Friday, August 31, 2007

Deep. Breath.

OK. Almost there, peeps, almost race time.

I'm trying to work on my mental game, visualizing a flawless performance, no fatigue, channeling Rocky Balboa and all that stuff.

This morning I decided against my final "tune-up" workout (just a short warm up with a couple of short sprints on both the bike and the run) because my Achilles felt tight when I woke up and I have injury paranoia right now. Sigh. Now I'm thinking I may do it after work but I'm a little worried that'll be too close to the race - any of you experienced folks care to chime in? To Tune Up or Not to Tune Up, that is the question. Whether tis nobler to suffer the ups and downs of a twenty minute workout or to take arms against impending injury and, by resting, end them. Sorry, my theatre is showing.

I was supposed to go see Princess sing the National Anthem (along with her choir) at the baseball game tonight, but Tri-Hubby wants to stay and watch a couple of innings and that'll put us home at nine or later and I gotta pack my bag and get my nutrition together and clean my bike and I think I would just be a bundle of nerves and completely spoil the fun so . . . I'm not going. Selfish? Yes. Avoidable? No. Meanwhile, I'm sitting here at work trying to stay positive, focused and pumped. Easier said than done.

Props out to Jane, who's got her first Oly this weekend too - we're gonna rock it, chicka. You know it, I know it and the Blogosphere knows it. And to Tryan, who'll be there tomorrow - Dude you are going to kick some major ass out there! See you at the post-race Chevy's pig out! And to everyone racing this weekend - work it and have a blast out there, everybody, let's try not to forget that this is supposed to be fun! Let's get this party started!

I also want to thank all of you - for reading, for commenting and for all the support you've given me during this thing. I've said it before and I'll say it again - you folks have kept me going, kept me accountable and kept me sane. I'm overwhelmed by the blessing of your friendship. So, thanks!

See you on the flip side!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Taper Pyschosis (TMI, Profanity Warning!!!)

Anyone else feel like a complete psycho during this taper thing?

This has been me the last 48 hours or so:

Oh man, I feel great. I'm one badass MF. Oh yeah, I will kick some major ass come Saturday. Watch. Out.

5 min. later
Holy, Shit! What was I thinking? I must have been on crack when I registered for this race. I'm such a loser. Why didn't I get on the bike more?

5 min. later.

Oooo. Tri Hubby. Hubba Hubba. Wink, wink. He is lookin' good.

30 min. later

Oh man, I really like this taper thing. I have sooo much energy!! Yep. Feelin' good, baby.

10 min. later

Who do I have to kill to get a bagel around here? I think I could eat my arm.

5 min. later.

I'm fat. I'm freakin' huge. I bet I won't even be able to get into my tri shorts. Damnit why did I have to eat a half a dozen bagels? Somebody shoot me, please!

5 min. later

I am going to shoot somebody. I need to run. I need to bike. If I have to sit here for one more minute, I swear to God my head is going to explode!!!!! I will physically maul the next person that rings that phone. So. Help. Me. God.

5 min. later

I need a nap. Maybe I could just crawl under my desk. ZZzzzzz.

5 min. later

Oh man, I feel great. I'm one badass MF. Oh yeah, I will kick some major ass come Saturday. Watch. Out.

And it goes on. Anyone else feel like this? Anyone? Anyone? Hello? Shit.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Feel the Burn

Sometimes taper sucks, at least in my limited experience. Sometimes your legs feel heavy, even achey from those miles of intense training piled on in the last weeks of peak. You want to eat everything and snap at everyone who looks at you sideways. The tiniest things set you off like a stick of dynamite.

But sometimes, sometimes taper rocks. When you hop on the trainer for a quick set of intervals, revving that engine until it wants to explode then head out for a mile or so to let those legs run - and you feel the power, in your legs, your lungs, your mind - you feel like an animal that's been let out of its cage. Or like one of those toy cars you had as a kid - the kind that, when you pushed it backwards over and over on the linoleum, you would wind it and it made that tiny revving sound until you finally set it down and it took off like it was shot out of a cannon, ramming its tiny hood into the kitchen wall. That little car was meant to go fast - and so were you.

That's when taper rocks. This morning, taper rocked. This morning, I feel ready.

Monday, August 27, 2007

A Leetle Change of Plans

I'm in the final countdown until my A Race - The Lake St. Louis Long Course (Oly distance) and starting to feel that antsy, anxious, "Oh My God, I Wish I'd Trained More", pre-race buzz. To try to keep it all in perspective, I've spent some time focusing on life "After The Race". It helps me to remember that there will be other mountains to climb and other races to run (or swim bike run).

One of my major Post-Race goals is to run a marathon. The original plan was to do the Space Coast Marathon in Cocoa Village, FL the Sunday after Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, due to financial and time constraints, that is out. However, we've got a fab Plan B. Memphis Marathon and Half Marathon, Dec. 1. We've got our hotel reservations and our training plans. We are psyched. Notice I say we. I'm running the full and Hubby is running the half. In fact, I'm think I'm going to have to start referring to Hubby as Tri-Hubby. He went swimming without me again this morning, is still riding the Blue Hornet to work and - are you ready for this, ladies and gentleman - we just bought him a Trek Alpha SLR 1200 Aero.

Yep. Its a tri bike. Am I a lucky girl, or what? One of the things I fell in love with about Tri-Hubby was his willingness (eagerness even) to try new things, to consider ideas and adventures he'd never considered before. Given the fact that I'm always finding some new rabbit to chase, this is a quality I admire and am incredibly grateful for. I'm looking forward to whatever new adventures await us on our Tri-Journey. Before you know it, we'll have Princess and Boy Genius training with us too!

Meanwhile, LSL looms on the near horizon. And I'm a little askeert. Maybe a lot askeert. I set this goal months ago - because I didn't like hearing people call the Sprint Triathlon, my original goal for this season, a "mini-tri". The sprint didn't seem like a tall enough mountain to climb - and I wanted to climb a mountain. While the Oly is hardly "long distance" compared to what many of you do, for me its certainly sizeable. I'm looking at 3+ hours of racing. And I'm pretty sure I can do it - but I'm not totally sure. I guess that's what makes it my mountain. I know it will also make the finish line, should I be fortunate enough to cross it, that much sweeter. So, I'm breathing deep, I'm trying to trust the training I've put in and I'm letting taper do its thing. Oh. And I'm eating carbs. A lot of carbs. Hopefully, my uniform will still fit.

Finally, I want to give a shout out to those who competed at IM Louisville yesterday, especially my teammates Brad Baum, Kevin Jokish,and Curtis Brooks and my friend Sally, who blazed a sub 12 hour finish! I admire each and every person who toed the line - however the race went for you, you are my heroes!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Things That Make You Go: Hmmmm. . . .

Something very interesting has been happening in the Phoenix household. Something very interesting indeed.

Now, Hubby has always been a runner - a faster runner than me (like that's hard). But he's been doing . . . other things lately.

It started with the occasional bike ride with me. First on Red Molly, then on our newest acquisition, The Blue Hornet, an old Schwinn World road bike we got for $25.00 from a team mate. The Hornet is faster than Molly but still no match for Pyro. Its time to get him a quicker set of wheels. Wish I could afford the Zipp variety - course then I'd be chasin' him down hollerin' "Hey, Wait Up!!"

He ran a couple of road races with me. Then, he came to Master's Swimming with me a couple of times.

But, this week. This week he's riding his bike to and from work. And he got up this morning to go swim - by himself. It was my "sleep in day" (woke up at the languid hour of 6:30 a.m.) and I'm swimming tonight in the final Creve Coeur Open Water Swim of the season. He got up and swam 1500. By. Himself.


So, at the risk of discouraging him by noticing what he's up to, I'm outing him. Hey there, Mr. Triathlete In Training Guy! You know, there's a sprint in October at the Rec Plex. S'posed to be a good one. Race ya.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Finally A Plan Comes Together

I would like to start this post with two of my favorite letters. P. And. R. Baby.

Saturday I ran another 10k, you know, to see what the old girl had in her and, though I didn't place (to my knowledge - they only gave out medals to the top four men and women and the top finishers in each age group), I beat my previous 10k time by almost two minutes: 54:55, avg pace 8:50/mile. Right. On.

Now the original plan for Saturday was to pre-register for the race, get out there as soon as the sun was up and hammer out a 25 mile bike before the race - you know, the perfect race-pace brick. However, I didn't get my entry off in time so pre-registering was out. Plan B was to get out there at the crack of dawn and hammer out an hour as hard as I could go - and hopefully get in close to 20 miles. Also didn't happen. Hubby came along and raced the 5k (He also PRd - GO HUBBY! I theorize that he was in the top three in his age group but, unless they post the results as they promised, we won't know) and came along on the bike. Alas, his bike is just not as fast as Pyro and, though he told me I should leave him behind, I just couldn't. I mean, a guy gets up at 4:30 a.m. on a Saturday to ride with you and then run a road race - you don't just leave him in your dust. The up side was that we found a really beautiful road to ride - it was flat and smooth and skirted the edge of the bluff for the entire way (though, I noticed on the way back that the speed limit was 55 - there wasn't a lot of traffic but they were going pretty fast - not sure that's the best route for future trips). The down side was that we got in just under 12 miles in 50 min. Not exactly the hammer fest I'd planned - still, it was a ride and it was a nice warm up for my legs and, hey, I can't complain about a PR, now can I?

So, in the end, Saturday was all good. Which leads us to Sunday. The last couple of weeks, I've seemed to have a hard time executing my plans. Sometimes the weather gets in the way, once it was Pyro's gears going all wanky, sometimes I've just felt "off", other times its just been circumstances (see above). Life is like that, as I'm sure you all know. Still, its been frustrating to the point that I'd started to believe that planning was just futile and to really fear that I would not be adequately prepared for my A race in just under two weeks. Thankfully, yesterday put at least some of those feelings to rest.

Lake St. Louis schedules two practice swims on the two Sundays preceding the race. Being new to open water, there is no way I was going to miss out on that opportunity. Yesterday's plan was to get in the water at 7:00, the earliest possible start time, knock out the 1500 then do the bike course twice. That's fifty miles - longer than I've ever ridden before (40 was my previous record). Maybe too big a jump, but I wanted to have the confidence that I could more than handle this course and I knew that riding it twice in a row would give that to me.

As soon as I arrived, I met one of my blog-land buddies - Tryan. He doesn't have a blog (yet) but he's posted comments here and there and we've shot some emails back and forth. How cool to be looking around at all these people, feeling like a totally clueless newb, absolutely out of place, and finding a friend. Thanks, Tryan! We chatted a bit then headed for the water.

Someone had stolen the first buoy during the night so they sent a kayaker to the far shore where the buoy was supposed to be. He looked so small in the distance. I took a deep breath (or 50) and reminded myself that I'd swam further than this course out at Creve Coeur, it was just compacted into laps so you couldn't see how far you'd actually gone. Tryan just jumped in and started - he's much braver and faster than I! After standing in the water (which was perfect, by the way - I felt sorry for those who thought they needed wetsuits, they missed out) and gathering my courage for a bit, I started out. I had decided that I was just going to cruise the course, just get a feel and see how long my "cruise speed" would take me, then make a decision about what my race pace should be. Based on Creve Coeur times, I figured it would take between 40 and 45 minutes. So I cruised to kayak, then buoy after buoy until, before I knew it, I was heading for shore. I went off course a bit in the last stretch when I misunderstood what a fireman on the course told us about which buoy to aim for (its really hard to hear with a swim cap on). I ended up somewhere between 50 and 100 meters off and a kayaker was kind enough to point out the two buoys we were supposed to swim between. But, it was cool. I never felt tired and rarely felt anything close to fear, so that was all good. And my time: 37:40! Sahweet! I have to give props to the Lake St. Louis Fire Department and the volunteers out there on kayaks - those folks were everywhere! I got out of the water feeling great and ready to tackle the bike. I saw Tryan again in the parking lot, he was heading out for the course and invited me to ride with him but I wanted to get my packet at City Hall (which was along the course) and then ride out from there so we parted ways until I saw him at City Hall after my first loop. He did the whole course, including the run, in around 2:30! For a practice! Dang, he is going to kick some butt in the race.

About half way through my first loop, I just knew I couldn't make a second. I had come down what seemed to be the biggest hill of the course and I knew I was going to have to go back up it. And my legs felt like toast. So, I started the second half of the first loop fully intending to call it quits after one. Then, I got to the "monster hill". There was a chick in front of me who was obviously more skilled on the bike than I - she was in aero almost constantly while I didn't get down even once - we both started the hill together and I groaned "here we go" to which she grunted her reply. Then. I passed her. Like she was tied to a frickin post (thanks 21st Century Mom, for that expression). That's when I knew that I would do the whole fifty. The whole hilly, painful fifty. And I did. The second loop was much harder than the first, but I did it. All told, the ride took 3:25. Not horrible for the amount of hills and the fact that, while I pushed it at times, I wasn't "racing" the course. Finally, a plan comes together.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Becoming Your Own Hero

These last couple of weeks have been illuminating for me and I've debated sharing it, but, that's what we're about here in blog land so, without spilling all of it and at the risk of sounding self-absorbed, here goes:

I've been going through some somewhat serious "shtuff" lately and, in struggling to deal with that (no worries, by the way, its all good and all handleable and not life threatening or anything, just kind of . . . traumatic), I suddenly understand the "why" behind this training. In the last few years of my life, I have slowly been learning to trust in God, or Spirit or The Universe, or whatever you want to call the Mystery that churns through our lives and seems to alternately care for us and smash us against the rocks, depending on our point of view. I've found that when I let go and just follow that small voice, things tend to turn out better - or at least the way they are supposed to turn out. Sometimes that doesn't seem like "better" but, often, when I look back on things with perspective, I can at least see the lesson if not the reason. Last winter, when that small voice lead me to triathlon, I really didn't know the reason why - as I've said before, I was compelled and so I leapt. And, I learned to begin to look for my own strength, reminded by others to do so. Every day, I find a little more of it.

Anyway, last week, during a particularly difficult moment, I realized that this was why Spirit pushed me to train. Through all of this - what has passed and what is still to come - I have this underlying belief that I can handle it, that I will persevere, because I have proven myself on the training grounds. I have climbed the hills I didn't think I could climb, I have pushed myself past so many of the barriers I held in my mind on the run, I have put my face in the water again and again and again, even when that fearful voice in the back of my head screamed "Stay near the AIR!!!" These things are physical and tangible and, for me at least, they are proof. Proof that I am strong, proof that I can rescue myself. I can be my own hero.

When I was younger and hurting and didn't know how to make it stop, I looked for a hero - for someone, anyone to "save" me. It took two bad marriages and countless horrific mistakes for me to figure out that the "hero" wasn't coming. At first, that realization felt bleak but, eventually, I learned to care for my own needs, to be happy inside of my own head. Ironically, once I had this down, I met my husband. And I started to believe in heroes again. The thing about pain, though, it comes back until you've learned what it needs to teach you (and then you move on to the next lesson). And some things, even the most wonderful friends and lovers can't save you from. That's when you have to save yourself. You have to be your own hero.

I used to pretend to be tough - to the point of being cruel at times. I thought that this made me invulnerable, that cruelty equaled toughness. Its only now that I'm beginning to understand what it truly means to be "tough", both physically and mentally, and it has nothing to do with putting someone else down but with lifting yourself up - above your expectations, above your limitations, above the ill wishes of others and the random events of the world. I'm not there yet - and I suspect I never will truly arrive as "toughness" is a quality that can always be improved upon. But I've figured it out enough to know that I will get through this. I will come out on the other side knowing that I am saved - and that I was the one that saved me.

Friday, August 10, 2007


The unstoppable Vickie has tagged me - and I'm a sucker for a game of tag!!!

Here Goes, everything you wanted (or didn't want) to know but were afraid (or smart enough not) to ask:

Jobs I've held:

Boys and Girls Club Counselor (18, my first job)
Graphic Designer (College newspaper - totally had no idea what I was doing!)
Business Broker (for my dad - again NO IDEA what I was doing - I was 19)
Go-Go Dancer (I was 20. I DID NOT get naked)
Client Services for an employment/GED education service for young adults on welfare
Production Manager for a theatre - convinced me I suck at tech theatre jobs
Dancer (not the Go-Go kind)
Waitress (goes with the territory)
Adjunct Theatre Professor
Personal Assistant/Caregiver for an elderly woman
Legal Assistant

Movies I can watch over and over:
Lord of the Rings
Big Lebowski
Princess Bride
Long Kiss Goodnight
Monty Python and The Quest for the Holy Grail

Guilty pleasures:
Lu cookies
dark chocolate
sleeping late (don't see that one much anymore)

Places I have lived:
In order
St. Louis, Missouri
Durango, Colorado
Marissa, Illinois
Evansville, Indiana
Dolores, Colorado
Ocala, Florida
Cullowhee, North Carolina
St. Louis, Missouri.

Shows I Enjoy:
Deadwood (alas, re runs only)
The Office
My Name is Earl

Websites I visit daily:
See sidebar
Swim Bike Run St. Louis

Places I have been on vacation:
Riviera Del Maya, Mexico
Durango, Colorado
Perdido Key, Florida
Ozark Mountains
Blueridge Mountains
Franklin, Michigan
Various State Parks in Florida, Illinois, Missouri, Colorado, North Carolina and Tennessee

Energizer Bunny

Second Place AG - O'Fallon, IL 10k
Third Place AG - Taste of Tilles 5k
Best Actress of 2000 - St. Louis Post Dispatch
Best Supporting Actress in a Drama - St. Louis Black Rep (played a Go-Go Dancer - Hah!)
Best Ensemble Nominee -Kevin Kline Awards (We didn't win, but it was a huge honor so I'm including it)
Talent Winner Junior Miss Pageant 1989

A new category: What do I value most?
The gift of my life
My family
My friends
Second Chances

So, there ya go. Probably more than enough TMI in here to last for decades.

21st Century Mom tagged everyone who hasn't been tagged yet so - that means YOU! Tag, you're it (unless you've already done it). Have an awesome weekend!!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Swimming and Other Liquid Pursuits

Well, last night I completed my fourth open water swim. One mile was on the plan and one mile was successfully completed. It was, as usual, an adventure of sub-epic proportions. I was calm and relaxed going out, having three of these puppies already under my belt (that makes me an expert, right?), and anxious to get in the water as it was Hotter Than Hell on Ecstasy. Funny, that resulted in the water being the temperature of bathwater - and, like most things - I like my baths HOT, so that's sayin' somethin'. Regardless, I felt like I was flying through the water, I was employing my Total Immersion technique and gliding like a freaking moray eel out there. At least, that's what it felt like. At first, I was right in the fray - arms and legs and swim caps all over the place - and trying to dodge the kicks and get around the arms and find a safe pair of feet to draft off of. After awhile, things spread out as the fast people (read, not me) and the slow people (there I am!) took their places in the water. I had one all out head on collision with a dude who had wondered into oncoming traffic (I didn't ask for a breathalyzer, I just didn't have time, ya know?) but it wasn't too bad - fortunately, neither of us was swimming with much force - and I cited more often after that. It still doesn't quite explain why, when I felt like I was haulin' some Phoenix ass out there - my time was actually slower than my first open water attempt which included 200 yards of full on freak out. I don't get it. My theory in solving this mystery involves a few possibilities: 1) The water was so freakin' hot, it slowed me down without my realizing it 2) I swam off course so much that I actually swam double the mileage 3) An alien time warp 4) I wasn't swimming as fast as I thought 5) The course was mismarked and actually longer than the last three swims (I vote for this one. Oh, oh and three, I pick three too!). The Bottom Line is as follows: I need to get faster.

On to the Other Liquid Pursuits. About a month ago, the fine folks at Accelerade made me an offer I couldn't refuse: One month supply of their product in exchange for becoming a "community influencer" on their site and writing about said product should I feel inspired to do so. Some of you may have been privy to similar/identical offers. Now, though I'm a newb, I know that you don't pass up swag - its just not done - so I accepted and began the experiment. I've been using Accelerade for my workouts since my FTE and feel that I have enough experience with the product to lay down some opinions. First - as I've heard others of you mention (or read others of your mentions or something along those lines)- there is a definite chalky afterfeel in your mouth when you drink this stuff straight - not too big of a deal post workout but something I can't deal with during. After some experimentation, I've found a formula that works fabulously for me - tastes great, minimal chalkiness and dry-mouth, thirst quenching and bonk preventing. I dilute the Accelerade 50/50 with water, then add a packet of my favorite energy drink powder, a.c.t., which has guarana, ginseng, stevia for sweetener, and green tea - its a calmer buzz than caffeine, but it gets the job done. So that's my homebrew "during workout" mix. I lurve it. For post-workout, if it was an easy to moderate effort, I just drink the other half of the Accelerade bottle straight up. If it was a particularly difficult workout, I add a scoop of whey protein to tip the scales in my muscle's favor. Seems to work for me. On the super positive side, Accelerade tastes really good - I actually like all the flavors, though it depends on my mood which I like best on a particular day. Today was a fruit punch day - I suspect I'll be up for the mountain berry on Saturday. Maybe a Mango day on Sunday. We'll see. On the extra super positive side, those loverly Accelerade people just up and sent me a Craft tech tee in my size convincing me that I need more of these tees. OMG, the fabric is soo soft and wicks sweat up like crazy. Awesome swag, people, awesome frackin' swag.

Well, that's all I got for today, gentle readers, hope your weekend is full of great and productive training and plenty of R & R. Be careful out there!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

That Which Does Not Serve You

I've started attending a Yoga for Athletes class at Little Shark, Monday nights. Its certainly been good for me physically, I walk out of the class feeling much less "coiled". Before the madness that is triathlon training began, I practiced yoga regularly - in class when I could get to one and two or three times a week at home. Home practice was certainly beneficial, but practice in a class has more facets - and its much easier to tap into the benefits of yoga that surpass the physical. I always find myself more emotionally and spiritually grounded after a focused practice, and a good teacher along with the vibe from a room full of people focused on their "Om" enhance that. Its been the same with this class.

In fact, I think that coming back to yoga in the thick of my training has brought me more of those "non-physical" benefits than before. Part of the reason is that my body is already pumped with endorphins and waiting for constructive suggestions on what to do with them. The other part, though, has to do with getting away from the mindset that comes with the training. Its so easy to get caught up in the Type A aspects of the sport - the numbers are limitless - intensity, pace, distance, heart rate, percentage of lactate threshold, calories expended, calories ingested, body fat, weight, bmi, pr, pb, you can probably think of a few more. And these things are good, in a way, as long as we don't let them rule us or define who we are. Which brings me to my point.

Last week in yoga class, Kim, the teacher, asked us to "Release that which does not serve you" with each exhale. That which does not serve you. This concept immediately took root with me. So many things don't serve me - though many of them could if I gave them their proper place. The numbers, for instance, can serve me if I see them as my servants and not my masters - another yogic phrase, "The mind is a wonderful servant but a lousy master", applies here as well. What other things in my life no longer serve? Those last five pounds of body fat could go - but so could my returning fixation with them. Chocolate? Nah, that serves me - at least to a point - but an excess only makes me feel ill. Ok, chocolate stays, in moderation. As I go through my day, I begin to take inventory of each thing that serves or does not. Some of them need to be jettisoned: habitual self loathing - OUT; negative labels - OUT; knee-jerk judgments - G'Bye! Others, like the numbers, the training, the chocolate, need to be put in their proper place. So, I gotta little project here - its lifelong, to be sure, but sometimes, all it takes is that one "Lightbulb Moment" (Copyright Oprah Winfrey, 1999) to set it in motion and begin the healing.

Let it go, all of that which does not serve you. Blow it out, and let it go.

Monday, August 6, 2007

What I Did This Weekend - By Phoenix

Well, sports fans, it was an eventful and mostly great steamy weekend here in the 'lou. I'll start from the very beginning - for its a very good place to start . . .

TI Swim Clinic - Friday

This three hours was packed with information breakthroughs, video taped stroke analysis, blue lips, and drills, not necessarily in that order. This was a special, abridged workshop put on for a small group of "Sally's" triathletes. How lucky am I to be part of that group? "Hap" Gentry is the local coach that teaches Total Immersion and he definitely helped make some things click for me. I'm still not swimming 1:20/100m but I noticed that, while my time on my long swim Saturday stayed the same or improved slightly (by about 10sec/100m), I didn't feel like I was working as hard to maintain the speed. In fact, I felt like I could go a lot faster but everytime I tried to speed up, my form started to fall apart - so more practice doing it right and I think I'll be able to really improve in the water - and speed up considerably. So that, my friends, is all good.

Celebrity Something Meet Up

I got to meet Little Miss Runner Pants!! I tell you what, she is somethin' else - which many of you who've met her already know. She's quick to laugh, totally together, and so darn pretty she looked absolutely adorable for the obligatory pre-run photo, even at seven a.m. I almost wanted to back out of the pic - there I was with my post-swim goggle eyes looking like a drowned rat and she was all cute and stuff. You'll have to check out her sight for the pics - my stepdaughter (Princess) has absconded with our digital (sounds kind of like the dog ate my homework) so I am without proof positive.

After the photo-op, we took off for our run. In my excitement, I started a little quick and, according to my friendly HR Monitor, I needed to slow down (NAZI) so I kept slowing down and LMRP kept slowing down with me. We managed to make it up the monster hill and, while I was gasping, she seemed to be trucking right along. At that point, however, she announced that she needed to go slower and hurried me on my way. Now, the reason she gave for splitting off on her own was that I was "going too fast". I have a suspicion, however, that it had more to do with my mention, earlier in the run, that I was going to lose my shirt and run with just my sports bra (as I've been known to do in steamy conditions such as those that morning) and she really didn't want to run next to half naked me. I can't really blame her for that one. My suspicions were confirmed when she LAPPED ME. I was coming around for my second lap, approaching the evil, long hill that we parted on before - and there she was! Ahead of me - running up the hill like it was cake. We ran side by side for awhile and she said she was turning around at the top of the hill - now by this time, shirt had been dropped off at the car, I was shamelessly running with nearly nothing, dripping sweat and probably stinking to high heaven - lest you imagine a baywatchesque Phoenix trotting through the park, let me assure you, Pamela Anderson I Am Not. Again, who can blame her for wanting to run on her own. So, she ran down, I ran on and we met up again at the end of my second lap, back at the cars. She looked fresh as a daisy, I looked like I'd been dipped in sweat. And she still agreed to go to Starbuck's with me! Even though she doesn't drink coffee. This is one altruistic lady, lemme tell ya.

We had a lovely time at Starbucks chatting and gossiping about all of you (wouldn't you just love to know what we said?) And, even though she's famous, she's completely down to earth and easy to talk to. Thanks, Alej, for sharing your morning with me!


I finally was able to get in a 40 mile ride on Sunday. It seems like each time I try to go for 40, I fall short. And, truth be told, yesterday's ride topped out at 39.8, but I'm calling it good. I got started late, and it was a hot one - though it didn't seem to effect me much on the bike. The run, however, was a different story. A three mile run off the bike was the plan. It was a good plan. If you disregard the fact that it was high noon already when I started and about 94 degrees - with a 98 degree heat index. Oh, and the trail is concrete, with no (almost no) shade. Hell of a plan. The first 1.5 miles were pretty good - I was a little tired and feeling the heat, but I had taken 3 Endurolytes before I started and topped off with some water so I wasn't worried. I should've been, but I wasn't. I jogged 10 min. easy then did four sets of intervals - 30 sec. race pace, 1:00 rest - and that got me to the half way point feeling pretty decent but hot. At the turn around I jogged 5 min. and started back on the intervals. By interval two, I was walking the rest portion. When I was done with that, my plan was to jog to the finish. I was really starting to feel wonky, though, so I decided I'd jog slow for 5 min. then walk it in to cool down. After min. 3, I noticed that I wasn't really sweating anymore. I knew this was not really good, but for some ungodly reason, I was determined to jog the last 2 min. So I did. That was stupid. When I stopped, I was feeling really lightheaded and I had 1/4 of a mile to go. Part of my brain wanted to all out panic, but I knew that would make things much worse, so I just started talking myself through that last little stretch: "Wow, that breeze feels really good. Man, that's great, that's really cooling." "Doing good, lookin' good, you can just slow down a little and just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Awesome,that's just great, just a few more of those and you'll be at the car where there's cold water." It was kind of scary. At the back of my mind was this tiny little voice "What if I pass out? Am I gonna puke? What if I have heat stroke?" on and on - I just didn't let it get louder than a whisper. That last 1/4 mile seemed to take forever but I got back to the car, got some fluids in and turned on the AC. Man, you just can't mess with the heat like that. I should know better but I can handle the heat so much better than last summer, I guess I just got a little cocky. Funny thing is, even with the walking at the end, I averaged 11:30 miles for the three miles. So, I was going at a pretty decent clip even though I felt like I was crawling. I won't be pulling that stunt again anytime soon.

So, it was an action packed weekend full of adventures and lessons learned - some the hard way, some not. Up next: Two weeks of peak and then taper. Lake St. Louis is looming in the distance and I'm going to try to grab this race by the short hairs and . . . um . . . finish. Be careful out there!

Friday, August 3, 2007

Bustin' Some Ass in the 'Lou

So, how cool is this - Little Miss Runner Pants is coming to the 'Lou this weekend and we are meeting up for a relaxing jog in the park. Hah! Relaxing jog. We'll be out there bustin' our newbie tri butts, loggin' some miles and catchin' up - or, what do you call it when you haven't actually met someone, but you've been reading their blog for months? Anyway, I'm so pysched - this chic cracks me up on a daily basis and I can only hope that I don't come off as some boring, suburbia, thirty-something mom type trying to hang onto her youth by imagining herself as a triathlete. Hmmm. A little glimpse into the inferiorty complex of yours truly. That's worse than seeing me neked.

For sure she'll learn the truth to destroy her false perception that I'm "speedy". Not for an hour plus, I'm not. It'll be fun, regardless.

Thankfully, she turned down my invitation to Master's Swim so she won't be able to report how incredibly SLOW I am in the water. Though, that could change as soon as tonight - I'm going to an extra special three hour Total Immersion swim clinic tonight - so I expect some major miracles to occur. I'll probably be swimming 1:20/100m by tomorrow. Just wait. But don't hold your breath. That could be . . . bad.

So, super exciting weekend on the books for me! Have a safe and happy one, y'all - and be careful out there (but not too careful)!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

You Don't Know Your Own Strength

Our friend Vickie said this in her comment on my recent 10K. And she's right. I don't know my own strength - niether do many of us. So many things I never thought I would be capable of, suddenly, I am.

Now, I say "suddenly" as if it happened overnight. Well, of course, it didn't. Months ago - just after Thanksgiving to be exact - I decided to embark on this journey without knowing why. I just knew that I was "strongly compelled" to begin - and I know enough about myself and what has worked for me (and not worked for me) to know that when I'm "strongly compelled" to do something, I need to just do it. So I did. And this has been a wild and crazy and enlightening and sometimes frustrating time. And it ain't over. Not by a long shot. I've sweat like I had never sweat before - and I'll be doing more of that. I've run faster and stronger than I had ever been able to do - and I hope to be doing more of that. I've learned to ride a bike. I've learned to swim. And I'm just starting to learn my own strength.

This morning, during Coach Sally's bootcamp, we were climbing one of the more challenging hills in Queeny Park. It was hard, to be sure. But I was really noticing how much stronger I felt than I had climbing that same hill only a few months ago. I had the thought "Man, I'm glad for this hill. It really helped that 10k last weekend." Glad for the hill. Huh. Glad for the strength, for the lesson that I will get to the top, that the hurting will stop, that I will be better for it in the end. And I'm starting to have faith in my ability to get it done. I'm starting to believe that I haven't even tipped the iceberg of what I might be capable of, if I'd only give it a shot. Now, you have to be selective about what you put your energy into - some things we're probably capable of just aren't worth doing in this lifetime, this body. We can't do everything we're capable of or we'd just burn out - and become incredibly self absorbed in the process. But all these ideas limiting us - all these false walls we put around ourselves - they're nothing but partitions - like the "walls" we used for sets on stage, called "flats". They were just a frame made of two by fours with canvas stretched across - they looked solid but, if you really wanted to, you could go right through them. So many of the limits we've given ourselves are illusions. We can walk right through.

So I've gained some faith, some clarity, many new friends, and a whole lot of courage. But I still don't know my own strength. Probably, neither do you. Let's go find it.