Thursday, June 25, 2009

Power Walking has it's possibilities.....

Tonite I had a nice recovery run scheduled. Nothing too fast, too far, too long. I was too excited about my new business cards coming in that I packed a few of them in a plastic ziploc baggie and ran to my parents house.

(ps. there is no such thing as a short visit, or a run in-run out, at my parents house no matter HOW hard I try)

So after about a half hour of chit chatting with Mom, I made my way to the door, BUT NOT BEFORE SHE POINTED OUT THE APPLE PIE on the stove. Well shoot. So I cut a little sliver and put it on a napkin and pretty much licked the napkin clean. Or maybe I ate that too? I chugged a glass of water to wash it down, called it 'recovery food' and or dinner, and left the house. Running didn't seem like such a good idea with that fresh in my gut so I started walking really fast to see if I would get a cramp.

No cramp, and I was able to walk pretty fast. I toyed with the idea of bending my arms up like a real 'race walker' and gradually I think they just naturally were guided up near my chest. I began pumping my arms and leaning forward, engaging my core muscles.. YES, CONSCIOUSLY. It actually felt reeeally good.

My heart rate began to rise. My stride lengthened. I could feel the muscles in my shins burning and my glutes were engaged with each push off forward. Hmm.. I think this may be something to add to my training program. If I can 'race walk' for an hour each week at this intensity, it will lessen the impact on my joints in my knees and hips, lower the pain scale in my feet and provide another alternative to running while keeping my cardio up with out the stress to my system left from the pounding of miles on the pavement.

If I can develop this same pace for a longer duration for Ironman, I may actually be able to sustain a forward motion for the marathon! It felt SOO GOOD. I may have looked like a geek out there, but after a while, I didn't care. (plus it was getting dark so I really didn't care. not like I would have cared much anyway.)

When I got home, I noticed that I still burned a ton of calories, used a lot of muscles in my legs although a bit differently, got my heartate up, and still took on quite a few miles, easily with out wanting to cut my feet off at the .. well.. the foot.

Why don't more people incorporate some sort of fast pace walking into their training programs. I think it would be a great benefit to everyone. You could even use it as a recovery day lessening the stress to the muscular system but still maintaining fitness.


I was also 'walking' as fast as the person next to me was running up these hills... maybe even faster...


(although I'm sure Maury's outfit will be much cuter than mine)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Effingham-THE EFFING WORST RACE-My story of Survival!

Effingham Illinois. Funny name to people. Also can be used as an adjective. Especially after the 70.3 triathlon race this past Father's Day weekend.

June 20, 2009.

My roommate Tom was going to compete in his first Half Ironman ever and was pretty excited, despite some painful body parts preventing him from training as he would have liked. "Effingham" was my first 70.3 last year also and I wanted to go back and better my time on the same course. We were both pretty excited as we loaded up the car on Saturday and started our 2 hour trip to... EFFINGHAM!

The drive down was fairly uneventful. Both bikes remained on the rack, no accidents happened, no one won the lottery. Just a normal, noisy, 2 hour drive in my Jeep with no music. We arrived at our hotel and waited a few minutes until our room was ready for check in and while in the lobby met two other competitors, Jay and Dale who were also waiting for their room. We discussed training, and events and found out that we were all doing Ironman Louisville this coming August. Rooms were ready, we got set up and headed out to the beach site for a quick swim, packet pick up and to drive the bike course.

When we got to the beach we ran into a few other athletes from St. Louis and talked about how warm the water was. 80plus degrees would not allow for the swim to be wet suit legal. Some were bummed, but it didn't bother me much since it would be just one more thing to slow my transition time down. Tom and I jumped in the lake and were totally discusted by how much seaweed there was. It wasn't like the slimy sticky seaweed either. It was like a flippin strangulation rope, and it was EVERYWHERE! It grabbed ahold of your neck, arms, legs! It was relentless! That part, I did NOT like. I MEAN.. HOW WOULD I KNOW IF IT WAS SEAWEED OR A SNAKE?....ewwwww. When we got out of the water, Tom even had a piece stuck between his toes that wouldn't shake loose.

We got in line to pick up our packets and overheard some of the event staff discussing the road conditions on a few miles of the bike course. They had blown up a big map of the course and had it largly noted.. GRAVEL for a large stretch of the course. I took a picture of this so when we went to drive the course, we would have a map. The guys from Terra Haute IN, our neighbors from the hotel were there and we all discussed going to dinner together. We made plans with another few friends and included them in our dinner party then set out to drive the bike course before dinner. HOLLLLEY MOLEY was the pavement in bad condition. Tom and I were kind of shocked when they just put GRAVEL on the map instead of BRING 6 TUBES AND YOUR MOUNTAIN BIKE for this course. Not only was it gravely for a looong stretch, but the pavement itself was cracked and bubbling with tar and crumbly and uneven.... and ATE UP. ( I said that for my mom's benefit because she thought I meant to say Eaten Up... silly English teach.. doesn't she know slang?)

When we were driving the bike course we had my back window rolled up and behind us came this man, with a mullet, on his 4 wheeler keeping up with our 55mph pace. It looked like one of the scenes in a Terminator movie when he comes up behind you and has this total evil-like posture and glare in his eyes like he is 'gonna get you'. It was hilarious-kinda and I swear that lil machine he was on could go 70mph. We snapped a pix of him and then let him pass us as he waved. This guy was FRRRIED. It seemed he was in the sun ALLLL day on that thing becasuse his poor back looked like the Hollywood red carpet.

Back at the hotel we gathered our group of 8 and headed to dinner. Right after we got there, the darkest clouds came over and I sank in my seat. I had left my jeep window rolled up and everything would get SOOOAKED. One of our 'neighbors' agreed to take me back to the hotel so I could rainproof everything. (that was so nice)

Dinner was fun and lots of training stories exchanged. We made some new friends and that is always a good time! It was just about everyone's first Half Iron distance tri and it was really neat to see the encouragement and comraderie that was already forming with our little group. Tomorrow on the race course, we would all have cheerleaders to high five us and 'way to go' us as we competed.

After dinner, we went back to the hotel, cleaned up our bikes, got our transition bags all ready, checked swim wave times and water temperature ONE LAST TIME, and went to sleep.

JUNE 21 2009:
The alarm went off at 4:30am and I couldnt figure out how to turn it off and was fumbling with it for about a minute until I just started hitting everything.. literally. Then our wake up call came right after that. There was no hitting snooze now. We were up! I opened the door and looked outside and saw rain.. booo. This was going to be another race in the rain?? Boooo! Last year it poured! It POURED on the marathon. I guess I was used to racing in the rain eh? Fortunately it was just stopping and the sun started to come out soon after breakfast and dry everything up. Tom and I filled our bellies as much as we could and loaded up the car and headed to Lake Sara for the EFFING-WORST-RACE. I mean, Effingham 70.3.

I was trying out a new one piece tri suit this race and had it only pulled up half way with a tee shirt on so after I got body marked I would pull it up the rest of the way and get ready. Well what I forgot was, this thing had a kind of shelf bra that now was behind me and I had to pull it somehow over my head an over the front where it needed to be. In doing that, (with assistance of a girl nearby) I smudged the permanent marker used for body marking alllll over the front of this light aqua colored tri suit. Now streaked with black marker. Wonderful.

We snapped a few pix before the start and headed down to the beach for the pre race meeting. Hugs were exchanged and since I was in the first swim wave, I made my way down knee deep in the water and ... THE GUN WAS OFF. Man there were some fast swimmers in my heat!!! The swim is two loops where you have to exit the beach, run around a bouy and yell out your number, do a Baywatch dive back into the water and start swimming for your second loop. I hated this. When I exited the water I was so tippy from just going from horizontal to vertical. I felt like a drunk girl running on the beach. My second loop took a while to get my heart rate under control and I guess I dove right into a seaweed patch because I had to stop at one point and remove it from around my neck. On the back side of the bouy's on the way back to the beach, I felt my hand on somthing hard and kind of big. I kind of shuddered because it was either a big log, or a body and I said as much to the race official as I exited the water. GROSS.

Swim down.. a few minutes slower than what I had planned.. but no worries. I still felt pretty darn good. I had a decent transition, not great, but not bad. And made my way out to the bike. 2nd girl. Whoo Hoo. I'll take that. I passed one girl out on the bike fairly early, but then was passed by 2 more. So I was 3rd girl. At mile 15 the road came to a T and up ahead running from left to right was a herd of horses that were quickly galloping as if it were a stampeed. I had time to count them all. 15, and the 13th one was a baby colt. I looked around.. no one was around me to share this moment with. But it was truely a gift from God. How cool was that. mile 15. 15 horses.. hey.. horse power.. gotta get goin I cruised on. I was feeling pretty darn good about my bike and was probably holding about an 18-19mph average surprisingly. I wasn't having trouble on the hills and was keeping my cadence up. I was on track to break 3 hours on the bike.

UNTIL MILE 50. The fast boys all passed me.. and I was keeping a good enough pace to stay ahead of the rest of the girls so for the most part, I was riding alone. The other two girls sped off ahead of me and were no where in sight. I came to an intersection and there were no course official around anymore. There was a blue arrow in the road pointing to the left.. so I turned. I flew down this hill and as I climbed the other side of it, something didn't seem quite right. Things didn't look so familiar and I instantly had a sinking feeling I was in the wrong place. I slowed down and waited a bit to see if anyone came up behind me. No one. I debated pressing on and thought I should so I went forward a while longer.. and then decided on turning back. I must have missed the turn somewhere. So I backtracked back down, then up a hill and turned left at the first street. That INSTANTLY didn't look right. OH CRAP! Where the heck am I? A few cars passed me and I looked probably like I was going to cry. I was almost at a stop and I just about panicked. I had no idea where I was. What if I was out there for 4 hours? What if I got a flat. Was I totally off course? Where did I go wrong? What should I do? I almost chocked up some tears but quickly pushed them down and pulled myself together. I turned back to where I turned at that blue arrow and as I went back up the hill I 'flew' down, I saw a bunch of cyclist . Phew.. I found the route again.. BUT DANGIT.. THEY WERE ALL GIRLS.. ALL OF THE GIRLS I WAS AHEAD OF.. AND NOW IM SO STINKIN FAR BEHIND THEM!!! NOOOOOOOO!!!! I had moments that I thought, 'just great.. my race is totally over.. this is so bad.. I'm probably totally dead last now.' Then I thought.. 'hey, what if I had a flat.. I would STILL be out there changing it. Keep going! Don't give up." Then I saw my RIP, L.N. on my hand and I got kinda teary and emotional and cranked my lil arse into gear. I WAS going to pass at least ONE of those girls now. I had 6?..well?.. I dunno.. how many miles I had to go? I had glanced at my watch just before I had turned and noticed that about 10 minutes had passed. I had to make up 10 minutes. GRRRRRRRRRRRR

Back in transition I saw my friends who were cheering me on from the sidelines and I yelled over to them what had happened. They tried their best to keep my spirits up but I was just so dissapointed by that point. Part of me really wanted to give up at that point, but then fortunately the real competitor in me took over. That would have been so unsportsmanlike to quit. I'm not a quitter. Shit happens and it's all about how you deal with it. So I told myself to DEAL WITH IT.. SUCK IT UP, AND GO RUN... damnit!

When I started running I just couldnt let go of my anger about the bike and it showed. My energy level depleted and I found myself walking fairly early on. Man.. and it was HOT. I just started to notice how stinkin hot it was. On the bike there were a few spots on the road where the tar was melting on my tire and the gravel stuck to it. But now on the run route, the same thing was happening to my shoes. OH MY GOSH WAS IT HOT. I'm going to need water stat! Fortunately, they had aid stations at every mile. Unfortunately, they ran out of water and only had hot gatorade. I sooo don't like gatorade. During the first loop of the 2 loop, 6 mile run, I noticed many people suffering badly. So many were red faced, breathing heavily, and more people than not, were walking. There was ABSOLUTELY NO shade on this run course and the pavement was melting the rubber on your shoes. In addition to that, the tar on this gravel road was seeping through and sticking to everyone's feet. You could hear the sticky sound of everyones shoes as they ran or walked by. People literally looked like DEATH OUT THERE. The ambulance sped passed me around mile 2 apparently with someone in it who had gotten pretty sick.

Mile 3 was my savior. They had ICE. And SPONGES. I grabbed 4 cold sponges and put two down my chest, and two under each shoulder strap. Grabbed a cup of ice and started back. THANK GOD! I felt a little better by the cold water and ice and started running comfortably again. Mile 4, I ran into a guy we had met the nite before who was not doing so well at all. I gave him two of my sponges and got a cup of ice at that aid station and poured it on his head. He said he was cramping each time he started to run. I felt so bad for him. Man.. this was not a race to be won today. This was a race to SURVIVE. I started to change my attitude about the event today, and decided to just take it one mile at a time, and if I felt good, keep running, if I felt bad.. take a break and walk. Apparently only 1 in 5 people were even starting a second loop on the run. WOW.. and someone said the heat index was 110. GEEEEESH!

Mile 6 was a loop around the transition area and I was going to try to force myself to pee at the only bathroom on the run course. I don't think I have ever tried so hard to pee before. But luckily I did.. kinda. Kinda made me feel better. My friend Leslie gave me a few water bottles with cold water that she brought and I chugged one of them and she filled the second one up and gave it to me to take with me on the run. I didn't know how I would do on another 6 miles in the 100degree heat with no water. I walked with her a while, or she walked with me until I cooled myself down enough to start running again.

Something happened that second lap. I felt really good. I ran just about all of it with the exception of the part where there was a sprinkler from someone's lawn that was moved out onto the road for us. I stopped there for at least a minute drenching myself with the cool water. The aid stations finally got a new shipment of water and ICE. OH ICE!!! I stopped at each mile marker and shoved handfuls of ice down the front, back and up each leg of my tri suit. I put a handful under my hat too and wow that felt soo good. Because of that ice, I was able to keep running with what they call the ironman-shuffle. But I was passing people left and right. THATS RIGHT.. I WAS PASSING PEOPLE ON THE RUN. I kept filling up my water bottle with ice and everytime I saw someone that looked like boiling death, I squirted them with cold water on their head and neck. I think I liked the feeling that I was hopefully helping. I was feeling great! Tired, hot, but great. At one point tho, a woman in front of me staggered as if she had tripped on a rock.. stumbled a bit and then went DOWN. I ran over to her as other people did.. fortunately by an aid station. She had passed out. I poured cold water on her neck and wrists and the medic/nurse type person took over. SOOOOO OK.. just finish! I quit totally looking at my watch and just decided to even tell myself I liked gatorade. MMM gatorade.

I saw the last mile marker and was so relieved. The boys were handing out cups of ice and it looked like they were starting to pack up????? hmmm.. But as I got closer to the finish, I heard my friends cheering me on. Leslie ran in her sandals with me to the finish encouraging me to pick it up and sprint to the end. WHICH I DID.. I always do. No matter how tired I am, something happens about 100 yds from the finish line. I GUN IT BALLS OUT! I looove that feeling! When I crossed the finish line, I just had to sit down and let some guy pour cool water over my head. I amazingly, kind of wanted to do a third loop just becasue I felt ok.. and Louisville would be 2 more loops.. in this type of heat... in these types of conditions. I kind of wanted to prove it to myself that I COULD.

I FINALLY looked at my watch.. and groaned a bit. I added a half hour from last year's time.. but in the grand scheme of things.. WHO GIVES A RATS PATUEY! I FINISHED.. and I SURVIVED. That was the most EFFING HOT HORRIBLE race. Geesh.

Come to find out, that shortly after I finished, they started closing down the aid stations on the run. Ron was still out there, as were a few other people I was rooting for. I guess the event staff thought that since the drop out rate was so high, they didn't need all that support? That bothered me because those were the people who were out there the longest in the worst heat and needed the support the most. Booo on that!

We waited and cheered in the last of the racers, and were amazed at some of the times. 8 plus hours out there.. man oh man.. that's hard. I learned that several people from St. Louis had not made it to the finish either. There were over 50 competitors that were a DNF, did not finish and more numbers were still being tallied. That must have been hard to do. Train all this time and not be able to finish the race. Man was I glad I had a change in attitude. I was thankful that my body held up and my nutrition and hydration training was on track.

(ok.. so then they posted the results.. had I not gotten lost.. I would have probably gotten 2nd in my age group... booooo)

But.. that's not what it's about.

I finished. I helped people out there. I learned a lot. And I endured the hardest triathlon I have ever competed in. It gave me some hope that I am more ready for Louisville than I had thought. I still have a long way to go and many many more miles of training to endure, but.. I'm GOING to do it!

I can do anything
I did 'EFFINGHAM'...........

(scary music played here)

Monday, June 22, 2009


KANSAS IRONMAN 70.3-Pigs may not fly, but bikes do!

The weekend of June 13-14 a team of us went to Lawrence Kansas to compete in the Kansas Ironman 70.3 race. Our team name was 2 Non Blondes. (clever eh) Sometimes your race schedule as well as your life gets so hectic that you just need to throw in something FUN in the mix and take the pressure off. That's just what we hoped to accomplish by doing this event as a team. Joel, our cyclist, is a SUPER STUD on the bike (even though he will prob deny it.. he is pretty modest about his riding abilities) I tease him and call him Bling Bling Big Ring because he is so strong, he climbs very challenging hills easily in his big ring. I am very very impressed by this. Brent, our runner, is an absolute machine. I tease him about competing in about 8 events daily. He sometimes has races back to back and frequently does up to 5 or so training sessions a day. We were all looking forward to this weekend's race because we each were going to be doing our strength and would be there for support for our friend Leslie who was competitng in her first 70.3 event all on her own. To add to our fun, we decided to camp on the race site.

Our group of 6 met up at the Y to leave and consisted of 4 girls (2 of which were just there for the fun of it) and 2 guys. Brent drove Leslie, Melissa and Noelle down in his packed SUV while I rode down with Joel with his bike securely racked on his own car. We started our journey with pictures, of course and hit the road for our 4 hour drive to KS. Just as we got onto Highway 70 and passed Columbia, MO, Joel noticed how Leslie's bike was swinging a bit from Brent's rear hitch rack. He commented on how he was glad he decided to take his own car with his bike on his roof rack . We snapped a picture of Leslie's bike swinging and just about the same time, we heard this horrible noise and immediately noticed in the rear view mirror, Joel's entire bike STILL ATTACHED TO HIS ROOF RACK soaring through the air and landing on the middle of Highway 70. We both cried out something probably obscene, and noticed Brent doing his best not to hit the bike with his own car. Both cars pulled over as quickly as possible and we began the fastest sprint known to man. (Well, Ok.. I think this was the fastest I had ever run in my life.) As I was running, I thought to myself how glad I was that I had changed flip flops. When I originally got dressed I had on standard 'thong' type flip flops, and changed them into my Teva ones with some criss -cross type straps. Still flip flops none the less.

We pulled the bike off the road as cars were swerving to miss us and the bike and a HUGE tractor trailer type truck stopped short of smashing the bike. He waited there blocking the rest of traffic fortunately until we had the bike safetly moved off the road. After examining the bike, we were SHOCKED to see that the only visible damage was a pretty good sized scratch/ding in the handlebar, and something a tad askew with the deraileur. Joel was in utter shock that this happened because he had just taken his and another bike on a 3 state mountain tour about a month ago with no problems. This was definitely a FREAK accident. We all reveled in the possibilities of how the situation could have been much worse including one of us getting hit by a car as we ran down the highway to rescue the bike-still attached to the rack-laying in the middle of Highway 70.

I'll let you all take that in for a second.... we had to...


................. I know RIGHT.. HOLEY MOLEY!!!!!

Joel agreed to rack his bike behind Leslie's on Brent's rack and he put the rest of his own roof rack in the back of his car. At this point we all noticed that Leslie had some 'brownish' spot on her pants. We joked around with her forming all sorts of explanations for this but finally realized that the real culprit was from the mud my flip flops were kicking back up at her a we ran towards the aeroflying bike. That helped lighten the mood a bit.

We stopped shortly after at a gas station and Joel got on his bike to test it out to see if he could find anything else wrong. We saw no cracks in the frame and nothing seemed to be bent or out of alignment too bad. I thought some lottery tickets may help so I got a few and offered them to Joel to scratch but he declined because he 'doesnt gamble.'... SILLY BOY

I WON A HUNDRED BUCKS!!! How bout them apples!

When we got into the car I made a few calls and found a bike shop in Overland Park that was able to look at the bike for us. We made a small detour over and were totally WOW'ed by this place. It was called the BIKE SOURCE and it was like a mall for cyclists. It was the biggest bike store I had ever seen. We were like total kids in a candy store when we walked in with our eyes widened! We ran around looking at their apparrel, bikes, and they even had tri bike trainers. Melissa and I had to test those out and simulated a little race as Brent took pictures of that. This place ROCKED!!!!

While we were all playing, Joel took his bike over to the shop and had them fix the rear deraileur hanger for a measly $16. A BIKE COMES LOOSE FROM THE CAR, STILL ATTACHED TO THE RACK, FLIES THROUGH THE AIR AT 70MPH ON HIGHWAY 70 AND THE ONLY MAJOR DAMAGE COST $16??? WOWOWOWO WE WERE LUCKY. (note: Joel had to fork up money later to replace the carbon handle bars...but they were still rideable for race purposes).

After we left the Mall of Bike Stuff place, we stopped for lunch at Subway then hit the road again. When we got to the campground where the race was to take place we were warned ahead of time about the registration line so we dumped Leslie off to stand in line. Since she was competing on her own, she had more race nerves than the rest of us and wanted to make sure she had enough time to prepare for everything. We drove all over the stinking camp ground looking for the actual camp site because it seemed everyone there told us to go 'this way'.. nope.. you were supposed to go 'that way'. "Who told you to go this way.. you were supposed to go the other way." URGH. Finally we found the camp site and unloaded all of our gear, and put our Cheerleader/Support Team, Melissa and Noelle, to work setting up the tents. They were fast too. Brent, Joel and I went up to the registration line and met up with Leslie who was already a good ways ahead in line.

When we got up to the tables to pick up our packets, Joel and Leslie went down to check their bikes in and get body marked. Brent and I didn't realize that this was the only place they were doing body marking because we didn't have a bike to check in. When this was brought to our attention we asked the registration table if they could body mark us and they informed us that we had to walk ALL THE WAY down to the bike check in for this. Well this was not a short walk. We thought this was rediculous. Why couldnt someone with a sharpie just re-copy our numbers that were already written on our hands, onto our legs and arms?.. So I asked a lady if I could borrow her sharpie to write my name on my 'bag' and Brent and I wrote on each other. Well, I wrote numbers on Brent.. and I think Brent was showing off how smart he was and wrote my numbers in heiroglyphics. (Brent should have been a doctor with that handwriting).

Back at the tents, I had one of our Cheerleading/Support girls re-write legibly my numbers. :-)

It was about 6pm and we headed off to dinner while Leslie stayed back and opted for a liquid dinner and to take some personal time to chill and prepare mentally for her race. I think she was also enjoying the male scenery that surrounded us. ;-)

When we got to the restaurant, Paisano's, we met up with our party of 20, another party of 15, and another of 40. The place was packed with fellow racers from St. Louis. It was great to catch up and exchange well wishes for the next day's events.

On the way home, we stopped for some 'liquids' and then headed back to the campground. Apparently we got a little bit too loud and were shushed by a slightly miffed neighbor. Oops!

My chiropractor Adam and his friends were at the campsite just accross from ours so we went to hang otu with them for a while and seek some last minute care. Then off to bed by 10...only to find that one member of our group snores... LOUDLY. We giggled about this for a while until he quieted down and we eventually all fell asleep under the stars. ONLY TO BE WOKEN UP BY LIGTENING AND THUNDER at about 3am. This did not set well.

We were expecting the race to be delayed possibly due to weather. Fortunately the storm that was showing on the radar, passed right over us and everything began on time. We made our way down to the swim start and met up with a lot of other people from ST.Louis and exchanged nervous 'good luck's. I was just totally excited and not nervous at all. I had the easiest job of the day. Swim for a half hour and then be DONE. There was music blaring on the speakers and I was totally in my element, dancing around in my wetsuit waiting for the team wave to start.

WOW WAS THIS A BRUTAL SWIM. The water was reeeally cold and the waves were pretty choppy. I swallowed water no matter which way I turned my head. The team wave was last to go but we caught up with the waves that started ahead of us. At one point I passed a guy being pulled out of the water by a rescue boat. I felt bad for him. All this training, and you get pulled out at the swim. The other bad thing about this swim, was that since it was kind of foggy and overcast, you couldn't see the bouy's on the second side of the swim. They were a maroonish brownish color and blended in with everything so I had no idea if I was on course or off.

I got out, sprinted up to hand off my chip to Joel and he took off. We got a good lead on the other teams that were struggling on the swim also. Noelle, Melissa, Brent and I stayed down at the swim site to watch and cheer in the rest of the swimmers, and stayed until the very last one was out of the water. I was glad we did because it was pretty emotional. He was apparently a disabeld vet who had lost an arm. He got the biggest ovation from spectators and it really brought tears to my eyes and gave me goose bumps. What an amazing feat!

The gang at this point went up to go see what was going on in the rest of the race. By the time we stopped at the tent for a bit, and made our way up to the race site, some of the pro's were entering Bike In, and Run Out. We saw some pro men run past which was very exciting, then we got to see Chrissie Wellington!!! She is totally amazing. She always has a smile on her face, and the crowd absolutely loves her for it. She really looks like she is having fun and it makes me so happy to know that even the pro's enjoy doing this, and love the fan support.

At some point I obtained an Ironman Cowbell and went crazy with the cowbell as I was cheering all of the runners. I was having a TOTAL BLAST. I saw even more people from St. Louis and it made the race so much fun to watch. I started being silly with the runners and asking them all sorts of goofy questions as they ran passed. I got quite a few smiles, and 'thank you's' from them which just fueled my enthusiasm even more. Brent dissappeared and then reappared running right passed us.

THAT MEANT HOLY SMOKES JOEL FLEEEWWW thru this bike course. (And later we found out that only in true Joel form, he did it all in his big ring) IMPRESSIVE!! His time was only 1 minute off Chrissie Wellington's bike time. THAT IS TOTALLY AMAZING. With knowing we had a pretty decent swim, a stellar bike time, and Brent.. well he can run!.. we were excited to see how we would do over all and became a little more excited. OK.. WE WERE EXCITED.. U PICKIN UP ON THAT.? (well I was super excited).

Brent ran passed us on his last leg, and we stood our post to wait for Leslie to run by. We saw her run passed a few times and then as we turned around to go back to the campsite and watch her run passed us there, we saw Brent, finished and proudly wearing his finishers medal, walking towards us. OH NO.. WE MISSED HIS FINISH. But oh YAH.. that meant he rocked his part too.

Back at the campsite we waited for Leslie to run passed us and cheered on other competitors with our crazy cheering and 'more cowbell'-ing. If I had only had pom pom's I would have felt more complete. I saw a few friends and ran alongside them (in my running flip flops) and cheered them on to the finish line.

When Les crossed the finish line, we all ran up to cheer her in and hugged her in an emotional moment! We were so proud of her for doing this and even more because we knew and appreciated the struggles she had just endured to get to this point. Chrissie Wellington posed for a picture with all of us and that just topped the moment off like a cherry!

We relaxed afterwards, socialized, and then at some point went to see the posted results and realized that 2NON BLONDES had won the coed team division. I came bouncing back to the group extatic and told them the great news. It was really neat to get our award.. a yellow painted brick with a plaque on it. (get it.. Kansas, follow the yellow brick road...) Proudly we posed for more pictures and I goofily made a few versions myself.

We had a long ride back. I think we were all exhausted from emotion, and physical exertion.. wait.. I didn't do much.. ok mine was mostly from cheering and jumping. Hey.. I got a bit of a plyometric work out in????

All in all, it was such a positive emotional, exciting, fun, relaxing, meaningful trip. One of the definite highlights of my life so far. We fortunately have a ton of pictures from the trip that I can look thru for years to come.

Everyone needs a little fun sometimes, and to have a race like this where there is NO pressure was just what the coach ordered! It really made me excited for my 70.3 race the upcoming weekend.

Thx n Congrats to

and support cheerleaders
Noelle and Melissa


Innsbrook Quartermax is an Ultramax event that is a very challenging tri. Probably one of the most technically difficult in MO due to its large climbs on the bike and on the run. The first year I participated in the Innsbrook race it was a contest between boys and girls... and they tagged it "WHO TRI'S HARDER." That title stuck for a few years and it was cute and catchy. Boys used to be on one day and girls on another.

The first year I attempted this race, I went as a team with one person swimming (me), one cycling, and one runner. We called ourselves IRONWOMEN and I'll have to admit our team was pretty stacked. I was a competitve swimmer growing up so I can hold my own pretty good on that part, our cyclist was our super stud spinning instructor who just never met a hill she couldn't conquer, and our runner.. man she was a machine! Needless to say, we won that event, and several others when competing as a team. It was so much fun.

However....I felt like I was missing out on something by only swimming...being done....and watching all the other competitors push through this grueling course and cross the finish line with a greater sense of accomplishment.

So a few years ago, I had to try it ALL by myself. I did the Octomax which was a shorter version (sprint) and finished. The next year I upped my challenge and entered the Quartermax, and finished that. So this year was my 3rd year competing in the Innsbrook race and 2nd time doing the Quartermax. Even though this course is hellahilly.... and a grueling challenge.. I LOVE IT. I love the obstacles you have to overcome to cross the finish line-and what a relief when it's all done!

Here's how this years race was.

June 6, 2009.

When we got to the race site, my bike had a flat tire. I went over to the Big Shark area to have them air it up and help me with a new tube and waited for about 10 minutes until they told me to go somewhere else to have it done. urgh. So graciously Matt agreed to take my bike up to them while I got my transition area set up. They put a new tube in for me and aired it up. Phew..

I had a goal for my swim time this year of 15 min which would take about 1 min off last year's time. It was actually wet suit legal this year which is a first in a long while for any Quarter/Octomax event. A good majority of triathletes live for the words.. WET SUIT LEGAL because they are weaker swimmers compared to how they do on the bike and run and rely on the wet suit's bouyancy to help them through the open water swim. Well, Ok.. so I wore mine too just because-it does help. As the Quartermax women were called to the beach I surveyed the competition and started to place myself to the outside and front of the pack. In my experience, people get all excited and start to place themselves in the front of the pack, and go out hard, then die. I usually end up crawling over them and passing them. (Now I'm not saying this to be braggy of my swim abilities..but I was a swimmer and that is the leg that I can at least hold my own in.. --((as opposed to the run leg, where I am usually close to dead last)). ) I started out in the swim and was having a hard time catching my breath. These women were really being quite aggressive and it seemed like they were TRYING to swim on top of each other. I tried to swim towards the inside of the bouys to get away from the pack until we had to round the outside of them, but it seems there was just one girl always on my legs. We had about 6 bouys to swim around and each time I went around I saw I had a clear spot to swim through. Until I felt this girl on my feet again. Now, drafting in the swim is allowed, but she was literally PUSHING my feet down with each stroke.. and she needed to trim her fingernails. I had a small scratch on my foot when I got out. No biggie..but it stung. She wouldn't get off me no matter how much I zig zagged through the water either. This was really starting to tick me off. So I started to kick a little hoping she would get the hint. It worked for a bit until I stopped kicking and then I felt her swimming on my calves. I wanted so badly to stop, turn around and push her head underwater and tell her to KNOCK IT OFF. (but I didn't). Well then we came up on the mens division that started a few minutes ahead of us. The slower men were forming a side by side wall that I just couldn't break through. It was about 5 people wide so I would have to take a considerable detour to get around them, and I was NOT going to dive down below to swim under them. I am absolutely terrrrrrrified of open water where I can't see the bottom, and even if I could see the bottom, I think it may terrify me more to see what was actually down there. ((snakes could be down there)) So finally I got to the last of the bouys and I sprinted up to the shore ran out and looked at my watch.. whoo hoo. I had actually done it in 14 min and some change. yay!.. But I quickly glanced back to see who the girl was who was on me the whole time and I just saw the men.. I was gonna def have to say something to her if I saw her.

So up the long hill and to the bike. I had my sunglasses on my face as we walked down to the swim beach and the transition area was already closed. I put my glasses on the TrainingBible table and kept repeating to myself.. sunglasses, sunglasses so I wouldn't forget to pick them up on the way out of the water. Slight detour there. T1 went pretty bad as I am using a new water bottle in between my aero bars and it got stuck on the rack so I had to tip it and duck under the rack spilling most of my water to even get out of the transition area. DUHHH. That was a dumb move on my part. Had I even given it 2 seconds thought I would have put my bike on the rack differently and set up my transition area accordingly.

I mounted my bike, and started to pedal then started to groan. I had a bubble in my tube/tire area. This problem had happened with my rear tire when I bought the bike and the guys at Ghisallo had to work some special magic to seed my tube right. Apparently these wheels I have are problematic with this. So the ENTIRE 28 mile bike ride I bounced as if I was going over a speed bump with every revolution. My water was sloshing out of my aero bottle because of the extra motion. Urgh!!! I just hoped I didn't flat! Since there was nothing I could do about it at this point I just had to maintain and try to make the best out of it. It was a little frustrating because I could tell it created a bit of rolling resistance and going up hills with a bump in your tire was even more difficult. The rhythm of the bump and water sloshing gave me a song to sing (that I made up) to pass the time. M-I-S-S-I-S-S-I-P-P-I SWISH SWISH SLOSH GOES MY BIKE. (the mississippi was the rhythm my bumpy tire made.. annoying...)

Back into T2 with my super slow bike time, I grabbed my lucky Fleet Feet hat, race belt, and a GU, and was off, only to find my hat had broken. DARNIT! I tried to tie it or make it somehow work, but that effort was lost. So I carried it with me for a while. Why? I don't know. I dropped my GU trying to mess with my hat and didn't realize it until I went to grab it and it was gone. BUMMER!

2 loops of the hilly run were really taking a lot out of my legs. I made myself run up the steep hills on the first loop but realized how high my heart rate was going and told myself I could run up half way and walk the second half of the hills on the second loop. Smart decision because I was walking up the hills faster than some of the runners trying to run up them. This race is really cool because the support on the course is top notch. Not only did they have plenty of volunteers there to help guide you, and aid you at the aid stations, but they did a fantastic job of cheering you on and keeping your spirits up. I needed that at this point.

As I started my second loop of the run, I realized my feet were COMPLETELY numb and painful. But more on the numb side so I tried to let that override the pain. I also saw my friend Erica whom we call Beaver, because of her ability to just chug up hills like a beaver chews through wood. Make sense? No? Well it's ok. Because it made sense to us girls who named her that... plus it's now just funny to yell out 'Beaver' to her. Beaver was just ahead of me and at one point when she started walking I caught up to her and we agreed to finish this darned run together. We contemplated holding hands and skipping to the finish line even, but that fell through because the terrain changed as you headed towards the chute and it was pretty uneven. Pretty difficult to keep yourself steady, much less hold contact with someone else. We challenged each other to a sprint to the finish and it was SO much fun to just haul it down the chute together. Spectators get a kick out of a challenging close finish and we loved the excitement and cheering we heard from them.


Ok, so maybe that's why I love this race. Free beer at the end......

and nachos....


Took me about an hour to be able to eat that. All I wanted at the end was my frozen Pedialyte pop and a chair!

Well, this year Innsbrook was a race to work out all the kinks. Nothing major happened, but it definitely wasn't a perfect race. Few usually are, but this one had its hiccups on each leg. I had to keep telling myself to just push through and adapt and adjust accordingly. Ironman will be a LOOOOOOONNNNG time out on the race course and I'm sure things will happen unexpectedly. Races like this are good practice for mental preparation if nothing else. I was not thrilled with my time this year, even though I managed to drop almost 3 minutes from last year. But I did learn some things.


Friday, June 12, 2009


Ok, so I am filling in a few shifts at the Y lifeguarding in the morning... when I say morning, I mean late nite for some people. I get there at 4:45 AM to open the pool for the 5:15 swimmers. Believe it or not, people actually are awake and functioning at that time. Getting up in the 4:00 hour is do able.. at least for me. But getting up in the 3:00 hour.. cmon. I remember just going to a 'different' club at that time in college b/c the other ones had closed and I was SO not done for the nite. Well, I'm about 50 years older now so that never happens anymore.

almost never

Fortunately, I was super tired and barely able to keep my eyes open while scanning the pool. Safe?.. uh.. But I did say FORTUNATELY. BECAAUUUSEE... I swear when men get older, they become less aware of the need to cover their body parts appropriately. This man came out wearing the TINIEST of speedo's. Even some of my VS collection cover more square inch than this man's itty bitty speedo bikini.


WHY OH WHY must he also be in such a compomising position so that I see even less of his itty teenie mankini when I go to check on him in the hot tub area?????

Dear God, I think I have just burned holes in my retinas. Please pray that I gain my eyesight back so I don't crash on my bike ride later today.



Ok.. so I will be back tracking for a few weeks to catch up. But not to worry, I'll make sure you don't miss out on one single exciting minute of these amazing blogs :-).

So a few weeks ago I went into the 'crack-o-practor' for treatment on my feet again. I go at least once a week sometimes twice. So the crazy head doc comes over and says.. "OK so since we are getting no relief and her feet are still going numb on the run, we will send her over to (***) clinic and have them inject stem cells inbetween the nerves in her feet." UH.. BEAVIS.. WHAT THE HECK DID YOU JUST SAY?.. This was almost as crazy as a few years ago when I was suffering from shin splints really bad, he said he was goin to with draw blood on the knotted spots on my shin and centrifuge it then inject it back so it bleeds out and circulates.. supposedly to promote faster healing. UH..M... NO!

Fortunately we have resorted to a super intense form of ART that doesn't involve water colorers. Just watering eyes.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Slow leak venting!


I had a flat tire (see a prev blog) about a month ago and my tire/wheel has not been the same. I have taken it apart, taken it in, taken it out for dinner, taken it for ice cream, and now I'm just going to take it to the junk yard.

It's a pretty new tire so I don't want to REALLY spend another $60 on another! I have ridden on it a few times and it has made it thru the ride but by the next morning, it's flat again. This last Sunday's ride turned into a 7 hour ordeal for 70 miles. And the times that we were riding, we were riding at a pretty good clip. But every 20 min or so I had to stop for air. GRRRRR.

Then I find out my OTHER BIKE IS FLAT TOO!!! What's the dealio????
I must be riding over glass in my sleep and sabotaging my bikes. I have a race this weekend and I have never been in a race and gotten a flat but I guess I better prepare for it. It seems like this is what's in store for me.

I have learned a GREEN thing thru all of this... your co2 and tubes ARE recycleable. YAY! Too bad you can't refill them like propane.

hmm... propane tires......

Proud Momma-Like -Moment at a Youth Tri

Ok.. so training has been going pretty slowly due to my stoopid-crazy-schmazy schedule. (as has regular blogging, however I have been writing them down on paper so I will transpose shortly). YAY! CHEER!

So on Sunday I attended a youth triathlon for a kid I'm coaching. That was such a 'proud momma' moment for me. I had met "lil K' about 5 years back when she was barely crawling down the lane of the pool as her acting swim coach. She has SUCH A PERSONALITY and her parents knew that we had clicked somehow. Years later, she has expressed interest in triathlon and her parents approached me asking if I would help her get ready for her first triathlon.

So Sunday was the big moment. I was proudly cheering her on in the swim as she mopped up the competition and was the first swimmer to the wall. 2nd out of the water.. we will work on that. Then off to transition. We had worked on transitions so much and I was ASTONISHED to see everyone else's parents dressing the kids for them. As 'lil K' and I watched the first heat of swimmers, I leaned over to her and told her that I was not going to do that for her, and that this was her race not mine. She said " I know.. thats why we practiced!".. ahhhh fantastic. She learned something! So off to transitions and that lil bugger was super speedy getting herself dressed then out on the bike. I was so excited to watch her pedal off in the lead.

THEN OUT OF NO WHERE this lil monster of an athlete no bigger than a lima bean comes barreling around the corner with her leggs pumping like pistons. She dropped her chain giving 'lil K' a chance to pull ahead. Then the lima bean just picked it right back up and you could barely see her thru the dust cloud she left behind. About 3 1/2 seconds later you see her, and only her, the lima bean, coming back around from looping around the buildings into the finishing chute. Did she kick the rest of the kids?...... we waited, and waited? Still no other kids?.. then we see a helmet and you could hear the parents.. "Is that him? Is that her?.. no.. yes..." Still no 'lil K'. Finally I see her lil purple helmet coming around the corner and I got excited again and cheered her into the bike finish.

I have never seen an adult transition as fast as she went from bike to run. She didn't even toss her bike. She completely impressed me. I took off after her because as promised, I ran the run course with her. I believe she was overcome by emotions of the excitement of the race because the water works started. I wanted to stop her and hug her. Even though running is not her forte, she finished strong as she prodded her dad to take her to Six Flags after it was over.

I was so proud of her and as she walked away with her trophy, I couldn't help but feel like a proud momma watching her baby do something extroidinary. I have known her for just about over half of her life and to see her doing something like this gave me all the warm fuzzies I needed to last me a good while.




until later that day when I rode 70 miles with a slowly leaking tire..... sigh.......

see next blog.....