Sunday, November 1, 2009

Still here!

Well, it's been awhile and this is going to be quick, but I just wanted you to know that I"m still here and very much alive! Work has picked up big time (definitely good) and training is gaining steam. It's all good; I just wish I could balance it all. Who doesn't? We all have to work at keeping our stress levels in check with work, family and social life. Maybe one day I will have the answer to the burning question, "How do you have it all?". Cloning? Impossible? I think the answer to both of those is no. When/if I find out how to have it all (and remain sane) I will share it with the world. Nobel Peace Prize, here I come!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Working my way back

It's time. Time to get back to it. Two weeks with nothing then one week of a little something. This week it's a little something more. Of course I'm talking about training and working out. Last week was 3 weeks after the Ironman and I was supposed to start swimming and cycling again. Cycling had to be done on the trainer because of the blasted rain and swimming had to be put on hold because of the blasted tattoo. I'm not allowed to get into a chlorinated pool for four weeks after getting one, but I figured that two weeks would be enough time. I won't forget how to swim and I don't want to screw up my wittle tattoo that's going to the grave with me!

This week I got to add some strength/core training and running - the two things which I missed most. I felt like I was turning to jello and inputting waaaaay more than the output of calories. I was getting to the point of wanting to crawl out of my skin. This is actually where you want to be before you get back to it in all reality. You need to feel like someone has a pillow over your face and they are holding you down before you can safely get your body back into the game. The recovery and repair time are crucial. Believe me, I preach it all the time, but practiced it not in the past. The difference is having a coach. I now have an outside voice of reason that reels me back in, slaps me on the back of the head and tells me, "it's not time yet, dumbass". So far I don't have too many goose eggs on the old noggin, but I still have to be told that I need to practice more patience, Wee Grasshoppa. Wait for it...

Ah yes, patience. Not something that comes natural to me, although my friends might say otherwise. I just seem patient and calm most of the time and realistically I am. But, whoa Nelly, when I want something, I, by God, want it NOW! I try not to whine and I think I do pretty well with it. I don't like hearing people whine, so I'm pretty sure others don't appreciate it either. No good ever comes from whining, but some people manage to get what they want by doing it. I don't cave most of the time when clients whine. Just this morning I told a client, in no certain terms, that she was whining. I don't know if she was conscious of it or not, but it stopped when I brought it to her attention. I seldom use the direct approach because it makes me feel mean. It's always a surprise when people respond to someone being direct, but 9 times out of 10 it works.

Speaking of work, it couldn't be better right now. And I love my work because it's also play. I'm very lucky that I have had a fair amount of playtime this week. I love my clients and I think the feelings are mutual. They make it possible for me to be able to do what I want and get I to wear two hats. I can't say I enjoy one over the other, they both bring me great satisfaction and are very rewarding. Both fitness and massage changes people's lives and I get the privilege of being a facilitator of that change. How awesome is that?

You know what else is awesome? Reconnecting with friends and family after a long season of training. The big event has come and gone and now is the time to find my way home. I felt like life was passing me by. I'm reclaiming my friendships and now, through facebook, I am rediscovering bonds that I thought were long gone. I have missed everyone. I intend to make more of an effort to secure those relationships.

The Ironman is just what I needed to remind me how important the everyday is. How the ordinary is actually extraordinary. Sure it was a life altering experience and after you do one you know you can do anything, but without the support and extreme understanding of family and friends, none of it would be possible. So now I'm working my way back and getting back to a routine. I'm still training, but the upcoming year is all about my greatest weakness - SPEED. I'm anxious to see what my training future holds for me, but I'm working hard on keeping it reeled in...

When you start feeling like you are losing control and your grasp on things, sit still and listen. Just remember:

The moment you notice that you are just an instrument of the Divine, the moment you become like a hollow flute, the wind will blow through you and there will be music.

Friday, September 18, 2009

The New Addition

A week later and I'm finally ready to blog about my new addition. I'm talking about my new tattoo, of course. I had a tattoo of Winnie the Pooh that needed to be swallowed by none other than the MDot. Winnie represented a part of my past that I was reminded of daily and that needed to be laid to rest. I needed some sort of closure and I needed the open wound to finally heal. In fact, the middle of last week I had a dream about, let's just call the person "The Wound". Normally when I have dreams that include "The Wound", I wake feeling a little rattled. This dream was different. I was walking through a dimly lit room and literally bumped into "The Wound". About to just walk away, I grabbed "The Wound's" arm and asked how they were doing. We talked for a bit, then I looked at "The Wound" and said, "I have to let you go now". I just walked away. I woke feeling calm and peaceful and I feel it was finally the closure I had needed. I had that dream two days before I got that piece of my past buried.
Now the story that follows is not for the faint of heart nor for anyone considering getting body art. If you are even thinking about getting a tattoo, STOP READING NOW.
Chris and I had decided that we would go on Friday night of last week to 7th St. Tattoo. I was pretty excited about getting my latest accomplishment permanently marked on my body. He wasn't quite as excited as I was. So being the organized person I dream of being someday, had pictures in hand for reference. We got our names on the list and waited for probably about an hour, if not more. Caleb would be working with me and let's just say he definitely earned his money that evening. For about 30 minutes he sketched, re-sketched, traced, drew, arranged until he got exactly what I was looking for. However, this tattoo was going to have to be a bit larger than I had anticipated to cover the other one.
Chris' guy took him back and got to work. Caleb said he needed to get his station ready and he'd come get me in a few minutes. About 5 minutes later he came and got me with surgical gloves on. Now let me put in a plug for 7th St. Tattoos - I have 3 tattoos total with one being covered up (so 4 technically) and got them all at this place because it smells like a hospital. An inky hospital, but very sterile. They thoroughly clean EVERYTHING and are very professional. Okay, anyway, we get to his station and the first step in the process is a temporary outline of your tattoo is applied to your skin. He nailed it on the first try! He informed me that it was not skill, it was luck. He had Chris check it and make sure he had it positioned right. Chris was not even flinching for his tattoo. So I sit down sideways in a chair and hear the needle start up. I was expecting pain and I received it in abundance. He got the characters at the bottom done first and was filling in the Dot when Chris came over. During the first 20 minutes I was thinking about 2 things: 1)Suck it up, you just did an Ironman and 2)breathe.
I began to feel slightly light headed and I was starting to sweat a little. Caleb stopped and asked if I was doing okay. I told him that I was feeling a little light headed and asked Chris if he would get me some water. As he continues and I'm sipping water I get a very bad feeling that I'm going to pass out. I fought it as long as I could, but between the blood starting to rush out of my fingers, the strong urge to just go to sleep and everything getting all distorted I knew it was inevitable. I asked him to stop for a minute. He said sometimes a little sugar helps so Chris went to get a Coke for me. By the time he got back he said that my head was resting in Caleb's hand. He said, "She's out". I think Chris got a little panicked and asked if this happened a lot because Caleb didn't seem alarmed. He assured Chris it happens all the time. I don't know how long I was out, but I finally came to and just remember feeling REALLY sleepy and slightly nauseated. I started drinking the Coke and it just wasn't getting any better. I asked to lay back and once in a reclined position I felt like I could relax. About 5 minutes later, I was sweating profusely and got VERY nauseated. I asked Chris to take me to the bathroom and told him that he didn't have to go in with me, I just needed help getting there. He wouldn't have it. Folks, that is real love, right there! I know it was killing him, but he was a trooper. Finally, I was ready to try and continue the process. It was getting late and I know this was way more than Caleb and Chris had bargained for. I felt guilty and looked really, really gnarly at this point. Like a junky on a street corner looking for a fix.
I asked if he had a massage table I could lay on or something I could lean forward on and he brought out a massage chair. Perfect! Chris positioned a trash can beside me of which I made very good use - Chris reassured me that no one was watching and not to worry about it. He still had to stop every few minutes, but at least if I passed out again (which may have been better for everyone) then I was completely supported and no one would even know, probably. He finally got it all filled in and asked if I still wanted the red outline. OH-MY-GOD no! I weakly told him that he had earned whatever we paid extra for the outline as a tip. Chris put me in the car and Caleb sent us off with a garbage bag, just in case. Good call!
We got home about 1:15 (yes that's a.m.) and Chris put me on the couch and tucked me in. I told him to sleep upstairs in the bed and he said he was perfectly comfortable on the couch. I was so weak and had nothing left in my stomach. Not the most desirable way to lose that 5 lbs. I gained after Ironman, but definitely effective. He told me that I was to sleep, eat and not do much of anything on Saturday. Sounded good to me.
I am in total awe of Chris. I have really put him through the ringer with hospital visits and passing out. I'm surprised he hasn't just thrown in the towel. A lot of people would just walk away, fed-up with the situation. He has definitely proved time and time again that he will be there every time I fall. He is my rock, the love of my life and my saving grace. To say I'm a lucky woman is an understatement. I love you, Luvbug!

Friday, September 4, 2009

It's Ironman...

it's the one day you can do everything you like and you chose to be there - Liz

Those are the words that vibrated through my brain for 140.6 miles on Sunday, August 30, 2009. Those words, loving support and volunteers helped me get through the day and come out on the other side. I'm not sure how it changed me, that is yet to be determined. All I know is that I feel different.

Here we goooooo.....
I slept scantily on Saturday night; going in and out of consciousness. At 2:00 a.m., Chris’ alarm went off, my signal to take my Synthroid and go back to sleep until 3:00 a.m. After eating breakfast I obsessively checked my Special Needs bags for the 487th time. We met Michael and Becky in the lobby about 4:45 and started our journey to the transition area. My usual pattern is that I feel okay until about 10 minutes before start time so I was still feeling clear and focused. I got my nutrition put on my bike and checked my tires one last time - all good. A stop at the port-a-potties, drop off the Special Needs bags and we were ready to start the trek down to the swim start. It was quite a hike in flip flops and it was a bit on the nippy side. We got our body marking done than continued on to get our place in line. I got in line at the port-a-potties again while Chris, Michael and Becky found a place in line. There were athletes asleep on the sidewalk and I don't think we could've gotten any better spot unless we had camped out there. We ended up being about halfway down. I really needed to go one more time, but there was a VERY long line for the only port-a-pottie in close range. It was a really bad sign to see that many guys in line so I headed to the fence with a ziplock bag and did my business with the guys. It's always the most amazing thing to me how fast the smallest amount of fluid goes through me on race mornings. I got back in line and pulled my speed suit on the rest of the way and Chris zipped me up. I had my gel and took a salt tab. I was following my plan nicely. The line started moving and my stomach clenched up. I couldn't believe it was time. I got my swim cap on, goggles in place, my flip-flops off and soaked up how alive my growing nervousness made me feel. This was a time trial swim start and it was really nice to have Chris beside me. Matt came by and collected our Morning Clothes bags to take them back to the hotel. All of the sudden we were running down the ramp and jumping in the water. I started my stopwatch and tried to get in as gingerly as possible, but ended up feeling like I was being forced to walk the plank. So I held my goggles on tight and went for it. It took a couple of seconds to resurface and once I did I saw someone jump on Chris' head. That sort of freaked me out a little, but he was fine. I took a deep breath and started as calmly as I could. I swung out as far right as possible so I could stay out of heavy traffic. The swim out went really well. There was even a bizarre scene where the water had gotten very warm and there people standing and walking – IN THE OHIO RIVER!!!!! Some sort of “sandbar”. I decided it would be faster to keep swimming. I could feel my swim cap coming off so I pulled it back down as quickly as I could. I just kept thinking, “I’m doing a freakin’ Ironman and I’m swimming in the Ohio River”! I finally saw the red buoy signaling the turn and I just knew that I could really relax after that since we would be going with the current. I was very careful to stay out on the edge and things were still going well. I noticed that I started to drift closer to the buoys and was starting to get knocked around. I looked back before I started to go right and had to "go with the flow" for a bit before traffic cleared. I finally got back out in the clear and was going pretty good then I noticed that there were some pretty big rolling waves. I got a little nauseated, but I slowed down a little just kept right on rolling. For some reason I decided to check my swim cap again and this time it was almost all the way off. In fact, my goggles were the only thing holding it on my head. Let me tell you, trying to get my swim cap back on while treading water with my legs in the middle of 1,000 people swimming around me was like trying to put my shoes on standing in the middle of rush hour traffic. After I got it as situated as I could under the circumstances I took off swimming again and noticed that my hair was now caught in the zipper of my speed suit. I just sucked it up and kept going, I thought, “this is probably the least painful thing I will have to deal with today so I can handle it”. I kept sighting on the RR bridge, but it wasn’t seeming to get any closer. I finally reached the bridge and could hear the crowds and announcer and that was very motivating. I knew I was going to make it out of the water! Things got really rough at the turn and people were really aggressively trying to get to the swim exit. I finally emerged from the water and heard the announcer say, “Rebecca Irons. What a great name, I love it”. Boy did I need that!

I grabbed my bike gear bag and headed to the changing tent. I was greeted by a very enthusiastic volunteer. I almost felt like I was being rushed and I just needed to get my bearings after that woozy swim. I still felt pretty dizzy, but I wasn’t going to refuse the help though. I probably looked like I desperately needed it. Before I knew it she had my socks and shoes on me. I had my “to do” list taped to my bag, but it felt like it was happening so fast. I realize that my transition time was very slow in reality. I used the port-a-pottie and opted for the sunscreen that the volunteers were applying. It felt like she was rubbing me down with paste. She apologized and assured me that it would soak in. I unsuccessfully tried to “scrape” it off with my hand. I finally gave up when I noticed that everyone else was sporting the same pastey look.

Stay out of your own way...
I grabbed my bike and left the transition area. I hopped on my bike at the mount line and had no trouble clipping in. I started out slow and immediately took in a gel, a salt tab and got some sports drink down. I was feeling very good and let people just wiz by me, careful not to get caught up in their excitement. I knew I would see some of them somewhere out on course again later. I spun up the first climb while watching people just hammer it in a big gear. I made a left turn I thanked the volunteers and one of them said, “You rock! Can you believe you’re doing this?”. I told her not even in my wildest dreams. I finally made it to the branch off and knew I was in for some climbing. More people passed me and I let it happen. I was really concentrating on staying on top of my nutrition no matter what. That descent into the valley was SUUUHWEEEET! I knew what was coming, though. I started seeing some of those hammerheads already from that first climb. I made the turn around and saw Chris as he was descending. This confused me because I never see him until the run, but he was behind me this time. I climbed out of the valley and finally made it to the beginning of the loop. A guy who was passing me early in the loop said, “We just got lapped by a female pro”. It was pretty cool, but she seemed to think nothing of drafting off the age grouper in front of her. I later heard from Jo that she saw the same thing. I was still feeling great, but I needed to potty. So, I took the time to stop at the aid station and refilled any fluids I needed. Comfort is EVERYTHING in endurance sports. I thanked the volunteers and was back on my way. It was very hard to ride past the Special Needs Station on the first time through. It was unreal going through LaGrange, though. The crowd was huge and made you feel like a superstar! The next section past LaGrange was pretty uneventful and lonely and I noticed my knees were absolutely screaming. I got a little worried about the run at that point, but shook it off. I had also noticed a lot of riders changing flats. The word is that there were some locals who don’t appreciate that they close some streets off for an entire day so they throw “things” in the road. Most of the streets are open to vehicular traffic still, so I’m not sure why they felt the need to do that. I understand it was Sunday and they wanted to go to church and all, but that just doesn’t seem to be a very Christian-like thing to me. I came around to start my second loop and was still right on with my nutrition. So I stopped for another pee break and refill. I knew that the Special Needs Station was right around the corner so I looked forward to that. When I made it there, the volunteer that was helping me was great, but I finally just told her that I was not in a hurry. She just smiled and said, “So you’re just out here enjoying the day?”. I replied that I wanted to savor every minute of this and take it all in. She smiled at me again, I thanked her and I was on my way. I was feeling pretty good and just as I was thinking how unreal it was that I still felt so good a guy passed me and proceeded to “give back” all the fluids he had just taken in – IN THE WIND IN FRONT OF ME no less! What a jerk. I know things happen out there out of your control, but surely you can feel that coming on. Don’t pass someone and toss your cookies (or juice) in the wind when you get around them. It’s just not right. He did his business and took off – good riddance. I played cat and mouse with a guy in a Team Aquaphor kit for about 5 miles and the hills eventually got to him and he fell back, but then passed me one last time. I KNEW that I would see him on the run. I was approaching the last aid station and there was a black car that pulled over and the passenger stuck his hand out of the window and someone actually handed him a Gatorade! Then they stopped all of the sudden a little further up and I and the guy next to me almost ran right into the back of him. We just started yelling, “Go! Go! Go!”. Some people don’t deserve a license. I was so ready to be off my bike and actually looking forward to being on the ground running when I finally saw the transition area.

I dismounted my bike and happily handed it off to a volunteer. I took my shoes off, grabbed my run gear bag and ran into the changing tent. I visited the port-a-pottie (a very good sign that I was hydrated). This transition took even longer than the first one. This time I got a volunteer that emptied my bag for me and left me to my own devices, which is probably why it took longer. I just wanted to have the most comfortable run possible. I slathered Biofreeze on my knees and low back and used my own sunscreen this time! I felt more organized and together when I left the changing tent that final time.

Give NOTHING up, DNFing is totally NOT an option!
I walked down the isle out of the transition area and started running when I saw the timing mat. I made an honest effort to keep my pace easy and comfortable. I was happy to have my feet on the ground and made my way up the river bridge. I was surprised how quickly the 1 mile sign came up and how many people were walking at that point. And as predicted, I even the Aquaphor guy. I felt great and tried to maintain my pace. I was still trying to stay on my nutrition, but it was getting to that difficult point where NOTHING tasted good. I continued to eat the gels, drink the Gatorade and down the salt tabs. I knew I wouldn’t get very far if I didn’t follow what I had done through all that training. I saw Jo first going in the opposite direction and looking strong. Then I saw David going the opposite direction and he told me that Chris was right in front of me. I felt another wave of motivation at hearing those words. I kept my eyes open and looked for the orange cap. Still feeling great I finally spotted him at mile 9 or 10. I was careful to contain my excitement and held my pace. He was walking and I wanted him to run with me, but I knew he had to make that decision on his own and I had to run my own (first) marathon. I asked him how he was doing and he said he was feeling good and not to worry about him, that it was going to be a very long night. I decided to go on and I heard a woman ask him if we were doing the Ironman together and said she thought it was sweet. I noticed a woman on the side of the street with a sign that read, "Death before DNF!" - Amen, Sista! I stopped at the next aid station to pee and get some fluids. My trend for the first half was aid station, pee, water and Gatorade. I took a salt tab every hour and was feeling great and passed on my Special Needs bag, I had decided to rely on the aid stations. It was both amazing and disheartening to see the finish line and not be able to go there. So close and yet so far! I looked at the time and I knew I was not going to make my goal time of 13.5 hours, but I was okay because I knew I was going to finish no matter what. I went out for my second lap and saw Chris again and he said he still felt okay, but he would be walking the rest of the way and didn’t know if he would make the cut off. I was pretty emotional at that point because fatigue was setting in and I just wanted to cry when he told me that. I assured him that he had enough time and he needed to keep going. I gave him a kiss and told him that I love him and off I went. I had a serious talk with the universe at that point and pleaded to have a divine intervention with Chris. How could I finish and him not finish? I worried that he was going to just throw in the towel. My pace was slowing, but I continued to run. My feet were on fire and my knees felt like they were going to buckle, but mentally I was very strong. A couple of times I felt the familiar feeling of passing out wash over me and I just downed more fluids and ate. I kept hope of seeing Chris again and even started to cry a couple of times. Then out of the darkness I saw that familiar swagger and my heart leapt and as he passed me he said, “I can’t stop walking because it hurts too much”. I told him I understood, I was able to relax and just get it done. At about mile 20 it became really unfun and I felt the happiness I had been able to maintain sliding off of my face. I couldn’t stop at the last 2 aid stations because it hurt too much to walk and start running again. I started to be able to hear the crowd and the announcer. I knew I was within blocks of that finish line! I started to have an out-of-body experience and pain left my body as I floated closer to the chute. More and more people and all the sudden a flood of lights and I couldn’t contain myself anymore. I raised my arms and felt the energy from the people permeate me! I looked at a man in the crowd and asked, “How does my hair look?”. He said, “Fabulous!”. This was what it was all about this whole time. I though I was going to pee on myself I was so excited. I waited to hear those words, but, alas it was not to be. I thought with the last name of Irons, he would be sure to say it. However, I don’t need to hear those words to know that I did it. Will I do another one? You bet! Yes, I may have missed my goal time by a little more than an hour, but you know what? I got to savor and enjoy the entire experience and that’s what it was about for my first Ironman. I couldn’t have asked for more.

Rebecca Irons, YOU are an Ironmaaaaaan!

Sunday, August 16, 2009


I believe my only reason for doing this IM is because I can. I'm doing this for all those who can't because I can. I'm healthy and have use of all my limbs so I've decided that I'm going to use them until they don't work anymore or until I'm dead. I've done a little soul searching today and I really tried to come up with a deep philsophical reason and it's just not there. All of this training though and I got nothin' better than 'Because I can'. No magical or uber respectable selfless reason. Maybe I have some painful things that I've repressed that are driving me. I don't know, but what I do know is that I will have all the time in the world to think about it on August 30th.
On a funnier note, I've noticed that I now time myself on everything. I was getting out of the shower and started to reach for my watch and turn off the stopwatch. I just chuckled to myself and was really thankful I hadn't actually started it.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

18 Days to go

Well, I kicked that swims ass yesterday! Thanks to Jo and David who were so kind to meet me out at the lake. I had to prove to myself that I could do it. Not just think that I could, but KNOW that I can. I do, however, understand that things are different everyday. A good swim 2 days ago doesn't mean a good swim tomorrow.

Today was pretty low key. Nothing significant to write about. I did get started on my race plan for the Ironman. The 2 biggest things I have learned in this whole process is 1)nutrition is EVERYTHING and 2) you must have a race plan. Key elements, my friends. If you don't have your nutrition figured out you're not going to get very far. Likewise with the race plan. It's also really helpful if you know why you're doing something. Over the last few days I've been thinking about this a lot. Hmmmm....because everyone else is doing it? Because I can? Because it's the natural progression of my life as an athlete (I use this term very loosely)? Nothing really sounds like a a very good reason so far, but when I come up with it, I will let you know.

Monday, August 10, 2009

20 Days to go

We are 20 days out and today was a rest day. I needed it to regroup and let yesterday sink in a little more. I felt much better when I woke up. I got my gear and nutritional needs lists done. That is a big hurdle, my friends! If I can just keep from over thinking my strategy and the what-if's then I'll be golden. I tend to do that to myself causing a mouthful of ulcers and an overactive digestive system (if ya know what I mean).
When I'm not thinking about the Ironman, I'm thinking about the off-season. I'm looking forward to cleaning my house (with a toothbrush), spending time with people I love, baking for the holidays and strength training. Oh my gawd, how I miss just the simplicity of a biceps curl or an overhead press. I mean I'm in the best shape of my life right now, but I'm missing the balance of the cardio and strength training. That's what the off-season is about and thinking about next year's goals. Wow! The goals of 2010! Can you freakin' believe THAT? This year is flying by and I hope I haven't lost any friends because of all this training. If I have, I'm sorry I made them feel second best. This may be a once in a lifetime opportunity and you have to take those opportunities while you can or you may just miss the next best thing.
So in the very near future I will get back to a lot of things I miss and I'm pretty happy about that.

Maybe I'll even have time to knit a sweater from all the cat fur tumbleweeds rolling around under the furniture....hmmmm.....

Sunday, August 9, 2009

21 days to go

It's 3 weeks until race day. I just finished my last week of big training and now I'm in taper mode. I, however, did not finish strong today.
We made our way to DeGray Lake so I could do a 4250 yard swim in open water. I really wanted to do this swim. I mean really badly and I was ready. We pulled up to the marina to rent a kayak and were told that we could not remove the kayak from the park. This makes sense in retrospect, but totally deflated my excitement about doing such a long swim in open water. The anxiety started creeping in and doubt filled my head. Chris has a big pull behind buoy, but him being on shore with that wasn't going to help me at 600 yards out if I got a bad cramp. We were both tired from yesterday's workout. I tried to calm myself down inside my head. I may not be the fastest swimmer, but I'm a good swimmer. I've done all this training and I totally let my fear consume me.
A couple of other people showed up and we got in the water. We were to swim to an 'island' about 600 yards out and swim back. We were going to do this 3 1/2 times. I made it to the island and everything was fine. I checked in with Emily (Ed had turned around early) and we headed back to the shore. I sighted over to the right where the shore was the closest and felt like I was swimming crooked and toward it. I shifted to the left and sighted front to make sure I was headed in the right direction. Still fine. Now, I'm not sure how I did this, but this is what freaked me out. The next time I sighted front I saw the island again. I had swum in a circle and was headed in the wrong direction. I felt disoriented and it really scared me. All I had to do was turn around and simply swim to the shore. I started back - again - and I couldn't stop thinking about it. It totally threw me off and I couldn't pull myself back together. I finished that length and beat myself up sufficiently. I've had bad workouts, but there has NEVER been one that I haven't been able to talk myself down, sucked it up and got through it. I was due one of these workouts and I felt for the first time what true fear of possible failure is. I don't want to DNF and I refuse to DNF at the Ironman unless it is a physical problem (i.e. bleeding out of my eyeballs). I know I will get through the swim because I know that there are kayaks and buoys to sight. It makes all the difference in the world. I also know that 2.4 miles in the water is a very long way, so I will make peace with it now. I know I can do this and the swim is about 90% mental and 10% technique. If you can convince yourself that all you need to do is relax and stay on course, that's the ticket. It's the what-if's and the borrowing of trouble that will smack you down and (no pun intended) hold your head under water. This is burned in my brain now. You can say this stuff to yourself over and over again, but until you experience it you don't come close to understanding. I understand and I'm making peace with the fact that now my first 2.4 mile open water swim and full marathon with be at the Ironman. I will finish, it may not be pretty, but I will do it and most likely, I will do another.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Just stuff

Well, I have raw spots from my friggin shorts I wore yesterday for that long run. They look like rope burns and I've been walking like a cowboy today. It was just plain hot yesterday and hotter today. Thank goodness today was a little 3600 yd swim. Nothing on the agenda for tomorrow training wise. However, the epic weekend of training is coming up! Gotta get some rest for that.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Is it hot out there or is it me?

Let the games begin! Whew! Ironman training is in full suhwing and temps and humidity are soaring. I think it's safe to say that summer is here and training in this soggy air is going to more than prepare me for Louisville. I've got a 2 hour and 20 minute run on my plan tomorrow and I've got to figure out how I will carry all I need with me without adding 20 pounds to my person. If anyone has any suggestions please let me know!

Monday, June 8, 2009

CATS Iron Mountain (Wo)Man

I was unusually calm about this event. I normally can’t hold a conversation, but I think I wore Chris out on the way to Conway. I was a regular Chatty Cathie. I tried to save some of that energy for the race, but words just kept flowing out of my mouth. I don’t know what came over me! We pulled into the park and got a really good spot. I was standing next to the truck and a woman walked up to me and asked, “Are you the Irons’?”. Well, it turns out that they are Eric and Kayla’s (Chris’ brother and SIL) neighbors. Unbelievably, their names are Rebecca and Chris as well. Too weird. She does tri’s but he doesn’t and this was her first 1/2. They recognized Chris because he looks like Eric with no hair.
We got our body marking and found spots for our bikes. Next was chip pick-up. Time to set-up the transition area. This is getting better and better each time. I had a good feeling about my transitions today. I was very relaxed – also very weird. It was nice to just chat with the ladies in the area. I met Angie who I’ve seen at several tri’s, she has a Guru as well, but she really liked mine a lot. Me too!
The swim was wetsuit legal and a two loop swim – swim a little over 1000 yards, get out and run, get back in and do it over again. It was mentally tough to see the finish and know that you had to re-acclimate yourself to being vertical for a split second. I was a bit dizzy, so running was a little difficult. I got brushed and kicked a few times, but nothing major and I just kept moving forward. I felt like the second loop of the swim went a little faster. I feel pretty good about the swim, but it still needs work and will probably always need work.
I entered the transition area and took a bit of time off of T1. I crossed the mount line and attempted to get on my bike. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with the chain. Will and Denise were standing on the sidelines shouting, “Go Rebecca”! Then they would have to say it again a few seconds later. I was starting to doubt that I remembered how to ride. Then I remembered that Chris has to push the gears all the way down in order for the bikes to fit into his vehicle. I finally mounted my steed and took off. I held a steady and easy warm up for about 20 minutes. The bike course was an out and back with about 3500 feet of climbing. I paid no attention to my speed and spun up the hills. I felt good, but my hamstrings were starting to seize up a bit so I backed off a little and tried to stretch them on the downhills. I felt good about the bike over-all.
Time for T2. I got all the bike gear off and started to get my run stuff together. I ended up falling over trying to put on my socks for the run J. I never would have sat down on purpose, thank you, Patrick. The run was also two loops. I took off and used the first three miles as a warm up. But once I passed the three mile mark I just decided that I needed to stay with that pace and call it somewhere around what I would like my Ironman pace to be. I passed Marianne the first time and she looked fresh as a daisy, smiling and talking. She was telling me that Chris was just a little ahead of me and that I could probably catch him. The next time I saw her she told me Chris was walking now and I could definitely catch him and beat him. The third time I saw her she was telling me I could now catch Jo and maybe even Heather! How does she do that talking while running thing? She is truly an amazing person. I told her I wanted to be her when I grow up! I did catch Chris eventually. His low back was killing him. I still saw Jo ahead and she was walking. She started running again and got out of my sight. I got to the turn around for the second time and I was really confused because I didn’t see her going the other way in front of me still. I grabbed some water and continued on. I ended up walking a lot of the second loop after the turn around. My hips were getting sore (muscularly) and my knees has started getting a little cranky. Unfortunately all I had left was just over a 10 min. per mile average. I knew I was well hydrated because I had to stop at the port-a-potty. I saw Chris off in the distance walking with someone that looked like Jo. By golly, it was Jo! Now I was thoroughly confused. They were laughing and she explained that she had to receive oxygen and be iced down. Again, very weird.
I crossed the line with a big smile on my face – I thought “Crissie Wellington”!
I compared my time last year when it was an easier course in Arkadelphia with this year’s harder course in Conway. My time in Arkadelphia was 6:23 and my time in Conway was 6:12. I was going for a sub 6 hour time and if I could’ve avoided walking so much on the run, I think I could’ve done it. Biggest accomplishment I can think of is finishing strong with a smile and not having to see the inside of a med tent! Thank you Gary, Patrick, Michael, Denise, Will, Andy, Carrie for the awesome cheering! Especially at the homestretch.
Tri’s are not easy for ANYONE! I just can’t think of anything else I would like to do for the rest of my life (besides when I’m doing it). It’s a feeling like no other to look back after crossing the finish line and saying, “I just did all of that!” and sincerely want more. Is it self punishment? Do we really like pain that much? It’s about breaking through barriers and limits that we often mentally put on ourselves. Sometimes you really have to question yourself about why you continue to do this to yourself. And you try to recruit others to do it as well. I will do tri’s as long as I am able because, yes, I do like the pain and the suffering. I like trying to constantly improve my time. I like seeing if I can really keep from talking myself out of it for I have yet to quit anything like this! And, no, it will never ever be enough!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

MIM recap

Race recap time! We awoke at 5:00, well 4:50 because someone's car alarm started going off about then }:(. It was a brisk 58 degrees with winds gusting between 20 and 25 mph. I almost threw the covers back over my head. When I started getting everything together to take to transition, the nerves really started in. We got our transition areas set-up later than usual which unnerved me even more. Time to put on my wetsuit and TRY to relax a little. We headed down to the start line and I began to feel a bit nauseated, which is pretty normal. Chris had told me that I looked REALLY nervous and flashbacks of Austin rushed in. I sort of felt the same way at the beginning of that race. So I started deep breathing exercises in order not to panic at the thought of a repeat. It was time to make my way down to the swim start. I found my place in line and all I could think about was how fast it was moving. My turn! I ran into the water and tried to stay calm, but as we all know it’s really tough when everyone around you is flying past you. I started the swim and couldn’t catch my breath. I felt like I had forgotten everything. Once I started talking myself down from the ledge and got into somewhat of a rhythm (relative to what it was) a man swam over me and kicked me in the head as he was swimming off like a speed boat. I think he poked me in the eye with his friggin’ toe! Like I wasn’t having a hard enough time with the choppy water! I rolled over onto my back and thought for a split second, “I can’t do this” and almost started flagging down a kayak. Then I thought, “Shut-up and swim you idiot! You’re not going to die”. So I collected myself and just focused on that first turn. After I rounded the first turn I mentally put a big bubble around myself to keep from getting accosted again. It worked and I all the swimming technique I had worked so hard on started coming back to me. Long reach, glide, pull, bilateral breathing, swim downhill, sight. I relaxed and found that rhythm! I rounded the last turn and looked for the big arch for a guide, but it wasn’t there. Just then someone brushed my ankle and I turned and he said, “Oh, I’m sorry”. I was shocked! No one has EVER apologized to me in the swim for touching me. I just said, “That’s okay”, swam off and had a new hope for common courtesy in the water. My goal was to finish the swim in 40 minutes. I finished in less than that!

On to the bike! As I exited the water I had my wetsuit unzipped and had started peeling it off when I got to my transition area. Even a sleeveless wetsuit is tricky to get out of. You tug and pull and pull and tug – it takes just about as long getting one off as it does to get it on yourself, especially trying to acclimate to being back on land! I finally got the damn thing off and gathered my stuff and took off. I had a great start to the bike, I looked down and saw 26.6 on my speedometer! Well, crap! You know what that means? Headwind is coming next. The only thing you can do is put your head down and pedal. So 26.6 mph was now 15 mph. May I just add that the crosswind almost blew my bike from under me because of the trispoke on the back? That will grab your attention! The bike was fairly uneventful besides the ever-changing wind factor.

Time to make a run for it! This is my favorite part because this is the real moment of truth. You also get to find out if you went too hard on the swim or the bike here. I stuck to my plan with the run. Go out super easy to get my legs back under me for the first mile. However, I quickly started cramping because I needed to pee. Just as I was thinking about ducking behind one of the semis on the side of the road, a woman passed me and had the same idea. Rats! I hoped that there would be a port-a-potty at the aid station. I was in luck! Well, sort of. There was a person in it and one waiting. I was just going to have to wait it out or I wouldn’t have finished. I was there for about two minutes! Two minutes! Oh well, it was worth the wait. I got back on the course and hit it. I saw several of our teammates and that’s always a great motivator. I got to the turn around and picked it up a little more. I was amazed at how good I felt. I was really going to finish strong. The last 400 meters of the run was on grass and I dug down deep! I felt like my heart was going to leap out of my throat and my lungs were going to explode – it was AWESOME! Waiting on the sidelines up ahead was Luvbug, Gary, Andy and John. They were jumping up and down and yelling and let me tell you there is nothing quite like that feeling of having people pulling for you. There is also nothing quite like hearing your name announced as you are coming across that finish line. I can’t wait to hear the words “Rebecca Irons, you are an Ironman”! That’s going to be so suhweeeeeeet! Anyway, this was a great race and really it is all about the journey. This part of the journey is on the list for next year.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

I gotta be me!

Wow! I think I've been in the twilight zone or on autopilot or perhaps both. I seemed to have been sucked into some sort of time warp because last time I checked I had a little over a month before our first official tri of the season. In the blink of an eye it's a week from this coming Sunday. Whoa! How the heck does that happen? I think when you hit your 30's someone comes in the middle of the night and steals your time and memory space in your brain. I've had to write EVERY-friggin-THING down since my 20's, but it seems worse now. Too much alcohol and extra curricular substances? Probably! I was 'talking' to my best friend from high school on facebook a couple of weeks ago and she brought up wondering how smart she would be if she hadn't done all of that stuff. I've often thought about that, too. Now, when I think about that, I just push it out of my mind because it makes me sort of sad. All of those were choices and I take full responsibility for making those choices. I've run the gamut of who and what I could blame, but it all comes back to me. I just didn't like who I was back then - an extremely introverted, uninteresting and boring girl. All that stuff let me be who I really wanted to be - the outgoing, fun and social little butterfly. Everything I used to put into my body makes me shutter now. In the same respect, though, I am very proud of who and where I am today! All of that was necessary to shape me into the person I've become. I don't want to be ANYBODY else. Who cares if I have a million post-its around my workspace?! Who cares if I read slow?! I'm definitely not the smartest person I know, but I'm not the village idiot either. What really matters is that I love and care intensely about my friends and family, about what I do for a living and that I'm fiercely loyal. I have standards and beliefs and I follow my own path. I follow the Golden Rule and I would never compromise my integrity or ask that of anyone else.
Don't you just love going on a tangent? Me too! I think I just needed to purge. I feel better now.
Now Memphis in May Tri Festival is coming up and I don't believe I've EVER felt so ready. What a difference a structured training plan makes and it's been worth every penny! We will pack our tri bags next week during the taper. I will probably be a little pre-occupied until after the race. I'm serious this year. Up until now I've been winging it and just flying blind with my training. This year the goals are to finish strong, finish feeling good and just enjoy the fruits of my labor. Oh, and stay out of the med tent!

Good Luck
to all our friends doing Joe Martin this weekend!!!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Rest needed...inquire within!

Just checking in to let you know that I haven't forgotten how to blog. It's been non-stop...wel...stuff. I will be back, perhaps tonight, and report on at least a couple of things. So I'll see you soon

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Two Faced-booked

I have a confession to make. Bless me Father for I have sinned. It has been...well God knows how long it's been since my last confession (seriously, He's the only one that knows). I have been cheating, or it feels like cheating, on my blog. I've gone and joined Facebook! Serious time sucker, that Facebook is! Do you know how many people are on that site? Well, neither do I, but it seems like it may be in the gazillions. Like I have time for just one more thing. I may have to quit my job to have time to train, blog and 'talk' to people on Facebook. I resisted for so long! I caved when finally on Saturday night Chris created an account and resistance became futile. He just wanted to see what it was all about. Well, it was all about 3 hours of couch time staring at the laptop like a gape-mouthed, drooling invalid. Makes you kind of wonder what happened to talking on the phone or having get-togethers. Oh well, it's easier this way, right? It's about getting more done in less time now days. Multi-tasking and all that jazz. Just as long as the movement is forward, I guess I'll just go with the flow.

Now I'm going to go say my three Hail Marys and five Our Fathers.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Mixed bag

This has been a mixed week so far; an emotional roller coaster. I'm probably just being overly sensitive to some things and I'm pretty sure people aren't doing things on purpose to irritate me, but it sure does seem that way at times. I'm also sure that all these little things that are irritating me are always there and just seem magnified. Skewed alignment of the planets? Perhaps, but whatever it is I'm ready to be done with it or have it be done with me.

I think I'm fully recovered and my training is starting to escalate. I'm not sure how that's possible, but I'm braced and ready (I think) for impact. I can handle it and if I find I can't at least I will have tried.

I went to the gym to swim last Saturday and I had another cigarette sighting. This time it was a guy who was walking INTO the gym and stomping out his cancer stick. Now I know that people have their bad habits that are just near impossible to break, but there is nothing worse than a reformed whore. Yup, I used to smoke! I smoked for 10 years and quit about 10 years ago. Therefore I know my lungs are nice and pink again (takes an average of 7 years for all that crud to work it's way out of the lung tissue). I was too young and too stupid to realize how unhealthy it was and I never would have stepped foot into a gym anyway. These people are way old enough to know better. It's not like working out is going to counteract all that crap. You may look good on the outside, but your insides are just screaming. Okay, I'm done with that for now.

Today I had an awesome swim. I was questioning how it was going to go because I was totally wasted when I got into the water. I just relaxed and focused on my stroke. It's amazing how much more efficient you are when you aren't fighting with the water. The water will ALWAYS win. Your efforts will be wasted if you try to outsmart the water. I think it's because I have been swimming in my sleep. Chris said he came to bed a few nights ago and cracked up because I was clearly doing swim strokes. Usually I'm just washing my hands, but I was working on my pull. Is this a sign that I'm over training? I'm just going to say it's becoming more natural to me. Definitely a good thing.

Tonight was Pro night at Chainwheel for Carve members. I walked in and found Chris. He looked at me and said, "I've been here 10 minutes and I've already spent $200." He ordered a pair of custom Oakley's. Very cool, very orange. He loves the orange like I love the green! In fact I liked them so much that I ordered a pair too - green of course. I may suck at the Ironman, but I'll look good! Sarah also showed me a jersey that she said she brought in with me in mind. It has little skulls on it and it's this really soft feeling material. Had to have it!

Even though I've had 2 naps today (about 20 minutes each) I'm feeling sort of draggy. I bess be headin' off to bed. Night, John Boy!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Rough Spots

Good morning! I promise I will be back soon. I've been recovering from the 1/2 marathon and trying to continue to stick to my training plan. Oh then there's that work thing! Just trying to get my bearings about me in a chaotic schedule where if I get ANY downtime I just want to sleep, but can't because I've got monkey mind about what I need to do's all just a vicious cycle. Be back later! Hopefully with more upbeatness!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

So I married a kid magnet.

Today was a good day. Chris came to the gym and shadowed (in the shadows) while I trained a client. He claims that I'm really cute when I train someone - blamed it on the ponytail! I can't wait until he starts training people: he's a natural and has expressed interest in training kids. Perfect! The guy's a regular kid magnet, man! We'll be in the grocery store and there's a kid in the front of the cart and almost strains his/her neck to see around the parent so he/she can give Chris a big cheesy grin. I think it's cute.

So I finish my morning at the gym about 9:30 and skippity hop across the street to have my teeth cleaned. Oh Boy!!!! I walk in and my dentist tells me that she will be cleaning my teeth. I love my dentist. She has very small hands that fit into my very small mouth comfortably. We always talk about what the next crazy thing I'm going to do. She got really excited that we are going to do an Ironman in KY. She and her husband both went to dental school in Louisville. So she gave me a list of several great restaurants.

Time to swim:

Warm Up:
400 as 75 drill, 25 free continuously
8 x 50 as drill 25, build pace 25 (R:15)
4 x 100 (R:15)
Odds are easy swim w/good form
Evens are 25 swim, 25 kick on right side, 25 swim, 25 kick on left side
400 steady swim w/pull buoy, breathing bilaterally every 3 - 5 strokes
4 x 100 (R:15)
Odds are swimming in a straight line; close your eyes every few yards to be sure you are swimming straight - be careful! If you find you veer left then pull out farther w/right hand. Veer right, then pull out farther w/left hand
Evens are swimming & practicing sighting 2x down the lane (lift head slightly & increase kick slightly)
Cool Down:
2 x 200 (R:20)
#1 - alternate 25 free, 25 nonfree
#2 - with toys, your choice - pull buoy, paddles, fins (easy swimming!)

This was a good swim. I felt really relaxed. I just got some hand paddles and let me tell you that it's a great little arm work out with using half the energy. As I was backing out of the parking lot, I noticed a person who was backing out to go the opposite direction. I started to pull back in to let them go then I saw them waving me on. So I continued to back out then as I passed them I noticed something I find really confusing. This person had a cigarette hanging out of their mouth. LEAVING THE GYM! Aaaaahhhh yes! There is nothing quite like that post workout cigarette. WTF???!!!

The rest of the day was pretty smooth and uneventful - this is ALWAYS a gooooood thing! Time to get my stuff together for tomorrow and hit the hay. Say goodnight, Gracie!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

I'm ready!

This Sunday is the 1/2 marathon and I'm ready. For the first time since I've been doing all this crazy stuff, like Captain Kirk - I have a plan. Right down to the paces during the run at certain mileages. Nutrition is starting to line up and I'm hydrating well. I'm getting more sleep this week. I'm going to know how it feels to be totally prepared for this and have my best race yet! No more med tents for me...well...unless I'm affected by some external factor. I'm confident and I'm not comparing myself to anyone else (like I ever have). This will be MY race and I will run it to the best of my ability. Now if the weather will just cooperate and not rain!

Today's training:

Run 40 minutes in Zones 1 -2.
At 20 minutes into it, add 6 x 1 minutes hard pace followed by 1 minute easy.

Not too bad and the weather was warm! I have Spring Fever, Baby! Too bad the next few days don't get out of the 40's for highs. Not for loooooong!!! Here it comes boys and girls!!!!

Monday, March 9, 2009

My BFF, the bike trainer!

I often wonder these days, is it just me getting older or does time really fly a little faster everyday? I remember when I was younger hearing "older" people talk about how time just flew by. I thought it was total BS. I guess that's what I get for thinking!

Saturday was a hard run:

The first 30 minutes of this run are a warm up in zones 1 - 2. Then, turn around and come back strong BUILDING from zones 3 - 4 on the way back. Cool down very easy the last 5 minutes.

Can I just say OMG!!!!! I thought my heart was going to pound out of my chest and my legs were turning to lead. I did it though. All except for the last 4 minutes. I just couldn't, so I didn't. The rest of the day we just kicked around. It was good.

Sunday was a ride:

Warm Up:
20 minutes easy
5 x 1 minute @ 80 rpms, 3 minutes @ 100 rpms
10 minutes @ 80 rpms, zone 25 minutes easy6 minutes @ 70 rpms, high zone 25 minutes easy3 minutes @ 60 - 65 rpms, zone 36 minutes easyREPEAT (total is 70 minutes)
Cool Down:
Finish up easy spinning

Can I just say that the trainer and I are bonding nicely? 2:15 on the trainer. Yes, that's two hours and 15 minutes! Fortunately I had a movie to watch (The Secret Lives of Bees - check it out). It was still hard and I think I sweat about 3 lbs. out of my body. I did hydrate and eat while doing this, so I felt good after. I didn't feel depleted at all when I finished. I don't know, maybe I was just so damn glad to be off of the trainer. I slept very well last night, though. In fact I forgot to turn my alarm on and when Chris asks me what time I'm supposed to get up I go into panic mode. I had a 45 minute extension on my sleeping pattern. I needed it, but I'm the kind of gal that needs to wake up slowly to full awareness. My day was kind of jacked up from that point on!

Monday was another, much shorter, trainer ride:

Warm Up:
5 minutes easy @ 90 rpms5 minutes as every 30 seconds alternate b/w 80 rpms or 100 rpms5 minutes easy @ 95+ rpms
6 x 30 seconds spinning up to a maximum rpm & maintaining it for 30 seconds. Easy spin for 4:30 after each spin up. Heart rate is not observed. Maximum rpm is indicated when you start to bounce in the saddle
Cool Down:
5 minutes easy

Short, but hard nonetheless! I've got another full week, so I'll blog when I can!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Positive thoughts

Marco!!!! Polo!!!!! Here I am! Did you miss me? Prolly not 'cause all I ever seem to blog about is my boring training. Which I shall continue to do because it's my blog and I can blog about whatever I want to blog about! If you don't like it you can get your own blog... I'm just kidding. I love that people find it interesting enough to read about.

Wednesday I had lunch with my sister. I don't get to see her enough now. Isn't it funny, when you're kids you can't wait to get away from each other. She used to beat the holy crap out of me, but I did manage to get a few good swings in on her kneecaps. She's about 8 in. taller than me and would put her hand on my head and hold me away from her while I wasted all my energy swinging at the air. Ahhhh, those were the good old days!

Thursday was just kind of came and went. I do remember the workouts though:

Warm Up:
15 minutes easy
10 x (20 seconds @ 110+ rpms, 40 seconds @ 90 rpms)
4 x 3 minutes interval (described below), followed by 2 minutes easy spin
Use an easy to moderate gear; increase your cadence every 20 seconds.After 1 minute, drop a gear/add resistance & go back to where you started with cadence & increase back up again
Cool Down:
15 minutes easy

NOT off the bike; later or earlier in the day. 30 minutes in zone 1 to low 2.

I did both of these inside. I hear the collective gasp of all you who live in central AR. Yes it was in the upper 60's, but windy as all get out. I just kept thinking about that wind gusting up to 25 mph and I just didn't have it in me to battle it. So I hopped on the trainer which is not so bad if you're doing drills. It's really better to do that stuff on the trainer so you can pay attention. I did the run on the treadmill because of time constraints and I needed to stay in Zone 1 and low 2. If you're familiar with where we live than you understand that if I had run outside, I would have ended up in Zone 3 and possibly 4. It is H-I-L-L-Y over here.

Today has been a good day! I was groggy when I woke up, but it was because Chris had gotten home from being out of town know... Anyway, I started on my way to work and started what my friend Marianne calls "coffee prayers". A "coffee prayer" is talking to the universe or God or whatever it is that you honor whenever you have a short moment. I do it on my way to work in the car. It's pretty safe seeing that I leave before 6:00 and there is minimal traffic. This morning I prayed for my friend who is battling cancer, was thankful for all the universe has blessed me with and made the decision that I would make an honest conscious effort to stayed positive all day long. If a negative thought entered my head, I would do my best to dismiss it. You know what? I was calm and happy all day. I think when you start your day out looking in the mirror and criticising yourself you are setting the tone for the day. Unfortunately, most of us do this. We honestly think that we are too this or not enough that. In reality we just beat ourselves down with doubt about our abilities and who we are. It is us and us alone that can change that. We don't have control of a lot that goes on in this world, but we do have the control of our view of it and communicating effectively. As John Mayer says, Say What You Need To Say!

Today's training:

Warm Up:
3 x 100 drill 75, swim 25 (R:15)
2 x (3 x 50 done as easy, moderate, fast) (R:15 after each 50)
3 x 600 (rest 1 minute after each 600)
#1 - swim w/good form; maximize time on side, stretch out stroke, drop forearm at elbow to begin pull, keep head low, elbows high, do not overkick
#2 - swim as 6 x 100 (R:05 after each 100) at a fast pace
#3 - 600 negative split, finish strong
Cool Down:
300 pull
TOTAL = 2700

There is this guy who has been swimming at the pool since about the time I started training for the Ironman. When he started swimming, he made a comment that I made it look so easy. I just told him to keep swimming and he would get the hang of it. Well, I've watched him progress and not that I'm the best swimmer, I gave him some advice. He's now at the stage where a little tweeking will not overwhelm him and freak him out. So I just told him how much he's improved, but there was a small adjustment he could make and gave him the name of a website for swimming drill to make him really fast! He just exudes this energy that you know he's taking it all in a positive way. Then another guy in the next lane asked me what I was training for and I just beam when I get to tell people that I'm training for an Ironman. He is getting ready for his first sprint triathlon. It reminded me of how far I've come. Sometimes that's just what you need to help you know that you're good enough, smart enough and, darn it, people like you!!!!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Stuff and training

Just a quick post because I need to catch-up. I feel like I'm just chasing my tail with all these unfinished projects and paper work. I absolutely cannot stand paper work. It goes against my nature. I become cranky when I just sit. Maybe I should just start doing this shit on the treadmill or the trainer. Hey! I think I'm onto something. Here are the last few days workouts:

Warm Up:
30 minutes including 5 x 1 minute at a harder pace, 3 minutes easy pace
Find a rolling course; would like you to spend 10 minutes in zone 2, 5 minutes in zone 3 then 15 minutes in zone 1. REPEAT this 3x (90 minutes total)
Cool Down:
Last 30 minutes ride easy

I actually met the group at Two Rivers and got to see lots of friends (Jo, JBar, Patrick, JMar, Holly, Ian) that I haven't seen in a while and met some new faces as well! I knew that wouldn't last long. I did my 30 minute warm-up before everyone got there so I would just be ready to start my mainset. The first two were a little messy, but the third one I rocked. I felt good and steady. Chris stayed with me for the most part :-)! It felt good to be outside!


400 easy free
400 done as 75 drill, 25 free
400 done as pull w/paddles
400 done as 25 high elbows, 25 easy swim
400 as 25 right arm only, 25 left arm only, 50 easy swim
400 alternate 75 easy, 25 pick it up
Rest 30s after each 400

Strength training

Ahhhh! An easy swim day! How lovely.


Warm up 15 minutes @ easy pace.
Insert 4 x 4 minutes of 10 seconds faster/50 seconds slower. "Faster" is not overdoing it - just get moving a little faster!
Run 2 minutes @ easy pace after each set.
Remainder of run is cool down at easy pace.

Ride the duration in zone 1 at a higher cadence. The key is maintaining a low intensity. This ride will get your circulation going and promote recovery. Do not push the pace.

Great run!!!! I know I'm going to kick arse at the 1/2 marathon.

Well I've got a little work to do and shut-eye to catch!

Saturday, February 28, 2009


It was a pretty productive day - YAY! Got up at 5:30 to eat and get swimming by 7:00:

30 - 40 minutes today worth of drills - YAY!
Do them as 4 x 75 (50 drill, 25 swim ) resting as needed after each.
Choose FOUR drills to focus on the entire time.
You can also add in a few steady 300s after working on a particular drill.

It actually was about 7:20 when I got in the water. Got my swim done and I had brought my cold weather running gear with me so I could just run from the gym:

Run 45 - 50 minutes today. Along the way throw in a few of these drills:
1 - skipping where you push off your forefoot & drive knee forward
2 - sideways 'gallop' to work on strengthening the lateral plane
3 - butt kicks working on contracting the hamstrings towards the glutes.
Do 20 seconds of each drill, throw them in throughout the run & don't overdo it.

So I was going to suck it up and run in the 30 something feeling temp. I just sort of rinsed the chlorine off and put some lotion on. I was already psyched up and when I walked outside it was misting. I promptly talked myself out of running from the gym. What if it really started raining? I decided that if it had stopped any sort of precipitation when I got home, I would run outside for 30 minutes. Heck, I was already dressed for it. I get home and I'm just about to go do my run and it starts raining for real. Treadmill intervals it is, then! 30 minutes worth on a treadmill is about all I can stand, maybe 45 if I really have to, but at 1 hour I just want to slit my wrists! It's hard doing treadmill training. It kind of gives me shin splints because the belt is forcing you to keep up with it. If you don't you will suffer the consequence of belt burn on your face accompanied by a goose egg on the ol' noggin. Believe me, people will ask what it is on your face; you can't just wear a ninja mask all the time to cover that up. Anyway... WOW! Was I ever schwetty when I dismounted. I felt pretty good. Unfortunately my "runner's high" only lasts for about 30 minutes.

Time enough to shower and get to Saturn for the oil change appointment. Chris met me there so I wouldn't have to sit and listen to this really obnoxious women discuss her plethora of health issues with a poor lad that I'm sure she didn't even know. It was a constant flow - I don't know if she even took a breath. She shot me a look of "how dare you interrupt me" when I got notice of a text message on my cell phone. So when her phone rang I looked at her like "how dare you stop your riveting one-sided conversation". I don't think she even saw it!

Got back to Little Rock and went to the grocery store to get stuff for my dad's birthday. We had everyone over and I think we all had a good time! Although we had to lock the cats away from my younger nephew. We call him Reidzilla. He's like a little linebacker and will physically move you out of his way! My little niece Avery, on the other hand, was glad that the cats were locked up. Graham my older nephew doesn't really care one way or the other, just DO NOT touch his chicken nuggets or you will never hear the end of it. We did get a pretty snow this afternoon and evening. Just sort of dusted the yards. Hopefully this will be it for that silly winter weather. I'm supposed to do a 2 hr. and 30 min. ride tomorrow and I ain't doin' it on the trainer! I may look like a circus bear with my 15 layers, but it will be done outside. I only hope I will have some other fools out there to keep me company!

See you tomorrow!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Bottle it up!

Today was a much better day! Thank ya, Jesus! Yesterday just felt icky and today felt clean and new.

When Chris got home last night and walked through the door he took one look at my puppy dog face and asked if everything was alright. I just told him that I had a very draining day - that it was nothing that happened to me directly. I just let it affect me. I know it sounds sappy, but all I wanted yesterday was my Luvbug! Sometimes you just want your woobie and you know that everything will be alright. Unfortunately some days you can't have your woobie and you just have to suck it up! Yesterday was one of those days.

I woke up this morning and felt rested; very unusual for me. I trained my 6:00 am client and headed off to the pool for my swim:

Warm Up:
300 swim
6 x 50 drill (R:15)
500 hard (R:1:00)
200 pull (paddles optional) (R:30)  this is an easy pull effort
Cool Down:
100 backstroke
TOTAL = ~2800

I have not been enjoying my swims as of late and felt like I was just struggling to get through them. I didn't feel like I was making ANY progress...until today. I got in the pool and immediately knew it was going to be a good swim. I started my warm-up and felt really relaxed and calm. I just enjoyed the water running over my body - I would say it might have felt
womb-like. I was comfortable the entire time and never felt like I was out of breath. I also finished about 5 minutes faster than I did previously on this distance. For once I got out of the pool and had energy. I also think I'm swallowing less water because I usually have to piss like a Russian race horse. Not today! I just want to capture that feeling and put it in a jar so I can eat it on race morning. But alas, I cannot bottle up good feelings. Isn't it funny how you can bottle up anger and sadness, but not happiness?

My second workout of the day was some strength training. I almost always enjoy that, though. I know that most women don't really have an appreciation for this type of training. Women usually want to be on the move. I like both. Does that make me weird? I'd like to think not. They work so well together - cardio and strength training. You just can't go wrong. I do need to work on flexibility, although I am better about stretching than I used to be. An injury can make you do things like that. My hip? 99.9 % betta! So I feel I'm ready for the 1/2 marathon and I'm not dreading it and that feels great!

Yes, Geo! Life is good - especially when things are going your way!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The pleasure of pain

Today started out great! I had my class and it went smoothly. Chris even came back! I felt good and had good energy. My 6:30 appt. showed up and it just went downhill. She has a friend who is battling cancer that I blogged about just recently...well, she is really having a tough time trying to hold it together. She is also having a rough go of it at work. She came in this morning all glassy and red-eyed. Definitely not her norm! She doesn't usually take medication, but last night she needed it. She was not her usual perky, smiling self and it made me very sad.

Then while I was training her I heard my 7:30 leaving a message, but I was unable to understand what she had said. I finished up with my first client and listened to the message. She had gotten a call from a relative on her way to the gym that her cousin had died in a car accident the night before. She would not be working out. Again, this made me sad.

Then it seems like everyone has the intestinal yuckies or the snotty head. I just couldn't get out of the funk today.

Until I went for my run. This was my last "big" run before the 1/2 marathon on March 15th. It started out a little sluggish, but I soon hit my groove and I forgot my day and previous mood. Having that physical outlet...well, there's nothing quite like it. Just to feel the rush of endorphins and your heart just beating all to hell. The pain reminds you that your alive and you start to crave that pain. Just to be out there and doing something and feeling every bit of it. I wouldn't have it any other way. How did I ever survive without it?

Today's run:

Warm up 30 minutes building to mid zone 2.
Then do 20 minutes in high zone 2.
Then do 20 minutes building to zone 3.
Last 5 minutes cool down.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Word for the day...Insanity

Today was a recovery day and my body was ready for it. I used to resent recovery days, but now I look forward to them. I'll be ready to get going again tomorrow!

I had a former client send me an email telling me that she is really feeling frustrated about not experiencing any change in her body no matter what she does. After 3 months and not reaching her goal, she backs off of the intensity. In the email she mentioned the word repeat and cycle in the same sentence. So this is what I had to "say" to her:

You are not alone in your frustration. A lot of people are lost on what to do when what they are doing isn't working. So they repeat the same pattern over and over. It's completely normal and we've ALL been there. It can make you completely insane. Do you know what the definition of insanity is? It's doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result or outcome. We continue on the same path when we know in our heart of hearts we are going to end up in the same situation. In my opinion a lot of people are subconsciously afraid to truly succeed because the risk of failure is greater. So to avoid failure we never quite reach success. We often think, "What's the point? I'm going to fall flat on my face anyway!". Yup, you might, but you probably won't! If you do, it isn't a failure - it's experience and a lesson learned. No one likes being in a rut, but we are constantly doing it to ourselves because it is just easier that way.

A lot of people will choose the easy way. I think that's what sets athletes apart from the rest of society. We are constantly looking for the next challenging situation to prove ourselves to, well...ourselves - for the most part. Sometimes we are elbowed and nudged into doing things by a buddy for some friendly competition. But usually we are in it to push ourselves and see if we can get to the next level past our current limits. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose! No matter what the outcome, you know you had to do it. You had to try. You know you can NEVER stop trying and pushing because you may as well stop breathing if that happens!

So the next time you doubt yourself, just get over it and try harder!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Just training

Fat Tuesday, hmmmmmm.....I went to get acupuncture and the receptionist asked me if I was going out to celebrate Fat Tuesday. Heck, I didn't even know - so I guess not! Well, just a quick blog about my training:


600 warm up done as 50 high elbows (or fingertip drag), 25 swim
500 pull as 25 right arm only, 25 left arm only, 50 swim (this will overload the single arm but is great for building arm strength)
400 done as 25 head out of water swim (increase arm turnover, increase kick, this is an aggressive drill), 75 easy swim
300 no touching the wall, turn around the "T" lilke you would a buoy
200 easy your choice of nonfree stroke, kick, etc.
TOTAL = ~2000

Strength Training:
Choose 30 minutes of exercises & do them 10 - 15 reps each.


10 minutes easy warm up
5 minutes @ 80 rpms5 minutes @ 90 rpms5 minutes @ 100 rpmsEffort builds with each change in cadence (low zone 2, mid zone 2, high zone 2). REPEAT this set 2x through (total 30 minutes)
10 minutes easy spin

25 - 30 minutes off the bike OR 30 - 35 minutes later in the day. In either case; easy for 10 minutes then do 20 minutes steady in zone 2. Cool down with any remaining time.

Just a rundown! Be back tomorrow!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Taken, hill repeats and Sharkies.

Another Sunday has come and gone, but it was a good one. I got my weekly Target visit in, most of the laundry done, my workout in and we went to see the movie Taken. OMG! Talk about I.N.T.E.N.S.E.!!!! That movie rawked! If you like a good action flick GO SEE THIS MOVIE! Can you tell I'm excited?! The exclamation points should give it away! Seriously, we completely lost ourselves in this movie. We forgot which direction the bathrooms were in when we came out. Totally worth it.

About the only thing I didn't get done today was making some stuff for dinner this week, but I have some stuff in the freezer. So, itsallgood! The workout was tough today - interval hill repeat cycling, but I got to wave at lots of friends that I haven't seen in awhile. Here's the workout:

Warm up:
20 minutes easy spin5 x 1 minute moderate, 3 minutes easy
Find a hill that takes about 2 - 5 minutes to climb.
Climb it seated with HR in zone 2.
Once at the top, ride 5 minutes steady in zone 3.
Then ride 10 minutes very easy.
Do this 4x.

Well, let me just say that I haven't done hill repeats in a few months and my buttocks are letting me know it (already!). I'm sure my adductors and ITB will be letting me know by the morning as well. I did happen to try some new thing for nutrition today. They are called Sharkies and really geared toward kids sports nutrition. But I mean, hey, aren't we all just kids when we get on our bikes? Sharkies don't have any high fructose corn syrup. Yup just plain old sugar. They were really easy to eat and pretty tasty. Easy on the tummy too! So if you are looking for something a little more "natural" and simple than you should try these.

I've still got a little work to do, tomorrow is Monday and I have to be up before the chickens.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Get out your mats!

Some days you just don't have the motivation to do, well...a damn thing. Today was one of those days. It was raining and gray I just wanted to sleep! However, the 1/2 marathon is upon me and I had to get out and get one last big run in and there was noooooo way I was doing it on the treadmill. I got my grocery store visit done and started working on my clients' programs for the upcoming week and the 'Sleepy Monster' started nipping at my ankles and eventually just sunk his teeth into my skull. I had to take a nap. Of course, Chris was excited about this because he is the nap king! He's spent years perfecting his napping skills and I believe he even has a sponsor and agent. So a 45 min. nap was had and I felt much better after. I think that if everyone in the whole world took a nap everyday, we would be more happy and productive. I think in America we have it backwards. We force children with enough energy to send 10 space shuttles up to take a daily nap and think that overworked adults who take 5 min. to themselves to cram a sandwich down their throats are lazy. What's up with that? Okay, I'm done with that, but I'm just sayin'...

Ran today for 1 hr. 45 min.

30 minutes easy build from zone 1 to zone 2. (zone 1 is 0-135, zone 2 is 136-145)

Then do 40 minutes steady in zone 2.

Then, 4 x 3 minutes in zone 3 followed by 2 minutes very easy. (zone 3 is 146-152)

Cool down 15 minutes very easy.

I got a total of 11.51 miles at an average pace of 9:07. I did see some zone 4 in there and believe it or not, I felt very comfortable there. I think I had sort of a euphoria going on with all the endorphins. I was also supposed to spin easy for 20 min. after the run, but instead I opted for 15 min. of stretching and a 7 min. ice bath. I'm still having trouble with my supplementation during activity. The gels are too gooey and the all the other things are too sweet and gummy. What's a girl to do? Suggestions are welcome!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Who's in charge here?

I have come to the conclusion that I no longer control my schedule and it must come to a stop. I feel like I've been suffocating all February and somethin's gotta give. I don't like that feeling. It makes me sort of cranky. I just see a blank space on my calender and have a client standing right in front of me looking at me expectantly to write them into that spot. Well, they probably aren't really thinking that. I just feel obligated to fill all the blank spaces; I don't know why. However, on the flip side, I'm not hurting for income! When you work for yourself you sort of have to suck it up sometimes and just make sure you have your helmet and seatbelt on. I'm also struggling with my training for the Ironman. Not the training itself, but the selfishness I feel because I signed up for the Ironman. It's just something on my list of things I want to do before I die. Hopefully I won't die trying to work and train. Hopefully I won't lose total touch with the people I care most about and I see it happening already. Am I sorry I signed up for the Ironman? NOPE! Not one bit! It's just going to take better planning and I know I will find my groove soon.

Swim training today.
2 x (100 easy drill, 200 easy build) (R:30)
3 x 400 fartlek with :40 rest after each one & done as:
25 fast, 75 cruise, 50 fast, 50 cruise, 75 fast, 125 cruise“Cruise” is feel good speed – not hard.
100 ez nonfree
5 x 100 pull (R:15) strong effort
100 ez
TOTAL= ~2500

Just to let you know, after today's swim, I've done 6300 yds. total this week. I never thought I'd be doing that, but I also never thought 5 years ago I'd be preparing myself for an Ironman. In fact I didn't even know what the hell a triathlon was. Now if you don't know what a fartlek is (stop with the 8th grade boy sense of humor), it is damn hard! That's what it is! Now go Google it!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

It's a wonderful life!

Just a quick hit (as Geo calls them). I found out today that a client of mine, that has been battling cancer since last Sept., had her cancer spread to her spine, lungs and hips. Back in Oct. she had a 2 1/2 lb. encapsulated tumor removed along with one of her kidneys. She had a tumor wrapped around her first rib that is about 1/2 the size it was because of radiation. She is on a pain pump and will start radiation next week.


On the training front I did drills on the trainer today due to time constraints. An hour ride:
10 min. easy warm-up
5 x 1 min. @ 60 rpms (moderate), 1 min. easy

5x (2 min. @ 70 rpms, 1 min. @ 60 rpms, 1 min. standing @ 60 rpms, 2 min. easy @ 100 rpms)

I was to keep my HR in Zone 2 throughout the mainset and cool down 10 min.

Jump off trainer and onto treadmill for 20 min. steady HR in Zone 2.

I felt great and the best part is no hip pain!!!!! Yes, after about 6 weeks of massage, acupuncture and chiropractic I'm getting back to good.

Did I mention that:


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Daily report

This morning, I did not get up alone. Chris said last night he was going to get up with me and he actually did it. AND he left the house before I did! So I got to work about 6 and got my day started. You know, I have such a fun job! We have such a great time at work. I love bringing it up a notch and challenging people to go above and beyond what they think their limits are. Most of the time, they are wrong! I love handing them a weight that they would never pick up on their own and watch their expressions say things like, "You want me to do what with this?". I just tell them, "You can do this! You just don't know it yet". And you know what? They do it. And they smile and look so proud. I love my job! Both of them...
On the massage front, I have a very loyal client who I've been working with on a weekly basis for about 4 years. He is a very unique doctor who believes in educating his patients and refuses to wear a white coat. He emails his patients a copy of their consult and encourages them to ask questions. He told me that if a doctor acts annoyed when asked questions you need to find a new one. Well, he has a very good friend he has known since he was 12 who called and emailed me this evening. I don't know this friend, but he lives in Montreal - yup that would be Quebec. I called him back and spoke to him for the first time. Really nice guy who tells me in his very French accent that my client tells him that his massage is the best part of his week! Wow, it just floors me to find out that such a brilliant man looks so forward to coming to see me for one little hour! He informs me that he would like to purchase some massages for my client and he wants it to be a surprise. I'm thinking maybe 2 or 3. He proceeds to tell me he would like to pay for 10! Now that's a good friend! Of course I thank him profusely and give him my address. He did find it quite amusing that I refer to him (my client) as Dr. ________. In fact I could say with confidence that he chuckled.
I swam a little today. I told Liz that my arms felt like lead-filled rubber and my shoulders were screaming, but it's all part of the experience. Right? This is going to be a long road, but as long as I'm moving forward, that's all that matters! Besides, it was just a few drills, not 2800 yards!
One of my clients sent an email to me telling she had read my blog and she said she could relate to the lack of confidence. She said she felt like she has the knowledge, but didn't quite find the edge to push herself. It is this kind of feedback that inspires me to blog. It's a great way to get your thoughts out there and maybe there will be just one person who can relate or be inspired by something you've said or done. It's such a small world and really deep down we are all the same - we want to be happy, loved, accepted and succeed. Not that I'm trying to get deep here, because really who has time for that anymore? But it is all so human and normal to feel that way. Anyone who tells you that they don't feel that way, you should be suspicious - probably a pod person, so watch your back!
Well, I'm tired and it's late (for me) so I'm going to hit the hay.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Picking back up...

Okay time to get back onto the blog horse! No matter how short the blog is or what it's about. I assure you that most of the time until Aug. 30th this blog is going to be about my adventures in training. I'm really learning a lot about myself so far. Things like I can break through my mental barriers and push through my limits - for a very long time I have stopped short of going above and beyond because I have lacked the confidence and knowledge to do so. I changed one thing, I hired a coach with 10 years of experience. I couldn't be doing this without her - Thank You Liz! I've also learned that training for an Ironman can be VERY lonely. It seems like while everyone else is out doing group rides, I'm slotted to run or swim or do drills on the bike. Things I don't lack are consistency, focus (on training) and being a "good girl" (meaning I do as I'm told). I want to risk nothing that will keep me from doing my absolute best for this Ironman. I'm talking about over training and injury because it's usually a two-fer with those! I think I would be absolutely crushed if I got to a month out of doing this life changing thing and hurt myself because I did something that Liz advised me against. Yup, I'm going to do this thing right and who knows where it could lead me?
Just a synopsis of my very interesting and intriguing training from today (because I know you all are just dying to know). I swam 2800 yds. today and I'm here to tell you that I never thought I would be doing that! EVER! The tail end of the swim was 4 x 75 at max effort (R:30). Translated: swim 3 lengths (75 yds) as hard and fast as I could then rest 30 seconds - do that 4 times! By the last 75 yds. my ears were ringing, my heart was racing, my legs were tingling and almost stopped working - I thought I was going to pass out. I just kept telling myself, "Look lady! You are in 4 ft. of water and can stand up at ANY time. Push it!". It really made me appreciate the 150 yd. cool down. Drills are the way to go if you want to get good at swimming. I have improved quite a bit since the end of Dec. After the swim I had to do some strength training for 30 minutes and compared to the swim, it was cake!
I look forward to a good season and hopefully I'll see some of you sprinkled out there along the way.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Getting ready for a comeback!

Happy Valentine's Day!!!!

I promise I'm coming back! Febuary is always like this plus my training is getting ramped up week by week. Spring is coming and I have to be ready. I'll try and blog tomorrow!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Cooking, one legged pedalling and a good season to come!

Okie dokie! Back among the living now. Thank goodness! I was beginning to wonder if January was a foreshadowing of the rest of the year. I decided that I prefer thinking that I'm just getting all of the bad stuff out of the way to enjoy a great season.

I got Retuled! A very cool 3-D, state of the art bike fitting they now have at Chainwheel. It shows you everything - your position from every angle, power output, cadence, etc... They hook you up (literally) to get a readout of everything. They show you a chart of a "normal" range of numbers that you aim to hit. Of course, every body is different and Pat was sure to make it clear that he understood this. Their focus is to get you to a comfortable place thus increasing your power output. Because after all, if you don't feel good you can't perform well! He made a few minor adjustments and I tried it out on Sunday.

I have to pre-empt my experience with the fact that I've recently started cooking for us more. I received a really great cookbook for Christmas named 'The Foods You Crave'. I decided that I wanted to cook on Sundays for the upcoming week. I like the idea of making things because that way you know what's in your food. I want less sodium, more protein and convenience. So I make out a list, I go to the grocery store somewhere between Wed. and Sat., prep on Sat. and cook on Sun. I freeze what I can so all we have to do for the most part is take something out of the freezer for dinner in the morning so it's thawed by that evening. I've had a lot of success so far and it's helping us to stay honest with ourselves. Chris is even eating salads now (requesting them actually). This, of course, excites me not only because it's healthier, but I like salads and they are easy to make.

So after cooking most of what I wanted to cook on Sunday, I was about to start climbing the walls. I thought briefly about putting my bike on the trainer and doing my drills inside because of the 15 - 20 mph winds. Oh, the sky was so blue and it was almost 60 degrees (in Jan.?!!!!), so I loaded my bike into the VUE and went on my merry little way to Cook's. I got a bad feeling on the way out there, but chose to ignore it. I hate it when I'm right sometimes! I didn't take into consideration that everyone else on God's green Earth wanted to be outside and on the River Trail too!

I got out of my car and almost got right back in because it sure didn't feel like almost 60 degrees now! I unloaded my bike anyway - I was determined to ride outside and ignore my gut and goosebumps. At least I was smart enough to put on a long sleeved base layer and had some long fingered gloves. Rats! No ear covers anywhere in my car, though. Usually as long as I can keep my ears warm I'm okay.

I finally get everything together and I'm ready to ride. I actually had to pee, but I couldn't bear the thought of sitting down on the ice-covered toilet seat that would make me even colder. I already couldn't feel my fingers. So I bit the bullet and hopped on the GURU. I mean, hey, I've ridden up Hwy 7 with about 8,000 feet of climbing in a pounding rain storm complete with hail, fog, wind, thunder and lightening with free flowing traffic. I'm not going to let a little nip in the air prevent me from doing what I love. Have I mentioned that I hate it when I'm right sometimes?

I usually listen to my gut, but not that day for some reason. I got started and it wasn't that bad. Eventually I noticed more and more people out on the trail so I kept having to unclip to get around them. There were people everywhere and they were NOT paying attention. Lots of children with no boundaries from the parents on where they could go. I realize that kids will be kids, mind you, but when their parents let them do whatever and go wherever they want without teaching them proper safety (look both ways before you cross the trail) it really kind of pisses me off. It also affirms the fact that I really am okay with just having nieces and nephews.

I started approaching a group of young men that seemed to be scattered through one section of the trail. That was the last time I unclipped. I couldn't get my left shoe clipped back in. I grew more and more frustrated and by the time I got to a stopping place to see what the problem was I was absolutely exhausted from wasting all of my energy on being angry. We had decided during my bike fitting to put some wedges on my shoe. Well, the wedges on my left shoe had gotten bent up and prevented me from clipping back in. It was getting late and Chris and I were supposed to meet with some friends at 5:30 for coffee. I still had a 10 minute run to do. I didn't have time to fix my shoe. Well, I'm pretty sure you can guess what went on for the entire way back. That's right! I got to pedal primarily with my right leg into the 15-20 mph HEADWIND! I think the only time I have ever been more miserable was on the last day of the Northwest AR Challenge. This was a four day, 353 mile, 20,000 feet of climbing ride. The ride up Hwy 7 that I wrote about above was Day 2. You may think that on the last day after all that climbing you would welcome a flat at the end of the ride. Unless there is a 30 mph headwind!!!! Even with my beloved pulling we probably averaged about 9 mph on that stretch.

On the way back I passed a couple of friends who looked so happy. Of course, they were in the tailwind and on their way home. JBar called me the next day to tell me how unhappy I looked. Who was unhappy? Not Little Miss Sunshine! I finally made it back to Cook's; probably averaging about 12 - 13 mph. I think that's pretty good for a one legged suffer fest!

I had a fleeting thought of skipping the run, but decided to do it anyway. I mean, how much worse could it be than the ride? I put my running shoes on and took off. I kept waiting for the familiar twinge in my hip and much to my pain!!!!! Absolutely none! I was so excited that it made the ride seem like it wasn't so bad.

You know you have good workouts and not so good workouts. You really need both. You need the bad ones to remind you that sometimes it hurts to be human. You need the good ones to remind you that you can do incredible things and what it's like when the pain from the bad workouts go away. I'm just happy that the good outweighs the bad so far. This is going to be a great season... The Good, The Bad and The Ugly!