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!!!