Monday, October 10, 2011

The 100 Mile Challenge

This year was an incredible year of training and racing. I learned a lot. And, honestly, I've had a blast learning how to swim and ride these last few years...but there are so many other things I want to do. I had a new PR at IM this year, but I'm ready for a new challenge. This year, I'm going to do some ultras.

After pacing Chuck for Mohican 100, I knew it was something I had to try it. The depths to which one has to dig is unprecedented. The plan is to finish Tecumseh Trail marathon in December, again. And then a 50 in the spring and a 100 next fall.

I know I can do Ironman, but I'm not sure I can run 100 miles.

And after my amazing boyfriend, Marc, did Vermont 50 (in 7 hours 57 minutes)last month, there has been some chatter. After a few too many beers last night, I challened him to a 100 mile run, claiming I can beat here goes...the start of a new endurance adventure..Let the games begin!!

Monday, August 29, 2011

8 Seconds

No, I'm not talking about that bull riding movie with Luke Perry. I'm talking about how many seconds over 11 hours it took me to complete IMKY.  That eight seconds is kinda haunting me.

But let's start from the beginning...

Typical race morning: have some coffee, be sure to poo, eat some food, pump tires and check bags in transition. It all happened. Then to the swim line, where my mom, dad, and Marc all found did some teammates, Val, Cathie, Charlie, Pater and Amy (who was also racing). It was great to have such support so early in the game.

I will say that I was most concerned about my swim time not meeting expectations. I told Marc to not panic if I came out at 1:10 because I was expected to go about 1:05. Just before we were sent off, there was a "medical emergency" and we were stalled on the dock for close to 10 mins. And then they let us go!

I jumped in and just swam. I tried to stay long and I just focused on passing as many people as possible. Obviously, with the huge time lag, there was quite a gap between our group and the people ahead. I gat swam over right at the start but other than that, I just thought about my stroke, how my kick can help some and following through, just like at masters practice. I didn't feel particularly great, so I thought for sure I was going to come in around 1:15 again since it's not wetsuit legal. To my shock and awe, I hit the steps, looked at my watch and saw 1:02 something. wtf? I took 13 mins off my swim time. Yikes. Hooray! official Swim time 1:02.59. Holy crap, and thanks Aaron and the boys at masters.

T1 was uneventful except for the fact that I had no volunteer. I just took off my swim suit, grabbed my tri suit and peed the longest biggest pee of the day :) time 5:32

And onto the bike...and that's where the trouble began. Leading into IMKY, I was feeling good on the bike. I borrowed wheels from a buddy and he told me to get new tires, particularly the back one. Well, I picked up a tire and replaced the back one. I rode it down to transition on Saturday with now problem. Out of T1, different story. The tire was rubbing my frame. Every pedal stroke was a struggle. I pulled to the side right out of transition and tried to pull it away from the frame...and got back on...but every stroke, there was one little portion of the tire rubbing and it sounded GOD AWFUL!! Some girl looked at me and said "that's really loud". No kidding?!! I saw Marc and stopped, I was beginning to panic. Some guy tried to tell me to go back and have the mechanics look at it. Another tried to help, but then said something about not helping. So he just talked me through it...pull the wheel away from the frame, lock it down tight. It's not fully in, but it's fine. After about 4 mins (and the 2 I spent prior to that), some tears, a few curse words, I was back on the bike. Marc just yelled that I didn't lose too much time and to just settle in, which is what I knew I had to do.

I felt good after that, a little worried, but just riding. Then came the first climb...and I down shifted and the rubbing started again! DAMMIT. So, I got to the top, pulled to the side, re-adjusted, again, and went on my way. All in all, I think I probably lost close to 10 mins total. But I try to keep in mind that no race is ever going to go perfectly. I just rode. And then I lost my bottle of G2 and my water was out. I was just praying for the next aid station. I had some lonely moments out there for sure. There were times I thought about the training it took to get there and I may have shed a few tears (I'm super sentimental). And there were some dark points. But just as they'd hit, I would see a teammate or Marc or someone yelling my name and I came back to life. In fact, apparently, I smiled.

I won't lie, I was glad to see that 100 mile marker. My hooha was hurting and I wanted to run. I  was a little nauseas and i thought my fingers were swelling so I was trying to take in the gatorade perform. But I'd never tried it in training. Um, MISTAKE #1. Official time 5:46.51

Anyway, into T2. Amazing volunteer. I was a little out of it. But she helped so so much. I just grabbed shot bloks and my shoes, wiped my face on a towel and went out the tent. time: 5:30.

The run. Oh...the run. Eddy had told me not to go out too fast. I feeling awful, but I didn't want anyone to know. I knew they were already concerned about my times. I had talked with Eddy the day before about my goals. I have been running really strong this year and I knew a 3:45 wasn't out of the question. But he wanted me to keep even pacing and go go go if I felt string at mile 21. Let's just say my first mile was 7:38, but I felt like I was crawling. And I walked on the bridge and knew then it was going to be a long day. I couldn't even think about taking in food. My stomach was full and revolting. By the third aid station, I couldn't even walk straight. The volunteers were asking if I was ok. So, I put my sunglasses down so they couldn't see my eyes and went off running. Aid station #4, I hit the port-a-potty for a few mins. Let me just say that on a hot day, when you come out of a port-a-potty, it feels like you're walking into antarctica. OK, anyway...until mile 9, I couldn't take in anything but a swig of coke or some water. Then, finally a gel and I swear, I ressurected from the dead!! I found that taking calories every 3rd aid station would be my plan. Then that plan failed me as I made the roundabout through town and once again felt awful.

Bryan ran with me, asked how I felt, talked me through it. I told him I would come back around. I was nauseous and my back was killing me. Once I concentrated on my form, I was ok. Seeing double digit mile markers was amazing!! Particularly mile 16. Not sure why. But I knew I was on my way home. When I passed mile 18, I heard some lady going the other way say she had less than 5 miles. and I almost cried. At mile 20, I knew I only had a 10k left, so I just figured, the quicker I go, the quicker the pain is over. I had been doing this "run til the aid station and then walk through it" pattern.And I kept that up through the remainder of the race. Those last few miles HURT. With a mile and a half to go, I just went. I think I had fire in my eyes. I knew it was going to be so so so close to break 11 hours. I finished the run in 3:59.16.

Total time: 11:00.08. Eight freaking seconds.

Good enough for 6th in my age group. And there were 4 kona spots, all claimed before roll down.

Oh, well, maybe next time.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

There and Back Again

So, there is a reason I haven't posted in a while. It's called IM training and 40+ hour work weeks and firewalls in the cubicles....leaves me way too tired for blogging. Hell, some days, I'm too tired for even sleep. I'm just tired! But I'm getting it in! But sometimes, I'm getting it iin with attitude. And whining. And crying.

Today was a scheduled four hour ride. And I was meeting my buddy, Pater, for some time in the saddle. We started out at 8:30am...oh, wait, he was 10 mins late. And I was, as stated above, not in the greatest of all moods (in his words, "a raging bitch"). We didn't really have a course planned, so we decided on a whim to go out to KY and up toward the airport, which meant lots of climbing...

And my legs were screaming on a run yesterday! I mean, Marc and I went out for this 6 mile run yesterday ay 11:45 (and let me just preface this with saying that it's been BLAZIN' hot here in the 'Nati...we had our 11th day of 90+ degrees for the month!! compared to the 7 we had all summer last year) and after a mile and the two miles and then three and again at 4, I stopped to cry because my legs HURT. SO. BAD. I didn't want to move!!

So, let's just say I didn't have great hopes for today's ride. And all this makes me uber grumpy. Pater made some comment about my chin strp on my helmet, after making a comment about standing and climbing and I'd already had it and went a little nuts, telling him to shut the fuck up...and rode on. I gathered my bearings and my sanity as we rode. And before I knew it, we were at the top of the hill, about 1:20 in...and stopped for more fluids.

We figured we had about an hour to roll around up top before heading back down toward the river. So, we went out and rolled. And baked. And sweat our asses off. We stopped after about an hour, far from where we'd come up...and I had ridden this area before, but not in about 2 years...and I ALWAYS get myself turned around out there, but when we stopped and Pater check GPS, I glanced, saw the river on the map to our left, told him we needed to go left. We went down, down, down..winding, and up and down, and up and down..and wound round and round. We stopped again, I checked my GPS...thought I knew where we were...and then, as we came to this construction section o the road where we were stopped for several minutes, realized we were headed toward Petersburg. WHERE THE FUCK IS PETERSBURG????

We were in dire need of fluids, so it didn't really matter. We rode, DOWN to get there. And found a store, where we spoke to the clerk and he let us know we were about 20 miles from where we wanted to be, and that it was pretty much all uphill. hahaha.

Did I mention that where I wanted to turn left, Pater had wanted to turn right? But I had won? Oops :)

We grabbed some snacks, some fluids, and a toilet. (notice the puddle under Pater's chair. That would be sweat...that is dripping from his shorts?)

Oh, and did I mention that just as we rolled into Petersburg that the thunder started rumbling?? hahaha...

I expected Pater to HATE me. Luckily, he's more patient than I. And he didn't get upset at me. We just rode the loooooong long way up the hill and into town. I mean, who doesn't need a little extra smileage? :)

Stay tuned for what's been happening the last few weeks, including races, wins, achy legs and lotsa lotsa training updates.

Monday, June 13, 2011


It's been a stressful week or so...lots on the plate. So, tonight, despite having a plan of meeting up for a dinner party with some tri friends, i'm unplugging. I have turned off the phone, the TV, music...I picked up a book and I'm catching up on blogs.

I had a pretty successful weekend. Saturday morning was a local 5k. I have not raced a 5k on the road in quite some time. But the owner of Bishop's Bicycles (for whom I ride) wanted us to come out and represent in Milford. I pre-registered. And let me tell you, had I not, I'm pretty sure I would've slept in. After a night of hoppy brews and chicken nachos, I awoke to pouring rain!

Luckily, it let up just before the race and led to nearly perfect conditions, except for some screaming humidity. I lined up after a couple mile warm-up with some svelte girls who looked a little serious and at the sound of the gun, I took off. I kept it under control and clicked away the first mile in 6:16. That's when the girl I was running with dropped back. I knew my second mile was slower (6:30) and I tried to pick it up again the last mile, but it was much like doing track work alone...there was no one around. Last mile was 6:26. Total time of 19:49 and good enough for the win.

This race was to benefit St Vincent dePaul, so there were all kinds of goodies being raffled away at the end. I took home my trophy, 4 vouchers for free DQ cones AND I won a $50 gift card to Applebee's. Not a bad return on a $15 race entry.

I had a long run on the schedule for that day, so when I got home and walked the dogs, I went back out for another 10 miles. 7:40 pace. Legs were feeling good, but it was sweltering by noon...

Sunday morning was Ride Cincinnati!! It's a ride to raise money for breast cancer research. Amazingly, they raised over $1million. Quite a few from our team were out there and we all stayed together until the turn around at mile 31 and then we kinda split up on the way back into town. I got to catch up with friends and gain some new ones...and I got in 62 miles before 10am. Not a bad way to start the day. (i;m the short one in the middle acting goofy. go figure)

Today was back to work...and work is getting a little crazy. Nearing end of quarter. And I've been battling some things, mentally, with training and family and relationships. And I've had my fair share of run-ins with being ill already this season, so I'm taking care of me, trying to reduce the stress level that makes me feel on pins and needles with a million little obligations or hurtful words or critical remarks. Because I want to be well and I want to do well. I have goals for the season and if I allow others' wants and needs come before mine, I'm losing sight. And sometimes, maybe I do that as a means of distraction from accomplishment?

"Each time I follow my deepest desires, fear is there wringing her hands, cautioning me with her litanies of what-ifs. I do not try to counter with reasonable arguments about acceptable risks. I no longer try to shame myself into action with admonishments to stop being the wimp, nor do i pretend to be unafraid. I simply move in the direction I have chosen to go, taking care to do the things I know will help me keep the fear at a level that allows me to continue to feel it and yet still keep moving. I put myself to bed early, eat well, sit with friends, take long walks by the lake. I have learned that doing things the hardest way provides no currency to be traded for greater future rewards."  - Oriah

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

updates on life

So, since TTT, I decided I'd take a week or two of easy training before ramping up again for IMKY training. It's gonna be a loooong season with ITU LC Worlds in November. The first week, I did take it easy....until Memorial Day weekend. That Saturday, I rode about 80 miles, most of whic was with my buddy, Ack. And then Sunday, I just did an easy 8 miles. It was hot and my legs were toast still. Then Monday, a 50 mile ride, which started with Pater and ended alone. I did get to start my cycling tan lines, which are pretty rockin' at this point.

On Tuesday, I started a cleanse, with supplements and by later that day, I was sick. That's when the "unplanned but likely necessary rest" began. I felt ok by friday, went for a speedy 6 mile run in the morn. And hung out friday night. Saturday, I went for a run in the morning to get my car...and felt GREAT!

As I was nearing home, in said car (aka beater), I got put in time out by a cop. Long story... I was in the wrong. I mean, I just wanted to get home and I didn't put anyone in danger, but I was being impatient. So, this cop told me to pull into this parking lot and I did. And after all was said and done, he never said another word to me. He just wanted me to suffer. And i was soooo hungry!!

So, I went to Kroger and got a veggie roll and decided to drive up to the bike shop where I used to work to check things out. before I left, I got really sleepy, but I told myself I could take a nap when I got back home. By the time I walked into Wheelie Fun, it wasn't two minutes before that veggie roll was coming back up. And let me tell ya, soy and wasabi kinda burns on the way back up....Another 25 mins or so and I was back to the toilet. The boys gave me some Gatorade and I was on my way back home to sleep (yes!!). And that's when I hit the stand still traffic jam...and saw the ambulance, police and fire truck go by. And then, I felt it coming again... and I had to open my door and vomit up the gatorade.

Let me tell ya....I haven't puked in a long long time. And it's not fun, kids.

But, by Sunday, I was feeling a bit better so I went for a nice hard 2 hour ride by myself. And then to the pool for some sun. and fun. and beer. and sun.

I got a little fried. But it was worth it. And Monday evening, I was planning on a nice easy lone ride. Put in my ipod headphones and headed out...and caught a dingleberry. Now, no one likes a dingleberry. Amiright? Guy hung on my wheel after I passed. And after 3 miles, I asked if he wanted to pull and all he could say was "no, i like the pace!". wha??? So, I kept hammering and on a downhill, he and his buddy passed. Of course, because they each had at least 40 pounds on me. And he then told me "you're doing Great!" Um....really? I don't really need your encouragement. It was ME pulling YOU aruond for the last five miles at 21 mph. k, thanks.

Anyway....I get to the turn around and actually see some guys I know and would actually enjoy riding with. So i too out my earphone and I caught them and it was a hammerfest home, in which two of us fell off.

And tonight's 7x400 workout was feeling that ride. The workout called for 5k pace. And they were all within 3 seconds of 1:30, if not right on it, so that was nice.

In other news, I'm single again. But that's really no surprise since I'm not sure I've declared myself as in a relationship. Guess things happen fast when you never blog. But this should allow for more time to do expect some more interesting stuff, rather than just boring workouts.

Oh yeah. I also got another pug. Her name is Carmen and she's fucking adorable. Has a retard tongue. But I don't even care.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

TTT strikes again!

American Triple T Ohio was just a week and a half ago and already, it feels like it was forever ago. So, this race report is a bit belated, as are all posts and blog reading done by me right now.

If you don't know the format of this race weekend, it's 4 races in three days. Simply put (as stated on the back of the mandatorily worn jerseys) 4 triathlons, 3 days, 140+ miles, 1 epic event. Or something like that... Basically, you have an Ironman split up into four races.

It begins on Friday evening at 5 with a super sprint. 250m swim, 5 mile bike, mile run. All I really remember was that the water was cold and my heart rate was jacked, but I was tryin to keep it easy because I knew what lie ahead from last year. Finished in a seemingly slow 26:11. After the race, we took a quick dip in the hillbilly ice bath (aka- the creek) and went to get some grub at the lodge.

There were seven of us staying in a cabin about a mile from the start line. Good people, but a packed place, to say the least. Didn't get much sleep and woke up starving after a shit salad dinner.

Race #2 is on Saturday morning at Olympic distance tri. The bike course is a little technical and SUPER hilly. Again, I tried to keep my cool and just ride and run relaxed. There is a crazy downhill on one section that is super steep and gravely, so I probably lost some time there, but it didn't matter too much. Got out to the run course. Man, I had forgotten how bad those hills are on that trail! But ran calm and collected. Finished in 2:35.

And back to the cabin for some grub and a quick nap. And a butt rub :)

Race #3 is also an Olympic distance and on Saturday afternoon at 3. BUT the order is changed up slightly to increase the challenge. Bike, swim run. And the bike course is different than the morning course. Still just as challenging, though not so technical. Straight up, down, some flat, turn around, flat, up, down into T1. Not so bad. until you try to get a wetsuit on when you're all sweaty! Oh, and did I mention that the weather in OH broke just in time for this weekend. It was about 85 degrees that afternoon. Swim actually felt really good. I just relaxed and got into a groove and cooled off so the run wouldn't feel so dang hot. Out of the water, wetsuit stripped, shoes on and out for the run. Which hurt a lot more the second time that day than the first. But it was over before I knew it. Finished in 2:40.

Again, back to the cabin for a quick clean up, a beer and to the lodge for food. I opted for a burger and sweet potato fries. I was hungry and wanted meat. Don't judge me.

Race #4 is a half ironman at 7 am on Sunday. Swim...well, the whole first loop, I could feel my shoulders. They finally warmed up and I had a pretty much even split for each loop. And then to the bike. YIKES. legs were kinda achy by this point. And that first loop felt pretty brutal. There was a left hand turn after a huge uphill and I underestimated the hair-pinness of it, skidded a tad, recovered and was shaky the rest of the way down. I got passed quite a bit there, but my sunglasses were fogging up and I just wasn't willing to risk crashing. It was getting pretty hot by this point. I was feeling a little weak, decided to empty my bottles, hit the turn around, refilled and set out for loop number two on the bike. And that's when I began to know I was going to make it. I focused on taking in calories, fluids, and just noted all the places I'd already hit. And before I knew it, the big climbs were over and we were headed into T2! Off teh bike, onto the hot hot trail run...

And that's where the fun began. I let my gut hang out, ran as much as I could, cheered everyone coming the opposite direction. The course is out and back. Twice. And it's uphill, downhill, turn, back uphill, downhill. On the back side uphill, I started walking...just as a couple teammates were running downhill saying "Amanda! you're not supposed to be walking!" Ugh. Then, as I was running downhill, I passed another couple team members, one of whom was about to run in front of me or something...and all i could say was "pleeeaaase don't fuck with me!". Back around to the finsh area, where you turn and head out for another loop. Ok. One more loop. Just two more hills. I passed a bunch of people here, kept cheering for others, kept trucking. Passed a couple more teammates, apologized for being rude but EVERY INCH of my body was hurting. Finally, I hit the final downhill and knew I was golden. All I could think about was lying in that cold ass creek. Finally finished in 5:52.

I took 3rd in the solo female senior division. Awesome race. I still love it. As much as it hurts. And I'm sure I'll go back again next year.

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Good Life

Yes, I have it; The good life.

Despite a little setback with my kidneys, which appears to be fine now, training appears to be going really well. I mean, I''ve taken my secret weapon out for 5am mile repeats on the track and came in at 6:12, 6:12, 6:12 and 6:14. And I've had some great long and hard rides. Judi and I did some good mileage despite getting caught in a dowpour the weekend before last.

Yesterday was, yet another, rainy day in Cincy. And also the day of the Flying PIg Marathon and Half Marathon. I partook in the latter. I had a goal in mind, but I was very afraid of this goal. Last year, I ran 1:33.40 and it was my first half mary. This was my second, but I'm running much better this year, so I wanted to go 1:30. It's a hilly course. And I had a good plan in place. 

But, as we all know, things don't always go according to plan. I started out with the 1:30 half/3:00 full pace group. And for the first 5 miles, things felt easy. And then, I got off track, mentally. I started thinking about how much it might hurt later, I got away from how I was feeling at the moment. I got a cup of water and the pace group gapped away. I totally panicked. I knew the big hill was coming and I knew i didn't want to surge, so I stayed back, freaked out. Marc was with me, and told me to just break the hill into sections. I did. My pace dropped as I watched my Garmin pace sink further than i liked. I gave a kid a high five on the way up the hill. I got to the top, no longer able to even see the pace group. At the top of the hill, I totally broke. My 1:30 was out the window. I knew it. Despite Marc's encouraging words and telling me we were going to "reel some bitches in", I stopped in the middle of the road, shouted "i can't do this. it's too much pressure". It was right before the full/half split. the girl right in front of me yelled back at me "Just run. I'm doing the whole thing". So I did.

I picked myself up, and started running.

Marc turned off to meet me later (he's doing Cleveland in two weeks, so he just had to be out there for support for his runners). The next couple miles, I just tried to regain my composure. I saw some friends cheering and then my dad (who took this pic - eerily similar to last year with the dark rain). I passed through mile 9 at a 1:33 pace and then mile 10 at a 1:34 pace. WTF? I got pissed. And then I just decided to enjoy myself if I was going to be slow. I thanked all the officers blocking traffic, I smiled at the crowd and just got in a better place.

Marc rejoined me and we went downhill. I focused on keeping my legs beneath me and just churned along, refusing to look at my splits, but feeling the vibration and beep with each mile that ticked by. Marc told me I was "smoking it", but I didn't know whether to believe it since he'd been telling me I was doing good all along. Once back into downtown, we had an out and back and i saw the pace group...not too far ahead, maybe a couple mins?

Before he turned off again, with just a few tenths of a mile left, Marc told me I was running 6:20s. WHHAAAAT? Really? I kicked it in as hard as I could and finished 13th in 1:31.31.

I have a lot to take away from this race. It was a PR, which I should be thrilled about...but I let my head get the best of me for a bit. The good news, I was able to regain my composure and get my head back in the game. So, I basically need to figure out how to not reach that breaking point.

I've talked to quite a few people about it today. My coach suggested I shout at those negative thoughts when they creep in. And my training buddy from IM#1 reminded me of just how grateful i should be to be able to do these things. A coworker just thought the whole things was amazing. And Marc let me know he's been there before.

We have good days and bad, but in the end, a good life is what it's all about. And even if every day isn't a good day, this is a good life.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Wow. What happened??

I have not posted in, well, a veeeerry long time (by blogging standards). And it's not for lack of things to talk about. SO much has happened. In fact, the amount of activity in my life is the very reason I've been away so long. In the last few weeks, I have beat my boyfriend at beer mile and set a new Cincy record of 9:08. I promise next time it will be faster.

And I've moved into my own place. I have all my stuff again. I slept in my bed for the first time in ten months last weekend. All my stuff is OUT of storage. the morning we moved it all, I almost cried. It's been a hell of a year and, once again, I made it out alive.

I've made some new friends with Bishops new Ladies Cycling team. And I rode my first road race as apart of the team. And then during the second race (which was very hilly and suited to me, my rear derailleur cable snapped. when i was in big 12. awesome).

I've also gotten in some epic training. I have a new secret weapon. And he's helping me run fast. Mile repeats of 6:08. 6:03, 5:55 (after a good number of hundreds). And he encouraged me, standing on the sidelines cheering at 5:30am as I have a meltdown cause the following week I can only manage to run 6:16s. He gets up with me at 4:30 to run a couple hours before work. And he joins me for my brick runs.

I've been on the trainer quite a bit and waiting for the weather to break! But at least I have some bad ass (literally) bibs for our new tri team cycling kit.

And swims have been fabulously. Our coach is getting married this weekend and we gave him a pretty good send off with t-shirts with his face on the back and a funny quip on the front. And this is what we all look like at 5:30 am. Awesome hair.

I got in my first century with new friends yesterday. And got rained on. And i'm not sure it got above 45 degrees yesterday. More awesome hair.

And now I have to jet off again for a group ride and some QT with Judi!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Rest. It does a body good.

Ahhh.... A rest week!
That means just something like 12 hours.

So, I'm going to address something...and it's something a lot of people ask about. And it's something Melissa asked about on my last post. How, exactly, does one fit in a massive training load of, say, 21 hours?

Well, basically, it IS difficult. And it does require some sacrifice. But at the same time, it's what I LOVE to do. I was so tired last Monday (going into week three of a 3 week build) that I came home, plowed some blue corn chips and mango salsa and assed out at 7:30. Only to get up at 4am for swim practice. And then, Wednesday, I was up at 4 for a two hour speed workout. And then a ride into work (in 32 degrees) and a ride after work, to get up at 4:30am and go back to swim practice.

basically, these kinda weeks are train, work, train, sleep, train, work, train, sleep, and lots of eating in between. And these are also the weeks that i feel ZERO guilt about getting back on the coffee. Or having crazy cravings for frosted donettes, ya know, the c-store variety.

But here's the deal...I socialize while i train. And i hang out with people that understand that. Because they do it to. I just also tend to hang with the people that also train. Those people have become my best friends. And biggest supporters.

So, I suffer a week (or three) for weeks like this, when i may have more time to blog...

And I get time to relax. And maybe even feel guilty. But, really, I've learned that it's all about balance. And I have some pretty great people in my life to help me out, like boys that have hot tubs and like to sleep with Clubby.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Forgive me...

Ya know, if I seem more out of it than normal. It was a big weekend. And I'm exhausted. I may have blacked out while sitting at my desk today...

Saturday was the Frosty 14 mile trail race. I was really nervous because I haven't run a trail since tecumseh Trail marathon in early December...and my runs haven't been overly long. And I was coming off the second of three hard training weeks. I went out and just decided to stay on the heels of the girl who won Tecumseh. There was a whole line of folks behind us. I stayed with her until about the six mile mark, when I got impatient and went for a pass on an uphill. And I ran scared for the next eight miles. One other guy and i were going back and forth for a bit...and wouldn't ya know, dude outsprinted me in the last 5 meters. I couldn't hear him coming (or my heavy breathing the whole race) because I had some Kanye blasting in my ears.

I ended up 2nd female. And I was really happy with it. It was sooo muddy! It had rained the week leading up to and the course was out and back, so it was slippy, slidey, grab some trees to get up hills kinda running.

And then I went to work at the shop for a few hours.

And Sunday was a nice long ride in preparation for HOS, the crazy 200 miler next month. I set out from home and got in almost 20 miles before meeting up with the Bishops crew for a about 52 miles...and lots of climbs. I'm racing for these guys this year, so it was nice to get out and ride with them. Then, Ack and I went out and did another 20 something miles...before we got dumped on with some big ass rain drops.

Luckily, he has a very awesome wife who came and picked our wet asses up. And I got home, only to devour some food and get some sleep.

More storms ensued in the night and I was awoken by tornado sirens at 5am...

So, yes, I'm tired. And I'm taking the evening off because there are 21 hours on the schedule this week. And I can't wait!

Friday, February 25, 2011

It's all good...i think

So, my little tiny Clubber appears to be doing well. We had blood drawn at the vet on Monday and the results all came back fine. She's been full of spunk and vigor. She gets a little sketchy at night. I think she knows that what occurred wasn't normal and might be a little frightened...dogs are way smarter than we tend to give credit. My senses are also on high alert, so when she awakes every hour and sits up on the edge of the bed, I awake. Sleep has been a bit rough this week...

But training has been pretty fabulous. I even got outside for a 90 minute ride on Wednesday after work with Ack! My dumbass didn't bring shoe covers...and when it's cold enough to wear full-fingered gloves, it's probably cold enough to, at least have toe covers. It was great to be outside though. Because every other day, we've had some torrential downpours. And this morning, it snowed! blah.

Thursday morning, swim practice was lacking some of the super fast guys, so I moved up to a fast lane. And, wow, I love it up there. I get a challenge and I have fun. There were some pulls sets, some fin sets, some kick sets, some fast swimming and all in all, 3700.

Runs have also been going quite well. Last night, I ran straight through the production crew for Clooney's new movie The Ides of March, that they're filming here. I almost stopped and asked one of the security guys why all the trailers and pretty people standing about smoking cigarettes... Glad I didn't because it occurred to me what it was while I was out there.

Tomorrow is the Frosty 14 trail race. And a bunch of my buddies are down the USVI for 8 Tuff miles, which is some insane hill race in paradise. Should be fun for all!

Monday, February 21, 2011

I am not prepared

This blog has always contained a little bit of life and a little bit of training, a lot vulnerability and possibly too much detail.

And this post is none different.

This last week was INCREDIBLE! We, in the Midwest, got a tease of Spring. On Sunday, I got out for close to 70 miles on the bike. It was a ride full of hills and speed and wind. And me sucking the wheel of very strong male rider. Afterward, I was toast! In a really good way. The remainder of the week contained track work and crazy swim sessions and a couple trainer rides. And then came Friday...

I awoke at 2:30am to pee. After tossing and turning for an hour and a half, I just decided to get up and do my long run instead of trying to cram it in before going to the shop on Saturday. Two hours of night running in shorts and a sports bra, watching the city wake up and seeing another freak or two out running in the dark as well. It was the perfect start to a Friday prior to a nice long three day weekend. I rode my bike into work and at 5pm, I was on my way out the door for an hour and a half of daylight riding!

Saturday was at the shop. Everyone gets excited about riding again when it gets nice out, so there wasn't much down time. Clubber and Sid (my dog and Tom;s, the manager, dog) got to hang out all day, greeting customers.
And then I went to pick up the paperwork for the team I'm joining. Yes, I'm racing bikes for a team this year. There are nine of us girls and I'm really excited about the opportunity!

I woke yesterday to ice rain. Ugh. The cold came back. Trainer ride, weights, swim. And then hit the sack early...

when I was awoken by Clubber kicking my head. She likes to overtake my pillows at night. At first, I just thought she was having a dream (sometimes, she runs in her dreams), but when I moved her and realized she was awake, I knew that wasn't the case at all. The actual events that occurred next are blurry. I know I turned on the light. I must've set her down on the middle of the bed because I later realized she urinated right in the middle of it. She was convulsing, legs rigid, kicking, squirning. Immediately, I picked her up and tried to calm her. I took her downstairs, unsure yet what was happening. Her breathing was shallow and rapid. I felt like she was fighting me, so I set her on the floor. She felt over legs sprawled out, tensed up. It was the most horrific scene... I was screaming and crying and holding her as tightly as i could. What seemed like forever, but was likely no more than five minutes, the spasms continued. And I realized what I was witnessing was a seizure.

When it ended, I took her back to bed and did some research on the 'nets on my phone as she snored next to me. It appears to be one of two things: PDE (Pug dog encephalitis) or epilepsy. If it's the first, she doesn't have much time.

I was supposed to have a massage today. And I was so excited about it. But I can't bear to leave her sight. She's been sleeping on my lap all morning.

This is the one little thing that has been a constant in my last eight years. So much has happened in that time. I've been married and divorced, quit a job, got a new job, moved all over the place, bought and sold houses, had roommates, lived alone, trained for IM, run marathons, stumbles, got back up, laughed, cried, hurt, and loved. And she's been there through it all, to help comfort me, sometimes, just to be the reason I get out of bed.

To have a dog is a selfish thing. I realize that. And I've lost a lot of things in this life. And I'm just not prepared to lose this one. And I guess I never thought that day would come.And I'm not saying it has now, but the very thought that it may has me scared.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Broccoli for breakfast

Whoa! What a week! Last Saturday was a six hour ROGAINE with my buddy. For those of you who don't know what this's an orienteering race. Basically, you get a topography map at 1/24,000 to scale, plotted with checkpoints that you must hit to gain points. The faster you make the course and the more checkpoints you hit (or the more you hit with higher points, the higher the points, the more difficult they are to get to) the better off you are. Some trails are marked, some roads are marked, but not all are. And many times, you have to bushwhack.

We had fun! It was wet and cold and we got rain, ice, sleet AND snow throughout the day.
Unfortunately, all that fun bushwhacking through briar patches left me with some not so pretty legs...

Guess it's a good thing that it's winter and mighty cold in these parts so they weren't on for show!

It also just so happened that I had a scheduled recovery week... that means only 11 training hours scheduled! And I needed that because it was also a week of Super Bowl parties, corporate sales meetings and a need a to take some time off the legs after 3 full weeks of pretty intense training.

But....just my luck, my legs were aching the couple days post race (my buddy is a sub-3 hour Pig marathoner, so we were SPRINTINg those last few miles)...and we had a major kick set at swim practice on Tuesday morning. I suck at kicking and I kinda hate it already, so 1k of kicking is brutal, even without the pain setting in. The first few times through the set, I took it easy. Then I realized it was kinda loosening me up (I am ALL endurance, so this shouldn't strike me as odd, but it always does) so for the last couple, I was right there. I just put my head down, kicked and got on.

The next few days are somewhat of a blur. I did train every day. But I also had two work dinners, Wednesday and Thursday evenings. And the start of dinner was close to my typical bedtime on Thursday, so I was out til midnight. Ugh!

After a cleanse, things like NY strip, beer, red wine, creamed spinach, cheesecake, well, let's just say they feel like poison to the body. Friday wasn't the best day I've had. But the good thing about having days where you binge on things you don't typically do, you regain some focus. And you re-ignite a fire for those things that are healthy. And you want to get fitter and faster. Not fatter.

So today, it was an early run, followed by broccoli for breakfast (see! I'm finally tying it in:)) And then oatmeal for lunch (instead of pizza that they ordered at the shop).  Backward? Maybe. But veggies tend to fill me up with the fiber, so I kinda like them in the morn!

And even though I'm working 6 days a week. And I feel INCREDIBLY guilty for leaving Clubby lots of times, I did find that the bike shop work was very gratifying today. I love the people I work with there. And I met lots of new people. Conversed with old friends. And people I didn't even know had an interest told me they're fans of the blog.

So, thanks for reading.

And,'s still like 40 degrees outside. Time for an awesome four hour ride tomorrow!!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Yep, that's right. I'm stylish...

Mike tagged me with a Stylish blogger award. Go visit him. And now, you guys get to learn a little about me (as if I didn't already give you it all). Because of him.
The award involves doing the following:

1. Make a post and link back to the person who tagged you with the award.
2. Share 7 things about yourself.
3. Award to 7 great bloggers.
4. Contact these bloggers and tell them they've won.

So, yeah, about me:
1. I LOVE to read. Love it. Always have. Memoirs are my fave.
2. I am divorced. I got married very young. And I learned that marriage doesn't fix problems. In fact, it may enhance them.
3. I need alone time. Absolutely NEED it. I mean, if I don't get some every day, I start to flake out and get irritable and crazy. Between working full time at the bank, on Saturdays at the shop, training and a bit of a social life, I don't mind spending weekend nights alone.
4. I like to do crossword puzzles.
5. I haven't been to a salon in over three years. But I love to paint my fingernails, pluck my eyebrows, wear heels and get dolled up.
6. I make cards. I don't know how to describe it, but I paint them. If you want one, send me your address and you will see.
7. I have been to Italy, Belize, Mexico, Canada, Australia...and I'm kinda thinking I'm saving up for Ireland.
And I'm also very behind on blog reading, so if you guys have been tagged, forgive me, but here you are...
Big Daddy Diesel
Matty O
Carolina John
and, last, but certainly not least... Zen (come on, Zen, give us something, ya know, besides half naked chicks:))

Dear PMS,

There are things I enjoy much more than you. I will not allow you to interfere with my race today, as much as you may try to take from my experience of running through the woods. I will do my best to not allow you to interfere with my judgment and get all pissy with my teammate when he gets lost. And I will not succumb to your your whining, driveling ways. My pain tolerance will not be lessened. After that six hours of racing, I will let you win and I will give my body a nice long sleep and not wake it for the purpose of training in the morning.

Many thanks,

Monday, January 31, 2011


 I talk a lot about it on here. Probably because it's the only thing that is constant. Change is inevitable. And it keeps happening, whether we like it or not.

Things change for the better. And for the worse.

Over the last three weeks, I've changed my diet. And as skeptical as others were (and admittedly, as I was), it actually had a vast impact on me. On a cleanse, it is virtually impossible to snack. I snack a lot. Or I used to. It would be a chocolate passing a coworkers desk. Or a bag of (seemingly healthy) sunchips. Now, no more! Now, snacking is a piece of fruit. Or some veggies. But mostly, it just doesn't occur.

I'm finally to the point when I don't even miss coffee. There are no lulls in the mid-morning when I feel I need a jolt of caffeine. When I have lunch, I don't need a diet soda. I crave water. And the know those that make you think you want a piece of chocolate after lunch? Gone!

The best part is, I got in about 18 hours of training last week. And I didn't feel overly tired or overly sore. And my legs didn't swell. I haven't had preservatives in three weeks. I feel like a new person. My runs have gotten easier. I've lost a few pounds. And I sleep through the night (except for one night when I dreamt I was pregnant...don't ask).

Another change...I have zero discontent in my life right now. I mean, yes, I wish the weather were nice. And I wish the sun was shining every day. And I wish I could go out and run in shorts and ride outside...but, life, in general, is pretty damn awesome.

I absolutely love my job. It's great to be surrounded by people who appreciate what you do and the tie you put in.

I'm also working one day a week at the bike shop. And as slow as it's been through the winter, I love that place (even though it almost burned to the ground on Saturday) and the people I work with.

I have a great team. An amazing family. And incredible friends.

I could have said this all six months ago, but there would've been a hesitancy about it all. Today, it's genuine. Training is going fabulously. And I love my modest life. Even if Saturday evening only consists of grocery shopping and going to bed early.

Everything really does happen for a reason. And sometimes, we just have to get through some shit to see that reality.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Oh man...

Life has been kinda crazy as of late for various reasons. This past week has been a bit of a blur. There was a three-day weekend that went by all too fast. And lots of work. And meetings. And training sessions. Though not much in the way of socializing.

Saturday morning started off with a lactate threshold test on the bike. And then off to work at the bike shop. Wow. I missed that place. SOooo much different than corporate world. By the time I got home that night, I was ready to crash.

Sunday was a nice long run. I awoke willing to give my left leg for a pancake, but instead had a banana...and off I went for 13 miles. It was glorious. And cold, like 21 degrees. But I enjoyed every minute of hills. I later went to the gym for some weights and core work.

Monday was the Holiday. And I actually worked from home. I awoke and worked and decided not to leave the house until the work was done. That was before a two hour trainer ride, which, to my surprise was somewhat taxing. Coach has us doing these one leg drills. I am so not skilled. But I am convinced that I will improve.

This week at work has been pretty insane, so I find myself reaaaaally looking forward to my training sessions. Ironically, I did mile repeats on the track yesterday morning in 40 degree weather. And today after work, I cancelled my run because we were getting more white death. By the time i was making the trek home at 4:30, there was about 4-5 inches. And the snow kept getting under my pants leg and chilling my ankles.

So, this cleanse? Um,'s not exactly easy. Especially when training 2-3 hours a day. In fact, tomorrow I get to introduce organic free range chicken and fish. And. I. Can't. Wait. The guys at work are having a heyday with this. Every day, I get invited to go eat lunch at the pizza buffet. Or Chipotle. Or to join them for coffee. Or go to happy hour. Fucking hilarious. Tonight, I caved and had a heaping spoon of natural peanut butter. Nuts are not on the cleanse, but seriously, I'm not out to purge my system, just to get rid of the preservatives and crap in my diet. So I don't feel so bad. I just needed something to make me not feel ravenous. I really wanted a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, so at least I didn't go off the deep end.

I don't know I've lost ant significant weight, but I do feel better on the whole. Save for last night, I've slept better this past ten nine days than I have in a very long time. And my legs aren't swelling like they usually do with a heavy training load. And I generally just feel good. In fact, this morning at swim practice, a fellow swimmer told me I was "on fire today". I'm not sure if I was actually swimming any faster, but I didn't feel like I just wanted to stop.

A more intense hunger and a bit of fatigue has hit the last couple days and despite that, I was thinking last night about how if I went to a pub right now, I most definitely wouldn't be ordering a burger and fries. Too heavy! And I think a large portion of bread and/or cheese would make me feel lethargic. I'm quite enjoying these veggie based meals. So, don't be surprised if my diet changes for the better permanently. If that's all I get from this, I'm a happy camper.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


I have the Wall Street Journal sitting on my desk at work. It's from 12/31/10. And it's just the entertainment section. I picked it up a week or so ago with intentions of reading the cover story "Cultural Resolutions" in which artists share their goals for the coming year. I don't know why I hadn't read it until now, but it's intriguing and inspiring to see that even simple things can be goals. Nanette Lepore, a designer, wants to do "more flirting, including with her husband". Ozzy Osbourne: "I'm still alive, so I would say that I was successful with my one resolution last year".  There is a pianist who "intends to do the most difficult thing - to make people dance" and a Danish artist who wants to "create a work of art that only consists of a feeling". David Shore, creator and producer of "House": "i want to find something else that inspires me." Isn't that always a fabulous goal? hmm...

So, the beginning of the year provides this opportunity to formulate new goals. And I've been tossing some around in my head, but I think it's time I actually get a few of them down on paper.

I've actually already started one. This "cleanse". It's not a cleanse so much to remove the toxins from my body as it is to remove the shit from my diet. I've tried, unsuccessfully on a few occasions to clean up my diet. And I always fail. I figured a good sweeping of all the bad (like diet soda, coffee, sugar, vending machine snacks, the crap I want before I go to bed at night...) was a good way to get there. It's a focused attempt at breaking some bad habits. Seriously, they're habits at this point. I used to have that coffee every morning because it was what I always did. And the Coke Zero at lunch? The same. And having something sweet after lunch? yup. HABIT! The idea is that I will bbreak these habits after three weeks, and therefore eat cleaner all the time.

Already, I've noticed changes. I don't get overly hungry (which, yes, Zen, I'm sure comes from my food choices that create a spike and then a dip in blood sugar), but I also don't get overly full. I was eating pretty well; plenty of fruits and vegetables. But probably too much sugar, bread, crackers, Now, well, now it's lotsa water, which leaves me with better hydrated skin! It just so happens to be a recovery week, so maybe that has something to do with it, but I have steady energy throughout the day. I don't have that dread after work that there lies another trainer session. There is a slight dip in the mid-morning, but I think that will pass as I continue to cope without my caffeine. AND I'm sleeping through the night! That used to never happen. I can't wait to see what happens in the days to come.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

That wasn't so bad

Hmmm....The day started out snowing. It may have let up just a little, but it's snowing, yet again. I went to the store last night and it was a madhouse. Like el fucking muerto blanco is coming!!! Better load up on food because we might starve in a snow storm. Really? I hoofed it to and from work in the snow. People looked at me like I'm crazy. And I might be, but not for that reason.

But because of the snow, today was a trainer day. After walking home from work, I put some spaghetti squash in the oven and hopped on the bike for an hour of time trialing with Coach Troy. It warmed me up, so really, it wasn't that bad.
Today was also day #1 of "the cleanse". And I made it through successfully.

Now before you all start passing judgement about what this "cleanse" is, exactly, let me just tell you first and foremost, this is in no way a fast. It is simply a means of eating clean. REALLY clean.

It's 21 days long. And for the first 10 days, one can eat his weight in organic (non-starchy) vegetables. And have half as many servings of organic fruit. And you're allowed 1/2 cup brown rice or 1 cup lentils per day. And lots of water. Whey protein is also allowed (and recommended) in 2-3 shakes per day. There's just no meat. No dairy. No preservatives. No sugar. Spices and a couple tbsp of oil are also recommended.

Going in, I was terrified I'd be starving. But so far, I've not had any major low blood sugar moments or lingering hunger pains. I did, however, realize just how dependent upon caffeine I am. Not having that morning coffee is no bueno. The morning headache and sleepy eyes are something that will dissipate, but I'm not sure coffee is something I'll give up forever.

I actually didn't even have the rice/lentils today. I made the aforementioned spaghetti squash, which was topped with broccoli, carrots and a ginger sauce I mixed last night. Yum. I may feel differently in a few days, but for now, I'm feeling pretty good. 21 days is a long time though.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Off to a good start

Over the weekend, I got in two fabulous outdoor rides and two longish runs. I also moved back to my old 'hood and made lots of food. It was a damn near fantastic.

Firday was so gloriously sunny and warm, with just a little crazy wind. I mean, shorts on the bike on December 31st?!? Yowza.

I had planned to start the year with a 5 mile race....but I woke to rain, which didn't scare me...but then my buddy called and told me it was $35 registration. And I just got my first real paycheck the day before. I think living like a miser cheapened me up. $7 a mile, or more than $1 a minute just seemed to rich for my blood. So, I bagged it. Instead, I got myself settled into my new digs. And that's when I discovered that I may have a clothes addiction. Half my clothes are still in storage and I have 32 tank tops. I also have about 14 pairs of jeans, 7 pairs of black tights, two huge drawers full of winter training clothes... just at this location! And I've downsized every time I've moved (which was more than a few times this year) and I haven't bought much of anything in the last six months.

But whatever. I waited 'til the sun decided to shine and went out for a nice 10 miles at a brisk pace. It was sooo nice to go out and run an old familiar course. Again, in shorts and a sports bra. The temps were dropping, but I was taking full advantage of the warmness that was.

Sunday morning was a scheduled run with a buddy of mine. Unfortunately, he bailed without really letting me know (hence the word: bailed). Fortunately, I recruited a cyclist buddy that signed up for IM St George so I was not alone. It was a coldish run. I went from wearing shorts and a sports bra on Saturday to tights, sleeves, jackets, gloves, hat on Sunday. I wasn't planning to go fast or hard, but I think the pace ended up fairly spirited.

After 13 miles, I arrived home to a text from Judi asking if I wanted to ride. I had just enough time to down a smoothie, a coffee and warm myself up before piling on riding layers and hitting some good hills for a couple hours. Let me just say that 30 degrees in crazy heavy wind is not the most fun riding I've ever had. And it's much more exhausting than you might think, but we had some good laughs and we're building back our friendship in a good way.

By the time I got home, I was ready to scarf some homemade black beans and rice, thaw in a hot shower and cuddle up with Clubber.

I think the only good thing about Monday is that I got to make the two mile trek to work and then again after work. The legs are feeling a little trashed as we acclimate back into base training, so the active recovery is a nice bonus. Plus, not fighting traffic and paying exorbitant parking fees, not to mention getting to watch the sun rise AND set is pretty cool.