Tuesday, September 30, 2008

112 Miles...in the bag!!!

That even felt good to type!! Let me type it one more time : 112 miles...on the course...DONE..under the cut off!!! YEAH BABY!!

Last Saturday proved to be an absolutely beautiful day for training.  The sun was high, the first morning hours were cool and crisp letting the whole world know that fall and the Ironman is just around the corner.  We left the Boardwalk Beach Condos at 7am and hit the road.  As I pushed the start button on my GPS, all that was going through my head was "I want to be on this bike and riding back up this road in less than 8 hours!"  No rides home.  No broken equipment.  No whining.  No injuries.  NO EXCUSES.  NO COMPROMISE.

I know I sound passionate about this but this is the THIRD time I have attempted to complete this course. In 2007, I made it just 50 miles.  I was beyond sick and was later to learn that I was seriously anemic and it would keep me from racing all together.  The second attempt was restricted by my trainer.  He only wanted 85 miles. So, reluctantly, I did what I was told.  Today was my day.

The first 25 miles were effortless.  Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought that 25 miles on my bike would be easy.  We stopped at the first gas station, hit the restroom and immediately got back on the road.  At 35 miles, we stopped at the next gas station to inspect my training partner's front tire.  He thought he might be losing air, but things looked good and we hit the road.  This is the point where you get some minor rollers and one butt kicking climb (by Florida standards...for those of you who live in places with REAL hills...this climb is small).  I don't do hills well so I huffed and puffed my way to the top and stayed focused .

Over the hills and onto the flat, my support crew, Debbie and Chad, pasted us in the car and took some action shots of us on the road.  It was nice to get some pictures because in all these months of riding, we really don't have any pictures.  We pedaled on.  I looked ahead and I could see the ranger station and the major intersection on Highway 20.  We were close to the 50 mile mark and the area where we will get our special needs bags on race day.  We made the turn and had our first major stop of the day.  Got our bottles, grabbed a PB&J, drank some water, filled up my Bento box and we were off again.  

I figured out during this ride that I can not look at my odometer.  The numbers will make me crazy.  I have to race from landmark to landmark so we moved from one gas station, to the next turn, to the next intersection.  At mile 60, we turned off the major highway and into a rural area on Campflower Road.  This is where the road gets tough. The paving is a wreck and its hard on the tussie!!  As we made it through this section, I started to feel the first major fatigue of the day.  My body started to hurt but I pushed through until mile 80.  

Another landmark pasted and it was on to another intersection where we hoped to pick up water but there was not a convenience store in sight for miles.  We ended up having our support crew meet us at mile 90 just to be on the safe side with water and extra nutrition.  The air temp was approaching 90 degrees and it wasn't worth being without water for the last 21 miles.

At mile 100, there is a large bridge that you cross to get back to the beachside of Panama City.  Its almost a cruel joke that after 100 miles of riding, you have this final climb.  The bridge was a welcomed sight, however.  At this point I knew, I was going to finish.

The mind starts to play tricks in the last 10 miles of a long ride like this.  I just wanted to be done.  My feet were cramping and I just wanted to be out of the saddle.  As we approached Front Street, we were greeted by 100's of motorcycles.  Since it was Thunder Beach Bike Week in Panama City, the loud roar of motorcycle engines was everywhere.  It did make an interesting ride back to the condo as one motorcyclist challenged me to a race in the bumper to bumper traffic.

The condo was finally in sight as we made the final turn.  In my mind, I could see the finish line.  In my heart, I had cleared a hurdle that had haunted me for months.  I looked at my watch that read 7.5 hours.  That will make the cut off time at Ironman Florida.  Is it fast?? Of course not but I couldn't be more proud of the fact that I finally completed the course that I couldn't finish a year ago.  

Now..about that 26.2 mile run!!!!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Its that time again...we're headed to Panama City

This is it.  The final "dress rehearsal" ride and run before the Ironman.  We are headed to Panama City on Friday morning after the Boot Camp Workout.  This time, its the real deal: the full 112 mile bike on Saturday and a 20 mile run on Sunday.  This will be my most difficult workout to date and I am extremely nervous.  To me, this is the confidence builder workout that needs to be completed in full and completed well for me to feel like I am ready for November 1st.  I honestly don't know what I am more concerned about: the ride or the run.  I have to head to Disney today for a full day of diving work then Ill be able to focus on this weekend.

If you follow my blog, thank you so much for reading and if you could leave me a comment now it would really help!! Im very concerned about doing this and your support is greatly appreciated!!! 

Monday, September 22, 2008

I love the smell of new neoprene in the morning

FINALLY!! A wetsuit that fits!!!  My new QR wetsuit arrived from Trisport.com today and I couldn't WAIT to slap it on.  I was worried though.  Will I have to grease myself up like the Thanksgiving Turkey to get my rather robust plus size body in this puppy?? Hmmm....???

I am more than happy to report that the QR fits like a dream and I am now relieved that I have another piece of equipment that is working better for me.  My former full wetsuit (a 2XU model) was nice but it was EXTREMELY tight. This model has a good fit overall and I feel like I can get moving in it!!!  We will give it a test in the morning at Lucky's Lake Swim!!!

Ahhhh a rest day... a real rest day

3 days a week...my work day begins at 4am.  4 days a week, Im up at 530am to do a long workout of some variety...

Last night...I realized that I didn't have to be up early for work and had a day off from training.  So I took a Tylenol PM to help with the soreness from the Olympic distance race...and feel hard asleep at 10pm.

I woke up at 9am.  You read that right NINE A.M.!!  I haven't slept until 9am in...well...hell I can't remember the last time I slept until 9am!!!  That had to be the best sleep I have had in forever!! I feel like a million dollars today :) Im going to enjoy every second of this rest day today...

But reality will strike again tomorrow.....

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Athletes for the Cure Triathlon

Well...I decided to do it!!!  I did the Olympic Distance at Disney and I am very glad I did.  I treated this race like a training session.  I did NOT blow out my heart rate and kept it in Zone 1/2 and only ran 4 of the 6 miles like my program said to do.  It was PAINFUL not to go for the full speed I know that I have but I just had to do what Hector has written for me.

The swim was kinda weird.  81 degrees in the water and the start of the race had to be delayed due to fog.  I was the first wave to go off so it was kinda hard to see as we made our way around the course.  I made a point of starting in the middle of the pack to get the feeling of being pushed and shoved around in the swim as I KNOW I will be at Ironman Florida.  I gotta tell ya, this group was tough.  I was pushed, kicked and shoved a few times but I loved it.  It was good training for what is to come.

I made my way out of the water and RAN to transition.  Good transition with gear and shoes as I hit the bike course.  Alot of ups and downs on interstate overpasses on this 25 mile ride but I felt good and the new Zipp Wheels felt great.  Back into transition, I felt good but not as good as I did after the ride of the half Ironman course in May.

The run! God, I hate this run at Disney as it includes about a mile of trail running with heavy grass.  I stuck to my nutrition and felt GOOD but not GREAT.  I attribute this to training fatigue.  The miles and hours have been long.

God love my husband.  He was on the course eventhough the Disney Security Police kept people from being on the run to cheer on the triathletes.  He made his way down to the 1st mile marker and cheered from each side of the loop.  Meanwhile my friends Beth, Joy, and Beth's kids Hannah and Kelsey were screaming at transition and the finish.  Rick's daughter Jessica made a great sign while Kelsey and Hannah showed off their artistic skills with signs of their own!!!

Rick had an awesome race.  If you can imagine I went off in the first wave, Rick went off in the last (about 15 minutes apart).  Rick CAUGHT me on the swim and was the first out of the water in his age group (35 -39) which is quite an accomplishment.  He beat his last Olympic time by almost 20 minutes setting a new Personal Record!! Way to go Rick.

It was a nice weekend and Im glad I did it but I don't think I will repeat this race.  I just hate the run course!!  Ill keep you posted on the rest of my fun workouts and the big one this weekend!!!

Friday, September 19, 2008

To race or not to race this weekend

I am signed up for the Athletes for a Cure Olympic distance triathlon at Walt Disney World this weekend.  On my training schedule, my trainer has a double brick that is almost identical to the race distance.  I would rather race than train alone (nothing like a training session with a medal at the end).  Who would have ever thought that an Olympic distance triathlon would become a training session in my life.  I have to decide today if I am getting my gear together and doing the race or not.

I did 1 hour 20 minutes on the bike trainer last night and I am starting to realize that I hate that thing.  I watch movies, the news and listen to my Ipod but I really crave outdoor rides.  I ran out of time yesterday so the trainer was the only option.  It just gets so dog gone boring!!!

Ill keep you posted on the race!!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

When your family just doesn't get it

I had lunch with my brothers, husband and parents today.  My parents are world travelers.  Their passion is to see every inch of this world from continent to continent.  They leave today for a 4 week journey around Europe and won't be home until right before my Ironman.  

They hate hearing about the race.  My mother has asked me a dozen times what day the race is so she can find some excuse not to attend.  When I realized a few months ago that Ironman Florida falls on the same day as the Georgia-Florida football game, I realized that they would have the ultimate excuse.  My nephew is in his second year at Florida and my family's blood runs Orange and Blue.  How in the world could they ever miss the World's LARGEST cocktail party that is this football game to come to an endurance event for their youngest daughter.  I mean...hey...its a triathlon...not a football game where a national championship might be in the balance.

Pardon me if I sound pissed but .. well...I am.  My oldest brother thinks that Ironman is a movie..my middle brother has run some 10k and is a damn good athlete.  He sorta gets it but I think he believes I won't finish this.  My parents...well...they just think this is another stupid and crazy idea from a daughter who just doesn't conform to being a fine southern lady of quality.  I mean..Ironman requires that you sweat and NOT wear makeup.  These are not the qualities of a southern belle.

Well...Ive never been one for doing what's normal.  Why the heck should I start now?? I have alot of different music on my Ipod but the words from a David Cook song stand out:

And Ill taste every moment
And live it out loud
I know this is the time
This is the time
To be more than a name
Or a face in the crowd
I know this is the time
This is the time of my life..

This is my time...time to close a chapter in my life that began at being 380lbs...and ends as an Ironman Triathlete.  No matter what my family thinks or feels...I know that my husband believes in me and my friends have been supportive.  Time to go get a run  in!!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

50 years of marriage...and one amazing party

Well..my husband and I hosted and survived the celebration of his parent's 50th wedding anniversary.  We have been planning this event for over a year and I am happy to report it was an incredible success.  Steve's parents renewed their vows during an afternoon mass in Milton MA and celebrated with 120 of their closest friends and family with a beautiful dinner at their favorite restaurant in Quincy MA.  They even cut an exquisite anniversary cake and danced to an Irish music band.  For my husband, it was a return to his hometown and his roots.  For me, it was quite emotional seeing my extended family and understanding just how important these ties are in my world.

My parents are only children.  I have no aunts, uncles and very very few distant cousins.  When I married into the Daly family, I got a boatload of family and I LOVE IT.  They can be handful at times but in the big picture, they are a blessing.

So, how does this relate to Ironman training.  Well, consider 50 years of marriage the ultimate endurance event!! This is my last major obligation before Ironman Florida.  Monday morning is back to business!!!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

50 days..

Wow!! The countdown clock on my blog gave me a jolt today...

50 days.

Why this seems so ominous is beyond me but it just doesn't seem to be enough time.  I have had some hurdles in recent days...especially this week with Steve's illness.  We are also leaving Orlando tonight for Boston to host Steve's parent's 50th wedding anniversary party in Massachusetts.  We have 120 people coming for a sit down dinner and *I* am the hostess with the mostess. I have to pick up two cakes, put together the 120 party favors, make sure the flowers get delivered and dress 12 tables.  Should be an exciting weekend.

Meanwhile, somewhere between packing for our trip, doing accounting for my business and taking care of my hubby, and leaving for the airport at 4pm, Im going to stuff in a workout.  I thought about doing an open water swim at Lucky's Lake today but decided to do all my swim workouts in Boston (our hotel has a lap pool!!! Yeah!!).  I will meet with Hector at 1015 to get that workout done.

Next week I get back in the groove and don't have any other major family plans until after Ironman.  This hopefully means I will get in the miles that are important prior to the race.  I have to keep telling myself that I am doing all I can within the parameters of what's important in my life.  My family and my work have to take priority !  Ill post pictures from the 50th wedding anniversary when I return :)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

My Stevie is OK...at home and doing well!

Im absolutely relieved to report that my hubby is at home and resting well.  His Heart Cath showed no signs of problems and his arteries are clear.  What this means is that we must go and have his stomach and Lap Band checked for any damage going on there.  For those of you who don't know, a Lap Band is a band they put around the stomach to restrict the amount of food you are able to consume.  My hubby has lost 70 lbs since he had his put in and loves it but is still experiencing pain in his chest, shoulder and jaw.  We have an appointment next week!!

I believe that God gives us perspective adjustments in life so that we will fully appreciate the blessings that have been bestowed onto us in our world.  I have been TOTALLY FOCUSED on this race and making it across the line.  When you get tunnel vision, sometimes we lose sight of the other things in our lives that make our world so incredibly rich.  My husband has been so patient with my Ironman obsession.  I learned this week never to take his love, his health and his presence in my life for granted.  I am blessed beyond measure....whether I finish an Ironman or not!.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Perspective can change in the matter of a second

....And suddenly your entire perspective can change from Ironman to a Real Life Drama...

This morning, my husband of 23 years walked into the kitchen where I was fixing coffee.  I turned around to find his face covered in sweat...his eyes bloodshot..and his face an ash grey...

"Honey...I think Im going to ruin your day" he said.  I looked at him and was startled.  He then told me he was having chest pain and that he might be having a heart attack.  He thought it would be best to load him up and take him to the ER that is less than 2 miles from our home.

The first thing I did was reach into the cabinet and give him a Bayer Aspirin and water.  I got him dressed in loose fitting clothes and got him to the ER.  I just got home and my husband is having a heart catheterization tomorrow at 1pm.  The staff finally kicked me out of his room at 1000pm.

This one moment in time has changed my whole perspective on life.  That Ironman I thought was so important just doesn't seem so important at the moment. Ill keep you posted!!!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Another milestone - 90 miles on the bike

Ive done 3 century rides before so doing 100 miles isn't something totally new.  Doing 90 miles in the same week you have run a half marathon on Sunday and a 9.7 mile run on Tuesday is a new wrinkle.  I decided to take an early morning drive to the Withlacoochee State Trail near Brooksville to get my 90 miles in.  This is beautiful rail trail that is flat, fast, windy and full of wildlife.  Unlike the Van Fleet Trail near Clermont, it has small little towns along the way making it a little more civilized!!  I got to the Ridge Manor Trailhead at 715am and started the ride at 730am.

The first hour was fast and incredibly comfortable.  I decided to test the clothing I might wear during the Ironman and found that my tri suit is probably the most comfortable on the bike.  I tried my bike shorts over the tri suit and didn't even make it a mile before returning to the car and tossing them back in.

17 miles down the road, I made a quick comfort stop at Floral City.  I also took a little time to return business phone calls.  Hey..it IS a work day after all!!  I jumped back on the bike and continued to Citrus Springs where I filled water bottles and offloaded some fluids of my own.
Just a few more miles away and I was at the end of the trail and the quick turn around to return to Floral City!  Those last 17 miles turned out to be very painful as I had run out of gels and nutrition and cramped up ALOT!

One of the things I learned on this ride was that I need more calories than I thought.  Since I have had a gastric bypass and do not absorb every calorie I engest, my nutritionist, Coach Beth, and Hector all agreed that I needed about 100 to 150 more calories than normal.  They were dead on right as I made it though the first 45 miles without any issue.

Im proud but exhausted!! Time to go pass out!!

Its 530am...do you know where your triathlete is??

Ask my friends and they will tell you that my schedule is WIERD! Im up at 300am or 400am for Boot Camp some days and sleep in the middle of the day.  Ill take a day off from diving at the Living Seas just to catch up on rest if I just feel like Im dragging (I did this yesterday).  Now its Thursday and Im up having my breakfast and about to set off to do a 95 mile bike ride.  I rearranged my workouts this week so I could spend a little time with my husband.  He has been gone 6 days flying (he is an airline pilot) and I feel like its been a month.  I really need some "Stevie time".

So I was up at 5am, shuffling around this house getting my coffee ready, eating my oatmeal and mixing up endurance drink for the ride.  These are the moments I wonder why in the heck I am doing this!!!  Most people are snuggled down for another hour or two of sleep before they rise and grab a Starbucks and head to the office.  Today, my office is on the bike.  Ill keep you posted!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Celebrating Beth's Birthday at the Rock n Roll Half Marathon

If you had told me 10 years ago that I would help celebrate a friend's birthday by running a half marathon, I would have looked at you like you had two heads but...here we are in all our glory celebrating Beth Creapeau's 40th birthday in Virginia Beach VA at the Rock n Roll Half Marathon over Labor Day weekend.  The shirts were fantastic thanks to our friend Jim who is a graphic artist.  They read "Beth is RUNNING out of Youth" and on the back "13.1 feels like 40". 

It was a crazy weekend that included cake, shots of tequila (my first hard alcohol in several months) a fantastic pre race dinner at Aldo's and a post race meal at Captain George's Seafood buffet (the crab legs were to die for).

The highlight of the weekend was friends getting together to celebrate.  Beth's friends from Charlotte including Coach Jackie from Team in Training, sister Aimee, Bob and Kelly plus her friends from Orlando: Joy, Debbie, Sandi and myself joined forces to make this birthday one to remember.  Complete with a pink and black Birthday Princess crown, Beth definitely didn't go unnoticed during the weekend and the race itself.

The low point of the weekend was Beth sustaining an injury at mile 1.5 of the half marathon.  In the crowd in wave 16, she fell forward and injured her shoulder.  The average person would have gone to the next medical tent and exited the event.  Not Beth.  She had the paramedics put her arm in a sling and she FINISHED the race...sling and all.  She is one tough lady.

Beth returned home and visited the doctor for a diagnosis.  We are all sitting on pins and needles to find out the prognosis.  She needs an MRI to determine the extent of her injury.  My prayer is that this will not keep her from doing Ironman Florida.

As for me, I did not fair well in the race.  I awoke on race morning feeling pretty tired and hurting in alot of places.  Call it old age or overtraining or the simple fact that a plus size woman was running 13.1 miles but it just wasn't my day.  Later I was to find out that I should have switched out to my new set of shoes and I was off on my nutrition by several hundred calories.  This is why you do these races prior to the "big one".  If you can test your nutrition and equipment, it can make your Ironman experience a whole lot easier.

I won't lie to you.  I was very sad after the race.  I had headed to Virginia Beach with hopes of a PR and left with a time that was slightly slower than last year.  Hector assured me yesterday as I ran my 10 mile training run that all would be good on race day in Panama City.  I was hoping this would be my confidence builder but I will need to continue to look for those workouts that are going to make me feel like I can really do this.  I am kinda worried.