Sunday, August 30, 2009

Fighting Back

Today I proved to myself that I am in fact still and athlete and I am in fact still capable of crushing a workout.
I inadvertently overdressed. When this brick started at noon, it was cool and overcast. I had worn a sweatshirt at my son's soccer game and when we got home, closed windows. I decided on an underarmour shirt, a bike shirt over that and ha, a jacket! (just remembered I forgot @ that jacket....ooops). You see, about 3 miles into the workout, I hid the jacket under a rock. I left it there. Better get on that tomorrow.
Around mile 5, the sun came out and it got Warm!!! I decided to leave the extra shirt--my lame at attempt at acclimating for Hawaii.
I was heading out for a 50 mi ride with a 30 minute T run. Not bad at all. There was some hard interval work tossed in the middle.
I found the perfect roads after 15 miles of warming up and went for it. I hammered out the next 40 miles. (went a little far 'cause I missed a turn.) I pushed and pushed. I was hot and thirsty and feeling the surprise heat we had today. This was good. I will feel this next month. I never hit a wall and my legs never felt like quitting.
Now off on the run. I have been suffering on my runs lately. Glue. That's the best way I can describe the feeling in my legs lately.
My ankle didn't hurt. My foot didn't hurt. I took small steps up the hill and then let myself go. I wanted to test myself.
I had it.
Finally, the Garmin started working! (it was broken earlier this week it seems...)
Instead of seeing 8s, I saw 7s. Instead of 38......45.... I saw 30....15. good stuff. Ok, my HR wasn't exactly where it was supposed to be, but I slowed it down and calmed it down.
My energy for the sport came back. My drive.
I had an angry-frustrating start to the day. This took care of it. I had sadness and envy that I wasn't racing this morning. This took care of it.
When I got home, I was totally happy. I felt like myself again. A hot sweaty tiring hard workout. this sport!
My husband asked me with trepidation, "how was that? the run?"
"Good." I simply smiled and said, "yeah...I felt good."
really? He couldn't believe it. He knows I've had a hard week.

And that's that! Funny how all it takes is one solid day to prove to yourself that you aren't falling into a deep dark rut. Also funny how the brain tricks you to think that you are sometimes. I just needed to regroup.
Now I'm back.
Kona watch out.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Family fun

We had tons of summer fun this year. I was lucky to squeeze in lots of good times with my family despite my hours and hours of swimbikerunning. Here are a few glimpses: First day of School!!!! (oopps...thought we were on summer fun mode. School started too early! Right in the middle of this stuff in the pictures!) Grades 4, 2 and Kindergarten! How did my kids get so big??

Cameron's 10th Birthday at camp 8/23

riding bikes at Wolf Neck

Nick's driving the boat at camp.
We took this of ourselves at bedtime at the cottage. Not sure what's up with the fingers. He had a little thing with the 'peace sign' for a while.

Nick at Wolf Neck...

Cam's in the middle. He turned 10 last week. Tommy's up front...age 7. Nick's in the back..age 5. Posing for Mommy...very patiently

Ahhhh... My secret getaway. Thanks Mom and Dad!! And Grammie and Grampa!!!

It's a nice rainy day in Maine. I say nice only because I needed this day "off." Yes, a day off from fun. From 100 mph fun. This is the first weekend since Lake Placid that I haven't packed for a trip and headed off somewhere. We've had a blast for the month of August. A vacation at the beautiful spot photographed above, a trip to another gorgeous resort in Maine, and several trips to our camp on the lake. Perfect summer fun. Today I needed to be home. To chill. To fold all the laundry from all those noted trips. I'm happy to say the past few days have been ridiculously productive. I have totally cleaned out the boy's playroom and two of their bedrooms. I have touched every single little item in each room and either tossed it or found a home for it. And then I rearranged. I have cleaned all the bathrooms, vacuumed long lost nooks and crannies, and made a lovely list for Mark. Yes, he gets projects too!!! I feel better.

So now, I ready to crush a few tough weeks of Kona training!!!! No more dead legs. Ok, so maybe dead legs but it'll be for the right reason. I'm moving on and closing in on this massive adventure and challenge. I can't believe it. I am going to Kona!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Getting my legs back...and the babies

I"d be lying if I said this was easy! I am struggling a bit here. And to say that, feels wrong. It feels selfish and ungrateful.

I am in the midst of preparing for a race that is basically a dream. A dream for many. A dream for me.

As I sit here in Maine, sending the kids back to school and feeling the air turn with crisp fall air, I am thinking of Hawaii. Am I really going to Hawaii?? It's just not real. I turned on the DVR last night--Ford Ironman World boomed through the room. I watched the first 15 minutes or so over the coverage. Again. You know, the part with all the people tipping over into heaps as the 100 degree weather knocks them down into mush. I studied the landscape. The steps going out of the water. Every little detail. It is surreal. You see, Hawaii is on the Other side of the world!!! I have 3 little babies (ok, not babies-more on that later) that I have to leave. It is hard. I already dread that part.

So that's just part of it. It isn't totally real to me yet. I just can't imagine going all the way to those islands.

The hardest part is revving myself back up again. I spent a year thinking about Ironman Lake Placid. The 6-7 months prior were spent training with all focus on that one day. That one big A race of the year. I counted down major training days. I thought about all the free time after the Ironman.
Race day came along and it was awesome. I put it all together and felt Huge satisfaction and pride with my accomplishment.
And then the next day, 15 hours after crossing the line, I signed up for another one. 10 weeks later!! ( something like that )
I absolutely want this. That's why I feel bad saying this. But it's a bit tough.......
here's why I'm struggling.

I took a week Off. 100% off. The week after that was super super light and I was pathetic. I couldn't do much at all. And the week after that.....I had the foot pains. I hopped in the water for my run workouts. For 2 weeks. While my ankle is pretty fragile, my doctor gave me his blessing to hit the roads again. Foot is ok.

Wow. That's about a month off the road. The water running did a lot for me, I'm sure. But my legs feel like glue. I am so so slow. It is really bad. You know when you run along and you swear your garmin is Wrong! Mine has been wrong all week.

Ok,I did have a few bursts of myself today while running. Not much, just a few miles. Not consecutive miles though. I was so frustrated that I wanted to cry. Right there...running down the road. Where did I GO??? where are my legs??
I do feel good in the water. I feel fine on the bike. So, all is not lost. I just need the whole package. Soon. Come on Body! Wake up!

I want the feeling I had 6 weeks before lake placid. Instead, I am sore. I feel fat. I am growling at my vacation week when I when indulged in friend clams, ice cream and gasp..a few drinks! I am slow....
I think next week will be a turn around. I will have a whole week of hard solid training. I will feel like an athlete again at the end of it. The soreness of starting back up again will be gone. I will be strong. (I hope)

This month starts a new phase in my life as well. My big boy turned 10 the other day. 10!!!! Meaning, only 8 more years until he's gone! Grown to college...gulp.
And if that wasn't bad enough, my baby started Kindergarten!!!! Too much for me. The little guy loved it. He is so ready. He's been ready since he was 2...that's what his Grandmother says.

I will absorb all the time with this training. It's perfect. And I'm so lucky. After that, I will decide 'what's next' for me.

I have been a Mom with 3 little kids for a long time. And now, they all trot away from me at 8:30 each morning. It's a little sobering. You carry these little ones around on your hip, in their car seats, feed them baby rice cereal and sweet potatoes, hold their hands as they go down the stairs, roll balls across the floor to them for hours, and read them Goodnight moon a billion times and then there they happens really fast.

But it's also exciting. My litlte ones are doing so well. They are thriving. It's a Mommy's dream to watch them succeed. I love to watch this. I just miss them.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Thrown a curve ball

It's been quite a season. Quite a year for that matter. I have had many successful races and logged many many miles. I've done 3 Half Ironman races, a handful of sprint and olympic distance triathlons, and now I'm heading into my 2nd Ironman in 12 weeks.
When I look back, I am quite proud of what I've accomplished. It's been a good run.
But, I'm not done yet. I have yet to fully train for that aforementioned 2nd Ironman. Kona is a mere 7 weeks away. Is that right? How can that be? Ok.....I distracted myself for a minute!

Many months ago I noticed my ankle was swollen. I just ignored it. In May, I started to feel it. I saw the doctor and after an ultrasound was diagnosed with a partially torn tendon. Um....that can't be good. I completely tore the rotator cuff tendon in my shoulder a few years ago and that was not pretty at all. I dealt with a tough surgery/rehab period with that and came back 100%. Lucky. So, now I have an ankle on the way out? I ran carefully through the remaining 8 weeks or so of my First Ironman training and was lucky to get through July 26th without Any problems.
I put it out of my mind.
A few weeks ago I was basically a slug. I was on full recovery mode from IMLP and my training schedule was close to nothing. Don't get me wrong...I NEEDED This!!!!!! I was torn up. My legs were fried and refused to move properly.
After two weeks of minimal swim/bike/run, I felt a pain. In my foot. It was strong and sudden. It was the Other foot. Not the one with the bad ankle. I grabbed it, rubbed it, ignored it and went to bed. I told my hubby, "something strange just happened." That was it.
I awoke the next day for my run. And easy 45 min run. I treaded with caution. Wondering.
Fine!!! Ha, a fluke. I knew it.
And then, an hour later, OUCH! the same pain in the ball of my foot. Oh oh. From that moment on I hobbled on my ankle refusing to put pressure on my foot. But, by doing that, all the pressure went back to my foot with the bad ankle.
I'm getting old.
I'm breaking down.
NO! I'm ONLY 39!!!! That is NOT old and it is NOT Middle aged!!! (right Mary? :) )
Ok. I sat down and thought. What is the deal here. Is there a real problem? I have chronically bad feet. I had a neuroma exicision in 2005 and have been plagued wiht ongoing pain in both feet ever since. I rarely have a pain free run. That is just my norm. But this was different.

Stress fracture. I convinced myself I had one. I talked to people. I researched. And I made an appointment. Actually I already had an appointment to follow up on my ankle.

For about 60 seconds I sat in this very chair and had bad thoughts.

It's over. I'm done. No Kona for me. I worked so hard to get here and this is it...done.All that wasted money on plane tickets, and hotel, and entry fee and a speedsuit. This is my one shot at the big game in Hawaii and I'm broken. I can't do it. blah blah blah.......

And then it ended. I banished those thoughts, I quieted my demons, and decided to figure out what I needed to do to fix this. To train without my foot. And then I remembered- Water running!! I can water run!! Yes!

I knew my training would have to change. I would have to be creative. Add new things. I wouldn't be able to haphazardly tread through 20+ hours like I was 22. I am not 22. I am 39. But I am a damn strong 39 y.o. and I can do this. I will do whatever it takes. I will get myself to that starting line on the Kona pier no matter what it takes. I worked so hard all year long to make this happen. I never skipped workouts. I never backed down in a race just because I was tired. I will not back down now. I refocused and made a new plan in my head. It would all be fine.

So for a week or so now I have been water running. It is a good workout if you use proper form. I am feeling super strong on the bike. My fatigue is gone and I am strong again. The water is alwasy nice. Swimming is just fine.

I saw the Doctor yesterday. He doens't believe it's a stress fracture. all works out. That said, I did have foot pain and I do feel some soreness from time to time. I will continue to be smart. My ankle is an issue....short term I should be fine. Again, be careful. I may need to have it reattached this fall. But after October 10th.

I will do whatever it takes. I will not quit.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Random pictures from our summertime fun

Cameron at camp
Tommy-- Heading to bed at the cottage--
I'll never get tired of that smile

Nick's first soccer camp

Tommy at track meet

smores are the best

Future track stars..... yes, those are track starts! And brothers about to race each other..probably more of that to come in the future too!

Nick helping prepare dinner....

My guys...

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Blinders on....and other random thoughts

It's time to go again. And I'm ready. My body is healed and my head is back in the game. This is a new type of training block. I'm running solo......
For a long time, years actually, I have had close friends training for the same race with me. Mary and I have had the same race goals for 2 years now! Or is it 3?
We have parted ways for a while now, and it makes me sad. It's hard.
My other friends are working towards different things too. And you know, this is ok. It's fine! It's just different. I can't think about what they're doing...can't really worry about it at all. We can no longer compare how we're feeling and what comes next.
So, here I go. I have my blinders on and I am moving onward to my new A race for the 2009 season.

If you've been reading my blog, you might remember that the first 3/4 of our summer was WET! And quite cool too. It was a miserable June and July in terms of weather. Well Mother Nature is having fun with us this year. Today was 95 degrees in Paris, Maine!! It's been very very hot and humid since last Friday. You know, we'll take it. WE've been having fun in the sun all weekend. We spent Saturday and Sunday in a pool by the ocean. Perfect. No complaints. Yesterday I took the kids to the beach. Heaven. We all played in the water for hours. The ocean in Maine is rarely above was 69 yesterday. Good stuff!! was a reality check. I took my bike out at noon for a 2 hour ride. I am in big trouble out in those lava fields. My legs felt great. Strong. The fatigue is gone. At first I enjoyed the warmth. I cruised down the hill and instead of convincing myself to go back for a coat I enjoyed being 100% warm even on the descent. I rode along and hammered out some intervals. My HR was high!! A lot higher than normal. WAs it the heat? Or am I out of shape. The must be.
And then my eyes got sweaty. Sunscreen was dripping into them and making them sting. I actually stopped to take OFF my thin socks to give my feet more air! I was covered in sweaty grit. There was some wind, but it was not refreshing. It was like someone opened the oven and blew the air out on me. I was a melting sweaty mess. My head hurt. I just wanted to close my eyes. And that was just the bike!!! How am I going to run a marathon in this stuff? It was a reality check for sure.

Summer is almost over least accoding to the school calendar. My kids start on August 26th. That is way too early. I still can't figure out why we need to start before labor day. In the next 7 days, my oldest turns 10 and my youngest starts Kindergarten. Time marches on.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Time to back things up a bit. I've been on vacation and need to go back and talk about the past few weeks.


We all know the obvious....sore quads, sore calves, and even sore shoulders and back. I am convinced the latter is due to holding on for dear life while flying Down those endless hills. Who knows.

But of course, I hurt. I expected this. I also had a strange nausea and lack of appetite for almost a week after the big day. This was a total surprise to me. I anticipated an enormous appetite. Not so. I could barely handle food.

Oh..and I couldn't sleep! The night OF the race, I was wired. But it continued! I was up at 3-4 a.m. for almost a week after the big day. Very strange.

By Thursday, I was able to walk without my ado. I only went downstairs backwards for a few days. I also regained my appetite. Darn.

I was quite happy to have a WHOLE WEEK OFF!! 100%. No Training!! Woohoo!!! I do love training...but I truly savored this week.

Many people had asked me, "What will you do After?" I will take a BREAK!!! I said it with pride---I had earned a true break.

To make it even better, we were going on Vacation. To my Favorite place on Earth. I may travel all around the world someday, but I do not expect to ever find a place I love more. (photo at top...still struggle to get those in the right place!)
We moved into the cottage and things were perfect. however, my week OFF was gulp, over. It was time to move again. Ok, that's fine. I'm ready to go.
45 minutes....easy.... a run.
Um....NOPE! I felt almost as bad as the final miles of the IRonman. I trotted. I shuffled. My legs were heavy. Tired. Sore. I walked...I stretched. I hoped my family would drive by and give me a ride. Thankfully, I didn't wear my HR monitor or garmin. Only a watch. I knew nothing. This was good.
I had about 1/2 mile left when boys Did drive up! (I knew they had an errand to run..) Cameron ( age 9) and Tommy (7) ran track this year. There was no need for everyone to leave the cottage so I said, "hey boys...want to run back with me?" They did....they had on tevas...not even running shoes. I told them we had to run. They were fired up for this. They ran along with their arms flailing about with their awkward and enthusiastic run styles. I was just hoping to get home. After a few minutes Cameron said, "Mom....can I just run?" What? I was TOO SLow!!!??? Wow. good thing I had that Cool Ironman hat on my head to remind me Why I was too slow for my little boy.
That's about how the week went. I am still recovering. That's fine. I relaxed all week. I sat on the shore for hours and hours. We had a blast. I stayed up late, got up late, and put away the Triathlete magazines. I even cream! And...fried Clams! My son Tommy said, "mommy, it's good to see you take a few days off and eat Ice cream with us!" Yes, it was good.
I didn't really expect to miss the training as much as I did though. It's hard to explain...on the one hand I was Happy not to schedule workouts into our vacation. This was Very good!! Perfect. The only way to truly rest actually. However, my body really missed the feeling of a good hard workout. I am still missing it for that matter.
Soon. Soon I will have it back.
I have had to rest my mind from Ironman a bit. I was wound up about 7/26 for so long in advance. I has been very nice to step back and say, "ahh...I did it. I did it well. all the hard work paid off."
But now, I have a new goal. I have to heal this body quickly and prepare it for a race that will prove even more challenging.
I am going to Hawaii. I am going to Be IN that race I've watched on TV year after year after year. That Race that I tape every single year so I can play it while I ride along on my trainer. That race that makes me cry.
How is this happening? I am not sure...I can't believe it. I'm sitting here in Maine......preparing for a race in Hawaii. When I decided to buy a bike back in 2006 and give this sport a try---I never thought I'd be here. I never even imagined it.

8 weeks + 3 days

6:45 a.m.
Kailua Pier
Kailua-Kona, Hawaii
140.6 miles

Here we go!!!

I just made my registration official. Confirmation # in hand.

Now legs...if you could Please wake up and start acting like yourself again this would be Much easier!

Patience Ange, Patience.