Monday, June 29, 2009

The Reason....


If you're an Ironman triathlete, I would bet a bundle of cash that you have heard this question. Be a 46 year old female who was morbidly obese and now is considered "borderline obese" get the question almost daily.

Why AM I doing this?? Wouldn't it be easier to just say..."I lost 200lbs...Im healthy...Im gonna live a few more years." I could lay back down in the morning and get a few more hours of sleep. I could go to more parties, stay out late, eat a little more, have a cocktail, travel more....and the list goes on and on...


Ive been asked the question so much now that I thought I would make a list. Some of the entries are obviously just for fun and some of them are absolutely from my heart. I HIGHLY encourage anyone who reads this blog to add their reasons in my comment section. I wanna know WHY those in this amazing community of athletes (and aspiring athletes) do what you do. random is the answer to that question:

1. Completing an Ironman is the ending of a season of my life and the beginning of a new one. When I began at 380lbs, I wondered what would happen if I got to the point of being a normal size. How would I feel?? What would my life look like?? I knew in my heart that some major event would mark that moment where I could say- Im here...Im healthy...Im alive. When I cross that finish line, Mike Reilly might say "You are an Ironman" but what he's really saying is " survived!"

2. Because I really LIKE the feeling of spandex!! Who thought a material could stretch THAT FAR!!

3. I am running this race for ever single person who died attempting to save their own life. For every gastric bypass patient who saw this procedure as their only option (Like I did). I am attempting this goal for those who still fight against compulsive overeating and the demons of food. I want them to look and say "Well heck...if she can...I can"

4. Because I enjoy letting the world know how old I am by having my age written on my leg.

5. Sometime on that Ironman Day, I will wear purple and green(the colors of Team in Training) to remind me of every patient who is still fighting a blood cancer or who has lost their battle with Leukemia. My goal is to raise $25,000.00 or more for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. My LIFE goal is to find a cure for cancer...but for now...I want this Ironman to bring awareness to the world that children and adults are dying from this disease. People are losing their kids, their grandkids, their husbands, their wives, their family to a cowardly disease that has no mercy. Every dime brings us closer to a cure and to hope for those in the fight.

6. Because Neoprene isn't just for scuba diving anymore (but please don't tell my boss at Disney who controls my scuba diving job that). Ohhh...and its SLIMMING!!

7. Because riding my bike the distance that most people would use their car for just seems to make sense!!

8. Because I love the smell of my newest cologne...its called...Chlorine...

9. Because I have a devoted and loving husband who loves me enough to take care of me, be my support crew, cheerleading squad, chef, and therapist!! Without him, there would be no Ironman.

10. Because I had a great FIRST triathlon coach/training partner named Rick Stafford who told me: can do a sprint...and then told can do an Olympic....and then a Half Ironman...and we are!!

11. Because I had a set of determined TNT running coaches named Beth and Bill who got me past the fear of running 26.2 miles.

12. Because 2 years ago, I met a deeply dedicated triathlon coach named Hector who assured me he would help get me to the finish line.

13. Because I have the most loyal group of friends who continue to support me in this quest...even when I didn't complete the first attempt!! Every single one of them will return on November 7th to cheer me on AGAIN. Now that is something else!!!

13. And of course...the most obvious reason Im running an Ironman...the one that is the biggest reason of all....Because now...I can!! :)

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Endurance Currency

One of my favorite bloggers is IronBob (if you haven't read his is link to mine at the right). He reminds me of the Uncle I wish I had (my parents are only children). You know the guy Im talking about : the relative you knew as a child that was really cool that did great things and shared amazing advice without lecturing. I have been very blessed to have IronBob do just that.

A few days ago, IronBob commented on my post. He told me to "put that workout in the can withdraw it on race day"

What profound advice.

Today, I woke up at 4am, drank some coffee and really thought about going back to bed. I did a hard run yesterday and my body was reminding me that I'm 46...not 26. I stretched..and I contemplated...and I decided to make my nutrition bottles, stop whining and get on the road.

My training partners had other plans this morning. They were volunteering at a triathlon near my home. I thought about going there instead of my workout...but I stared at my bike and realized that in 130 days I will be spending more than 3 hours in the saddle. Today was an easy day.

Then I thought about what IronBob said. If I skip today and go "play"..there will be a low balance in the bank account that I need on November 7th. I want "endurance currency" off I went.

Although I was unable to go to my favorite trail (Van Fleet), I went to Lake Minneola and got creative with my ride. I went to areas I hadn't been to before but within some roads that I use regularly. I did some flats...some hills...and some of the trail.
I got there right as the sun was rising. The view was beautiful across the lake as I did my warm up ... and then it hit me...this is my "payoff" in endurance currency. Right here...right now. At this moment...Im putting the currency away for my Ironman day.

Ive never been one of those people that wants to be "super rich"...but I wouldn't be too disappointed if I had plenty in the "bank" on race day to make making the cut off times look easy.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

A Henry Ford Day...

"One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his great surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn't do"
-- Henry Ford

I swear when Ironman is over I am going to have a party and destroy a few things. First thing on the list, my ancient old alarm clock that goes off at 400 to 430am most days. Saturday for most means a good cup of coffee, a farmer's market visit, a leisurely breakfast or maybe setting up a tent on the beach for a nice day.

Saturdays for me means a long ride or a long run. Saturdays start early during these months because I really don't want to be out in 100 degree heat for the entire workout. Saturdays for me are a test to see where I stand. Where is my endurance?

Today's workout was to be 10 miles. For me, it ended up being 8. Now, that sounds like something went terribly wrong but I look at it as a learning experience.

I bonked.

I grabbed my fuel belt this morning and loaded it with 3 bottles of endurance drink, 1 water and two gels. I went for a two hour run but something must have been missing in me. I drank EVERYTHING. I did one of the two gels at mile 6 because I felt like there was just no gas in the tank. I RAN (and read that right) a full 6 miles with only stops at each mile mark to take in nutrition. No walking...anywhere during that 6 miles. I guess at this level of effort I need more than what I was taking in.

For a gastric bypass patient, running an endurance event is tricky. Since your stomach and intestines have been altered to absorb less calories, you really are never sure how many of the calories going into your face are actually making it to the rest of you. I know it sounds crazy, but in some cases, 20 to 30 percent of what I am taking in may never make it to the rest of my body. For the last 9 years, my nutrition has been an experiment...and the research continues.

The other issue is that my bypass is unique to the ones that are performed now. About 4 years ago, I had to have mine revised to remove some staples that were considered no longer appropriate for my body and to remove an apparatus that was part of the clinical trail that had a high failure rate. With all that done, I was actually left with two stomaches (don't call me a Cow..they have four..not two). There was so much damage from the faulty staples that they had to split my stomach in half.

So...we continue to play with the calorie numbers and pray we get it right. Today I realized that in this heat, I need more...but just like Henry Ford said ...we are just in the process of making new discoveries...

As always...ill keep you posted!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Another milestone run

At 2pm, I headed off to see my Ironman trainer, Hector. Thursday is one of my days off so it was nice to be able to plan an afternoon workout. I knew my workout would consist of some sort of running...I just figured I would be doing it on the treadmill.


As he meet me at the door, he smiled and said "Its a beautiful day..let's head outside for the run." I looked a little shocked. He told me..."come on...there's a nice breeze and its not nearly as hot as it was last week.." was 92 instead of 102...but hey..who's counting right??

I whined...and then I remembered my mantra in relation to my workouts:


So out to Lake Eola we went. If you haven't been to Lake Eola in Orlando, it is a little oasis in the midst of the City Beautiful. Complete with gorgeous fountain and wide sidewalk, it is PERFECT for running as it is just about 1 mile around. There was a slight breeze...but lets face it...92 is hot! 92 is very hot for a plus size woman who wants to run 5 miles.

Hector sent me out on my first loop...nice and easy...just to get a feel for things. What I felt was sweat ... and lots of it but I completed my first mile faster than any mile I have run this year. Wow!! Really!! I thought to myself. I am getting better.

I headed out on my second lap and got cheered on by 3 homeless guys who reminded me to hydrate. I couldn't help but giggle a bit...I had a cheering section!!!

Upon my return from the 2nd lap I was just a few seconds slower than the first. This was good...but my heart rate was sky high. Hector told me to slow it down a bit on the first half of the lake...and then pick it up on the second half.

And so it went for the rest of the workout...slow half way....faster the rest of the way. Im the kind of athlete who wants to know WHY I am doing a workout. What is it about these conditions and running routine that is going to make me better? Hector explained that he wanted to see how I performed when I was fatigued. Thursdays are a day I usually inform him that I am seriously tired. After working an 18 hour day on Wednesday, I usually don't have a very good workout on Thursday.

But today...I did. Faster...but the heart rate is still high...but were working on it. Just gotta get fast!!!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Comparison and Competition

The Ironman Journey has brought me down a lot of roads. I have met amazing people. I have accomplished things that I simply thought were impossible. I continue to work hard towards Ironman Florida but the one thing I have learned lately is that Ironman Training can show you sides of yourself the you might not particularly like.

I have always been very content running against my watch. The clock and I are enemies and friends. This love/hate relationship I have with the good 'ole stopwatch is a writer's dream!! Triumph and tears abound...but in the end...the clock never lies. It tells you the real story.

I wish I could tell you the number of people who have pasted me on the running course during my races. In my over 40 triathlons, I have tried to focus on my own race and wish them well as they blew by me. Almost all have been encouraging and a handful have been downright rude. No, I don't look like the typical triathlete...but I'm out here everyday...and NOT on the couch.

Recently, I have been struggling with this feeling of competition and constant comparison to a few friends of mine who run triathlon. They are younger...stronger...faster. I know this is silly but its like I LIKE beating my head against the wall. A little friendly competition is a wonderful thing. When it starts to affect you in a negative way with negative feelings about yourself, that's when you have to pull back and analyse yourself.

I want to make it clear here. This is all me. These people have been NOTHING BUT ENCOURAGING to me. I'm creating all this negativity in my mind and in my heart. It's hard to admit that you have a fault like that but better to admit it, address it, change it and move on. If you have ever run ANY endurance event, you know: Negative thinking can eat you alive, ruin your race and possibly end your race day. I want to nip this in the bud before it gets out of hand.

My friends know that I am a nut. Certifiably crazy in every sense of the word...but I am also a realist who admits her faults and tries to address them and become better. That really is what Ironman is about isn't it?? Never giving up and being the best you can be.

No matter what happens on November 7th, this journey has changed me and made me better. My goal and dream is to be an Ironman but my bigger goal and dream is to be a better person: inside and out.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Total Utter Frustration

Oh god...its 400am....AGAIN...

I pulled myself out of bed...and I want to cry. I just spent several days with my husband on vacation in Key West. Just two nights of walking the town, getting some sun and the most glorious naps I have ever had. My husband flew us in our own Cessna and it was really an adventure. We got to spend some good quality time together (which I know I desperately needed..and I believe he needed too)

But in the back of my mind....frustration. I am missing workouts. Here I am in paradise with my amazing loving husband who planned this trip for me (and did I mention...he scheduled a massage and pedicure for me when we arrived...Im not making this up) and what am I thinking about....IRONMAN!!

I really need my head examined!! (insert frustrated scream here)

So its Monday and back to reality. Its addicting that laying on the beach...sleeping in...and having a leisurely dinner under the stars. Its that little voice in your head saying "Its ok don't have to workout today...just relax and enjoy."

But I can't...

I gotta stay focused and as patient and as loving as my husband has been...I know he is tired of the Ironman draw on my time. He wants to travel (and believe do I)..but we just haven't figured out how the heck to get my bike in the back of the plane. I can run in these new locations...but the swim and the bike...those are often challenging in locations without a long enough pool (like Key West) or a way to get a bike under me for a long ride.

So are the insane thoughts of an Ironman Dreamer and the balancing act of family, husband, jobs and training.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Why yes...I'm a trainer...

For months, I have written about my personal experience of training for Ironman. You have heard a range of emotion from me...everything from confronting an eating disorder to elation at finishing my third Half Ironman. My feelings about life in the tri-lane have run the spectrum.

What I don't talk too much about here is that I AM a Certified Personal Trainer and I own half of a Fitness Boot Camp here in the Central Florida area. We are one of the oldest boot camps in the Metro Orlando area. We started almost 8 years ago with the idea of fashioning a boot camp program from Navy Seal Training Techniques minus the cold water and the yelling in your face.

I did this program one on one with my business partner for one year. He (Rick Stafford) also helped me train for my first sprint distance triathlon. Its interesting now how I look back and feel the same way I did after doing a boot camp workout. My Ironman training leaves me exhausted just as my boot camp training did. I had to take naps in the afternoon..just like I do now. I was hungry all the time but i was losing weight..just as I have started to now. I remember the difficulty I had finding a trainer back then (I was blessed to find a trainer who was a physical therapist at first but she moved out of town and on to other opportunities). It was hard to find someone who would even take the time the help me or thought I had a shot at becoming a fit person. I remember walking into a gym and having the fitness staff look at me as if I was a lost cause.

And now you know why I'm a trainer.

Today, I met with an old friend from high school and her good friend from work. They are both nurses and they work really hard taking care of other people. Now, they have decided to take care of themselves. They are starting where I did AFTER I had already lost 100lbs. They have so much drive. They possess so much heart. Their goals sound so familiar: I wanna be able to get up the stairs without feeling winded...I wanna wear a nice bathing suit. The difference now was that I was the one that was doing the helping....not needing the help.

As I helped them complete their 19 minute mile , I remembered....this was me. This is where I started ( first mile took me 21 minutes). Don't laugh at them though...they have a desire to succeed...and they believe in that dream.

Sound familiar?

I got in my car after completing their paperwork and fitness assessment and I cried. I spent an hour looking at what was my mirror image. Look where I have come from. Look at the things I can do now that simply would have been impossible just a few years ago. That 21 minute mile turned into a 5k...that brought me to a 10k....then a half marathon...then a marathon...and KNOW how I want the story to continue....

God puts people in your life to appreciate all the things you have....I am so blessed. And yes...THIS IS WHY I became a trainer. I am in the fitness business to give that plus size woman or man hope. Remind me to thank the man upstairs for this amazing experience I get to call....LIFE!!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Feeling intimidated

I love my blog. It has given me an outlet for my feelings and frustrations. It has also given me a way to connect with so many amazing people with so much knowledge. I have amassed a wealth of knowledge here and made some unique friendship along the way . To those of you who post comments on my have no idea how much that means to me. I think it is really something special that someone would take the time to : A. Read my words. and B. Give advice and words of encouragement to someone they have never met.

I was running on the West Orange Trail yesterday and was stopped by two people who recognized me from this blog! They told me I inspired them and they loved reading my words. I was overwhelmed. Me? I make that kind of impact with my "prose therapy"??!! Wow! The only word that came to my mind was : humbled.

But I am up at 500am on a Sunday morning to go do a bike ride with a friend. I didn't get much sleep last night (my hubby and I were out late at an event) but it wouldn't be the first time I did a workout on very little sleep. I had made plans to do a ride with this friend of mine at a place with which I am very familar. Van Fleet trail is a 30 mile flat windy course about an hour from my home. Its the perfect place to get into my aero bars, pedal and think. Little or no traffic...and very desolate. For me ... its the perfect place for a recovery ride.

My friend calls me, after making all these plans in the morning, and decides to change the venue to a place I have never ridden. She also decided to add another gentleman who is an expert rider who's average speed makes me look like I am standing still. He is a delightful man but I have to admit, he intimidates me to death.

I have ridden with people who are faster than me with the understanding that I don't keep them back and they don't wait for me. Ill meet up with them at the middle point or maybe at the end. We have cell phones...were adults. If I get in trouble, Ill give them a call. But for some reason, on this morning, I felt I would make a total ass of myself riding with these folks that average 8 to 10 mph faster than me!

So I grabbed my bike and decided that I would do the urban route at dawn. Downtown Orlando at 630am belonged to me. Aside from the scattered beer bottles, wristbands from the bars and a few people passed out in their cars in a bar parking lot, this Sunday morning world belongs to the early morning runner or rider. Through Downtown and then out to ORMC (Orlando Regional Medical Center) then the Executive Airport, I did all I could to rack up the miles. Making my way to the Cady Way Trail, I left Orlando and entered Winter Park then followed the route back home. A beautiful two hour ride...

Although I still struggle with my confidence as a triathlete, it is mornings like this that remind me that I love what I do...

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The breakthrough I have been looking for...


This is a recovery week for me but that doesn't mean you sit on the couch!! This morning's schedule was for a 90 minute run and a swim. The run got done early while the swim got done at the hottest part of the day.

I met up with the Team in Training Marathon Team this morning at the West Orange Trail. Since I have a long bike scheduled and I didn't want to do it alone, we flip flopped workouts so Beth (who is the coach of the Marathon Team) could ride with me tomorrow. Today was focused on a good solid run.

And that is finally what I had!!

It didn't start off that way. For the first time in weeks, I needed my inhaler as I could feel my chest starting to wheeze. I took one shot of the inhaler and headed down the road. Hector's descriptions of my workouts always amuse me. He wrote" High Cadence and Pretty Form". REALLY!! Has this man actually seen me run?? There is nothing PRETTY about it...but by golly I get it done.

The first three miles were strained. I did 10/1's (10 minutes running...1 minute walking) and did the fastest 5K I have ever done. I got to the turnaround point and thought "Wow...I did that faster than I thought". Mile 4 is what really surprised me. For the first time EVER ... in all the time I have been running, I had two miles where I felt like I could go on forever....and I did...all the way into Winter Garden. It was a 5 mile run instead of a 6 because I stopped at my favorite running/triathlon store: Tri n Run right there on the trail to hear the end of a nutrition talk that Jane (their resident guru and SUPER Ironman) was giving!! I got some good advice, some water and walked the last mile through the beautiful town of Winter Garden.

But its those two miles that stick in my head. Effortless. Good form. Good solid speed (for me at least). Oh my!!! Could this really be happening??? Am I actually IMPROVING on the run!! As always...Ill keep you posted!!

Monday, June 8, 2009

...the need...for speed....

Have you ever had days where you woke up and said "Ugh! The last thing I want to do today is workout!" That's the way I was today. I did EVERYTHING to put it off. I cleaned the house, got boot camp calendars set for July, redid our 800 number recording, bank deposits, paid bills, did laundry....ANYTHING except that workout....

But 630pm arrived and I found myself at the Lake Highland Prep Pool ready for a swim workout complete with a speed ladder. Speed!! Hmmm!! Something so incredibly foreign to me...but something I admire.

I have two very sweet friends on the Team in Training squad that embody that word called Speed. Terri and Brandi are little speed demons. They make all the disciplines of triathlon look effortless. They are skilled. Its such a gift....and its just not a gift I possess.

But if you talk to my Team In Training Coaches Bill and Keith..they will tell you I might not have the speed...but I can go forever. Just like the camel in the desert...I can survive for miles. I might not get there fast....but Ill get there. I made my way through my ladder workout tonight...I admired the one thing I need just a little of....just a little speed....just enough to get me to that line by midnight!!

Anyone got some spare speed they could let me borrow (and NOOOO...not THAT kind of speed!!!)

Sunday, June 7, 2009

A nice size brick on a very scary rainy day

I love weekend workouts. I can actually say that I enjoy the long ride...and on occassion...I enjoy the long run. It can clear your head, get the endorphins rushing and give you a good feeling overall. Im pretty whipped when the workout is over but the accomplishment is a feeling like no other.

Yesterday, I started out at Lakefront Park in Clermont to tackle a ride course that was a definite challenge for me....the Hilly side of Clermont. As I rode around Lake Minneola, it reminded me of the race where I met Hector for the first time and he helped me finish. I was having a terrible time climbing the hills on the course during that race. I never got off my bike and pushed but the thought cross my mind that day as I attempted to complete a 40K bike course. As I approached those hills yesterday, I could feel myself getting nervous. Was it going to be the same??

I made a left onto Jalarmy..a small road with a nice little incline and came out of my saddle. Much to my shock, I was at the top in no time at all. Hmmmm?? Could these bike trainer sessions really be working?? I followed Cherry Lake Road to another set of rollers and one more intense climb...and the same thing happened. I climbed it without issue.

In the first hour, the climbing was fairly easy. What a shock!! I joke with EVERYONE that I am a flatlander. I don't like hills, don't want hills on the course and if it were possible, I would "iron" the course flat the night before!! But here I was, climbing...not fast..but without feeling like I couldn't breath!!

By the end of the second hour, I was starting to feel the hills in my quads. I focused on my nutrition and continued the course. I past some beautiful homes, an incredible tree farm and traveled to some areas I had never seen before.

The mental side of training seems to play more of a role as the rides get longer. Into hour 3, I was ready to get off the bike. I know this is nothing compared to the 100+ mile rides I will be doing soon...but for now mentally, I was learning how to
deal with being in the saddle for awhile.

I returned to my car to find my Team in Training teammates done with their workout. They applauded my arrival (isn't that have people cheer you on like that) but while they were headed to breakfast, I was headed out on the run. Bricks are always hard for me. As soon as I rack that bike up on my car, everything in me wants to jump into the car and go home. I switched shoes, grabbed my fuel belt and made myself head out on the run.

My transition muscles are a major stumbling block for me. They don't fire as fast as most people I know so walking the first 2 to 4 minutes is essential. I try to focus on getting the legs to run and usually, after a few minutes, I get moving on my "oh so not pretty run".

I shuffle. I tell alot of people - for me - triathlon is swimming, biking and stumbling instead of running. With large short legs, running is definitely not my strong event, but I am really trying to get a little stronger. Yesterday, my legs felt like lead after all the hills...but this is a good thing. Train Hard. Race Easy.

20 minutes into my 1 hour run, I started to get very scared. The sky was black and the thunder started to rumble. I was hardheaded. Instead of turning around and heading back to the car, I was determined to get my 1 hour in. I continued to run
and the heavens opened. I didn't mind the rain so much ... but the lightening? That's another story in itself.

I found an overpass and took shelter as the lightening lit up the sky around me. As I tried to stay safe, cyclist and runners alike dashed for the shelter of this overpass. I have to say, it was one of the scariest times I have had training.

The rain let up a little so I headed out again, saying a little prayer for safety in the weather and to just let me get back to my car. As I arrived at my vehicle, I noticed I had achieved a negative split. Hmmm...running from lightening can be a new training tool!!!

As I headed out of the park, it started to hail. It took me 80 minutes to get home when it usually take 45. So many of my friends said "Why didn't you just pack up and go home when you saw the rain coming?" I guess that would have been the logical thing to do ... but then again....Ive never been a logical person. You don't know what your Ironman day will might as well train for every condition...including rain and hail!

Another brick accomplished. One more solid stepping stone to Ironman.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Giving new meaning to "taking the stairs"

Imagine, if you will, that your trainer has decided this is the best training tool available to you for your Ironman!

Welcome to my world!

I had a really crummy day yesterday. Its a long story I will share in the coming weeks but for now lets just say I had
a bad day at work. I came home last night and tossed and turned with very little sleep.

The alarm rang at 6am (sleeping in for me actually) and I headed to my running session with Hector at 7am!

We hit the treadmill for some hill repeats which made me want to die!! This girl is a flatlander but we are trying really
hard to make her into a hill climber. Hector had me step off the treadmill and out the door.

Oh no! Stairs!!

Ive mentioned these before in my blog. 20 flights of nothing but your feet, your elevated heart rate and your brain saying nasty things like "Turn back...he'll never know you didn't go all the way to the top"! As I watched my new Heart Rate Monitor climb, I realized that this was good mental training too!! There are going to be hundreds of times in the Ironman that I will want to find the closest chair and call it a day. There will be still more where my body will probably scream to stop..but I gotta stay focused and push forward.

I made it to the top and headed back down...back to the treadmill and more hill repeats. I figured we were done with the stairs..

Thats something unique about Hector! Just when you think you got it figured out, he surprises you. He brought me off the treadmill again and I wanted to beg for mercy...but he left no time as he ushered me to the echoing halls of my new "gym".

Climb..climb...climb. Bitch..bitch...bitch. And then that vision reappeared in my head...the finish line...and then I remembered why I am here and my purpose for this early morning torture.

Whoever thought the stairs would lead to Mike Reilly and the words "You are an Ironman"

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Tough time finding words...

Its been awhile since I updated my blog. It's not that I hare forgotten how important it is to document this journey but simply difficult to find the right words. I am searching for the proper words to describe my feelings right now and they are indescribable.

I searched for a quote...none seemed appropriate. I looked at other blogs to get an idea of what might be a good topic...that just felt like plagiarism. Right now...I am in a strange place. I can feel myself climbing up that mountain known as endurance. Im definitely not at the peak but Im not at the point that every workout leaves me totally spent. I HAVE made some progress. Is it enough progress for Nov. 7th? Only time will tell.

I got the 30th Anniversary Ironman World Championship DVD in the mail a few days ago. If you enter the Kona lottery, you get one of these DVD's for your time and trouble (but no Kona slot). It sat on my desk for a day or so but finally, I just had to watch it.

There were many images on that DVD that stuck in my mind as I rode the trainer this morning and listen to Hector lead the class but the main vision in my head was of Chrissie Wellington on the bike. To watch her ride is a vision of perfect athletic performance: Speed, Power, Posture and...a smile. To watch her run is a thing of beauty! Why is it the good ones always smile like there is not any pain involved....but you know there has to be.

I will never have that kind of talent, but for a moment in my mind this morning, I had those legs. I went as hard and as fast as I could in the sprints. I was the first out the door on the run....(and every single person past me as they always do)...but that mental picture of sheer perfection stuck with me and motivated me for those two hours.

Then it was those with physically challenges that motivate me even more. The men and women who race in a wheelchair or with a prosthetic leg never cease to amaze me. I know in my heart that if they can do this...I CAN DO THIS. Their images floated in my head as I ran and pushed myself a little harder today.

I know its crunch time. There is no more "ohhh the Ironman is a year away". its serious. Put up or shut up!