Monday, June 29, 2009

What a weekend!

It wasn't the kind of weekend where I did anything spectacular, it was just the kind where I felt like I got a lot accomplished...and I didn't ignore my pup!
Saturday morning I got up EARLY to get to Caesar Creek for a long training day. No wet suit for the hour swim...and the water was nasty. I mean, scum floating on the top, swim out to the furthest buoys to avoid and it still is stuck all on the inside of your suit after the swim kinda water. Even thinking about now is revolting. Nonetheless, we got the swim in.

Then came the bike. 56 miles in under three hours. After a week of pretty good training. My legs were feeling pretty um,...lethargic. Then came the real fun because we still had some time to put in. We dropped a couple people at the parking lot and headed back out. Just the fast guys. and me. Which of these is not like the other? Yeah. me.

The decided to hammer. Seriously. HAMMER! I didn't last ten minutes. I rode alone for the next hour and twenty minutes. Gladly.

I grubbed a bit on the way home. Yes, while driving down the highway. An apple, tuna, string cheese and baked lays. mmmm... And then home for a shower and a nap before meeting up with a friend for the evening. I was somewhat zombie like all night, but still had fun.

Sunday morning came quickly. Time for chores! Grocery, vaccum, dishes, laundry, clean the bathroom, clean the kitchen, and fit in a two hour run somewhere.

While I was at the grocery, I got a text from Tom, on his way home from a swim at East Fork that morning. He stopped by and chatted as I diced some veggies for this killer bean and corn salsa I was craving...I now have a vat of it that I will have to try and disperse to some friends... It was good catching up with him, hearing about his training, sharing stories of mine.

Anyway, I started playing chef. I put a beef brisket in the crock pot and cut up veggies for fajitas after my run. I got everything accomplished on my list by 2pm...except that run. I'd decided to wait 24 hours after that bike since my legs were feeling kinda trashed. And I wanted to get out in the heat since IMKY is sure to be nasty.

Just before 5pm, I headed out the door with a gel, a bottle of water and my iPod. I just hit shuffle and amazingly, the song selection seemed perfect. I made sure to take a swig of water every five to ten minutes. I took my gel at an hour and filled my water bottle at the levee. I was feeling pretty good. I've found that mental preparation is key. For races and for workouts. I prepped myself to be out there runnig smoothly for an extended period of time. And that's how it went! Just like when I ran that 5k..I was prepared to make it hurt. Or the TT last week...I knew I just wanted to go hard the whole time. My mind can make or break a workout. or a race.

I came home to eat some fabulous steak fajitas and an early bedtime...which is where I'm headed now. Swim practice comes very early on Tuesday mornings.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Elliot Smith was a lyrical genius

I had tender feelings that you made hard,
But its your heart, not mine, thats scarred.
So when I go home, Ill be happy to go -
You're just somebody that I used to know.
Text Color

You dont need my help anymore,
Its all now to you, there aint no before,
Now that youre big enough to run your own show
You're just somebody that I used to know.

I watched you deal in a dying day,
And throw a living past away,
So you can be sure that you're in control,
You're just somebody that I used to know.

I know you dont think you did me wrong,
And I cant stay this mad for long,
Keeping a hold of what you just let go -
You're just somebody that I used to know

Bad drivers and good deliveries

Ok, so I've had my fair share (or more) of accidents. I am not a very good driver...

I was on my way back into town on my two-hour ride last night, cruising along in aero at about 20mph. I was thinking about how now that all these doctor bills are beginning to pour in, I need to send him a text and let him know that he needs to start paying me back for my half of the deposit on the summer place...even if it's just $50 a week.

Anyway, I was out on 52, just before New Richmond, heading back towards downtown…probably 15 miles out. Dude was in the opposing lane, getting ready to turn left into the gas station on my right. I see him try and judge whether he can make it before I get there. I was about 30 ft away and growing ever closer, when HE DECIDED TO GO FOR IT!!!

I saw it all going down and in my head, I already saw myself splayed on the road with internal injuries and a busted skull. I rocket launched outta aero and gripped the brakes so hard I was skidding all over. Luckily, he realized his misjudgement hit his brakes too. We collided right at the entrance to the Marathon station. His grill just hit my left leg and hand. It knocked me out of my cleats and I somehow caught myself before I went flying on the road. I was yelling profanities and going nuts and he didn’t apologize or anything…just pulled into the gas station and parked...

Just then, two young kids pile out of the back seat. He had yet to emerge from the SUV. He may very well have been coming over to say something to me, but what was going to occur? I wasn’t hurt and neither was the bike and I knew I was so pissed that nothing nice was going to come out of my mouth, so I figured it was better to just ride off. I did yell at the kids to not take driving lessons from their father.

I was shaken, but fortunately, not harmed. And neither was my bike!

I rode the remainder of the way home and went out for a 20 minute T-run. Felt great.

After sleeping in my compression tights, I got up for an hour run with pick-ups and a huge amount of gratitude that it's Friday. I make my way into work and arrive to a flood on my desk. Apparently, our roof has a leak...right over my desk. And we had major storms last night. I tried the old "well, looks like I can't work...guess I should just go home" trick, but it didn't work. Facilities maintenance came and cleaned it all up and some dumbass had actually covered my computer and monitor with plastic!

I finally got logged in and see that I have a note from the secretary. I have a package!!!

My new Zoot running shoes, LG tri suit, Speedo, a bike jersey and nutrition arrived. Yay for new gear!! Can't wait to try it all out...the tri suit may get a run through at the Caesar Creek Oly next weekend.

Have a great weekend all!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I'm no longer a virgin!

I completed my very first ever TT yesterday.

I was nervous....a little scared. It's the unknown. I got some suggestions from people. Mary took me for a backward lap on the course for warm-up, introduced me to some pretty cool people. I paid my fee and we discussed a bit about my predicted time...settled on 28 mins.

It's a 10.2 mile loop course. I had no idea how to tackle it. It was pretty flat, a couple small rollers. Basically, I just was given the go and took off. The first time I looked at my watch, I was about 8 mins in. "I'm almost a third of the way through. I can do this. Keep hammerin'". I caught a glimpse of someone ahead. I realized my breathing was heavy. Too heavy. "Calm down. We're only a third of the way through. Spin." And then we were to the horse shoe turn. "Half way home. Lay it on. Go catch someone."

Those last three mile flew by (mentally) and before I knew it, I was crossing the line, shouting my number.

I finished in 28:03...just as (the guy taking times) predicted. I was pretty happy with that for my first try. I didn't realize how much fun I'd had until after it was all over. Already, I couldn't wait to try it again next week.

Mary and I went for a cool down up this big hill where you can see for miles. And like she said, even the river looked so pretty it actually did make you think you'd like to swim in it! I think I'll stick to the pools and lakes until IMKY.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Hot summer fun

My Thursday night ride was much like my Monday night run - low pressure, no pushing, just enjoying the scenery and feeling the wind and loving the smooth riding surface...just fun. And I still managed a decent pace for 30 miles.

That was also the day that I'd asked my dad if he'd run this 5k with me on Friday eve. It was predicted to be hot hot hot, but I was so hungry for some competition...

So, after work Friday, we met at the race site. It was 93 degrees with a "feels like" temperature of 101. Sheesh! The field was small (almost 400) and there were quite a few young, fit women. I was sizing up my competition, but that racing exercise Coach had a do a while back also came to mind...and I had realized then that to focus on anyone else for the race was guaranteed catastrophe for my race.

They called all men running under 19 min and all women under 25 min to the front. After a 2 mile warm-up (required after having been sitting at my desk and wearing heels all day), I was already dripping sweat. My legs were feeling a little heavy. I spotted a guy I'd seen running out at East Fork Lake a couple weeks prior, chat with him in the six mins prior to gun, a fellow Ironman.
Then the countdown. "30 seconds"..."15 seconds"..."10, 9...2" and the gun! And in those last ten seconds, that familiar old feeling of adrenaline pumping came back to me...that same feeling I used to get before the gun at a cross country race in high school...the kind where my legs feel detached from my body...and we were off! I knew in the first mile that quite a few had gone out too fast. It was during that time that fellow IM starting line guy passed me. I saw his M-dot, made a comment...and held him in sight for the remainder of the run.

It was a two-loop course, the first half of which was uphill, the second, downhill. Obviously, that first loop felt pretty good...and then you PASS the finish line (ugh) and head uphill. It wouldn't have been so bad if not for the 93 degree heat. and the week of training under my belt. and that stupid hill and how you can see the stoplight where you know you'll turn and head downhill from ABOUT A MILE away! OK, maybe a half mile. Once on the back stretch, I found my legs and cruised on home.

I wasn't super excited about my time, but I was 3rd female and 25th overall. Dad crossed the finish a little after me and after I talked with Mr M-dot about triathlon for a bit. Then it was time for hotdogs at the after party!

By the time I got home, I was feeling that lack of a good cooldown. Slept in the compression tights so I could do the 3 hour ride in the morn. I showered, ate and hit the hay.

I decided to bike with Judi and Ryan, but I needed to get in an hour or so more, so I started at 9am and went out on my own for a bit. Going out east was great. Coming home...a heavy headwind. Ugh. So, I warned them both when we met. It was no surprise we went out averaging 19 mph...and then coming in, we dropped some. All in all it was pretty good. We took turns pulling in that dastardly headwind on the way back in and made and sound (even though Judi didn't wear her helmet).

Judi wentout for a run in the 90 degree heat and Ryan and went home, but not before I fell over, clipped in in the parking lot. It was in total slo-mo. And no pictures :)

I got home and found I have some sweet new tan lines! One big line on my leg. My back is ridiculous. I have lines from sports bras, lines from tanks, lines from jerseys... I'm all stripey!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

play time days

That picture of me and the mutt? It was right after I'd finished my run on Monday. That run was full of sweat and smiles and singing along to the iPod and waving at (oggling) passers-by and jumping curbs and stopping to pet a pug. It was just pure, unadulterated fun. It was what I love about running. It was running without an agenda or a focus on pace or intervals or even a route, distance or time. It was just walking out the door and taking off in any direction, getting a little lost in West Covington, and enjoying the sun, the heat, the ability I have to do this sorta thing.

And Tuesday? I decided to get up at 4:30am and go to Masters practice...and I also decided to NOT push it. Coach Aaron tried to place me in the fastest lane for the main set. I simply stated that I wasn't ready to push it yet. So I led my lane instead...for a killer set of 4x(300 on 4:15, 200 on 2:40). We used fins and got plenty of rest, but that's a lot of swimming for just a portion of the practice!

Tuesday evening, I followed the plan and the did intervals on the bike . It felt good to pick up the pace, to gun it up a hill, to relax between sets. And to finish the cool-down in the rain.

Had a conversation with the good doc on Wednesday. He said "YOU are the expert on you. You have to listen to your body. I think you're being given a great opportunity here." Wha?! This "opportunity" sucks donkey dick. I come from the school of thought that if your mind thinks your body is hurting, that is your mind tricking you and you need to surpass this level of "pain" to tap into real potential, real speed, real endurance, real pain. This makes it difficult for me to discern "real" pain from "perceived" pain. Regardless, I left feeling a bit more focused and at ease.

All this was great and fun and quite lovely, but the real magic happened Wednesday night after my interval run.

My car themometer read 87 degrees, probably 80% humidity...and the sun was burning down. I started with my warm-up and as I was crossing the bridge with the Reds traffic, I saw a skinny bitch up ahead (he he he! A rabbit!). And just then, the warm-up was over and the intervals kicked in. I passed her and never looked back. These were relatively short intervals - 3 mins. And there were only four of them. After thefirst two, I was still feeling great. It was that third one when the pain kicked in. I could feel the heat on my back and the burning in my thighs and the fire in my lungs. And the fourth one was just brutal...keeping close eye on the watch, counting seconds, until FINALLY, the cool-down.

This was a focused run, which means no music, no lolly-gaggin', just running with purpose. And it's after these type runs that I assess things. So, assess I did. As I walked Clubber and the lethargy set in, I weighed my alternatives. On one hand, I want so badly to compete at Louisville this year...and I want to listen to Coach E and do what he says and be the BEST I can be, which won't be the best I want to be. And on the other hand, I want to just have fun. I want to do road races, 5ks, trail runs, the Cleves TTs, Masters swim practice. I don't want to be beholden to a rigid plan of action that won't allow these moments of play.

And it occured to me that these things aren't mutually exclusive. I can go do these things I want to do. I can have a plan. I can also be open to deviating from that plan. I can still go to Louisville and compete. And I can go in a much more relaxed state of mind if I allow myself to play. I can also decide that I'm just not ready for Louisville when it arrives. I always said that when this becomes not fun, I hope I have sense enough to quit. And I'm just putting a lot of stress on myself to be so rigid at a time when I've got no control over how I'm going to feel, physically, on a day-to-day basis. So, I decided that I'm just gonna have fun and not take myself so damn seriously...

And, this meant getting up again at 4:30am to go to Masters practice :) Coach E isn't a fan, but this to me is play time...but an incredibly intensely physical play time. Today's main set was avg best 100s. I held 1:20 on all, maybe dipped to 1:21 on 8 and 9, and went out a little fast at 1:17, but pretty consistently there. It hurt. so. good. And I stayed and chatted and laughed with Aaron and the boys after.

I walked out with a smile on my face and I felt freer than I've felt in weeks.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Some days, I'm just grateful for...

- frozen slices of overly ripe banana after a really hot run
- flying down the highway with my hand out the window, searching for my perfect "catch"
- being up before the sun rises
- a dad that loves the shit out of me - runs in which I cross all four bridges from N KY to Cincinnati
- sleepy time tea

- incense that takes me back to the ocean
- take-out sushi from Whole Foods
- pink sports bras
- the writings of Wally Lamb
- kids...and the fact that they aren't mine
- beating up on the guys at Masters practice
- raspberry cheeseake ice cream
- firing ranges
- having captured a rainbow on my cell phone camera
- a nice comfy bed of my own
- seeing friends at happy hour as I pass by on my run
- that my sickness is life-altering, not life threatening
- the lack of peanut butter, chocolate, bread and cereal (from this diet to ward off the sickness)has left me looking better in a bikini (vain, I know! sue me)

- the most AMAZING friends a girl could ask for
- not working...legitimately
- the lyrics to Billy Joel's "My Life"
- Rte 8 rides
- the color green!
- that stupid FB app that tells me daily that God wants me to know..."you are what you eat"
- text messages from mom
- gorgeous sunsets - ice cold diet 7up on a hot day
- swingsets

- watermelon bubble gum
- coming home to Clubber...even if she fights my kisses :)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Nothing goes as planned...

...'cause that's just life.

Friday, at work, I kept threatening my coworkers I was going to a bathroom stall to take a nap. Despite the enormous fatigue I was feeling, I tried for that Friday night ride. Cut it short at an hour because I realized it was just stupid to push it so soon after being so sick.

And then I awoke before 5am, barely able to move. Sent coach a text "Gettin sick again! Come and take it easy or go back to bed?" His response, simply "Bed!" And, admittedly, I cried myself back to sleep. I was upset over missing the team workout, upset about being sick again, upset that I'm in bed, upset that just a few months ago, Kona seemed in reach and now, even IMKY is getting further and further from my grasp. I was, once again, angry at the circumstances by which I became sick. The hatred and frustration all came back.

I slept for the next five hours. Deep sleep. Strange dreams. Dad brought me a prescription. Judi helped me with some research on vitamins and supplements to help build my immune system (thanks to both of you!!!) and without much ado, I went back down for a two hour nap.

Finally, around 4pm, I decided I needed some activity. An easy hour run. Wow, it feelt good to be outside! What was predicted to be a rainy day? Not as planned! It was sunny and breezy and beautiful. It took me almost an hour to run seven miles....but at least I was out. And when I got back? Shower, food, back to bed for some reading before actually dozing.

Another 10 hours of sleep. I awoke feeling much better. Not yet 100%, but still better than Saturday. So, I went out on the bike for an easy 2 hour spin. I did mix in some hills for a different route...and back home for food and more lying in bed.

I was honest with Coach about everything, my activity, my fatigue, my desire to keep training, even if it means only working half-days to have the energy. He sent me my plan for the week. It seems so half-assed and already, I'm thinking how I'll add time to the runs or yardage to the swims...and that's exactly the shit that gets me where I am. Pushing it. But how do you get better if you don't push? How do you break through to new levels of fitness or speed or endurance if you don't push through every now and then?

The silver lining in all this? I'm learning a lot about the human body and a weakened immune system. My eyes are being opened up to an entirely different way of looking at things. For me, life has always been "work hard, play harder". And it seems I'm being offered a different perspective.

Patience is a virtue. It just isn't one I typically hold close. I want to be better NOW! But, for now, I have to wait. Again. And if I push it, I'll likely have to wait...again. That only creates more frustration. So, i'm trying to simply accept with an open heart/mind/schedule that things just rarely go as planned.

Friday, June 12, 2009

wet & stormy

That's the basic weather here right now. You could add "humid" or "moist" or any number of other adjectives, but wet and stormy pretty much say it all. It's dark and dreary...and I swear there must be tryptophan in the air cause all I want to do is hibernate.

Thursday morning, I was glad to sleep in and not have a workout scheduled for another 10 hours. By 3pm, I was more than ready to get out on the road, out from the flourescent lighting and from behind the computer desk (where I pretend to work and just cruise blogs all day).

An hour ride with power sprints and then a 36 min z2 run. Easy enough.

I saw my buddy, Ackerman, out near Lunken getting ready to ride with the guys from Seven Hills. It's always fun to see a familiar, smiling face, especially unexpectedly! Back home for the run...

It took about 3 miles to actually start feeling comfortable, like I could run for an extended period of time. By then, my water was also gone and I knew I was on the home stretch.

All in all, 19.5 bike miles, 5 run miles. And a very hungry belly!

After the protein shake, that, yes, I drank straight from the blender, I made a trip to the grocery. And then, I was so exhausted I was I put on my compression socks and went to bed.

Nine hours of sleep and only one wake-up to eat. And today, we're having a luau - basically a bunch of middle-aged bankers wearing Hawaiian shirts and parrot heads and plowing mass amounts of food - at work. In the rain.

And after work? A 2.5 hour ride. In the rain.

And then tomorrow, an open water swim and 4 hour ride. In the rain.

As Coach just said "It's on like Donkey Kong!" What does that even mean?!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Good things come in threes...or something like that

Wednesday is the third day of the work week, so I guess Coach had this fun little game of sets of three to help represent. After my fun brick on Tuesday evening, I was looking forward to another swim.

I got up early and went to the pool before work, mentally prepping for the 3x1000s. The first one wasn't bad. I think it took me about 700m just to loosen up. Pretty soon, it was time for a respite before starting the next.

It was about 600 into the second set that I really started hating life. My back, shoulders, lats, arms were feeling the swims from Fri, Sat, Sun and Tues. I focused on keeping my elbows up and really puuuulling through the water. I have this problem - when I have a specific distance to do, whether it be in swimming, running, biking, climbing up a hill, and I know it's going to be painful, I just try to get it finished in the shortest time possible. So, I guess it wasn't too surprising that my second set was 13 seconds faster than my first.

And then the third one is why I have a coach. For times like these, when if I were simply answering to me, I'd likely be able to justify doing 2x500 with a min rest. I mean, it's the same distance, right? But that wasn't what was prescribed. So, I busted out the last 1000. A second faster than the second one. The possibility that my shoulders would simply seize up and allow me to drown in four feet of water seemed very real to me. It felt really good to have not quit when I wanted. It also felt good knowing I didn't have a swim scheduled for another two days!

Next up: 3x2 miles on the track. It was acheduled for noon with several people, none of whom I think were really thrilled at the prospect of doing such long repeats, if they had intentions of doing them at all? Anyway, we got rained out. Instead, I went home and took a 30 min power nap with Clubber, of course.

The track awaited me after work. I didn't know how tired my legs were until I set off for that warm-up. I had contemplated going to the gym for the treadmill, setting the pace at 8min miles (which was the assertively instructed pace. NO FASTER! No matter how good i feel) and mindlessly running. But I'd've missed most of the lesson - learning pacing and learning to focus in pain. Plus, it was humid as hell out there! And IMKY is sure to be the same. Ugh.

And, of course, I set out for that first 2 miler...a little too fast. First mile was 7:30...second slowed slightly for a 7:38 pace for the first set. 45 seconds rest. Just enough time to take a swig of water, remove the iPod, and turn around to go the other direction for the next one.

That same impulse hit me that struck when I was swimming that morning - Just hurry up and get the pain over. Second set was a 7:30 pace. Shit! SHit! Shit! And it hurt. Wtf? I can run faster than that on the road and not be in pain. It's sooo mental. For the last one, I did a couple laps on the track and then booked it home on the road to finish the full two miles. Again, very happy that was over...and 24 hours till the next workout.

So, after that torture, I thought it only fair to go celebrate by dancing the evening away with some friends and the Naked Karate Girls...

This is the drummer I'm totally crushing on...

What is it with me taking pictures of myself and having to have my mouth open?

Thank God for compression tights. After sleeping in them, I'm a brand new woman. And getting ready for this brick in a couple hours!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Fear and Respect Are Not the Same Thing

Check out my sweet new Cincy Express jersey! The pic was taken after my brick last night, which was very sweaty...and very speedy, by my standards.

Monday, I just didn't get up in time to swim before work...and as I've said before, the old lady acquatics class is at 6:30 and the perfume starts wafting around 6:15, so getting in my 3400 in 45 mins seemed an impossibility. I didn't yet have my training schedule for the week, just the swim for Monday. I decided to take the matter into my own hands and assume (yes, I know it makes me an ass, blah, blah) that I'd have a run on Tuesday and just do it on Monday, go to Masters swim practice Tuesday morning and call it even.

Monday evening was blazin' hot, about 90 degrees and humid as hell, but I was determined to begin this acclimation to the heat for IMKY. So, I went out for just under an hour. I swear I think the heat just cripples me. And then it was time for bed because that 4:30am alarm comes awfully early!

Masters practice never lets me down! Lots of 100s. Lots. And some laughs.

And THEN....I get my schedule.

Tuesday calls for a 90 min ride with some cadence work right into a 30 min run. So much for my assumption. Coach also made direct orders to NOT push it. Even if I'm feeling good.

Tuesday evening and again, it's scorching. I cross the bridge to Cincy with every intention of making this a nice z1 ride, as instructed...but for some damn reason, when I ride alone, I have to turn the thing into a flippin' time trial. Whatever. I blame it on the rabbit in front of me. I slowly closed the gap on him for a while, but God had other plans and stopped me at a red light right after he cruised through. By the turn-around, I had regained some ground, but not enough. I just waved as he cruised back toward the city. I ate a gel and refilled my aero bottle with my spare water bottle and headed back home. Best to just let him go and do my work.

I averaged 19.9 mph for the ride, which is good for me...and I think what helped was each time I'd start to think about that run I had to do afterward, I'd re-focus. I had to tell myself "Stop. Stay right here. Right now. And right now, you're on the bike. Worry about the run when the run gets here. Right now, just spin your legs."

So, I got back to the apartment, carried my bike upstairs, changed shoes, chugged water...and off for the run. I was already dripping sweat. The run called for some intervals in the first half which made me question the sanity of Coach. But turns out, legs felt great...and they had better turnover just getting off the bike. He writes some insane workouts and it seems that by the end of them, I'm just craving food like you wouldn't believe.

And once I got home and hydrated and showered, I realized just how exhausted I was. I hadn't had a three hour training day on a work day in a long time.

I was a little afraid to 'fess up to Coach that I'd added a workout with that run I did Monday...and that I went to Masters instead of following his swim. But, I emailed and did it anyway. His response? "Great job. Sounds like you're coming back." Ahh...

And I realized, I don't really fear him. I respect him. And fear and respect aren't the same thing.

Monday, June 8, 2009

so what

I was driving home on my lunch break to take the pup for a walk when I scan through the radio and a familiar song blares through the speakers. "So, so what? I'm still a rock star. I got my rock moves and I don't need you..."

And it made me think. In a roundabout way, that silly little pop song was the inspiration the name of this blog. And the little quip in the header? It's a true story. Tom and I had just finished a long ride and were running near the levee, just about to cross the Purple People Bridge when I said "Dude, we're fucking Rockstars!!" He was just trying to get through the damn brick. He turns to me and says, "I'm glad you feel like a rockstar right now 'cause I sure as hell don't". And we plodded along...

But last summer when we were training, I had a way of getting goofy at exactly the time when he was suffering the most. I can't tell you how many speed sessions we'd do where I'd bust out in song during the recovery phase. Sometimes it was that silly Christmas song that forever gets stuck in your head, "IIIIIIIII want a hippopotomaus for Christmas. Only a hippopotomaus will do..." and other times it was David Ball's country tune "Yes, I admit, I got a thinkin' problem! Fill the glass up to the top...". So, on this particular occassion, I sang some Pink. (I should also note that I DO NOT, in any way, shape or form have a voice that is worthy of singing.) And followed it up with a very motivational speech about the reasons behind our rockstar-ism.

We ran past the Montgomery Inn boathouse and I commented on all the people in there eating ribs in the air-conditioned bar, overlooking the scenic river while we're trying to hold down Gu and carry our water bottles as we run in 88% humid 90 degree heat at 2pm on a Saturday afternoon. And that was AFTER we'd ridden the bike for hours! We were training for an ironman! We were doing more in one day than most people (except those who read blogs like this. You, too, are Rockstars!) would do in a week, maybe even a month! Anyway, it became our little thing. Whenever either of us would be hurtin' on a ride or run, we could look at the other and just say "dude, we're fucking rockstars".

It was never an arrogant thing, more of a fun, playful, take-the-mind-off-the-pain, be-grateful-for-what-we-can-do kinda thing.

It just so happens that just as I crossed the finish line at the Great Floridian, the very race we were training for that made us rockstars, that song was playing. My family was there. My mom was so proud, she was jumping up and down as I crossed that line. Dad and his buddy had been along the course all day. My little bro, his fiance and their little girl were all there to give hugs and high fives. I'd sacrificed time with them all summer to train for this thing. And I learned a lot about myself and the things I love to do, and over-doing those things and friendship and training partners and sharing, loving and just showing up - no matter how much the legs hurt or how tired the lats were or how early the swim practice - and about believing in me without shame of being selfish.

And it's just a silly little pop song, but really, the message to me was pretty clear all along.

So so what?
I'm still a rock star
I got my rock moves
And i don't need you
And guess what
I'm having more fun
And now that we're done
I'm gonna show you tonight
I'm alright
I'm just fine
And you're a tool
So so what?
I am a rock star
I got my rock moves
And i don't want you tonight

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Two lakes, friends and the Fringe

Saturday morning: 4:15 wake-up so I could make the hour trip to Caesar Creek Lake to swim and ride with the gang from Cincy Express. I got there early, which is better than late. Four laps in the water...just short of two miles. There were so many bodies in the water! I'd never been up there to swim OW with these guys, so I took it all in and thoroughly enjoyed it. And...shhhh....but we girls dominated the boys :)

Then came the ride. The old Buckeye course. 56 miles. The first half we were apparently averaging 20.9mph. That's fast for me. Especially for now. There was a moment when my mind went numb and turned negative and I didn't really know if I was gonna hang on. It totally sucked. And then, like nothing ever occurred, i found my legs again. And soon, we slowed a bit. Only one flat the whole ride with a group of close to 15. We were finished with the whole thing well before noon. Some took off for runs or more miles on the bike. I went home... clean up and go down to th eFringe Festival with my buddy, Rob. We participated in this show called "Call Me". Someone had to put a LOT of thought into that one. And then we watched a hilarious one man put on called "Sex, Dreams and Self Control!" about a guy coming into his own as a gay man. Truly amazing. Really.

This morning, I got up early to meet Judi out at East Fork Lake to do another OWS. Ths time, easy and just 30 mins. I saw Tom on the expressway on my way out there. And we met in the parking lot. He had an hour swim, so we chatted a bit and he went ahead while i waited for Judi. The swim went well. We've both gotten so much faster since last summer. Makes it wayyy more fun. And on to more fun...a 90 min run.

I spent the first 25 mins on the roads to waste some time, but I was hungry for the trails. The sun was already getting hot and I was carrying my water bottle full of G2 with me. I didn't want to go on the highly (mountain bike) trafficked trails, so I picked this one I'd never ventured before. Suddenly, my legs came to life. A few minutes, I came across some soft spots. And I noticed some horse shit in the trail, but nothing i couldn't get past. I just continues along, eyes darting down, up, around, watching for branches, roots, rocks, and making sure not to miss the occassional butterfly.

Then, about 10 minutes in, came the slop. This section of the trail is tree covered. The sun has a hard time breaking through to dry up the rain of recent days. And much as I tried, I could not avoid getting ankle deep in mud. And then a big field, with waist high grass...and hidden wetness! After prancing around this for a few more minutes, it seemed no end in sight, so I turned around and headed for the dryer mountain bike trails.

They were dry and manicured and easy to run on. I remembered them from all the runs over the winter with the guys from CE. The, the snow and ice were packed to the ground. And we froze for the first half hour or so. Despite mud caked shoes and legs, I returned to the beach smiling. And just seconds before Judi pulled in on her bike.

My first full week back to scheduled training. And I managed to make enough time for rest and fun as well. Never before have I been so happy to do laundry....because it's full of dirty sweaty-stained training gear again :)

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Naked Karate Girls!

Life is too short to wake up in the morning with regrets. So love the people
that treat you right, forget about the ones who don't, and believe that
everything happens for a reason. If you get a chance, take it. If it changes
your life, let it. Nobody said it'd be easy, they just promised it would be
worth it.

I woke up this morning, not with regret, but ringing ears. Naked Karate Girls played last night. Fun band to watch. Also to watch is the drummer. he's nice. It was an overall hilarious time...which I needed.

I went to the pool at lunch to do my swim. 400 warm-up. 10x100 on 1:35 (and I held 1:21-1:23 on all!) then 4x400. Those 100s kept my mind busy. The 400s, my mind wandered. That's just dangerous right now. The shit just comes into my head and my chest seizes up and I can barely breathe. I've got to talk myself out of the thoughts. So, I finished 3k in just over 40 mins. or something like that.

I did absolutely nothing work related at work today. NOTHING. I checked out blogs, I researched people (creepy? eh...interesting), caught up with old friends, read my horoscope, sent text messages, emailed dad, work friends, training friends, etc.

So, 5pm and I hit the door. Took Clubber for a nice long walk down to the levee. Then I got on my cycling gear and headed out the door for my hour ride, where my life got ever stranger. I crossed the bridge into Cincy and the wind was full force against me. I passed a couple riding down Eastern. About 20 mins in, I pass the softball fields just as a ball is hit over the fence and into the road, so I pull over, unclip and proceed to get the ball for the guys. And I attempt throw it over the fence from across the street. I played softball growing up. I obviously underestimated my ability to retain such talent. It fell just short of the fence.... By this time, I'm so nervous, embarrased, anxious to get the hell out of there that I was afraid I'd slide on the asphalt getting across the street to, once again, retreive the ball. I was, however, successful on the second attempt.

Back on the bike. Another ten minutes to the turn around. Head back home. A few miles from the bridge back into KY, and a guy passes me. I hadn't even known he was there. I allow it to happen a first. I watch his pedal stroke. I realize that, regardless of his flashy gear and non-aerobarred bike, he's not really a great cyclist. His knees kinda cock outward. Nice cadence though. Strong legs. I charge and go after him. He keeps looking back. I think he could hear my aero bottle bounce each time I'd hit a bump.

When the road widened, I approached his side. We chatted a bit. He's training for his first HIM. Despite his roadie look, he's just another guy doing the same thing we all and have a good time doing it. We discuss race times a bit. He actually called me "Fast". Ha. And just before the bridge, it was his time to turn around. And my ride was nearly over. Negative split ride. Thanks to Ryan (unless he said Bryan?).

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Whatever it takes

I got a text yesterday: "Whatever it Takes" Lifehouse.
This means I am supposed to listen or check the lyrics.

I simply wanted to respond with: "No, It Isn't" +44.

But, I didn't.

I had gone back to Masters swim practice and then my amazing masseuse, so I didn't feel the energy needed to be spent.

I hadn't intended on Masters. It was a bit of a fluke. I got back to a schedule this week for training and there was a swim for Monday. Since I was busy moving and un-packing and re-assembling furniture all day Sunday, I slept in, figured I could get the swim in after work. I waltz into the gym at 5:05 (the old ladies invade at 6:15 for Aquatic Aerobics, so as soon as possible after work is KEY). I put on suit, gather my goggles, head for the back door of the locker room and see:

Wtf?! I had just swam the day before. Oh well. I didn't have shoes with me, so I just put my street clothes back on and went home. I was exhausted, but I needed to rid myself of the nervous energy I'm toting around, so I went for a run that was scheduled for Tues.

HOLY SHIT BALLS! I had forgotten how 90 degrees with massive humidity felt. I crashed early and decided it was good reason to get up and go to Masters since it's the only other pool to which I have access...and I had doubt about whether 12 hours would cure the busted pool at Urban.

I don't care what time you go to bed, 4:30am is early. But I walked the pup, gathered my gear and drove the 20 mins to Anderson. It was so nice to see those guys again! It was refreshing to have people to swim with. It was thrilling to have the competition and the clock. And I was frightened that wouldn't finish the sets. It was my longest swim in over a month. And I survived just fine.

And as I left practice, I found I'd regained just a little bit of confidence. Slowly, but surely.

I met with the masseuse for nearly 2.5 hours. I've spoken of her before, but she's very intuitive and she has a very positive, healing way about her. She worked with me on forgiveness and separating pain from the individual, optimistic thinking, creating a positive future rather than allowing a negative one...

I got a text from Tom asking about the bike I had planned, time and place, that he may join. So, we met at Urban at 6. I got in about 15 mins before we took off together. We headed down Rte 8 and looped back. Kinda like old times. Only not so much fighting.

I awoke this morning to rain and cool air temps...and sleepy eyes, stiff legs, a mind and body that could've used a couple more hours sleep. But, I arose, donned my favorite running shorts, slipped on my wet weather shoes, chugged some water and headed out the door.

With each step, my legs loosened. Sweat dripped from my forehead. Hair stuck to my neck. Thoughts swirled through my mind. I saw a familiar face. I took in the scenery. I felt the breeze and the raindrops and the hurt. And it occurred to me that I want to be back and I will do IMKY. I will do whatever it takes.