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Thursday, July 31, 2008


So, I got stung by a bee this morning. Matt and I were finishing our bike ride, which went rather well until a bee flew into my bike top and stung me.

I kind of freaked out. I'll admit it. It hurt like a mofo. By the time Matt rode back to me, I was blubbering incoherently "it stung my boob". It took several attempts before he could understand what I was saying. In hindsight, it is pretty freaking funny, but not so much at the time. I haven't been stung since I was 12. I guess I've been lucky considering how much time I spend outside.

In other news, I was quoted in the Cleveland Plain Dealer today. I wish our club would keep expanding. There are so many more triathletes out there than there used to be, but our club has stagnated at 250 members. I know there are more triathletes in Cleveland than that. And it is a great club with lots to offer for the cheap price of $20. So, if there are any Cleveland triathlete lurkers to this blog that aren't members, please sign up and get involved. We need you! We can't keep changing or growing without fresh opinions and help!

Okay, off soap box now. So, what is on tap next for me? Well, this weekend, I am doing some events at the Corporate Challenge for my employer. Specifically, I am part of the 10k relay, tug of war and obstacle relay. Now, I'm not a fast runner, so won't be much help for the run and I'm probably a little small for the tug of war, but I hope to be helpful for the obstacle course. I'm pretty quick on my feet and I love this stuff! Remember how I want to be a Gladiator? Well, this is the first step. Wish me luck!

Then, next weekend, I'm doing the Olympic distance race at Greater Cleveland Triathlon. I seriously considered the half-iron distance. Heck, I trained for IMLP with Sam, so I know I can go the distance. It is just that I don't feel like suffering for 6-7 hours and I'm fairly sure I can't PR it. I know, stupid reason, but I've done no specific training for the race and I'm interested to see how I'll fair at the Olympic distance. I haven't done one in almost 2 years. Good times ahead!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Hallie's First Triathlon

I was running with two members of my Dances with Dirt team a few weeks ago when one of them, Hallie, said that she's thinking of trying a triathlon one day. So, my ears perked up and I casually mentioned the Lake County Fairport Harbor triathlon to be held on July 27, 2008. It is a very friendly course for new triathletes and is well organized.

She looked it up on-line and thought it looked good. She asked me if I would do it with her and I thought "what the hell; I haven't raced even one triathlon yet this year". So, we both signed up. Matt got the bug too and signed up for it as his first triathlon of the season too.

A couple of weeks ago, Hallie and I went out to Fairport Harbor to try out the bike course. We had intended to swim too, but it had rained hard the last few days and we didn't want to risk the bacteria. So, we headed out on the 12-mile course - the first time through on her mountain bike (we must have looked like quite the pair, mountain bike and time trial bike) and the second time through on my road bike (Bike Authority was nice enough to let me borrow pedals with cages on them). She quickly surmised that the road bike was the way to go for the race. After the ride, we ran most of the run course. Obviously, she was more than ready to race.

Today, dawned bright, warm and sunny - time to race! She was nervous, but ready to go. Unfortunately, due to my old girl status, we couldn't swim in the same wave, but she bravely headed out with the young girls. Her wave took off at 8:15. Mine left 5 minutes later.

Now, I'm not the best swimmer in the world, but I don't freak out when people are near me or when waves hit me or... It is very frustrating though to see those around you freaking out and realize that you aren't going any faster than them even though they are freaking out. But I digress. I managed to get out of the water around 12:40 for the 500 meter swim which is pretty good for me sans wetsuit.

Of course, I was a woman on a mission once I got on the bike. I love the bike part and with only 12 miles to cover, I really had to put the hammer down. Being a newbie friendly course though means lots of bikers on hybrid and mountain bikes plus many who have no idea what bike etiquette is. I swear I passed dozens of people who were riding on the left side of the lane, often 2 or 3 abreast. I know they don't know the rules, so I didn't get angry. I just kept focused on pedaling my butt off.

About 5 minutes before the end of the bike, I come up on Hallie. I say "I'd know that butt anywhere" and she says, "No, you can't pass me - you started 5 minutes behind me". My response was that I'm sure I'd blow up on the run. Total bike time was just over 36 minutes for about a 20mph average. Not too shabby especially with the head wind and playing dodge'em with the other bikers.

So, into T2 I go. I missed my rack, so had to backtrack, but it was otherwise a smooth, quick transition. I ran up the one steep hill out of transition with no stopping. I thought maybe I could also hammer the run, but my shins weren't having it. Instead, I loped along at about a 10-minute per mile pace. Oh well. Around the one mile mark, I look over and there is Hallie. She was running like someone was chasing her. Unfortunately, it wouldn't be me. I kept her in my sights most of the run, but I couldn't make up the gap she widened. At the end of her run, she bought back 2 of the 5 minutes I gained on her and became a triathlete. I'm so proud of her! I think she has the bug now and is planning her next triathlon in a few weeks. I told her to keep the bike for the rest of the season - I like to encourage her.

My total time was just over 1:22, which I think was good for 5th in my age group. I had a hold on 3rd place coming off the bike, but my less than stellar run saw 2 of my age group competitors pass me. Oh well. I did get to finish with GJ (Sam and Joe's daughter) and that was fun for both of us! Oh, and Matt had a rock solid race with a finish time of about 1:13 - welcome back to triathlon honey!

Finally, the CTC was out in force today - TriGuyJT, SnickersGirl, Roger, Michael, Bill M., Bill B., Kevin, Katya, June, Kim, Karen, Tracie (also her first triathlon - great job!), Beth, Adam, etc. Great to see you all! Hope others join the club after doing their first triathlon today - there were nearly 300 racers this year! Thanks to my fabulous in-laws (Jean & Bill) and my friends (Sam, Joe and GJ) for coming out to cheer us on!

I leave you with some pictures. More to come after I get the ones from Hallie's and Sam's cameras.

Hallie and her boyfriend, Ian

Matt's return to triathlon

Sam, Joe and GJ

Me with my huge breakfast!

Friday, July 25, 2008

New bike. Color? Red

I was seduced in Lake Placid. Seduced by a hot little red, carbon number. I resisted her advances at first, but then succumbed to desire when I returned to Cleveland.

Meet my new girl.

This is just a stock picture and the wheels are yet to be determined, but you get the idea. I pick her up to come live with me in a week. I'm definitely in love! Don't worry about my blue girl. I still love her and will be spending plenty of inside time with her - it was time to bring her indoors for good. Plus, there is plenty of room in the stable.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Lake Placid Video

My uber creative hubby put together this video for Sam and Joe at Lake Placid. He's incredible! Enjoy!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Ironman Success Amidst the Rain

Wow, what an awful weather day yesterday! The competitors deserve a Plus sign after their "Ironman" tag. We were definitely Iron Spectators.

The rain started 10 minutes into the swim and didn't really let up until about 9 PM. It made for a less than wonderful day for spectators, but totally awful one for competitors.

Matt and I got down there around 6:40 AM. I saw IronKim go by, but she didn't hear my small voice. Kim, I also saw you twice on the bike and at the finish. I definitely have to work on my volume. You looked great and had a very solid race! You are an Ironman!! Oh, and you always had a smile on your face - looked like you were truly enjoying the experience.

Anyway, we stationed ourselves at the swim exit to watch the athletes race by to transition. Joe had a stellar swim at 1:13 - we almost missed him coming out he was so fast. Sam had an equally awesome swim at 1:27. We did get her attention - she was all smiles! By then, we were totally drenched, so we headed back to the cottage to dry our clothes, get warm and take a little break from the rain (we also invested in some rain ponchos that would prove most valuable later).

After the break, we headed out to the big Papa Bear hill at the end of the bike course to see the athletes finish lap 1 and some of the pros finish lap 2. We saw Joe on the way to the hill and then caught Sam 45 minutes later on her way up the hill. She was in the zone, but when she saw us, again, she was all smiles.

We then headed to a restaurant called "The Cottage" to get some grub (on the walk back we saw Ben Miralia looking good on his bike). Again, we were quite wet and had some time, so we went back to our cottage for another round in the clothes dryer and some break time.

Next, we headed to a place a couple turns from the bike finish to catch Sam and Joe again. We saw Joe during a brief respite from the downpour heading towards a solid bike time of 7:08. We finally got his attention and he favored us with a smile. Then, the rain picked up again in a big way while we waited for Sam. She came through about 1:10 later and headed towards a bike time of 8:14 (I know it is slower than she wanted, but she was slowed down by the torrential downpours - she doesn't like descending hills on a clear day, so this was just terrifying for her but she did it).

We then ran over to the run start to catch her. We did see her, but she was in the pain zone by then and didn't hear us. Plus, there were a ton of spectators. I don't think the crowd was much smaller than usual, which was great given the weather.

We intended to stay out for the rest of the night, but we were both shivering from being so wet. I made the executive decision to go back to the cottage one more time for another round with the clothes dryer and a hot shower for me.

After a short break, we headed downtown for a quick bite to eat and then straight to the finish line. I wish I could have seen more of their run, but it wasn't in the cards. Fortunately, the weather finally broke and the last spectating was fun. Of course, watching at the finish line is always fun. Finally, Sam's and Joe's daughter could come out to watch. I kept Sam's mother and father up-to-date all day via phone, but it isn't the same as watching.

The finish line is always a blast. I saw Tony (Jodi's TTT partner) come in with a smile on his face. A minute later, IronKim came in also wearing a smile. At 14:32:48, Joe crossed the finish line and became an Ironman officially. Less than an hour later at 15:27:29, Sam crossed to earn her Ironman title.

I'm so proud of both of them, not only for persevering through the terrible weather yesterday, but for the months of training. They have a 3-year-old and full-time jobs, but somehow juggled schedules and lost sleep in order to get it all in. It has been great joining them for the ride. Congrats guys, congrats to all the Ironman competitors and enjoy some much deserved time off! I'll see you hobbling around the town soon.

Pictures and maybe a video coming soon.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Woo doggie!

Wow, am I spent?!

This morning, we took off around 5:55 AM and headed towards Whiteface Mountain. I wore arm warmers, but almost immediately regretted it. It is very humid out there. We rode part of the run course and then hopped on the bike course in reverse. Now, that was nice getting to go down those hills!

Then, we made a left turn off the course and onto the mountain. I forgot how steep and long that climb is. It is 3 miles of almost continuous uphill climbing. Matt quickly got ahead of me. He was nice to stop at Santa's workshop in North Pole, NY to wait for me. But, when we started again, he quickly got way ahead of me again. Yes, he is a better rider, but he was riding his Frankenbike and was carrying a lot of weight in food/water. Eventually, we made it to the toll booth. Matt gave me 2 choices: 1) finish the climb, but then head back to town the way we came or 2) descend now, but ride the course in reverse. The mountain was misty, so I knew there would be no good views. I also knew that we'd have to ride up the Keene 6-mile descent. I still chose option 2. It would give us a longer ride.

On the way back down, I hit a new personal top speed of 43 mph - a little scary, but exhilarating for sure! At this point, we are about 23 miles into what would become a 54 mile ride. The next 20 miles were great as we headed backwards down many of the hills the racers will have to climb tomorrow and onto the flat section. There was a headwind on the flat part, but Matt let me tuck in behind him.

Then, we reached the Keene hill. I asked for a brief pause to get some nutrition in, because I knew I wouldn't have a free hand for the next 6 miles. At first, it was great. There were a ton of bikers coming the other direction, either out there for a ride or if racing, out there for practice on the descent. Eventually though, my quads and spirit were a little shredded. Matt again was way ahead of me. I stopped waving at the bikers coming towards me. I was hot. Very, very hot. But, eventually it was over and we got to enjoy some good downs heading back into town.

All in all, it took me 3:43 to go 53.5 miles. My suitcase of courage was completely empty. But, I really enjoyed that well-deserved burger and french fries at lunch today!

In other news, Sam and Joe are locked and loaded. We had dinner with them, their daughter and Sam's parents last night. They are nervous, but still smiling. Tomorrow is just the icing on the cake - the reward for all the hard training. They will be great!

Matt and I will be cheering for them tomorrow while incorporating a Rocky theme. Sam calls me her Apollo, so it seemed fitting. We'll be wearing "Italian Stallion" t-shirts and we made a poster with a picture of them that says "Gonna Fly Now". Can't wait!

Friday, July 18, 2008


Well, Matt and I are living it up in Lake Placid right now.

We got in last night around 5 PM. We thought, "Let's go for a run to stretch out our legs after 9 hours of driving". So, off we went for a short jog around Mirror Lake. My knee decided around mile 2.6 that it wasn't very happy with my sudden movement after sitting so long, so I walked most of the way back after that. Good news is that it feels fine today.

We walked to dinner where we indulged in some beer. I couldn't do that as a participant in the race. It is kind of nice being here without worrying about me racing or even Matt racing. We even stopped by Placid Planet Bicycles, where I ogled the Cervelo P2C. Definitely drooling for that bike.

This morning we went for a swim on the course. It was our first open water swim of the season. I didn't do so well. I mean, I did feel okay in my wet suit, didn't freak out without lane lanes and remembered how to sight, but I was so slow and as usual I got off course going out. I did a decent job coming back, but by the time I got back to shore, it had taken me 50 minutes. That is slower than my Ironman average last year for 2 loops. Oh well!

Then, we headed out for a run. I went along some of the run course, while Matt did the Mirror Lake loop again. It was a tad humid to say the least, but overall a good 4.5 mile run.

Around 1 PM, we headed to the Ironman village to make signs for Sam & Joe and to do some shopping. While in the sign tent, the sky opened and poured down rain (and hail according to Sam & Joe). We were delayed a little, but thankfully dry. Then, off to the Ironman tent to spend hard earned dollars on more Ironman logo'd stuff that I don't need. I can't help myself.

Now, we are in a coffee shop on a balcony overlooking the swim course enjoying a smoothie. Good times for sure! I love VACATION!!

What's on tap for tomorrow? The mister and I are riding the course backwards, diverting to climb the 8 miles up Whiteface Mountain and then finishing the course backwards minus the Hazelton out and back. Should be quite the adventure.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Hot Dogs!

My husband sometimes thinks that he is married to a 5-year-old, because I can be rather silly. One example of this is my love, love, love for hot dogs!

On Friday night, Progressive (my husband's employer) had an employee night at the Indians Game, which included discounted tickets and a pre-game party where you could meet Slider and the hot dogs. My favorite by far is Ketchup. Not only is it my hot dog condiment of choice, but he wins the hot dog race way more than the others (sometimes he cheats though).

So, I was super excited the last two weeks about getting to meet Ketchup. Of course, work interfered and we didn't get to the ball park until after the dogs had moved on. I was so disappointed, but Matt cheered me up by buying me a hot dog and beer.

On the way out of the stadium, I went to the ladies' room. Right after we parted, Matt spotted Mustard. He stalled him enough for me to come out and get a picture with the Hot Dog. He wasn't Ketchup, but it still made my night. Thanks honey for indulging my juvenile desires!

Picture of hot dog race

Matt and me after hot dog and beer

Me and Mustard


In other news, we head up to Lake Placid on Thursday. Any bloggers getting together up there?

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Changing perspective

Like everyone else in the U.S.A., I am not loving the high gas prices. However, it is making me change my perspective on driving places, especially now that the weather is so nice.

For example, I have been doing my long rides right out of my house instead of driving somewhere to start my ride. There is only a short section that puts me in contact with a lot of traffic, but I was too chicken to attempt it before. Now, I feel liberated!

Today, I want to get a swim in. Instead of driving to the pool, I'm going to bike there. It is about 10 miles away. No big deal, right? Now, I just have to get my hungover ass off the couch. Me thinks the 4th drink (2nd chocolate martini after having had a 16 oz. porter, glass of white wine and of course, the 1st chocolate martini) was a bad idea. : ) It was fun though!