Monday, May 26, 2008

Ironmen, yet again!

Many hearty congratulations to my Maramarc and TriGirl friends who completed Ironman Brazil this weekend! They endured a brutal swim, with some strong currents, and hillier than advertised run--and at least two of them PR'd. My very good friend, and usual training buddy, Lynn broke her first IM record by a hour and 40 minutes.

I am in awe of these people who trained all winter, riding mostly indoors on trainers. Their dedication, tenacity, and ability are such an inspiration to me, especially Karen, Shelley, Susie, and Lynn who had finished IMFL just 6 months earlier. I am so proud to train with them, and call them friends.

YOU GUYS ROCK! Love and many hugs,

Running with the Big Dogs

On Sunday, to make up for some missed workouts during the week--not out of laziness, mind you! I was moving lots of furniture at the beach house--I joined a couple of Richmond Tri Club members for an open water swim and @35mi bike, my longest this season. When I called Craig Saturday night to let him know I was coming to the workout, he said there would be 6 or 7 others there. Only 3 guys showed up, and all of them were in their taper for Eagleman 1/2 iron. Uh oh. Here are 3 really fit guys, all in shape for their A race, and lil' ol' me--just starting to ramp up my Florida training. So far this year the longest ride I've done is 22 miles.
The open water swim was fine. The river was quite pleasant. The current was pretty swift, so we swam upstream for 12 minutes, and down for 8. I felt good in that I was a better (read faster) swimmer than two of these guys. The third I think swam in college, so he blew us all out of the water, swimming half way to Charlottesville in 12 mins. The bike ride was great, but challenging. Lots of rolling hills, and I had to work really hard to maintain a steady 18 mi/hr pace. By mile 30 I was pretty much done, but still 9 miles from the car. The guys were good sports and kept me in their sights the whole time to make sure I hung on. I tell you, there's nothing like drafting off a 6'5" tall dude on a long downhill! I must've hit almost 40mph...
When we got back to the cars, we did a quick 15 minute run through the woods and trails along the river. At that point, I let the guys go on, and I turned around to go home. I was hungry and desperately in need of a nap.
This workout was a good test of my new nutrition plan, which seemed to keep me fueled for most of the workout. The previous week, 1 1/2 miles into a 4 mile brick run (that 22 mile bike), I bonked on a run and tripped and skinned up my knee. After I made it back to the car (yes, Jen, I did RUN back to the car, albeit slowly) I called the nutritionist/dietician that has worked with other TriGirls. She had me keep a food log for the week, which started and ended with the same items day in and day out: coffee in the morning, and red wine at night. After asking about my current workout schedule, she informed me I wasn't eating enough by far and luckily I don't have to cut out any caffeine (only the coffee, we don't drink sodas) or wine! She said that eating right will help in a number of ways: with energy for the workouts, to help recover from said workouts, and also to help build more muscle--good news for these skinny thighs). The new meal plan has been tough to follow, mainly because I'm not used to eating constantly throughout the day, as opposed to my previous habit of small bfast, decent lunch, big dinner. I must say itI have a follow up appointment in three weeks, which is also after my yearly annual check up with my GYN, who'll check my cholesterol and iron levels. We will continue to tweak my plan as the training ramps up.
Jen also sent me the following article, which talks about the importance of carbs in a training diet,, which has proven very timely and informative.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Graduation Weekend!

I am well and truly done. Graduated. It was a great weekend, despite all the stress and fun of the previous week. My in-laws came in Thursday night from California, and #1 son Jim was able to fly in from New Orleans, since he was back (relatively healthy) from Thailand. My uncle and aunt also came up from Williamsburg for the day on Saturday to represent the Cunningham side of the family! The only person missing was my time, Molly. There were 8 of 16 grad students that walked including me, so we were fairly well represented. How many people can say they processed to the Uulating Mummies? It is the School of the Arts, folks. This is the first time I've had my name called and walked across the stage (missed H.S. and undergrad graduations, and 1st master's at Georgetown was just a stand-up-you've graduated-sit-down affair) and I'm so glad I finally was able to hear my name called. Sorry for the fuzzy picture, but that was taken by Joey.

Later that evening, we all went to Can Can for dinner. Lots of wine, great company, and a chocolate peanut butter bomb for dessert. Joe was a dear and took the kids and his parents home, allowing me to continue the party for a couple more hours with fellow grad students Molly and Vanessa, and TriGirl Lynn. I was yet again sidelined for minor medical reasons over the weekend so I was unable to run the 10k planned on Sunday with my husband and father in law. This week I jump back into training, along with getting a few quiet days with my dog at our new beach house--(re)decorating, hanging drapes, and moving furniture.

Thank you all for your warm thoughts and support for Joey. He has bounced back from the seizure and was able to enjoy his time with the grandparents. I am so over medical problems and emergencies. Let's all pray that from here on out, our 2008 season is a healthy one! Congratulations to all those bloggers and friends who ran races over the weekend--come July I will be out there with you in body not just spirit--and best of luck to my TriGirl and Maramarc friends leaving this week for Ironman Brazil. You will rock!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

My Man

Last night my youngest son Joey had a hypoglycemic seizure--his second. He was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes almost three years ago (June 10th) and has been on an insulin pump for the past two years. He is the most amazing kid--he can change out his insulin pod all by himself and is usually pretty good about giving himself his insulin "bolus" after eating. The first time he had a seizure, we were overseas--having taken the kids to Germany and Austria for Christmas and New Years. That was so scary, to be in a foreign country and not know the emergency procedures for something we'd never experienced. Luckily between Joe's German and the doctor's English, we made out ok. The hospital in Salzburg was great--the nurses took really good care of him and were very attentive. Our local hospital here was ok, but it felt like we had to really pipe up and make ourselves known when we needed something for Joey. I spent 7 hours in the ER with Joey, trying to sleep next to him in 1/2 hour shifts since they were keeping a close watch on his blood sugars. We are home now, and Joey is doing fine. He has been sleeping most of the morning, which is a common side effect after suffering a seizure.
In the past three years, we've done our share of fundraising for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, through their Walk for a Cure and Ride for a Cure. This year I'll be raising money through the Janus Charity Challenge, so I guess this is a good point to start the fundraising in earnest. To donate, please visit my fundraising page, and thank you!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Komen Race Report (My name's not Paula...)

Happy Mother's Day! My beautiful kids made me breakfast (eggs benedict!), and my husband brought me coffee in bed. We've done cards and they bought me some nice beach house gifts, and all I have to do between now and our dinner reservation at 6 is to go for a bike ride with TriGirl Fave. I'd say it's shaping up to be a good day!

Maddy did great at the 5k yesterday! She and Joe ran together, but started pretty far back in the pack of over 9,000 runners and walkers. Since they seeded themselves so far back, they had to weave through lots of foot traffic, and ended up finishing in a little over 45 minutes. Maddy came across the finish line with a big smile on her face and seemed to have had a good time. Maddy agreed that Dad let her walk more than I would have, but she still enjoyed the whole day from putting on a race number through to having a medal placed around her neck! Joey said that next year he wants to run it too, so we'll make it a family affair. A coworker of Joe's took a picture of us at the finish line--I'll post it when I get a copy.

My race report is short. I didn't pr today, but did for the first two miles: 16 minutes. The last mile of the 5k would've been much better had I not had tummy issues. Mile 3 was 12 minutes, but that included a much needed potty stop. So, on to bigger things: next weekend is the Carytown 10k that I'll be running with my husband and father in law the day after graduation.

I blame my poor last mile on my lack of sleep. Friday night I was having stress dreams. I was nervous about saturday's run, but come on, it was just 3 miles and I don't have school work looming over my head.... As it turns out right after we got home from the 5k I got a call from an Air Force woman, whose first words were "We don't want you to worry but your son is ok..." BAD word choice, but I guess it's better than "Please sit down Mrs. Oliver, we have something to tell you." Cue the twighlight zone music. #1 Son Jim (who's 23 yrs old) is in Thailand for his annual two week National Guard duty, doing joint training w/ the thai army. Turns out he had to have an emergency appendectomy yesterday! With the time difference, I think that explains my stress dreams. Luckily Jim was able to get through to us right after the Air Force chick called. He was pretty groggy, but said the thai hospital was quite nice, and all the nurses and doctors were taking really good care of him. In a way it's a good thing this happened when it did--had he been at home in New Orleans, I'm not sure he would've gone to the doctor when he was puking and having abdominal pain. Heck, I don't think the kid even has health insurance, but since he was on active duty when it happened, the Army will pick up the tab! They'lll keep him in the hospital for 2-3 days and then decide whether or not he can serve out the rest of the tour at a desk job or be sent home. I hope to be able to get through to him tonight, which will be tomorrow morning in Thailand, and get an update on his condition.
Ah, kids.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Back in the Saddle

Yesterday I got on my bike for the first time in over a month, and rode outside for an hour in gorgeous weather. It was about 75 degrees, not a cloud in the sky, and breezy. Since April I've had my bike fit tweaked--Jim Miller, the PT who does most of the TriGirl bike fits, raised my seat by what felt like 5" (I think it was closer to 3cm). I have to unclip and almost jump off the seat to get my feet on the ground. Have you ever seen bikers stopped at an intersection, one shoe unclipped, but still w/ butt on seat, waiting to push off? Well, that won't be me. I forsee a couple of falls at a dead stop in my future. Did the revised fit help my power? Hard to tell...I think the bike portion is my weakest discipline and I always wish I had more mass in my thighs. I know I'm going to catch hell for that, but it's true. Jim said I have longer than average femurs, so my power on the bike will need to come from more than just my quads. My first ride outdoors always makes me think "what the hell am I doing?! I don't need to do xyz race..." I felt slow, like I was riding a tricycle, but I wasn't. Isn't it a law in triathlon that swanky equipment makes you fast? (I know the answer to that one!) Average pace: about 17 mph. Ideal pace: about 19 mph. Jen, consider this a goal.
Later that afternoon, Maddy and I went for another run. She averaged a 12 minute mile pace--3 miles in 34 minutes and that included just two short walks. Joe brought home our race packets today--one of the sponsors of the race is our local Ukrops grocery store chain. Instead of plastic race bags, they gave us pink reusable grocery bags. How smart is that?! I think Maddy's ready, bring on the Komen 5k!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

I'm Done!

This is me, just after my thesis defense yesterday, celebrating with a little bubbly in the studio.
The festivities continued at Vanessa's, where we sat on her porch and drank more bubbly. Joe, bearing roses, and the kids met me there and took me out to a nice dinner. This will be the weekend of celebrating--Friday night chez Oliver with the graduate class and professors, and Saturday in North Carolina cheering the 30 TriGirls kicking butt at the White Lake Half Iron race. Accomplishments this year: MFA, check. Still to come: IMFL.