Saturday, September 27, 2008

Colds are the worst

The above quote is from the book I'm reading. I've highlighted so many great things in that book. I could write a whole blog about the inspirational things I've read so far.

I somehow caught a nasty cold. I tried to convince myself Thursday afternoon that it was just allergies, but I gave up on that idea after a dose of Zyrtec did nothing to help. I spent all day yesterday with a kleenex box at my side trying to stay on top of my dripping faucet nose. Claritin didn't help. Advil cold and sinus was a little better. It at least got me through 15 minutes of reading to Luka's class without embarrassing myself (or Luka) with snot dripping down my face. I had plans to meet up with the girls from Memphis for dinner, but Damie ran into some car problems. It was probably better we postponed our plans. I would have hated to sit there blowing my nose every 10 minutes and risk passing on my germs to the Ironman in Training girls.

I was supposed to ride in the BDB 100 today (not the 100 miles, maybe 50), but I decided last night that would be foolish. Considering that my head feels like a ton of bricks this morning, that was a good decision. At one point I thought I'd just draft on the tail end of the group so I could just blow all the snot rockets I needed to and save on Kleenex. But I don't think I would have been seeing straight honestly. Sometimes rest and listening to yourself is the best medicine. And I have the opportunity to do that.

I'm finally starting work on Monday! It'll actually be four days of boring orientation that I already went through in May for my student internship. Nice thing is this time I'll be getting paid more than double for it! I'm excited about starting my new profession and career. I guess I'm not nervous since I spent 10 weeks at the VA doing my internship. It's really nice already knowing the people I'll be working with and the dynamics of the facility. I don't have to really go through that whole "breaking in" phase.

Hope everyone had a blast at the BDB! The weather is perfect here right now. Hopefully by tomorrow morning I'll feel well enough to be able to get out and enjoy it. Maybe this rest is also helping my hip issue, which I noticed was aggravated every time I sneezed. What is that all about?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Affirmations

I guess I wrote this blog for my self. I'm not a good writer when it comes to writing something knowledgeable. So I'm warning you to move on to the next tri blog if you don't want to hear about my self-image/esteem struggles.

Thinking is believing. I mentioned this book I started reading, "Thinking Body, Dancing Mind: TaoSports for extraordinary performance in athletics, business, and life". I'm trying to get this whole positive thinking thing. I realized a long time ago that I am such a negative thinker. I do this to shield myself from disappointment. I don't even know if I can recall the last time I was REALLY disappointed that I didn't achieve something I set my mind on doing. Well, this book (and I'm only on page 25) has explained that affirmations (basically our goals) are not self-deception, they're self-direction. If I tell myself I am fast,thin and strong I will be more likely to move toward that goal. ELF just posted recently about the kid with the 1:49 on his ceiling. OK, I laughed because that would be my goal for 100 repeats in the pool! But this author said the same thing. Post index cards in places you will see them with your daily affirmations. So now I'm working on my daily affirmations. I think I need to go through the photo album and dig out some pictures of myself of 3-4 years ago. I was a lot thinner then, but grant it, I didn't have nearly the muscle mass I have today, which I'm happy about. I AM going to shed this layer of fat that's hiding it. And let me tell you, when I do, you're going to see some super sexy pictures of me on this blog! Watch out Mel!

I have been cleaning out my head trying to figure out what brought me into this life of athleticism that I still believe I am an imposter in. I started running to help stay away from smoking. I still ate bad. After having my first baby and being absolutely sick of being fat (while the whole world was thin and beautiful!), it was to look good and to feel good about myself. Somewhere along the way that has gotten lost. I got carried away with it and my running, which I did only to beat my OWN times, turned into competitiveness with others. It has become stressful in recent years. Some of it I attribute to the people I surrounded myself with. It wasn't fun anymore and I didn't feel good. Grant it, I know my nutritional habits sabotaged my physique the most, and somehow I was still putting out some good race times. So I asked myself why? Why did this get out of control? It's a circle for me. The more I train, the more I eat. The more endurance I do (and I think that's why I do it) the more I can sit back and not think about my eating. I decided I have to go back to 1998. Not necessarily to Tae Bo, but to when I thought about every bite of food I put in my mouth. When I asked myself, "Do you want to eat another cookie or can you be happy with that one and know that in the near future you're going to be skinny?" And yes, I have to remind myself that back then I had "a" glass of wine on occasion (not nightly!). I have a hard time with this type of mind frame when I'm training for endurance events. How can I deny myself x cookies or x glasses of wine when I just rode my bike 70-90 miles or ran somewhere between 16-20? It doesn't seem right to me.

I am also having to accept that just because I am not training for an Ironman or a marathon, and just because I'm not going to ride the whole 100 miles of the BDB, doesn't mean I'm any less of an athlete. I have proven I can do all these things. I am also sure there will be a day (next year) when I will return to the long distance events (minus IM). But for now, I have to clean house and go back to basics. I am reminding myself to focus on me and what's best for me. I have lost focus and this is what happens when you don't stay accountable to yourself.

I've been watching The Biggest Loser. I love that show. I wish Jillian could show up at my house every morning to kick my butt like she does those contestants. Actually, I think looking like Jillian might be one of my daily affirmations! I've been reading about the past contestants and how they're doing keeping their weight off. I used to think it was crazy when I'd hear it's harder to keep it off than it is to lose it, but it so true. If you're addicted to eating, like most of those people have been, it's hard to stay on the healthy wagon. It's hard for me to stay on it! I get so down and depressed when I remember stepping on the scale and seeing 118-120. I am fighting those self destructive thoughts and reminding myself that I was there once and I will be there again. I am not a failure because I put the weight back on over the last 3.5 years. I have to employ that positive thinking and tell myself I can do it. I also have to remind myself to be patient. I have one big weight loss goal, but I think I need to break it down into smaller ones to feel the satisfaction of accomplishment. I remember post-baby how awesome it was to squeeze back into my size 7 jeans. I also remember that I thought, "Well, if I can get back into these why not keep losing and go for new size 5's!"

Food journaling. Yep, I'm doing it. I used to it in a notebook back in the day. Now, thanks to all this fabulous technology I've got it on my PC and my palm. It's hard to do when you eat crap, and that's when I stop doing it. But I know if I do it, I'll see the results, and it's great now because I don't have to take time to calculate, it does it all for me, down to breaking out my percentages of carbs, protein, and fat. And I am really focusing on protein. I finally got it that it really does fill you up more than carbs! I also recently bought a digital kitchen scale that weighs in ounces and grams. This has been great! Now I don't have to guess how much the slice of whole grain bread weighs that I cut (and try to fool myself into thinking it isn't that big), I can weigh it! Actually, the whole reason I bought the scale was because Milan decided he wanted to make homemade Lara bars (his new favorite) and we wanted to make sure we didn't make them too big or small.

I guess that's all I have on my struggles with food, exercise, and in general, myself. I have to head over to the elementary school to run with Luka in PE class. They're "running to Iraq" for the next few months or so and if a parent shows up to run with them they get double miles. Needless to say, since I'm not working I was very excited about this new contest at school (it's per class). I was already there once this morning for Nada's class. I'm getting to know the PE teachers really well, and they're realizing that my kids have a neurotic mom. I wore my Garmin to make sure that 1 lap around the playground was in fact 0.2 miles (they have to do 5 for a mile). Hey, at least I'm not worrying about pace!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Year of the rat

I started writing this post on Saturday. It's now Tuesday. Where does the time go? And I really don't have a good excuse. I have all the time in the world these days. So this is what's been going on in my "living la vida loca" world.

We had Nada's birthday sleepover Friday night. She wanted to invite just a couple of friends over, go out for a nice dinner, and have them spend the night. So that's what we did. She debated on where she wanted to go for dinner all week and we finally agreed that Kobe (Japanese steakhouse/sushi) would be the most fun. The girls got here earlier than I expected Friday afternoon. This gave them all time to get dressed up in Nada's clothes and have me curl their hair. I realized Friday night that it has probably been about 15 years since I used a curling iron. Thank God! I guess these days the curling iron has been replaced with the Chi straightening iron. Naturally, the girls had no interest in having their hair straightened. They were all about curls. Fortunately, I managed to please all of them with my limited hairstyling skills. They all looked super cute and they knew it! I am so scared as to what is waiting for me in the next 3-8 years. I am not ready to be the mother of a teenage girl.

I was reminded at dinner by our chef that this is the year of the rat. He told the girls that 1998, the year all of them except one were born, was year of the tiger. I asked him what 1972 was and he said, "Year of the rat. This is your year." Well, don't I know it!

I managed to sleep pretty well Friday night, but the girls managed to stay up until 6am! I remember getting up at around 3am to ask them to get some sleep. Then I remember coming downstairs at 5:30am to find them playing Uno cards and telling them to go up to Nada's room. I think they got in about 3 hours of sleep Saturday morning before they left. Nada dragged all day Saturday, but insisted she was not tired. Yeah, right!

Saturday morning while the girls slept and grandma made crepes (they're called palecinka's in Serbian), Milan and I had the unusual opportunity of going out for a run together. It's funny these days because I'm not sure what kind of workout I'm going to do when I get up in the morning, and I LOVE IT! I was a little afraid that maybe I wouldn't be able to keep up with him. He has been running often and even does speed work. The fastest I've ran in the past month is a 8:00 pace for 3 minutes on the treadmill. I actually did OK. Poor Milan though is having severe problems with his right calf. I thought it was his achilles tendon, but it seems like the pain is deep in his gastroc or soleus. He had to walk home. He's upset with himself because he thinks he injured it when I was in Louisville. He ran a 5K race that Saturday and PR'd, but then went out and ran 6 miles on Sunday morning because that's what his training plan said to do. Hopefully it'll heel up soon and he'll be able to get back on his 1/2 marathon plan.

Yesterday morning I pulled out my old Tae Bo VHS cassette. Yes, I did Tae Bo, and it was FUN! I forgot how motivating Billy Banks is on the tape. I did Tae Bo back in 1998 after I had Nada and I was stuck at home in Chicago alone while Milan was at work. We had just moved to Chicago and I knew NO ONE. Tae Bo got me exercising again and really had me motivated to lose my baby weight, which I did, and more! I remember the workout being harder back then, and I forgot just how much glute work he does at the end of the tape. My butt is actually sore today. But it's a good sore feeling. I feel like I have buns of steel, and as long as I don't look in the mirror I'll keep thinking that.

Since my glutes were pretty sore this morning I went to the pool to swim. I really wanted to run, but I'm having this issue with my left hip and running aggravates it. It doesn't hurt so much while I'm running, but after I finish it's sore for the rest of the day. I thought maybe it was my tensor facia latae because it's sort of a deep pain at my iliac crest where that muscle starts. But now I think it's my iliopsoas because I notice the pain (slightly) when I flex my hip, more so when I flex initiating from my trunk instead of my legs. I also feel it when I do a sidebend to the right. I can do crunches, I guess it's a full sit-up that would be more a problem. I should be able to fix this and figure it out, since after all, I am a PT now! But I'm not sure what it is. It's been going on since exactly a week after Ironman, when I got up from a Sunday afternoon nap on the couch where I was lying on my side with my head elevated and my hip flexed. I guess I injured it while napping!

I picked up some new books to read yesterday. My friend Susan told me about a book a while ago that sounded interesting, but I didn't have the time to read it. It's called "Thinking Body, Dancing Mind". I'm excited about reading it. While I was doing Tae Bo yesterday I was reminded of the book since Billy Banks frequently mentions "a higher power" and digging deep. These days I'm really having to dig deep to get excited and motivated about swimming, biking, and maybe even running. I remember going through the same kind of post-partum after IM WI in 2006. I don't remember when I finally snapped out of it or how. I guess that's why it's so hard for me to comprehend signing up for another Ironman so soon after finishing one. I guess maybe the day after the event, maybe even the week after, I was still enthusiastic and on the post-race high, but now I'm at the opposite extreme as far as racing. I'll snap out of it. It just might be January!

That reminds me. Yesterday was my sister's birthday so I called her to wish her a happy birthday. They were on their way back from Lake Placid. They drove up and spent a long weekend their hiking and relaxing for her birthday. She tells me, "Bryan and I want you to sign up for Ironman Lake Placid next year so we can come up and watch you." Yes, I laughed too. I explained that 1) IM LP is full and you pretty much have to be there in person to sign up, or you can dish out $1,000 for a community fund spot, and 2) I have absolutely no desire to do an Ironman next year, or anytime in the near future. She asked me to please do IM LP if I ever decide to do another Ironman. I told her I'll sign up for it when she does. Well, that got a good laugh out of her. She tells me it's super beautiful up there, which I totally believe, but maybe I'll just join them the next time they go there for a hiking trip.

This Saturday is the Big Dam Bridge century ride, with 14, 32, 50, and 75 mile options. I signed up, but I'm still undecided if I'm going to show up for the ride and which distance. I won't ride more than 50 miles, and it could be less, but the 50 mile turn around is at the church that had the homemade cookies last year so that's good incentive to ride that far, right? The forecast looks great for Saturday too.

Today on my agenda is recaulking the shower. I guess that tells you just how ready I am to go to work! I have never caulked or recaulked anything so I don't know how this is going to go. All I know is, I am sick of cleaning that shower. My dream come true would be if those "scrubbing bubbles" were real. I would buy every and any product they make if those little bubbles really popped out their scrubbing brushes and cleaned my shower for me. I scrubbed the shower yesterday, but I've realized that I'm not going to get it totally clean unless I replace the caulking. I looked up information on the internet. It doesn't sound hard. So, I'm heading to Home Depot to buy white caulking and a razor blade or little scraper thing. I'll ask for more info from someone knowledgable at the store, if such a person is available. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Cleaning house

With all this extra time on my hands you'd think I'd be blogging daily. For some reason I just haven't had the motivation. Maybe because there's really nothing all that exciting and interesting going on for me to blog about. I mean, especially if you compare it to the last month I've had!

It has been great being home and totally stress free. I do wish I was 100% back to feeling "myself", but I'm not quite there yet. I'm definitely working out (and that's really what it is, not training), at least once a day, and I am mixing things up now that I have the time and freedom to, which I LOVE! The change, not having the pressure of "having" to get a certain amount or type of training done, has been wonderful.

Aside from working out I have managed to also clean out the house, or at least some of it. This has included the kids' closests and also putting away ALL those books that have cluttered my bedroom floor for the past 3 years. The result of this cleaning was a trip to Goodwill with bags full of clothes that the kids have outgrown. I've outgrown some too, but I'm hanging on to them for when I grow back into them!

Yesterday I cut the grass. Now that's the kind of work I'd prefer to do around the house, especially when it's a beautiful, sunny 78 degree day in Arkansas. I seriously feel really lucky to be off right now, when Arkansas is having PERFECT weather! It took me about 4 hours (with a break for lunch) to cut the grass, do the edging, and then sweep up the sidewalks. As I was finishing this job the professional lawn mowers showed up to cut my two neighbor's lawns. There was a team of 3 or 4 of them and they were finished with both lawns in about 30 minutes! That's OK, I'd rather do it myself, get the extra exercise, and save whatever amount of money it costs to have someone else cut your grass for something else.

Tomorrow is Nada's birthday so I have things to do to get ready for that. Tomorrow, grandma is also flying down from Pennsylvania to visit. Since she was unable to come for my graduation she decided last weekend that she'd like to come for Nada's birthday. It also happens to be grandma's birthday on Saturday so I think we'll be having a double celebration, but just ONE cake! Now my biggest dilemma is what to get grandma for a gift?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

I PASSED!!!!!

My classmate told me to call the State board so I did... and she told me I PASSED!!! Those words were MUCH better than hearing "you are an Ironman". I've been training for this for the past 6 years! FINALLY!!!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Waiting....still waiting

I thought I'd have my results today (that I failed), but they have not been posted. We have come to the conclusion that the testing center was closed today or something because the three of us that took it yesterday have not received any change in our status.

So it will be another evening filled with red wine and no sleep. I managed to go to bed early last night (thanks to the wine), but I was wide awake at 2am recalling more questions on the exam and wondering if I chose the correct answer. That is pretty much all I've done since yesterday at about 12:30pm when I left the testing center. Let's just say the test was hard, very hard. I thought after the first 100 questions that it wasn't so bad, maybe even better than some of the practice tests I took. But at the end of the 250 questions I was finding myself "marking" more and more questions that I was uncertain about.

I have been a nervous mess all day not knowing what to do with myself. I even went swimming this morning. I had to do something and I hadn't swam since Louisville. I guess the swim was "relaxing". At this point anything I do other than sit still and think is relaxing. The only highlight of my day, and this was a big highlight, is that the girl working at Starbucks told me I look like Jessica Biel!

Hopefully I won't up posting comments on more blogs tomorrow morning at 2am. Or I hope you all have made new posts so I have something entertaining to do!

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Pre-board jitters

Hard to believe a week ago I was going through pre-race jitters shopping at Target in Indiana (the other side of the river) just to be around "normal" people and remove myself from the race atmotsphere. I'm glad Ironman is over, but here I am going through just about the same stress and emotions, but this time over my board exam on Monday.

I decided last Friday in Kentucky, after the practice swim, that I had to put studying on hold during race weekend. I just couldn't handle the stress of both. I felt guilt over sacrificing time away from the books, but now that I've spent this ENTIRE week with my head only in the books I'm really glad I took a break. I'm coming to the realization that even though I have reviewed all the basics that I've learned over the past 3 years this test is just going to be down right awful and will depend more on my ability as a test taker. Unfortunately, I don't have a lot going for me in that area. Growing up in a little town with predominately low SAT scores has stuck with me. I did manage to do great on the GRE's the second time after Milan helped me review all the high school math I'd forgotten, but my verbal score was low. Maybe I'm wrong, maybe this will be different since this is what I've been training for for the past 3 years. My classmates that have taken it so far have said it was horrific. Each one left feeling as if they surely failed. Each one also passed. What makes me more nervous is that they all were scoring better on the practice exams and I am still consistently scoring lower. Also seems that these practice exams really aren't much of a help in preparation, but do a whole lot of good to increase stress and anxiety. I guess maybe they are helping me figure out HOW to take the test, but the questions are ridiculous. I find myself wondering if I'm taking a medical board exam or a PT board exam?

So, after going through many of these practice tests, reviewing all the "basics" of physical therapy, I am done with studying...for the most part. Tomorrow is my taper. I want to go into that exam Monday refreshed, not burned out. After all, it's going to be one darn long test. I am relying on faith, prayers, and a bit of my education to get me a passing score. To all of you that were pulling for me last Sunday during that Ironman swim, I'm asking for the same prayers Monday morning from 8am-1pm central time. I'll know Tuesday if I passed. I don't know how I'm going to get myself to get on the computer and check. I know I'm going to be super nervous. And unfortunately, Milan is going to be out of town for work so I'm going to be on my own to cope if I fail...and on my own to celebrate if I pass!

Ironman Wisconsin is tomorrow. My friend called me yesterday to tell me there were white caps on Lake Monona when she went to the practice swim, just like when I did the race. I told her I had all confidence in her that she would not be out there holding on to a kayak crying with a guy named George rowing it and would surely finish in less than 2:20. Lace is the only one I know doing IM Moo so I'll be keeping an eye on her. I did notice Hillary Biscay's name on the web site, which surprised me because I swear she was just in Louisville last weekend? If she was, looks like tomorrow's conditions in Madison will be a whole lot more pleasant for her.

Hope my blogger buddies that went up there to register for 2009 are successful in getting in!

Monday, September 01, 2008

Ironman Louisville 2008

Race Day

The water was pretty still when it got light enough to see it from our position in line. The river looked much better than it did Saturday at the practice swim (more on the practice swim drama in part II - pre race). But when you put 2,000 people in even the calmest water there's motion no matter what.

I am proud to say that I held on to "0" kayaks, buoys, or surf boards during this Ironman swim. I only spoke to one woman in a kayak asking her to keep an eye on me while I swam upstream when the current was the worst. When I realized that the water was so shallow on the right side of the river that I could touch bottom I felt a great relief. I knew it was temporary, but every minute of my mind being at ease was huge. I really couldn't tell how far upstream ahead of the island we had to go because the sun was in my eyes and there was no big Ford buoy out there like in Wisconsin. All I could see was a big boat and I figured it had to be before that. Eventually I was able to make out some kayakers and that's exactly where I headed. Then I saw the orange buoy and realized that was the turn. I didn't intentionally mean to make the turn so tight. Maybe those kayakers there made it worse, because there was a big traffic pile up. We were all doing doggy paddle looking at each other. I think I might have even said something like, "Let's go people". Seriously, I don't need extra time to let my mind realize I'm out in the middle of a big river. As I planned, I swam close to the island which had barges, big barges, parked at it. I don't know if this was a good strategy or not because it sure seemed like there was a lot of water motion. I kept telling myself this was the easy part of the swim, the downstream, but it still didn't seem better to me, just like I kept saying on Friday and Saturday. I just kept telling myself it'll be much better once we reach the end of the island, and once we were at the end of the island just two bridges to go under, and then the finish. It wasn't quite that short. I was again surprised at how long it took to get from the start of the swim to the finish. So I went to the "just to the next buoy" frame of mind. By this time I think the water was a little better as far as the motion because I found myself looking for feet to draft off of. I was even successful for a little while drafting off of some guy who I kept telling myself was Doug. When I got to the last buoy I sprinted in.

Boy, what a disappointing greeting coming out of the water. I guess I was really spoiled by the standing ovation I got in Wisconsin when I barely made the cut-off. I guess had the spectators known what I was like Friday morning at the practice swim and all the anxiety I get every time I have to a race, they would have been cheering a LOT louder. But I knew that when I crossed the timing mat and that time appeared on the many computer screens watching for me I was getting a standing ovation, or at least a "thank God!"

I was in and out of T1 in no time and onto the bike. And I biked, and biked, and biked. Up and down many, many hills. Hills and heat, the best combination. It was just like being at home. Or at least like being at DeGray. Not a whole lot of excitement on the bike course. Lagrange was great, but otherwise, the spectating wasn't very strong. I'd say the Louisville and Wisconsin bike courses are equally as difficult, the only more difficult part in Wisconsin, especially if it's raining, is all the sharp turns. I had my four leaf clover from Damie taped to my aero bottle for good luck, and good luck it was, because I didn't flat or even drop a chain. There were a couple of moments that I found myself feeling really mean. I was getting really irritated with all the cars driving on the course. We didn't have any of that to contend with in WI. A mini-van even tried to make a left turn down the single lane side road we biked on. Thank God that volunteer yelled at him and wouldn't let him. If that van would have been on that road I really would have screamed at him for being such an idiot because I know it was someone's support crew and they weren't providing much support by blocking the road. I had already seen a bad wreck and too many EMS vans. It was at that point that I realized I'm being a "hater" right now. I think that means I better eat (thanks Damie!). And sure enough, not too long after I was in a better mood.

I played mouse with some 33 year old girl wearing a light green two piece Zoot "bikini" (boy shorts with bra top) riding a pink bike with a leopard print pattern on the down stem. Need I say more? If she were a "he" that looked like like the guys I ride with in Little Rock I would have welcomed the chase! More annoying was that she'd pass me on the downhills and then slow up on the ups. Come on, I'm not even a good climber! Her chain fell off at like mile 90 and then she passed me, and at that point I didn't care, and I had a strong feeling I was going to out run her. Plus, I was just preoccupied with keeping my left adductor from cramping up. I have never experienced anything like that and it scared me. I took every Thermolyte I packed (which I think was like 14 of them) and ate every gel I had too. I drank all 3 bottles of my Perpeteum and I sipped on water and gatorade throughout the ride. I ate my margarita flavored Clif Blocks, my "fun" food, so I knew I had enough sodium and I couldn't figure out why I was cramping. Then it occured to me that maybe the increased hip flexion in aero position was doing it so I rode the last 20+ miles upright and it worked. I was really relieved that it helped, but I was worried about what my legs were going to do when I tried to run. My feet were also annoying me with all the burning, and then I had to deal with the hand numbness from having my wrists extended on the horns for so long. But all those things seemed minor compared to the sharp charlie horse cramps my adductor was trying to throw at me.

After biking 112 miles running a marathon is the last thing I want to think about, especially when it's 100 degrees outside. I told myself I was going to walk the entire marathon and this thought actually made me feel better. It also wasn't too far from the truth. I did run the first 2 miles out of transition, including the out and back over the 2nd street bridge, but it worried me that I had no desire to eat or drink anything at the third aid station and that my stomach felt kind of "full". Since walking seemed to be the cool thing to do I joined the crowd. It seemed like a really great option! While I was walking I made a couple of other "walking" friends. One suggested trying Coke to settle my stomach (yes, I was thinking of you Marianne and your love of Coke). I remember Coke wasn't very appetizing in WI when it was 50 degrees and raining, but that sounded great! And he reminded me not to go back to Gator, not that I had any desire to. So coke, water, pretzels, and cold sponges were my routine at every aid station. Not so much the pretzels, but the water and coke. It was staying down, my stomach felt better, and when I really forced myself I was actually able to run. During this 2 mile walk (I'm guessing that's how long it was) I overheard some guy on his phone talking to someone about the pro's in the race and the leaders. He was talking about the men, who I had little interest in, but I quickly asked if he knew who the women leaders were. When he said the first name I had no idea who it was, then he said Gollnick was second. Dang it!

Once I made it through the first loop of the run, the sun started going down and we had more shade and I was actually able to run a lot more. I was able to make it from one aid station to another, which was a lot more running than I had done all day. I had kept calculating projected finish times, thinking that even if I walked the whole thing I'd still have a PR over Wisconsin, but when I "only" had 6 miles to go I realized I was still looking at sub 14 hours and a really big PR. That helped. I know I really could have pushed myself to the limit for a sub 13 hour finish, risked dehydration, and a trip to the med tent via wheelchair transport from the finish line, but it just wasn't worth it to me. Like my mom said, you're not getting paid for this. Like another athlete pointed out, we're getting the same thing for finishing 5th in our AG as we would for 50th. My goal was to finish safely and be able to drive myself home Monday morning. I could NOT wait to see the kids! And I have a LOT of studying to do this week. A sub 13 finish wasn't worth the risk, 13:30 was absolutely good enough for me for my second, and FINAL Ironman.

I am very pleased that I PR'd my swim and bike times from Wisconsin, and that my overall finish time was so much faster, like 2 hours and 13 minutes faster! After everything I went through this season with my swim fears I felt I accomplished above and beyond what I set out to at this race. I am so thankful for all the support and encouragement I received from my friends and my family throughout this whole Ironman journey.

swim time: 1:35 (2:30/100 meters)
T1: 2:41 (that's like pro time!)
bike time: 6:36 (16.93 mph)
T2: 5:37 (that's in minutes, not hours :-)
run time: 5:09 (11:49 pace)
Finish time: 13:30
24/80 females 35-39

Pre-Race Report

Seems like just about everytime I do a triathlon I have to go through pre-race swim anxiety. It's a good thing I got to Louisville 3 days before the event because it gave me 2 days to get "comfortable" in the water. During Friday's practice swim I did not feel confident at all that I'd make it through 2.4 miles of swimming in those conditions. Thanks to some wonderful people and words of encouragement I stuck it out, went back for Saturday's practice swim (when the water was even rougher), and I made it through the entire Ironman swim without a panic attack. Everyone I talked to, or texted, about my anxiety was so reassuring. I met a women on the steps of the river exit Friday morning who was so encouraging and reassuring. A complete stranger. But she took the time to stop and help me. She said a great thing that stuck in my head all weeekend, "Slow it down and you'll go faster." I just kept telling myself that to keep calm and not get too excited.

Then I talked to Nada; my 10 year old daughter, Friday night. I was fighting back the tears and I'm almost positive she could hear the quiver in my voice as I told her I wasn't sure how I'd do in the swim and if I'd finish. She told me, "Mom, you're going to do great. You're a good swimmer." That sweet voice just stuck in my head and that's where I wanted to keep it. If she had the faith me then I had to have it too.

Then I got an email from Betsy Friday night. She also said something that stuck in my head. "Don't let your mind go where it doesn't belong." I told myself that over and over, mostly in the swim, but I found myself thinking that during those moments where I actually tried to run on the marathon. Thanks Betsy!

Damie told me I wasn't allowed to utter or think the words, "if I don't finish swim". I had explicit instructions to call her immediately if that thought was sticking in my head.

So, so, many friends who reassured me, who had faith in me, and who encouraged me. Milan wasn't at all worried about me driving 8 hours to Louisville to do this event and then drive home. He had total confidence that I had it in me. David and Marianne who did this race last year told me many times how great I'd do. I really needed all these reinforcements and I don't think I could have gotten through it without all of your support.

If I didn't have the stress and anxiety of doing an Ironman hanging over my head, the 2 days prior to race day would have been even better than they were. Probably because all those dinners would have involved a lot more wine for me! I was a good girl, stuck with my good nutrition all week. Shoot, I was even having to force myself to eat on Friday so you know I was stressed!

Now the fun part of pre-race! I got to meet Katie Weaver-Jongerius and her wonderful family. It was so nice of her to invite me to dinner Thursday and Friday nights. Katie is even more energetic and fun in person than she is on her blog. Her family is super! I kept looking for the Kate Monster team in Lagrange, but I didn't see them. There were a LOT of people in Lagrange and I guess yellow was the popular color. I saw Kate on the run course twice and I just figured she was having the same struggles as the rest of us. I had no idea how bad it was until after the race. Now that I know Kate, I know it's not going to hold her down one bit. She's going to bounce back and with even more energy and enthusiasm. I really hope one year I can come up and do the Ragbrai and see that beautiful state of Iowa.

I also got to meet Mel and Todd Crandell at dinner Thursday night, as well as their 4 beautiful kids. Yes, Mel is even more beautiful in "real" life. And yes, she is super mom. She did her own Ironman this weekend while Todd was out there racing! Oh, and did I mention that she's also super nice and totally down to earth? The two of us share the same fondness for swimming. We have none!

I also had dinner with Eileen Swanson Thursday and Friday night. I knew from reading her blog occasionally that she lived in San Fran, was a gymnast in college, and now a pro triathlete. Super, super nice girl! I also knew she was a fantastic swimmer and has coached the swim from Alcatraz and done it like a 100 times herself. That is absolutely amazing to me. It was just so great meeting all these fantastic people from all over the country, all connected by blog sites. I remember when Jen told me to start updating mine regularly and I laughed because I told her she'd be the only one reading mine.

Friday when I was leaving the expo I happened to walk past the "press room" at the time the pro's were having their conference. I noticed Heather Gollnick standing outside the door first. That didn't get me excited, but then I noticed who was standing next to her, Bree Wee! I think my whole face must have lit up. I was probably rude and interrupted whoever she was talking to, but I couldn't help it. And then I was like a real groupie, I whipped out my camera and asked for a photo. It was as if Bree had met me a dozen other times, that's how nice she was. I just couldn't pass up the opportunity for a photo, not knowing if I'd run into her again. I actually did, several times throughout the weekend, and if she was nervous at all about her race it never showed when I ran into her. A truly sweet, layed back girl. I'm so glad I had the opportunity to meet her in Louisville because it's very unlikely I'll be in Kona anytime soon. My Ironman was going to be memorable just from the all the fantastic people I met, regardless of how my race turned out.

Fortunately my race turned out well, which was the icing on the cake. I am so happy to be home again with the family. I feel a great deal of relief to have the race behind me and I will cherish the memories. Seeing my friends, Susan and Doug, finish was more exciting for me than my own finish. They were tough and they stuck it out, and it was a super long day for both of them.

I know I could write another 5 pages about all the great things that happened throughout the weekend, but now I have to put Ironman behind me (for the next week at least) and really focus on passing my board exam. When I sit for that exam next Monday morning, I'll be sitting there with this Ironman wristband still on my wrist to remind me that I am an Ironman, and I am bright enough to pass this exam.