Thursday, July 26, 2012

Is that Luger or Loser???

As the Summer Olympics quickly approach, I’m reminded of how much I wanted to be an Olympian.  Honestly, didn’t we all dream of Olympic glory as kids?  I remember watching figure skating during the 1984 Olympics.  I went to my bedroom and put on a pair of PJ’s that most resembled a figure skating uniform (one with ruffles of course).  I ran out to the family room where Katarina Witt was on the television skating and I started twirling and jumping around.  The fact that I couldn’t stick any landings barefoot on carpet led me to the realization that I likely wouldn’t stick any landings while gliding on ice. 

Following the Olympic Games in Calgary in 1988, my quest to be an Olympian was renewed.  While I had no problem dreaming big, I also recognized my limitations.  I had no talents.  I was not particularly athletic.  Well, this seemed like only a minor obstacle to me as I remembered seeing some pudgy looking athletes during the parade of nations.  I thought about every single Olympic event and started making a list of sports I felt required the least talent.  Gymnastics was out as I had only mastered the front and backward roll.  I wasn’t a fast enough swimmer and certainly wasn’t graceful enough for synchronized swimming (I really didn’t like the look of the nose plugs anyway).  I started to lose hope and then one day, I remembered watching the luge competition.  These folks merely laid on a sled and went around an ice track.  That was it.  They weren’t running, jumping or holding their breath.  I was pretty good at laying out and taking naps and didn’t think this would be all that different.  Yes, luge would be my sport.  I was meant to become a luger.

I wrote to the United States Luge Association and made them aware of my interest in the sport and asked for a packet of information so I could begin my training.  I would be the Mary Lou Retton of luge.  A few weeks later, my information packet arrived and I devoured it (not literally of course).  Yes, this was perfect.  I read about training camp, the type of equipment needed and a plethora of other useful information. I filled out my questionnaire form quickly as I needed to get it in the mail ASAP.  I got to the end of the form and noticed I would need sign-off by one of the parental units as I was only 14 at the time.  No problem.  I mean, who wouldn’t want to have an Olympian for a daughter?  I took the packet to my mom and let her know she needed to sign it so we could get it in the mail and start preparing for my 16 days of glory.

A few days later, my mom notified me she would not be signing my permission form.  Umm, why?  Being the intelligent woman that she is, she pointed out that we lived in California where we did not have snow.  
Where would I do my training?  I was prepared for this question as I had recently seen a special on TV.  While I would someday get to the point in my luge career where I would need to live & train with other lugers, I had some time.  I could train on a sled mounted to wheels and practice my skills going down mountain sides or hills (paved roads were preferred).  Of course, I would need a helmet so we would need to go to K-Mart to get one I pointed out.  I was relieved that I handled her question with such poise.  Much to my dismay, mom had another concern….the chance of injury.  I somehow missed the section about dismemberment, decapitation or death.  Of course she would find the one negative thing in the whole application!  While I tried to assure her I would be fine given my natural aptitude for the sport, she wasn’t buying what I was selling and threw my application away.  With that one crumple, my Olympic aspirations were crushed.  If I did not start my training immediately, I would not be ready for the next Olympics.  And by that time, I felt I would be too old to be successful as another generation of talent-less hopefuls was behind me.  No, this was my last chance.

I sometimes wonder what might have been had my mother not worried about possible decapitation and would’ve signed off on my dream.  Would I have gone on to medal?  Probably not in my 1st Olympics, but definitely in my 2nd!  :)

Sunday, July 15, 2012

One heck of a week!

This has been one heck of a week.  We were in Chicago for the 4th of July and were super excited to get home to our fur babies, Sophie & Leia.  Little did we know what we had in store for us.  

Long story short, Sophie has been a sick little thing for the better part of a year.  Her disease causes her body to be unable to keep its protein.  With the help of Texas A&M Vet Hospital, she's made great progress and was feeling better than ever.  We had just been given the green light to extend her regular visits with them from 6 weeks to 8 weeks.  

Sunday night, Sophie squealed like I had stepped on her when I gave her meds....something I've given to her hundreds of times with no issue.  We decided she needed to go in as we suspected a tooth issue.  Sophie's physical exam looked fine but our favorite doctor, Dr. Waugh decided to do some blood work.  They found that Sophie's WBC count was incredibly low (like well below the low end of the normal range).  Sophie stayed in ICU for two days before being sent home.  In addition, she had two bone marrow biopsies done where they basically use a very small hand drill to get what they need.  Thankfully, Sophie does not have lymphoma like we suspected but she does have something serious going on and we don't know what.  She goes back to A&M tomorrow for another ultrasound, this one around her heart as they want to rule out some type of infection there.  They suspect she has some sort of autoimmune disease and if they start her on those meds and Sophie does have another infection, it could kill her which is why they need to rule this out first.  They don't expect to find an infection around her heart but it's better to be safe than sorry.  Thank you all for being so understanding as we posted pics of our little angel!

After a week spent worrying and crying (a lot), I was not looking forward to my race today at all.  I had prayed the weather would suck so I could have a reason to miss it.  At the last minute (well after getting my packet), I knew I needed to do this race so I could snap out of my depressed funk from the week.  I'm SO glad I did!!  I swam the same distance I covered at CB&I 2 minutes faster so was thrilled.  My bike was somewhere in the 18.8 - 19.5 range (online results said 14.1 but was incorrect as I rode 16+ miles in 51 minutes and that does not equal 14.1mph thank you very much).  The run continues to be my nemesis which is really unfortunate because for the longest time, the run was my best event.  While the official results show a much slower pace, my actual pace was about 11:40min/mile.  That bugs me a bit but at the same time, I know I'm working hard to improve and I am showing improvement.  I'm also still working on dropping some more weight which WILL help my run.  I need to continue to be positive and just work hard.  I WILL get there.  

As always, special thanks to my two most committed cheerleaders:  Keith & Hannah!  It is so nice having their faces out there.  And I really wish I could've witnessed them 

So there you have it....a very eventful week. Next race will be August 5th at Bridgeland.  It's my last sprint of the season (don't worry, I have an Oly & Half Iron coming up) so I'm very anxious to go out with a bang.  And by "bang" I mean go out with a run that is a little closer to my old times.  Anything in the 10min mile range would be perfect!!!!!

Have a great week!  

Running with my bike out of T1.  Look at that form!  LOL!

Oops, I did it again....

Very rarely will you find me quoting a B. Spears song but in this case, it’s fitting.  On Wednesday, July 11th, I signed up for my second Ironman race!!! I don’t think this comes as too much of a surprise to those of you near & dear to my heart as you’ve heard me talk about wanting to do another one for pretty much the last year. 

I never thought I would be “one & done” but at the same time, I wasn’t convinced I wouldn’t be.  Following the inaugural race, I was sad my training was over and eager to do another one. I held off though as I knew 15+ hours of endorphins were probably to blame for the desire to do it again.  As I focused on shorter distances, I found I really loved my new found free time and discovered things like Pinterest, chalkboard paint & spray paint.  I made cakes for my niece & nephew and pretty much did whatever I wanted.  Alas, all good things must come to an end.

As IMTX 2012 approached, I wished I had signed up.  I knew then there was no way I would miss out on 2013.  And then of course, all the drama started w/ the race itself.  Would it happen again?  Would it remain in The Woodlands?  Nearly 2 months after the 2012 race, we got our answer and registration opened at 11am CST.  I was logged in and signed up by 11:06am. 
I have a feeling the blog will be back in full force soon.  Now, all my races serve more of a purpose to me.  With the addition of this race, I’ll be adding Oil Man Half Ironman to my schedule as well as a spring Half Ironman (location TBD).

I already have goals bouncing around in my head.  Obviously the first goal is to finish.  Doing an Ironman in the temps we have down here in late May makes it a challenge and just because you’ve been there done that, doesn’t mean you’ll do it again.  Even so, I’m confident I can achieve whatever goal I set and am looking forward to challenging myself. 

Training will be different this time around too as I’ll have a different coach than I did for IMTX 2011.  I’m so excited to see what we can accomplish over the next 10 months.  Also, Keith will be with me on all of my long rides as he is very excited to help me train for my next Ironman.  I’ll have new training partners too which I’m excited about (although I’ll definitely remember all the fun I had on long rides with Michelle and my last few swims with Dee leading up to IMTX). 

So there you have it.  With the swipe of a credit card and the punch of a button, I’ve done it again.  And this time, I’m thinking it’s going to be an even 
more memorable ride!

I mean really, who wouldn't want this feeling again?

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Heavy sweater right here!

No, that's not just a "healthy glow".  That is sweat my friends!
I do love living in Texas and in all honesty, the heat isn't SO bad.  I mean, it could be way worse (knock on wood).  

Training this weekend has been a major sweat-fest.  When you're riding, it's deceiving b/c you don't notice the sweat until you stop.  That's when you realize you're a soggy mess.  But when running, it's clear very early on.  

I started my long run this morning fairly well hydrated and of course, dressed appropriately for the conditions.  Granted, I started my run nearly 2 hours later than planned.  I literally slept about 3 hours Friday night so knew I needed to rest my body.  Thankfully, I had no trouble sleeping last night and decided to take advantage of a few more hours of much needed rest.  I probably won't make that mistake again.  :)

When I tell you I was soaked, I'm not even exaggerating  I tied my hair up in a tight bun and still managed to fling sweat from my head with nearly every step.  I guess the sweat could've been coming from my eyebrows.  I was wearing a new pair of running shorts (Lulu of course) and they were soaked through in about 2 miles.  No, I didn't wet myself.  As I passed other runners, I wondered why many of them weren't sweating like I was.  "Oh, they must not be working hard like I am" I thought.  No, they just aren't sweaty-Betty's like me.  

I of course carried fluids with me and had to refill twice along the run.  I finished off my water bottles in record time, another sign the temps are seriously on the rise. 

I do have a love/hate relationship with sweat as I can be embarrassed yet proud at the same time.  I don't know, something about sweat tells other people that you are tough and you are strong.  It also tells them not to get too close b/c you also smell like a goat!

Happy Sunday & happy training!