Thursday, September 30, 2010

Tiffany Heindel Preview

Monday, September 27, 2010

De Feet

I've been thanked a couple of times for NOT posting pics of my nasty black toenail, my bloody toes with no skin and the resulting carnage :)  I've NOT posted, neither here, nor on Facebook. You're welcome. I get it.  However, there ARE pics out there! YES! And a few brave souls have seen them (Daniel! et. al.).  Of course, if you work with me, you are trapped like a rat and you've had to endure me stripping off my shoes and socks, so that you could see for yourself, JUST how bad they are. For that, I apologize. And my poor family ... they are the real victims here! 

Okay, my toe saga is officially - FINALLY - laid to rest. All healed and discussed enough.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

An Epiphany!

Tiffany's epiphany.  On Friday, September 17th, 5 days after my 140.6 mile triathlon, I was still dealing with some toe issues ... and besides being painful, I was seriously stumped as to WHY.  I've run that distance in those shoes many times over.   The two most lateral toes - toes 4 and 5 - on BOTH feet, had sloughed all their skin and were a raw, painful mess. Think burn victim. The pain 3 and 4 days out was way worse than race day or the next 2 days.  The other thing that was going on were toes 1 and 2 had black toenails - or subungual hematomas. Fortunately, these were painless!  Only the middle toe on both feet were spared!

On this day I head over to Achilles Running Store for another shoe measurement. I've been told I'm a 7, a 7.5 and an 8, on different occasions. Makes shoe buying difficult!

This day I measured as a 6.75 on my left foot and 7 on my right foot - WTF??  Okay, so the knowledgeable sales lady tells me that she's a size 7 and was currently wearing an 8. Just so much variability in brands and models. But this still didn't answer my question - why did all this happen!

Then: LIGHTBULB MOMENT!  I took in salt tabs during this race.  Probably 4 on the bike, and 6 on the run. My reasoning is to ward off crippling calf cramping. It was working!! Not one cramp!  But, the trade off is swelling, especially of fingers and toes. So, my toes swelled. They swelled A LOT! There was no room in my toebox to accommodate the swelling and no lubrication to help with the friction developed by the toes crammed in the toebox.  Well, this info was very, very helpful! 

In the mean time, I've heard that during full IM and marathons, it's not uncommon for athletes to wear shoes a half or even a full size larger. Also, applying body glide or aquaphor to the toes will be helpful. And, I've invested in a pair of compression socks, so I'm very happy to have figured out the etiology for the toe trauma, and have a plan to address it in the future. Plus, I'll gate-keep the sodium tabs a little more from now on.

Over Sat. and Sunday I developed subungual abscesses in 2 toes. This is painful :(  I soaked the feet, sterilized the instruments and went to work on releasing the pressure and and flushing out the purulent material. I removed one toenail, the other was immediately relieved by the draining. I started antibiotics and kept my feet elevated for a full day.  Seems like within 24 hrs I was feeling much better.  Ready to move on from this and be done with feet injuries. By Thursday, I was fully recovered!

So, lesson learned, and kind of excited to know that there is a logical explanation. And, it can be avoided! Woo hoo!

Peace out,

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Showing off the new kit!
And the gratuitous ass view
Practicing my finish line pose!
5 am - Let's get this party started!

I DID IT!!! And Ted bought me this decal that I EARNED!
Bloody socks covering the carnage that are my toes :(

Race Day

I awoke at 4 am.  I had a list of exactly what I needed to do and just worked through it, very smoothly. I ate, dressed, PRP, took in coffee, water, red bull. We set off down to transition and arrived at 5 am for body marking and weigh in. I didn't know about the weigh in.  It would tell them how dehydrated you are should you have difficulties during the race. If you lose more than 10% of your b.w., you get an IV for fluid replacement.  Once marked and weighed, I hung my bags on their respective pegs. Double checked my bike, mounted my Garmin, and then left transition. I saw quite a few people I knew then and it was really fun and exciting!!!   Ted and I hooked up with John Mack, another CTC peep doing the full.  John has been nursing a very painful nerve injury in his foot and contemplated downgrading to the half, but was not allowed.  So, he was in for the Full, or out all together.  He chose IN. Brave man! I knew he was hurting, and the bike leg was just as painful as the run leg, as the pedal was right over the nerve bundle. :(

John, Ted and I headed back to the hotel to relax and do our thing for about 45 minutes.  I was happy to have more PRP time and took the opportunity to pose for some pics in the room.  At 6:30 we went outside to the beach - the start was right in front of our hotel. We ran into several familiar faces and it made for a fun, relaxing pre-race period.  After they got the pros sent off, they gathered us to the start. Now I started to get nervous!  I was trying NOT to think about the daunting journey ahead of me, but just be in the moment.

I started near the front. I ran in until the water was mid-thigh level, then I started to swim.  It was very crowded! The most crowded conditions I'd ever experienced. I felt good though, and I got through that brief period where my HR elevates. No panic, just calm.   I was doing great!  ... Until ... the goggles began to leak :(   I've used these goggles for dozens of races, but today they just wouldn't seal and keep the water out.  I want to say that the time spent adjusting and re-adjusting those goggles probably cost me 20 minutes.  Seriously.   I know I can do that swim in 1:15, but between the initial congestion and goggle issues, I lost quite a bit of time.   BUT, I want to emphasize that I remained calm and dealt with it.  I didn't get overly angry. I just kept saying to myself "I'll deal" and I did.  My frustration level was mild - which is very uncharacteristic for me. That would usually get me raging mad. But I am very proud to say that I didn't let it ruin my race!!  I DID DEAL!  So, on my To Do list goes: Get NEW goggles.   I'll be sure to resolve that issue before IMFL.  Then watch out - my swim split will be smoking!! :)

After the swim was over, I felt fine! Jogged into transition and T1 went pretty good.  I saw Ted, waved and smiled, then over to my pegs. Out of the wetsuit, put on the helmet, bike shoes, cycling jersey, strap on my CGM, my insulin, and put on biking gloves.  Trot over to my bike and off I went . I felt great with how smooth that went.

The bike.  Took a few minutes to get my HR under control.  Then, I took in 2 gels - my BG was on the "low-ish" side.  As we cycled off the peninsula, it was great having all those people cheering!  My goal was to stay in a pace I could maintain for 112 miles, so, for me, there was not "Hammer Time".  I cycled consistently and spun at a rate I felt I could hold.  I'd ridden the course before so I was familiar with it. As a matter of fact, the turn to head into Milan is known to me as "the place Joey Edwards stopped to pee"!  I giggled at that when I passed it.   I did the entire course without dismounting once! I tackled and over came each one of those hills!  Whoever said that course is "flat and fast" is a liar!!!  Maybe it's not Colorado, but there definitely are hills!   Regardless, I was very proud of my bike leg! My favorite part is the south to north rollers at the furthest point before turning back west. I LOVE riding that! I got to 35 mph! FUN!!!!!

The first lap kind of went by in a blur, and I will admit I had moments where I wanted to quit. It was hard! I kept doing self talk, and this one really stuck: "If it was EASY,  everyone would be doing it!"  So, I was proud to be a badass tackling 140.6.  There was no way I could quit. The other thought that cycled through my mind (pun intended!) was that, for ME, this is not a RACE, but a JOURNEY! I was here to complete a JOURNEY.  I had no injury. I'm healthy, fit and fortunate to be injury-free!  Only the fear in my head.  And I sure as hell wasn't going to let THAT beat me!   The second lap was better, because by that time, I'm HALF done with the distance. I might as well keep at it full throttle, because quitting is NOT an option.  It was kind of lonely during the second loop, but occasionally a friendly rider would come by and we'd exchange a few words.  I did pass a few people too, so I wasn't always the "passee".

Once I came to the peninsula, I began to really pick up my pace. By that, I meant 15 mph. I really was pretty much out of steam, but I could muster up the best "hammer time" possible for that stage of the race and I passed a few people on the way in!! :)  I reached transition and saw Ted immediately! He was beaming and told me I was doing great. My goal was to do the bike in 8 hrs ... I did it in 7:25!  WOO HOO!

I took my garmin from my bike and headed over to my bags. I needed some more time b/c I needed to test my BG.  It was 109!  WOOOO HOOOOO!   I put on socks - OH GLORIOUS SOCKS!!! (I cycle w/o socks), shoes, number belt, doo-rag and snarfed a Larabar.   Pit stop at the porta-potty and then I was ready to tackle the 26.2 miles.  Well, at least in theory!

I started jogging and found my legs relatively quickly. But, I was feeling overwhelmed with the NUMBER .... 26.2 miles.  Could I do that??  I was skeptical.  This, I knew, was the area I was least prepared for.  I chewed some gum. Took some beverages, walked a bit, then got my head straight. I did some self-talk.  I reminded myself: If it was EASY, everyone would be doing it!  By mile 4 I found my running legs and started plodding forward.  I began to see friends and that helped A LOT!  Huge thanks to Brandon Henneman!!!  He was very supportive and calmly told me I had PLENTY of time and just to keep moving forward. Brandon ... THANK YOU for that.  It really helped me, more than you can know!!!   Janet, too. Janet passed me several times, as she had an amazing race! But she was also hugely supportive and that support came during a very hard time for me - thank you, too, girl!
Several others that know me through CTC had positive word and encouragement for me - people, YOU made a difference for me!!!   Then, I happened across the Ironfan group and they were all jumping, cheering, high-fiving me and, WOW, I just can't tell you guys how much that helped boost my spirits!!!  Just ... exponentially!!

Around Mile 7 I started having blisters develop. I knew what was happening. I knew there was no solution. I knew I had to make a decision to let them hold me back, or to move forward. Honestly, they hurt the same to walk as to run.  Both feet hurt - both in the pinky toe and neighbor toe on each foot, but the right was far worse.   I simply made the decision to HTFU.   I know that blisters heal. I know I'm a tough chick. I said: "self: HTFU!" and I did.  I kept moving forward. I ran 75% of that 26.2 miles. I had only planned to run 50%, so I was way ahead of my goal.  AND, my pace began to pick up once I ignored the pain.  I just plodded forward.  I made a concerted effort to take charge and make this race MY race, not let some stinking blisters dictate how I would finish.

As it grew dark, I saw fewer and fewer racers, but I knew there were still plenty of people behind me. I came across John Mack, who was obviously in excruciating pain. I asked him to give Ted a message to expect me between 10 and 10:30pm.  The volunteers were AMAZING!  I thanked every single one of them - probably to the point of obnoxiousness (who, me? Obnoxious? Never!).  I just LOVE the volunteers :)   I am volunteering for the Towpath marathon in a few weeks and it's my turn to give back! Trust me, I will infuse energy into as many runners as I can :)

As I kept looking at my watch, I saw that I was ahead of my goal ETA and I would likely be arriving 45 minutes before I expected to. I really felt quite proud of that. It wasn't a stellar marathon run, but, so far as it being the third leg of an ironman, I was thrilled with my performance! It was better than I thought it would be.

I approached the finish chute and the music, the people, the energy just infused me with the umph I needed to bounce down the finish beaming the whole way. I was so flooded with emotion that I welled up with tears! I did it! I completed an Ironman distance triathlon!! My time was 14:46:36 and I can totally live with that!!

The first person I saw was my good friend Elizabeth Kelley!  She had driven out just to see me finish! She was maybe MORE excited for me than I was! It was so great to see! I was hoping she'd get the bug and decide to tackle this next year.  The next person I saw was Ted, as he arrived with my requested COKE!  Oh, and a 140.6 decal for my car!!  I was afraid to buy it before I finished, thinking I might jinx it. And they were closed after I finished, so Ted got one for me. What a great idea!   As I sat there, basking in the glory of the finish, several CTC peeps came up to congratulate me: Jen, Brandy, Phil and Danielle. I asked about Jen and Brandy's 70.3 race and, as per usual, Jen downplayed her performance, leaving me thinking she had a "bad" race and didn't want to talk about it. Turns out she did fantastic!!! So, she vomited on the bike - no biggie! I'd have paid big money for a good vomit on the run!! :) Brandy finished her first 70.3 ever, and was beaming herself.   I got some quick summaries of others' races and was so happy to hear so many great stories!

Ted got my bike and my bags and Elizabeth carried my stuff as we hobbled (or "I" hobbled back to the hotel)  That post-race euphoria is simply inexplicable. If you haven't experienced it, there is nothing else in the world like it. It is everything I imagined. It was my proudest moment. :)

We said goodbye to Liz and made our way back to our room. I pulled off my shoes to find my brand new socks saturated in blood :(  I was afraid to remove the socks!  When I did ... it wasn't pretty.  All the skin on the 2 lateral toes, toes 4 and 5, had sloughed off leaving muscle and nerves open and exposed.  The right foot is worse than the left. I was unable to submerge it in the tub and just need to clean it with bactine.

 Clearly, I need to address new shoes and new goggles. But, otherwise, everything went very well and I couldn't be happier!  A huge thank you to Ben Miralia, who was a great resource and inspiration to me. He sent me great suggestions on how to approach the race both mentally and physically. It helped me immensely.  I found myself thinking of his tips quite often.

And finally, a HUGE thank you to ALL OF YOU! The people that support me, read my blog, follow my posts and cheer me on, whether it's in person or as a cyberfan. It makes a difference to me! I've always wanted to feel "amazing" ... and I've been working long and hard to be able to actually truly feel that. Today I can say: I am amazing!  I did it! I set a goal, I worked long and hard toward it, I tackled obstacles and succeeded in achieving the goal! And this has been a LIFE LONG GOAL for me! Now I can say I DID IT!!!!

Thanks to all of you for your part.
<3 Tiffany

I did it!! 140.6 miles! Rev3 Race Report

I signed up for this race Sept. 1, 2009.  I remember the day and how excited I was. It seems like I've been working for this race for a full year ... well, I have!  One. Full. Year.  As it began to approach, it became surreal. Now it's not an aspiration or a dream; now that it's upon me, I will actually have to DO IT! Complete 140.6 miles in under 17 hrs. It's this weird blend of emotions: excitement and terror!

My strategy was unique, and, truth be told, I often got a lot of flack for it :) But hey, I'm a big girl, and I know that this approach was working for me.  My strategy was to race often - like virtually every weekend. I think, since April, there have been only 4 weekends when I didn't have a race. I did one sprint, probably 7 olys, and two halfs. The purpose, for me, was to get used to it - racing. Organizing. Planning. Preparing. Recovering. I worked out 3-4 times during the week, depending on how much time I had. At one point I was juggling SIX jobs, as well as my Triabetes Fundraising commitment, and trying to fit time in for my 3 children and my husband Ted. I'd do what I could during the week, then race on the weekends, and couple that with another "big" workout.  The races were rarely 100% effort. They were in the 80% effort. None of them were my A race, but meant to get me comfortable with racing and calming the nerves, developing routines, figuring out what works and what doesn't, trying out equipment, etc. In the mean time I had a lot of fun and I want to emphasize: stayed injury free.  Besides blisters, I've had no musculoskeletal injury at all. My knees, hips, ankles, back, ... all of it ... feels great! I've never felt healthier! I feel better now in my forties than I did in my 20s.

So, as race day approached, I settled into taper - a very new and unsettling feeling for me! But I did as I was told, and I found myself ready - REALLY READY - on race day. 

When I envisioned this race over a year ago, I visualized my kids and hubby there cheering me on as I crossed the finish line.   So, earlier in the week when I started to make plans, I was somewhat heartbroken to hear from my kids that they didn't want to go. :(  I thought for sure the Cedar Point part would seal the deal, on top of missing a day of school. But, they reluctantly told me that they didn't want to go. I know that was difficult for them so I tried to roll with it. I said it was okay. I said I understood. But, I didn't. I guess I'm different ... because as a kid I would have jumped all over this opportunity. It would have been so exciting to see an IM finish, let alone, a parent finish. But, I dealt with it and wasn't going to wallow in self-pity or make them feel guilty for being honest. I kind of get it. Triathlon is NOT a spectator-friendly sport. That's the truth.

So, it would be me and Ted heading out to CP on Friday. Ted loves golfing, and he's pretty good at it! So he brought his clubs and found opportunities to golf both Saturday and Sunday. I was really okay with that!  The two sports compliment each other and in the future we've planned to try to do destination races once in a while where I can do a Tri and he can try out a famous course.

Arriving Friday was perfect for me. We headed to packet pick-up, I got my number and chip and was all set. My number was 458 - that "felt good" .... sometimes odd or prime numbers can bum me out. I was happy to have this number.  My friend had 247 - and his wife said it was perfect because he'd been training 24/7 for his full IM!   Once I had that race packet in hand, my anxiety dropped significantly.  Next we went over to the expo and I was looking for a cycling jacket.  I don't have one, and I will definitely need one for the fall riding I'll need to do for IMFL.  Plus, I "might" need it on Sunday ... I was considering putting it into special needs bike bag. I found one on sale and then it had another 30% off so I was about to jump on it, but Ted bought it for me instead, as an early birthday gift! Awesome! Last year, aerobars, this year, cycling jacket. He's figuring this "new me" out!!!  Once we had the jacket and packet,  I was able to go back to my room and lay out my 5 bags and put the appropriate items in each one.  Eric Banks, a fellow CTC peep (whom I've never met!) was kind enough to send me his spread sheet, which I then tailored to my needs. That was a huge life-saver!! Thanks Eric!

I soon realized, that, with all of my meticulous planning and packing, I had ALL of my triathlon needs readily available, however, I FORGOT MY INSULIN AN CGM CHARGER!!! :(

I thought about this, and the solution was that I had ample time on Saturday to drive home and pick them up and return.  No biggie - I wasn't going to stress over this. 

Sat. morning I went down to the beach to get into the water and get it in my head that it would not be too cold. It was windy, and the waves were big. But the water temp was GREAT!   I was looking to meet up with 2 "friends" - neither of whom I'd ever met. The first was Saci Mowinski, a fellow diabetic and Triabetes athlete. He and I know each other through Phrendo (the diabetes equivalent to Facebook) so we'd plan to meet up. He and his wife Carlene found me right away. They were delightful!  I loved them right away! Fun to talk to and just really nice people.  I wish we had more time to get to know each other.   In talking with them, I mentioned my planned trip home and Saci offered me his Lantus (the long-acting, background insulin I'd forgotten). He's on a pump so he rarely uses it, and just brought it as a back up. I said, I'd be thrilled to be able to have just 20 units Sat. night, but he said he'd plan to toss the pen after the race anyway, that I could have it. WOW.  Just ... WOW.  God has brought very special people into my life ... while I would never CHOOSE diabetes, it has made my life what it is today, and it's all a blessing.   I gratefully accepted and we made a plan to get it later.

The second person I was looking to meet was Tim Ritt. He needed extra Cedar Point tickets, and I happened to have one. So I found him and we made arrangements for him to get it, so my errands were complete and a success!  Now time to get into that water.  I almost didn't.  I almost chickened out. But I didn't. I donned my wetsuit and went in ... it felt great! Much warmer than I would have guessed.  Because of the waves, I didn't swim as far as I wanted, but I swam for 20 min before exiting and heading back to the room.  Ted was golfing so I was able to keep working on my bags, shower, then head down to bike check in.  I was not allowed to ride in the park, and I didn't want to carry it the mile down the beach, so I got on a shuttle bus with my bike and we were dropped off right at the expo/transition area.  My first stop was to Bike Authority. I had asked Sherm if he'd have 650c tubes available, as I was looking for 2 of them. He said he'd be sure to send some with Doug.  I stopped over, met Doug and introduced myself. He got out the tubes and our transaction was complete. I was happy to see the BA tent pretty busy Friday when I got there, and after I obtained my tubes, there was an influx of people needing bike mechanical assistance. At one point I saw Sean (I think) using a saw to cut through something on someone's bike! WOW!   Those guys are truly "mechanics"!!  Huge thanks to Sherman an Bike Authority for always taking care of me! I'm buying a back up rear wheel from them for trainer use over the winter.  LOOK HOW MUCH I'VE LEARNED THIS YEAR!!!!!   If you've been following, you will know that I used to not pump my tires before a ride, I thought 40 PSI was fine, I didn't use terms like saddle, stem and aerobars ... it was just a bike! :)  Now I can do basic maintenance and change my own tires and replace tubes!

Next I dropped off my bike at transition. Then I was free for the day. I did an easy run then went back to the room and took a nap. Ted had just gotten back and NAP doesn't do it justice. I CRASHED!!!  Slept hard for over 2.5 hrs.  I missed the CTC group photo and the athlete meeting! But, that's okay. I needed it.  We went down to TGI Fridays for dinner then back to the room to do some final prep before heading to bed.  I was nervous, but not too bad. I was surprised how calm I felt! I went to bed at 8 pm and had a good night's sleep.