Thursday, October 30, 2008

Starting to Click

I have a lot rolling around in my brain tonight. I don't think post will follow any sort of clear outline. Here I go, my random thoughts.

Clearwater. 9 days. World Championship race. Wow. I did it. I got there. It was a goal that was deep in my head when the '08 season started but I wasn't sure I could accomplish it. Now, I'm 9 days away.

I'm ready. I have been working so hard for months and months. My body is strong and now, it's tired. This is one of the first times I remember looking Forward to taper. I usually dread it. I don't want to stop pushing myself. I want to use every last minute to Train!! Yes, I'm a bit of a work horse. But the fact that I am oh so ready to taper is comforting to me. It says to me, "you are fully trained and now need to rest." And that means I will be super strong and full of energy by next Saturday at 7:00 a.m.

Alright. My body is about ready, but I have some nerves. Fear of the unknown. I am travelling all the way to Florida from Maine for this race. Woah! That's a lot different than a quick trip over to N.H.! My bike is already there! I feel a bit lost without her. I feel completely out of control with my bike all the way down south. I don't like feeling out of control. I have no idea what Clearwater, FL is like. I do not have a clue how to do transitions from bags rather than having my gear all set up the way I like it At my bike. Small town girl heads to the big race! I am sure this will be a humbling experience.

Everyone is talking about the off season. I am so close. Again, I usually dread the off season but I find myself getting excited. I can't wait to set the alarm for a solid 1.5 hrs later than normal during the week. I can't wait to have 3-4 hours to myself for something other than biking, running and swimming while the kids are at school. I can't wait to pick Nick up Before Nap at his preschool just to make him smile. However, there is 1 more week. I have to block that out for a little longer and stay focused. I hope I can. I hope I can lay off the candy tomorrow night and the 5 days to follow Halloween!!!

So here I go. REady to rock and Roll. I am excited to hit the beach and do what I do best. I am excited to give this race 120% and then put my 2008 to rest. It was a Great great year.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Last minute tips welcome

I'm preparing my bike for a journey tomorrow. I will package her up safely in my friend's bike box and ship her off to Florida. Any tips anyone?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Take That!

You stinky 14 mile run.
Today, I put that bad workout to rest...officially.
I had a great workout and feel much better now. I'm back. I have confidence again and am ready to tackle one more week of hard work.
While this workout isn't too glamorous, it was satisfying.
I hopped on the trainer around 8:00 a.m. and got off just before noon. 70 miles. Hot, sweaty, long miles in the living room.
It was rainy, windy and 40 degrees here in Maine. I stripped off my drenched biking clothes and donned warm running gear. I wasn't sure how this run would feel. I was nervous after Monday.
I hit the road and the wind hit my face. By the time I was 2 miles in, I knew I was good to go. I was floating. I was strong. What a relief!
I knocked out my 8 miles and wanted more as I neared my driveway.
However, as soon as I started walking, my body was So happy to be done and besides, I was Starving!!
Great day.
Bring it on Florida..

Monday, October 20, 2008

Shooting stars

I'm beginning to realize how important it is for me to find something good in situations that aren't so pleasurable.
This isn't a new concept. But I need to remember it more.
Today I awoke at 4:10. Ok, I can handle that. I've done it quite a bit this season. In fact, if I get up after 5:00 it's considered a late morning.
I was out the door at 4:25. It was 24 degrees out. Woah. The first Real cold of the year. As the winter progresses, this will be rather mild. Not yet. It's still cold. I thougth I was dressed well . I had 2 think layers of underarmour and an underarmour jacket, tights, a headband, gloves, and a headlamp. No, the lamp doesn't keep me warm, but it is comforting on the pitch black country roads I travel on.
I began my 14 mile trek.
I wasn't into it.
I quickly fell into Loop Coma.
You see, my neighborhood has a very handy 1 mile loop. There are three or four street lights and my friendly neighbor's homes. It's great in the winter when I don't want to travel off into the woods in teh dark. I'm sorry. I'm tough but I have no desire to do that. I am afraid of shadows and noises and the idea of a scary guy behind a tree ready to make me into a headline. Enough of that! So I stick to my loop.
Today, it was horriflyingly boring. dreadful. Painful. (see previous post) I didn't even have the urge to listen to my music. I ditched it by a stump with my water and headlamp. As my eyes grew comfortable in the dark even that thing bothered me on my head.
Around and around I went.
I was slow. I was stupified at how slow. I ran a solid 30-40 seconds slower on these flat loops than normal.
Want to hear the good part?? I saw 3 Shooting stars!!!! How cool! The night was crystal clear. There were stars Everywhere. I thought of my 9 year old and how amazed he would have been by the scene. He would have tipped over backwards looking up at the sky.
And then....I saw a MOOSE!! Right there in my neighborhood galloping down the neighbors lawn. Yes, I live in the woods folks.

While I was in my loop coma, not listening to motivating music, I heard siren after siren at ~5 a.m. I later learned that a home burned to the ground not far from here.
See...things aren't so bad.

Later, I headed to the pool. Thanks to my friend and former swim team buddy, Alina, I had a fresh new workout to try. I killed it. I felt awesome. I swam 100s faster than I have all year. But just as I was about to start another set, the pool filled with people there for a therapeutic swim. I messed up the schedule. I was out. I only got in about 3000 yards when the plan was for 4500. I was so bummed.
But as I dressed myself in a twit, I watched a very nice and patient woman trying to change a young boy in a wheelchair. I'm guessing he had Cerebral palsy. He could not speak.
Again, things aren't so bad. I have a damn good life and I vow to stop fussing over small insignificant issues like crappy loop comas and shortened swims.

Here's to shooting stars...

Sunday, October 19, 2008


This is the color of my feet lately. Red hot. No, they're not red to look at, they Feel red. You see, I have chronic foot pain.
Occasionally, it flares up and causes me a lot of trouble.
Years ago, I started having pain in my right foot. I would start to feel a sharp burning in the toes and then diffuse pain over the entire forefoot. It was very bad when I ran but also hurt after a mere 30 minutes of walking around the grocery store.
After lots of tests and opinions from various doctors, I had surgery in 2005 to remove a huge neuroma. Nerves had been pinched and caused a big ball to form. The mass was removed. I had 3 kids between 18 months and 5 at the time, but I survived my month on crutches. I behaved and refrained from running for 3-4 months! I started back in the spring and it was glorious. I ran that whole summer pain free. I compared it to swimming. It was like I could 'finish my stroke.' I had a new form. I was stronger. Myself again. It had been torture, but the surgery was worthwhile.
And then, it came back.
The pain came back. But alas, not just in my right foot, but my left too.

I have seen my doctor on and off since 2005 for this. She struggles with new ways to help me. I try different sneakers. I tried orthotics. I had them altered. Nothing. Nothing helps. Sometimes I have relief for a few months. I kid myself into thinking I am cured.
It always comes back.
Since August I have been in PT. I had great hope. Someonen new. Someone who had fresh ideas. "We'll break the scar tissue. We'll do ultrasound. We'll cure the bilateral plantar fascitis because it all connects together and that may be making it worse." Nothing. More pain. Bad bad pain.

My training is going well. I am strong. I have been working hard for months and months. I have 2 weeks of hard training left before I get to taper for Worlds. I am honored to be going and excited to race in these hard core conditions.
But while I'm on the roads fighting fatigue from a hard 12 mile run or a 60 mi ride followed by an 8 mile run, I am also fighting pain. I limp. I cringe. I stop and try to squeeze the burning out of my toes. I want to push the final 3 miles but I can barely step. If I fight the foot monster for a few miles, it sometimes diminishes and I can go on without losing my breath to the hurt.
It almost brings me to tears. Yes, the pain makes me want to cry, but it's more than that. Why me? Is this going to sideline me eventually? Who knows. I can't think that way. I am told by some who are familiar with this that it'll be ok. I just need to rest after Worlds and let the neuroma "settle down" Sometimes they flare up. My Physical therapist told me I was a time bomb. Thanks for the encouragement. I don't need that right now.
I must hang on. I can fight through this. It's an added challenge in my world of sport. And I am all about challenges.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Half Marathon Race Results

Yesterday was my first Half Marathon! I have run 2 other half marathons but they were at the end of a Half Ironman. I was excited to see how it compared.
It was 32 degrees when I left my car but I think it was a toasty 40 by the time the race started. Beautiful beautiful Fall day in Maine. Perfect!!! I was envious of those who were running "their marathon" of the year. It was ideal for that. My last marathon was 1 year ago in Chicago. And it was HOT!!!! Hotter than hell hot. Miserable humid thick city hot. Ugh. Not a good day for me in Chicago. So.... back to Maine I came!
But alas, I was not running the full marathon this year. I was ok with it. I thougth I might feel strange, sad, regretful. I have done this race twice before and enjoyed the course and the hometown support. I thought I would miss the challenge of towing the line for a 26.2 event.
Instead, I was gleeful! I was relaxed! I was 100% at peace with my decision NOT to do a marathon in 2008. This season was all about triathlon. Even this half marathon was all part of my preparation for Worlds next month.
It was fun to get ready for this race too. I arrived, got my race # and chip, changed into my shorts, done. that's it. Well, I did run in the bushes and portapotty a few times and of course, chatted with friends. Before I knew it...we were off.
I ran hard from the gun. I wanted to push myself for the whole 13.1 to see what I had. I am used to training long and going pretty hard so I had confidence in my endurance. I felt strong and light. Then I had a cramp aroudn mile 3. It lasted for a while but then soon after I thought I'd never get away from it, I had forgotten it existed.
I was holding my splits around 6:50-7:00. I focused on my stride. On the feel of my legs.
I passed my Mom, Dad, Brother, niece and nephews on the course and even had the energy to Smile big and wave and say Hi guys!!! (during tri races I am all business and gasping for air.)
Oh, and Mary, I saw DW running fast. I couldn't catch him though. :o)
And then, the moment of truth. The turnaround. When running the marathon in years past, I have secretly growled at those turning around for the Half marathon. "Oh...they're just doing the half!" I don't know why I felt that way. Guess I was jealous and dreading the 13 miles I had to add on past those I had been running with to that point.
It was my turn this time. Again, peace. Glee. Sheer Joy to make the turn and head back!!! Yippee!!! No serious suffering at mile 19 this year!
It was also quite a rush to head back along the route I had just run with the 100s-1000s of people running the other way. Face upon face of those out to challenge themselves that day. Thousands of different expressions and types of stride. It was awesome. A beautiful sight to a runner. I loved it. And, I saw tons of people I knew and had so many cheers of "GO ANGE" thrown my way. It was a rush.
I was holding my pace. I was feeling good.
They had two big drums working us up and down the hills. I love drums. It's always been a dream of mine to play the drums. I smiled all the way for those 2 miles.
I started to falter around mile 9 and 10. My pace slowed a bit. I lost some focus.
there was a guy next to me that was driving me nuts. He kept talking. At one point he was literally On my heels!! I had to ask him to go ahead. He was drafting!
Mile 11 hit and I found my groove again. Back under 7:00 pace. I could book it in for the next 2 miles! Go!! I ran hard and felt great.
Finish: 1:32.10 3rd age group, 12th woman, 96th overall for men and women. (actually 5th for my age but 2 of the women were in the top 5 overall women and they all "placed" so I got bumped up.
And then I did what I have called others crazy for in the past. I went for a ride with a friend!! I'm officially a crazy triathlete now!!
Great day. Can't wait to do it again.

Friday, October 3, 2008

I keep forgetting!!!

I'm racing on Sunday!! Sort of. I jumped into the Peak Performance Maine Half Marathon on Sunday. (I have to mention Peak because it's home to my Tri team and they are the new sponsor to the Marathon/Half mary this year.)
I have never run a flat Half marathon before. I've done 6 marathons and 2 Half Ironmans. Ironmen?
Anyway, I've gone the distance many times, just never alone.
I plan to do a short bike ride before the race with some friends and a solid 90 min. ride after the race with some friends. It'll be a fun training day for sure.

Besides all that, training has been going well. Until today. I have felt strong and solid. I did a few hard bricks this week and felt incredible when I finished. I could have gone much longer. Today, I was a piece of raw meat. I felt slow and wobbly in the pool. My form was sloppy. I was weak and slow. I didn't even have the urge to Try to go faster! I rode my bike for an hour in the freezing cold. That part felt fine. Nothing too great but not too bad either. Then I ran. Dead again! Just slow and tired. My splits weren't even worth recording. Blah blah.
In my defense, or at least what I'll note in my log book is that I do have a chest cold. I have a nasty cough and no voice. Well, it's weak. It makes my kids laugh when I sing crazy love songs in the car. So, maybe that's it. Maybe it's that I worked hard the rest of the week and now I need to rest.
They can't all be good days right?