Monday, December 29, 2008

Bread From the Sky

I woke up this morning to more snowfall and laughed out loud. It's beautiful and I do love it, I just can't believe it keeps on falling. I resigned to the fact that I'd be running on the treadmill this morning since it had rained the night before and it was probably pretty icy. But then I went out to get a coffee and drove by this guy running in the snow, falling all over the place and squinting because he could barely see. I said to myself "now that looks like fun" or maybe it was a little "if HE can do that then so can I!" So I bagged the treadmill and got suited up to run out in the snow. Here's how the hill looked when I started my run.

As I started to run, I realized that this was going to be a doozy. The snow was really falling and the snowflakes were huge! The only thing I can liken the snowflakes to is crusts of bread. But it was breathtaking. I ended up pulling my beanie over my eyes a bit just to keep the snowflakes from finding their way to my eyeballs. The downside to this plan wasn't only that I couldn't see but I looked like a total idiot. However, it was effective.

So I ended up running for an hour. The temperature was actually quite nice-right around 30 and there weren't too many cars out. It was interesting at times, trying to find my footing with all of the frozen ice under the snow but it was a fun challenge and WAY better than the treadmill.

Here's my feet as I stood on the porch after my run. My ankles were a little cold. Notice the chunks of snow tucked in between my shoes and pants.

I ended the day with a club trainer ride at the Thompson's house with friends and soup. Good stuff.

I am grateful for good friends and the peace that running brings. Who wants to run tomorrow?

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Shoes That Will Take Me Anywhere

It hasn't stopped snowing for days. Seriously. I've been getting the running done on the treadmill but I'm tired of staring at that little piece of spackle on the wall all the while trying to stay motivated. I love running but I hate the treadmill. So today, I ventured out into Narnia dodging clueless drivers and snowplows. When is it that it'll occur to the motorists out there that I'm not waving at them to be friendly, I'm waving so they will see me and maybe, just maybe move over a bit. One man made sure to wave back excitedly, all the while leaning on the wheel and actually steering towards me! I think he got close enough to see the terrified look on my face.

I ran through a neighborhood where the snow was so deep it was hard to get a forward motion going.......I came upon two cross country skiers and made sure my pace was faster than theirs-it was a close match but I was pleased to finally pass them and kick a little snow their was then that I realized they were elderly.

I'm not sure if this can be considered a workout. And at times, the dance I was doing out there couldn't quite be considered running but it felt good. I "ran" for an hour which was what I wanted to do.

I'm grateful for a beautiful place to run, the ability to do so and these shoes that will take me anywhere, even if at a granny pace.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

It's Christmas Eve, the boys are out sledding, I've got the turkey in the oven, presents are wrapped and laundry completely done. And I've already been on facebook three times today. Sans pictures, I thought I'd do a little post.

I've been considering changing the name of my blog since there will be so much more than triathlon to report on this year! I'm open to suggestions....

Since my disastrous 19 miler, I've been building up the running frequency to prepare for the track season which starts on January 5th. I am giddy with excitement for what is around the bend. I know my life will be changing drastically but I feel like a kid the night before Christmas. I get to go to college and learn. I get to run track and be coached.....and see what I'm really made of. I get to show the boys that an education is a gift to be treasured.

We've been rolling through the holidays at full speed and time seems to be flying by so fast I haven't had time to stop and think. I sold my fancy Volvo and bought a used Subaru. It's funny, it was such an economical step down but it felt like a step up to me. I am 35 years old and this is the first time in my life I have bought a car for myself. I love it!! I sat in the Subaru dealership in Post Falls, Idaho eating a snickers bar from the vending machine for dinner awaiting paperwork to sign. I felt an incredible sense of peace and happiness. There are moments I could cry. These waves of panic rush over me and I have to stop and focus on breathing. I have never experienced such a mixture of fear and excitement in my life....I guess jumping out of an airplane comes pretty close. There are such parallels to skydiving and the adventure that lies ahead for me. Sometimes in life, you don't know exactly how things are going to look or feel when they're flying by you at 120 miles an hour. But you must stay calm, weigh your options and make quick decisions because LIFE is not going to slow down for you. It is a huge leap of faith, one that I am willing to take and anxious to conquer. Honestly, I am at times terrified but continually find peace in the belief in myself and drive to see just what I'm capable of. It's a fun little game, I must admit.....this game of Life.

I am grateful for my boys, their unconditional love and ability to roll with the punches. I am grateful for the love of my family & friends who are always willing to remind me of their belief in me. And I am grateful for those of you who above everything else, can laugh with me and make me laugh. Life is so incredibly entertaining and humor is one of those things I hope I never lose sight of. Thank you. I promise to make it entertaining for all of you on the sidelines, God knows we all need something to laugh at....

Merry Christmas!! Hang tight, I can't wait to share what's next!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Elvis, 19 miles and some friendly EMT's....Viva Las Vegas!

I’ll begin with this: My intention for running a marathon was to experience running the distance before I did my first Ironman. In addition to that, my recent diagnosis of lupus encouraged me to temporarily simplify my training in an effort to get healthy yet still have a goal to work towards.

Being in the midst of many life changes and the stress of my current situation, it just wasn’t possible or realistic to get in the running volume I would have liked to. I accepted this knowing that I couldn’t expect my marathon result to be ideal nor did I deserve this. I have a tremendous amount of respect for those who put in the hours of training a marathon requires and execute a well thought out plan. I went into the marathon hoping for a decent result but knowing deep down inside, I didn’t do “the time” and therefore shouldn’t expect anything.

Laura and I arrived in Vegas early on Saturday afternoon. I have to say, I am not a fan of Vegas. Everything it represents is a striking opposition of what I seek out and enjoy. We found our hotel was so huge it was actually difficult to find our way outside for a pre-race run….and even when we found our way outside-where were we to run? Stoplight to stoplight? In addition to that, I found it to be incredibly excessive. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy nice things such as clean sheets of good quality, fresh food with good presentation, quality customer service, the convenience of internet connection…..I have a great appreciation for nice hotels. But I also enjoy being connected with the outside, smelling fresh air and exploring what a destination has to offer. What was so disturbing about Vegas is how much money is put into building these enormous structures as if to keep people in, locked up. And then to see the casinos filled with people parked behind slot machines staring at a screen, clicking a button, either not aware or not bothered by the fact they can’t even see through a window to the outside. I understand that different people find enjoyment in different activities, Las Vegas is a place that has little to offer me and incidentally, I have nothing to offer Vegas. I'm happy to report we enjoyed ourselves anyway.

We went to the pre-race pasta dinner expecting to see a small performance by some Cirque Du Soleil performers along with an Elvis Karaoke competition. To our dismay, the Cirque Du Soleil “performers” were standing around while we were in line to get our spaghetti but then left soon after. Laura and I got a good laugh at our stupidity and the entertainment we provided each other was worth the $35 a piece we paid for our spaghetti dinner. We turned in early after taking these pictures in front of the marathon sign. There were some girls taking pictures of each other in front of the sign so we asked if they’d take our picture. I’m not sure what I’m doing to the sign but I’m fully aware that I look like I’m humping it like a cocker spaniel.

This second shot is a keeper. After taking the “humping photo” I said to Laura (as the girls are standing there, my blackberry in hand, waiting for the next shot) “get under the sign”. She looked at me peculiarly and as I was getting situated on the floor under the sign, she was on all fours crawling underneath the sign. She was confused as to why I thought it’d be a good photo op but she generally follows my lead on these things-this was no exception. My face looks like it’s going to pop in this picture because she realized what I meant after she was "under" the sign and followed suit. I’m laughing so hard I can’t breath. Notice my eyes aren’t even open-my cheeks are taking them over.

We turned in early and woke up at 4:30am for a 6am marathon start. We made our way through the enormous hotel, following the heard of marathoners with sporadic Elvis look-a-likes scattered about. We found our way to the start line and were pleased that it was a nice morning, perfect running weather. The high for the day was going to be in the 60’s and it was in the high 40’s at the start. We wore disposable gloves that we could toss as it warmed up.

In the weeks before the marathon, I talked to a lot of people who have run marathons, trying to get a feel for how to run the darn thing. I have run enough half marathons in half irons and road races that I know within 1 or 2 beats, where my heartrate should be. But I lacked confidence in the full, both due to my lack of training as well as lack of experience. The consensus was, DON’T START TOO FAST! So I came up with a plan. I would keep my heart rate over 10 beats below my half marathon starting heartrate and re-evaluate at the halfway mark. Laura is an experienced marathoner but the rule is, when we go to races, we run our own race and if we end up together, that’s great. If not, see you at the finish.

From the time the gun went off, my body hurt. CRAP! When I started running I was reminded how that this was going to hurt. I hoped that once I ran a few miles, I’d get warmed up and feel a little more comfortable. I never felt “good” but I kept my heart rate consistently between 151-152 the entire first half. I ended up running it about 1:15 slower per mile than my half marathon pace so I felt that I was being very conservative, focusing more on heart rate than pace. As I passed through the halfway mark I remember thinking to myself “I’m half way done and I feel like I should be finishing”. I plugged along and started feeling a bit sick, getting hot and then feeling dizzy and nauseated. I took water in at every aid station and sipped on my water/gel mix but didn’t feel like I was absorbing anything… it wasn’t going anywhere.

By mile 15 I started to realize that things weren’t looking so good and my heart rate started to drop so I began walking through the aid stations and finally after mile 17, I succumbed to just straight walking. I have never walked in any race-not even through an aid station. I walked past an ambulance late in mile 17 and thought about stopping but it all seemed so dramatic so I plugged on hoping a walk would turn things around. It was somewhere between mile 18 & 19 that I began to get really cold and started staggering a bit (well this is awkward). I had these visions of dropping on the side-streets of Vegas and that didn’t sound so appealing. By the time I made it over to a police officer I was really shaking and felt very dizzy. He got me in his car and cranked up the heat and called the ambulance. So much for no drama. I asked him to tell them not to put the sirens on, this is humiliating enough. I have never DNF’d and to have sirens and an ambulance for running just shy of 19 miles in mild weather was more than I could handle. Once the ambulance got there and got me in the back, they couldn’t get a pulse on me because my body was shaking so severely. I told them to look at my watch-Timex gets it all! It was cool outside, in the 50’s but I consider that perfect running weather. They said I was white as a sheet and having difficulty regulating my body temperature and that I needed medical attention that they could not provide for me. This is where I drew the line. I knew if I could just get in a hot bath and down about 5 ibuprofen, I’d come around. My hands were so puffy and red, they couldn’t see my veins, it was the weirdest experience. They covered me in some wonderful hot packs and while we waited for my shuttle they made me sign a sheet that told me how I refused medical treatment, against their recommendation which could result in injury, death, blah blah blah. Standard cover-their-butt sheet. Which I understand. They were very nice and took good care of me. I just wanted to get back to my hotel room and get warm. Unless they were transporting me to the hospital, they couldn’t transport me anywhere. So we waited for my shuttle. If you could have seen this HUGE shuttle pull up….you would have laughed. I did. I had to walk around, covered in my heat packs and ambulance sheets as all of the runners passed by. As I sat there waiting to take off, just me and the driver, I watched all of the people go by. All of these people who worked so hard to get to this day and were executing their plan. Some running, some walking.....but they were doing it. I did not deserve to be classified with them-no matter how slow they were going. This was humbling. I was giving up for the first time in a race but there was just no possible way for me to walk 7 more miles being as cold and unsteady as I was and I just couldn’t get my body to run. I applaud each and every one of those people who crossed the finish line at the Vegas marathon. I am sad I wasn’t one of them and at this point, I’ve written off the marathon until I get more clarity on what went wrong.

Props to Laura for running a 3:44 on the uninspiring Vegas course. She really wanted to break 3:30 but still trudged on through the second half not feeling as good as she would have liked.

I had an appointment with my doctor on Tuesday and after going over all the details, the consensus was that the prednisone (to treat my lupus symptoms) I was on the two weeks before the marathon was the biggest culprit. The medication caused me to retain a ton of water and put my system way out of balance. I had a good 4 pounds of water weight on me which seemed to inhibit my ability to absorb fluids and calories and also caused me to have difficulty regulating my body temperature. I added that I'm sure it didn't help that I didn't put in the training necessary to run a marathon. He called it "the perfect storm". I think it was a disastrous storm..."perfect" doesn't belong.

Thanks to Laura for the sympathy and fun, I enjoyed her company and we managed to laugh a lot which makes everything better. Thanks also to all of you who texted, called and offered advice and support for me on my first marathon. I just wish I could have reported better results.

Now, it's on to getting myself ready for the track season. I'm going back to school at SCC and am running on the track team! It's okay, laugh out loud....I did. It's hilarious that I'll be running alongside girls I could have given birth to but I figure opportunities like this don't come along very often. I have never been coached as a runner and am excited to see what the coaches can do with an old lady like me. I have decided to bag Ironman this year. In addition to that, I am going to focus on getting settled as a single mom, student and employee. My plan is to just race locally in sprints and olympics while doing as many road races as I can. This is a huge relief of stress for me although this will be my first year in triathlon that I haven't raced nationally. I will miss racing the big ones like Oceanside, Wildflower, Honu and name a few. But it is clear to me that this is the best thing for my health and my boys. And I'm particularly excited about running track for SCC. For now, I'm going to enjoy the journey. Life is messy but I'm incredibly excited to see how this all unfolds.

Today I am grateful for the opportunities that seem to be placed in my lap like I ordered them. Right now, my life feels like a great big treasure hunt. Just when I think I'm totally lost and doomed, I turn around to see a great big treasure waiting just for me. Sometimes you just have to have faith in the journey.....and I am most grateful for this crazy journey called life.

Sunday, November 9, 2008


On this cold Sunday afternoon, I'm sitting in my warm house listening to the giggles of my boys downstairs. I just returned from a trail run with Laura. I can't help but be overwhelmed with a strong sense of gratitude. This post may be a little sappy for some but I thought I'd share.

The racing season is far as triathlons go. It was a season of growth, not in my ability but my spirit. I struggled through a string of disappointing performances and illness. I was finally diagnosed with Lupus a couple of months ago which helped explain why I got mono and why my body wasn't performing the way it "should have". I've probably had it for years but just experienced a "flair up" this Summer. I am taking medication, took some time off and recently started to experience a return to "normalcy" I know this is only temporary and I strongly believe I will be "back to normal" soon. I decided to bag doing the 70.3 World Championship this year and instead I'm training for my first marathon.

I'm embarking on a journey that will bring many changes. I will soon be a single mom, starting school full time and experiencing a huge change in lifestyle. But again, I can't help but feel incredibly grateful. There are so many things I am grateful for on a daily basis, the list is too long to recite. But I thought what I could do from here on out is at the end of each blog post, list one thing that I am grateful for on that particular day. I encourage you to do this as well. In times of stress and what seemed like impending doom, I have found unwavering strength in gratitude. It's amazing what can happen in one's life if they focus on the things that are going well rather than what's not going well. And I speak from experience.

Today, I slept in until 8:30. I am grateful for ibuprofen. I am grateful for sweet boys in pajamas in the morning. I am grateful that my boys still love kisses and snuggles (at least when their friends aren't around). I am grateful for my friend Laura. She showed up at my house at 11:30 and we went for a 2 hour trail run. It rained in the morning but by the time we went out, it was misty and surprisingly warm........and beautiful.

We grabbed some hikers to take our picture. I am grateful for a beautiful place to run and a friend to keep me company.

Here's me running in the enchanted forest. I am grateful for the ability to run, it is my medicine-even if I have to take medicine after I run right now :). I'd be way worse off to not run at all.

I am grateful for all of you, taking the time to read my blog and all the things I babble on about. Thank you for your comments, it's always fun to get a buzz on my blackberry telling me someone has commented. Even if I've never met you! And every day, I'm grateful for hugs. I LOVE hugs.

So, go ahead, try it. Just one thing a day.....I think you're going to find it's hard to pick just one thing.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Breaking into the Sewage Treatment Plant...and a little run

Amy and I met up at Audubon to do the "Sunday-Sundae" 10 mile route even though it was only Friday. It was a wet, dreary day. We headed out. About 20 minutes into our run, we came upon a road closure but I said, "ah-that's just for cars, let's keep going". So we ran around the road block but soon came to the "construction". The whole darn road was gone and there was a drop off to the water. Amy thought there'd be a trail down there somewhere and we could just pick up the road on the other side. So, we gingerly got down the hillside and ventured out on somewhat of a dirt trail.....but soon that trail turned into more river rocks, less trail....then we came to rushing water seperating us from the trail we could now see on the other side.
Waterfall ahead, chainlink fence to our right, river rushing to our left or turn around and go back the way we came. I voted, well, more like "convinced" Amy we were going to hop the fence and run through the Sewage Treatment Plant. Then Amy tells me she's never climbed a fence before. What? Blackbelt in Karateeee...and you've never climbed a fence? Just to give you a little background on Amy, she makes me look like a heavyweight. I could have chucked her over the fence with one arm. But, a seasoned marathoner nonetheless. So here's Amy, climbing her first fence (man, I love my crackberry-never miss a moment). I climbed it first to show her how it's done and of course to snap the pic.

Running through the sewage treatment plant was a real treat. Here I am being "sneaky". I think I wore my best B&E outfit.

We were soaked and tired but made it back. I shivered all the way home.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Placement Testing and Beyond

I'm going to start out by saying this post has nothing to do with triathlon.....but this blog is about my life so I thought I'd share today's events.

I have decided to go back to school. I never got a 4 year degree nor have I worked since my oldest was born (almost 11 years ago). I plan to get a BA in nursing. To do that, I've got at least 4 years ahead of me. I haven't had a math class since 1992.

I went to the community college today to take the placement testing. I was a little nervous but decided that it's better to just go and get tested rather than try to "brush up" on my math skills that honestly weren't there to begin with.

I got into the testing room and learned quickly that you're supposed to talk in a "whisper"....for those of you who know me, and my son Hayden, we have some issues with volume control. So I decided unless I REALLY needed help, it was better to just keep my mouth closed.

I started with reading and writing and that was easy. No issues there. Maybe this math part won't be so hard! It could just all come pouring back to me. Always the optimist. Second question in.....why do they always throw that "x" in there? and then square it? Those parenthesis make everything so complicated. And what's [this]? So, some of the questions, I just went for the one that I had a good feeling about. Other's I was able to answer-not exactly confident it was the correct answer but what I came up with was one of the choices so that was good enough for me. Yes folks, this was a multiple choice test. All in all, I didn't feel terrible about the test. I mean, I haven't taken a math class in 16 years-what did I expect?

Once the I completed the assessment, I raised my hand. See? I catch on quick. The gal in charge came over after printing out my results. As she walked toward me, I thought she might say "honey, you may want to check with the highschool". She didn't, she just said, "now I'm going to have you watch a math video". I'm thinking "do they think the concept of math classes will be so difficult that I need to watch a video to explain?" I was so focused on the fact that I had to watch a math video for "special people" it didn't even occur to me how gross the headphones were....until after. ewe.

I started watching the 12 minute video and felt the giggles coming on. I'm sitting there, knowing that I completely bombed this math assessment and at the same time, finding great humor in the fact that I had to now watch a math video because of it! And then trying not to be obvious about looking around the room to see what other dumb-asses had headphones on. The video ended up just talking about the different math courses available and all the different possibilities for placement. A pamphlet would have been sufficient-even for me. The lowest a person could place would be math 090. From there, it went to math 91 and on up. The good news is, I didn't place in math 090. The bad news is, I placed in math 091. DOH!

All in all, I learned that I'm going to need a few "math refresher" courses. No big surprise.

Tomorrow's another day. Now I'm looking for a job. Anyone?

Monday, November 3, 2008

A headcold, 20 miles with Laura, An ice bath and Lasagna

I woke up Sunday morning with some kind of crazy head-cold. I'll spare ya'all the details. It's gross though. Laura brought her daughter Kellie over to sit with the boys while we headed out on a 20 mile run. Lately, I've hit a lot of milestones with Laura by my side. I ran 16 for the first time with her, then 18 and now 20. I have to say, running for this long is torture for me, I enjoy triathlon training a lot more than just straight distance running. But I do understand with Ironman training I'm going to have to do it all.....sigh. Every time Laura and I go on long runs I remind her of how much I appreciate her running with me. One of these times, I need to count how many times I say it during the course of one run. Props to all of you out there who have trained for a marathon by yourself.

Laura and I are running the Vegas marathon in December so it makes sense to train together-not to mention, it's WAY more fun. She mapped our run but forgot to check elevation so the first half of our loop was climb after climb but it was beautiful. I had my phone with me so we snapped a few shots of just how picturesque it is to run 20 miles in Spokane. Every time I go out for a ride or a run, I am reminded of how lucky I am to live and train in such a beautiful place.

Here's me:

And Laura:

After having a long discussion about dog attacks, we were chased by Cujo. On the "to do" list for this week-buy mace. Someone got some good entertainment watching Laura and I trying to scare a dog that weighed as much as the two of us put together. I felt like a bad-ass chihuahua. Or as Hayden would say "chu-chuwawa".

We got back, soaked in ice baths and then headed out looking like bag ladies for some hot lunch. I had hot cocoa and lasagna-nice combo. I'm staying inside today, lookin pretty scary but I don't want to share this illness with anyone. Brutal. Tomorrow is another day.

Monday, August 25, 2008

I've got stories.......

I've got a lot of updating to do....back from mono, ramping up training....not to mention what I've been doing this past month. But this was the pinnacle. Shelby and I headed over to Seattle this past weekend to visit my brother. The tradition is, we play a game of pick up soccer every time we visit. We decided this time to take it up a notch. And oh, how we did. We were 80's from head to toe and played soccer like this. Chris had to claim us.

I was pleasantly surprised to learn that sweat-bands actually do work, zink-pink lipstick works like sunscreen for your lips, legwarmers can double as shin-guards and when your ass is hanging out of short-shorts, you actually have great range of motion with no chaffing! Who knew?

More to come......

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Mono Lockdown Day #7

As I sit here, at 10:30 at night, eating two "organic, frosted toaster pastries"(code name for pop-tart) while washing it down with skim milk glass #2, I wonder where my wheat-free, dairy free diet has gone. It's late, I'm hungry and Laura wants the black bikini. I'm such a good friend.

Anywho......I thought I'd share just what mono lockdown looks like these days. This would be day #7. Here Tanya and I are (in her and Sam's backyard), and pretty much where we were parked the entire day. My ass is burnt-yours? Tanya did get up a bit here and there to change a diaper, get me food or grab the camera because I forgot mine.

The only time I did get up was to pee or get in the water to cool off. After reading that last line, I realized I could have killed two birds with one stone. I'm all about being the efficient lazy person, can't let my OCD skills go to waste in this time of rest. Something to ponder on if they invite me back.....maybe not after that comment.

Anyway, once we got in the water, we decided it'd be fun to wear goggles. The next thing we knew, we were practicing flip turns. We'd do a few, lay on our chairs, get hot and get back in. One of the times I was parked on the chair, Tanya went and got their under-water camera. This is me in the photo below, can't say how good that one turned out. The challenge was to not show crack while doing a flip turn in a bikini that's not real tight. I don't think I did one without my suit coming down. It's also quite difficult to do freestyle without a swim cap. Kind of like swimming with seaweed on your shoulders.

The last day before lockdown, we worked on flip turns at Masters. That was 8 days ago. I thought I'd share my wisdom with Tanya. Here's her butt hitting the wall......she definitely got close enough! Notice that her feet are square on the wall.

And the push off. All I can look at is her hot bod is & how cute her suit is. Who cares that she's 3ft below the surface of the water?

Here's another attempt from me. And by the way, I got my suit at "Swank" on the northside. Ed Hardy. It was a gift to myself in celebration of my new body that will be healthy inside and lumpy on the outside, all in a months time!

We finally roped Sam to get in with us. He showed us a few flip turns but seemed to leave those pictures out when he emailed me these. The only picture he did email was one that I can't put on here because his wife was taking it and it was rather crude. SHOCKER.

So far, I'm loving lockdown and so are my kids. Tomorrow is a whole new day! My ass is kind of burnt. Did I say that already? I guess I'll work on my front-side tomorrow.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Lake Stevens and the "lockdown" that followed.

When I got back from Lake Stevens, I started writing yet another race report. All I could come up with was how perplexed I was with another disappointing performance. I did everything right, got in the calories on the bike and kept my inhaler on me through the whole race but still, it went like this:

Swim: 39:12 (what? that's 2 minutes slower than my first half of the season and 4 minutes slower than my wildflower swim) Also, this was 1 min slower than my swim last year at LS when I wasn't busting my butt 5 days a week in the pool! I know swim courses can be "off" but come on......

Bike: 3:03:28 (same as my Wildflower bike time and WF is a MUCH tougher course....not to mention, I was coming down with the flu in WF) 9 minutes slower than my LS bike time last year and 6 minutes slower than 2006 which was my first half ever and my 3rd triathlon.

Run: 1:48:02 (well, this is 1 minute slower than the Honu run which is a MUCH tougher run course and also 1 minute slower than my run last year at LS).

Here I am finishing with Tabor. The highlight of the day. I was so happy to be done but dreading having to face everyone and once again try to explain what happened without sounding like an "excuse maker". The truth is, I was out of answers. I didn't know why. Even though it was a crappy race, it was really fun to share the finishing chute with Tabor. Hayden declined.

Across the board, I was slower than last year. My total time was 5:33:53. Last year I did a 5:22 and change. I needed to lay that all those times out so ya'll don't just think I was reaching for the stars and didn't reach some random time goal I plucked from the sky.

For once in my life, I was speechless. Is this it? Am I just getting old and now I'm going to continue getting slower? There was a saving grace here.....a huge diamond in the rough and that was that I did get a roll down slot for Clearwater. Mission accomplished. But still I just couldn't figure it out.

We got home late Sunday night, the drive home was miserable. My body ached and I was extremely sore.....I don't usually feel so sore so quick after a race. And this was full body, achey sore. Monday, I went for a swim and my times were unbelievably slower than I had been swimming just two months ago. My pace was 12-14 seconds slower per 100. My times in the pool have continually gotten slower since Wildflower. I knew something was wrong-but what? I wasn't anemic, that already came back normal.

I went back to the doctor on Tuesday to get the last of my lab results because some had come back "abnormal" so we needed to go over them. I had gone to him a few days after my disastrous race at Blue Lake and he ordered every blood test he could think of. I went back this past Tuesday and he walked in, sat down and said "you have Mono". WHAT? Are you freakin' kidding me? Who gets mono? I thought teenagers got mono. I'm 35! How did I get this? He said I could have taken a drink out of someone's pop can. I don't drink pop. Okay, someone's water bottle. So, how do we treat this? His answer hit me like a ton of bricks. "You're going to have to take some time off". Oh, like scale way back-no racing, no half irons for a while? "no, like you can't exercise AT ALL for at least a month. We will retest then and see what your results are". I wanted to cry right there, I was doing everything I could not to fall apart. But all these thoughts were going through my head....I can't do Tiger Tri! I can't do Coeur D alene. I'm gonna get fat. I'm going to lose all my fitness. My season is ruined. PZ (doc) talked me through it, he was very understanding and helped me realize that I didn't just come down with a few weeks ago, I've had it since April or May. That does explain a lot. And then, I started to feel better. This is why:

  • After taking a month off and recovering from mono, I am going to be no slower than I am right now.
  • I have a month in the middle of summer to play with my boys, lay by the pool in the sun and relax.
  • I can put more time into planning the Kids Triathlon which I'm very excited about
  • I am writing a cookbook and this gives me more time to cook and make up more recipes
  • I've been really perplexed and confused about my performance, I finally have an answer...and it's not that I'm crazy or that I've reached my peak.
  • I am encouraged to rest by the thought of the first time I get to run again.....just how much I'm going to appreciate the ability to run and how good it's going to feel.
The truth is, I've been feeling so warn out, so frustrated and tired lately. I've felt a lot of guilt for feeling tired because everyone around me has such busy lives (most of them HAVE jobs) and they handle it just fine. I've been able to let go of that and come to terms with the fact that I'm sick. My body is sick, tired and worn down and I just need to take care of it. I'm glad I was able to recognize (only took a couple of months) that something was wrong and get it figured out.

I've always felt very appreciative of my body.....healthy, strong and all in one piece. This hiatus is going to magnify that appreciation. I hope it does for you too, even though you don't need to take the time off. To be able to physically challenge our bodies on a daily basis and pay no more than some tired feet and a good nights sleep is a gift. I am looking forward to getting back in the game but for now, I'll just rest.......and walk the dog until August (at least). Today happens to be day #2 on "mono lockdown".

I am going to do a separate post on all of the fun over the weekend. I got to hang out with Cody, the boys and my parents for a couple days in Bellingham and then come over to Lake Stevens to hang w/the Tri-Fusion crew. The race was the only downer and even Tim, Andy, Trish and Nat made that fun by cheering and making signs. Cody, the boys and my parents were also out there cheering and it was the first time my mom has watched me race.

I've got pictures to post and lots to say. It deserves it's own post though. Coming soon......

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Highlights of our weekend in Portland

Friday evening, we headed off to Portland. After many relentless attempts at getting Kelli & Laura to learn the words to my new favorite song (wadsyaname by Nelly), I finally gave up only to find myself laughing so hard I couldn't breath....and I just MIGHT have peed my pants-jury is still out on what actually qualifies as "peeing your pants". I'll leave it at that.

We got into our lovely accommodations only to be "shushed" by the hotel manager. Shocker, I know. Kelli parked the car, Laura took their two bikes up to the room (this was quite a feat for Laura to get two bikes moving in the same direction at the same time). My job was to get this luggage rack and my bike into the elevator and up to the third floor. Let me tell you folks, it looks a lot easier than it was. There was an art to getting my bike in the elevator and then the luggage rack without the door closing on me. After getting the evil eye from the hotel manager (because now I was laughing all by myself), Kelli saved me and helped with my tasks. I had to shush her so we wouldn't get three strikes against us and kicked out of The Sleep Inn so early in our stay.

We woke up bright and early the next morning to head out and cheer on our friends racing in the sprint. We loaded up our gear so we could get a little training in while we were there. After loading up, I chucked my keys up on the drivers seat and closed the back of the car. We all went to get in.....and um, the car was locked. WHAT? I have such incredible luck that when I threw the keys, they landed "just so" that the lock button successfully was pressed and therefor locked us out of the car. An hour later, AAA arrived and our buddy broke us in. All I gotta say is good thing it happened that day. Sad to say, we missed the swim start but were able to cheer Tim & Andy on and see their finishes.

Foof! Here' s Kelli & Laura in their cheering positions.

We headed out for a little pre-race ride and Steve got a flat. He changed it in 6 1/2 minutes....which is a lot faster than my flat change in Hawaii. We got out of helping him change it by convincing him that it's good race practice and that we should time him. Worked like a charm and he changed it fairly fast so we didn't have to wait around long. ;)

Laura busting some kind of dance moves. I wasn't the ONLY one dancing. Love the "sash" prop.

After we got some training in we headed out in search of a pre-race pedicure. If you don't like feet, skip these photos. Here's mine:


and Laura's:

Here's me with my own gang-sign. This was adapted the day before when we were in the car driving and Kelli was taking my picture and I turned to her while driving and put three fingers up instead of the more common "rocker" sign (I must admit, this was not intentional, I just don't know my signs). This was one of the many causes of the rumored, peed-in-pants and now it is "my sign".

Kelli & Laura getting pedicures. What-no gang signs?

Me & Laura at dinner the night before the race.

The weekend Crew. Me, Laura & Kelli. Good times, good times.

We headed back to the hotel to get jammies on, read our important pre-race material (People, US and OK magazine) and eat some cereal. Here are Laura and Kelli eating their dainty bowls of cereal before bed.

Maybe I didn't get enough to eat at dinner. And yes, I did consume that entire bowl of cereal with the exception of the soggy bits at the bottom. In this case, my eyes were not bigger than my stomach. I wish I could say they were.

Photo documentation of the peeing-in-pants/bed.

After getting Tiffany to sign a waiver, I helped attach her aero-bottle and Trish was a pro with the velcro placement. What'd you need me for??? Here's Tiffany with her big mouth and Trish with her strong thighs. What a team these gals make!

Yes, my race number really was #69. Where's the content of my blog headed? I only report the facts.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Blue Lake Club Championship

This was such an incredibly FUN weekend filled with a lot of laughter and a small helping of disappointment. I think the highlight of race day was Laura and I, hiding in the car after the race, laughing and crying simultaneously (it is possible). Crying because we both had less than stellar performances and laughing because-why are we crying? Seriously, pull it together. Not to mention the fact that we were sweaty with crusty noses, matted hair, snot on our shoulders (our aim on those snot rockets still hasn't been perfected) and puffy eyes. We got it out of our systems, were able to laugh at how lame we were and then get over it and move on. My husband left a note in my luggage before I left because I had a rough week and training didn't go so well. The irony is that I didn't find the note until AFTER the race, on the way home. I came to the club championship really excited to represent our team and hopefully contribute. I came away feeling like I let the team down with my poor performance. I do understand that regardless of how I performed, I added value to the team by being there and for that, I am grateful. The quote (by Michael Jordan) that Cody included was so appropriate for the situation (even though he had no idea what the weekend would have in store for me), I thought I'd share:

"I've missed over 9,000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times I've been trusted to take the game winning shot....and missed. I've failed over and over again in my life. And, that is why I succeed".
Michael Jordan

It's good to know that all this failure will somehow turn into success. I'm just hoping it happens before my body falls apart. So, I will continue to work on failing so that I can succeed. I think I've perfected the failure thing and I'm kind of bored with it but I'll listen to Michael Jordan since he's pretty good at what he does. Once again, I will work towards a solid race next time. Speaking of solid races, there were SO MANY great performances this weekend. Numerous PR's and firsts......I have to give a shout out to my friends who went above and beyond in so many ways.

Here's just part of our club after the race on Sunday.

Laura: my girl....I know you are frustrated with your swim. Way to keep your chin up and celebrate everyone else's victory. We'll get that swim figured out. And, it's summer now so you can really focus on your training. Man, we did have fun though-didn't we?!
Kelli: OHMYGOD! I am so excited for you! What an incredible PR! 20 minutes???? You had an amazing race. I can't wait to cheer you on in CDA! Thanks for all the laughter this weekend, it was really nice to have girl time with you. Haven't laughed that hard in a while.
Jessi: you kicked BUTT! I still am trying to remove this foot print from my ass. Way to push through little sleep AND a big ol' butt cramp.
Steve: my SUPERSTAHHH team mate, NICE, fast, solid race. You represented for the both of us!
Tiffany: way to not only 'survive' your first olympic race but you ROCKED! It was probably the aero-bottle set-up for sure.
Roger: what can I say? You won another's exciting to see how you are consistently winning EVERYTHING....
A-Dawg: Another great performance....wished I could have spent more time with you. Thanks for being there for me after the race ;)
Eve: Well, it's one for me and one BIG one for you. WOW!! You are insanely fast. I'm so happy you had such a great race. On to Lake Stevens now.
Aaron: I still want to hear how your race went.....loved seeing you there.
Ben: Awesome job on another rockin' race.....I'm looking forward to seeing what you do at IM CDA! You're SO talented.
Tim: It was so fun to watch you kill that sprint distance & get 2nd AG!!! Incredible!
Andrea: First duathlon and 2nd in your AG!! WHAT? Way to stay in your aero bars and rock those new pedals.
Dori: Thanks for coming out to represent our masters even though you're injured and you had to change your weekend around. We are so grateful!!! Thanks also for letting me kidnap you off to dinner with us. It was nice to get to know you a little.
Tia & Steve Rupe: Great job to both of you....thanks also for the Starbucks run when our keys were locked in the car ;) Also, I know you had a sick kiddo which makes everything more challenging and stressful.
Heather Flowers: I know it was a challenging day for you but you made the club proud. Thank you for your sacrifices.
Virginia: AWESOME job! Way to represent the club!
Kirk W-G: You consistently amaze me with your drive and're such an asset to the club. Thanks for working through your injury to be there.
Martin: You old pro, once again-you make the team proud.
Matt: Way to work through stomach issues and still have a great race.
Jay & Michelle: Thanks to both of you for being such team players! You are SO appreciated!
G-man: Way to rock the race and WOW-what a great run. Jeesh! Can't wait to see what you do at Lake Stevens
Sheena: WORD! way to represent!
Mark & Daryce: You guys are a hoot to be around.....and your great attitudes are infectious!
Matt Taylor: You Da-man!

Thanks to Scott Ward, Dave & Tasha Gordon & Jon Moen for coming and racing for the club. I didn't get a chance to talk with you but I know you were there.....

A special thanks to Trish Cudney, Jen Snyder, Jessie Cusack, Andrea Swanson, Eric Byrd and anyone else that was cheering out there. Even though I looked rough on the run, I really appreciated you yelling loud and I know everyone else did too! You went above and beyond to support the club!

I will have to do a whole separate post on the adventures of our weekend. Good times, good times. Below are just a few photos of some of the above mentioned people.

Tim & Andrea Swanson after the sprint on Saturday. They both placed 2nd in their AG!

There were some good tunes playing at the sprint on Saturday so of course a girl has to dance! Steve took this shot of me (& many others) rockin' to the tunes by the porta-potty. I think I'm a bad-ass but really, we all know I'm a total dork.

Me, Kelli, Laura, Michelle, Jay, Tim & Steve in the the sprint on Saturday.

Jay & Michelle Huskinson. Michelle walked the olympic run to finish....and represent the club.

Tiffany & Trish. With my wealth of bike tech knowledge & skill (NOT!), I helped Tiffany set up her aero-bottle the night before the race. This was VERY entertaining to say the least. Trish-your thighs are very strong ;)

Tiffany & Eric Byrd. Tiffany raced her first olympic and Eric was her cheerleader....awe.

The clan at dinner the night before the olympic race. Sheena, Jen, Trish, Laura, Kelli, Dori (behind Tiffany's head), Tiffany & Eric.

Daryce, Kelli, Dori & Laura

Matt & Jessie Cusack, Michelle, Virginia, Jay, Jessa & Ben Greenfield.

Me, Laura & Kelli. The weekend crew. This is the most composed we were all weekend. More on that in the next post.

Trish and I.

At the race, Jessi getting her well-deserved AG award.

Steve (team superstahhh) & I at lunch after the race. Won't explain, you just had to be there.

More in the next post about the weekend with Laura and Kelli.....Thanks girls for making it so memorable. Can't wait for our next adventure!!