Monday, April 29, 2013

19 days and counting.....

Is it possible that IMTX is really only 19 days away?  It's not that I don't feel ready...I feel very ready. I just can't believe it's here already!  

Taking a quick rest stop to stretch.  I love my bike!
So how has been training been going?  Well, I'm glad you asked!  Training continues to go really well.  I have tough days and I have really awesome days just like everyone else.  I've found that with this Ironman, I'm really enjoying my training so much more...even the bad days.  I've learned a ton the past year but especially the past few months.  When I'm training, I try to only think about what I'm doing right then.  I try not to let my mind wander to my next workout or anything else I might have going on.  This is something that I'll need to do during Ironman...stay in the moment.  I figured it made sense to try it now.  It's weird because there are workouts where I find I think about absolutely nothing at all.  I count in my head.  I count my steps or pedal strikes.  But that's about it.  Nothing else.  How is it possible that by thinking of nothing, you can lose yourself in a ride.  For example, on my last century + ride, I completely missed my turn.  As I was passing it, I glanced to the right to make sure there was no traffic and saw Keith.  Oops!  Missed my turn.  Poor Keith thought he had goofed up the SAG directions again.  You would think that I was lost deep in thought and that's why I missed my turn.  Nope, I was just in a zone.  

Pre or post 18 miler?  I can't remember!
Yesterday I "only" had to run for 2 hours.  Yes, for those of you who are Ironmen in training, you know exactly what I mean.  To most folks, running 2 hours would be a miserable chore.  But for us, it means we get a little break.  That's just crazy talk!  Before my "easy" 2 hour run (which was anything but easy but I'll get to that later), I ran 18 miles.  My 18 miler the weekend before last was awesome. It was a challenge, don't get me wrong.  It was just  a lot of fun.  Well, fun until I made a turn on to Flintridge and was greeted by hills.  I haven't run there in so long, I forgot how hilly it was.  I kid you not when I tell you I went from laughing to sighing out loud (very loudly).  Come on Jenny, Flintridge at the end of your longest training run?  Nice.  At the end of the day though, I'm glad I did it.  What doesn't kill you makes you a stronger runner right?  And I figure Flintridge and I will need to make friends soon as I have a feeling I'll be running it a lot once marathon training starts.  :)

This past Saturday I rode my final "long" ride.  While I do have 60 miles this weekend, I no longer consider that distance long.  I told you I was brainwashed! Anyway, on Saturday, I rode 90 miles....60 miles solo and 30 with my man.  What a great ride.  I left my place at 6:20am all lit up like a Christmas tree.  I wanted to get on the road early so I could get home in time to shower and head out to meet up w/ my sis and Danielle.  I set off on my route and as you can imagine, was greeted with very few riders and very few cars until about 9am.  I got to my scheduled rest stop before Keith (my SAG) did.  He couldn't believe I was moving so quickly. I was not so secretly giddy.  Before I knew it, I was finishing up 60 and picking him up for 30 more.  While we were out, we got rained on for a bit and I'm glad we did.  I needed to cool off a bit and I thought it wouldn't hurt to get some practice riding in the rain since that's something I'm not really comfortable with.  You never know when you might get a sprinkle on race day!  Oh Lord, please don't let that happen for IMTX.  :)  Luckily, we were on 1488 when the rain came down so we had a super wide shoulder and so I felt safer.  We turned around at 1488 & 1774 and headed home.  I started craving Dr. Pepper shortly after and asked Keith if we could PLEASE go get one.  Of course, that was no problem for him.  Once we were about 5 miles from home, I could smell Dr. Pepper.  And when I crave Dr. Pepper after a ride, I only want it from the gas station fountain.  I do not want a bottle, can or anything else.  Of course, once I get the DP, I can never finish it but that's besides the point.  That first sip is always the best thing ever.  

My run yesterday while only 2 hours was anything but easy.  I didn't leave the house until nearly 11am. I figured I may as well run in the heat b/c it's going to be hot on May 18th.  Holy crap.  I took in more fluids than I ever do which was a good thing.  If there was a water fountain, I stopped at it and refilled my water bottles.  During my last 3 miles, I was definitely feeling the heat and took a quick walk break to get in some more fluids.  A lady, her daughter and dog started talking with me and ran with me for about 8 or 9 minutes.  It was the exact pick-me-up I needed.  I didn't get her name but learned that she lives next door (or close to my coach).  Small world.  A reminder that I need to watch  how I behave on runs b/c my coach has spies...everywhere.  

You all know I love Lululemon with a passion.  One day I got bored and started to total up how much I've spent there.  Holy crap!  Oh well, I love the stuff.  I mean if you workout as much as I do, the investment is well worth it.  Anyway, the nice folks at Lulu display the names of all the IMTX participants. I absolutely love the display this year b/c they've got the shape of Texas proudly displayed.  

Well, it's a race week.  CB&I sprint triathlon is this weekend.  I'm SO ready to get out there and race like a crazy woman.  My instructions are clear...vomit at the finish.  I really hope I do!  I did this race last year for the first time in about 1:45 and am aiming to take some significant time off that.  Wish me luck!

It's time to sign off..I have a massage soon and need to get some food in me.  Happy training!!!!

There's the great state (and store) I love!

Ahh, my name. It's getting super official!

Look how happy I am!!  Let's do this!!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Just because something doesn't go as planned doesn't mean it's a bad thing!

Today started out great!  I was so excited to set out on 110 miles (with a quick 3 mile run to follow).  At the last minute, Keith decided not to do the ride with me as his back has been giving him fits.  No problem!  He was still going to SAG so I was happy.  

Ever wonder what your family does when they SAG?  Wonder no more.  I told Keith about a sign I saw on Taliaferro and he bought a marker and went to fix it.  I'm just glad a banjo playing redneck didn't shoot him.  :)

Pre-fall at the 1/2 mark.  Good times.
The roads weren't crowded at all today as most folks did their 100 miler yesterday.  My ride was going exactly as planned and I was on the IMTX course just thinking about nothing. I was on 149 going downhill when I went to pedal and was completely locked up.  I glanced down at my watch very quickly and was doing about 27mph but wasn't panicked.  I started to apply the breaks and just looked for a spot that would be safe to pull off.  The pedals were stuck pretty much right in the middle.  I got both shoes unclipped but still wasn't going slow enough to stop.  I put my right foot on top of the pedal (this is the side I usually put my weight on when stopping) just for a second as I was waiting to stop.  As I slowed further, I remember hearing a click (my shoe clipping back in) and couldn't get it out fast enough to get it down and break my fall.  It happened so fast and was just a silly thing really!  I of course put my hand down to break the fall and literally bounced off the pavement.  I hit my entire right side first and when I came to a stop, was on my back with my bike on top of me (pulled in nice and close to my chest like I was protecting it). My first thought was of course for my bike.  I went to sit up and was in a lot of pain but immediately knew it wasn't too bad of a fall.  Keith was about 10 minutes away and I asked him to come and help me with my bike b/c I couldn't get the chain back on.  After a few minutes, I realized I was having trouble gripping and decided that this close to the race, I really didn't want to take any chances.  I was about 72 miles in and decided the best thing would be to head home and finish up on the trainer.  I hated to do it but I felt it was the best decision at the time. 

So I got home, got a bag of ice and an ace bandage and attached them to my right hand.  I also strapped an ice bad on to my elbow as I had an immediate bump on it.  I stayed on the bike for 2.5 hours for good measure and then went and did my 3 mile run.  I'm not going to hurt.  I feel like I was run over by a truck which is weird b/c again, this wasn't that bad of a fall.  

I got my new shorts all dirty.  Ugh!  Be grateful I didn't post what was under the shorts!!!
What I'm proud of here is that I didn't let this hiccup bother me at all.  Things happen and this was just one of "those" things.  I wasn't reduced to tears and didn't start thinking "oh my gosh, I shouldn't be racing".  I was pissed, don't get me wrong. I just got my bike out of the shop and messed up the brand new tape job.  And I've now got little holes in my brand new South Coast Endurance bike shorts.  AND I've got several welts on my butt and hip that will be bruises by morning.  So yeah, all that was super annoying but my head stayed in it and I didn't lose my cool.  Two years ago, there would've been tears and I would've been worried this was a sign.  Not today.  Nope!  Today was just another good learning experience.  

The good news is that I've got at least one more century + ride and I suspect maybe two more.  I am going to practice more getting my chain on just in case.  I'm not sure why I couldn't get it back on...I felt like it was stuck but Keith seemed to have no problem.  

I plan on taking it easy tonight and going for an easy swim tomorrow.  Ana wanted me to take off but I asked her to pretty please let me swim. I'm 5 weeks out from Ironman and I'm not messing around.  :)

Happy Training!!!!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Ironman 70.3 Texas Race Report

Final Time – 6:28:26 (a 20:28 PR)

Even though I’m now 2 for 4 in Galveston, I feel confident that I have conquered my demons there and am so incredibly happy with how Sunday turned out.  Did I do everything right?  Heck no!  Did I execute my plan though?  Yes, I sure as heck did!

I got down to Galveston Saturday morning with Annie.  We headed to athlete check-in where I grabbed my stuff and a few things from the Ironman store.  Hello?  $9.99 K-Swiss tanks?  I’ll take 3 please!  Annie was the only person we saw at the expo drinking a beer and she was given some interesting (judgemental) looks.  I was tempted to join her but kept thinking about how bad I wanted to do well so skipped the beer.  We headed to the hotel to check in and lounge by the pool until Stef & Avery arrived.  What a fun afternoon!  After we soaked up some rays, we all headed back to the race site so I could drop off my bike.  When I saw all the bikes in transition, I realized there were a lot more people racing than I thought!  Holy crap.  After a yummy dinner at Gaido’s, I retired for the evening and got some much needed zzzzz’s.

Patiently waiting for my wave.
Race morning came and I felt fresh.  I was able to get nearly 8 hrs of sleep which I NEVER do.  I felt amazing.  Annie went over to the race site with me while Stef & Avery slept a little more.  Annie was the most awesome Sherpa and helped me with everything I needed.  After leaving transition, we headed toward the direction of the swim start where I would have to wait over an hour for my wave.  We did some people watching, goofed off and just hung out. 
When it was time for me to head to the dock, the nerves hit me full force.  I was shaking and fighting the tears.  I have been nervous about this race for weeks and have tried very hard to keep it all in check.  I was getting to a point where I really thought I was going to lose it.  In my head, I heard myself say, “it’s only a training day” and started to feel a little better.  I got my pre-race hug from Annie and headed to the dock.  Time to get it done!

The water temp was a cool 65 degrees.  When my group was sent to the end of the dock, I didn’t want to get in.  Then I realized the sooner I got in, the sooner I could get used to the water.  I jumped in and realized it wasn’t SOOO terrible.  Before I knew it, they were telling us we had 40 seconds.  I have not been swimming well lately and stuck myself in the back. I hate being in the back but at the same time, I had no business being up front. 

Survived the swim.  No smile though!
The horn sounded and we were off.  I got hit very little the first part of the swim largely because of where I positioned myself.  I settled into a pace (yes, a slow one) and just tried to focus on my stroke.  Before I knew it, I was making the turn at the first red buoy and was grateful.  Shortly after, the men who were in the wave behind me started swimming up on me.  This is when it got tough and full contact.  I know I’m a slow swimmer so I can’t really be pissed and the guys for steam rolling me but come on dudes.  You could at least not kick the crap out of my boobs.  One guys pushed my head straight down as I was trying to breathe.  I guess my little head got in the way of his manly stroke.  Again, I didn’t get mad…just stayed calm.  I felt fine in the water but knew I wasn’t moving quickly.  I was ok with this though.  I just wanted to get out of the water and get on my bike. 

After roughly 55 minutes, I was out of the water and headed to T1.  Thank you baby Jesus!  I do wish I had been faster but given what I know about my training and my swim mentality, I understand the time.

Take away:  The next 6 weeks, I plan to focus on my swim and what’s holding me back.  My work schedule makes it difficult to attend masters swim and I know that’s what helped me to improve before.  I also know that I’m not comfortable in the water and because of that, I hesitate to push too much.  This is something that I need to get over.  I think the last mental issue I have has to do with the swim. 

As I exited the water, I flopped down like a fish out of water and waited for the volunteers to strip my wetsuit off of me.  I hopped up and began the long, barefoot run to my bike.  I saw Keith & Annie but could not muster a smile.  I was just so focused!  It was quite a ways to get to the bike but I ran and just stayed calm.  Here comes the real test.

Before I knew it, I was headed toward Seawall for my 56 mile bike ride.  We lucked out with the wind situation this year and I for one was very grateful.  I settled into aero and followed my coach’s instructions.  When I passed the 15 mile marker, I glanced at my watch and realized I was maintaining a nice pace.  I had caught a lot of girls with 35-39 on their leg so knew I was making up for time I lost in the swim.  All I had to do now was execute my nutrition and race plan and all would be good.

I reached what I thought was the spot I got my first flat two years ago.  I smiled a bit and decided not to think about it….or for anything else for that matter.  Just stay focused on this race.  I found myself at the turnaround and glanced at my watch again.  At this point, I realized that if I maintained the current pace, I was in for a nice PR.  Like, really nice!

We had some headwind on the way back so my pace slipped but nothing significant.  I just stayed in aero and thought about keeping good form.  I thought about nothing but the bike.  I finally hit the spot where I was pulled of the course two years ago and got a little choked up.  No time to let up though…the end is in sight.

I was approaching the dismount line and for one last time, consulted my watch.  Yep, that’s good for a bike PR.  3:06 and change for an average pace of 17.98.  Let’s be clear, that rounds up to 18mph and that’s what I’m going with.  Yeah, that’s right….18mph on a 56 mile ride!!!  What a difference from my first ½ iron bike time of 3:54.  I did it!!!!!

Take away: I don’t suck at riding!  What an awesome ride this was.  I couldn’t have been happier with my bike split.  A 9 min PR from my last ½ iron was something to be proud of.

Come in from a scenic 56 mile ride.  :)

I was happy to see my running legs were there and ready to go.  My legs felt really good, not heavy at all.  Dang, this is a cool feeling!  I changed my shoes, grabbed my race bib & visor and headed out with my handheld hydration in hand.

A mile hadn’t even gone by when I realized that carrying this 16oz bottle was not going to happen.  I don’t like wearing hydration belts in races anymore b/c I find it puts me in “long run” mentality and I slow down.  I didn’t want to go w/o my own hydration so bought this cute handheld that could also accommodate my gels and salt tabs.  I spotted Keith and tossed him the bottle.  I told him it was too heavy and I couldn’t deal with it.  It was amazing the difference it made when I let go of it.  I felt free!  I had to quickly change my game plan though.  I was now without fluids so I needed to make sure I took in an adequate amount at the aid stations. I decided that I would stop at every aid station to make sure I stayed hydrated.  I turned around and headed back in Keith’s direction.  When I spotted him, he asked me if I needed my gels.  Oh crap!  That’s when it hit me.  I told him I couldn’t take them from him now (I thought that would be against the rules).  The aid stations were stocked with gels, fruit, pretzels and everything I would need.  This was even more reason for me to stop at every aid station.  Ok, I got this.

While my legs felt good, I didn’t feel like I was moving too fast.  I didn’t worry though.  I felt good and I knew I was at a pace I could maintain.  It was getting hot so I just focused on staying hydrated and settling into my pace.  At the next aid station, I stopped at the med tent to get some Vaseline. I wore shorter shorts than normal and was afraid I would have chafing if I didn’t take some preventative measures.  I slathered Vaseline on my legs and under my arm where I had some wetsuit chaffing.  I was good as new!

I was on my 2nd loop now and was feeling super excited.  There was no reason to think I wouldn’t finish this race.  At this point, I heard some ringing in my ears and knew I needed fluids.  I was all good!  I made my way past my support crew.  Now it was a matter of hanging in there.  I couldn’t believe how fast the 2nd loop seemed to go. 

As I started my 3rd loop, I had a big smile.  I saw Keith, Annie & Stef and finally allowed myself a big ‘ole atta girl!  This race was less than 4 miles from being over.  I hit the 10 mile mark and had another wave of excitement hit.  Less than a 5k left.  That’s it!  At mile 11, I looked at my watch and realized I was going to have a nice PR.  I knew that even if I walked the rest of the race, I would still have a PR.  But I didn’t need to walk.  Nope!  I felt good and there was no reason not to push.

3rd & final loop!  Allowing myself to crack a big smile!

I hit mile 12 and was ready to enjoy the last 1.1 miles.  That’s it.  Less than 11 minutes to go at this pace.  Before I knew it, the 13 mile sign was in sight.  I could hear the names at the finish.  I threw my arms in the air and screamed a bit.  I finally did it!!!!!!!  I would later learn that my ½ marathon time was just under 2:18…the best I’ve ever done in this type of race.  I was 16 minutes faster than I had been in November.  S-I-X-T-E-E-N!

Take away:  This run could’ve ended up a lot different given I ditched my hydration & nutrition.  This served as a great reminder to not try something new on race day.  I got lucky here.  Very lucky!

After collecting my hat and medal, I saw Keith & Stef and reported to them what they already suspected….a PR race!  Annie was up on the hill getting video of the finish.  It was just such an awesome feeling. 

Galveston has been my nemesis and while I conquered the Oly distance in 2011, this was the race I needed to conquer.  I finished the race with a lot of gas left in the tank.  This is good b/c I’m going to need that gas for Ironman! 
Post race, I’m feeling great.  I have a pretty bad sunburn due to my own stupidity but that’s been the worst of it.  My legs have felt good and I am ready to get back to training.  Ironman is less than 6 weeks away.  I have some tough training left but I’m ready for it.  I am SO ready for it. 
I have heard that you can estimate your Ironman finish time by taking your most recent ½ iron time and adding an hour.  Well, I did that and let me tell you that the squeal I made was more high pitched than the one any teenager would make at a Justin Bieber concert.  That being said, I am smart enough to respect the distance and know that an estimate is only an estimate and assumes all the stars align.  Anything can happen at Ironman so I am making a promise to myself right now that I will be nothing short of happy regardless of my time.  I have worked my butt off and I have some a long, long way.  I need to be proud of myself no matter what.  That being said, if the prediction is close, it will be hard to wipe the smile off my face come May 18th

Happy Training!

Take that Galveston!!

Couldn't do what I do without my support crew!

I’m still pinching myself following a great race at Ironman 70.3 Texas!!!  I am now 2 for 4 in Galveston and couldn’t be happier to be batting .500. 

The next post will be about the race…this blog is about those that support me!  I can’t name you all individually b/c it would take me days just to give proper credit to everyone.   So many of you ask me about training regularly or you might be one who sends me an occasional text checking in.  Or you may be someone who is constantly there to show support and cheer me on.  I appreciate all of you SO much.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!  It’s hard to make it through this training but when you know there are people out there cheering you on, you get that extra boost you need when it gets tough.  I honestly felt that extra boost this weekend.

Words can’t express how grateful I am to my coach, Ana Lemus, for all her guidance.  I am a different person than I was a few years ago.  And let me be clear here, not just a better athlete.  I’m happier, I have more confidence and I have a different outlook on life in general.  Ana has been so encouraging and has told me I’m capable of things I wasn’t too sure I was capable of.  But now, I’m a believer. 

I also had the best support crew on Sunday….Keith, Annie, Stefanie & Avery.  Annie traveled with me to Galveston and went to packet pickup with me. She also put up with being judged by the athletes as she enjoyed a beer.  I’m not kidding, she was getting some crazy looks.  Annie also went to the race site with me EARLY Sunday morning and kept me calm while I waited for my 8:05am start.  At one point, I was shaking like crazy.  I told y’all she was my good luck charm!  Stefanie & Avery drove down Saturday evening and hung out at the pool with us and then joined us for dinner at Gaido’s (umm, this place was super yummy).  Avery was such a good girl and let Aunt Jenny get nearly 8hrs of sleep!  And of course, there’s Keith.  He had spent the week in Hong Kong and flew back Friday afternoon.  He drove down early Sunday morning and was there cheering me on when I got out of the swim.  Keith was also so sweet and went to the expo tent when it was clear I was going to finish and bought me not only the finisher’s shirt I’ve been waiting for, but a ton of other stuff.  So sweet! 

Some of you tracked me most of the day.  My mom was one of those folks and was sending my support crew updates in case they missed them.  I race a lot and I don’t want my family to feel like they HAVE to make every race.  I love that Ironman makes it so easy to track athletes online.  

Again, thanks to ALL OF YOU!!!  I definitely felt your support this past Sunday!!!!!