Friday, June 24, 2011

"Don't Think, Just Do!"

This motto is what’s gotten me through the past 3 months of training.  It has seen me through miles 56-64 of the 100 mile ride when Bart was setting a blazing pace and it was all I could do to suck wheel.  It has helped me survive yet another 100 all out sighting sprint in the pool.  It has helped me focus on just the task at hand, be it swim another 25 meters, pedal or run another mile.  I am totally doubting my ability to get through IMCdA—I don’t know why.  I’ve done the distance twice already and know I can do it.  I just haven’t felt as engaged in the training.  Single parenting is tough, and doubly so when you have to leave the kids at home to fend for themselves while out on 7-8 hour workouts.  They have been such troopers.  I am so proud of them, for putting up with Mom and her crazy Ironman aspirations.
I can’t believe race weekend is almost here.  And I’ve totally neglected to update the blog on all the to-doings.  I can’t say that it’s because I’m overwhelmingly busy, because there is always some down time just before bed, or early mornings after the kids got off to school.  So, what the hell have I been doing for the past 3 months?  Swimming, biking, and running.  Eating alot (although for the month of May it didn’t include lots of sugar), drinking (not on that “recreational sugar” list in May, thank God!), parenting, and trying to stay on top of work and house projects.  So here’s the clif notes  version of my spring:


The blog left off after the Shamrock ½ marathon.  The following week was Jen’s camp in Arizona.  Always an ass-kicker.  This time doubly so, given that I had just changed out my bike saddle to an Adamo.  Not conducive to riding 2 more times!  I think this year it only took me 3 ½ hours to make it to the top of Mt. Lemmon—I am so grateful for Bethany!  While I had no issues making it to Windy Point at mile 14, the next 10 miles are always my nemesis.  But Bethany seemed fresh as a daisy.  Once at the top, we all rendezvous’d at the Cookie Cabin for a quick bite, and started back down after climbing out of Summerhaven.  The descent went ok—by the time I got back to Windy Point, you could really feel the hot air blasting up from the valley (temps all weekend were well in the 90s).  The bumpy bumpy road back to the house really drove home how sore the crotch was and had me up out of the saddle most of the way.  Bethany and I ran our 20 min T run in the blistering heat, jumped in the pool, and called ourselves toast.  Dinner that night was at Blanco, which I think I look forward to more than camp itself.  AWESOME Mexican food, margaritas with extra salt, and all around yumminess.
The next day was our inaugural swim in the UofA recreational pool outside, in the gorgeous weather.  Angelina, Bethany, and I shared a lane, and I took care of the de rigeur under water pictures.  We rode again that afternoon, again in blistering heat.  I think Bethany and I were lucky in that we had already had a good dose of warm weather riding/running but most of the poor mid western folks were having a hard time.  I got my butt handed to me by Bethany on the bike—she worked really hard and rode well, almost 50 miles.  I literally was icing my crotch before leaving on the ride in a vain attempt to make it better and so only made it 40.  Our ride was sagged by the TriSports store, and at one point the driver asked if I needed some lube  (chafing was not the issue!)  Another 20 minute T run (hot hot hot hot hot!) and we started making plans for an ice bath back at the house.  That night a few campers joined me for dinner at Zona 78 with my friend Tom. 
The third day was our morning run at Sabino Canyon.  This was the first time I ran the Telephone Line trail.  It was gorgeous, not too technical, and such a blast.  Sooo much better than years past when I trudged almost 3 miles uphill along the paved road on the canyon floor.  What was I thinking?!  I was bummed that I didn’t have my camera with me, Bethany was bummed she hadn’t brought her trail shoes.  We ended up running about 9 miles—my longest run at camp ever.  On tap that afternoon was (to our disbelief!) another ride—back up Lemmon to mile marker 5.  I was so unhappy.  As Jen passed me on the way up, I was talking to myself, saying “Find your happy place…” over and over.  Couldn’t find it—that saddle was so painful.  A bunch of us went back to dinner at Blanco that night—we apparently didn’t get our fill the first time!
I had an early morning flight out the next day, so missed the last swim/run.  I needed to get back in time to see my husband before he left again for Europe.  I think our visit was less than 12 hours (and most of that time I was complaining about that new saddle and my sore crotch!)


My first race of the season was the Olympic distance race at Lake Anna, 3 weeks after camp.  Joe was back and handled kid care, and I headed out early morning with Bart.  The weather absolutely sucked.  It was blustery, rainy, cold and so so nasty.  No one was looking forward to the race, except Caroline L!  I should’ve done that swim a couple of times.  Cold, choppy water is what we have here in Coeur d’Alene in spades.
It was raining as we all set up our transitions.  Everything was wet and cold, which makes putting on a wetsuit for the first time in almost a year very challenging.  It must have taken Bart and me a good 15 minutes to get those darn things on, all while trying to stay out of the rain at the back of the car.  I was very glad to have rented a full wetsuit from 3Sports, but the only one they had really was a size too small.  Talk about stuffing a sausage.  Oooof.  I couldn’t breathe too well, but it sucked everything in nicely and I looked 10 lbs lighter.  As we all stood around waiting for various waves to go off, we shivered and shivered.  You expend so much energy shivering, and then when it’s finally your time to go you have no breath left.  I couldn’t really find a groove at all and at one point past the first turn bouy I popped up right as Shawn and Rick did.  “Hello”s all around, interspersed with a few “this sucks” and “does this swim feel long to you?”s and it was time to put the head back down and keep going.  38 minutes later….
I was so darn happy to get out of the water.  I wasn’t exactly looking forward to the bike (had never ridden that course before) and so I had no idea what to expect.  The wind seemed to be settling down, thank goodness, so that was a good thing.  I rode the first loop conservatively, then knew the bad weather was pretty well done so I could pick up the pace.  Lynn passed me looking awesome; I just wish I could’ve kept up with her!
The run was a 2 loop out and back, with a small cut through in the woods after the first loop/finish chute.  I tried hard to work the run, watch my fueling/hydration and keep a steady pace.  I think it worked (I can’t remember my bike/run splits).  The first lap went pretty quickly, minus the part through the woods.  We’d had so much rain leading up to the race, that it was complete mud, probably at least 2” deep.  Bleh.  Ended up with a time of 3:09 and 9th in my age group, which I’ll totally take!


One short month later was the Kinetic half, still at Lake Anna, just in a different part of the lake.  I had driven up with Maddy, who volunteered for almost the entire race.  She was a trooper, having been rudely awakened at 4am to work from pre race until I finished around 2pm.  The weather was overcast, but calm, making the swim soo much more manageable.  For a good part of the swim, I was beside Jill, but she didn’t recognize me and she looked like she was in her zone.  Much less popping up on my part, so I swam a decent 39 minutes.
Again, I had never previewed the bike course, so didn’t know what to expect.  Melissa said it was pretty flat, but it felt all like a false flat to me.  My watch was off time wise, so what I thought was a decent bike split, was a 3:11.  There were just a couple of small hills, and my first time up one of them some other biker rode up behind me, slapped me HARD on the ass and said, “Giddy up that hill!”  The surprise was on him though—it was my friend Rick—who thought I was Jill and when he realized it was me, rode right into a ditch and fell over.  Ha!
The run course at Kinetic is a bitch.  3 loops (yuck yuck yuck) with a huge hill coming up out of transition that you get to do 3 times.  The rest is fairly rolling, with a nice downhill before the finish.  My goal here was to, like at Rumpus, keep a steady pace, not walk, and just run.  The one saving grace about the run (other than the music blaring from a cabin on the back part of the loop) was being able to see/high five all my friends on the course.  I ran my third fastest open ½ marathon time—a 2:14—which I am super proud of.  While I was hoping for close to a 6 hour half, I still pr’d by over 20 minutes!!!  That night my husband got back from Europe, and I was so glad to have the race behind me to be able to spend Sunday lounging around with him!


Over memorial day weekend, my swim coach organized a training camp for several of us CdA athletes, and others.  As a single mom, I wasn’t able to ditch my kids for the whole long weekend (and didn’t really want to either…).  I only attended the Saturday long bike/swim session, which was fine since their long run was planned for Sunday and I had run my first 16 miler two days before.  #1 son was a dear and took the kids out to the beach house on Friday afternoon, allowing me to hit the hay at 8pm unashamed.  Bryan and John met me at my house at some ungodly hour.  We loaded up and headed out for a promised 7am “cheeks on seats” start time. 
We surprised everyone by showing up on time; they had counted on me to be late (Who, me? Late?! Never…) So we had a few extra minutes to hit the potty, load the bikes, and waste time heading out about 7:30.  Coach ProK mapped out a 51 mile loop.  The first 10 miles were nice, then we hit the hills.  Holy crap.  Up two of them I was zigzagging trying desperately to remain upright.  The downhill after the second was kind of scary—twisty so you couldn’t see oncoming traffic.  Melissa ended up FLYING by me at one point, scaring the beejeezus out of me.  The third hill was a grinder, much longer and tougher.  At this point I was desperately looking forward to the sag wagon at mile 25.  The course after that became much more rolly, which I didn’t expect as similar to CdA, but I’m now very grateful for.  Meredith and I got dropped in this section.  At about mile 46 was the turn off for the out and back to the house, which she and I decided not to do.  I was biking on tired legs (having run 18 miles in the heat just 2 days prior), and was seriously doubting I would want to get back on my bike at the house.  So we set off on loop #2. 
If I thought those hills sucked on the first loop, they were downright MEAN the second time around.  It was all I could do to talk myself into not unclipping, telling myself to zigzag, hold on almost there!  After that, the downhills were pretty pleasant.  We made it to the turn for the sag wagon—having looked forward to it for the past 10 miles, and it wasn’t there! Luckily Meredith turned the corner where Blake had been parked, and we saw him just up ahead in the shade.  Ah, cold Coke and water!  We missed the 51 mile refuel stop by not going all the way back to the house, and were running low on fuel.  I was so glad to hit the last main drag.  Poor Meredith ended up dropping her chain a few times, but kept up pretty well, and we made it back to the start for 93 of hard-fought miles in about 6 hours of ride time.  LUNCH!!!
After what seemed like a really short rest, we headed out for our open water swim, in a “lake” that was more like a glorified pond.  As we were struggling into our wetsuits (in 90 degree heat…) we saw a big black snake slither away.  Good riddance!  We also had to avoid standing/walking in lots of goose poop.  The water was pretty murky, and not so refreshing.  I think the pond was spring fed, however, since there were a few spots where you could feel cooler water down by your feet.  After a half hour, or about 1500m, we called it quits.  It was Miller Time! (Or in our case, Corona time!)
Drive 2 hrs back to Richmond, drop off John, drop off Bryans car, and it was time to head to the beach (and another 2 hours in the car…).  Sunday it was all good, as we lounged on the beach thinking of our friends running long in the hot hot weather.  Bliss.   

So now you’re all caught up on the major training events prior to CdA.  I will cover race week as part of my race report.  Please follow the race online at  My bib number is 519.  I will be channeling my mantra, "Don't Think, Just Do" all day Sunday.  Wish me luck!!! 

Sunday, March 27, 2011

(Sham)rockin' some PRs!

Spring, wherefore art thou?  It's snowing this morning!

I have raced (and PR'd!) the past two weekends (this weekend is a blissfully light one!): a 5k that doubled as a run test, and the Shamrock 1/2 marathon in Virginia beach.  The 5k was a great neighborhood event in Forest Hills that I ran with Sharon, Lynn, Molly and Maddy.  It was "canine friendly," so leashed dogs could run with you, and a nice little one hill course winding through the park.  The hill was a beast though.  My mile splits were roughly a 7:46, 9:15, and 8:30.  Sophie was having a ball, and would've won top dog had I been able to run faster. Pictures show all of us in the background:

I've been biking mostly outside with Bethany, and she's kicking my butt.  She and Bart, along with the Deals, stayed with me at the beach for the half marathon. Shamrock weekend I was totally overbooked-- Friday night I took Maddy and a friend to her then-prospective high school performance of Guys and Dolls; Saturday was the JDRF gala set up and party; and race was Sunday morning at 7am.  Something had to give and it turned out to be the gala.  I'm so glad I didn't go--the kids and I drove to the beach around 4 and met Bart and Bethany at the greek place we like for dinner.  A little schluk of wine back at the beach house and it was bedtime!

Race morning was early, but for whatever reason I didn't hear my alarm go off.  I rolled out of bed at 5:19 and we were due to leave the house at 5:45!  Ack.  Over coffee in the kitchen Bart and I looked at eachother at 5:40 and had a moment's panic--overnight the winds had picked up considerably and we weren't relishing the thought of battling a headwind for the first half of the race.  Down the coffee and jump in the race clothes--weather be damned!  I was putting my shoes on and wondered why my "new" shoes felt so roomy....same socks I normally wear.  I turned on the light to see I had grabbed the wrong shoes.  The ones I brought that had been lying on the floor of my closet weren't the new ones--instead they were over a year old and had absolutely NO liner/insole/orthotic!  Over a quick skype with Joe, I was feeling totally screwed.  Bethany wasn't feeling quite herself either, so we had a mini pity party but we decided quickly that we couldn't not race, so may as well make the best of it.  At that point I was resigned to at least a couple of good sized blisters.

Off we went, speeding toward the Virginia Beach oceanfront.  Parking was going to be a bear, but I showed Bart our secret lot next to a 7-11 that no one knew about.  We gathered up our stuff, kissed Bart goodbye, and headed up to the race start at a nice jog.  WINDY!  We dropped off my post-race bag and lined up for a last pee at the portapotties.  Found Lynn and Sharon and good-luck-hugs all around.  The national anthem was playing while we made our way to the starting corral.  Bethany and I had the same time goal in mind, but given how we were feeling back at the house, we knew it was going to be a mile by mile race to overcome and agreed that if either was "feeling it" to go on ahead.  After standing around for another 5 minutes, it was time to start!

In discussing the race plan with Jen, we agreed that I would start out conservatively.  Build and hold was my mantra.  First three miles I'm always afraid of starting out too fast, or not fast enough... Our mile times were good:  9:25, 9:14, and 9:17.  Right past mile 3, the course turns west as you head to Fort Story and the trees provided some nice wind break.  I felt good.  Bethany told me to go on ahead, so I did.  I knew several runners around me were aiming for about a 2:00 half, so I decided if I could keep my pace steady, hang with them, I'd probably be ok.  The race clock at mile 5 said 47minutes and change, but was from the first gun.  I was doing good!  I vowed not to look at my watch until mile 10--just keep this pace and I should be fine, and don't walk the water stops.  Between mile 7 and 8, the course is right along the beach, and man did it get windy!  I found a tall guy running my pace and I tucked in right behind him and let him break the wind.  I gu'd every 3 miles, and tried to drink a little water in between.  My feet were definitely feeling the rubbing in the shoes but it was nothing horribly unbearable.  My splits for miles 4-10 were 8:47, 9:00, 8:50, 8:46, 8:47, 8:55, and 8:56.

Mile 10 is close to the gate leaving the Fort, and I finally looked at my watch.  I was right at 1:30:00 so I knew then that I was going to make a sub 2 hour half.  I was totally pumped!  At this point I knew I could do it even at a 10 min mile pace, but wanted to be under that 2 hour mark by as much as I had left in me.  The next mile went pretty quick (8:44), but then the fatigue started to settle in and the legs started to hurt.  Mile 12 was a 9:05 and I told myself the faster I ran, the sooner I was done but my legs felt like there was no turnover left.  Halfway through mile 12 you turn back onto the boardwalk and hit the wind again.  One of the race pics taken at this point isn't very flattering of me; I was in pain! That tall guy from mile 7/8 showed up right beside me and told me to push it in.  I asked him to carry me please!  Final mile was a 8:54, and the last .2 miles (I started my watch before crossing the start line) was 1:30.  My official time was 1:57:59--I did it!!! 

Melissa was right behind me, also with a 1:58, and the rest of our peeps came in shortly after that.  We all had great times!!! It was time for a beer!

Nikki was a dear and let the kids sleep in and brought them down post race to the beer tent.  We made it through 2 beers and decided it was time for pancakes!  Oh my legs hurt so bad.  Walking up to Pocahontas Pancake House, the wind was blowing and we cheered for the marathoners running by.  Bart, Bethany, kids and I headed back to the beach house to let the dogs out and take a well deserved nap.  And yes, I did have some pretty gnarly blisters.
This past week I have been in race recovery mode.  Running wasn't feeling too great on the calves, but hopefully the massage I had yesterday will help.  Time to finish off the Lumber Liquidators project and pack for Arizona!!!

Friday, March 11, 2011


I hope the quality isn't bad--I took these pictures with my cell phone.  Spring is popping out!  I've been outside riding for the past several weekends, which is such a blessed relief from the boredom of the trainer.  Bethany kicked my butt this past Saturday--60 miles with a head- or cross-wind for the second half of the ride.  I'm trying a new Adamo saddle, and it's making staying aero much, much easier on the pubic bone.  Not pain free in the private region, mind you, but such an improvement overall! 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Someone get me off this rollercoaster, please!!!

Sometimes I feel that there is at once too much and too little to blog about.  How, as bloggers, do we balance the need to keep the world abreast of what is going on in our lives while maintaining a semblance of privacy so you don't end up alienating, offending, or exposing ourselves and others to prying eyes?  While honesty is a great virtue, there are probably very sensible limits to how much we should reveal about ourselves online.  I'm not convinced that these new media (blogging, Facebook, Twitter) really help us develop deeper relationships with our friends.  Maybe they do the opposite--they keep us from meaningful discussions with the people with care about on topics such as life, love, and (pardon the poor grammar) where our heads are at.  

I have spent the past year living from one month to the next--very unsure about all sorts of things.  Now, I never considered myself much of a planner, but there is something very grounding about knowing, in general terms, where your life is headed.  Recently I've done quite a bit of thinking about the assumptions I made long ago about my future life.  Think about that.  When you were younger, did you know instinctively what type of person you were going to marry?  What you wanted to do when you grew up?  What type of parent you wanted to be?  Of course I knew I wanted kids, but never imagined what sweet individuals they would turn out to be.  I always knew that I wanted a professional life, that I would have something outside of being "mom" and "wife" that I found interesting and fulfilling--but I'm not sure what I'm doing now qualifies as a "career."  And while I've never been a whiz with money, I always figured there would be enough to live comfortably.  Life doesn't live up to expectations, but it can also exceed them in wonderful ways!  Is that what a mid life crisis is: realizing that dreams are just that; you can bank on some disappointments; and reality can be a bit messy at times?

With no firm ground below me, it is nice to have a training regimen that provides a plan--and that is the main reason I signed up for IMCdA.  I know that in 2 weeks I'm running a 1/2 marathon, a few weeks after that will be my first Oly distance race, and so on.  I can't say I'm very excited about the culmination of all this training in June (CdA as a race scares the shit out of me), but I look forward to the time suffering training with friends. After the race we're back to free fall: no races scheduled, and more uncertainty.

I am in a rest week, but this week doesn't feel very restful yet.  The same number of workouts, just different intensities (can you say run test?) and "shorter" long bricks.  I am trying to eat well and dinners are going well, but there are really limited good lunch options close to work.  (The lunchtime dilemma should be resolved after I get back from Tucson, and am no longer commuting to Williamsburg for work.)  I have been very encouraged that I am improving on my swim, and set a new 100m PR!  My Wednesday morning swims have been very drill/technique focused and it has paid off.  I haven't been very good at getting the kids or myself in bed by 8:30, and those early morning swims require much earlier bedtimes!  I become a grumpy bear with not enough sleep.

Ok, enough with the woe is me/training update post.  Let's finish off with something light and mindless!  The ABC's of me.
A. Age: 43
B. Bed size: Queen but lately I'm thinking King...
C. Chore you dislike: mopping the kitchen floor.  White sheet vinyl is NEVER a good design choice, people.
D. Dogs:  Sophie the Vizsla!  Before her, it was Trooper the Mutt.
E. Essential start to your day:  Coffee, preferably Starbucks House Blend made in a French Press.  Light with one tsp of sugar in the raw, please.
F. Favorite color:  Yellow--it's happy!
G. Gold or silver: whatever matches the outfit or other jewelry...
H. Height: 5’9” but I slouch horribly.
I. Instruments you play(ed): very briefly the recorder and clarinet.
J. Job title: Interior Designer.
K. Kids: 3 Jim, Maddy, and Joey.
L. Live: Richmond.
M. Mom’s name: Betty!
N. Nicknames: KateO, Honey, Crash, and Boo.
O. Overnight hospital stays: Kids being born, a kidney infection while pregnant with Joey.  Does staying overnight while your child is in the hospital count?  Done that several times too.
P. Pet peeves: Stupid drivers that, when they miss a turn, don't continue to the next turn and instead STOP in the middle of traffic!
Q. Quote from a movie: "Waiter, there is too much pepper on my paprikash. But I would be proud to part take of your PECAN PIE." (When Harry met Sally)
R. Righty or Lefty: RIGHTY
S. Siblings:  My older sister Molly.
T. Time you wake up: usually 7 am during the week, earlier for swimming.  On the weekends it depends on whether there is an early workout or not.
U. Underwear:  Uh YEAH! Except under workout clothes or pajama bottoms--yuck.
V. Vegetables you don’t like: Okra.
W. What makes you run late: Nothing, I'm just ALWAYS late. 
X. X-rays you’ve had: Teeth, Knee (ACL), Chest (pneumonia as a kid)
Y. Yummy food you make:  I consider myself a pretty good cook, but I did have to promise #1 son that I'd NEVER make tuna casserole ever again.
Z. Zoo animal favorites:  I like most of them except reptiles. Giraffes are my favorite.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

So I lied...

Sue me.

Yes, we're almost a whole month into the new year, and I'm just now getting around to doing something I should've done a while ago.  This little thing called life gets in the way. 
  • Early January the husband started the new job.  Hooray!  Much travelling and time apart.  Boo!  He was ready for a new adventure though and I was ready to have him busy.  While it was nice having the house husband taking care of laundry and cooking, it was a lot of togetherness.  I like a few degrees of separation--it gives us more to talk about over dinner.  I must say Skype is the bomb.  Where was that technology when we lived in Eastern Europe?!
  • The holidays were good.  #1 son got back from Iraq and the in-laws came out from California.  Little did they know they were in for a white Christmas!  Snow on Christmas Day that stuck around a while, and at the beach no less.  Many puzzles were tackled and Monopoly games played.  Home on New Years to hang with friends. 
  • A new year means a resolution of sorts.  I'm trying (with limited success) to not drink during the week.  Goodness knows we did enough drinking over the holidays to last a  looooong time.  I will, however, make exceptions for book/wine club nights, dinner with Lynn, or a snowy night like last night.  Having an open bottle around is not good.  Darn you, screw caps!  Birthday week (next week!) is also an exception.  I'll need plenty of alcohol to survive #43.
  • I have registered for several races this spring:  Shamrock 1/2 mary in March, Rumpass in Bumpass (oly) in April, and Kinetic half in early May.  I did run the Frostbite 15k this past weekend.  It lived up to its name!  At the start it was 15 degrees.  Brrr.  (I know what you MN folks are thinking, but that is cold for us.)  I think I did well, even if a bit slower than last year.  My mile splits were fairly even, and I have been doing more trail running for long stuff rather than road running.  I need to find a February thing.
  • I did find a must-do race:  Ironman Aix en Provence 70.3 in September!  If I'm in the neighborhood, I'll definitely sign up (provided I can keep in some thing resembling race shape post IMCdA).  Now, if I could only convince my friends to come too (Lynn? Julia? Kari? ADC?)  Maybe I should offer to pay for the wine post race...
  • I have been fairly good about keeping to the schedule, getting in about 90% of the workouts.  Right coach?
  • I've taken on some big house projects.  Family room 70s panelling and fake beams are now gone, cut through to the living room accomplished, drywall and trim are up.  I asked Joe for french doors for a birthday present--I've wanted them since we moved into this house almost 12 years ago.  Progress pictures are featured on FB.
  • Kids are good, and I'm liking having another responsible, driving adult in the house to help with kid shuttling given the lack of spouse situation.  #1 son has luckily found a job too (a rare thing these days so I know it's just a matter of time before he'll need to have a place of his own.  Then I'm screwed. 
  • I can't believe my beautiful daughter is almost 14.  There's no way I'm that old.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Happy New Year!

I know, I know.  I was not good about blogging this past month.  December was busy with school, snow, family, and holidays!  Now here we are, a week into the new year already.  Can I say how glad I am 2010 is over?  Ugh, what a year.  From the video I realize how many good times we had, but the underlying current of uncertainty given Joe's job situation was really really hard.  I will blog soon about looking plans for 2011.  I promise!