where I would start my 2nd lap. On my way back I thought about hopping out for a minute to get some water but decided to just swim. On my 2nd lap, I was surprised by how good I felt. Nothing was terribly sore, I was breathing easily and sighting well. No issues. I thought about finding a piece of wood to knock on but wasn't sure that was going to be possible. The time was flying by and I once again found myself at the red buoy where I would be turning around. Yay! I glanced at my watch and realized my pace had been picking up and I knew that was good! I looked up and could see the bridge going over the lake getting closer & closer. I could see some tents in the distance on the left and I knew I was just about done. Before I knew it, I was climbing out of the water in just over 1hr 46min. While deep inside I was feeling beyond thrilled, I think I was more in shock that I did it and that I felt good. My pace was about 2:30 per 100 which is the pace I want to maintain for IMTX. I was very, very happy. I now knew what the pace felt like and better yet, knew how it made me feel coming out of the water.

All in all, this was a great training weekend! I had two major confidence boosting workouts and just couldn't have been more happy with them. While I would (not so) secretly love to finish the swim in 1hr 30min, I know that it's far more important to finish the swim feeling good. And I now know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I CAN finish the swim feeling good. :)

The taper has begun. This doesn't mean no workouts, just different workouts. I'm excited and anxious to be entering this phase of training. IMTX is coming up quickly and I know the time is going to fly. I've printed off old emails from various folks (coaches, teammates, etc) and I'm in the process of taping them up to my bathroom mirror or other places in my house. I want to be reminded every day between now and May 21st that I can do this and that I will do this.

Many thanks again to Kelley for being sooooo sweet and looking after me Friday. I know she gave my mom some peace of mind that I was ok! I want to really enjoy these last two weeks of training and keep the calm feeling I have for as long as possible! OMG I can't believe it's almost here!!!!!!!