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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Back in the saddle again

I'm back in the saddle again...literally. I did a 1:47 ride on Saturday and a 1:43 ride on Sunday. Both went well and my legs and other areas didn't complain too much.

Sunday was the best, because I got to ride with Sam. She has always been one of my biggest fans and has been at all of my big triathlon moments - my first sprint using front crawl AND a road bike (I didn't know her then, but she made a point to give me a picture she had taken), my first Olympic distance (a pregnant Sam did bodymarking and bike pointing with our friend Nicole), my first Half-Ironman (also her first sprint) and now my first Ironman. I swear she was more excited than me leading up to and including race day!

I have been there for all of her first big triathlon moments as well - first sprint (mentioned above), first half-marathon and first Olympic. In September, I will do her first half-Ironman with her. Looking forward to this and to our Dances with Dirt relay really does help stave off a lot of the post-Ironman letdown.

When she was in Lake Placid, she was inspired enough by the day's events to sign up for next year alongside her husband. I'll admit that my response when she told me was decidedly not supportive. I said "Have you lost your mind?!" Now, before you stone me, let me explain. I know how little time she has between work and raising her 2.5 year old daughter, and know how hard it was for two married full-time worker people to train for Ironman at the same time and we only have cats. I certainly wasn't questioning her athletic ability, because she is more than capable as an athlete. But, you know, it isn't up to me to decide these things and I believe that she will put in the time she needs to finish that race.

When Lake Placid comes around next year, I plan to be there for her first Ironman and I will be that enthusiastic fan that she always is for me. I love you Sam and can't wait to see you rock LP!!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Ironman pictures

Here are the pictures leading up to Ironman, the day of Ironman and some after it is over. I have not gotten the tattoo yet (will get it in late September after my last triathlon), so pictures will have to wait until then.

Our super support crew: Maggie (Matt's sister) and her boyfriend Brad

Our super support crew: Matt's mom (Jean) and dad (Bill)

Our super support crew: Joe and Sam (so inspired they signed up for next year's race!)

Matt, Paula (my training partner rocked the course in 14:07!) and me

Me at the expo

Matt and me with two CTC guys (Rob and Rob)

Me with my bike in transition area

Matt with his bike in transition area

Matt and me in transition area

Matt and me on race morning(note our fondness for this pose)

Ironman swim (courtesy of Sam and Joe)


Me on the first loop of the bike (official race photo)

Me at the halfway point of the bike (courtesy of Sam and Joe)

Me on the second loop of the bike (official race photo - note arm warmers position)

Me starting the run (official race photo)

Me, walking the hill towards end of first loop (courtesy of Sam and Joe)

Me at finish line (official race photo)

Finisher photo (official race photo - note funny tan lines)

Matt, me and some glorious pizza (courtesy of Sam and Joe)

Me, relaxing and reading Harry Potter the day after (ah, the good life)

Matt, outside the Olympic center (we're still walking)

First celebratory ice cream of the day

Second celebratory ice cream of the day with our support crew

Fabulous cheese stick 5 days after race (yes, we are wearing our finisher shirts again)

Matt with his big burger from Burger's N Beer (it was on our post-IM list)

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Finally, an Ironman

Well, I made it to the finish line and am officially an Ironman. I am proud of myself, but I'm a little disappointed too. I know that doesn't make any sense. Getting to the start line was a huge accomplishment let alone the finish line, but the bike is my favorite part and it didn't go as planned at all.

But, before you get too worried about me or want to slap some sense into me, know that I do count my many blessings and it could have been much worse. Let me back up to the front though and tell it from the beginning.


I was surprisingly calm and collected in the days leading up to the start. I certainly wanted to be to impress my husband (who is always cool as a cucumber), but I really felt okay. I trained hard for this and it was going to happen no matter what, so why get nervous about it. It didn't hurt that the Harry Potter book came out the day before the race and my wonderful husband scored a copy for me.

With taper, my body felt the best that it had since before I started this craziness. I was resting, hydrating and keeping relaxed.

I fell asleep with no problems at 9:30 PM the night before the race and slept through till the 3:30 AM wake-up call. I got up, ate my planned nutrition, stretched and then we headed out the door at 4:50 AM to walk the mile to the race start. That would suffice as warm-up (seriously, do you need to warm-up before a 140.6 mile race?) and we could drop off our special needs bags on the way.

Matt and I pumped up our tires, made the last porta potty stop, donned our wetsuits, dropped off our dry clothes bags and headed to the swim start.

We ran into TriEric and Aimee who were wetsuit peelers and they were a welcome sight (believe me, Eric and Aimee, you both helped me numerous times that day and I thank you). We saw Paula, Chris N. and Tim M. in the water. I still was relatively calm, but would spontaneously cry occasionally. Matt was so supportive and told me it was okay as it is a totally overwhelming experience.

Matt and I kissed good-bye and I headed to a spot in the middle of the group, but on the far right as instructed by Angela. They played "Ironman" right before we started. Very cool. In no time, the cannon boomed and we were off.


I had a totally different swim experience than Matt and Paula. I barely encountered another person the entire first lap. Of course, I swam well clear of the "line", which meant I also swam farther, but unmolested was good.

I got out of the first lap in 47 minutes or so. I ran to the entrance point for the second loop and started swimming as soon as I hit the water. I can't believe how many people I saw sauntering their way into the water. We are in a race people! So, I think I should be able to swim the line the second loop, because the volume of people is ahead of me, but unfortunately it was only available occasionally. I kept running up on slower swimmers than me, and it was taking too much energy to keep passing them, so I kept them about 10 feet to my left. Oh, I so wanted to be on that line, because the draft was incredible (felt like being sucked around in a whirlpool), but I had a job to do.

I came out of the water in just under 1:37, which wasn't too far off my goal time and I felt great. The strippers were wonderful and had the suit off in seconds. Incredibly, I was able to run the entire 300 meters to the transition area. And, as you all suspected, I was incredibly relieved to be out of the swim.


I had a wonderful volunteer in T1, who helped me on with my stuff and put my bags in my pockets. Before I knew it, I was out running to meet my bike which another volunteer had grabbed. Wow, I am a slow swimmer, because there were hardly any bikes left!! Oh well, I knew I could get them on the bike.

Total T1 time of 7:52 (with the run from the beach - not bad)


The wheels fell off my Ironman cart exactly 2 minutes and 35 seconds into the bike. My bike was making a funny sound, so I thought I'd stop to check it. Oh no, I had a flat. I can change flats relatively quickly normally, but I have the worst time with the tires on my Zipp wheels. It took me about 15-20 minutes to get the flat changed and I see all these bikers go by me. I blow up the tube, note that it is popping out, go to let some air out to fix it and it pops. Good lord, what am I going to do now?! I have another tube, but do I have the time to fix it and will it pop too? I am now shaking where I had been relatively calm. Luckily, these people in yellow come up to me and say "what size wheel do you need?". I say "650" and they say "we can hook you up with that" and they proceed to get me a new front wheel. Now, I know I'm not supposed to get outside assistance, but you can understand why I accepted their help, right? I was uneasy about it though.

So, I'm now almost in last place and am riding what I think is a contraband wheel with no speedometer because my magnet is on my Zipp wheel. I say to myself "focus on the positive". I stayed in my HR zone and tried to stay focused.

I got to enjoy the many mile descent all by myself completely in my aerobars (for the first time - I was too scared to ride in the aeros the prior times). On the first real climb (3 miles long), I started really passing people which helped my mood. I got to the 14-mile out and back section and swear a random girl tells me that I was DQ'd for getting outside assistance. This majorly took the wind out of my sails. It didn't help that when I came back on the out-and-back, not only did I not see a soul coming in the other direction the last few miles (solidifying my feeling of being almost in last place), but the lady pro winner passed me. D'oh!

I turned onto Rt. 86 for the 12-mile climb back to LP. Again, I was passing people left and right. I saw this great sign that Court had made for me (unfortunately, I never got to meet her). I see Eric and Aimee on the last big climb and say "I think I've been DQ'd. If I had been, would I know?" Eric said they would have yanked me from the race, so this is where I get my first glimmer of hope. I see my sister-in-law and yell "I got a flat" in explanation for my late arrival and she says "who cares, just keep going!" Part of me was hoping that if I was disqualified that they would yank me sooner than later, because I didn't want to go back out on that 56-mile loop again for no reason. But, no one stopped me and I head on out with a glimmer of hope that I can still be Iron.

Yes, I was disappointed with my 4:09 first loop, because I could have done so much better, but I knew I could still make the cut-off.

So, with renewed hope/energy, I headed out for the second loop. I still don't know what my speed is, but I'm staying in my HR zone, staying hydrated and maintaining my nutrition plan. I even peed on the bike several times throughout the day (TMI, right, but it was part of the experience). My gut never complained.

The second loop was much hotter than the first and a headwind could be found on the sections that should have been the fastest. Again, I ride the big descent like a champ, with no fear and no brakes, but I had to pedal in portions that I didn't have to before.

I made the turn for the 3-mile climb and the wind died down. Again, I was chewing up participants who were fading big time and this time on the out-and-back section, it wasn't so lonely. The last 12 miles which should have been agonizing (and were for my butt, but not my legs) went by with no issues. It was actually fun to be passing so many people while maintaining a low HR and high cadence. I finished the second loop in 4:03, which was a negative split, but of course, I didn't have the flat this time. I know I could have done better, but couldn't dwell on it. I still had a marathon to run!


Again, I had a great volunteer who helped me change and slapped sunscreen on me before sending me on my way. I must have smelled awful from peeing myself so much, but she didn't complain at all. I can't say enough about the wonderful volunteers!


Holy crap, I felt like I had been hit by a mack truck and now I had to run a marathon. I started off down the big hill and tried to imagine it as a massage like my coach suggested. Early on, I knew I wouldn't be running the whole thing, but I tried to run to each aid station and then walk until I had eaten/drank enough.

My legs actually didn't feel too bad all considering, but my stomach was not right. I alternated between queasy and hungry. I saw Eric and Aimee again and he told me to try to get some pretzels and other food in there to calm it down. I also took a Tums as Jodi suggested. There were moments of running, but even more moments of walking. During one of these, I saw my husband. He was way off the pace and looked like he wasn't having fun, but as usual the look of pride on his face was unmistakable. I also saw Paula a couple times on the run. She wasn't having fun at that point, but she put up an incredible 14:07 finish. You rock lady!

The hardest part of the run was turning around and heading back out while others were finishing. I saw Matt one more time and told him to bring it home. By then, I felt better. I managed to run the next 3-4 miles, but then my stomach said "no more running". I still had a spring in my step though and found I could power walk like a champ. I thought about trying to run again, but it was so dark and I didn't want to risk falling down. Eventually I got my glow necklace. It was incredible the number of people I passed on the last 6 miles. I hadn't really been talking to anyone, but found a guy walking my pace with 4-5 miles to go. We talked each other through the rest of it. In hindsight, I'm fairly sure I could have run, but at that point, I had plenty of time to finish and didn't want to jinx myself.

With .2 miles to go, I bid farewell to my companion and ran the last glorious steps to the Ironman finish line. I had the whole lane to myself, motioned to the crowd for some enthusiasm (they complied), heard Mike Reilly ("The Voice") proclaim me a first-time Ironman and finished with a huge smile on my face.

My husband was right there and he was just beaming at me. I then saw Joe and Sam J. and they were incredibly excited (so much so that they signed up for the race the next day).

Run time of 5:49 and total finish time of 15:52:33 - yes, I am finally an Ironman! Believe me people, I earned that tattoo! : )


I finally got to explain to Matt why I was worried about being DQ'd. I also tell him that we have to find the good samaritans to get our wheels exchanged. But, when he brought my bike out of transition, it already had the Zipp on it. It is then that I found out that the people who helped me were the official bike support for the race. They were actually allowed to help me. Wahoo, I didn't cheat!

I bid farewell to Sam and Joe and then my wonderful in-laws helped us carry our stuff the mile back to the house. I ate a bowl of Cheerios, showered and then climbed into bed.

My legs and back were sore as expected, but I've seen worse. Sitting here on Wednesday night, I barely hurt anymore. I won't be running again for a week or so, but I can swim on Friday and back on the bike on Saturday. Not too bad.

Now that I've recounted my full story, I realize that I am not disappointed and am so proud to be part of the Ironman family. However, I won't change the beginning, so you know where my head has been since the race ended (alternating between elation, relief and disappointment). Thanks for bearing with me on this terribly long report.

Congrats to all the other CTC Ironmen and women out there! Thanks for your support!

Also, big thanks to my fan support at the race (Jean, Bill, Maggie, Brad, Sam and Joe). It was great to see your smiling faces!

Angela, thank you for getting me to the start line and for being so enthusiastic and proud when I talked to you after the race. That helped my mental state tremendously!

Finally, as always, I thank my wonderful husband and am grateful to have shared the day with him!

Pictures coming soon...

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Four days to go - hope I know what I'm doing

I am done with work until after Ironman - woo hoo! It has been a tough 6 days with lots of deadlines, but I left with a clear conscience.

To thank my co-workers for being so supportive the last nine months, I organized a contest to be administered by our "Minister of Fun" in my absence. Participants of the contest guess my finish time (Price is Right rules) down to the second. The winner gets a souvenir that I bring back from LP. The catch was I didn't want to know what the guesses were and for the most part, I escaped that. I don't need that kind of pressure!

I went for my first run sans iPod or friends today. It was a quick 30-minute easy run in the rain. I got lost in my thoughts and actually enjoyed the run for a change. No HR monitor either - just me and perceived effort.

I thought about my first triathlon. I remember being so proud that I only walked three times during the 5k. That was only 5 years ago. I also thought about my two stand-alone marathons. I can't say I really enjoyed either of them. Matt tells me that the IM marathon is a completely different animal. I hope so. I think I'm trained well enough to not only complete the IM, but also run most of the IM marathon. Keeping my fingers crossed.

It will help that I get to see fellow blogger Courtney (SkiRough on my links section) for the first time ever at mile 6 of the run. That will rock!

I am also looking forward to seeing my in-laws, TriEric and his wife and Sam and her husband out on the course! Further, there are a ton of CTC members participating this year at LP, so it will be great to see them on the course. Finally, can't forget the LP camp participants. I probably won't be lonely for long.

Before I sign out for the week, I wanted to extend a thank you to the friends and family who have supported me throughout this craziness, especially my training partners (Sam J, Jodi, ESpeed, Stacy, Sam B, Carie, Debbie, Amy, Martha, JT, Janet, Sara, Suzi, Angie...) . Special thanks go to my LP training partner, Paula, who will be there with me on race day (I'll be chasing you down buddy, so keep moving), my wonderful coach, Angela, who got me to the starting line and of course, my husband for supporting me at all times.

The next time I post, I should be an Ironman!! Good times!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

My Hero

Well, I got through the work I had to do and Matt is making dinner, so I have a little more time to blog. I wanted to take a quick moment to recognize my hero as he did for me on his blog (although mine won't be nearly as eloquent).

My husband is definitely my hero! He's the best husband a girl could ask for in every way. He's thoughtful, supportive, funny, handsome, a great cook, good listener, intelligent, etc.

He is also a six-time Ironman finisher (LP in 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005; Moo in 2003 and Vineman in 2006) with a PR of just over 11 hours at LP in 2005. He's exceptionally humble about his accomplishments, but I've NEVER met anyone as dedicated as him. Do you know why I was able to drag my butt out of bed at 4:45 AM day after day? Me either, but it didn't hurt that he was already up at 4:30 AM.

When I finished my late evening trainer rides, he'd have dinner waiting for me.

He does the laundry and cooks dinner a few nights a week. He takes care of the lawn and cars and whatever else needs fixing. He grows vegetables in a garden. And, he does that on top of a full-time job and a rigorous Ironman training regimen.

He doesn't whine and doesn't complain. He just gets the job done. When I have questions, he answers them, but rarely offers unsolicited advice and usually directs me to my coach for the most pertinent questions.

He seems a little burnt out on the whole triathlon training thing. Who wouldn't be in his shoes?! He's been pretty much training for Ironman for 7 years straight. While I hope to do another one someday, I can't even imagine picking up the training back up again like he did.

He plans to retire from triathlon after next weekend. Heck, I think if I wasn't doing LP, he would already be retired, so I'm grateful he's willing to hang on for one more.

He'll be on to new adventures soon and I'm sure I'll accompany him for some. It is inspiring to have someone so dedicated, motivated and active as my spouse and partner for life. Next weekend, I wish I could be at the finish line like I have been for the last three, but I'll look forward to seeing his smiling, ecstatic face when I cross that line next week.

Matt, I love you and am the luckiest girl alive! We'll definitely be enjoying that Ben & Jerry's on July 23 like we did the ice cream in Cali last year!

6 Days!

A week from now, I will be on the bike course at Lake Placid. I made the same comment to Matt at 9 AM this morning and I'm sure I could still make the comment a couple hours from now. : )

Anyway, all is going well other than being extremely busy at work. It does help keep my mind off of things.

Yesterday, I rode with a big group of Angela's athletes. Paula and I approached it as "a ride for fun" and we took it to heart. Here are some pictures before the ride:

Angela, me and Paula

Close-up view

Some of the group

Trephina, getting her bike worked on by Angela's super bike mechanic husband, Scott

After the ride, I headed downtown to work for about 5 hours. At least, I'm making deposits in my billable goal account. : )

Then, last night, Matt and I went to a party thrown by our awesome LMT and friend, Kristen. It was her birthday, but she provided the food and entertainment! Thanks Kristen!

Me and the Birthday Girl

Over all it has been a good weekend. I still have more work to do, but hopefully, I can leave Tuesday afternoon with a clear conscience. Hopefully, I'll have time to post again, but if I don't, I'll be back the Wednesday after Ironman with my story.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

9 days to go and bib numbers are up!

I'm terribly busy at work, but I couldn't let this day go by without posting.

9 DAYS LEFT! I remember when it was 99 days left and it didn't seem that long ago (certainly not 3 months).

My mental state is much better now that I've had some rest. My body is slowly coming around, but I'm hopeful that it will be up to full strength come race day.

So drum roll please.... my bib number is 2200 and Matt's bib number is 729. Check us out at on race day.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

The Terrible T's

I am on an emotional roller coaster that I blame on the terrible T's. I'm Tapering, it is almost that Time of the Month (read PMS) and I'm Tired. Thirteen days left - I hope I survive.

Yesterday, I got up at 3:55 AM in order to meet Paula, A, M, SJ and IronJohnny for a 4-hour bike ride/30-minute run. I didn't mind getting up so early - it was going to be hot, so it was good to get out early. For the most part, the ride was good. My lower back ached though from a botched head stand at Yoga Thursday night. It still hurts now, but I'm hopeful it will go away with time and rest.

After the workout, I drove down to Canton to go out to lunch and a movie with my mom and brother. We saw Transformers. While you have to ignore some plot flaws, it really was quite entertaining. On the way home, I got stuck in a traffic jam which was caused by rubberneckers. Grrr, I was so damned tired and certainly didn't need people slowing down to see a burnt-out car! I rallied enough when I got home to be able to go out to dinner with my husband, but I crashed on the couch by 9 PM.

I had a dream last night that my step-dad was still alive. I was so damn happy to see him. I recalled the dream over my Cheerios this morning and I bawled into them. I miss him so much. I wish he could be here to see me take on this Ironman adventure. He never knew me as an athlete and I think he would have been proud of me. Heck, he was always proud of me. He used to say "I couldn't be prouder of you if you sprung from my own loins." He was such a great guy. He's been gone for 8 years now, but it still hurts. Now, I'm crying again.

After breakfast, I headed out for a 90-minute run. It was the first time in a long time where I didn't care what my pace was. I just watched my HR and day-dreamed about Lake Placid. I was on a high when I got home. Good tunes were on my iPod, so I danced around the kitchen while drinking my chocolate milk from my Whiteface Mountain glass.

I then headed out to help Matt change my wheels on my bike. It is going in for a tune-up and we thought it best if the race wheels were on it for the tune-up. While Matt changed out my cassette (there is no way I'm attempting that Ironman course with a 12x25 - only a 12-27 will do), I practiced changing a flat on my training wheel. It was textbook and I got it finished in mere minutes. But then, I went to put my back race wheel on and I couldn't figure out the damn horizontal drops again. I swear changing out wheels and changing tires is really the only time when my husband and I cannot get along. He doesn't understand why I don't understand how to do it, so he gets frustrated, barks at me, I tell him not be an ass and then he apologizes 2 seconds later. Luckily for us, neither of us has a sustainable temper. But of course, by then I was crying again from frustration. While I'm explaining my feelings to him, I automatically slipped the wheel into place. Of course, that helped the mood tremendously. I hope all this tire changing practice doesn't need to be put into use on race day.

Before the emotional swing back down, I had Matt take these pictures of me. I think this will be my run get-up that I'll be sporting across the finish line (assuming it isn't cold).

So, now Sunday is almost over and the rest of the day was uneventful. In two weeks, hopefully, I will be on the second half of the marathon course. All of this taper madness will be worth it then!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Taper Blues

My husband posted about his taper blues, so I thought I'd post some random taper thoughts:

* I know I should be eating less, but no one told my stomach. I've been craving pizza and ice cream lately. Hope I can show some restraint in the next 16 days, so I don't gain back the 8 pounds I lost in the last 9 months.

* I've been getting a lot more sleep lately. It seems that I work out way less than I used to do. Maybe that is part of the reason people are willing to go after Ironman glory again, because they forget the tough volume months. I'm still tired though and had to take a nap after lunch today.

* I worry about every body twinge even though I told Jodi not to worry about hers. I'm most worried about my IT band and hamstring coming back to haunt me. I do have another ART appointment before IM and I can always visit the ART tent at IM.

* I swam for an hour yesterday in my long-sleeved wetsuit. It is the longest I've gone in it. Luckily, the Body Glide kept me chafe free, but my arms felt cold and fatigued by the time I finished. I must remember that by race day, I'll be nice and rested - after all I just started taper.

* Before yesterday's swim, I got salty with my husband because he appeared to be impatiently waiting for me to don my wetsuit. My husband is wonderful and I wouldn't have come so far without him, but it didn't stop me from getting cranky with him.

* I did have a great 2-hour bike on flat roads after the swim. I led most of the time. During the windy parts, I had a mantra going in my head "There is no wind affecting my ride negatively." The "negatively" part was said by a small, high voice. It helped. With 15 minutes to go, Matt took the lead and I was thinking "oh good, I can hide behind him in this huge headwind". Well, that ended shortly after he shifted down 2 gears and dropped me like a bad habit. Later, I thanked him for letting me lead, because then I could stay in my HR zone with no pressure. He said "Letting you? I don't think you understand. I was hanging on for dear life." Apparently, his dead legs didn't come around until the last 15 minutes. That made me feel even better about my ride.

* I have terrible allergies at this time of year, but they are worst on the days I swim. I always look forward to my swim, but then I can't breathe the rest of the day and my nose runs down my face. Luckily, if I bike or swim, I clear up and can breathe.

* I'm looking forward to doing some other things after Ironman ends, but right now, I'm paranoid about activities that aren't swimming, biking, running or Yoga. For example, we played catch yesterday. I was very careful to not throw too hard. And, I have a golf outing on Monday in Erie, PA. It is a scramble, but it starts at noon and the forecasted high is 90 degrees. I haven't golfed in over 3 years and let me assure you that I wasn't very good before. I've also never played 18 holes. Let's hope that with the scramble format and my first golf game using a golf cart will help reduce injury risk. I know I sound overly cautious, but my tri friend Rob broke his foot 4 days before Ironman, because he played tennis with his daughter and stepped on a tennis ball. You can never be too careful, but I can't get out of the golf game (clients first around here).

* I saw a bunch of "Red Hat Ladies" walking around downtown Cleveland at lunch today. I thought of SkiRough posing as one for the Nashville marathon accommodations and smiled. Thanks SkiRough!

* On Tuesday, I had lunch at the Galleria mall food court. Typically, it isn't that busy and I wouldn't have expected it to be so before a holiday, but it was jam packed. I say out loud to no one in particular "What the hell is going on here?" I then noticed all of the "Praise Jesus" shirts and conference name tags. Oops. Am I going to hell now? : )

* I'm having lunch with TriSara next Friday at a restaurant in the Galleria mall. I'm really looking forward to that! Happy Birthday TriSara!!

* I had lunch with Sam J. today. She is such a fun, supportive person. I still can't believe that she and Suzi are traveling all the way to Lake Placid with their hubbies to support me. Thanks gals!

* I have no work motivation. I suppose you can tell that by the time stamp on this post. I know there is an avalanche heading my way, but as the reviewer and not the doer, I don't know when to expect it to slam me. Regardless, I'm leaving at 3:30 PM on 7/17 and won't think about it again until 7/26.

* Ironman, here I come! I'm ready for you baby! My coach sent my race plan yesterday. It is laced with comments like "stay focused", "stay in the moment", "be positive", etc. I still think I'll be immensely relieved when I get out of the washing machine swim. My instructions are to line up in the middle on the far right side (as far from the buoys as possible). I'm then supposed to cut in by the first turn buoy. It will add some extra yardage, but hopefully keep me from being beat up too much. Matt tells me that I will know where to put myself when I see the crowd. I shall avoid large groups.

* I think I'm driving my husband crazy with thoughts about the Ironman - what I plan to wear, what I plan to eat before the race and during the race, when I'll fiber taper, how I'm going to talk myself into peeing on my cherished bike, etc. Matt, just 16 days left, bear with me.

Hopefully, the next 16 days will go well and then it is "Game on" for sure!

Monday, July 02, 2007

Made of steel ... perhaps aluminum instead?

I thought I had built up both a butt of steel and stomach of steel, but apparently not so much.

Saturday, Paula and I went for what was supposed to be a 5-hour ride on relatively flat roads. So, we finally got to do Paula's "peddle to the point" route, which took us from her house to the causeway of Cedar Point and back.

I decided to try out my new tri shorts to see if I could withstand them. I figured if I could go 5 hours on a flat course, I could go the duration of the IMLP course in them. It would be nice to make transition simple.

However, my butt didn't agree. About 45 minutes into the ride, it already ached. Boy, was it going to be a long day! Eventually, you can block out the pain (or maybe it just goes numb), but by the time we got back to Paula's house after 80 miles (at 4 hours and 40 minutes), my butt screamed "ENOUGH already!" Okay, I get the message. I will be wearing my bike shorts for the Ironman course. At least I've already proved that I could go 100 miles on the course with the bike shorts and not have issues.

My stomach was the other problem on Saturday. Everything was going fine until about 3.5-4 hours into the ride when I got the same pain in my stomach as last week's 100-miler in LP. I slowed down and drank only water and it eventually subsided. I keep trying to figure out what the issue is, but Matt, the Shaolin monk apparently, only advised "You can't prevent a fire with a smoke alarm" and "You can't prevent rain by carrying an umbrella" when I tried to hash it out with him. Huh?! I guess his point is who knows if it will happen on race day, but at least I know it will get better by slowing down. I'll carry some Tums too.

However, I still want to try to figure it out. I'm beginning to think I'm over salting myself. I am paranoid about cramping, so I've grabbed onto any easy salt addition I can get. The pills are just too hard to remember to take. So, I've been eating Margarita Clif Blok Shots (with 3 x the sodium) and drinking Gatorade endurance (one bottle has 600 mg of salt). Just recently, I started adding Enduralyte powder to the Gatorade mix as well. Me thinks I might have a tad bit too much salt now and it is making my stomach unhappy. So, my new plan for IM is to go with the Gatorade Endurance without the Enduralyte powder. I'll still have the Clif Blok Shots, but cut my Margarita flavor consumption in half. I'll carry salt pills just in case, but unless it is very hot on race day, this is the plan.

Well, it is just 19 days to race day! I probably have run out of time to figure stuff out like nutrition and clothing, so now I will hope for the best.