Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Jumper Cables Anyone??

Wow, it's been a while since I've blogged ... that can't be good!  It's not, really.  So I just reviewed my last post ...and I need to rewind and tell you about Rev3 ...  I had a fabulous time at Rev3!!  Truly! It was such a fulfilling weekend in so many ways for me, despite pulling out of my race.  I got to reconnect with three FABULOUS friends, fellow Triabetes peeps! I got to cheer on so many friends from CTC and Grunt Girls. I was race sherpa for my peeps with the 'betes! It was actually a bit stressful!! I was responsible for 3 diabetic athletes' insulin, insulin pumps, and CGMs (Continuous Glucose Monitors - Dexcoms) and 2 were doing the half, one the full. I had to be sure to keep their stuff separate, and get it from them as late as possible before they went off, then be down to hand it back as they exited from the swim!  It was really very challenging!!  I had a bike jersey on, by design, as it had 3 pockets, so I was sure to keep everyone's stuff separate.  Then, I - very literally - ran up and down that beach - FAST! - 3 full times!! It went "kinda" smooth, just a tiny hitch as I missed Andrea's exit :(   But wait - it was because the Muscle Milk balloon was deflating and falling on us!!! We were trying to hold it up for the athletes.  Fortunately Andrea's uncle was a suit stripper, so he told her right were I was - just a tiny hiccup, but I felt terrible!! Otherwise, everyone got their accoutrements and had a good to great swim! The water and weather conditions were FAB too!! 

I found out early how tiring it is to ironfan! I wasn't even drinking :)  I got up at 3:30 with the rest of them ... I forgot sunscreen. I had a backpack and water - boy did I go through the water that day! I also had cowbells. Now, I'm here to tell you, I love a cowbell when I'm racing ... but being the cowbell ringer?? NOT SO MUCH!!  First off, people hate you. Not the athletes, but other spectators. You're annoying!! Second, those damned things are brutal! I literally had cowbell injuries!! My fingers got beat to shit. I started with my index finger, after that was sufficiently bruised, moved to my middle finger, and so on. By 11 am my hand was beat to hell and I was DONE with the cowbell!  

One of several highlights was Ed Slovenkay's super speedy half!! He was on fire!! I was worried his wife and kids were going to miss his finish, so I sent some texts to let them know how quick he was chunking off the miles. He got first place in his AG!!  Very well done, and a super finale to a super season for him!! He worked SO hard and really is quite an amazing athlete!! He is a friend to Triabetes (his step-daughter was my triabuddy!) and he also very generously lent his back up bike to Annie Bacon, who was doing the full. Also, not to be forgotten, John Norris - a virtual stranger to me - stepped up and lent Andrea his back up bike so she didn't have to ship hers from Hawaii!!  How amazing is THAT???  I'll tell you ... it's touching and amazing and I am blessed by the support of this amazing club!  Not to be left out, Bike Authority was beyond generous in helping to fit these ladies to their respective lent bikes!!  Huge, huge shout out to Sherm, Doug and Sean Gilbert!! Sean did most of the fits, and Doug ... Doug saved our butts by allowing Ed's bike to come out of transition with Ed (not Annie) because he knew the entire cast of characters, including Ed's bike! That saved us a trip back to CP on Monday and we were immensely grateful!!  (Boys got some Christmas Ale coming your way!!)

I met a new friend - Miss Laurie Perduyn, who I spent quite a bit of time getting to know as we watched friends race. We found out we knew several people in common and that six degrees of separation thing was going on! She was a cool chick and it was very nice to have company!!  She's quite the athlete, I can tell, and is a "go big or go home" gal ... and she can pull it off, I have NO doubt!! I look forward to seeing her again  ... maybe Rev3 2012???  :)

The rest of the day was tiring, but really very fun! I have to admit that after the 70.3 peeps were in, I was bottoming out. I hated to whine, as I didn't even race, but it sure the hell felt like it!! I realized I had forgotten some meds due to the schedule so I was a hurting pup by evening. Fortunately Annie was on fire and had a super 140.6!!  It was awesome to watch!

We headed back to the hotel (I had made 2.5 more runs down and back the beach, in addition to the morning runs, so I'm pretty sure I did several miles that day!!) I DROVE to the finish so that Annie wouldn't need to walk back to the hotel. I remember when I finished ... I was kind of bummed to learn I had yet one more mile to walk to get back to my hotel, but with Ted and Liz for company, it wasn't as bad as I thought ... but I feel like I can officially add 142.6 to my mileage for that day (morning walk to weigh in and drop off special needs bags).

We had fun at TGI Friday, where we - 4 diabetics, one a vegan, essentially - proceeded to drive the staff crazy with our requests for carbs! Whip out the Calorie King and we were crunching numbers like accountants in April!!  Let the carbs flow ... and push the insulin!!

That weekend was sort of an epiphany for me. I had a "reset" about a lot of turmoil that was going on in my life at one of the places I worked. The toxicity and negativity I was experiencing there was really so incredibly hurtful and uncalled for. I felt like I was in a major drama battle, and it was taking it's toll on me, and my BFF. This weekend gave me perspective to see myself from a positive light, and remind myself that I am better than the crap that was being flung my way!  I didn't deserve it - it came from a place of immaturity and insecurity, but unfortunately, those in power were unable to see everything and I ended up swallowing down a lot of shit, resulting in stuffed anger and resentment.  When someone attacks your reputation, and slanders you, spreading toxic untruths, and acting like the nasty clique in middle school, it tends to foster a lot of anger and resentment. And depression!! I didn't realize just how much this was eating at me. To have to defend your character, your reputation, without an justification, any hint of truth to what was being said, well, that left me pretty emotionally battered. It lead to my decision to pull out of Rev3 Full, (among other factors) and feeling pretty bad about my decision to work at this place.  In addition to all the bullshit I described here, I truly WAS over-extended in my course load. I was in way over my head!! The ONLY thing that was really GOOD about that time? I got to work with my BFF 2 full days a week and we did an amazing job teaching our group of students to be better surgical techs! We did awesome! No one can take THAT away from us! The students flourished, they had positive things to say, and ironically, I had many approach me and thank me for coming back. I suppose I will remember that much longer than all the negativity.

Anyhooooo... this weekend - Rev3 - gave me a lot of perspective, and I made the decision that I was likely going to return to relief work with Lighthouse and go back to that, while still keeping my courses at Lakeland Community College - which I love, by the way!!
I've had many wonderful relief stints, and I think it's a good fit for me! My employers are awesome, I am on board with their mission, and I do my best to assimilate into a practice and I get to meet new RVTs, staff and docs! I did a lot of emergency work over the summer and I remember how much I enjoy that!! Yes, it can be stressful, and physically taxing, but, in proper doses, it's really, really FUN!!  I think I'd like to relief one weekend a month in an emergency practice! It's just good medicine - fun and challenging cases, but also, often sad. The lack of closure can be difficult, but you get used to it.

Next up for me was a trip to KONA, Hawaii!!  Ted and I had a 6 day vacay - far too short, but that's all we could do for now. It would be our first trip to that island.  I volunteered for the World Championships Ironman race, where I would know 3 athletes - 2 very peripherally, and one very well - Vic Kinnunen!  It was such an amazing experience!  I got to hang out with Andrea (who lives in Oahu!!) and meet her new BF ... who, I think, got bit by the triathlon bug while we were there!! Nice guy, Chris! And I was grateful for the opportunity to stay with them the night before the race. We - Ted and I - had a condo about 40 min away, so he'd have to drive me in at 3:30 am and pick me up ... well, somewhere near midnight! Ted doesn't roll that way, and frankly, it was a lot to ask!  I was happy to grab some floor space and crash in Andrea's room for a day, and use it as a "home base" throughout the day. Boy, was it a fun day!!   All my peeps did AWESOME!!!  And I'm looking forward to watching it when it airs in December. I didn't get to see too many pros, but I DID see some!! :)

Upon return from a beautiful haven, I had to quickly shift to MIDTERM MODE!  I gave notice that I would not be coming back to previously-described "house of toxicity", then proceeded to foolishly make 140 question midterms. For all 4 classes. To be hand-graded. OMG - worst decision ever!!!  I will be embracing the scantron system for future exams!! That was BRUTAL!! When I finally finished - this past Sunday at 4:30 ... I was out of steam and pretty down. 

I'm struggling right now ... with my direction. With my schedule. With what fulfills me. With motivation. With loneliness and isolation. It's difficult to not have a training buddy to be accountable to!   Oh, I had missed a key event in the rundown of the last 3 months: Columbus Marathon.   Was I "trained"? Nope! But I knew I could finish (like Akron - which I'm kind of proud of, given the lack of training and preparation, and the hilly course!), and I do love the Cbus Marathon!! It's a chance to visit with the bro and his family. My kids love visiting, too, and they came along! Ted stayed home this year, because after missing a week of work, he felt kind of panicky himself, and that extra time to stay late, go in on the weekend, and kind of decompress from traveling was what he needed. The only problem that posed for me was the drive home. Now, I cannot fully explain just how difficult driving over 45 minutes for me is. I have been struggling with Narcolepsy while driving and it's SCARY AS HELL!  And I had my kids with me!!  This began over the summer, and I actually pulled out of the Champ Monroe Falls Tri due to 4 episodes of falling asleep at the wheel on the way down. I've found no correlation to the 'betes and this, and it's not a regular occurance, but certainly after a big race it is.  Well, Cbus was a fun weekend, but let's just say that race day did NOT go well. GI Revolt. Let me say over 60 minutes spent in over 7 portopotties, and ejecting at mile 10, and leave the remaining gory details left out!!  It wasn't good. I was SICK!!  A friend was prepared to get me, but I'd essentially crawled to my car and was headed back to my brothers. I walked in at 10:30 and he said WOW, that was fast!! Apparently he didn't read my FB posts. You know it's bad when you are in a POP long enough that you start to FB!!  Seriously though, I needed to let friends and family know I was DNFing, and essentially okay. Yes, I know it's gross. Everything about that day was disgusting. I've since given my phone a very good disinfectant wipe down.

I napped for a few hours then around 3:30 decided to head home, not too optimistic. I got just north of Cbus, in the Polaris area, and I knew I was done. We stopped at several hotels - but I was looking for a deal!! I was NOT going to spend $100 on a room for us. We kept heading north and the next exit, bingo! Hit the jackpot with $69. It was pretty nice, too!  So I went to bed and let my kids go all Lord of the Flies. How much trouble could they cause??  Sent S and J to get food (for them, no way I was eating!) and, frankly, my kids behaved very, very well for me. They KNEW I was very, very sick and they put themselves to sleep. I was out by 5:30 pm.   We got up at 5 am and headed north. Still struggling with narcolepsy, especially as I got onto 271 North. I had a very scary moment so we stopped and I threw back 2 espressos, which did the trick!  Got them home, to school, and had some time to nap before my classes.

So, here I am. Nothing on the race calendar for the foreseeable future. Kind of lost. In limbo. Lost that eye of the tiger ... that drive I had. I've put on weight. My eating has regressed. I'm struggling!!  It happens. I'm trying to think of how I can pull myself out of this slump. I don't know exactly what will do it for me.  One thought is to finally study for the HFS certification exam (I've taken the classes, just need to sit for the test) and get that designation. I think that would make me feel proud and promote a "walk the walk if you talk the talk" attitude adjustment.  I'm just kind of ... LOST.    Another idea I have, which will go off next Wed. is a "spa day" with Elizabeth! She took the day off and we are going to LTF and spending the day doing a spin class, running, swimming, hot-tubbing, then grabbing a healthy meal at the cafe. Liz is so inspirational - I think that will help a lot. I would also like to get back into the gym more regularly. I just am not going. Lack motivation and drive right now :(   I was recently talking with Ted about this year and I called it the year of SUCK ... because I barely raced, trained, and I kind of lost my way. I hate that!!!  I don't want to wax and wane, ebb and flow. I want to look forward to my workouts again!! I feel tired too much lately ... that's possibly something medical, but also because I'm not exercising as regularly as I should, as I WANT to. I'm just at a low point.  I see my endo this week - I dread the A1c :(  I know it'll be higher than it was last time (last time it was good!)   Also need to avoid Halloween candy, closet eating, and not let cravings get to me. I have been having food issues of late, too. Couple that with far less exercise and you have someone transforming into a slug. I don't want to be a slug!!!   I want to feel better, set a goal, and work toward it. And I'd really like some friends to train with. I know that there are GG and CTC training stuff going on all the time, but it's FAR from me!! I need some local peeps to connect with. An occasional jaunt out to the west side or CVNP is fine, but I should be taking more advantage of NERC! There's no reason why I'm not, I'm just not! 

So... jumper cables. I need them.  I need the juice!!  I am hoping to find it within - because that is ALWAYS more effective.  But I haven't found it yet :/   Soon, I hope!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Sights on days beyond 9/11/2011

Given the sadness I'm facing with pulling out of Rev3 full,  I thought I'd try to focus on what's ahead for me. I'm definitely a goal-oriented athlete and find it hard to train without a goal. Honestly, it's IMPOSSIBLE to train without a goal! Why bother??  ;-)  I know a lot of you can go for a run, a ride or a swim "just because" ... and I wish I was programmed that way. But I'm not, so let the re-focus begin:

Sept. 18 Portage Lakes Olympic Triathlon (tentative at this point)
Oct. 16 Columbus Marathon
March 17 St. Malachi 5 miler
April 14 Tough Mudder with CTC peeps
April 21 Dakota's Dream Run 10K (tentative - working to create this race!!)
April 28 Hermes 10 miler
May 20 Cleveland Marathon
July 15 Musselman Triathlon (70.3)
July 28-20 Burning River 100 miler
Nov. 3 IMFL (tentative, assuming I can get a general entry spot)

This is plenty to focus on. This gives me some long term goals that I can plan for. I will also reassess the credit load I'm carrying ... It may just be too much for me, or, I may find it manageable, as I get used to the courses and build the classes. It may just be NOW that is so overwhelming, but once I get used to it, it could be totally manageable. Time will tell. All I know is that I WILL make my racing calendar a priority. It affects all that I am and all of my relationships. Having no clear direction is not good for me mentally and emotionally. So, I'll be reassessing my options as I focus on the above tentative schedule.  I suppose it's not the end of the world ... worse things can certainly happen. I will work hard to put this into perspective and move forward with positivity, resist the urge to wallow in sadness and self-pity.  I know that a reality check is all that I need right now. I will work hard to embrace my mantras: "An attitude of gratitude" and "I want to be amazing!".  Pulling out doesn't negate my accomplishments or even any of the training I did over the summer. While this season was disappointing, I still DID PR at Musselman, and podium finished a few local races. Time for an attitude adjustment!! :)

Thanks for all of your support! It really means a lot to me!!


Well, I've told a few people, only, but might as well make it official here. I'm pulling out of the Rev3 140.6 Ironman, sadly, :(    I've been struggling with this decision for a few weeks. I missed a much needed key training weekend a few weeks back and I've fallen behind in training since then. Much of it - most of it - mental and emotional.

I'm healthy and uninjured, but I'm stressed more than I've ever been in my life.  I could rattle off a list of my stresses, and much of it would apply to each and every one of you who try to juggle family, job and training. Now toss in some personal baggage and then a dose of depression to boot. Paints a not real pretty picture of what I'm drowning in right now.

I had initially planned for this to be a Team Triabetes "vindication race" for some friends who struggled at IMSG, and, for me, a chance to race a familiar course with a goal other than "to finish".  Somewhere along the line things started spiraling out of control ... One Captain dropped from the race. No explanation. Another dropped to the half. Another dropped out. I don't have the heart to tell the remaining single full-course athlete that I'm bailing ... I'll need to wait to see her on Thursday, when she arrives from California.  I feel like a heel. :(  I want to support her as much as I can. I am excited and enthusiastic to be cheering her, and so many CTC peeps on. I am trying to mentally shift from competitor to spectator.  It's hard.

School is back in session. I teach college courses.  I am teaching NINE courses, at two different colleges. It's crazy to try to stay on top of all of that - and I'm spread pretty thin, feeling very anxious about missing something, or being unprepared. Plus, I care about these students - I do my best to help them learn the respective material. Some of them are great and it's very rewarding! But there are one or two that just perceive me as Satan, and want to fight over everything. It's simply exhausting! Thankfully my Program Directors are very supportive, at both institutions!! It makes my job a lot easier.  For this, I am grateful! The other issue has been dealing with the single, most unprofessional veterinarian I've ever encountered. This vet is publicly slandering me, to co-workers, colleagues and yes, even STUDENTS! It's my reputation on the line, and I am angry! I have been reasonably tolerant of this, but I'm a hairs-width away from filing a grievance with the OVMLB. I'll need to send her a Cease & Desist letter to stop her slanderous talk. How the hell is this person allowed to get away with this??  Needless to say, it's quite upsetting, but I'm trying to get through the quarter, and then I will deal with this. It's shit like this that makes me angry and takes away from all that I love about my job at this particular school.

My kids are in flag football. We chose this league because it is just a fun, rec league. Last season they all had a single 1 hr practice during the week, then 1 hr game on Saturday mornings. The fact that my girls were on the same team was a bonus! Well, this season they are on 3 separate teams. But, my youngest and oldest have the same coach.  This guy has them scheduled to practice FIVE hours during the week!! Then the hour game play on Sat.  That makes for a hell of a lot of shuttling around!! I am not happy! The kids aren't too happy about it either.

My house has been sorely neglected. It's not had a good cleaning in months.  This weekend we made a decent dent in that, as I'll be having house guests the next two weekends.  The kids have been threatened with life-long grounding, and physical violence, if they don't do their part to maintain the little progress we made here this weekend.  And, I am desperately in need of an electrician to do a few electrical jobs for me! I need to get a new light/fan fixture in the kitchen, as the light chain broke off and I cannot reattach it, leaving us in the dark all the time.  And the kids' bathroom needs to be addressed - a few electrical issues there. When do I think I have time for an electrician to come?  Beyond me!!

I have been having to turn down housecalls. I just cannot fit them in. This is not good for business!! But when someone calls and requests a euthanasia, and I cannot fit it in - at all - for many days, well, I understand the need for a more timely appointment. Unfortunately I cannot help.  This further adds to my stress. :(

I miss my friends. Specifically, a few of them are going through some difficult times. I wish I had more time to talk, be there for them. I feel like a crappy friend.

So, you can see that I am very much over-extended. With each missed work out, I just felt worse and worse about myself. Then I'd turn to food to comfort myself. This has resulted in weight gain - wonderful!! And my BG? Pretty much sucks!! No surprise.

So, pulling out was the right decision. I no longer felt guilty missing a training run, ride or swim. I need a break. I'm going to take it. I have been "98% out" for about a week now ... still having that "maybe on race day I'll just DO IT" lingering in the back of my mind. Then this weekend I got sinusitis, so that kind of sealed the deal.  What will I do on race day? Well, cheer on my peeps, of course!! I hope to have a wonderful day, despite not racing.  I've toyed with the idea of running the marathon leg ... you know, just to do a marathon. My next agenda is Columbus, so I could use a nice long run!!

Oh, did I mention I signed up for BR 100? Well, I did!!  So, I'll take some time off here, and focus on keeping up with the bazillion things that I need to do. I will be going to Kona for IM World Championships, and I'm volunteering at transition in the morning and I'll be a catcher at night. I'm pretty excited about this!!  Plus, Ted and I really need this time away - it will be good for both of us.

After that, I have a plan.  I'm going to try to get into IMFL for 2012.  Not sure I can pull it off, but I'm going to try. I'm HOPING a certain SOMEONE will join me!!! Hint hint! You know who you are!!

This has been a rough year. I can't go into details about all the variables that are leaving me calling 2011 pretty much a crappy year, but, in terms of triathlon, it really was a crappy year!!  Let me take a bit of time off, regain some control over my life, and we'll see what I can do for next season.

If it hasn't been made clear: I am immensely bummed about this decision. I wish I was at peace with it, but I'm not.  I wish things were different, but they are not. I need to get my "house" in order ... and not just the one I live in, but the entire scope of what impacts my stress levels, my schedule, and my relationships - all of that - to be able to regroup and refocus and reassess, so that I can have a rewarding tri season next year. Triathlon is so very important to me! It serves as my sense of self-worth and self esteem. Not doing tris or races is not good for my mental health.

So, that's my news. I'm OUT. I'm sad. I wish I could honestly say I wasn't, but I am.  But, I'll live. And, soon, things will be better - I believe that!!! Or else I wouldn't step back here, but I'd push ahead.  The hope is that I chose the RIGHT thing, and in the end, it will reveal itself to be the right decision.

Guess that's it ...
Peace out peeps!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Biking with the Mikes

Greetings peeps!!  So, yesterday (8/26) was my century ride, as many of you know if you follow my obnoxious posting on Facebook (Yes, I AM a FB whore!). I had this planned, and was lucky to talk Mike Rosenberg into joining me, for what would be his first century ride! The promise of "time in the saddle" versus a hammerfest (me? Hammerfest?? Never!) I think was what made Mike more confident tackling this. I've ridden with Mike over the past few years, and I've got to say, he's really becoming what I'd say is a "strong cyclist"!  He rides up every single hill ... while I dismount and walk (of shame!). 

I've done this route in the past and am familiar with 3/4 of the area. The region from 6 o'clock to 3 o'clock is my unfamiliar territory. Couple that with exhaustion and fatigue and I'm usually a whiney, sobbing mess by the time I arrive there. I had decided to reverse the course, tackling the unfamiliar part first, when I felt stronger. But when Mike Mayer wanted to join, I was happy to go back to doing the loop counterclockwise so we could connect in Lakewood.

Mike R. and I met at North Chagrin, although we parked .75 miles away from each other. We connected and head north at 9:15 am. It wasn't too long before I was in familiar territory and heading west on Lakeshore, into downtown. I'll say it again: N. Marginal Road BLOWS!!! Maybe next time I'll try S. Marginal road. Anyone know if it's any better??  Ugh, headache from the rough road set in. Anyway, we got to the Browns stadium in 1:15, not bad given the traffic and lights. I was feeling AMAZING and, as always, thinking to myself: why don't I do this more often? I really enjoy it! (pretty much up to 60 miles, at which point I quickly deteriorate into a wuss!)

At the stadium we texted Mike M. and we weren't too far away, so another 10 min heading west, and we were all together. A leisurely pace to Edgewater to use the bathroom, then head out to Sweetwater and hit the Metropark Parkway. By this time, I was more "ebb" than "flow" and we all kind of spread out a bit, collecting at various points.  The first of the "darkness" set in around Strongsville. We had planned to stop at Seneca Golf Course, where Mike Mayer would turn around and ride back to Sweetwater, and Mike R. and I would continue on with the loop.

I had totally "forgotten"-  or had selective amnesia - the climbs through that area.  OMG was that hard!! I dismounted for one long climb and walked, the walk of shame. Some leg cramping was starting. :(  I was in a pretty bad place physically and emotionally. Oh, and I should mention that on my way out to start the ride, my insulin pump became "occluded" - first time ever, OF COURSE!! Was this a sign of things to come?  I literally cycled the whole day -10.5 hrs - without insulin or a CGM. I had a glucometer with me, but I opted to bury my head in the sand and "just ride". I was taking in gels and Amino Vital, so I was likely running "high", and not low, but we'll never know.  So, back to the darkest hours: the 10 miles before Seneca Golf Course.  I got dropped - no surprise. They knew where we were going, I knew where we were going, so it wasn't an issue for me at all.  The Mikes are stronger cyclists, and as I've said, I'm okay with that!! After the worst of the climbs, after Bennet Rd, and before Ridge Rd., I had the single, most painful experience of my life!!!.  My quads started to seize. BOTH of them!  And not mere "cramping" but ROCK HARD, spastic seizure. Enough to pull my left knee cap off track. I got off the bike as soon as it started. I was in the middle of the car lane, there was NO BERM. I leaned on my bike and screamed with the most guttural scream ever - the kind you hear women doing while giving birth.  I've had 3 kids, and passed 6 or so kidney stones ... this was worse.  I could not lay down the bike, it was all that was holding me up. I was FROZEN.  This lasted for a good 60 seconds, which felt like 5 min. I actually prayed for a car to come and hit me!!  Or maybe just HELP me.  My group was long gone, and I was totally, utterly "stuck".  I heard a car approaching ... I looked back: It was a park ranger!!! THANK YOU DEAR GOD!!!  He parks and starts calling into dispatch and I'm screaming "can you come take the bike??"  (Along with some other choice words, which clearly were not meant for him!). He came up and I just said "please, just take the bike". He did. I reached down, flipped my kneecap back on the groove and collapsed with my legs folding under me. Sweet relief, instantly. Did that just really happen, or was it a nightmare???   Within a minute I was able to get up and take the bike back. I thanked him profusely, and assured him I had a phone, money (for a cab he said! Ha!) and some peeps ahead. He let me go on, and I walked for about 1/4 mile, and ultimately, climbed back on my bike. I got into granny gear and spun as fast as I could. My thought process was to flush out the lactate and spin out the cramping in a low gear. I took water, salt tabs and finally, at the top of the next hill, collected with the Mikes. My first words: "you will not believe what just happened to me!!"    Ugh.  Onward....

Finally we arrived at Seneca golf course and we went in, and snarfed down tons of calories and fluids. My order? A coke, a poweraid and a water.  I WANTED a muffin, but I could just visualize it sitting in my gut, and ultimately being thrown up!! So I passed on the muffin.  We took our time, chatted,  and started to feel better. It was probably a full hour before we got back on the road, Mike M. heading back to Lakewood, and us continuing the Emerald Necklace loop.

We came to our first closed road, which meant getting out the iphone and re-routing. I had some idea of where we were, but we needed to get back on track. It wasn't too long before we found Chaffee Rd. and were back to the route.  Finally, entering Bedford reservation, we stopped to use the bathroom and check in with our respective peeps. It was 4:30pm and we were supposed to be done, but, we literally had 30 miles to go :(   The iphone helped a lot along the way and we - or rather "I" - ebbed and flowed with energy again. Mike was holding strong, and had already determined he was going to run afterward!! Me? NO. WAY.  We caught some good rollers - I love those!!  But then there were some great descents, that were so, so fun!  As we stopped to check the route, I was commenting on how fun that descent was. Mike says "you know what that means, don't you?"  Ha! Yes. I. do.  More climbing!!!  So, we get down to Chagrin River Road - I'm finally starting to get excited b/c we are almost home! Until ... THE DETOUR.  Yes, Old Mill was out at the bridge, heading east, and there was no way to get out of the valley without climbing the long, steep Old Mill up.  Mike was off! I just tried talking to myself, to remain calm, and try to get as far up as I could.  I think made 1/4 of a mile, tops. The rest was a long, lonely, dark haul up the road. Mike was at the top sitting down.  He later said he wanted to descend it, and ride it a second time, but was afraid I'd be mad! No way!!! - if you are feeling the energy to repeat that, HAVE AT IT!!  I know my physical weaknesses and I'm okay with them! Next time he wants to do that, he's got my full blessing. I would not in any way feel like he's showing me up! First off, he's a humble guy. Secondly, I'm really at peace with my lack of cycling strength, and especially climbs! He's significantly younger, and stronger than me - and getting stronger with each ride!  I'm fine with doing whatever you need to do to make your ride fulfilling for you! I'm just happy to have some company!

At the top, we were ALMOST there. Mileage: 94 miles.  We got to Mayfield Rd., and while Mike wanted to avoid traffic, I just wanted to be DONE.  It's after 7pm by this time!!!  So Mike conceded, and we went Mayfield Rd. to SOM Center Rd., and back to North Chagrin. Ending mileage at my car: 99.94 ... no way was I ending on that number! Little bit more to flip the odometer, and we ended up with 100.11. And I was DONE!!

Home, shower, coma while watching the Tribe play, ejecting in the 8th inning for bed. I slept like a rock and, surprisingly, woke up to very little soreness at all! How is that possible???

Glad to have it done. Off to do a run today.  Had to bail on John Mack and riding 60 miles today ... way too ambitious for me! Plus, me and Felicity need time away from each other. And she needs a bath!!

I'm struggling. Rev3 ... do the full? Drop to the half? Defer to next year.  I think today is the last day I can change it. We'll see how the run goes. I'm not near where I was last year :( I need another 6 weeks!! But, it is what it is, and I'll just need to decide and go with it. I suppose the answer will be clear for me here soon. I hope so!

Peace out!

Friday, August 19, 2011

It was SUPPOSED to be a 75 mile ride ...

I was ready for that! I was excited and my friend, Michael Rosenburg had asked me if I was interested in riding together on Saturday. I had planned to join Janet Edwards, et al, so I tossed that out as an option. Mike was in (Mike's always in!). We agreed to hang together because, in theory, we are compatible in our bike fitness (not! Mike's doing better than I am, and I'm real happy to see his improvement!).

Five CTCers met at Lifetime Fitness (LTF) at 7 am to push off. Janet had sent the route to me and I had a few cue sheets. The benefit of riding with a group, when you are not a strong cyclist, is that you just get to get into the pack and follow. I'm not talking about "pulling", I'm talking about not needing to navigate!!

We got to a point where Janet, in her infinite wisdom, said if we separate, you guys are good, right?? Yes! And then the three .. were gone! Eh, no problem with that, I knew they needed to get in their workouts too, and they are all much stronger cyclists.

Shortly after they pulled away, we missed a turn. Mike caught it "relatively early" and we backtracked. I think that put us about 3.5 miles off the cue sheet corresponding mileage, but we could work with that. We'd get the next TWO turns in our head, after we did one, then we'd regroup and get the next two. I found myself chanting something to the effect: "Right on Lewis then left on Magill (make those up because I'm too lazy to look up the route). That worked for me and we settled in.

At some point I was looking for a bathroom, but not to critical mass quite yet. We found a diner and traded off babysitting the bikes while the other went in. No one gave us grief, thankfully. Onward. Next up, Hiram College.   Apparently it was the first weekend of school, as there were tons of students moving in.  We were getting hungry by this time, and eager for a place to eat. Shortly after we turned onto 82, we saw a little "gift shop" with food, and more importantly, ICE CREAM!  I went in and got chocolate milk, donut gems (crumb cake!) and an ice cream sandwich. DE-LISH!  I can't even tell you what Mike got, beyond strawberry milk.  We sat on the porch and snarfed our calories! I checked in to FB and saw a message from Janet. She had come across some road work that resulted in a detour. It was perfect timing to get this, and greatly appreciated.  Borrowed a pen and updated the cue sheet.  Oh, and when Janet says "Music St. is a bitch" ... them there are some SCARY words??  What? Why? Hilly? Bad roads? Busy?  We were anxious!

Leaving the store with a bloated belly and rapidly rising BG, I soon regretted my gluttony as we climbed a GINORMOUS hill on 82 out of Hiram. I saw it ahead and thought it must be just an illusion, it can't be that bad.  It was. I came close to tossing my cookies ... er, um, donuts.  I dismounted and walked. Mike surged ahead and zipped up! How the hell??  Jealous!  He waited for me at the top ... I was hoping that was the worst of it! But what's the deal with MUSIC St???

Forging ahead our energy seemed to ebb and flow, wax and wane. Fortunately we weren't ebbing and flowing in sync, so overall, his flow, helped my ebb, and vice versa. Literally, on flats, I'd go from 22 mph and feeling amazing, to 8-10 mph and feel like I was pushing an elephant!!  I got really good with my gearing!! I'm improving there, a lot!! I think back to 2009 when I did all cycling in ONE GEAR ... oy vey!

Mike noticed a noise from my bike. I guess I thought it was just normal. It was present in all gears. Oh well, can't worry about it now. I'll get it looked at later this week. That, luckily, never became an issue.

Finally, MUSIC St.   At first it felt a lot like Thompson Rd. on the Rev3 course. That's my FAVORITE part of the course - rollers! But Music's road was cobble-like and rough. I was hopeful that that was the issue Janet was referring to (but in my head, knew NO WAY!). After the rollers: climbs. There it was.  Not as bad as Rt. 82, but still, pretty good exertions at this late part of a ride.  I dismounted and walked. I can own it. Not Mike!  He even said "you're like 100 ft from the top??!!"  Yep, I know, and I'm DONE!! Dismount! :)

We finally got past 60 miles. Mike was in virgin territory with new mileage. He seemed to be doing great. Just some "sore butt" ... but of course!

Next familiar area was Chagrin Falls. I recognize it, but I needed the cue sheet. And it was pretty technical with lots of quick turns, so we had to have sheet in hand to get through like 10 turns. And, I'm now running out of water. It's warm. Not much left. and I'm cramping in my legs and I get a headache. I'm about ready to be done.  As we rode through Gates Mills, I was desperate for a business so we could get fluids. There are NONE.  I cursed the city of Gates Mills, as I have in the past. It seems like I'm always at critical mass in Gates Mills, and there's NO HELP!!  I was getting very, very crabby - bitchy - let's just call it what it was!! I was close to stopping at a residence and asking for tap water!!  Ugh.  Foul language and evil starts to come out of me as I am getting more and more desperate. The headache was the straw - I knew I was dehydrated then, and needed fluids.

We got to Rt. 87. I know Rt. 87. The cue sheet has us turning RIGHT (East) onto 87, but I know that LTF is LEFT (West) ... and simply stated, I could NOT turn away from the finish, mentally. I needed to be DONE!!!!  I pleaded my case with Mike. Please, let's go left!!! I know it's a ways to go, but we'll be on ONE last road and no more turns, cue sheet, or waiting for "what's next"!!  He agreed and I was so grateful. I pulled up my GPS and recognized the area, knowing there would be a HUGE BP store where I could get water. I just needed to be there. NOW!

We headed west onto Rt. 87 and FINALLY came up to the store. I was one crabby bitch by now, and shaking and physically and mentally a wreck. I ran in and got a big gatorade and a water. I came out and downed the Gatorade in one fell swoop. Topped it off with half of the water and poured the other half into my bottle. I felt like a new woman within 5 minutes!!! Mike didn't say much, but rattled of something about Gates Mills not wanting businesses in their community ... but I heard "fuck Gates Mills!" Ha!  He didn't say that, but that's what I heard. Chalk it up to delusion. 

Mike finally recognized where we were and says he knows a quicker way home, less traffic. I asked "are you SURE, because I am running on empty here ..." He did.  He took us through a development and out we came on to Bainbridge, where I could SEE LTF off in the distance!!!  Thank GOD!!!  Cue the surge of adrenalin as I found myself energized and zipping along to finish the ride.  All said an done, Garmin and bike computer both said 84.79 mile ... which is absolutely 85 miles in my book!  Mike felt good - at one point he wanted to do the whole 90 mile route! He wanted to keep going ... and he was welcome too, just not with me! I was jonesing for a nap and food. The drive home would be difficult, as it was.

Mike asked me, how do you do Ironman if this is what happens to you??  Good question!! And my answer: It's all mental! Had I had 85 miles in my head, I probably wouldn't have melted down the way I did at 75 miles. But my head had 75 miles and when we hit it, and weren't done, or even, close to done, that's when I lose it!  In IM I HAVE 140.6 miles in my head.  God help me if I go off course and add another mile ... that could be the end of me!

All said and done, it was a great day! I forgot how much I love riding!! And I do! The weather was great, the smells were great. I felt great - for most of it.  It was all manageable to me until we hit 75 mile! :)

Next up: 105 mile ride in 1 week.  Excuse me 105.42 miles.  In other words, a long day. I'll be better prepared. Got a new CamelBak. I'll actually be wearing it on race day. Don't give me grief about that - I'm not near good enough cyclist for that to be a factor!! The ability to have nutrition, hydration and diabetes supplies with me will be nothing but good for me. I can't quite swing the carbon rear-mount hydration system I want right now, so this was an affordable compromise.  It arrive yesterday, and you can check it out HERE. It'll match my kit, my bike and I will fill it with ICE. My bike only has 2 places to put fluids, and I need Amino Vital as my sugar source, so this will solve the water problem for the century ride and on race day.

I'm exhausted from typing this (or maybe from my 14 hr work day yesterday!) and I need some food and a shower. I'm sorry I'll miss the second Rev3 preview day ... you don't know how badly I want to come :(   But, I have kids, and I really can't ask them to hold tight while I drive and ride for 6 hrs.  Have fun out there, and I'll be seeing you in 3 short weeks on race day!!


Junk miles or exercise in mental abuse?


WTH!! Today I had to squeeze in my run early due to child-care commitments. I felt pretty good as I set off to do my seven mile staple run, although I had wanted to do my 12 mile loop. 

First mistake: shoes. I swear I have an "unlucky" pair of shoes!! I have these racing flats that I feel great in, and have lots of great runs, and PRs, when I wear them. Then there's this other pair ... They are all K-Swiss. The racing flats are UG-LY. U.G.L.Y!!! And I happen to have 2 pairs, as I left them in St. George, but was lucky to have the race director sent them to me!! But I'd replaced them (at a steal, >50% off!). Now ugly shoes = good run, almost always. But the attractive red and white Blade Light shoes ... I run terrible in them, almost always. I'm not in pain, I don't have a different feel, they just seem to be highly associated with crappy runs. I need to stop running in them.

Second mistake: no breakfast. Energy was low and at the end, hypoglycemia set in. Grrrr.

So I set off and I decide I'm going to make this and easy pace out, then negative split back. I wasn't looking for lactate threshold or anything, just a nice few miles. By mile one I was struggling with a 9:44 min mile. It felt faster, and more effort than that pace, for sure. UGH! As I hit my second mile the pace was better, just not "good". And I felt tired. I had good music, and that usually picks me up, but not today. So, I just figure, not every run can be AMAZING, right? This sure wasn't.

When I hit 3 miles I decide to eject and do 6 rather than 7. At this point, I'm trying to maintain some dignity. But no, it deteriorates from there. I walked. A lot.  I just feel really tired.  My Thursdays are a LONG, LONG ass day. I don't hate it or anything, I just think it takes it's toll. I didn't get to sleep until after 1 am. Got up at 7am. That's not enough sleep for me :(

During the crappy run, I'm mentally debating if these are junk miles or if I can pull anything from them. I pretended that this was my mental state for the last 6 miles of my 140.6 mile triathlon ... THAT I'M DOING IN 3 WEEKS!!!  So, pushed a bit mentally, but still, no response from my body physically. This is probably good practice for those time, and believe me, there are many of those times - mental highs and lows - in one mere day, one race. It's multi-phasic, cyclic, and I have to really work on my attitude of gratitude on race day. Try not to "wish it away", try to stay in the moment. When I'm successful at that, I feel so amazing, regardless of my performance. It's a true state of euphoria and gratitude and pride! But when that's not happening, you get some really freakin' low LOWS ... I suck. I have no business doing this. Why didn't I train better, more, and more consistently. You can really beat the snot out of yourself!! And, trust me, I know how unproductive this is! I'd NEVER be that "unsupportive" of even my worst enemy (and lots of you know who that is!) ;-) ... so why would I "talk" to myself like that???  It's not by choice, and I work hard to avoid that unproductive thinking.

So, today I have lots to do, and chicklets, so I'm kind of trapped at home. I will work on my "to do" list today and, seriously, thinking I'll try again this evening. I really want to have a good run. Maybe I can still have that. I ran 6 miles today in 5 minutes slower than I typically run SEVEN miles. So ... maybe try again later, after fueling, after possibly a nap. And really, no pressure - if it's better, great, if not, more preparation for the mental abuse in an Iron distance triathlon??  We shall see.

Next blog post will be recapping my Saturday ride with CTC ... or at least that's how it started out ...


Friday, August 12, 2011

GCT, Stuff, and Plans

Greetings peeps!

Last weekend was pretty good! Two of my kids participated in the kids' triathlon at Headland's Beach in Mentor. My daughter Jaime had to miss it as she had swim team championships all weekend. BTW, I'm SO PROUD of her for starting her first year of swimming, sticking to it when it was hard, and improving exponentially!! She's just amazing and I hope she had as much fun with it as I did in watching and being her fan! So, just Samantha and Kevin participated in the triathlon this year.  The lake conditions were perfect and it was a great day! 

Kevin went off first. His swim was pretty good, and he came out about middle of the pack. His T1 was lickety split! His biking went well and then T2 also pretty darn quick.  He had been complaining about a sore left ankle for the previous few days. In my brilliance, I had him and Jaime accompany me on a run with them on their bikes - THE DAY BEFORE THE TRIATHLON.  Epic FAIL on my part. Why did I not see that maybe that was not the day to be doing 7 miles on a bike??  Just because it's how "I" roll, doesn't mean that's how they should roll! Boo.  He said the bike didn't bother his ankle, so there's that.  And I adjusted his bike to better fit his height. You'll be hard pressed to see a smidge of me in that boy - or Sam for that matter, as they are tall and lanky and lithe.   So, on Kevin's run, he did the run/walk to adjust for his sore ankle.  He finished strong and got 4th place. And yes, there were more than four 7 & 8 yr olds. (He's 7) - there were maybe 12.

Then Sam's turn.  Now she's been doing OWS with us recently and THAT week did about 2000 yds in the lake! She really fell into the groove and felt "like she could swim forever" once she got her breathing down. She's got a gorgeous stroke.  I'm still trying to talk her into swim team next year - the deal breaker is the early practice time :(  She came out in the first 1/3 of the pack. Her T1 was FAST and off she went for 6 loops. Now she had mentioned that her gears won't shift ... yes, mother of the year, I was all over that. NOT. Never once did I address that! I suck.   I did, however, PUMP HER TIRES ... doesn't that count?  So, round and round she goes ... in GRANNY GEAR! Ugh! At least she'd be loose off the bike!  Every time she came around, Ted, her grandparents and brother, and I would cheer, and she'd look away. I knew she was hurtin'!!  She says she just doesn't want to see us.  Okay, whatever ... But before I knew it, she was in T2 and out like lightning. I then realized, I hadn't seen any girls!!!  So, then I started getting really excited ... she's going to place!!  She went out slower than in the past, but she managed to maintain that slower pace, which was working for her.  No blowing up!  So as the boys started coming in to finish, no girls!! OMG!!  Then: A girl!  No age, and she LOOKED older than 12, but these days, you just don't know.  Next, I see Samantha!!  So, she's got 2nd place locked up ... almost.  There's a girl on her tail, gunning for her. I wanted her to know. I'd want to know. Sam is competitive, like me, so I knew she'd want to know someone was on her tail and reaching for her.  Ted didn't want me to emphasize her PLACE, which I get, but I just couldn't help myself from putting up 2 fingers showing she was in 2nd place. Then I ran over to the finish line and told her someone was on her tail and she had to DIG, DIG, DIG to hold that place the last 25 yards.  Yes, I was Jillian Michaels!  I only know that I'd want that done for ME!  And my BFF Katie responds to that too. Samantha knows me, and that I would be proud no matter what place she gets, but I didn't want her to look at me and say I didn't know she was 3 steps behind me!  She finished strong and I was SO PROUD!!! She had the look of pain - PROUD pain - and I know it well! I was happy to hug the sweaty mess that she was after that amazing race! 

Lo and behold, the girl that finished ahead of her? 14 yrs old! Samantha took FIRST PLACE in her AG!!  Boo yah! She proudly donned her 3 finisher medals (from previous years) and headed to Jaime's swim meet to show her dad, step mom, and sister, as well as a number of school friends, her proud accomplishment! 

Next year, I'm going to let Samantha use Esmeralda - my Cannondale road bike. She's ready. She's 5', I'm 5'2". I also bet she'll do more training next year. It's her choice, I never ride her about it, but she's getting a taste of competition and is liking it. Yeah, she's my daughter!  Next up for all 3 chicklets: Flag Football! It's really an awesome program! Can't beat half-hour FB games on Sat. mornings!!!

Sunday, I raced GCT.  The lake was ANGRY!  Mikey, the RD, made the wise decision to move ahead with the triathlon (vs. canceling and doing a duathlon) but allowed any swimmer to, once going around the start and finish buoys, to come in as shallow as they needed to move the 1500 m from start to finish.  Some tried swimming, but it really was brutal. I'm told that about half did the "walk of sham" (not my term - Mike M. coined it).  As long as the ankles were in the water, you could advance to the finish and circle the buoy. 

Now, I was SANS wetsuit!!  I was getting a lot of surprised looks, but I just felt I'd be fine without it. In hindsight, I'd put on the wetsuit. I felt good - this race was going to be a training day for me. No PR hopes, just a strong effort in all disciplines. So, I SWAM. THE. WHOLE. THING.!!   Here's how it went wrong: The waves were very large and we were swimming UPSTREAM. I stayed out PAST the buoys so I could miss the breaking waves. Still, the waves were too high for me to sight the next buoy.  So, I used the beach as my guide. Which wasn't all that brilliant of a move, because .... after swimming for what seemed to be an appropriately long time, I approached the "finish" where the crowd was. Came ALL THE WAY IN ... only to look for the chute ... and be told, "oh, honey, this is the SPRINT START, not the finish"!    O. M. G.   What a wasted effort!!!   I then swam back out past the buoy and headed further west. At one point, I was part way to Canada. A kayaker lifeguard came out and tapped me on the head with the paddle and said I was heading to Canada, I needed to redirect 180 degrees!  What a CF!!!!   By NOW I can see the finish buoy and I finally got the the end. Swim time 28 ugly minutes. BUT!!!  But, I swam the whole thing ... and then some! I. am. proud.   And NO HR elevation, no panic, just some logistical errors, everything else felt fabulous.

T1 - fast. Happy with it.  Off on Felicity and had a strong bike leg.  Yes, I dismounted wand walked 75 yrds of the steepest climb, however, I regained my position in the race and have ZERO shame about it :) That's my energy conservation strategy! Bike was respectable. No idea of my time. 

T2 - fast. Forgot my sunglasses :(  Otherwise, no issues. Off for the run.  Kept an even pace, and a little outside my comfort zone. Nothing impressive, unless you factor in how very little I've trained to date, THEN it becomes IMPRESSIVE!! :)  Walked a few spots, but it's SO motivating to have other CTC peeps and friends there to call you out encouragement (as well as busting you walking!) so I know I ran more than if you all weren't there!!  Said hi to Ed Slovenkay at his mile 5 and my mile 1 - he didn't recognize me! (No Tribetes kit!!! I'm sporting new CTC kit!)  He told me later he was hurting ... I didn't know that boy could hurt :)  (kidding!).   Ed got 1st in his AG and 2nd OA (or maybe first ... something awesome!)

By mile 5 I was ready to be done. I was doing my "last walk" as my goal was to run the entire way once I returned to the park. Teresa Stanek came by, strong and steady, and asked if I was okay (walking). I was, and she was inspiring me, so I started running before re-entering the park, and was hoping to work together with her to encourage a strong finish for us both. Teresa was my inspiration for mile 6.2!!   I kind of have only one pace: on or off. Once on, I think I was pushing Teresa outside her comfort zone, so I respected her desire to focus on her own strategy and not enforce my will on her. I remember how hard it was to tell Vic K. that I really didn't want him to run that last mile of IMFL with me, as it would stress me out and mess with my head, and how he totally respected that.  So, I just did my own thing. I felt energized, and I'm crediting Teresa for that! She definitely positively influenced a stronger finish for me! Thank you girlie!!!   I was rounding the bend and there were 2 guys there, I knocked off one (not literally!) and then had the other in my sights. He knew it, and sped up. Me too. Then we came to an all out SPRINT - balls to the wall kind of finish.  I ran through, he slowed up, but his "man-ness" allowed him to hold me off by a tenth of a second. That was FUN!!  Great job! I think he was ticked, but I said thanks for the push! And I meant that with kindness and respect!

I later learned I got 2nd in my AG! Woot! Totally unexpected. And, of course, inspiring to recommit to training, a constant struggle recently.   Well, less so now, as I'm really pumped about my base fitness - it's not as bad as I thought. I still have base to tap into!

Those of you that follow me on FB - The name change is for fun. I've always wanted that name. I like the sound of Dr. Devereaux! Eh, don't over-interpret it. Life is pretty good right now. I feel ... pretty good!  My family is healthy and happy ... or working on that. I am healthy and uninjured. I have started working at the Vet Tech program again and working with BFF, as well as other cool chicks, makes work fun, enjoyable and rewarding. I love doing surgery and I'm teaching Anesthesia this quarter, and enjoying it a lot. Getting to see KT twice weekly brings me joy!  Discovering the awesomeness that is voice text messaging has allowed me to safely communicate with Elizabeth while driving. Having amazing friends and a wonderful sister, family has allowed me to stay afloat during challenging times. I look around and see people I love and care about struggling with life, too, and I know that things WILL BE OKAY. I feel I'm in a good place and working toward a better place, so it's all very good and hopeful.

Lastly, I'm going to drop a bomb here ...

I am seriously considering signing up for IMSG for 2012. Yes.  It will be different this time. Some redemption. Something I CHOSE, not that was chosen for me. There will be some down time between REV3 and IMSG, should I choose to do it.  And, best of all, I BELIEVE I CAN DO IT!!!  So, don't be surprised if it happens.  HS friends Tom, Mike and if we can tear him away from his very important MIT lab, Jim are all considering IMSG. How can I NOT consider that reunion???  I'm weighing in stuff now and will decide by September 30th I believe.  I think I'll see how Rev3 goes, then, you know, there's the post-IM blues ... and it's very real! This could be the cure!!!

Okay, THIS is my parting thoughts: I am SO EXCITED to have many of my Triabetes friends join me in doing Rev3.  Initially we were all in for the full, but life has taken it's toll, and some have dropped to the half. Don't think I haven't considered it! But, I'm in, for the full, with miss Annie Bacon ... aka: the Baconator, and only girl of our team to finish IMSG! Annie will rock Rev3. My Triabetes peeps coming in for Rev3:
Annie Bacon - California
Jenny Crandall - Arizona
Andrea Huston - Hawaii
Vic Kinnunen - Georgia (Kona lotto winner 2011!)
Daniel Vincent - Washington

Brian, Christian, Sarah, and any other of my 'betes peeps, please join us, if you can, if only to Ironfan - which is a blast! I've got tons of CTC peeps here to show you just how it's done! :)

Having these people at Rev3, along with so many of my CTC peeps, will make September 11th an amazing day, no matter what the outcome!!! It's all good!!!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Musselman Race Report and Whining :)

Okay, Okay, it's been a while since I've blogged. The honest truth is that I've been struggling with training, motivation and, well, just life. I wax and wane. I ebb and flow. I rock, then I suck ... you can see a pattern here. I WANT to be hardcore and consistent. I WANT to follow my training plan to a T and not avoid it. But life gets in the way ... I'm WAY, WAY over-extended. I'm going to whine here, so feel free to eject, or scroll down to where I do my Musselman Race Report ... it get's more positive there!

So here, in the "Whine" section, I will admit to struggles with time management, commitments, motivation, self-loathing when I fail, and all that other crap that many of us go through when attempting a diet, an exercise regiment, or a significant change in behavior. You set goals, you start off stoked, motivated and energetic, only to, for whatever reason, lose your way. Then there comes the guilt, the anger, the denial, the depression. It's a vicious cycle. Because, truly, if I would only pick myself up and go for a run, I'd get that potent endorphin release and subsequent "runner's high" and feel better. Yet, I can't get to that point sometimes.  I've got 3 kids. They are now a bit older, which comes with the independence of maturity as well as the blossoming of their true personalities. It's an exciting, fun time ... most of the time. Also comes THEIR activities. Band. Meetings. Swim practice. Football practice. Football games. Swim meets. Church youth group. Birthday parties - typically announced at the 11th hour so we scramble to fit it in, get a gift and get them there. I know that most of you feel my pain. Yes, I'm whining. It's not just about me ... I have family! Kids. A spouse. Pets. A house that needs to be maintained. Yard work. Grocery shopping. And the BANE OF MY EXISTENCE: Dinner!  I hate planning, making, cleaning up after dinner. There's always someone who doesn't like it. There's prep time - and I hate to cook. Call me anti-american, but damn, I hate to make meals! It's wholly unrewarding on every level. Factor in the complaints, my issues with food, the fact that we can't all sit at a table and eat as a family ... these things make me loathe dinner. So, I basically suck as a Mom. I don't cook.  Ever.  My kids must forage. I will shop, but beyond that, I just don't have it in me to deal with dinner. And the sad thing? It's EVERY DAY!!  I can do without "dinner" myself - I'll grab a Larabar and I'm good. But my kids need nutrition. I know I'm failing them here! Ironically, my oldest eats healthier than anyone I know. Has a tiny sweet tooth, but does it in moderation. And she's string-bean skinny! Who is her mother?? Because those aren't my genes!

Okay, so training ... I ebb and flow. I've not been on the bike much at all. A few "longish" rides, and a few 20-25 miles. I've logged less than 200 miles I'd guess. My swimming - I get in the lake at least once a week. If I could find time for the pool, I can easily put out 4000 yds. That's the one leg that comes back quickly and without much work. My OWS techniques have greatly improved with the weekly swims, and we are getting 5 and 6 swimmers weekly now!  My run.  Total ebb and flow! I can put down 13 miles then not run for a week.  I shoot for 7 miles 3 times weekly, then a 5K race. It's just not enough for an IM. I need to do more 13-18 runs. And I can do this. It's probably the simplest thing to improve and do consistently. I can run early or mid-day some days. I like mid-day, as it gives me a chance to practice running in the heat.

Now if I can only get to look at, and execute, the training plan!

I work six jobs. Yes I do.  I teach at 2 colleges - this summer/fall I will be teaching 9 courses. Now 4 of them are doing surgery, so, little to no prep and grading. Bonus. Makes it doable. I have a small house call practice. I am not presently taking new patients because I can't. I will reassess in December. But I have about 10 clients I see regularly. Some with cancer, some with chronic disease. These clients can call me at any time and are flexible, knowing my schedule and willing to work with me to find a mutually agreeable time. When the end is near, I do my best to do it on their timeline. No one wants to make the decision to euthanize because the doctor is unavailable because she's racing. I tell them my unavailability (classes) and other than that, I try to go when they need me. I do relief work - think substitute teacher for vets. I've recently notified them I am unavailable through December. I'm also saying "no" when I need to. A triathlon friend wanted me to see his cat, as it had a lesion. I had NO time to offer ... I taught until 10 pm then headed to NY the following day. It was my first time saying "no, I'm sorry, I can't"  It was hard. But it's what I need to do now.  I have 3 online jobs - 2 classes and an "ask the vet" business. If I have down time (what's that? I should be cycling!) or need some extra money, I can do that and pick up some cash flow. Fortunately the "ask the vet" is something I can do when I want, leave it for 6 months, and do it at any time ... including nights wrought with insomnia! Way to multi-task I suppose. Not like I can cycle or run at 3 am. Lastly, I'm working on a project I feel passionate about - a pet first-aid/life-saving kit. It's not a huge time suck, and, I'm excited about it. Oh, and there's Triabetes, too. While my Captainship is over, I feel connected to the diabetic community and want to support my T1 and T2 peeps. YES, T2s are just as important as T1s!! Not only that, I think in some cases T2s can adopt fitness and nutrition and become NOT-diabetic! I want to help people with that! I want to inspire and motivate and educate the sedentary over-weight middle-ager who is complacent and resolved that this is the hand they were dealt. Bullshit! :)

Okay, whine over! I know it's not pretty, attractive, glamorous. But it's who I am right now. Someone recently said to me that Triathlon is my hobby. No way. It's WAY more than my hobby! It's my sense of self-esteem, self-worth, pride and joy.  Other things rank up there, too, like my family: my kids, my spouse, my BFFs (you know who you are!!!). But TRIATHLON is so much more than a hobby to me. You may "get that", or you may not. You may think I'm way off base in my priorities, but this is how I feel.

So, Musselman. I was far from prepared. Far from being trained to do 70.3 miles! I wrestled with even racing. Ted suggested I simply volunteer - which I truly love to do. I seriously considered it. But, I also wanted to use it as a yardstick for if I could succeed in Rev3 full this year. So, I made the decision to compete. I did a lot of self-talk: set my expectations low. Don't be upset with a disappointing time ... you've barely trained! Enjoy it! Why do it if it's going to bring me grief??  So, I was resolved to do my best and feel okay with it. Worst case, it's a training day.  So off we went!!  We had a nice contingency of CTC peeps there! And, I got my new CTC kit, so I was excited to finally wear something other than Triabetes kit.

Remember, expectations are low. I'd be pleased with a simple finish. In the past, I've not gone under 7 hrs. That's the reality of a middle-of-the-pack AGer!! :) I'm okay with that. Sure I shoot to PR, but not to podium place or earn a Kona spot! I'm just a girl doing triathlon! 

Dinner was ... a debacle! Ken Beech had reservations for our group, but the restaurant was completely overwhelmed and it took us 2.5 hrs to get our food. No apology, just an angry, overwhelmed waitress. Many were frustrated because they wanted to drive the course, rack their bike, etc.  This didn't bother me much. I was more miffed by staying at a sucky hotel in a SMOKERS ROOM (awful!) with NO INTERNET!  How did I survive?? :)

In the morning we headed over. I, being anal, like to arrive the second transition opens. Usually 5 am. That meant leaving 4:30. We did. Ted was a good sport! Plan was he'd drop me off, then go golf and relax, and return in the 2 o'clock hour. Well, brilliant me set up the GPS to take us back to what I thought was transition. The previous day, I stood at transition and pulled the location and labeled it "Transition, Musselman" ... well, apparently that didn't work, because we were way off course! I should have just gone back the way we knew. My thinking was this was a more direct route ... but in time that quickly became more clear, as my window of preparation dwindled down, panic set in, and I prepared myself for the real possibility that I wouldn't be able to race. Plus, I didn't have my chip! Some (well-intentioned) volunteer told me there were no chips for the race when I questioned her. However I learned at dinner that there are indeed chips. I was assured that I could get mine on race morning. Wow - how they knew that ... maybe, let's see, they attended the mandatory athlete meeting that I always feel I'm too experienced for!!! HA! I did learn that you MUST have 2 bottles on the bike ... that could have been a problem (it wasn't).   Those meetings are just so ... inconvenient. Put it in writing and let me enjoy the town. I didn't want to hang around for these inconvenient meetings. Blah. Someday it's going to bite me in the ass :)  They'll have a sign-in sheet then on race morning they'll say, excuse me ma'am, but you did NOT attend the MANDATORY athlete meeting - you cannot race.   And I'll NOT be indignant, I'll hang my head in shame.

Finally got back on track and arrived at 6:30. Yes, for me, this is preposterous!!!  Got my chip (easy and fast). Racked my bike (had numbered racking - LOVE THAT!!) I was ironically racked next to Ethan from Cleveland! Used the portopot, returned to set up, scurried down to the water to get a 5 min swim in, and I was calm as a cucumber! Who knew??!!  I'd have lost $100 dollars on that bet. I was wave 2 and I was prepared!

Swim went off, water felt good. Sighting issues at 2 points - one was purely my fault, I didn't sight enough and found myself yards off course :( The second was in swimming into the harbor. The sun glare was brutal. I was swimming blind. Another dozen or so yards off course :(  BUT - exit swim at 38:00! (not sure where the mat was, I looked at the top of the exit ramp. My T1 was lickety split, too - no more than 3 minutes, probably closer to 2.5. Things were going well!

My bike was ... well, just awesome! Especially considering my lack of training. It was my strongest bike race. The course was flat and fast and I was hydrating at EVERY MILE. When I heard the Garmin beep off a mile, I sipped water or Amino Vital.  There was one, steep climb. Yes, I dismounted and walked. I was the only one. Of course, this is the PRECISE 30 seconds that Marie Rote chooses to pass me and encourage me with "good job!" ... What??  I'm walking a hill?  :) But I appreciated it. I never regret the dismount because in the end, I've got more energy and I always catch up to the position I was in before. Hey, that's a strategy, right???  It's MY strategy!  I felt strong the entire ride. I was kind of floored!! Not sure what my time was, as my bike computer wasn't working - magnet must have moved, and I didn't want to focus on my Garmin. I'll upload the race here when I get a chance and know better, but I think was under 3.5 hrs, like maybe 3:15!

T2 was a bit slower. I checked my CGM - HYPO. 53. UGH!! Plus, my water was hot. I needed cold water and SUGAR.  No potty break for me - it was hot and I wasn't making urine. (Oh, and no PRP, which I thought was the sign of a catastrophic race!) The guy at transition exit ... well, he's just a liar! I said I need water and sugar, where's the aid station? (I was prepared to go back and get my own from my bag!) He says: Just outside ...  Well, apparently "just outside" means 1.5 miles!!!  By half a mile in, I was in TROUBLE! My BG was now below 43 and just saying LOW.  Might as well say WTF??? Give me sugar!  I started becoming belligerent and vocal at my frustration with no aid station (hypo makes you agitated ... I think I dropped some F bombs!).  Athletes around me came to my rescue!! I had cold water and shot blocks immediately. THANK GOD!!!  Thank you, to those kind, understanding, generous people that came to my aid!  I finally felt better and began my run. Mike Bucher came upon me. Apparently he was struggling with profound cramping due to dehydration. I was thankful that I didn't have that as a major issue today. And it was HOT!!!  I had some cramping, but it was minor.  At the first aid station, I really loaded up: coke, 2 packs of shot blocks, ice, sponges. The works! Then I was ready to go.  I'd been warned about mile 3 - a brutal climb about 60 yds straight up. Walked it - no ego here. Then it was walk/run and battling hypoglycemia. By mile 5, I was feeling GOOD! Settled in. Started looking at my watch ... hmmm. I COULD QUITE POSSIBLY GO UNDER 7 HRS.  This would take tremendous effort on my part and little room for rest and error. John Mack came upon me, having a better race than 2010, and warned me about mile 7. Yikes, he was right! Gravel incline a mile long. It was a hard mile!!. After that, was the turn and homestretch.  I was continuously doing the math ... I could do this! I saw Tim Walsh all over the course and he was truly energizing! Met another CTCer around mile 8. Kept pushing, pushing, pushing.  at mile 11 it was clear I had to do 10 min miles for the last 2 miles.  Man, this was going to be hard!!!  But I REALLY, REALLY wanted it. I kept positive and kept pushing. If I walked, I ran harder to make up.  Last mile, Andy passed me. I met him at dinner Sat. night. I glommed on to him and fell behind him. He was moving faster than me so another person was between us in that last half mile. I then saw Ted! I smiled, waved and excitedly said "I think I'm going to go under 7 hrs!!! But I'm hurtin' ... gotta push it, it'll be close!"   Finally saw the finish line and chute. That's when the pain leaves and the mind is in control! I passed the man between Andy and I and I followed him into the chute, hearing his name, then mine! Time: 6:56!  Yes!!!  What a super feeling!

I really needed that. More than I can say in words ... I needed it mentally, emotionally, physically. It rejuvenated me! I don't know how I did it, but my base must have pulled me through, and the planets aligned that day.  Most of my friends, that are far better athletes than me, didn't have a great race that day. They finished ahead of me, but for them, their time was disappointing. Well, the conditions WERE pretty dang brutal. Had to have been 96 or so. Katie Shaw did 5:55!!!  Rock on chickie!! Katie Z ... that tough chick, kept pushing and pushing, but her body pulled the trump card: heat stroke. Dropped a mile before the finish and landed in the hospital getting 6 liters of fluids!  Weird how it was great day for some and crappy for others. Weird how I was late, unprepared, untrained and PR'd. Just a gift, I guess. But I DID work hard for that!!! I never said, eh, it's okay if I'm over 7 hrs, it's hot out.  I wanted it and when I saw it COULD happen, I found the strength to do it. That means the world to me!

So, I'm UP. I'm excited. I'm ready to ride this wave and continue to build for Rev3.  I will try to make time to train. It's possible. And I'm giving myself permission to say "NO" to stuff. There's only so much time and right now, I'm spread too thin.

Peace out!

Monday, June 20, 2011


Greetings Peeps!! I'm on an adrenaline rush after 4 x 15 hr ER shifts this past week, weekend.  I do enjoy working ER! I gotta say, I was pretty bummed to miss the Maumee Bay Olympic triathlon yesterday, however.   I saw a great turnout and great performances for a lot of CTC peeps. Congrats!!

So, in the wake of my endurance work shifts, I will hope to recover from the sleep deficit and resume workouts ASAP! I hate to gloat, but I've got an unprecedented 3 weeks off!!  And I'm going to enjoy it like a pig in shit, mark my words!  I've got some class prepping to do, but it's a new class for me, so I'm kind of excited about that. And, I'm presently reviewing a Pharm textbook, but that will be done by the end of the week. So, I'm really stoked to get some home projects done, get in some great workouts, including bricks, and races every Saturday and Sunday. And looking forward to spending some fun time with my kids this summer. They are at a really fun age!  Jaime is doing swim team, which I have earmarked as my AM workout, just to multi-task :) ... and Samantha has taken to enjoying 5Ks.   Looks like she might be bailing on triathlon, but hey, I can handle that ... I think :).   Kevin has run 2 5 Ks and I'm just impressed by how unphased he is by it. And Ted's done a few, as well, so we'll keep trying to do occasional family 5Ks. The biggest challenge is that it typically costs us $100 to enter everyone!  Can you say race pirate?? Kidding, kidding! We do it, but heck, that's a lot of jack for a half hour of family fun! Some races have begun family entry fees, where you pay, say, $45 dollars, and everyone can participate. I hope this is an emerging trend!! Race directors, PLEASE CONSIDER OFFERING THIS!  I know running races is a business, but man, it's not feasible for us to do this every weekend. So, I've taken to rotating a kid with me. Since Jaime is swimming, she deferred to Samantha for the Flag Day 5K last week. Sam had a personal goal, but, unfortunately the course was a pretty difficult one with 2 good climbs - not great for a PR.   I had a fun time - that's always one of my favorite local races and I love to support NERC and Deepwood Center.  Great food, too!  We were socializing after the event and they started doing AG awards. We hung out, not because I had any inkling that I'd placed, but because of great company!  When they announced the 3rd place time, I realized I was faster than her. Then I was floored to learn I was faster than the 2nd place, leaving me to win my age group!! HA!  It wasn't a stellar performance, but, I'LL TAKE IT!!  Got a very cool plaque that is NOT generic, had all the deets - except the time - and I'm happy to bring home some hardware that was earned - and totally unexpected!  Frankly, I felt like shit for that run!!  It starts out on a downhill and I did a 7-something minute mile for the first mile ... and trust me, that was WAY faster than I should be going out! I felt terrible and was cursing myself for even participating! "WHY DO I DO THIS TO MYSELF!"   You all know how that feels ... but then, the HR settled in, I recovered from the hypoxia, and I found my groove. It helps that it also ENDS on a downhill!

So, kind of excited about being able to focus on training for a while. My next big race is a 70.3 in Fingerlakes, NY.  Musselman Half.  Ted's coming and we'll have a nice weekend. I hear it's a great race and beautiful out there. He's going to golf. Golfing and triathlon (long course) are pretty compatible! :)

My BFF Elizabeth and I have put a few races on the calendar and will be looking to do a run on Saturday and the SummaTri triathlon on Sunday - Woot, woot!  Now I just need to get caught up on sleep, stay healthy, and get in some time on Felicity - she has been sorely neglected!!!  Starting next Friday, I will be doing MONSTER RIDE FRIDAYS ... not with the RR gang, but solo - unless anyone wants to join me. Looking to put in 70-112 miles every other Friday. On the other Fridays, will be doing 40-60 miles, early. Let me know if you have the day off and want to join me!  SummaTri is a sprint, I believe. It's my first short-course for the season. It'll be interesting ... not quite where I want to be at this stage of the game, but happy to have the time to catch up. 

My other plans for the weekend are to see BFF KT's girlie, KA for her 1 yr birthday. Woot, woot!  Sam's bummed to miss seeing KA, as she's got a church "Woodstock"-type event she's attending.  I'm sure hoping for good weather for the weekend - this past one was spent 100% indoors. Boo!

Okay, time to unwind ... need to get ready to get a good night of sleep - got a brick on board for tomorrow!!

Peace out, peeps!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Beginning again

Like many athletes, there is this period of ... lull? depression? sense of loss? Whatever you call it ... it's present after training for a big event. After the event. Plummet ...  I felt it first after my first IM, Rev3 in Sept. 2010.  I'm feeling it now.  I'm a goal-oriented chick - I need to be working toward SOMETHING to get me motivated. I have to have a goal, a key race, something. I admire those that exercise "just because" - but that's not me, and never has been.

The DNF at IMSG isn't painful, but it's still THERE ... hovering. I've spoken to many friends that have DNF'd a race and they, too, feel this similar feeling. Then I had a disappointing marathon. I LOVED running it - it feels super while I'm doing it! I'm euphoric with endorphins, and have this attitude of gratitude! But, my body wasn't ready. I'll be frank: I was unprepared for both races. It's not an excuse - it's my reality. I have culpability. And I can live with that. I'm not here to beat myself up ... I'm trying to treat myself the way I'd treat a dear friend. I'm trying to be supportive and encouraging. That's not easy, you know! How many of you emotionally beat yourself up during or after a race? Why do we do this?? I'm trying to change this within me. I'm patting myself on the back for the part that I DID accomplish. How many people ran 26.2 miles on 5/15? Small percentage of the people I know. But *I* did! The time wasn't pretty, but the miles were logged and, on that day, that was my best effort!

Now I must move FORWARD ... and I'm having difficulty with that at the moment. I cannot tell you why, because I just don't know. But I DO know that I don't like this feeling. It feels like I have no control - and being a "type A" personality, of course, the feeling of being out of control is ... well, not good.

Also, I'm changing jobs. And, it's the end of they school year so it seems as if every day there is some sort of child commitment to attend. And I want to be there, I do! But most of the time I'm not aware until the 11th hour, and there goes my plans.  My soon-to-be 10 yr old informed me this morning at 8 am that tonight is her recorder concert.  There goes the plans. Why didn't I know about this sooner? Well, because, likely, it fell through the many cracks I have in my life - being over-extended. I can't tell you how many times I meet someone then tell them about my life: my family, my jobs, my training, etc and they all say "Wow! How do you do that all??" Well, the answer is I do it all half-assed!  That's the truth!! :) I can own it.  So, I'm sure that the notice of the recorder concert was presented to me before today, but, it didn't make it to my calendar, and so I was unaware until 8 am today when Jaime told me.  Ugh.

With the job change comes new challenges. Teaching a new course. Kind of exciting, but labor intensive.  I have a few weeks to prepare, so I'm working hard to make this course a great one. Then there will be new people entering my life, and some friends "leaving" - not that they won't be friends, but I won't see them regularly. That makes me sad.

Now I need to find a way to rejuvenate my training. I've had my rest. Today begins week 1 of my IM training plan.  Will I get that run in??  I plan to. But you really can't be sure ... I could have a Hit-By-Car arrive at 1:50 and I'll need to attend to that pet.  If things go as planned, I WILL get that run in ...  before the recorder concert. :) Or after.  Or, back-up plan: tomorrow morning. I'm going to focus on getting the WEEKS training in sometime during THE WEEK. I cannot necessarily do the 3 or 5 hr ride that's scheduled for Thursdays, as I will be teaching from 8 am - 9pm. So, shuffle the ride to a day off and swap out a swim, that I can do at LTF AFTER my Anesthesiology class ends.

So, off to work I go. I am going to try to find a new way to approach training for this race. It's the first time I can say I'm working for THIS SPECIFIC RACE as my "A" race. I am going to see if I can't look at each week, as a whole, and take a different approach. In the past, it's been day to day, with catch-up on weekends.  I want to change that. I'm willing to arise at 4:30 to get my workouts done. I've done it before. And, honestly, the best, longest sustained training I've done was for my first 70.3 in 2009.  That had me getting MOST of my stuff done in the AM.  I'm thinking that's how I will need to jump start this training plan. We'll see ....

Off to work... peace out!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Fantastic News!

Greetings! Just wanted to share some fantastic news ... FIVE of the 2010 Triabetes team Captains will be doing the Rev3 Full distance triathlon!! That's 140.6 miles of fun-filled comarderie!!  Four of us DNF'd in St. George, due to one reason or another, but Annie Bacon persevered and is now an Ironman! She will soon be a two-time ironman :) Our team consists of:
Annie Bacon

Jenny Crandell
Tiffany Heindel
Andrea Houston
Daniel Vincent

The others had commitments or just plain would rather stop, while on top! Which I totally understand! But some of us have "unfinished business"  :)

We may be blessed with an appearance from Vic Kinnunen himself, Kona athlete for 2011. And if you haven't heard ... I'M GOING TO BE THERE!!!

That's kind of a fun story. I had entered the lottery WAY BACK WHEN ... and now, April 15, I was PRAYING hard NOT to be pulled!! I was burned out. Well, I wasn't pulled and I was thrilled about it, frankly.  Shortly after the lottery pull, I get a call from Vic ... he's received a "suspicious email" ... ie it didn't look too authentic.  Well, I pulled up the Kona lottery winners and there he was!! :)  I'm so excited for him. Keep in mind, at the time, he'd not done ONE IM, so his focus was on IMSG.  And, well, we know how that turned out ... VICtorious!!!!  :)

I have another friend that's trying to KQ. I'll keep his name private for now, because I'm sure he's pretty stressed out, now that he's put it out there, but I have FULL CONFIDENCE he WILL qualify!!  

Finally, I met a nice woman at IMSG, and she ROCKED my age group, taking second and KQ. She's going. Her name is Arin and I can't wait to cheer her on. 

As I was returning home from my ER shift, I thought ... how can I pitch this to Ted?? He's all up on triathlon, but it's not like his dream to spend a 17 hr day in Hawaii watching strangers race.  And I get that - totally!! However, Hawaii IS his favorite place, and guess what?? Tons of golf courses in Hawaii!  So, his head went to work and he did what he does best ... search for that amazing DEAL - the kind that you've "gotten over on the man" deal! Like us staying at the Hilton for $47 dollars deal! He's great at that.  I took a nap, and when I woke up, he said, I found a good deal ... I'm ready to pull the trigger.  WHAT???!!!   He had asked what MY vision of Oct. 8th would be, in terms of his role. I said I'd love, and I'd think he'd love, to see the start - it IS amazing!!! Then he could meander off and play 18 or 36 holes of golf, nap, mosey back down to the race and watch the later finishers as long or short as he'd like. I will be there until all 3 of my peeps have crossed, and likely until Midnight. It's a great compromise and our two respective sports are quite complimentary and compatible.   He pulled the trigger and we are going to Kona in October!!

Back to Rev3 ... how fun this will be do have these people here to finish this business! The odds are that even on the worst of days, September in Ohio is pretty damned great! I can't wait to see Dan, Jenny, Andrea, Annie and me cross that line!!! And to have all those CTC peeps around is icing on the cake for me.

Can. Not. Wait.!!!   Feeling re-energized just thinking about it! :)

Thursday, May 19, 2011


Just wanted to prove I CAN post a short blog! :)  Ha!


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

It's a Two-fer Wednesday! :)

Greetings peeps! It's been a while. I'm overdue on my IMSG post, and I figured I'd wrap my marathon race report into it as well.

Leaving EARLY Wed. morning was our plan. Unfortunately, my beloved cat Simon passed away Tuesday morning. It really shook me up, and I'm still coping with the mourning I need to address. I had to call the kids before school and tell them. Samantha was stopping over mid-week to check on cats and chinchillas ... I'm just grateful she didn't have to deal with it. It was hard enough for me. I had, like, 10 min to deal with it, before I had to be off to school. My students were unsympathetic, for the most part.  They don't think of me as a person, just that damned teacher giving me difficult quizzes!  So,  I double bagged Simon and put him in the garage freezer ... no time for anything else. I'll deal with it when I get back.  We did leave Wed. We flew Southwest, which I swore I'd never do again, but Ted paid the extra $$ to get us A seating. That's a whole better experience!! My suitcase was over 50 lbs - 66 to be exact. Those 16 lbs cost me 50 bucks :(

We arrived in Las Vegas, rented a decent car, and headed out to St. George.  I cannot tell you how much I love that place!!! It's gorgeous and the townies were supportive and welcoming.  We made it just in time to stop over for dinner to at Dan and Rachel's place, and connect with a few captains. It was really fun, but we were exhausted, arising at 4 am to travel all day. We left early and missed Annie by a few moments. I really enjoyed meeting Rachel and Jolanta, Dan and Vic's wives, respectively. I also met several wee little children and Vic's parents.

The next morning I got a ride with friends (Ted went golfing) out to Sand Hollow, where we'll swim. This was probably the scariest part for me. The water was 67 degrees farenheit. Brian had a thermometer. IM lies - no question.  They need the race to go on, so they will say what they need to say to get the race to go forward as planned. I had my full wetsuit on for the first time. I had a silicone cap, neoprene cap, latex cap and ear plugs. I walked into the water and my first thought was: "NO F'ing WAY!!!!"  I've got to get out of this, I cannot do it! My armes were crossed, and the look on my face had the captains really worried. They kept encouraging me to hang in for just 2 minutes. I said, then let's move, because I cannot do this standing here!  We swam ... and lo and behold, it DID feel good in 2 minutes. Really good!!!  Vic told me he had the SAME reaction the day prior, so I felt more confident about my fears.  We swam out to a rock, too some pics and then back. ~45 min in the water with leisurely swimming. I felt good. My confidence was through the roof!! Whew, what a relief to know I could do this!!!!

Three weeks earlier I had a melt down.  Ted got the brunt of it, but the gist was that I feared failure. The weather in OH is terrible (even now!) and I only got out on my bike ONCE! The trainer doesn't simulate that kind of terrain.  However, after the melt down, and Ted not knowing what to say, says: do you want to quit, because I'll support that. Or do you just need me to tell you I believe in you, because I do.   I needed to believe in ME!  And, aferward, after said temper tantrum, I DID feel better. I went into that race pretty dang sure I could finish in under 17 hrs!!  I started feeling more confident!! By the time we arrived, I felt so much more confident! I was a bit worried about the bike cut off, but otherwise, I'd get it done. I was pretty dang sure!

One of our captians, a younger one, was having enormous melt-downs of insecurities and low self-confidence.  Having just been there, I gave her my support. I said, today you get to melt down, tomorrow you HTFU and get that eye of the tiger thing going. She later thanked me.  I was not unsympathetic to her pressures - they were unique, and different from ours, as she's a personal trainer and educated in sports fitness and nutrition. Still, she's young, she's human.   We swam Friday too, but she wasn't there. By this time, two other captains had not showed up, because, in my opinion, she was wallowing in self pity and self-doubt and they were spending THEIR TIME trying to pump her up. That irked me. That she would affect others' training, time with us, etc. ... well, I found it selfish. But again, just my opinion. I was bummed not to have the whole team there swimming Friday morning. By Friday I was having a blast in the water! I kind of felt invincible there :)

I've connected with different people, at different times, during this journey. My first roommate was Jenny - we both have 3 kids and we were compatible roomies. She teaches elementary school. I adore Jenny!!  She lives in AZ and ROCKED the race (more on that later!). Later in May 2010, I connected with Andrea, from HI. She is AMAZING and impresses me beyond words. She's kind, and generous, and supportive. Plus, like me, had some her own pre-race neuroses that I totally relate to, and respect!.  In Florida, I got to know Sarah better, as she was my roommate. We were a good fit and she was respectful of my 'early to bed' regiment.  Annie was the woman I knew "least well".  I was fortunate to spend more time - Thursday and Friday of this trip, IMSG, with Annie and her mom - Molly - who got in, and out of the blue, pulls out a media pass!! She also got discounts and helped us buy up some souvenirs with her discount!!  We had a lot of fun! I loved that we got to know each other better on this trip - Annie is awesome! Molly too!

Friday I checked in my bike, my bags and relaxed with the Kindle. I was ready.  Friday evening our triabuddies returned form Mt. Zion and it was 1 day after Rachel's 11th birthday. I was thrilled to finally see Ed and Jodi, who have become two of my favorite people in the world!!!  Toss in Emily and Rachel - that family ... well let's just say that I'm blessed to have them in my life now!  Emily wasn't there for this trip.  Rachel had a fantastic time, and was so happy when she returned. She also got an ipod touch for her BD from her parents, and I, just coincidentally, got her an itunes card!  She was in tears with happiness.  They called us up individually and said some kind things about us. Insulindependence gave us a certificate, a medal for our buddies, and a letter they had written to us.  I don't think I'll cherish anything as much as that!! Near the end, Jenny and her sister sang a touching song - they both have beautiful voices!! Who knew??!  I met her husband Troy, and her kids. Her song made me cry - in a good way.  It was a pretty good lovefest. I felt a few errors of omission, and glazing over talented captains that have given 110% early, steady and consistently, yet that wasn't said, and something "lighter" was said, resulting in some hurt feelings. We are a new charity, and errors get made. Look at the Emmy winners who forget to thank their families! We needed to do that as well. Hopefully it's a lesson learned and will be a non-issue in the future. I also wished we would have done a standing ovation for our families and friends, who sacrificed many, many hours. And I wish we'd have thought to do a gift for John Moore, the hardest working, most kind, most supportive person on the ID staff. John's character is one of compassion and support, and he's a sounding board for any and all of our issues related to our year-long journey. I adore John. I am happy to know that he and Maurine will be expecting twins in just a few weeks.

Afterward, back to my room and on to bed. I got up a 3 pm to be sure things went smoothly. This was the most relaxed I've ever been!! I like it!!  We got a ride to the athletes' bus and we were all in a good mood. Dan's BG was high with two arrows up - that concerned me, but cortisol can cause that. Sarah was visualizing her race. She seemed pretty relaxed and focused. I was happy to see that. Most of us chatted. Can you imagine me NOT being chatty? I'm sure the morning people wanted to sew my mouth shut! :)  I get it!!!

When we arrived at T1, we all got marked (or re-marked) and set up for the swim. I left my bike pump there - boo! But RD called and is shipping it to me! Yeah! I was impressed with his PERSONAL phone call 24 hrs after the race. Very impressed.

I didn't see Ted until the last moment, but was so glad to see him, it made me feel good!!  I handed my CGM and pump to the aids at swim exit, prepared to be pick them up along with my bike bag. I was ready for this race, and really ready to kick some ass on the swim!!!

We entered the water and I thought: Piece of cake!  I hung back so the time they have for me was whistle time, not start to finish.  I hit "start" when I arrived at the start buoys. I swam 1:15! And I didn't empty the tank!!!  I know I can do better :) I passed every pink cap I came upon. One dude grabbed my leg, pulled me back and punched me!! SO UNCALLED FOR!!!! We are ALL searching for real estate to swim. What a jerk. But that's IM swimming for ya!

I was 3rd out of the water, of our team of 10 - but you'd never know because there is precisely ZERO documentation I was racing. Not one photo.  I'm angry. I'm hurt. How hard is it to keep a checklist of 10 athletes, and find them to be sure you get their photos? They knew my number.  No one got a pic of me, so I guess it was all a dream ... but I suppose it's time to move on from that. But I can't lie ... I still feel angry and hurt.

My T1 was quick! I was surprised how quick, considering I did a full change.  Oh, here's a funny story:  at IM events, they have volunteers that write on their legs "suit strippers". Well I had on my new full Xterra suit. To pull it off, it needs to go over ID bands, watches and my ankle chip. My suit stripper was a man. He has me lay down and pulls off my wetsuit ... and I wore an old, loose suit so it would ease my changing of clothes. But, out pops my right boob!!!  Can  you say wardrobe malfunction??? I quickly caught it right away, but still: EMBARRASSING!!!!

Now onto the women's changing tent. And again, getting a bra on over a wet body, standing naked, is NOT the visual I want you to have. I had the volunteer do the back while I tackled the boobs. Let me tell you, boobs are NOT conducive to triathlon!!!  Ooops, got distracted again! Once I was fully clothed, I ran out, got my bike, and was out way faster than I'd hoped. I didn't test, I just put on my pump and CGM and off I went. You'll be happy to know the boobs were secured and out of sight.

Ed Slovenkay said the course "wasn't that bad"  ... well, for HIM it wasn't that bad!! He's exponentially a better athlete :)  I enjoyed the roll out, but my two water bottles with Amino vital (ie SUGAR) ejected at MILE ONE!!! So: No sugar!!! :(   Dang!  The first climb, I knew I was in trouble. The second climb - it was clear this was not going to be a terrain I could handle. I somehow made it for about 3.5 hrs, maybe 4 hours, but I'd dismounted and walked a few times. :(  I worked hard at NOT beating myself up. I worked hard on thinking positively, and encouraging myself to work hard when I could and eased up when I needed a break. At one point I got to a very steep hill and there was a man sitting in a chair to the right. I said, "is this the wall?"  He laughed and said nope, it's 3 miles ahead. Oh. My. GOD!!!!  I walked this tiny rise, along with 4 other men, which made me feel a tiny bit better. At the top, I started spinning again. I was determined to spin until THE WALL, walk the wall, then see if I could get around again, and make the cut off. Well, by now my water in my camelbak is warm :(  I'm needing gels. I pull tight to the right so people can pass, and they do. My goal is to get to THE Wall. I was feeling relatively good when, out of no where, I feel this "slam" into me, from behind, and I feel myself flying off my bike. I quickly determined I'd be hitting the boulders of the mountain side and just thought "this is it" ... you've been talking about death ... it's here.  Well apparently it's not, because I think I blacked out for a sec and when I rolled over and sat up, all I had was a head ache and marks on my face and neck. The other cyclist just kept groaning and moaning. He was on the road. OMG is he seriously hurt??  I went to him. He kept saying, "I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry".  I tell him, It's really okay. That's why they call them accidents.  He had lost the skin on his palms (road rash) and I had bandaides, but nothing that would cover that. Had my gloves fit him, I'd have given him those, but they were far too small. I asked if he was on his second loop? - he was. Damn - this guys is GOOD ... except he lost control and hit me! (Maybe not SO good!)  Our bikes were relatively, amazingly, unscathed as far as I can see. His chain came off. I put it back on for him, and he tested the bike. I said, if you can, GO! He felt bad leaving me. Many people witnessed the crash so the SAG wagon was called, as was an ambulance. I said I was good, he can go, so he did. I then vomited and things were blurry. Dehydration? Concussion? Weakness from the 5 hrs of racing?? I have no idea. I got back on the bike and pulled to the far left, out of anyone's way. I rode 200 yrds to the ambulance/medics. I asked the medics if my pupils were symmetric and reactive. They were. I declined the ambulance, not wanting a $700 bill, and got in the SAG wagon with others, who's day was also over.  I was surprised how upbeat everyone was!!  In doing the math, it was highly unlikely I would have made the cut off. That's the honest truth. And I can live with that.

At the medic tent, the doc gave me Advil and sent me home. I had to borrow his phone to call Ted. I reassured him I was okay, and said to meet me in the Wells Fargo lot. (Later I learned the doc told teammates that came through that I had been there from a crash. They were perplexed. He said, you know, the redhead with the hickey on her neck! HICKEY!!! I'm 42 yrs old! Dude, it was an abrasion from my crash!!!)

Ted must have misunderstood me and went to all the tents at the finish, looking for me. 70 minutes later he finds me.  We went back to the room and I shower. I check online for the others ... something's not right!!?  Next, I get a call from Andrea. She's a captain from Hawaii. She had to pull out do to catastrophic metabolic events. Jenny and Daniel too. Dan's in the HOSPITAL with BG >600.  OMG.  They were worried about me and my measly headache.

We still have 4 runners going strong. It's HOT out there!! 90+ degrees I want to see them finish. We head back down after 6pm, but cannot find a single Triabetes peep. I'm texting and finding they are at the tent, several miles away. UGH. So, we stayed for 2 hrs watching various men and women become an Ironman!! It was fun, but not as fun as seeing Vic, Brian, Christian and Annie finish. But I was fading - I had still done a lot of work that day, and my headache was still hanging around. We ended up leaving, and I went to bed.

In the AM I see that they all finished, with Brian having 10 minutes to spare! Whew!!! There's tons of photos and some video, it makes me choke up. While I was at peace with the events as they unfolded, I was sad I didn't finish. But, I'm not sure I could have. Training for this event, indoors on a trainer, is very difficult. I only got out on my bike once. Jenny had been doing hills since January :(  Not making excuses - this course is not for me. Not living in Cleveland anyway! I'd need to tackle this in September or October, after a summer hammering hills with my CTC peeps.

I had to get my bike dropped off early Sunday, so I did that. I had a finisher sticker for Sarah, the least confident of our group. She did not finish. It's okay though, life goes on, as she will see.  I called Annie -the only woman to finish, and said I'm outside your door - I hate to wake you, but I have something for you, and I'm taking off soon. I want to give it to you. She opened her door and I hugged her. I was so, so, SO impressed with the amazing performance she gave yesterday. She left it all out there and she finished!!  She got the IMSG finisher sticker I bought! I am so proud of Annie Bacon, the vegetarian!! :)  I'm hoping she'll come out to Rev3 with us. I'm trying to bribe her! :)

As for the rest of us, many of us have unfinished business. I'm in for the Rev3 full. Jenny, Andrea and Dan are too! Annie is on the fence. I'm doing my best to push her off the fence and into Cleveland for September!! We've got Vic possibly coming to be a race sherpa. I offered everything I can to help get them out here. I have great local friends that can help me with airport pick-up and transportation, so no one needs to rent a car, and possibly even loaning a bike. I need their sizes then I'll work on securing a bike for those that can't ship theirs. So far, it's looking like Annie might need a bike. I'd give her mine, but she's taller. I need her bike size, then I'll start working on it. I've offered my room to Annie. Me - miss "I need my space" chick!! I hope she comes.  It was an amazing journey. We all did our best so no one has anything to feel bad about ... no one failed. Failure is fear of trying. Or cheating. Or letting self-doubt paralyze you.  My friend Jerry Crabb didn't make the bike cut-off either :(   But, he's in for Rev3. I will be sure we all have Jerry fans there, too!  Jerry Nairn, you, too, are welcome. Rev3 full course is fantastic. I'm SOOOOOO happy it was my first full triathlon!! Let me tell you, Rev3 is NOT a sub-standard experience - this I PROMISE YOU!!!

Onward to the next week - I've got the Cleveland Marathon. I have run this every year (although not mary distance, but the 10k or 13.1 miler) since I was 16 with exceptions of kidney stones and pregnancy. My goal was to use it as a recovery run, but since I never ran at IMSG, I figured I might have a good race.  I was excited!!  I started with the 4:14 race pack. Somehow, I lost them at the 13 mile point.  As usual, my race deteriorated from there. The temps dropped, the rain started, and I found myself cramping.  I kept positive and focused on finishing. I walked VERY LITTLE during this race. I did start getting some pretty intense GI issues around mile 18.  UGH.  But, kept plugging forward.  I finished with a disappointing 5:21. I really don't know how that happened, except to say, I am just NOT putting in enough miles.  That's the honest truth I think.  I was prepared to just eject from the full, and stick with halves, but I think I have unfinished business ... and I'm going to tackle it!! Yesterday I signed up for Columbus Marathon (my favorite!!) and reserved a room. Looking forward to hanging with Elizabeth Kelley and Christen Mills. Liz just might BQ at this race!! If she does, I'm her race sherpa!!

Not surprisingly, I was just EXHAUSTED after Sundays marathon race. I had difficulty driving home, with narcolepsy threatening to kill me! I was cold and wet, yet had the windows downs, A/C blasting, and radio loud. I kept yelling "FOCUS TIFFANY!!"  It was a scary ride home. Once home I collapsed into bed. I've slept most of the past 2 days. GI issues remain. Did you know you can go into a coma ON the toilet. You can! I did. 4 hours!!!  A virtual marathon!! Too bad I can't use THAT time! :)

In summary, I have thoughts. Not so much about the marathon, but about IMSG. 
Most of you supported me and my campaign. I will never be grateful enough for you and your support - Well, I'll be grateful enough, I just don't know that YOU will fully realize how much that meant to me.  As I said, this year was about the JOURNEY. It was a fantastic journey!! I met friends I would have NEVER otherwise met. I met Rachel, Emily, Jodi and Ed - and their presence and meaning in my life cannot be adequately conveyed in mere words. I love them. I value them. Rachel has impacted my life, and probably, me hers, in ways that will remain with me FOREVER!!!   Ed had become a very, very dear friend, mentor, and confidant to me - anything triathlon, anything training, anything logistical, he's never been too busy for me. And trust me, I KNOW how busy he is!!! I love getting to know Jodi better. And Emily - just an amazing person. My kids love Emily and Rachel, and I will work hard to keep them in our lives. I believe that this journey was meant to bring these wonderful people into my life. Our lives. I adore all of them!

The other captains - it's hard for people to understand the bond we formed in such a short period. We are located all across the country, yet I know, in a hot second, I could call each one of them for support, guidance, friendship. For outsiders, it seems too unrealistic, too unlikely that we should have this bond - so intense, so strong. In such a short amount of time. But we do. I wouldn't trade diabetes for a functional pancreas if, for one second, it meant that I didn't get to have this journey. I feel super blessed. Super fortunate. Super lucky to have met these fantastic people whom I love, admire, and who inspire me, every single day, to be a better person, a better diabetic, a better athlete, a better friend, a better mother. I love these people:
Annie Bacon
Andrea Huston
Jenny Crandell
Sarah Hankel
Vic Kinnunen
Daniel Vincent
Christian Chiappe
Jerry Nairn
Brian Phelps
John Moore
Rachel Hoffner
Jodi Hoffner
Emily Hoffner
Ed Slovenkay

I love them with my whole heart. I would do anything for them. I care about them, their families, their lives and loved ones. They have changed my life! It's difficult to understand, unless you've gone through this.

Several weeks back, as I said,  I had a melt down. Poor Ted ... it started out with me being crabby and stressed, and it ended with me having a tantrum. Ted did what I needed him to do. He listened. He heard me. My fear? Failure. That all of YOU that supported me, would be disappointed if I didn't finish IMSG.  I cried. I swore (big surprise!). I threw stuff. Ted didn't know what I needed. Did I need emotional permission to eject from the race? Because, honestly, It crossed my mind!! Did I need encouragement? He saw me train, train, train, knowing I was doing the best I could with the crappy weather we have in Cleveland, Ohio that leaves us little opportunity to actually RUN or RIDE outdoors.  After meltdown concluded, I started to think: what's the worst case scenario? Really, what is it?  It's the DNF.  The dreaded DNF.  But does that mean I FAILED? Nope. It means I didn't finish THAT RACE.  Millions of exceptional and average people DNF.  Why was I so afraid of that???  I then began to see the light. I then felt - no, I then knew, there's a really good chance I can finish this race in 17 hrs.  I began to feel hopeful. I stepped up my training. When we arrived in St. George, I was SURE I was going to finish ... my biggest fear was the cold water. Well, you know how that played out!! I held back and still did 1:15. I think I could do 1:10 or better!!!  Next hurdle, the hills. I figured I do my best and that's all I could do. I was going to spin and climb all freakin' day and if at 5:30 pm I wasn't done, I could live with that.  The crash was an unforeseen incident. If I didn't hit my head, I'd have gotten back on the bike. Truth. Honest truth. I had a mild concussion, but if it was just road rash, I would have gotten back on the bike and kept at it. Although it's unlikely I would have made the cut off. But that would be okay. Seriously. Okay.  We were put in a difficult position when ID chose THAT race for us. This next group? They get a 70.3.  I'm so jealous I could spit nails!!! :)

I had written the following letter to my captains. I asked 3 people to proof it for me ... I got great feedback from them ... I adjusted accordingly, but in the end, I feared that I'd be perceived as the Negative Nancy ... predicting DNF's.  But that wasn't my intention at all. It was to address the elephant in the room!!! No one was talking about it, although we all feared it. I just wanted to put it out there. In hindsight, I wish I had.

Dear Fellow Captains,
Well, it’s here!! We are about to embark upon the finale of our year-long journey by tackling the beast that is Ironman St. George!!
As you know, when I was invited to be a captain, I was amidst a personal crisis, and I very nearly turned the position down. However, my BFF, said quite simply: Do you WANT to do this?  The answer was YES!  So, it was clear: I would tackle the challenge … and at the time, the fundraising portion was the biggest, scariest factor for me, not the Ironman. Well, I’m happy to say, the fundraising challenge has been met, now on to the Ironman!
We each have our own goals for this race, I imagine. For some, it will be to complete 140.6 miles in 17 hrs. To FINISH. That’s a lofty goal, considering we are “regular people” with jobs, family and other commitments. We are not elite athletes with sponsors, coaches and trainers. For others, you may have a specific time goal you’d like to finish the race by. And some of you may have sights on qualifying for Kona! I applaud any, and every, goal – as that’s why we are doing this, partly, to achieve a goal. However, we have had other goals in this journey, and let’s not lose sight of those!  This year – this journey - for me - was probably the single most amazing and inspiring journey of my life. YOU all inspire me. Every. Single. Day!  Because of you, I now take much better care of myself. Because of you, I feel proud to be associated with our charity. I now better understand and sympathize with the challenges of fundraising! Because of you, I’ve met many new friends, and have connected with people also facing the challenges of diabetes, and I will continue to motivate and inspire them to take care of themselves. THAT is what this journey is about, for me.
IMSG is a beast. We got the hardest of the hard. We know it, and, in hind-sight, I’m pretty sure that better judgment would have prevailed in selecting the venue to serve as our finale, if they could do it over. Oh well!  We were excited, yet scared, as we signed up last May, with scary thoughts and grand visions of ourselves doing this race, crossing that finish line on May 7, 2011.  Well, it’s HERE!! We are as ready as we can be and from this point out, it is what it is.
I’m a positive person. I think of the glass as half full, not half empty. But I am also a realist. I face difficult decisions every single day in my profession as a veterinarian. I’m practical, and know that sometimes, difficult decisions need to be made.  I know that, try as I will, there are lots of variables that arise on race day that could throw us for a loop and result in an unexpected course of events.  We’ve done all the hard work, and we look to God, or within, to believe that we will reach our goals on that day.  I envision the race in heat. In cold. In wind. In rain. I mentally prepare to adapt. I can relate this experience to my first pregnancy: (I know, bizarre!) I had planned to deliver naturally, and forego the epidural. However, I was told not to be "married to that plan" in my head, as it may not play out that way on delivery day(s!). I found that advice to be dead “spot-on”. I had plans to cope with the pain. But all that was derailed when I developed pre-eclampsia. Next thing I know, I have 4 IVs and 2 IV poles I had to lug around. I was induced, rather than enter labor naturally. I couldn’t walk. I couldn’t use the tub or shower, or use the yoga ball. All of my planned coping skills were not an option anymore.  Nothing went as I had planned! It was a rough ride – 29 hrs – but in the end, I had my healthy, beautiful baby, and I was okay.
That was my segue!  We PLAN our race, but things don’t always go the way we plan. We must adapt. As a veteran IMer, yet still whom I would refer to as a “newbie”, I want to throw out a few things. First off, I stand behind the statement that this race is 50% mental and 50% physical.  How on earth can this be FIFTY PERCENT PHYSICAL? Shouldn’t it be 80% physical??? But no, there are some dark, lonely, scary times out there, during those long hours, usually when you are alone.  During THOSE moments, Ironman is 80% mental!! You question: did I train enough? Why am I doing this? Is the pain too much? Should I stop? I want to stop!
My personal advice? Rate your pain on the 1-10 scale.  If you are feeling pain on the scale of 7 or less, keep plugging away. But if you rate your pain an 8, 9 or 10 … you should seriously STOP. There is NO NEED to do permanent damage.  Blisters dry up. Skin grows back. Chaffing resolves. Road burn heals. But if you tear a cruciate ligament, or knee meniscus, or throw a blood clot, you risk permanent injury, serious issues, including surgery, and possibly the end of the ability to run (which Brian might find attractive!).  It’s not worth it to push through that kind of pain. Be smart! 
Regarding diabetes, I feel fully confident that we are equipped to handle whatever arises in that category. I struggled with hypoglycemia on the run in IMFL and HAD to take a WHOLE coke and a gel every 45 min to keep my BG at 100-esque.  That’s the easy part, for us! The HARD part for us is the fact that maybe, just maybe, on that day, May 7th, it won’t be there for us – to meet cut off times. To finish in under 17 hrs. We need to discuss this. Some of you will say, “no negativity” or “only positive thinking” … well, the REALITY is that you can be as positive as you want – “Mary Poppins positive”, but if you tear a meniscus in your knee, it’s time to stop. If you are vomiting and losing consciousness, it's time to stop. If you cannot get BG above 60 or under 600, it's time to stop. You will know if it’s time. BE SMART. There is NO FAILURE HERE!!   This isn’t about FINISHING IMSG – it’s just not! It’s about the journey here, and addressing the hurdles we encounter, and seeing if it’s insurmountable, or if we can keep plugging on.  I fear that if we don’t make this about the journey, that someone will feel like they’ve failed (namely me! But I'm sure I'm not alone in this fear) … but I HAVEN’T. If I DNF at IMSG … oh well!  But, I will always know that on race day I did my best, and gave it my all. I would hope you would hug me and say “great job”! For me, the only way you are not a success is if you “quit” – curl into the fetal position, and cry like a 4 yr old, feeling sorry for yourself.  Yes, we may be disappointed that we didn’t meet our goal. But hey, did you do your best? Did you give your all? If you did – your race was what it was, but it certainly wasn’t a failure! You have succeeded in what this year was about – the JOURNEY!!  You are NOT a failure, you are an amazing person that I’m proud to know!!  I will struggle with embracing this mentality myself, should I have a catastrophic event. But, I promise I will not be a failure if I cannot finish the race in the constraints of time IM sets. It just wasn’t my day. You move on, you don’t wallow in self-pity. You rejoice in the journey we all took together, and be grateful for what we DO have – maybe not a finisher medal, but SO MUCH MORE!!! 
All that being said, I really, truly, do feel that each one of us WILL meet our personal goals on May 7th!  I envision my finish, in the darkness of the late hours of the night, and I will pull out a finish under 17 hrs! And I’ll be so happy for myself, and for all of you. I BELIEVE that!! Please know that I am just as nervous as all of you are. We all hope for the day we’ve worked hard for. We pray it comes together and we reach our personal goal. Knowing how challenging this course is, will make finishing that much sweeter. But if IMSG beats me … I can handle that! Don’t feel sorry for me. I haven’t failed.  It’s like having a sundae (yum!!) and not getting the cherry on top. Eh, so what. It’s still a damned good sundae!!!  And it’s an experience I will never forget, never regret and always cherish – good, bad, and ugly!!!
Speaking for myself, I am excited … and scared! I will say honestly that I don’t feel as prepared for this race as I have for past races  … and I can’t really explain why! I’m not injured. I trained. I envision a finish, which is my personal goal. But I think I’m on the brink of burn out, personally. I have been training for an IM (one of 4!) for over 2 yrs now! I’m thinking 70.3 and Olys look appealing right now!
Okay peeps, that’s my “speech” … please know that I AM NOT NEGATIVE … and I’m not foreshadowing a DNF or a catastrophic event. I’m just saying the words that no one wants to speak … the possibility that on that day, things won’t go as planned.  It’s not the end of the world. Life goes on, and we are all WINNERS!!!!
Love and hugs,

I never sent this ... and I wish I had.

I heard of an athlete who was so scared of "failure" that he was paralyzed of going home a failure, without a finisher medal. That athlete, a good person, by all accounts, made the very poor decision to get that medal at all costs. He, in the depths of fear, despair, and shame, chose to cheat the course. He cut a loop of the course. He made the very poor decision to cheat, all to get that medal. The medal wasn't earned. The medal was a lie. Rather than go home and say: "I did my best, but I didn't make the cutoff time", he had a medal and was allowing people to think he DID conquer IMSG. Who really knows, maybe, just maybe, he WOULD have made the cut off?? But, instead, he made the morally, ethically and legally wrong decision to CHEAT. That cheating reflects his character. That cheating is WAY harder to face, than not finishing IMSG. Well, people found out. It wasn't hard - he was out of the water late and the time for the first loop of the mountain foreshadowed him not making the bike cut off. So, in the dark hours of the race, he made a very poor, very wrong, decision to cheat and try to pull off a "victory". He made a mistake. He didn't kill anyone. He harmed his reputation, his character, he let down all of those that believed in him. I sincerely doubt ANYONE would have been disappointed in his DNF, but rather would hug him and say, good try buddy - you did your best. But, instead, he is facing judgement of character. Facing the admission that he chose to cheat and take a finisher medal. He can publicly blame a technically confusing bike area, but, truth is, everyone KNOWS that the conscious decision to cheat was made. No one wants to further embarrass him. No one wants to have him feel that he's not worth forgiveness. I forgive him. I know how terrified he was of failure. I should add that his profession is working in the athletic and coaching industry,  and has a degree in sports medicine and kinesiology.  He coaches several people. That puts enormous pressure on him. I understand that. But if he would understand that just attempting IMSG is a brave step, and a DNF, for whatever reason, is nothing to feel shame for. Cheating is. Ironic how the latter decision has much more far-reaching implications, much more psychological issues, much more need to own his decision and ask for forgiveness, than the DNF would have! People make poor choices a lot - sometimes it's more public. Look at all the pro athletes that have had to publicly admit using steroids or blood doping. Look at Tiger Woods' cheating. Millions of people cheat, yet, he was held to a higher standard due to his public image. This young man felt that a DNF would bring him shame and failure. Ironically, it would not have ... in any way!!! Ironically, the choice to cheat will snowball and have long-lasting implications, as he will always have that decision to cheat and lie attached to him. Those that love him, and know him, will understand. Will not condone, but will forgive. We should forgive. It reflects the immaturity of this young man. I look at is as a leaning moment and a teaching moment. What if this was YOUR son?  You would never condone his horrible decision, but you WOULD for give him. He'd need to come clean and OWN his bad choice. Be contrite, not indignant. Throw himself out there, under the bus, totally own what he did. Use the difficult words "I chose to cheat. I am profoundly sorry for that terrible decision. I beg your forgiveness and I see now, that what I did was FAR worse than the feared DNF".  People that love you, will continue to love you. That's what unconditional love is.

Character is what you do when no one is looking.  I try to model the behavior I want my children to have. And I'll love them when they mess up.

So, there's my two-fer, which, more accurately is like a six-fer I think. :)
Thanks for hanging with me. Thanks for loving me and supporting me. Thank you for everything - you all mean so very much to me. I've said it before. I say it often. I believe it in my heart: I am blessed. Oh, and as a final though, NOT an afterthought, I want to thank my husband, Ted, who has renewed his commitment to me, and to my happiness and helps me out in so very many ways, I would certainly do a disservice by listing them, and omitting something, so, suffice it to say, THANK YOU - your support and commitment to me, triathlon, and the hours away I spend from you and our family, I am deeply grateful! You've been truly amazing!!

Love, Tiff