Tuesday, April 29, 2008

First Week Back!

Its Tuesday night and I have been trying to stay off my tired legs. I have not had this feeling of achy legs in a while...(well 2 weeks and a day), since IM Arizona and I welcome it! I am hoping I didn't push too hard today as I had a hard Zone 4 interval workout on the bike. My srm is still not working since I broke the sensor in IM and I have to order a new one. Therefore I had to predict my Zone 4 which ended up being all out intervals mostly into a 20 mph wind. I had my good friend Joe and a very talented runner and up and coming triathlete, Dave to keep me working very hard. The intervals were great as they took my mind off the fact that the wind was howling and in our face. It was a great ride with alot of good energy.

This morning was a very solid 4400 yards of swimming. My friend Maggie and I had the whole pool to ourselves. We like to swim side by side in the same lane which I always think must look pretty funny to most people seeing there is a whole pool available. The reason we like to swim right next to each other is it really forces us to push each other hard. We are both competitive. Maggie has alot more swimming talent than me but I definitely think I like to work harder. I know when I decide on the last 25 of a 200 to take it up to the last notch I might have, she is cursing me under the water. I am always trying to get her to crack, but it seldom happens. The harder I push the longer her stroke seems to get. She's about a foot taller than me which does not work in my favor either. I much prefer to have company or to swim with a masters group than to swim alone. I am always thankful when she arrives at the pool,coffee in one hand, cell phone in another, a stack of Atlantic Club towels stashed under her arm , and an array of bathing suits swinging from her bacpac!
Today was a threshold swim and it HURT! But I got through it and I was very HAPPY with my times. I am really enjoying swimming alot these days! I took over two minutes off my IM swim time last year and I know soon I shall see my swim times drop even more. Well its getting late and I need my recovery sleep...so I can run and swim with the same enthusiasm tomorrow!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Getting back!

I have taken 10 days off...without doing much at all! I have had a lot of good quality time with my kids as they have been out of school. So its been a good break! We went to a zoo, a science center, a crayola factory and an amusement park. We've had outdoor picnics riverside and perfected the art of rock tossing. I've biked and swam with my kids. We stayed up late and jumped on hotel beds and ate lots of icecream and pizza and read books until the wee hours...we had a blast and now I'm exhausted! So last night I have tried to get back to a schedule.
I did my first real training day yesterday. A 3200 yard swim in am and a 7 mile run that got a little harder than I should of run in the pm. My legs were really sore again after that although I felt great running. I shall keep things on the easier side until Paulo puts me back on a schedule.
I look forward to getting back to good solid training.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Thanks Clarke from Sportzfoto for the great photos!

Ironman Arizona Race Report!

As you all know if you have read my previous blogs I had alot of doubts going into this race. My expectations were not very high and it was quite difficult for me to line up with an amazing field of pro girls and have the confidence I needed to pull off a top ten finish. The day before the race I got disheartened and nervous and really thought hard about not racing. This is not who I am though. I like to follow through and I am a big believer in facing your fears no matter what the outcome.
I tried hard the night before to do some mental race planning and to bring all the positive energy back.

Race Morning!
I awoke and had breakfast at 3.30 am (2 bowls rice crispies 1/2 bagel white bagel with jelly 1/2 bottle water) I got to the race site at 5.30. I made a bathroom stop then headed into transition where I pumped my tires.I then placed my bike shoes, helmut,gel flask and srm on bike.
I headed over and double checked my T1 &T2 bag.I got body marked, then dropped off my special needs bags. I rechecked my bike,put sunblock on, then my wetsuit. I checked in my dry bag and at that time they called for the pro's to start entering the swim start area.
I got my pre race words from Paulo...race smart!
I felt organized and calm and surprisingly not too nervous!
With 20 minutes to go we jumped into the cool water and I made my way under the bridges to the start. I did one or two pick ups to stay warm and then we all just waited for the gun. The gun went off and I swam all out. My body did not quite feel ready for the sprint and I backed off after a few minutes. I was at the back of a small group of girls but as the sun was right in your face I could not see that the front girls from the pack were pulling away and I was left on the feet of one girl. We pretty much swam side by side until a pro guy swam by and I tried to stay on his feet but he picked the pace up and I could not go with him.I realised it was going to be another solo swim and I went into cruise control. It seemed like a long way to the turn around and I was happy when I saw the red buoy and the sun was no longer in my eyes. The trip back seemed a little quicker and I was pleasantly surprised to see 1.01 at the swim exit even though I was looking for my sub 1 hour swim which I really believed I was capable of.
Running to the change tent was surreal and my heart was beating so fast.
The T1 is always a panick for me and I am always happy to get out onto the bike. The first thing I noticed after I got out of the mayham of cheering onlookers was the wind. I knew it was going to be a tough bike. It took my legs some time to feel ok as it was tough trying to recover heading into the wind. The watts were an effort but I rode steady and just counted the miles down to the turn around. I was trying to look for girls to catch in front of me. The good thing about the out and back was you could get an idea how far behind you were. I was excited to turn and enjoyed the fast speeds all the way back to town. I could have used an extra gear for sure. The second loop seemed a little harder and the reality of the 3 loops were setting in. The wind seemed stronger and my mouth was so dry. By mile 35 I had drunk all 3 bottles of Infinit and had to get 2 bottles of gatorade at the aid station to hold me over to the special needs bags where I had 3 more bottles of Infinit waiting. As I hit the B-line I decided to go down into my small ring. My pedals came to a complete halt. My chain would not move. I got off my bike and pushed and pulled on my pedals until finally it came unstuck. I was frustrated as I had worked hard to catch up and pass Marie Danais and Sara Gross on Rio Salado. They passed me while I struggled with the gears. This happened 4 times and I apologised to Marie as I kept passing her and then pulling over. Finally the 5th time it locked I pushed down hard on my pedal and something broke. My srm went down and I figured that one of the wires from the srm was getting stuck in the cranks and now it was just dangling there. I prayed when I made the turn that this would not happen again as it would have thrown me over my handle bars. As I was not quite certain if the problem was solved I really held back on the fast section. I was happy that I got through that second loop. I saw Paulo and I wanted to stop and tell him what was going on but I saw Sergio and Blake Becker there and I figured he would just yell at me to keep going. He yelled out that I was making progress but I knew I was way behind.
Heading into the third loop I seemed to beable to pick it up and pushed a little harder. I was working hard to try make up time and I could feel my body overheating. My head was pounding in my helmut and my mouth remained so dry, my legs however felt great! I was at mile 90 and I still had not had any desire to eat my bars or gels but I had got around 1900 calories of fluids in. I kept dumping water on my head and legs. The ride was fast from the turn around and I basically just rode on the left the whole way back. I was so happy not to see the big drafting packs in this race.
I came into transition and was surprised at how heavy my legs felt coming off the bike. I shuffled to the tent. I started my run with a heart rate of 155 - 160. As soon as I got out of the cheering spectators I settled into a more comfortable pace with a heart rate aroun 149. I was painfully aware of how hot it was and I began searching for something cool to drink. I was carrying a bottle of very concentrated Infinit with me. My aid station routine was a sip of gatorade, 2 sponges and a cup of water over my head. I was in 11th place and Paulo yelled to push as I ran by. I felt ok but as I headed out over the bridge I saw Linsey coming back in the opposite direction. I was at least 2 miles behind her. We had to run past a section of horse stables and I gagged at the smells. I threw my nutrition bottle away that I was carrying as it was not going down well.(probably a bad idea.) I think I made it too concentrated. I however on the positive side I did not feel the usual bloating just a little quesy and definite low in energy. I had only pee'd once on the bike and I knew I was definitely dehydrated. The first loop seemed so long and I could not believe I had to do two more loops. With 18 miles to go I felt like I had little energy and I let my heart rate drop to 135. I contemplated stopping on the 2nd loop but the crowds kept me going. The volunteers were so awesome! I decided to just get through the run and walked through the last waterstops. When a pro ran by me with two miles to go I didn't even respond. I was very happy as I crossed over the finish line but definitely a little dissapointed with my slow run! I was however extremely happy that I hung in there and finished on such a tough day!

We may have been by water but at 96 degrees I was melting!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Ironman Arizona!

Well its Monday night and I have had a day to reflect on my Ironman Arizona race. I thank you all for the good wishes and the nice messages I've received since the race. I have alot to tell about my race day experience and shall do a race report soon. All I can say right now is it was HOT and WINDY and mentally a quite draining three loop course. But I survived and a day later still feel very dehydrated. Congrads to all those that raced yesterday! More to come.....I need to go to sleep!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Flat Tire within 24 hours of Race Day!

I think I shall be happy when I get this first race of the season over!
Today was filled with lots of action and I am really tired and ready to go to sleep for the night.(4 pm)
I had a short but good swim this morning...I then left to go do my 45 minute bike ride. I decided prior to my ride just to run my fingers around my tire and I ran into a tiny staple. After I pulled it out I could hear the very slow leak. Thank goodness Paulo came to the rescue. We had to buy a new tubular and he glued it on for me. I am hoping that this will be the only flat I experience here in Arizona.
My race bags and bike are all checked in and I am READY!
My race number is 52!!!!
Thank you for all the good luck wishes!
Good luck to all those racing tomorrow! The HTFU gang, Jonathan, Sergio, Judy, Mike , Mariana and Andrea. Mike and Chris from NJ(Bob too). Linsey, Miranda, Paul, Jordan and the guys from Portugal. Hope you all have a great day out there!

Sorry Michellie Jones

I ran into Michellie Jones bigest fan taday who wis very upsett by the ffffuct that I speld her name incorect....I do apolagize and am sincerly embarest by my poor spelin. I shal try not let these thingds hapen again .Its obvious I am yet to find spel check on my cmputer nor instant meassaging! Sorry to Michellie I have alot of respect for you and am sure you'll have a great race tomorrow!
As for me I can finally chill out and relax now that I got that off of my mind!

Day before the Big Day!

One day to go......I always get a little stressed two nights before race day as it is quite important you have a good nights sleep as the night before is never good and always short due to a early breakfast wake up time. So I was happy when I woke up this morning feeling rested....Yay! I shall head down for a short swim. I do not feel like getting in the water again. I now know why I was cold...the water was 60 degrees the other day...and I am a big wimp anyway! I shall try take all my gear down this morning so I can be done with the process early and I can relax for the afternoon.

Friday, April 11, 2008

It's Friday and I'm chilling!

It's been a busy day here in Tempe. My day started with breakfast and then a short run with a few pick ups. I ran from my hotel and the area seemed to get a little sketchy so I kept it to ten minutes out and back. It felt good to be done for the day. Two days out is always a good day to take it easy. Tomorrow I shall do all three sports to do one final check. Well I then showered had a quick second breakfast and headed down for the pro panel. My computer is not letting medownload pictures so for now no pics. Sergio and Jonny were doing the panel and they were joined by Michellie Jones and Erica Csomor and Heather Gollnick. I too met with Mike from Infinit and got to just hang out and listen to him talk to potential Infinit users.
At 12.30 we headed for the pro meeting. It was typical with no new rules. Pro's still have to keep 5 bike lengths. I was assured there are going to be alot of officials on the course to prevent drafting. I like the fact that even though this is a flat course because there is 3 loops there is alot less area for the officials to cover. I was reminded though of the reality that we will be fighting to get between age groupers on the bike and run course at times. All in all a good meeting. The gang then went for a huge lunch at a place where you fill your bowl with as much food as you can and then they cook it for you on a big stone grill. It was delicious!

Well I was happy to get back by 3.30 yesterday where I got to just chill and organize my gear for the rest of the night. Tomorrow another big day!!!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Thank you Brielle Cyclery!

As I have some time before the race I wanted to thank my sponsor Brielle Cyclery. Kathy,Clarence, Marcy and Patrick who all did there part to get gear organized for me to race. From my new Cervelo P3 which I fell in love with from the first ride, to the X-lab rear Bottle holder that I was desperately in need of. Doing 4- 5 hour rides with only one bottle holder was not the easiest. They too hooked me up with a new pair of womens half jacket pink Oakleys...I have a small face frame and I love these as they fit me perfectly! I shall race with Sedi T2 cycling shoes...
I have racewear from Splish and I shall hopefully survive the heat by hydrating well with Infinit Nutrtion. These guys from Infinit have been awesome in just providing me with the right nutrition and getting me the goods.
Of course I want to thank my coach Paulo. Nobody quite see's and says things the way Paulo does...with brutal honesty and plenty of sarcasm ....quite refreshing!He has got me through this hectic winter of training and taken all my misfortunes one step at a time...always keeping positive!
Lastly thanks goes to my friend Geoff who always believes in my abilities. Regardless of how my race goes on Sunday I don't think I would have raced unless he put things into perspective for me. Reminding me that I have competed with alot less training under my belt and that I am not injured so I should go for it!
So 2 days to go.....

I can't believe its been 5 months since Ironman Florida!

Day 3 at Ironman Arizona

Not sure quite where the time is going but ahhhhhhh its Thursday! Today is the official start of Ironman with the expo opening and registration taking place.
Yesterday, was a lot quieter but busy. I put my bike together without any problems...always a relief! I then headed to Landis Bike shop for some Co2's and in search of my LUCKY socks! I then headed to the Bee Line Parkway for an hour ride with a few pickups. I was a little concerned as I thought the road might be dirty but I was pleasantly surprised. There were very few bikers on the road. I did however meet a very nice Frenchman, well actually Brit who lives in France who has defintely got the Ironman bug. He now travels the world with his wife that joins him, in the hope of having that perfect race! If you read this Brian I hope your race goes well here in Arizona. Keep having fun and working hard! The bike felt great and it was so good to be riding outside in beautiful weather.
My run was uneventful with a few pickups that did not feel super great!
Last night I joined a friend Mike from NJ for dinner at PF Changs (I think)where I defintely ate alot! I am not usually a big chinese food fan but this was delicious!

Today I awoke and gathered my gear for a swim and bike. I met Paulo,Jonnyo,Sergio,Mariana, Andrea,Judy ,the whole Portuguese group(Sedi,Helder,Hugo and Codinha.) Then there was Mike from Miami and Miranda too....it was exciting to see them all looking fast and fit!
The canal in Arizona is dark and every year it is questionable how safe it is to swim in. Paulo assured me that the water was up to par,even though I had read that it had been iffy the last few days. They have to add chemicals to bring the PH down...luckily we have had no super hot weather yet or rain so I was feeling more comfortable about going in and not getting sick! The water was cold at first and sighting was quite tough going out. I need to wear my darker goggles for sure! My shoulders felt quite stiff in the wetsuit for about ten minutes then I relaxed and the stroke came easy....I did my pickups and felt pretty good. On the return there was quite a chop and every time I sighted I took in a BIG gulp of water...not such good feeling. The 45 minutes seemed pretty long and I really started to get a chill the last ten minutes. By the time I got out I was in full hypothermia state. Well not really but it took me two hours to warm up. I now am looking forward to the hot race day. Today was only around 68 degrees.
After swim Sergio, Jonny and I headed to the pro table to register. I got to see my friend Linsey Corbin who is so pumped to race. It was good to see Paul Fritze from Westchester too.
I then headed out to get my bike workout over. I drove part of the race course back to Bee line and got a good 50 minute ride in. It was quite windy again today and the disc made me quite unstable at times when trying to drink. I felt good though and once again was happy to feel the heat on my back!
I am HAPPY to beable to RELAX now for the rest of the day!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Scottsdale Aquatic Pool

I just wanted to mention that I am always motivated by the pool atmoshere. I guess as I did not grow up in the swimming scene it is always so impressive to me. I was inspired by the philosohies of this aquatic center. There missions and objectives were to strive for excellence. The process of achieving is equally as important as the achievement itself. EXCELLENCE represents the achievement of that level at which you know you have done your utmost to become the BEST you are capable of becoming! This is something I have been and am striving for!
As a mom and athlete I am always searching for the right way to guide my kids in life!
I really enjoyed the following mission of the their swim school.Their goals are to teach the kids to...
1. Develop a positive attitude to training
2. Willingness to listen to a coach
3.A strong work ethic and the rewards that come from hard work
4.Self Discipline
5.Personal accountability
6.Goal setting and achievement
7.The process of achieving is as important as the achieving itself!

What great Life Lessons!

Day 1 Arizona

I arrived in sunny Arizona yesterday afternoon. My travels came with the usual ups and downs....mostly downs. A delayed flight...a missing bike(something I am getting used to with the airlines...and a 40 minute drive to my hotel that should have taken 15(don't ask!) But I arrived and so did my bike eventually. BIG RELIEF!
I had a scheduled run and swim. So my first mission was to get directions to the Scottsdale pool where Paulo had suggested we swim. They had open swim time from 6-8pm at a cost of $2...which was perfect except I was starting to feel really tired around 7 as it was already East Coast time 10pm. My body does not enjoy these late night workouts. The pool however was refreshing and cool and it was a beautiful night. Instead of having ironman competitors around me I instead had a bunch of the youngest little swimmers being coached and it put no pressure on me to have to look like I was doing the perfect flip turn (which we know I can't do anyway!)
I took the scenic route along Rural through Scottsdale and what a cool town with great places to hang out.
I stopped at a whole foods on the way back and picked up some dinner and a few groceries and headed back to the hotel!
I was happy as my bike had arrived but too tired to put it together...lights were out by 10 pm.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Enjoying the taper!

Normally I would say that I live for the taper as my body after the hard build is so exhausted. But this taper, due to all the interruptions in my build phase,it has been bitter sweet. I feel like I should be using this time to train more. I have forced myself to stick to the program and have been enjoying the shorter workouts.
You know how when you in Hawaii and you see endless people running up and down Alii' Drive and they are out there in the 90 degree heat suffering for hours on the bike....well I have been tempted to fall into that trap. The weather has been on my side though as it really has not been condusive for training outside this week. You have to love when you are doing your speed intervals on the trainer and you have cranked the heat trying to simulate the predicted 86 degree in Arizona. You then finish your bike and run out into the cold rain...layered up of course with enough clothes so you don't feel like you are going to catch a cold.
This week I too did my wetsuit swim. The good news is it still fits after a long winter. Now I would imagine under west coast terms a wetsuit swim in training would mean finding a nice ocean or lake to do a open water swim in. For us on the East coast where water is still in the 50's it means climbing into a 78 degree pool and swimming your heart out and hoping you finish the 3000 yards straight swim before you pass out and the lifeguard who you not quite sure if they can swim or not will come and rescue you.(that's if they actually notice you and they don't think you are doing a hold your breath under water simulation.
Well anyway I'm off to swim....choice workout today....should be hard and fun!
I then have a 50 minute run. They had predicted rain today but its a beautiful day with a 60 degree high! Yay!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

11 Days to go....

My tickets and hotel are booked....and the nerves are starting to set in. Ironman is such a BIG race, the thought of the day is quite overwhelming! I do feel so lucky though to be able to compete in this amazing endurance event! I am getting excited for the energy that is about to come, like I'm about to see an old friend. I love the morning swims where everyone gathers to start there day... and the runs where when you pass someone you know that they are like you....hard working and commited to something you both love. I do enjoy the race and I am always on the search for that perfect day! I have been out to Arizona before to watch the race, envious of those who were running by...soon it will be my turn!