Monday, October 31, 2011

The Halloween Edition

I didn't plan to blog again today but my Halloween was so spooktacularly good, I just had to share with all of you!

I'll spare you the details of my long trek down to Sugar Land save to say, I made it safely. I headed over to Stef's casa to partake in some Halloween goodness as we were going to go trick or treating with my niece & nephew. Annie, Kiri & my mom also made it which was awesome. On top of that, our friend Veronica and her son Carson joined us. Cristian & Carson are close to the same age so we knew we were in for a good time.

I have been almost as excited as the kids for Halloween as Avery was dressing up as Princess Leia and Cristian selected Darth Vader for his costume. For those of you who know me well (hell, you probably don't have to know me well), you know I am a HUGE Star Wars fan. I mean, I really LOVE Star Wars. When they re-released the original movies at the movie theaters, I just knew I HAD to take my four younger siblings who had never experienced Star Wars on a big screen. I decided that we needed to make the experience as real as possible so I insisted we go on opening day. I also told them we would need to get in line very early to ensure we had good seats but that I would make it worth their while by getting them McDonalds. We got to the AMC theatre in Sugar Land and much to my surprise, the line was empty. Hmmm. Oh well, that means WE would be first in line and I was excited about that. I would have my pick of seats in the theatre and I knew exactly where we would sit......smack dab in the middle. As folks were showing up for other evening movies, my siblings would see kids they went to school with and made sure I knew how embarrassed they were to be standing in line (still the only ones in line) for the movie.

Anyway, back to the point of the blog. Oh yeah, you can imagine the joy and pride I felt when I learned my niece & nephew would go as Star Wars characters. Never being one to miss out on the fun, I promised I would wear my stormtrooper "party" shirt. I call it a party shirt only b/c the stormtrooper has on a bow tie. If that doesn't SCREAM party, I don't know what will.

Fast forward to trick or treating. Carson & Cristian grabbed their empty sacks and we set off on our way. Stef supplied the beverages: Capri Sun for the kids, beer or wine for the adults. As we made our way to our first few houses, we quickly learned Carson & Cristian didn't quite have this down. They would run up to doors screaming, "TRICK OR TREAT", ring the door bell and then say nothing. We reminded them to ring, wait for someone to open the door and then say the magic words. And of course, always remember to say thank you. Before long, Cristian was announcing to us and anyone within a 5 mile radius that this was the best day EVER. "Can you believe it's Halloween?" he would ask over and over.

Side bar. For those of you who are stingy, please remember to turn your porch light off if you don't want cute little trick or treaters. That's the rule so follow it. Trust me, I made mental notes of those who left the light on but then refused to answer the door. I'll be back.

Carson was the first to grow impatient when someone would take too long to answer the door. At one house, the boys took turn ringing the doorbell. When that didn't work, they would knock. Carson then pounded on the door. When that didn't work, he started to kick the door. LOL. Maybe you had to be there to appreciate it but trust me, this was hysterical. When that didn't work, Carson would test the door knob. Veronica jumped in just in time and asked him not to do that. Thankfully those folks locked their door. After another 15 minutes, the boys found themselves at yet another house that was taking too long to answer the door. This time Cristian tested the door handle and this one opened just as the owner was walking up! We were in hysterics on the sidewalk and I don't think it was my to go cup of wine. Trick or treating with little boys is the best!

Another house we went to had quite a bit in the way of Halloween decor. As the boys walked up the driveway, they noticed something scary hanging above the garage door. Neither of them wanted to keep going but we encouraged them to do so. They got to the front door where there were more decorations and we could hear them asking each other questions. The front door opened & the boys asked for treats. Shortly after that, Carson leaned in and said, "Ewwwww. You have a scary house". Straight from the mouth of babes!

As you can see, we had quite the evening and I can't wait to do it again next year! Little girls may be cute and fun to dress but I'm pretty sure little boys will keep you laughing for weeks.


Let the race week begin!

I'm back for yet another race week post. When my season started, I didn't expect to be racing sooo much at the end of the year but with a new coach, I found that there were things I needed to work on and so, a few more races. Awesome!

So we're about 6 days from OilMan Half Ironman. For those of you who have been with me for awhile, you might recall this was my first 70.3 race. I'm so excited to be doing this race again and am really hoping for a great day on the course. I've just reviewed my workouts for the week and have looked at my instructions for race day so now I get to start visualizing my race. I've already taken my bike in to Bike Lane for a tune up/look over and all is in working order.

My friend & teammate, Chris Gause, is also enjoying race week this week. She'll be heading to Florida for her very first Ironman and I'm so excited for her!!!! I will be able to track her most of the day but will probably need to head to bed before she finishes and that's going to be hard to do! I promise you though, as soon as I wake up Sunday morning, I'll be looking for an update. Go Chris Go!!!!!

Keith is also signed up for OilMan as part of a relay team. My friend Dorina will be the swimmer (she was a swimmer growing up), Keith will tackle the 56 mile bike and then my speedy brother Luke will take on the run. If the schedule is anything like last year, Dorina & I should be in the same swim wave. It's likely she'll beat me out of the water but I'm just hoping to come out close enough to her that Keith & I will be within sight of each other on the ride. Luke will undoubtedly start the run before me so I hope to at least see him on two of the laps. It's going to be a fun, fun day.

My biggest goal for Sunday is to execute. I will tackle the swim much the same way I did in Galveston but will push a little more. I have my set HR for the bike and strict instructions from coach to keep my cadence in check and not to worry about getting passed on the hills. She wants my legs strong for the run. And of course, I know what I need to do on the run. Each loop needs to be faster than the one before it. Focus. If I execute the plan, the time will come. This is my new mantra. Execute. Execute. Execute. My secondary goal of course is to PR at this distance. I feel like this is doable, my coach feels like this is doable but at the same time, I can't focus on the number. I always focus on the number and then beat myself up if I don't make it. I'm learning though! Racing in Galveston was a blessing. Even though I may not have run as fast as I wanted, I improved from the previous race.

So that's it. My first race week post and I guarantee more will follow. Last year I went into this race very calm and ready. I feel very similar this year although I have a lot more excitement. I think that has to do with having Dorina, Keith & Luke out there with me. And of course, we'll have an awesome support crew. I know Stef & Avery will be there. Three of Keith's girls will be out there: Caitlin, Emily & Hannah. We wish Heather, Mike & Addie could make it but alas, they live in Chi-Town. At least we'll get to see them in a couple weeks!

There you have it. Race week is on. If you guys don't mind, send some positive vibes my way all week and on Sunday. I really, really want to end my tri season on a high note!!!!

See ya in a day or so. :)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Deep thoughts by JJ

I don't think triathlon necessarily comes easy to anyone but it really doesn't come easy to me. As I sit here two days post Galveston and quickly approaching OilMan, I still find it hard to believe I stuck with triathlon. My first experience was horrible. I don't come from a strong swimming background and most of my experience around pools involved laying next to them with tanning oil all over my body. Yes, I knew how to ride a bike but not a fancy bike! I have always enjoyed running but most of my running in my younger years involved a 5k here and there and I never cared what my time was. In fact, I think I was pretty consistently in the 30-35min range. On top of all that, I definitely am not built for speed. I'm not bashing myself or anything like that...just stating a fact.

So given all that, why do I beat myself up after every race even when I have a good race? Well, that would be because I have ridiculously high expectations of myself and I don't like doing things I'm not good at. Yes, everyone in my family will tell you I'm super competitive (especially when it comes to board games) but I'm seriously not really competitive with others at races. It truly is ME that I want to beat. I want to beat my last time. I want to always show improvement and for a long time, I equated improvement with faster times but I'm quickly learning that there is much more to it than that.

Talking w/ Ana after my last few races has been really good for me. She is awesome at analyzing results and can quickly show me that even though my time may have been slower, I moved up x number of places in the standings. Or maybe I was not as fast on the bike as I hoped but compared to others who raced the same race the previous year, I showed greater improvement. Ok, so I need to look at things differently. We all have a different starting point and that's what matters. Where are you today from where you were yesterday? Or from where you were when you started? THAT is what matters. 1st, 5th or 14th place don't matter. Those are just numbers. Ok, they do matter a little but you get my point.

I told Keith I need to remind myself why I do this. Sure, someday I would love to be in the top half of my age group CONSISTENTLY but at the end of the day, I'm doing this because I enjoy it and it makes me happy and keeps me healthy. I'm trying to improve. And given where I started, I'd say I've improved by leaps & bounds.

It's funny how you can experience feelings at both ends of the spectrum about the same race. You can start out so happy because you achieved your goals and then after a few hours you start thinking about what you could've done differently. Ok, maybe YOU don't do that but I definitely do! I suspect there are more of you like me out there though.

So that's it. I just wanted to clear my head of these last few thoughts so I could make room for all the visualizing I need to start doing for OilMan. I am really, really excited for this race and I'm going into it with the same sense of calmness I went into it last year. I so enjoy this distance and I really like this course. So many people had told me this wasn't a good race but I totally disagree. Sure, it lacks many of the bells & whistles you get at other events but is that why we really do these races?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Scoreboard Jenny!!!! 1 for 3 in Galveston!!!!

I'm obviously over the moon to let you all know I have finally completed a race in Galveston! Now that the race is done & over, I can share with you just how freaked I was the days leading up to the race. Mentally, I couldn't let myself acknowledge all the fears & doubts in my head. When someone would ask me about Galveston I would make a joke and say I wasn't nervous. That couldn't be further from the truth.

For days leading up to the 5i50, I was dreaming about the racing. One thing after another would happen and in each scenario, I didn't finish. I knew 100% that this was mental and these dreams were a direct result of my waking thoughts. I just ignored them and didn't tell anyone about these so called dreams. Nobody needed to know anyway. This would be my little secret.

The week before the race we decided that Keith wouldn't join me the night before because we knew the dogs probably wouldn't do well in the hotel (a little nugget of info we learned the night before Try Andy's Tri). While I knew it was the right decision, Keith is the leader of my support crew and to not have him there the night before to keep me sane was not going to be good. I didn't want to be down there alone so thankfully, my sister Annie agreed to join me. Whew, crisis averted.

Annie & I got to Galveston a little behind schedule on Saturday but had more than enough time to get my packet and check my bike. Keith & I had made a trip to Home Depot to make sure I had zip ties in the event this race had open racking. I learned my lesson after the Houston Oly and was prepared to zip tie my bike as well as any other bike to the rack to make sure there was no funny business taking place. :) After that, Annie & I headed to the hotel to lay by the pool. I really enjoyed getting to soak in a few rays. I did have to jump in the pool to test the goggles I had purchased just that morning from Swim Shops of the Southwest. My trusty BlueSeventy's had been leaking constantly on my last swim and I couldn't take the chance of that happening in Galveston. Let me tell you, the TYR goggles I bought are the bomb diggity and I plan on going back to purchase another pair or 10. ;)

Race morning started at 5am or so. Annie headed w/ me to the race site and sat tight while I put the fluids on my bike and got my area ready. While I thought I was extremely calm, I really wasn't. I stood there and walked through everything over & over in my head. I checked then double checked and then triple checked my gear. I wasn't very talkative in transition or even right before the race b/c my head was just going ninety to nothing thinking about the day. The good news was that I wasn't thinking about all that could go wrong, I was visualizing each segment of the race. For those of you I didn't say much to that morning, I'm sure you understand and hope you weren't offended! Not that anyone would really care. :)

I was in and out of transition in about 30 minutes and made my way to the swim start to get my chip and then just sit and wait until my wave at 8:05am. A survey of the bay made me very happy as I could see we were going to have a relatively calm swim. Those of you who have raced Galveston before know it can be a real B. Water temp was 70 so that meant we were definitely ok to where wetsuits. Let the fun begin!!!!

Before I knew it, I was jumping in the water and swimming towards the start line. I was not in the visiting mood. Just focus on what's ahead of you and finish this race. The horn sounded and we were on our way. My instructions from Ana were very simple for the swim: easy speed. I was to focus on finishing my stroke and finding a steady pace. I have to tell you, this swim was the easiest I've ever done. And when I say easiest I mean I put forth the least effort I ever have in a race and my time wasn't too shabby (for me). I had no leg cramping, didn't take in any water and didn't get sea sick. On top of that, my body wasn't fatigued at all. I made the turn at the final yellow buoy and headed to the swim exit. I kept repeating in my head, "pull, pull, pull". I felt like I was gliding through the water and started to pull away from ladies I had been next to the whole time. What's even more awesome was that I wasn't breathing hard and I felt like I was literally gliding through the water. I think this might have been a breakthrough swim for me. I was so excited!!! I was even more excited as I passed people in orange, yellow & red caps....all folks who got in the water before me. Woo hoo! This swim was 5 minutes faster than at the Houston Oly last month. While I did have the benefit of the wetsuit, I can tell you that far less effort went into this swim! Goal 1 has been achieved.

Heading out on the bike, I knew not to expect a fast time. Galveston is always windy. Always. My instructions for the bike were to keep my cadence above 90 the whole time. If that meant an easier gear, then get in the easier gear. There's not much to say about the bike. I feel like I should've been faster and had to keep reminding myself to race my race and not worry about who was or wasn't passing me. It didn't matter. My goals for the day are different than theirs and I need to not get caught up in anything else. I focused on my cadence and went about the day. I finished the bike at a 16mph pace and was pleased. My cadence was in check the whole ride and that meant Goal 2 was now achieved. I only have one more demon to conquer.

Heading out of T2 on the run, I felt as expected. I definitely had some nerves I needed to deal with. I rounded the corner and there was Keith & Annie telling me to get my butt moving. Little did they know what was going on. As I approached the next turn, I started to hyperventilate. I was getting close to the spot where I passed out in 2010 and I was really nervous. All of a sudden I couldn't breathe and I felt really funny. I stopped to calm myself and was doing all sorts of weird things with my arms. "This is mental Jenny. You aren't going to pass out. Just catch your breath and go." I repeated this to myself about 5 more times. I made the turn, saw the ambulance and kept going. I had now officially gone further than any other race in Galveston. I did start to settle after that but noticed my HR was higher than it normally was at that slow of a pace. I'm no expert but I felt that was largely attributed to all the crap in my head. I was slow the first loop, no doubt about it. As I started the 2nd loop, I glanced at my watch and started to crunch numbers. Umm, I'm going to have a PR today if I keep this up. I hate to even call what I was doing a PR worthy performance but hey, just b/c I started my Oly career slow doesn't mean I'm not entitled to celebrate a PR. When I hit the 4 mile marker, I picked up my speed and started to feel a little uncomfortable. Then I hit the 5 mile marker and told myself to get my butt MOVING. My pace was getting faster, I was feeling a little yucky and knew I was doing the right thing. I hit the 6 mile mark and heard Eminem playing at the finish line. Hell yeah! Run, run, run! I ran as hard as I could the last .2 miles and crossed the finish line with a time of 3:37:51....a PR. My run time was 7 minutes faster than it was last month at the Houston Oly and 5 minutes faster than my first Oly. While I wasn't lightening fast by any means, I made a big improvement in a very short time. The sound you hear is Goal 3 being achieved. :)

As I approached the finish line, a ton of my former teammates were cheering for me as I think each of them knew this was a big deal for me. There were some ORR folks cheering me in as well and then I got to give a high 5 to my friend Shellie who was at the finish. Beyond the finish line was Keith & Annie taking pics. I was near tears. I finally got the Galveston monkey off my back and it felt really, really good. Scott Mayer was so sweet to come up to me at the finish and congratulate me. It really made me sooooo happy.

I texted my coach as soon as I got my hands on my phone and let her know I finished & I PR'd. She was so happy for me and had awesome words of encouragement. The two biggest compliments I got yesterday were hearing her tell me what a hard worker I am and Keith telling me my jeans were getting baggy on me. What girl doesn't love hearing that?

Now that I've finished one in Galveston, I'm not inclined to go back to race there any time soon...if ever. I know how I am though and have a feeling that I'll want to go back at some point in the future and get another PR there....but next time, a big one.

Next up? OilMan Half Ironman is less than 2 weeks away. OilMan is my last tri of the season and I'm really looking forward to getting out there. Ana & I chatted today about my goals and after a lengthy conversation, we agreed we were indeed on the same page. I owe my coach a big bottle of wine after OilMan. While I am a very hard worker, I'm equally as stubborn.

I am SO happy to be able to tell you guys I finally conquered my Galveston demons!!!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Ready ready ready ready ready to run!

I kind of have my work cut out for me come Sunday. As you know, it's yet another race week for me. And this one is in Galveston. I'm trying to refrain from saying anything more than that out of a fear of jinxing myself. While I'm not typically superstitious, I do find myself knocking on wood quite a bit, avoiding black cats and never walking under ladders. That's just common sense though. I'm not going to recap what has happened to me in Galveston as I did that a few weeks ago. All I will say is that from a racing perspective, I'm 0-2. Lot's of really good teams start the season 0-2 and then go on to do great things. Of course, there are a lot of teams that don't. But that isn't why I'm here today! Wait, where am I? Why am I here? Getting old sucks.

Before I forget, HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my coach, Ana Lemus! I have really enjoyed getting to know Ana...she cracks me up! I need to start keeping track of the funny things she says both intentionally and possibly unintentionally. That will be my post-OilMan project. Anyway, she's awesome!

Back to the purpose of the post. Yes, I finally remember. Wait, I'm distracted again b/c now the dogs are sitting below me in a position you don't normally see two female dogs in. I'll just leave it at that. Ok, back to the post. Can you sad A.D.D.? So what's the big plan for the race? Well, I of COURSE have one! Since I'm missing a big weekend of training to go learn how to race, I'm going to have no choice but to push the run and make it hurt. I wish I recorded my conversation with Ana yesterday morning & this morning. Awesome. I have other things to focus on too but that's the big one. So at risk of jinxing myself, I will say no more about my race strategy.

Keith has been cracking me up with his Galveston messages as well. I'll spare you the contents of the first email I received today mainly b/c I would have to censor far too much and it really would lose it's meaning. The 2nd email was good too though.
"P.S. I really need you to kick ass, so I never have to go there again." - Keith

I especially loved how in one message, Keith referred to Galveston as a "shit swamp" and wasn't surprised at all to learn there were only 434 folks signed up for the Oly, a low number by most standards. I love my blog readers and so I want to say that if any of you are from G-Town or love the redneck riviera with all your heart, we do not mean to insult. In fact, I typically enjoy Galveston and only hate it when I have to do the drive of shame and head back to The Woods with no finisher's medal.....the main reason I race. :)

As promised in my Sunday post, the puppies are not making this trip. While I really hate the idea of not having them with me to cuddle, it's far more important I get some sleep that night and just relax and prepare for the race. Rumor has it Annie (my 2nd youngest sister) will join me. I'm not sure if she really will. Being that she's 24 and quickly approaching 25, I'm not sure she finds hanging out in a hotel room in Galveston with no alcohol as fun. I'm not sure what's wrong with her. Love you Annie and I hope you do come be my roomie!

One last thing. I'm always giving 24HR Fitness crap for having pools that make one itch. Let me tell you that I've been frequenting the Midtown club regularly now and that pool didn't make me itch and didn't smell like ben gay. The water was somewhat cloudy which I assume was a result of chemicals. My only complaint is that the pool deck area felt like a sauna. I think I heard someone saying the A/C was out and that was fine by me as that day was kind of cold. The pool water was a perfect temp and so I didn't notice the muggy deck. I plan my day strategically so that I can take my lunch early or late and hit the gym at non-peak times. My strategy has been working perfectly and this has really helped me get all my "to do's" done.

Ok, now I'm done. It's Wednesday so there's a high likelihood I will be back before Sunday but I can't commit to that. :) Happy Wednesday!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Try Andy's Tri Race Report

I am soooo excited to be writing this race report. As you all know, today was Keith's first venture into the world of triathlon as an athlete vs spectator. Keith took up cycling a couple months after IMTX and decided he wouldn't mind signing up as part of a relay team. Always up for something fun, I was game as was my brother Luke. Keith has been riding since July & we've been looking forward to today for months.

Pre Pre Race
We researched the results from TAT from 2010 and noticed there were only 3 coed relay teams. Based on that, we set the goal of placing top 3 but preferably, #1. As we reviewed the times, we felt it was doable. Instructions to my teammates were simple: race so hard you vomit.

Pre Race
Keith & I got down to the land of Sugar mid-day Saturday and picked up our packets then checked into the hotel. Sophie & Leia were with us as we decided for such a short trip, we wouldn't need a dog sitter. Mistake #1 which I'll get to later. Keith laid down for a nap (shocker) and I went to the gym to swim for a bit. Between the car accident 1.5 weeks ago and taking a spill off a very high barstool, Thursday night, my back has been kind of a mess. Well, my back was better before Thursday but then once I literally busted my A$$, my tailbone was in bad shape. I'll be honest with you, I wonder if I chipped a bone. I'm still in pain but have been working out. Anyway, I went to the pool just to make sure everything felt good. Aside from pushing off the wall, I was great!

We went to dinner with my awesome family at Cafe Adobe and enjoyed fajitas and lots of water. I was watching Luke like a hawk as I knew he'd want beer and I needed him to be 100% in the morning. I had high hopes for him come race morning and had no problem bossing him around. We talked strategy for a few minutes. We came up with out plan to get in & out of transition and then talked about the goals each of us had. I would be the swimmer (aka weak link) and had a goal to PR my swim time. The last time I did TAT, I swam in 7:14 which was a MAJOR improvement from the time before. Keith's goal was to average 20mph on the bike. Luke is a great runner and wanted to do the run in 20min or less. I need to add here that Luke works for Ozarka and engages in serious physical labor DAILY. This kid is working out constantly when at work and his job is really taking a toll on his knees. We wanted to be in & out of transition in 1min for both. Overall, we wanted to come in under an hour and thought 58:00 or 59:00 was doable.

Keith & I returned to the hotel and turned in around 9:30pm. Much to our dismay, the dogs did not care for the hotel and as guests returned from their evening out, Sophie would bark like crazy. And of course, when Sophie barks, Leia barks.
They served as alarm clocks at 10:30pm, 11:30pm, 12:35am, 1:30am and 3:30am. Seriously.

Race Morning
I woke up at 5am, 15min before the alarm and decided to just get up. Of course Sophie & Leia were exhausted from their evening of barking. We had prepped everything the night before so getting dressed and loading the car was a breeze. Keith and I put Leia in her crate and gave Sophie some food. As we headed down
the stairs, we could hear Sophie "crying" and then barking. We immediately knew she could do this the whole time we were gone and didn't think it would be wise to leave her. I had horrible visions of hotel management getting so many complaints that they would force entry to our room and steal our little bundle of joy. Ok, not steal but take her and put her in a nasty cage somewhere. This couldn't happen so we took her. The plan was easy. Keith would go into transition and set up his bike and then I would go in to scope out the distance from swim exit to the bike and all that good stuff. After getting body marked, I figured I would just try to go into transition and see what happened. Much to my surprise, they let me in. Heck, they even tried to body mark Miss Sophie. This is one reason I love these smaller races. Crazy stuff like this works. Thanks volunteers for letting us bring in our dog who has massive separation anxiety. Sophie appreciates your kindness.

I could probably make this really long so why don't we just get to it!

Once again, I found myself in the last wave. Women 45+ and all relay teams. We had a hodge podge of ages, body types and fitness levels in this group. The first wave went off at 7:15am and I was set to go at 8:15am. JOY! For some reason, there were
10min between waves this year which IMO was not needed. Anyway, I got in the water w/ teammate Lynn Flora at 8:10am and we treaded water for the 5 minutes until we started.

I put myself in the front b/c I knew I wanted to push this race. Given I've had my share of disappointments lately, I just didn't think about what would happen other than telling myself I would swim as hard as I could, do my best and see what happened. Ana has told me if I do that, the times will come. The countdown was on and off I went. I swam hard but felt great. I did feel myself start to slow a bit just before hitting the final buoys and told myself to GO GO GO. I got to the point where I thought I could stand and grab a volunteer's hand to help me out but I was wrong. Ooops! Swim a few more strokes and then try again.

I was out of the water and heading down the muddy path to transition. I slipped in one spot as it was SUPER slick but didn't fall. Yay! Once I hit the pavement, I ran as hard as I could.

Swim time: 7:00.3 for a swim PR!!!!!!!!!!!!

While our goal was to be at 1min for T1, we didn't take into account where our bikes would be racked. We were in the last row so I was going to have a further run than planned. I got to the rack, took my chip off and yelled at Keith to go!

T1: 1:55.8 which was good for 6th in our division. Hot diggity dog!

I wasn't on the bike course so I can't give you a play by play but I can tell you that Keith tore it up. His plan was to go balls to the wall and leave it all on the course. He was passed only twice once on the course and made up some great time. As he turned the corner to head into T2, he looked so strong and SO dang happy. Stupid me went technology free and so had NO idea where we were at this point. I knew he had come back before a bunch of folks who got on the bike course before him but as for time, who knew?

Bike time: 28:02.9 which was 21.4mph AND 4th in the division. O M G. My man did AWESOME. Beyond awesome. I am thrilled for him!

Bike in was right next to our rack so we knew we'd be quick. Keith racked the bike and Luke bent down immediately to take the chip. Luke had it on his leg in nothing flat and was literally off in a flash.

T2 time: 0:38.9 which was good for 1st in our division. Yes, my boys ROCKED T2. I take partial responsibility of course b/c I coached them. :)

At this point, we knew we were close to at least one co-ed relay team but honestly, had no idea how many co-ed teams there were. Like I said before, last year there were 3 so I figured there were about the same this year. Luke took off out of T2 like a man on a mission. I got down to the spot where runners started their 2nd loop or headed to the finish. I figured I had taken too long to see Luke start his 2nd loop. I cheered for people while I waited and got to see Lynn's daughter Olivia half way through her run (looking strong)! I squinted my eyes and could see Luke a ways down. I started yelling like a soccer mom on crack. In my mind, Luke picked up his speed at that moment and literally rocketed towards the finish line. Everyone who saw him said he was moving F A S T. He was smiling too!

Run time: 20:09.5 which works out to a 6:43/mile pace. This kid is amazing! The official results say he was 4th in the division but as you further inspect the results, it's clear there were two team who did not run two loops. How do I know this? Well, at the pace of 3:40/mile and 4:24/mile, I can put two & two together. Usain Bolt was not at TAT this weekend which was a further clue to me that we had a couple cheaters on our hands. Either way, neither of those teams placed above us overall so what do I care? As far as I'm concerned, Luke's time is good for 2nd in our division.

Overall Time: 57:47.5 good for 3rd in our division. The even better news? There were 15 teams this year!!!!!!

All I can tell you right now is that I am absolutely beaming with pride. We achieved every goal we had. When I saw the results and saw I was 7min even, I was so happy. My next thought? Damn, I could've gone 6:50 if I tried. :) Next time. Keith was a complete beast on the bike. This is a guy who a few months ago was 17lbs heavier and not really exercising. Keith's also a smoker which I'm not happy about but I wanted to point out. For him to get 4th in our division is a HUGE accomplishment. I am SO proud of him. And then of course, there's Luke. What can I say? I love watching him run. I wish I had just a fraction of his natural ability. I mean, we're siblings so I have to have it somewhere right? I told Keith after the race that I had been telling Luke all week to run sub-20 never realizing that 20minutes was a 6:43 pace. I wouldn't have pressured him so much had I realized that! I am so impressed with my brother and just know that if he ever decided to make time to train, he would absolutely kill it!

So there you have it! The race today was a huge success. I'm also thrilled for Team Generation for placing 7th (but really 6th) in the division. Lynn had a 5:07.4 swim good for 4th in the division. Bill, who is marriedto future Ironman Chris, averaged 18.5mph on the bike. Ok, this is a huge deal as Bill is not really into the whole triathlon thing but is married to someone who is (and has two daughters who are). Seeing Bill's big smile as he came in off the bike made me so happy! I know his family is SO proud of him. And of course, there is Olivia who ran to a fantastic 9th place in her division. She rocked her run in 27:38.6. I'm so happy for you guys and so glad we could be out there for each other!

So there you have it...another week has come to an end and another race is in the books. I will be racing in 7 days (Galveston). I'll be back w/ another post before then. Happy Sunday evening!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Kill two birds with one blog entry!

Another week, another race. Dang October is busy! Let me recap 10 for Texas quickly. Three days before the race I was rear ended/side swiped on I-45 on my way home from work. For those of you who travel on that stretch of highway, you know that traffic typically slows down as you approach the Woodlands Pkwy exit. I was in the right lane preparing to exit when the cars in front of me started to slow down. Given I wasn't texting or talking on the phone, I was paying attention and was slowing as well and making sure to leave plenty of room between me & the truck in front of me. I glanced in my rear view mirror to see if there was anyone behind me and the next car was about 3 lengths back. In that next instant, my car was hit on the rear passenger side hard enough for me to hit my head on the driver window. I had enough clearance ahead of me that I wasn't in danger of hitting the other vehicle but did apply my brakes all the same. When my car came to a stop, the rear end was in the other lane and the front end was pointed to the shoulder. I remember shaking my head and asking out loud, "what happened". The story could go on from there but I'll cut it short by saying, nobody was injured and my good friend Dorina came to pick me up and get me home. I'm still waiting to hear the verdict on my truck and am worried she may be totaled. That will give me a very sad face but what can I do? No time to worry about something out of my control. :)

Needless to say, I was very sore the next few days. No workout for me on Wednesday night. I attempted a swim Thursday but that was a no go too. Turning my head caused a lot of pain and I was plain stiff everywhere else. Friday rolled around and I did my pre-race prep but wasn't feeling 100%. I had no intention of pulling out of 10 for Texas and figured I had been feeling a little better with each day so surely I would feel great Saturday morning!

The run started off well enough. I was at a pace a bit quicker than I planned but my HR was in the correct zone and I was feeling I could maintain for quite some time. By the time mile 3 hit, I was singing a different song. Shooting pain up my leg, through my side up to my neck. I could tell my body was trying to compensate by tweaking how my foot was landing and I knew I couldn't let that happen b/c I felt that would make things worse. I did my very best to keep my form correct and tried to shut the pain out of my mind. I kept telling myself "it could be worse". By mile 5, I was near tears. I knew I was going to see Keith & Hannah soon so I put on a smile and just ran. Ugh. It crossed my mind to pull out but I didn't really want to do that. I felt that if I adjusted my pace, I could keep the pain from getting worse and just tough it out. So that's what I did. I counted foot strikes, counted people ahead of me, counted cars passing by...whatever it took to focus on anything but my body. By mile 8 I was feeling the effects of my foot strike changing as I realized I was getting a blister on my foot. That only happens when my feet are wet and when I'm not watching my form. Well, my feet were dry with the exception of a little sweat. Once I hit North Shore Park, I decided I was done with this race and I hit the gas once I made it over the bridge. Thank the lord. As I approached Market Street, a chick ahead of me pulled to the side and started hurling. A few people cheered her on and encouraged her to puke & rally. One guy told her at least she would feel better now. I felt for her. While I didn't want to puke, I certainly wouldn't have minded pulling off and letting my body rest. Before I knew it, I was approaching the finish line and just thrilled that I stuck with it! I finished in 1:51 and change (just over an 11min/mile pace). Given the pain I was in, I was actually pretty pleased with that.

Was I disappointed when I crossed the finish line? For a split second, yes. I had hoped to come in around 1:40ish. I really wanted to prove to my coach that I was learning to race and I was worried she would think I wasn't learning. We know I have a little mental block when it comes to pushing myself and at first, I felt like the mental block won. But after just a couple of minutes, I realized I had won. I was hurting, there was no doubt. I could've very easily not made it to the start line. I could have very easily walked off the course at any point. I could've walked the last few miles but I didn't. Nope, I hung in there and ran and pushed as much as I could. You know what, that's not too bad! I did learn I can be uncomfortable b/c I was VERY uncomfortable on Saturday! For me, this race is a success.

Keith's 20yr old daughter, Emily, also raced 10 for Texas. Emily is signed up for The Woodlands Marathon and did this as part of her training. This girl is a gifted runner, IMO. Without trying terribly hard, she ran the race in about 1:35. Wow. She'll be racing again at Thanksgiving and then has a half marathon in December. Keith & I are so excited to cheer her on at her next races. If she can run 10 miles like that w/o trying too hard, what will she do when she's really pushing the gas? I can't wait to find out!

Ok, bird one is down and it's time for bird two. It's another race week! Actually, that's somewhat misleading as I'm not doing a full race. Try Andy's Tri sprint triathlon is this coming Sunday and I've signed up as part of a relay team. I will be swimming, Keith is cycling and Luke is running. Believe me when I tell you that I am the weak link in this team. Thankfully I won't be in the water long enough to hurt us! :) I'll be swimming 300m which I'm fairly confident I can knock out fairly easily. Keith has been riding like a man on a mission and in his most recent time trial, averaged 19.4mph. There was also one stretch of 10 miles on our weekend ride that we averaged 22+ mph. I think he'll do just fine. Luke is truly an amazing runner. If my brother spent just a little time training, he would definitely win some hardware. He went out & ran 3 miles the other day just to see how he did and finished in 20minutes. I asked him how he felt and he said he felt good and that he didn't need to puke. I've told him repeatedly that come Sunday, I want him running so hard he vomits. This kid is capable of running a sub 20minute 3 miler as he's done it before. Needless to say, we are super excited for Sunday. I am SO happy to have Keith out there with me on race day competing instead of spectating.

So with that, this entry is complete. I may or may not blog again before the race. We'll just have to see what mood I'm in. Until then, happy training!!!!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

I got a feelin'.........

Here's my first blog update on my new Mac! Ahhhhh, I love this computer and I have barely scratched the surface of what it can do. I tried typing this while listening to some Black Eyed Peas but that just wasn't happening. And FYI, the pic to the left is here just so I wouldn't have a picture-less update. I'm still in the process of moving all my pics over so this will have to be good enough. :)

Guess what? It's another race week! October is a big racing month for me. Not necessarily the size of the race, more the volume. Saturday is 10 for Texas, a 10 mile run through The Woodlands. Ahh, a race in my backyard so I don't have to get up at the butt crack of dawn. I'm not even going to jinx myself here. I have a plan (thank you Ana) and we'll just see how it goes. I'm excited to race though and even more excited to see how Emily (Keith's 2nd youngest does). Emily is an awesome runner and is training for her 1st marathon. This weekend she had a 10 mile run on her schedule so we figured she may as well do this race. I'm super excited for Em and know she's going to rock it!

Training was going pretty well for me this week. I had a hard swim workout and challenging speed session Tuesday that I nailed. Last night I was rear ended on my way home from work (well, more side swiped I guess) and so my workout last night didn't happen. Long story short, I'm fine but my car may be visiting its maker sooner rather than later. My dependable and semi-sporty little Ford Escape is a 2006 but has 145,000 miles thanks to my LOOOOOONG commute. I already know the rear axel is bent so I'm just waiting to hear if the cost to fix the truck is more than it's worth. I'm not going to ask you guys to pray it doesn't get totaled b/c if I'm going to ask you to pray for me, I'm going to save it for something REALLY good. Just do me a favor and hope really hard that it's not totaled. I love my little Escape!

Stef sent me a text this morning to let me know she had a dream that Avery's first word was "Ironman". Oh my gosh, I certainly hope so!!!!!

I know, this is quick but mama is exhausted and Leia needs my attention. Hope you all get lots of zzzzzz's tonight and I'll be back soon!