Sunday, May 31, 2009

Patience is letting the motor idle when you feel like stripping the gears!

Alot of talk of patience these days from me but I am a frustrated athlete. I keep reading the results from all these different races and I want to race too!
After another two weeks post Columbia of not feeling good I decided to go back to the doctors to have a check up. Although my coughing has stopped, I was left with a constant feeling of a tight sore chest and shortness of breath. Swimming was becoming increasingly harder and slower! This is so tough when all you want to be doing is training hard...nailing workouts...gaining fitness and speed. My whole style of swimming changed to survival mode...every other stroke breathing and occasionally stopping during a set to swim breastroke and catch my breath. My friend Maggie had warned me that the effects of bronchitis would stick around for awhile and she wasn't kidding. Not only was I hurting in the pool but now my running was starting to suffer too. I was being brought to a standstill either catching my breath or running 8.30's trying to just cope. Finally Thursday I went back to the doctor who did several tests. ECG came back perfect,but the spirometer test was not so hot. Seems I have been training with the breathing capacity of a 78 year old and not an Ironman finisher 78 year old either.
While I was happy to know that there was not a virus, or that I wasn't completely out of my mind or super unfit, I now have to just wait this out before I can get back to training all out and gearing up for Ironman Lake Placid.
On a positive note though, this will pass and I will be back racing soon and I can still train!
So life is still good! It was a gorgeous weekend here in Point Pleasant New Jersey. We finally had two dry days in a row....definitely something to smile about!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Proud Mom!

This weekend my kids got the opportunity to run their own little race...the Spring Lake 5 kids race. Sydney of course had her game face on...and it was great to see her sprinting her little legs off. Tanner ran his race perfectly...sitting in 3rd place as they ran into the wind and then staying in cruise control and finally stepping on the gas with 100 yrds to go into a full sprint to claim first place. Of course I was very proud of both of them!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Race Report Columbia Triathlon

Warning this race report is loonnnggg!
I was not going to even write a report for this race. But every race has its lessons...and writing a race report always gives me time to reflect on exactly how things worked or didn't work out for me.
My goals for this race expectations and to get a HARD workout in. I had been fighting the battle of bronchitis and was not feeling great for 2 weeks. Training was low and I had decided that racing was probably out until a day or two before when I started to feel slightly better. I felt the urge to race as I really enjoyed this race last year. Its challenging and I love Rob Vigorito"s passion for triathlon and the energy he and George Altieri put into their races. My homestay Bob and his family had been so warm and accommodating and had called to see if I was going to make it down. I started feeling sad that I was going to miss it and put it out there to Coach Paulo. I was sure he was going to say "no" but he didn't. He left it up to me and said I should only go if I really wanted to race. The problem was I really did not want to race....Why would I put myself in a situation that I knew was probably not ideal. The competition was very good, they were calling for lousy weather and I was still coughing...none of it seemed inviting.
Finally I came to the conclusion that as much as I did not feel like racing,the thought of not racing was even worse. You got to be in it to win it...and while I was certain I was not going to win it I was certainly going to go and give it my best effort that I could given how I was feeling.

Race Morning came and I did start to doubt my decision a little. I had had a lousy nights sleep as the hotel I decided to stay at was filled with half triathletes/ half wedding party. So just as us triathletes were falling into a deep sleep out came the party people. At one point around midnight I peeked out my door to a full on shouting match between a grumpy triathlete and a drunk. This seemed to go on for hours and when my alarm beeped at 4 I seriously contemplated hitting snooze. I was exhausted,apparently so was Chrissie Wellington as she stayed in the same hotel and heard all the craziness too. Things got even better as my hotel had promised me a 4 am breakfast buffet. I half asleep walked down to the lobby and started to help myself to a bagel and banana...only to be asked if I was on the "Team in Training" group. I figured I had arrived at the wrong buffet so I headed to the front desk to find out that they had made a mistake and there was NO breakfast. Well the obvious thing was to go back to Team in Training and beg for a bagel...Can you believe that they actually said no...they had none to spare. So breakfast was a 3 day old croissant from a gas station.

As I arrived at the race it started to rain.. and the wind was blowing pretty good. They had made the decision that the pro's were not allowed to wear wetsuits. The new rule really stinks as most of the pro's have zero bodyfat and being in that cold water is just NO good....especially when its only 50 degrees out. I and all the pro's actually seemed in good spirits and we all headed down to the start.
Andrew Yoder,Scott Defilippis and me before heading into swim Photo courtesy of Brian Shea from PBN.

Nobody was excited to get into the lake. Brave me ran in first and that I believe is when I really regretted the decision I made to race. For a brief few seconds I contemplated swimming back to the shore but I just couldn't do it. I too realised that I had grabbed the wrong goggles...the leaky pair so I knew it was going to be an interesting swim. With one minute to start I focused and forgot alot of the first part of this race report.
The gun went off and soon the faster swimmers broke away and I ended up leading the second pack of swimmers,not the greatest idea as I couldn't see. At one point I swam into the buoy as I could only see every now and then when the water in my goggles happen to be at the right spot, otherwise everything else was a blur. I thought of Michael Phelps and how in his book No Limits he spoke of how he had raced in the Olympics with water filled goggles and had to count his strokes so he wouldn't hit the wall. Well this wasn't the Olympics so I did not stress instead just stuck my head down and tried to swim in a straight line. With a no wetsuit swim the times were slower than last year.

The transition from swim to bike was quick as I raced to come out of T1 with Amanda Lovato. I knew she had got the fastest bike split last year and if I could keep her in my sight it would help. But at the same corner as last year I dropped my shoe pulling my wet foot into it. I watched ny friend Scottie and Amanda race away. I put in a good effort to try catch them but my heart rate was sky high and I knew I had to do my own race. The rain came down a little harder and it was once again hard to see. I chose not to wear glasses and my eyes stung. The day before the race I had taken my bike in as my gears were skipping in the small ring...the mechanic had told me nothing a little lube wouldn't fix...well it didn't and at every hill I had troubles. Therefore I resorted to staying mostly in the big ring. A course like this is definitely technical and it is a definite advantage to know it well. I pushed hard and stayed focused...and came into T2 with Lindsey Jerdonek(another one of Coach Paulo's athletes and a talented new pro) The run is hard and very hilly right from the start. My breathing was very shallow and a little asthmatic. I was a little surprised to see Chrissie up ahead on the run and I pushed to stay close to her and Lindsey J. Chrissie pulled away quickly though and at the three mile mark Uli Bromme ran hard by me...she had a great pace going and I could not stay with her. Just before the last hill...The Gatorade wall I surged to catch up to LJ. I was 25 meters back and figured I would do one more surge to pass her after the hill..That is when I realised that I still had 1 mile left. I thought I was done. She said after she heard me coming and she must have done her own surge to hold me off.
As always I was happy to see the finish line. These Olympic distance races although short really hurt! I was glad to have pushed through all the obstacles that I faced keeping positive and focused the whole way. I believe I raced as hard as I could that day and left the race energised but quite exhausted. I placed 9th pro women.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mothers Day!

I had a great day yesterday...I was spoiled by my sweet children who went out of their way to make me feel special and loved. I am always grateful to have such treasures in my life as those two little souls. They are amazing and are constant reminders to me of how lucky I am.
This is always a good time to reflect on how thankful I am that my mom pushed me to travel overseas and how good life turned out for me here in the USA. Thanks Mom for all your support always!
On a different note I have had to take few days off as my chronic cough turned out to be bronchitis. It could have been worse as they thought it was walking pneumonia but the xrays came back negative.
The time off let me enjoy Mothers Day with plenty of rest and lots of good food and family time. My daughter and I got to build a fort on the beach using all the driftwood we could find...great fun. I too got to chase all the kids around and shoot nerf balls at them...good fun!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Waiting for the Sun!

Well the New Jersey weather is fantastic. I arrived home from South Africa thinking that the warm weather was finally going to be here and then we got hit with a snow storm. That seemed to clear up and then for a few days we had a heat wave! Yes, being a warm weather girl I was loving the 90 degree days we had. I think people then complained too much about how hot it was so what do we get. Nine days of rain!!!

I don't mind the rain and I know it's good for the earth but it's not the greatest to train in. My bike miles have been low though so trainer workouts are doable. Yet this time of year i should be on the road. Now I could ride in the rain but I worry that this may happen to me. So I play it safe!

Due to this irrational weather I have now developed a chest cold and I am hoping it will go soon. I am still working out and with all the buzz about swine flu I can't help but feel like everyone is cringing every time I cough. Oh well, hopefully it will go soon. My goal is too race the Columbia Triathlon next week. This is a hard course that is usually very competitive so I hope to have full strength!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Random Photo's

Beach Dunes

Flight to South Africa

Brighten of the pools I grew up swimming in.

Visiting my Old Beach...waves were pumping as usual!

Scones and Tea

Nico Pfitzenmaier and me

SA IM winner Marino Vanhoenacker and Gerrit Schellens