Thursday, July 31, 2008

When you don't feel like working out is when you need to..

I awoke with what I refer to as "a Divequest hangover".  I am a Divemaster for the Living Seas Aquarium at Epcot in Walt Disney World.  My job is to take care of our huge array of animals, take guests on underwater tours of our environment, do tank maintenance which includes scrubbing the "fake" coral in the tank,  act as safety diver for our guests, perform rescues when necessary (thank god, I have only had to do this three times in my career as a divemaster), and, on occasion, act as Mickey's diver partner and safety diver.  My shift is a unique one : 1130am to 830pm and usually two days a week.  Since I have been training for Ironman, my boss has had pity on me and reduced my schedule to one day a week.

The hard part of my job is lugging gear.  Setting up 12 to 14 sets of scuba gear complete with weights, tanks etc twice a night and then breaking it all down can be exhausting.  By the time I leave Disney, my hands ache and my body is begging for rest.  Couple Divequest with a day of boot camp that starts at 4am and you have a 16 hour day full of activity.

It is on Thursdays that I wake up and DON'T want to do much of anything.  Thursdays are the days that I FEEL 45 years old.  I woke up this morning and contemplated calling Hector, my trainer, and just canceling our training session.  I laid there and thought about another couple hours of sleep, and just taking the day off.....and then ... it hit me...
Less than 100 days...holy crap!!! Its less than 100 days to Ironman.

These are the days that define who you will be.  Will you be an Ironman?? or will you just talk about being an Ironman?  Are you really going to FINISH what you started or are you going to be one of those that just half asses the effort.  This is the conversation I had in my head most of my morning.

So, even though my body is screaming from an Ironman workout, boot camp and 5 hours underwater yesterday, its time to train...its time to decide who I am...

Monday, July 28, 2008

The reason I can keep moving forward...

There isn't a day that goes by that I am not reminded how lucky I am.  I have amazing friends, a great upbringing, a crazy but solid family and a life that I love.  But this all wouldn't be possible if it weren't for the one person that I know will  stick by me no matter what:

My husband.

I have read other blogs where women have called their husband "the saint" for putting up with their crazy training schedules, their lack of focus, their fatigue, and their mood swings.  Still others curse their husbands for not being supportive enough.  They say they just don't "get it".  Well, from the beginning, my husband has always "gotten it" eventhough he may not be a triathlete himself.  I keep a very special picture on my bulletin board in my office and not a single day goes by without me looking a remember a moment in time where I just didn't think I could go on. In 2001, I was about 260lbs and doing my third triathlon in Clermont, Fl.  It was a  hot, sunny July day and the hills on the sprint triathlon bike course had just about ruined me.  I got off my bike and transitioned to the run and got so hot that I just didn't think I could continued.  In my ears I could hear the words "Go Cutie Go!".  After over 15 years of marriage, (and to the day) my husband has always called me Cutie.  He screamed it at the top of his lungs in the transition area as I headed out on what seemed to be the longest run of my life.

By mile 2, I was down to a walk and in tears.  My feet were swollen and I was hurting.  My body was just learning what this new sport was all about and at that weight, I was having difficulty sustaining a run even in the best of conditions.  But I kept moving forward.  Finally, around the bend, less than a mile to the finish, I saw my husband.  He was waving and smiling.  He was screaming for me and it was as if his energy was pulling me forward.  I got to him and we ran together for as long as we could.  I approached the finishing chute and he peeled off.  I finished but I wouldn't have without his voice, his words, his smile..his love.

Tonight, we had alot of friends over for dinner and started talking about Ironman.  For a second, my husband, Steve, said there was a chance he couldn't be at the Ironman.  I froze.  The thought of trying to do this race without my "rock" constant love and support just crushed me.  Without him, I don't think I could even attempt this.  I know for a fact that I couldn't get up in the morning without his encouragement.

So honey, for all the times you have done the grocery shopping, cooked dinner, bought me flowers at the grocery store and just encouraged me to get one more mile in, I will be forever grateful.  You are truly so important in my life.  I love you.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Working out in the Land of the Navy Seals

My New Mantra:
After working out in the land of 
the US Navy Seals..
I will NEVER whine about 
Ironman training again!!!

I traveled to San Diego California last Thursday to help my business partner, Rick, with a quest. He wanted to compete in the Seal Challenge in Coronado California.  My purpose for being there was to help Rick in the hours he had away from the challenge and to help him return home on Sunday.

24 hours prior to our departure, the head of the program called to inform Rick that the Challenge had to be reschedule for October.  It was too late to cancel our air tickets or to get the money back on our hotel.  Rick had already rescheduled Boot Camp classes, so we decided after much discussion that we would travel to Coronado anyway for a few days off.  The gentleman with the Seal Challenge offered for Rick to workout with the Seals for the days he was in Coronado and he was more than happy to take him up on that opportunity.  Once I have pictures from Rick's camera, I will share them with you.

Meanwhile, I had planned on doing some heavy workouts while Rick was involved with the Challenge.  These workouts included some long bike rides so I rented a road bike from Holland Bicycles in Coronado and did some exploring and working out all in one!  My workouts included taking the bike route around Coronado then down to Imperial Beach and to the Mexican Border.  I can tell you that the wind is strong along the Silver Strand and it was good solid 2 1/2 hours of riding.  The runs on the beach were made more interesting as I watched a Navy Seal class pass me by.  Suddenly, my run times increased.  Imagine that!! Ok folks, Im married..not dead.  These guys are gorgeous...ok!!!

So the next time I think I have it tough with a 4 hour ride or a 3 hour run or a 2 mile swim, I will remember those amazing men that are keeping us all a little safer tonight and what they went through to attain their position as a Navy Seal! HOOO YAHHH!!!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Threshold Testing

  Instead of an early morning multiple hour workout, I got to sleep in! I actually woke up in my bedroom next to my husband and it was LIGHT outside!!  Since my day working boot camp starts at 5am or 6am and my workout days start no later than sunrise, this was a true luxury.  I stretched, I made coffee, I watched the Tour de France on TV and I folded laundry!! Ahhhhh...I almost feel normal again...

And then reality hit....! Oh're going to have a Lactid Threshold Test at 1200n with Hector right here on your treadmill.  At 1100am, I started getting nervous.  By 1200n, I was a wreck.  I was really worried about this test. In true Hector fashion, he made me feel at least he explained the procedure to me.

We started with a light warm up walk on the treadmill then proceeded to do 5 minutes at each speed with no elevation until we got to 5.0.  Ok folks, I know, Im a slow as hell runner so to some of you, running 5 or 6 mph sounds like a piece of cake.  For me, running a 12 minute mile is an accomplishment.  Every 5 minutes he pricked my finger and put my blood into a meter that reminded me of testing my sugar levels.  Each level got harder but i made it through.  I then had a recovery walk of 5 to 7 minutes.  We then did a v02 max test giving him the information he needed to set my heart rate zones for training.  This was the hardest test of all taking my running to a 6.2 mph rate.  I thought I was going to pass out but i survived.   Im not going to sit here and tell you that I understand all about these test (but I plan to do some research so I do) but I am thrilled that we now have more information about me :)

Rest week is over.  Back to reality! 14 weeks to Ironman!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Our New Commercial

I just wanted to share with you the commercial that was shot for my business: Operation Fitness Boot Camp.  And's the scary part...that is MY voice you hear on the commercial!! Any critiques are greatly appreciated!!!

Recovery Week..Shouldn't we call them "clean up week"

Ahhh....Recovery Week.  Like a little gift from God above.  Single workout days.  2 hour bike workouts instead of 3.5.  2500 yards in the pool instead of 4000.  7 little days that make you sane in this quest for the words "Melissa Daly..You are an Ironman."

In my world, however, I think we should call them "clean up weeks". Why you might ask??  Well, lets see.  The organization of my home and office is directly proportional to the number of hours I work out.  I have a very good friend name Kathy that has a home cleaning business who helps me once a week with the general cleaning of my house.  I would never in a million years call Kathy a maid because she does so much more than just clean.  She plays and cares for my dog, organizes the mess on my desk and even has organized a closet for me a few times.  She keeps me a bit sane and she is a definite luxury every week.

Kathy walked into my house last week and giggled.  I was out of town but she left a note: Must have been a 20 hour workout week.  You know what, she was right.  18 hours..but close enough.

My Recovery Week has included scheduling the electrician, plumber and irrigation repair crew to come to the house and fix all the problems we are having.  It has also included going through a stack of mail that resembled a skyscraper somewhere in Manhattan.  I have also spend my relaxed workout days planning my inlaw's 50th wedding anniversary dinner for 125 people in Boston Ma in September, planning a group cruise in January 09 after the Miami Marathon, my friend Beth's 40th birthday in Virginia Beach and .. oh yeah...paying that stack of bills on my desk.  

Ahhh yes...Recovery Weeks.  If I didn't have them, I think my lack of organization would surely take over!!!

Monday, July 14, 2008

60 Miles of Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom

If you listened hard enough on Sunday morning, you might have heard the banjos from the movie "Deliverance" as Beth and I made our way to the General James Van Fleet State Trail 13 miles outside of Clermont.  After a visit to one of our FAVORITE Triathlon stores, Tri and Run in Winter Garden, ( we were told that this would be a great trail to get 29 miles of uninterrupted cycling in.  A perfect 60 mile ride with lots of trees, lots of wind, very few people and LOTS of wildlife.

OMG!  They weren't kidding.  Beth and I arrived at 700am to an empty parking lot, a few covered picnic benches, restroom facilities and a water fountain.  We got our gear together and took off down the long stretch of nothingness.  In our first 5 miles, we had a large deer cross our path along with a bunny and a family of turkeys.  Later down the road we saw a tortoise, raccoon, squirrels, more deer, more bunnies, lizards, an armadillo and vultures (I guess they heard I was going for a 60 miler and were hoping for fresh meat at the end of the course).  It was quiet and peaceful in a very strange way but I loved the first 30 miles.  The bridges needed some work but aside from just two road crossing, the trail was straight with no interruption.

We stopped at mile 20 for a gel and a water fill up.  We looked at the map and found there were NO bathroom facilities at the end of the trail so we made sure to make a pit stop and headed out.  We stopped at the end of the trail for some pictures and made our turn around and were headed for home.  The GOOD thing about this trail is that it was a mental workout along with the physical.  NO aid stations to cheer you on.  NO fellow cyclist with which to share a "good morning".  It was just you, the bike, your thoughts, your muscles and your riding partner.  ON the outbound, Beth and I exchanged the lead.  On the return, Beth lead the whole way as I was already getting a little rough around the edges.  The mental game got me a little on this ride.  My body was a little tired but not in extreme pain.  What my body was really saying was "Hey don't you just wanna stop at the Olympic Distance and be done with it??" After  7 years of training for that distance, I think your body gets use to certain workouts.  We are DEFINITELY breaking though some body setpoints.  By mile 50 , my right foot was going numb and it was really bothering me.  We pulled over and I took off my shoe for 3 minutes to rub the foot back to life and then were off again.  My pace was very slow at this point and I now understand that it was all mental.  Read Beth's Blog for her take on the ride but I can tell you she is one tough lady.  Through some very painful muscle cramps. she never gave up.  She is going to make one WICKED Ironman:)

This is now a recovery week for me !!! Thank God!! I was getting a little burned out!!!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Taking two days away to paradise

Ok...Hector is probably not pleased with me but Steve and I decided it was time to see my parents who live in the Bahamas several months out of the year.  For over 40 years, my parents have owned a boat that they sailed to the Abaco Islands and used island hopping around the different cays in this incredibly beautiful country.  Taking care of the boat had gotten a little overwhelming for them, so a few months ago they bought Windward House-a 4 bedroom 3 bath home on the Eastern Shore of Marsh Harbor Abaco with an amazing view of the Atlantic and the Sea of Abaco.  They made their way there in May and I haven't seen them since. It was definitely time for a visit.

My husband, the pilot, rented a Cessna 182 from Air Orlando and we flew ourselves and several hundred pounds of provisions to Abaco on Thursday.  It was fantastic to see my folks and to enjoy this incredible piece of property they have acquired.  The views are spectacular, the water is crystal clear and the sunsets are beyond description!!  I lost my camera when I was in Key West so you will have to go with the pictures I took with my phone.  The top pictures is the view from the front door of the house!! Wow!! The second pictures is us in the aircraft flying from Orlando to Marsh Harbor!! I got to fly "Stevie Class"...thats all the benefits of first class plus the added bonus of sleeping with the pilot!!! Wow!!  More pictures if I can ever get them from my dad!! We enjoyed the ocean, running around the island helping my parents furnish the house, floating in the ocean, and napping on the beach!!! Ahhhh!!!

It was good to see my folks and while I was in Abaco, I did a 6 mile run and a 45 minute open water swim.  I was trying very hard to stay up with my workouts.  We arrived back in the states at 1pm this afternoon to rain and storms.  I will be doing one of my long bike workouts on Sunday and moving the second one to Monday!!

Paradise was fun while it lasted!!!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The Top 10 Things You Never Wanna Hear At The Ironman

10.  "Ohhhh more toilet paper!!"

9.   SHAAAAARK!!!" yelled while you're swimming.  Even if you're in a pool or Lucky's Lake, and they're clearly joking, its still not FUNNY!!!

8. WATCH OUT!! screamed by the #@%$^&* idiot riding his bike right behind you!!

7. Ambulance sirens ANYWHERE on the course.

6. The screeching of car tires behind your bike or behind you during the run.

5. Five words uttered when you're at mile 10 of the run, its 100 degrees and the last drop of moisture has evaporated from your body.  You finally reach the aid stations to hear the words:
"Sorry, we're out of water."

4. You run into transition, scream out your number and the volunteer tells you:
"I think your bike to run transition bag has been misplaced"

3. The nice man in the black and white striped jersey informs you you have a lovely 4 minute stay in the "Sin Bin". (Also known as the penalty tent)

2. SSSSSssssssSSSSSSSSssss.......POW!!! The sound of at least one of your tires blowing in transition or worse yet, out on the course.


1. Im sorry Ma'am/Sir, you didn't make the cut off...I need to remove your chip.

And the Repeats just keep on coming

Ahhhh...Im really starting to hate that damn track.  The Howard Middle School Track has a new name..."Dante's level of Hell number 4".  At 1045am, it was already 91 degrees and bright sun shine.  Ms. Brilliant here decided to wear a black running top and black leggings to do her track workout with the always attentive Coach Hector.  1200 yard repeats.  Hey, I said, "I thought they were suppose to be 800 yard repeats!!??" Not today.  We are building endurance muscle memory.  

I got news.  The only memory my muscles have is that it was hot and I am tired.  I know....ENOUGH WHINING!! This should be considered a no whining zone but I have to tell you, it was tough.

After the 3rd repeat, I got a little dizzy.  I don't do well in the heat but I am determined.  Due to the afternoon weather, it appears that I will have to complete the rest of my run workout on the treadmill.  9 miles worth.  Lets see...thats about 1 1/2 episodes of stages from the Tour de France .. right???

Monday, July 7, 2008

The Balancing Act

For those of you with kids, businesses, community work and families that make your world rich and wonderful, I believe you will understand this blog.  My challenge in the last few weeks is fitting it all in.  I have a husband, a dog, a set of somewhat demanding parents, a business, a part time job with Walt Disney World and try to include work for the community such as the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society...and...I am attempting to become an Ironman.  

I am hoping that some of you who read my blog can help me ESPECIALLY if you have done an Ironman distance race before.  Did you have problems fitting your workouts in around your life?  Did you feel just very very tired and sometimes overwhelmed??  I truly am in awe of anyone that does this kind of training AND has children to raise (like my friend Beth).  My work is somewhat demanding but not like raising a family would be.

In times like this, I have a tendency to just shut down a bit.  I just pull away from some of the workouts and responsibilities and just take a breather.  Its usually not for long but for someone with a "to do" list a mile long, its a shock to just step a way from it for a moment.  Today, I reschedule alot of stuff going on in my week because my husband was able to get some time off and he wants to go somewhere with ME!!! Now...this is an awesome thing don't you think?? My husband of 23 years actually wants to spend quality time with ME! I know alot of people who would love to have a relationship like that and I KNOW that I am very very blessed but there is a stress to all this that I am just not handling well.  I don't want to lose sight of what is most important (my husband, my marriage, my life with him) but I also don't want to fall down on my dream (becoming an Ironman and continuing to be consistent with my workouts.) This balance has been difficult for me.

So, if you have any advice, I am all ears. 

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

800 Repeats..Repeat after me...this is not easy

Of the three triathlon disciplines, my least favorite is running.  No surprise for someone built for comfort and not for speed like I am but after a disappointing sprint triathlon this weekend, it was time to get serious about my weaknesses.  I met Hector at Howard Middle School where we discussed my running issues and then we addressed them.

"We are going to do 8 - 800 repeats with 30 seconds of recovery between each set." he told me.  I thought, " hard can this be..right?"

OMG!!!  Are you kidding?  This was B*&^CH.  First lap around the track was suppose to be at endurance pace while the second was suppose to be at a quicker tempo.  For someone who truly believes she has only ONE speed, understanding the difference between "endurance pace" and "10k pace" is something that has to be learned.  I just couldn't get it.  I tried to listen to my body but my times around the track were all over the place.  My first lap was way too fast...second a little too slow.  30 seconds rest.  Second set...again..first lap too fast...but second lap was where it should be.  By the 7th repeat, I was begging for mercy.  My heart rate was in zone 4 of 5 and I was whipped.  I did prove that I can run a lot faster mile than I thought but this workout was tough.  

Couple this day with a morning open water swim at Lucky's ( and it made for a challenging day of training.  The hours of training are starting to increase (I have 18 hours this week) and I am starting to feel the difficulty of getting two workouts in almost every day.  I keep telling myself that this is just a season of my life.  Just 17 weeks!! YIKES!