Monday, October 25, 2010

A week in Paradise!

What a journey! When you do an ironman, there’s such a build-up, it makes you sad when it’s over with. Let me first start by thanking many people who has been there for me in training, rehab, financially, and emotionally. Snapple Triathlon Team has been a huge support to me, giving me all the cool gear to help me go fast. Spira shoes is so giving to their athletes and was why I felt so darn good during my marathon. Coach Dan helped me have yet another fantastic ironman. I love Lifesports! My parents, brother, and sister-in-law helped me feel not so guilty about the long training days, but doing fun stuff with my wonderful children. Not only that, they were there to cheer me on during the race. John and Karen McBroom, I couldn’t of gotten to Kona and stay in Kona without your financial support. I am eternally grateful. Robin Gibson, you are one of the most selfless people I know. Willing to help anyone that is injured. All my wonderful friends that did some of my long training days, even though you weren’t doing an ironman. I love you guys! My awesome kids for putting up with me training morning, noon, and night. I feel so lucky to have such great kids! My wonderful new husband, did all the training with me. I couldn’t of married a better guy. Thank you to all my friends that supported me, encouraged me, gave me great advice, and congratulated me. You all inspired me!!!!

Ok, so now the race report. A week in Kona was paradise and a lot of fun! I started my trip by doing the Kona Lifesport Camp. We got to train on parts of the course, which was great. Got many helpful tips that I used during the race.

Got married! Yep, at our hotel, King K, Mike and I got married right on the water with my family, my awesome coach, and all the new wonderful camp friends watching. We had a traditional Hawaiian wedding. It couldn’t of been more perfect.

Woo Hoo! The Underpants Run! My kids, Mike, and I wore our Splish “Just Married” bathing suits. Too much fun!

Expo, Slowtwitch Party, cool Yurbuds photo shoot, snorkeling boat trip were some of the neat things I did before my Ironman.

Race Morning:

The swim was great! Felt like I was swimming in a tropical fish tank. It was hard to take the swim seriously. My swim time was what I expected. S-L-O-W. Oh well, at least I enjoyed it.

The bike was challenging, due to the gusts of crosswinds. My race strategy was go by heart rate and nothing else. I never knew how fast I was going and it was hard at times letting people pass me, knowing how much faster I could go, but I wanted to feel good during the marathon.

The run was awesome! I felt great the whole time! My plan worked and I would do it no other way. I got faster as I ran, again by heart rate. Never knew my pace. I was always comfortable in my snazzy Champion Systems gear and my Spira running flats. I finished with a much better time than expected and most importantly, feeling wonderful! It was worth holding back on the bike to have a fantastic run and feeling so good.

What a great experience! I was sad that my ironman experience had ended and so sad about not getting my Lava Java Kona Coffee every morning. This race has made me want to do more, because it was so great. Maybe in 2 years I will be back on the Ironman circuit. In the meantime, I will be focusing on the half Ironman and shorter distances.

Thank you again everyone for supporting me on this wonderful journey!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Valdosta Winnersville Olympic Triathlon

Getting ready for Kona has kept me busy most weekends. I hadn't done a triathlon since May. Wow, that is unusual for me during tri season. I will normally cram as many races as possible in the short season. With a couple setbacks, because of my silly mountain bike accidents, and the long ironman training weekends, I had to put my beloved short course tris on hold. Well, until this past weekend. :-)
Valdosta Triathlon has always been a fun, laid back, country triathlon. About 200 competitors, there's no pressure and it's all about getting a great workout and enjoying the day. This year, Valdosta Triathlon decided to not only have the sprint triathlon that they've had for the last 3 years, but added an olympic distance. Since this weekend was my "easy" training weekend, I decided to see if my body remembered how to race. Valdosta Triathlon is definitely a good runner's race, with their extra long run distance in their sprint and also this year's olympic distance. If you think you are going to do a 3.1 mile run, think again! It's more like a 4 mile run. And if you are planning on a 10k run, too bad for you! It was more like 6.7 miles.
The swim is in a really pretty lake, although is was more like a hot tub, with a temp in the 90's. Honestly, it didn't bother me, since my swim pace is not fast enough to build a sweat. :-) The positive thing about the swim is that I'm getting darn good at sighting this year. I was the girl that would be zig zaging all over the swim course. Now, I see the buyou and swim straight for it. Why prolong my worst event?!? As predicted, I came out of the water 3rd female and 15th overall. Oh well.
Zipped through transition. Got on my girlie Planet X bike and Hawk Racing wheels, which I adore. It was hammer time! Nice somewhat flat bike course (in the country.) Ended up passing both leading girls before getting on the run. Brook Pace, one of my good training buddies, was one of the super fast swimmer girls and great cyclist I had to work to catch. I ended up with the fastest bike times for the gals and the 3rd fastest bike time overall. Glad to know all my ironman training on the bike is paying off.
Now for the run. My favorite and one of my strengths. I took off on the run, felt great, on track for a fabulous run time. Got to the last two miles of the run and my Achilles seized up. Where in the world did this come from?!? No warning and my awesome Spira running flats had never given me any issues before. I stopped and stretched as much as I could. I knew Brook was probably not too far behind me. I started running again. Pain still there and making its way up my calf. Stopped and stretched again. All I could do at this point was limp the last two miles. I prayed that my fast running earlier gave me enough of a lead to keep my placing. Sure enough I did it. That was the longest 2 miles, especially on that run course, and took the win. I was 1st Woman Overall and 3rd Overall. I surely hope I made Team Snapple proud an I do hope my Achilles heals fast, because my Kona Ironman is 1.5 months away and I have several big training weekends ahead.
Thank you, Valdosta Tri, for the great race and beautiful watch I won. Look forward to next year.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

On Top of the World!

Adventurous, I am, but after this recent experience, I can definitely add that to my resume.
My cousin was getting married in Colorado Springs, so I started planning all that I wanted to do in the 5 days I'd be there. Definitely wanted to see the Olympic Training Center, go to the beautiful and magical Garden of the Gods, and hike Pike's Peak. Well, hike was not what I ended up doing! Let me start from the beginning of that crazy day.
It was Thursday morning, the day after I flew into Colorado. I was told that if we were going to do Pike's Peak, that we needed to leave at 5 a.m., because of the many hours we'd be on the mountain. So, we started our hike up the mountain. There were many people hiking and running, but little did I know that they were only doing a small portion of the mountain. They were the smart ones! Picture climbing stadium stairs. Ok, now imagine climbing them for 5 1/2 hours straight. Well, that's exactly what I felt like during the hike. As we climbed, the scenery was breathtaking! Wow, this really is God's Country! I kept taking pictures during the hike, it also gave me an excuse to catch my breath. Coming from sea level, just walking up a few steps made me out of breath. After 2 1/2 hours, we made it to the midway point of the climb. I was so happy to sit down and take a break. As we were eating our PowerBars, a cute little chipmunk came right up to us begging for food. How could we resist! He's obviously knows the routine for getting the tourists to feed him. So, the first part of the climb wasn't so bad. The weather was nice and cool. I finally got to break out my awesome Champion System Team Snapple gloves and wind breaker. Let me tell you, at the end of the day, that's what saved me from freezing to death in the 31 degree weather. Hey, I'm a Florida girl!
So, off we went trying to find the top of the mountain. The incline got a bit steeper and I felt as I was struggling to breath a little more. We took mini breaks every 15 minutes, mainly to catch our breaths. Finally, we get out of the trees and could see the top of the mountain. It didn't look too far, but we were so very wrong! The trail had us winding back and forth up the mountain. We had to carefully walk through knee deep snow. My trusty Spira shoes can handle a lot, but they are not waterproof! Some parts, we actually had to rock climb with no equipment! Besides my shallow breathing, I was feeling light-headed, and really out of it. I had 2 miles to go, but really felt like I was not going to make it. At one point, I was telling my fiancee just to leave me and go on. It's amazing how altitude effects you! Finally, we reached the top! There was a restaurant up on top of Pike's Peak, where I spent a good couple of hours warming up, eating chicken noodle soup and their famous homemade donuts. Yum! It's still too soon to ask if I am glad I climbed Pike's Peak, but I can promise you that I won't be doing that again. Oh, by the way, did you know there are some crazy fools that actually do a marathon on Pike's Peak?!? Either they are super fit or super crazy!!! :-)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

Every year Gulf Coast Triathlon (half ironman) is during Mother's Day Weekend. And every year, I drag my poor children to the race. It's hard to focus on what you have to do to get ready for the race, when all you want to do is play with your children.
Gulf Coast Triathlon is held in the beautiful beaches of Panama City Beach. This time of year, the weather is usually gorgeous, which makes the race enjoyable. Well, this year was a bit different from previous years.
Race morning, all seemed well, until I looked out to the ocean. Hmmm...looks a little choppy. No problem, I like swimming in choppy water. Feels like I'm on a rollercoaster, makes it fun. The horn goes off and I start dolfin diving into the water. Trying to get into my swim rhythm, the waves seem bigger than from the beach. Still swimming, I look up to see where the buoy was. All I could see was a big wave smacking me in the face. I zig zagged all over the swim course, even had to be redirected by a volunteer in a kayak. Never seeing anyone, except when another girl ran smack dab into my face (or maybe I ran into her.) Knocked my goggles off, had to do the back stroke to fix them. Let me tell you, that swim felt like it was never ending!
Finally got into T1, calves cramping up, but was just happy to be out of the water. Took off on the bike, just to have major head wind. Oh well. What can you do?!? Was alone for most of the bike, up until the last mile of the bike portion. Saw another girl ahead of me. Not for long! I closed the gap pretty quickly and rode on by. Shortly after that was T2. Boy, was I glad to be off that bike!
Got in a rhythm on the run and wanted to keep the pace around a 7 minute mile pace. Of course, at the beginning it's always a bit too fast (6:20-6:30,) but thank goodness for my Garmin to keep me in check. I hadn't run father than 7 or 8 miles for the last several months, so I was nervous that I just might not finish the 13.1 miles. Still all alone on the run, I planned on getting water or gatorade every other water station. The wonderful volunteers working the stations were still setting up and not expecting to see an athlete already. No problem. I just went with the flow. I appreciate all who volunteer for my races and know how hard they work. Mile 8 I was feeling all that I had done already. It was hot and very humid and stopped at every water station from there on out. Counting down every mile, I could not wait to see the finishline! I felt just as bad as when I did the ironman last year. Finally, got to the finishline to be greeted by my wonderful children. All my pain and tiredness disappeared. Ended up 4th Female Overall and 2nd Amateur Female. Always glad that I do that race and looking forward to 2011.

Friday, April 30, 2010

The wind is my friend... Or at least that's what I tell myself!

Competing at St. Anthony's Triathlon is an experience everyone should try. No other race like this! It's a challenging olymipic tri, even in perfect conditions. Swim has always been anthing but calm year after year. The bike portion is turn after turn after turn. The run is flat, but usually hot, hot, hot! Last year when I competed in St. Anthony's Triathlon for the first time, the swim was too rough, so they just did the bike and run. Swim challenged that I am, I had no problem not doing the swim. In the end, I did very well. 3rd Overall Amateur Elite Women. This year, I had no clue. If they had the swim, I knew I would have to fight for being in the top 10 elite females. Racing some of the best girls in the world, it would take a lot of effort and work.
Race morning, the energy and excitement was contagious. I was nervous myself and anxious, but ready to get the race started. I wanted to do well and not let my Team Snapple down. From transition to swim start, it was a good 15-20 minute walk. Lesson to be learned, bring disposible flip flops. Gun went off, I dolphin dived to get in the middle of the pack of great swimmers. Boy, how I love the swim portion of the race. It totally calms my anxiousness and nerves. I got focused and actually passed some swimmers. That made me so very happy! Water was choppy, but for me, the choppier the better. I don't really understand why that is, but I have fun with it and enjoy the swim.
Climed myself out of the water and into T1. As I was running out with my bike, I hear the announcer saying all kinds of wonderful things about me and wishing me luck. Wow, what a way to start the bike portion! Slipping my feet into my awesome Spiuk bike shoes, I realize that I pulled my strap out of my left shoe. Oh no! Well, I just have to have one foot firmly strapped in. As expected, there was turn after turn. Addition to that, there was much headwind. Well, this is good training for Kona, right?!?
Get into T2, I throw on my Spira racing flats and fly out of transition. This is my strongest leg, so I know I'll be able to make up any time lost on the swim. I pass several elite girls going out on the run course, but as soon as I turn, I felt like I was running in s-l-o-w motion. Darn wind! I see the amazing Miranda Carefrea flying by all those poor pro women struggeling like the rest of us. How inspiring is Miranda?!? Got to the awesome spectator lined finishline. If that doesn't make you speed up, I'm not sure what does! I finished better than I expected with the swim this year. 7th Amateur Elite Women Overall! How could I be disappointed? Great race! Would I do this race again, even though this doesn't favor my strengths? Oh yes! Hard course, but you are treated like a pro triathlete. Recommend to everyone!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Starting Tri Season with Much Fun!

Last weekend, I competed in a triathlon like no other. The tri was “The White Sands Triathlon,” in Panama City Beach, FL. I’ve always loved racing in Panama City Beach, with their beautiful white sand beaches and beautiful weather. This triathlon wasn’t in my original schedule, but the whole concept of the race really had me interested. White Sands Tri is a sprint distance triathlon, 600 meter ocean swim, 16 mile bike, and a 5k run. Sounds pretty normal, right? Well, the organizers of the race decided to make the race a bit more competitive. When registering, you had the option of putting $5 in the pot to start 6 minutes ahead of the guys. Now the guys who wanted to try to catch the girls, also had to put $5 in the pot to participate. Whoever came across the finishline first, male or female, won the cash. The pot was over $200 and I couldn’t wait to fight for that money! So, knowing that the swim was not my strongest, I had to really put effort into it. Taking in that saltwater and trying to avoid jellyfish, didn’t help my swim stroke. I got back to the beach and was happy that no men were in sight. Got onto my bike and started hammering it. The bike course was a 3 loop course, so you could see who was in front of you and who was behind. I was 1:30 back from the lead girl, which is no surprise, since I’m swim challenged. Still no sight of guys. Yahoo! With every lap, I was closing the gap on the lead girl, but by the 2nd lap of the bike, I see two Navy guys about 2 miles from me. Darn! They looked like they were riding strong too! The last lap of the bike, those two Navy guys caught me. I still had hope that they weren’t good runners, since that is my strength. I caught the lead girl in the last 2 miles of the bike, but my focus was on the 2 guys ahead of me. Practically flying out of T2, I ran after the Navy guys. Saw the guys at the turnaround point of the run. They still looked strong, but I wasn’t too far away and was still hoping for them to slow down. No luck! Yep, I got beat by 2 boys, but I did come in 3rd Overall and 1st Female. And even better, I actually got a small piece of the pot for coming in 3rd Overall, so that was icing on the cake for a wonderful time.
Would I do this race again? Heck, yeah! It was a lot of fun and a fantastic course.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Be careful what you eat!

Ok, I am a healthy person and is very careful what I eat, because of my sport. I love fruits and veggies! I think my downfall is, when I like something, I eat it in mass quantities. Not a good thing! There was a time when I would eat oatmeal every morning. Start my day right. Then I discovered this yummy tasting no calorie spray butter. I'd spray and spray even more of it on my oatmeal, then finally decided to just open the darn container and dump half the bottle out into my oatmeal. YUMMY! After many weeks of eating that delicious oatmeal every morning, I noticed my clothes weren't fitting anymore and my butt getting bigger. Hmmm... What the heck was I doing wrong? I was eating healthy, exercising too. Well, I started looking online on the calories and fat of all I would consume during the day. Looked up the zero calorie butter spray and OMG, reading the fine print, there were many calories and fat! What?!? It said ZERO calories in a spray. Well, that's one spray, not half the bottle. What reminded me of that time was that I recently discovered dried veggies as snacks. My favorite being dried green beans. What could possibly be fattening about that? Well, I've noticed this week that I am getting that "pudgy" look, which is so attractive in my swimsuit during my group swim workouts. I'm afraid to go on my run, because of the fire I might start with my thunder thighs. Anyhow, I decided to look up my wonderful and delicious green bean chips. What do you know, but they aren't as low cal and low fat as I originally thought. Serving Size 28 g, Calories 130, Calories from Fat 40, Total Fat 4.5 g, Saturated Fat 0 gm, Transfat 0 g, Cholesterol 0 mg, Sodium 160 mg, Total Carbohydrate 20 g, Dietary Fiber 4 g, Sugars 5 g, Protein 2 g

Darn it! Oh well, back to Subway for the next several weeks!

Training Camp Tallahassee 2010

When I heard that there was going to be a Snapple training camp this April up in Virginia, I wanted to go so bad, but I knew there was no way I could attend due to travel, kids, and work. After talking to a few of my training partners, we came up with a four day mini-camp here in town. Four days of nothing but swimming, cycling, and running. Sounds like fun, huh?

Day one: 4,000 yd swim and 60 min run.

Day one was pretty uneventful. We had 4 people show up for the 4k swim and it went by pretty quick. I’ve had the luxury of catching two different colds in the past ten days so I didn’t feel 100%. A couple hours after the swim 5 of my friends showed up at my house to do an hour run on the trails. One key to get through 4 solids days of training is to keep the intensity down some and we did just that on the run. Nice and steady.

Day two: 60 mile hilly bike and 20 minute brick run.

Only two other hearty souls showed up for today’s workout. Like most of the country, North Florida has had a cold and wet winter. That is why I was happy to see sunshine and temperatures in the upper 50’s/lower 60’s. I felt really good during the ride, and even had to back off some for the 2nd half knowing I had a long weekend ahead of training. The short brick run after the bike didn’t feel great, but wasn’t too bad either.

Later that evening I had a group of training friends show up to do some yoga. I have the Flexible Warrior DVD set of the Yoga for Traithletes. We all got a good laugh of how inflexible most of us were.

Day 3: Local 10k running race, 2-hr bike.

Now I’m starting to feel some of the milage in my legs from the past two day. Four of my training partners showed up for the 5k/10k race. It was cold for the start, in the mid 30’s. Since I was sick earlier in the week, I wasn’t able to do a 15 min run test that my coach wanted me to do. So I decided to run the 1st 15-minutes hard, then back off and cruise the rest of the run and help a training partner run a good time. Isn't it funny how running fast in a race seems so much easier, than having to run that same pace in a training run?

A few hours after the run we met up for the 2 hour ride. A friend was able to round up a few more recruits and we had about 10 people for the ride. Nutrition is not starting to play an important role in my ability to make if through the weekend. It was nice and sunny with temps in the low 60’s and was able to ride w/o leg warmers and get some sun on my white legs. We had some good head winds on some stretches and I was glad to get the ride over with.

The yoga the day before was a big hit and people wanted to do it again after the ride. With my living room full of people, we Downward Dog’ed it for 30 minutes.

Day 4: Judgment Day – 3,500yds, 60 mile bike, 10 min brick run

We had an interesting start to the swim. A group of us were waiting outside the pool to open at 10am. Finally a lifeguard pops out of the building about 10:15 saying that the locker rooms and bathrooms are closed, but the pool is open…..huh? I found out later that the head life guard was out the night before, drinking and partying and decided to have his friends over to the pool for a late night pool party. All good until the cops show up to the city pool at 3am with a bunch of drunk people having a party. One nice thing about Tallahassee is there are a good number of excellent pools available – so we decided to head over to the nicest pool facility that I’ve ever been to, the new Florida State University outdoor pool.

About 10 fools showed up for the workout and I got nice and tired by the end of the 3500. Up next was a 60 bike on flat road thru what we call the Dead Zone. The Dead Zone is this one road that is 14 miles long out in the middle of NOWHERE. It goes on and on and on. Half way through the ride the fatigue of the weekend is really starting to hit me. To top it off it seemed like we had a head or cross wind the entire ride. Not to mention my nose ran down my face the whole time! Ugh! Needless to say, I have mastered the "snot rocket!"

After the ride I wanted to bag the brick run. After lots of complaining and whining, my lovely fiancé made me do it. I ended up running pretty hard just to get it over with and honestly felt a lot better afterwards. Go figure?

So, am I glad I trained that much in a short few days? Mmmm... yeah, I am. Would I do it again? Ask me next year. :-)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Krispy Kreme Challenge

Krispy Kreme Challenge
January 24th, 2010

I have always been curious about the Krispy Kreme Challenge run. How do they do it and do people actually participate in the eating the doughnuts and running? How is that possible?!? Well, in Tallahassee, FL, this was the 1st year that they put on this race. I just couldn’t resist going & yes, participate. Finding out more about what I needed to do to participate, you could be a slacker & only eat one doughnut midway in the 4 mile race or if your have a stomach of steel, you would eat a dozen doughnuts at the halfway point. Yep, I decided to play it safe and be a slacker. I was more interested in watching the fools that signed up for the challenge of eating a dozen doughnuts.
The gun goes off and everyone is running as fast as they would in a normal running race, knowing that once we get to the doughnut stop, it’s all downhill. We get to the mandatory stop, I see runners cramming doughnuts in their mouths, downing it with water. Some people flattening out the doughnuts in their hands to get as many doughnuts in their mouths as fast as they can. For me, they asked me how many doughnuts I would like to eat. Are you kidding me?!? I’ll take one, please. After painfully cramming that super sweet original doughnut down my throat, I started running again. Nothing like, choking on doughnut pieces while your just trying to get air in your aching lungs! Finally, I got to the finishline. Happy to be done with the craziness, but anxious to get back out on the course to see who all was going to be puking their guts out. Those Krispy Kreme Challengers didn’t let me down. The guy who ended up winning the race puked up that dozen doughnuts as soon as he crossed the finishline.
So, I was happy to experience The Krispy Kreme Challenge and ended up being the Overall Female Slacker. Yahoo! Who knows, maybe next year I will go for the real challenge of racing with a belly full of doughnuts.