Sunday, November 30, 2008

Orlando's Turkey Trot

I am so excited!!!  The Orlando Turkey Trot was a HUGE success as we had about 35 boot campers come out and burn off some calories before their Turkey Dinners!!1  All five of my trainers turned out in their camo and boots to run the race.  Even my handsome male trainers attracted a few ladies who wanted their pictures taken with then and then offered a phone number or two!! Oh my!!

I had a great run.  I took 2 minutes off my best 5k time and felt great.  I know I can go faster with some more weight loss.  Its just going to take some time!!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

...The OTHER Woman...

Well...after 23 years of was bound to happen.  She's fast.  She's lighter than air.  She gives him wings.... She is an older "woman" but she gets my husband all hot and bothered...

And her name is 5302K...well at least that's her tail number.  

Meet the other woman. Christmas came early to our household as we added "aircraft owner" to our list of crazy pursuits.  This Cessna 172 fulfills a dream for my husband that has been years in the making.  The plane originally belonged to the flight school where my hubby got all his ratings and was the aircraft in which he did his Instrument Rating Check Ride.  Although the airframe is older (and needs a new paint job), the engine is brand new and the avionics are less than 3 years old.  

We signed the papers and picked her up the day before giving thanks for all our blessings.  We flew from Sanford to Orlando and tied her down in her new home at Showalter Field at the Orlando Executive Airport!!  

Oh, and by the way.  A triathlon bike with the front wheel removed fits beautifully in the back seat :)

Cleared for take off!!!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Its about giving thanks...

This Thursday is all about giving thanks but in a lot of households...its become all about the food.

Don't get me wrong. I love Thanksgiving.  I love Turkey and dressing and all the trimmings.  I have to remind myself at times that gravy is NOT a beverage and that the food is just the accessory to the family gathering and sharing what is so and togetherness.

For someone who struggles with her relationship with food and keeping her weight within a certain range, Thanksgiving can sometimes be torturous.  My sister in law is having us over on Thanksgiving afternoon and it will be a feast.  I have actually planned out in my head what will be on my plate.  I can see it in my mind's eye and my hope is that I don't deviate from that vision.  For the person who sees food as fuel, this is no big deal.  To someone who sees food as comfort, Thanksgiving is the Super Bowl.

Along with the family tradition of sharing on Thanksgiving, I am happy to report that I have created one of my own: The Turkey Trot.  Each Thanksgiving, Track Shack helps sponsor a 5k run/walk at 7am to help burn off a few calories and keep a healthy lifestyle component in focus on a day where that focus can be lost.  Whether you walk it, jog it or go for a P.R., its all good stuff!!! (and not good stuffing) Over 30 members of my fitness business: Operation Fitness Boot Camp will be participating so look for us if you happen to be running that morning.  As for me, look for me in the back of the pack bringing up the rear with a smile on my face and hoping I can run home another 4 miles to make the day a nice long workout!!!

From the Ironman Dreamer...Happy Thanksgiving!!!

I didn't make it to Arizona..

But like thousands of other Ironman junkies, I watched the fun via internet video!! My hat is off to the over 2100 starters and especially to my Coach, Hector Torres for completing his 3rd Ironman in 13:38 and to Kathleen Steil, one of my buddies from the Central Florida Tri Club who finished her race in 16:00:14.  Great job guys!! Sorry I didn't make it out there to cheer you on in person..but I was hooping and hollering from here!!!  :)

Friday, November 21, 2008

My Attempt to Attend Ironman Arizona

Ahhh the joys of flying space available.

My beloved husband is wonderful.  Because he works for the airlines, I get the chance to fly space available anywhere US Airways goes.  Since my coach, Hector, is running Ironman Arizona AND I have a weekend where ALL of my friends seem to be busy, I thought I would head out to Phoenix and watch the race.  I am a firm believer that you can learn so much from observing a race and it would be a blast to take some great shots of the Central Florida Tri Club members who are running this Ironman.

On Tuesday, things were looking good.  25 seats left on the flight with 8 people listed for space available.  Last  night, I checked again.  Only 3 seats left with 8 people listed.  YIKES!!  I need to decided if I am going to get up at the crack of dawn on Saturday and make the attempt to get this flight or just stay in Orlando.  Ill keep you posted, and if I make it, Ill post a few photos from Tempe AZ!! 


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Can A Fat Girl Run Ironman?

Hmmmm....I LOVE it when people are bold.  I love it when people open their mouth and say things that their mothers would slap them for.  I adore people that just can't help expressing their negative opinion because it makes them feel better.

But .. ya know... it makes GREAT BLOG MATERIAL!!

So Im in the grocery trying to pick up some HEALTHY food to put in my fridge when I guy stops and asks about my Ironman Florida Tshirt.  "So, did you watch the race this year?"  I smiled and said "Well...I watched the run...but I was kinda busy during the swim and some of the bike!" He said, "Oh...were you volunteering?"  No, I was racing.  He looked shocked.  "So, how did you do?" he asked.  I told him I didn't finish and he told me that its tough for someone of "my build" to do endurance events.

NO SHIT..REALLY??(Don't worry..I didn't say that to him)  I smiled and said I do what I can!  (pardon my language..I will let my mother wash my mouth out later).

Now..I use to get VERY upset by these comments. I mean, I would be upset for days.  I would cry and be sad and it was so silly.  I know Im unique.  I know that there arn't alot of plus size athletes in this world but it beats the hell out of sitting on the couch.  I am determined NOT to be 380lbs EVER again and if it takes scheduling races to give me a goal to work towards, so be it.  I hope Im in my 80's still walking, running or stumbling 5k's just to keep me moving!!  

Its either Ironman or the Bon Bons...Ill take Ironman!!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The newest installment of "As the Stomach Shrinks"

Welcome to the newest cyber drama on the web: As The Stomach Shrinks!!!

Since my recent discussion was about about this...

I'm going to start listing my weight loss each week in my blog...

You know? That makes me scared just writing it...but I think it might keep me from stuffing my face knowing that YOU (the collective YOU that are kind enough to take time to read my words) will be seeing the results each are the numbers for the last few weeks:

Weight loss in week one   3.0 lbs
Weight loss in week two   0.5 lbs

Total of 3.5 pounds since Ironman. about a little confessional time:

1. Last night was my 23rd wedding anniversary dinner out.  We went to Victoria and Albert's in the Disney Grand Floridian Hotel.  Its one of the best restaurants in Orlando and serves a 6 course meal!! Oh my!! It was amazing and we were had champagne...a whole bottle between us!! I look at it this way-23 years deserves some champagne and a killer dinner!

2. When I am upset or nervous or stressed...what's the first thing I do.???..I EAT!!  I was really stressed over the garage sale and other family stuff so out of my 7 days of eating this week, I had healthy eating habits for about 4 of them.

Considering these facts...Ill take a .5 lb loss over a weight gain!! 

Tune in next week and find out....

Does Melissa make the bold move of NOT eating in her car??
Can Melissa cease the endless drinking of Diet Coke?
Can Melissa hit the 5lb loss mark and STILL travel over the weekend? 
Can Melissa keep up her workout schedule without overeating!?

The answers to these questions and more in the next installment of "As the Stomach Shrinks!!"

Monday, November 17, 2008

Staying Focused

Ask any Ironman triathlete and they will tell you that one thing that you MUST master in your training and in your racing is focus.  A wandering mind can be one of the most detrimental things that you can do to your race and to your preparation for a season.  Sometimes its difficult to step outside yourself and evaluate your problem areas and faults but I gotta tell ya..this is my downfall.

My friends will tell you I am EASILY distracted (actually..that is the understatement of the century).  We can be having a discussion and my mind can wander or I switch subjects without warning.  Its a HORRIBLE trait.  I'm sure if Attention Deficit Disorder or A.D.D. were well known when I was a kid, I would have been their poster child.  

When I returned from Ironman, Hector and I sat down and discussed the next season.  He also told me he would now only meet with me once a week for trainings and that I had to do the rest on my own.  I tried to explain to him that I really need the "routine" and the "focus" of meeting twice a week.  He would not agree.  He told me he was trying to "teach me to focus on my own training."  I understand his thought process, but for me, this could be a recipe for disaster.  I need that accountability.  That's why having a long distance trainer (I use to train with Carmichael Training Systems in Colorado) did not work for me.  No accountability.  No "in your face" training.  Its just not my personality.

I struggled with Hector's proposal for several days.  I considered hiring another coach.  I considered doing the training on my own (that DEFINITELY wouldn't work for me).  I got pissed...I got sad...and then I realized these emotions were counterproductive.  I am having to confront my DNF...AND changing my routine.  I am scared that my lack of focus will be the death of my dream.

So I picked up the phone and I called Hector.  I explained my concerns.  I made him a deal.  If I am consistent with my workout on HIS schedule for the next 90 days and PROVE to him that I am not screwing around with this Ironman goal, that he will switch my program back to face to face twice a week training from February to November.  He agreed.  

So...lets see if I can get my mind right...along with my body!!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Garage Sale for a Cause..

After a year of training, I PROMISED that I would get back to a little fundraising in the off season.  So, this week, I cleaned out that storage space where so much of my garage sale treasures have been tucked away and got it organized for the Sale of the Century with great help from my friends Rick and Debbie.  Beth and Vi will be here tomorrow to help with the Saturday crowd. (Once again many thanks to my incredible friends). 

It amazes me what some people will do for a deal.  It also amazes me that when you tell someone the proceeds are going to find a cure for Leukemia, they dig a little deeper and give a dollar or two more...even in the hardest of times.

So, if you are one of those that just can't pass up a good deal and you happen to be in the Orlando area, come on by, grab a bargain, and drop a quarter in the "Christian Stafford Jar" Friday or Saturday from 8am to 1pm.  Every time I hear the coins hit the glass, it makes me think that angels are smiling and one particular angel is watching over all we do in Team in Training/Leukemia Society Purple and Green :)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

And suddenly..Im posted on a website Ive never heard of..

Don't panic.  Its not one of "THOSE" sites that my father would be furious and my mother would faint from the sheer shock of it all! I was searching for an old story about Christian that had been published online shortly after his death and found that MY story is now on this website.  Apparently, this site is a positive media site in California!!  Check it out! It includes the Ironman Florida Ford Everyday Hero Video!!

WOW!!! Slow news day :)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The final race list..

Well, as expected, Hector took a hacksaw to the "Dream List" and cut it down to size.  Below are the races that will be included in my race list:

November 2008
Turkey Trot

December 2008
OUC Half Marathon
Reindeer 5k

January 2009
The Disney Marathon (no Goofy)
The Miami Half Marathon

March 2009
Disney Princess Half Marathon

April 2009
St. Anthony's Triathlon

May 2009
Gulf Coast Triathlon

June 2009
The World's Most Beautiful Ride-Lake Tahoe

July 2009
Rock n Roll Seattle Marathon

August 2009
Training Weekend-Panama City Beach

September 2009
Training Weekend-Panama City Beach

October 2009
Amelia Island Half Ironman

November 7th, 2009
Ironman Florida

Hope to see some of you there :)

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Race Wish List

Ok...the wierdness of triathletes and endurance athletes alike comes at the end of the season and shows itself proudly in the off season as they look back and determined what worked...and what didn't.

Needless to say, I look back at my season and say:..hmmmm...alot of things didn't work along with a few bright patches.  I guess the good side of that is that I will learn from those things.  I wouldn't have known if I could complete an Ironman if I didn't first give it a shot.  Now I know what I need to fix and get right.

I sit down with Hector Tuesday to discuss the 2009 season.  I always make a dream list of races and Hector just laughs.  " can't do 2 half ironmans a week apart!!" Why not??  Ok..I KNOW I can't do that..or better yet that I shouldn't but I like to keep my options's the dream wish list.

November 2008
Turkey Trot (gotta run off some calories on Thanksgiving Day)
Space Coast Half Marathon

December 2008
OUC Half Marathon or 5k (depending on if I do the Space Coast)
Reindeer 5k

January 2009
The Goofy Challenge at Disney-Orlando
-The Disney Marathon
-The Disney Half Marathon
All in the same weekend

Miami Half Marathon-Miami FL

February 2009
Florida Great Escape Triathlon-Clermont FL (Qualifier for Escape from Alcatraz)
Chilly Whilly Duathlon-St. Pete FL
26.2 Run with Donna Marathon-Jacksonville FL
5th Annual CAN Century Ride (100 mile bike)-Naples FL
Ft. Lauderdale A1A Marathon and Half Marathon

March 2009
Disney's Princess Half Marathon-Orlando
Miami Olympic Distance Triathlon-Miami FL (TNT event)
Wildman Moss Park Triathlon-Orlando
Super Seal (Olympic Triathlon with US Navy Seals!!) Triathlon-Coronado CA

April 2009
Ironman 70.3 New Orleans
St. Anthony's Olympic Distance Triathlon-St. Petersburg FL

May 2009
Gulf Coast Triathlon-Panama City Beach FL (similar course to Ironman FL)
Ironman Florida 70.3-Disney-Orlando
(Half Ironmans are 1 week apart..need to pick one)

June 2009
Baldwin Park Triathlon-Orlando
The World's Most Beautiful Ride-100 mile bike-Lake Tahoe(TNT event)

July 2009
Moss Park Triathlon Festival-Orlando
Rock n Roll Seattle Marathon (a little change in climate in the middle of the HEAT!!)

August 2009
Trip to Panama City Beach to do training at least one weekend
No races here (Ill go nuts!!!)

September 2009
Ironman 70.3 Augusta GA
Disneyland Half Marathon
Philadelphia Distance Run-Half Marathon(where I set my PR)

October 2009
Amelia Island Half Ironman

NOVEMBER 07, 2009
Ironman Florida

:) Ahhh the dream list...lets see what it looks like after Hector slices it down to size!!! :)

Hurricane Holiday and Back to Reality

Were back in one piece after 4 days of  what I'm calling a "Hurricane Holiday".  Hurricane Paloma didn't hit Jamaica but the spectacle that she left in her wake was pretty destructive.  12 to 15 foot seas outside our beachfront room, damage to the beach, two obliterated piers, one broken up wedding gazebo plus a shoreline littered with debris made for a vacation like no other..

Steve and I played in the puddles...spent some time getting massages and watching the waves from our patio just a few feet from shore.  I believe vacation is what YOU make of it.  No, it wasn't perfect.  I would have much preferred to come home with a suntan but the most important thing is that I got to spend time with my husband.  

Its kinda like my race experience..

I would have much preferred to come home with a medal and the "glory" of being called an Ironman.  I won't lie.  I sat on the beach and cried.  I am disappointed.  But the most important thing of it is: What did I learn?  What did I get from this experience? Who did I meet? Who enriched my life? Who's life did I TOUCH (if anyone's)?  What will I do differently? How will this make me stronger?  What POSITIVE things can I take away from Ironman Florida 2008?

I meet the most amazing people.  Approximately 40 people from ran Ironman Florida and I got to meet most of them.  What an incredibly inspiring group of people. I meet Ironman veterans who gave me loads of advice.  I survived the swim start, the nerves at the sound of the cannon (which believe me, if you have never seen an Ironman start, its terrifying).  I had a woman who I have never met with a sign at Transition as I left for the bike course "'re my hero".  Oh my god, how unbelievable is that. And at mile 12 and 23, small lonely signs that read "Melissa...#55...we love you" .  My friends got up in the middle of the night and put out those signs.  I'm so lucky.  I have learned so much.

Its more than a medal and tears are normal (or so I'm told).  For some people, the road to Ironman is shorter.  For others, the road is longer.  For Sarah Reinertsen (the first female above knee amputee to run the Ironman World Championships), the quest for Ironman took 2 attempts.  For Scott Johnson, a double lung transplant patient, it took 3 attempts.  For a good friend of mine, Jennifer, who suffered from an infection just 5 days before the race and got out of the hospital a few days before the event,  her first "official" finish took 2 attempts (she completed Ironman Florida 2008--you go girl).  I look around and there are so many people from which I can learn.  There are so many people who's journey is so inspiring.  I need to embrace the fact that I am going to be an Ironman ... its just going to take a little longer.

While I was away, my business partner took a call from a local news station that wants to do a story on me.  My first reaction was: why?  I didn't finish.  The reporter said the fact that I wanted to try AGAIN was a story in itself.  Most people would walk away.  Most people would just admit that its too hard.

Its not too hard. Anything is possible if you believe.  It just requires more work on my part.  Bottom line: I gotta get to work!!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Don't hate me ... but I got 4 days in a great place coming

When the going gets tough, jump on a plane and go to Jamaica!!

Ok...I didn't just PLAN to go to Jamaica, my husband and I had planned our vacation to fall after Ironman almost a year ago.  Although I am kinda chomping at the bit to get back to training, I know that I need a mental break.  Soooooo...we are headed to this beautiful beach for a few days of rest and sun.

Well...I was hoping for sun..turns out its raining in Jamaica for the next 4 days.  It doesn't matter, we are going to have fun anyway!!!

Back to the Ironman Journey after I return....

Monday, November 3, 2008

Laying out the plans for the future....

It is not the critic who counts;
Not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles,
or where the doer of deeds could have done better.
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena,
Whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood,
Who strives valiantly;
Who errs and comes up short again and again;
Because there is not effort without error and shortcomings;
But who does actually strive to do the deed;
Who knows the great enthusiasm,
The great devotion,
Who spends himself in a worthy cause,
Who at the best knows in the end the triumph
And who at the worst, if he fails, 
At least he fails while daring greatly.
So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls
Who shall never know neither victory nor defeat.
-Teddy Roosevelt

As we drove home from Panama City, my good friend Rick read me this quote from a Triathlon book he was reading.  "Missey-thats YOU" That entire quote is about you.  You know what its like to success...and you know what its like to fail.  I didn't really want to hear this quote today. I want to stay positive and focused on my goal without the focus being on those letters I hate so much .... DNF.

But I forced myself to look at the results on  I made myself see my name and those letters.  I think its important to understand and feel that disappointment.  Now its time to fix what's broken.

You should see my email box.  I am so very blessed and honored that so many people found my story inspiring.  I have two organizations that work with Gastric Bypass patients that want me to come speak to their members.  I have several triathletes offering their advice on nutrition.  I have had so many people sending "virtual hugs".  I am honored beyond words.  So many people that don't know me at all that care so much.

So..since my story is now public record (over 4000 people have viewed it on youtube and more on Ironmanlive), I figured Id put out there my plan for the next few months.

I need to drop some more tonnage.

You would think that losing 200lbs would be enough...but Im still 180.  I need to drop 60 pounds to be in my goal weight range.  In the next six months as I am doing my off season training, my focus will be on getting close to that weight loss goal of 120lbs.  Don't you think Mike Reilley would be shocked to see me next year as a size 4 or 6 instead of a size 14/16!!!

Don't worry. I plan to do this the smart way.  For now, I am joining Weight Watchers.  After the first of the year, I will switch to a sports nutritionist as my training will get more intense.  

Consider this my "Biggest Loser to Ironman Challenge".

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Melissa Daly..You are NOT an Ironman...YET tears are allowed here but to say Im not disappointed would be a lie.  It was a beautiful day for a beautiful race..however, it wasn't MY day...

I woke up at 345am..had my breakfast and had multiple text messages from so many well wishers.  I grabbed my gear and headed to transition.  Got body marked and dropped off my Special Needs Bags, got my tires pumped up by the tech guys in transition (and this will be significant later) and headed back upstairs to our condo to stay warm.

We took some awesome pictures with my support crew as I got into my wetsuit/skin and headed down to the beach.  I was very nervous as Hector took me aside and gave me some last minute instructions. "Today is your have prepared and you are its just a victory lap".

The gun went off and my eyes got wide as I watched 2000 people enter the water.  I hit the water with determination.  THIS IS  going to be my day.

I did my first lap in 52 minutes,  just like I had done the day before.  I know this sounds slow to the rest of the world but for me, it was awesome.  I ran up the sand to make the lap back in the water, stumbled a little but I was pumped.  Back into the water for the second lap feeling FANTASTIC!!

Out of the water at 2:05:00.  Ok...were not setting any speed records here but you must understand, my goal was to make the cut off..and I did by 15 minutes.  

Out of the water and up the sand, Mike Rielly was announcing my name (holey moley..Mike Reilly knows who I am). I made it through the showers and into the changing tent.  My first Ironman transition took me about 10 minutes (I can do better here).

Off to my bike where my coach, Hector, had it waiting for me in transition.  All smiles and excited he sends me on my way.  Little did I know that he had found a flat front tire while I was in the changing tent and had the bike tech support in transition change it before my arrival.  I just jumped on and went.

On the bike, i got organized.  Bottles were full, Bento box accessible and into the aero bars I went.  Off Thomas Drive on to Front Beach Road and I was on my way.

I took two sips of endurance drink and felt a little funny.  Hmmm...maybe Im just a little amped up from the swim.  I switched to water for the next few miles.  At mile 4 I tried some more endurance drink.  It hit my stomach like a lead weight.  Wow!!  I tried a gel..and some water. Now Im queasy but ok.  A few yards down on the road, another sip of endurance drink and....oh no....Im not just REALLY SICK!!

I proceeded to upchuck every 3 to 4 minutes for the next 50 miles.  At the special needs stop, I decided to consult medical assistance. In my special needs bag, I had packed TUMS and Gas X (thanks to my friend's advice on I downed 4 tums.  They made the trip back up.  I looked up at one of the Ironman Staff and two paramedics and I knew, I was probably done.

They brought an ambulance.  I refused.  All I need is a ride to the medical tent and something to settle my stomach.  I got that and enter the medical tent where they found me running a slight fever and a high heart rate.  There is a chance I got some food poisoning OR my formula from Infinit was not the right mixture..but whatever it ended my first attempt at Ironman.

After a bag of IV fluid and several bottles of water, I was released to my husband's arms.  It was only in this moment that I cried.  In the grand scheme of life, this is small potatoes.  Im not losing my house.  I haven't been diagnosed with cancer.  My life is amazing.  On the 10th anniversary of my gastric bypass, I did more in a day than I would have ever dreamed of.  Im still living and my quality of life is so incredible, how in the world could I be sad.  We sat and talked on the beach and, with his loving and sweet support, we agreed, I would try this again.

I tell ya what I DID get to do yesterday.  After getting my stomach right and a quickie nap, my dear support crew got some dinner in me and we returned to the finish line.  I got to witness some amazing people accomplishing something very wonderful.  To every single finisher, I am in awe and I applaud you.  Congrats to all.  

So, you might wonder..whats next??  Well...I don't believe in failure.  I believe in making mistakes until you succeed.  So, even though I have an automatic entry into any 2009 Ironman North America race, I got up at 400am and cheered on 4 of my friends who signed up for Florida 2009.  I WILL DO THIS AGAIN AT FLORIDA IN 2009!!  

No tears.  No fear. No excuses.  No BS.  It wasn't yesterday but I decided what my future holds.  
I will be an Ironman!!