Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Howdy from Port Orchard, Washington!

I had a great flight up to Seattle in First Class. I got to watch a good movie that I had not seen before titled Stardust. I was privileged to get to run 6 and a half miles with my brother in the rain and have him smoke me on the hills. I woke up to sunshine and a fantastic view of the Olympic Mountain Range in Olympic National Park. I am surrounded by family and my step-Mom is getting Christmas Prime Rib ready for dinner. I really do not need anything else for Christmas. I have put in my favorite Christmas TV special moment about what Christmas is really all about.

Have a wonderful time with family and friends and have a blessed day,

Coach Liz

Friday, December 21, 2007

Talk About Dumb Luck!

Well, it has been a while since I have posted. I have been busy with deadlines at work. I was getting my peeps that I am coaching for the Houston Marathon ready for their 21 mile run only to have a strong cold front blow through with driving rain and dropping temps that prevented the majority of the group from getting further than 11 miles. I had to do some intensive Christmas shopping and packing for our family trip to Seattle in the morning. Re-take my CPR certification and start to study for my NASM exam in January. Coaching my tri guys and gals. It goes on and on...

And I totally forgot that while I was in Clearwater, Florida for the 70.3 World Championships that I entered my name for every darn give away at the expo. Win a Timex watch! Win a Computrainer! Win a Blue 70 wetsuit! Win Zipp Wheels! Win a box of Powerbars! Win a race entry! Win a Tanita scale!

Well, I was a winner...

I won a race entry to the Switzerland 70.3 race on June 1st, 2008!!!

And to top it off, my training buddies Lauren, Ryan, and Johnny Tri are all going with!!!

I feel like I have already had Christmas. There is nothing more I could really ask for...well, I will take a Computrainer, ha!

Off to Seattle and Port Orchard in the morning...


Sunday, December 9, 2007

Steve, you have some competition...


I have been reading Steve in a Speedo's blog and over the past few weeks he has been blabbering on about his lucky "tighty whities" at the local 5K races and how he has been wining some good SHWAG for his inclusion of the said lucky undies in some form of a costume.


Steve, it looks like you have some competition!

This just goes to show that even the best looking endurance athletes still look dorky in white Jocky shorts. The water polo helmet and the compression socks add a nice touch, don't you think. The heart rate monitor straps seem a bit much for a race of these proportions. Notice Cpt. Andy Baldwin over there on the far right? He looks great in his black boxer briefs, really great if you know what I mean.

Just as all men should not wear briefs, a similar rule should apply to ladies and thong underwear. I don't want to see your t-back sticking up out of the waist band of your jeans. I believe that the thong is a great way to get rid of pesky elastic line dents in the rear under a pair of pants or a slim fitting skirt. It should not be a fashion statement with the additions of bows, rhinestone buckles, fluffy feather edging, or slinky cut out areas that are on view for everyone else to see. And please, do not go out and run a 5K in one!


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Dramatic Conclusion--Just for Steve in a Speedo!

OMG!!! I am really taking off-season off, lol.

I have been bad about finishing this and instead I have been baking a lot of cookies. I have been good and not eating them...well, except the peanut butter choco-caramel ones, but I only have one per day. There are still plenty of them left. Steve in a Speedo is eagerly awaiting the stunning conclusion of the run at the 70.3 World Championships. Secretly, I have been waiting because I wanted to include a WAY COOL video near the end of this post. So read on and let's get this race finished!

As I ran out on the course, I noticed one of the Challenged Athletes changing the covering on his right limb and re-attaching his carbon fiber leg as he was sitting on the curb at the side of the course. I thought to myself that it has really got to hurt or just be a mega blister in the making having the end of a limb stuck down in that carbon fiber leg and running on it. I filed that thought away in the back of my head and did my best to look like I really belonged out on that race course with all the pro athletes that were probably running in to finish and the ripped age groupers who were passing me on the start of the second loop of the run. The breeze was nice now that I was off the bike, but things had warmed up and I was looking for the first aid station and the trash can full of cold SPONGES. Near the first aid station and my SPONGE hook-up, I heard a steady "TWACK" noise behind me. It got louder. What the heck was that??? I got my answer soon enough, it was the Challenged Athlete guy passing me up on his carbon fiber leg. How disheartening is that? I am able bodied and a Challenged Athlete passes me like I'm standing still.

And then, there it was...

The Bridge (cue dramatic music...). This was my first of four times to run over this sucker! I knew that there would probably be a photographer at the top so I went easy and walked up on the bottom for 2 minutes using my run for 8 walk for 2 plan. Everyone else was running and I felt like a dork walking but I also knew that I had made a promise to myself not to go out hard on the run and have nothing left at the end. About half way up I started running again. I saw David on the way up the bridge as he was coming back over to finish his first loop and I saw Geoff not too far behind complaining of cramps. That SUCKS!!!
I was doing well by the time I passed the photographer. I actually like running downhill and can go pretty fast after running the Hood to Coast Run in August and having to run over 12 miles total downhill I have figured out how to do it without ripping up the legs and being sore the next day. There was an aid station at the bottom of the bridge on the other side and to my surprise it was manned by TEAM IN TRAINING peeps!!! I got a lot of love from these guys and gals as I came running through in my TNT race gear and they made sure to make a lot of noise for me. That was a huge boost and I kept running to do them proud.

Guess what I saw a little past the aid station? I saw the Challenged Athlete guy sitting on the curb changing the covering on his limb. Here was my chance to get ahead of speedy carbon fiber leg guy! I had used my 2 minute walking break earlier so I was in that 8 minute run phase. How far down the road could I get before this guy would finally catch me and pass me??? I was prepared to find out. The route took us on to a hike and bike trail and it was not long before I heard the tell-tale "THWACK, THWACK, THWACK, THWACK" getting louder behind me. ARGHHH!!! NO!!! Passed again by the Challenged Athlete guy. I am starting to feel more challenged than he is at this point. I know I'm slow on the run, but this is ridiculous!

We started running into a residential area with some really nice homes and it gave me something to zone out on for a few minutes before I saw the next aid station. Again, the TEAM IN TRAINING super stars were taking care of the aid station. The other athletes felt a little left out, I'm sure, with all the love I was getting, HA! GO TEAM!!! I slathered some petroleum jelly on a nasty scrape on the inside of my right knee that I had gotten from that sharp plastic piece that keeps the Bento Box from collapsing. I stocked up on cold sponges and downed some Endurance Gatorade. I realized that I had not had to dip into any of my Power Gels and all I had been going on since getting off the bike were 2 orange slices, water, Endurance Gatorade, and my S-Caps. I felt good so I would play it by ear. The route turned left to go down a small hill and make a turn around down at the end of a cul-du-sac. That little hill was a kicker on the way back up and back through the million dollar mansions. Dang it was hot! The volunteers and even the guy reading scripture aloud from the Bible on the sidewalk were trying to stay in the shade. The sound of soggy shoes and wet tri shorts was common place now as athletes had been dumping cups of water over their heads to cool off. I hit the first TNT aid station again and took in as much of the love as I could because I knew what was in store for me...

The Bridge: Part 2

It was time for a 2 minute walk cycle on the way up and I was thankful for it. I got passed by a gal in pink that I had passed on the bike course and who was in my age group. That got me running again and soon it was down hill and on towards the Ford Motivational Mile. Geoff, David, Mitch, and I had all typed in motivational messages to each other at the race packet pick-up. WTF!! No motivational messages! What gives??? Oh, it was only mile 6 and I had to wait until mile 12 for my motivation, DANG IT! And then as if the Good Lord heard me cussin' and whinin', I saw Mitch on the road headed out for his second loop and he was yelling at me to get my attention. I needed that pick-me-up and to see that Mitch was only about a mile and a half ahead of me. He was on his was to crossing The Bridge for the 3rd time. I picked it up and went through another aid station where I gulped down some Gatorade and exchanged sponges to keep cool. I was headed in to the turn around back at the transition area and decided I had better keep an eye out for Johnny Tri and the camera.

Just before the turn around I saw JT and gave a wave and dashed off to get loop 2 started.
There were not as many people on the course on my second loop. All the fast athletes had finished or were on their way to finishing. I grabbed some orange slices at an aid station and noticed that there were not as many volunteers out at the first aid station. Dang, are they trying to close up shop already??? OK, it was now my time for The Bridge Part 3 and I had been running the entire way from the turn around. I took 2 minutes to walk up at the bottom and then hit that sucka running. I saw a motorcycle with an NBC Sports guy on the back zoom by with his camera towards the top of the bridge. I was passing a few people here and there but mainly it was now the older athletes who had started the race ahead of me.

At the bottom of the bridge on the other side I saw Mitch walking and I gave him a shout to get a move on and that he only had 2 miles left. Wow, I think I may have made up some time on him.
Come on Mitch, get that sponge off the ground! It's a lucky sponge!!! I got my third serving of love from the TNT crew at the aid station as they took care of me and saw to it that I had plenty of cups of fluids and cold sponges and pretzels to grab. I kept running an tossed the walk 2 minutes/run 8 minutes plan out the window. I was feeling stronger and the Kanye West song was running through my head now. "Dat dat dat dat dat don't kill me can only make me STRONGER...Work it harder, make it better, move it faster, makes us STRONGER...Longer, better, faster, STRONGER!!!" Yeah there were less people on the course now, but the people that were left were my speed and some of them were slowing down. I kept going. I ran through the second TNT run aid station and grabbed some Gatorade. It was on to the short down hill, the turn around and back up the hill in a quarter mile. It was the 10 mile mark!!! Only 3.1 miles to go. It would be one training loop around Memorial back in Houston. I COULD DO THIS!!! The spectators were more sparse but it did not matter now. Mile 11 got me through the last TNT run aid station and they let me know how proud they were of me. I thanked them for all their support and for volunteering to take care of us.

The Bridge: Part 4--The Final Chapter

I ran about half way up and walked a little bit so that I could walk with the oldest participant in the race. 82 year old Robert McKeague from Villa Park, Illinois was out there making it happen on the bridge. I asked him if I could walk with him for a bit and he said I was probably walking faster than he was. I said I was doing good and I had plenty of time because I was going to PR. He looked me in the eye and said,"you need to get moving and quit talking to me if you are going to PR. Get Going!" What an inspiration! I got going and at the top of the bridge I saw Sister Madona Buder going over on the other side. I cheered her on and she gave me a wave. I flew down the other side of the bridge and ran towards the Ford Motivational Mile Arch. YES! My motivational messages from Geoff, David, and Mitch flashed up on the jumbo message board. ONE MILE TO GO!!!

I had expected one of the ladies that I train for Pilates to be out there with her husband. They were visiting family and said they wanted to come out to see the race. They had been in contact with JT the day before but I had not seen them. Oh well, hopefully they got to see some of the action to know what the race was all about. I would be able to give Linda and Chuck the update of how the race went later.

I saw the gal in the pink tri gear again and she was walking. I ran right past her and then I heard her pick up the pace. I knew she was gonna do that because she was in my age group. As she ran past me I told her," yeah, you don't want me crossing the finish line before you. You need to pick it up this last mile here and beat me." She whined back, "But it hurts!" "NO SHIT it hurts, but this is your moment to shine. MOVE IT!" I told her. She took off and I stayed on my steady pace because I was set to reach my goal of finishing this race under 6 hours. I didn't care if she finished ahead of me, I had already won. I started to toss the sponges and make sure that I was ready for my photo finish at the end and that I looked good for the spectators, ha!

I passed up a guy in an Army tri top and zoomed around the round-a-bout in front of the transition area. I saw Johnny Tri in his spot that he had been in all morning and gave him some love for all the support he had given us that morning. I made my way for the FINISH LINE. I ran under an arch and then I heard Tom Reiley over the sound system."Wearing the colors of The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Team in Training program, here comes Elizabeth Garcia from Houston, TX! You did it Elizabeth! Look at that smile folks!" You bet I was smiling!!! I had raced with some of the greatest names in the sport of triathlon and I had an awesome race with a finish time of 5:52. I got my finisher's medal, and the volunteers got my timing chip and gave me a wet towel to put around my neck and showed me to the exit to go to the massage tent.

And then, I heard a familiar voice calling my name. It was Linda, my Pilates client. She came running up and threw her arms around me and gave me her Congratulations. She was so excited to have seen me cross the finish line. Her husband Chuck and his brother and sister-in-law came up not far behind and they were all smiles as well. Johnny Tri was next with a big hug and then Mitch walked up. It was time for more hugs and some pictures.

After Chuck and Linda headed out. I had to find something to eat and I wanted to sign up for my massage. My goal now was to see if I could get enough pizza for me and JT since he had not had any lunch and it was now past 1:30 pm. With that mission accomplished and signed up on the massage list I saw David and we all headed to go get our gear out of transition. Geoff was getting his massage and would be done soon. Johnny Tri was nice enough to take my bike and gear back to the pad and I got my massage. I had been thinking ahead that morning and I had put some money in my wind breaker pocket so as soon as I got my massage knocked out, I headed to the event store tent to see what kind of Finisher's Gear was available. I did not get a birthday present from my husband so I decided that this was the time to remedy that situation and by myself a belated birthday gift. And here it Finisher's jacket!

And of course it seems like at least one person in the group gets a new nick name at each race, there was no exception this time. At the Awards Banquet, Mitch said that he had been slurping some of the water out of the sponges that they were handing out on the run course. David and I looked at each other and made a face. Geoff chimed in,"Dude they take those sponges and they reuse them after people throw them on the ground." Mitch looks at us all and said,"Hey that Sponge Water got me through some tough spots!" And then David christened Mitch with his new name,"Sponge Water Square Pants over here is cracking me up!" ROTFLMAO!!!
Mitch has been know as "Sponge Water" ever since. We love you Mitch and congratulations on your PR of 5:45. David also had a rockin' day with a PR of 4:43. Geoff did great finishing in 5:03 with the cramps on the swim and the run. It was a great experience and one that I will never forget and I hope that I am fortunate to get to do this race again one day.

Sorry it took me forever to get this race report done, but I hope that you enjoyed it and that it made you feel like you were right there with me. Enjoy your off-season and keep your eye out for more posts about my Amazing Triathlon Adventure!



Thursday, November 22, 2007

Let's Get This Bike Ride Finished and Get Running...

O.K., so I left you hanging on the edge of your seats as I was telling you about the self absorbed driver of the SUV who pulled out and parked in the middle of the bike course around mile 44. Well, now it is time for the stunning conclusion to the bike leg!

The bike course took a turn to the North and suddenly I was pedaling straight into the wind. I would venture to say that the wind was blowing at a steady 17 to 20 miles. The few flags I saw were standing straight out from the flag pole. On top of the wind, the road was climbing ever so slightly. I slipped the chain into the smaller chain ring so that I could keep the legs spinning and not muscle through the last miles before the run. I ended passing up the German guy who passed me on the bridge that crossed Tampa Bay. YES!!! I ended passing up this gal who was in my age group. SWEET!!! We hit a bigger bridge that went over some rail road tracks. I could feel the gap was widening between my bike and theirs. Again the police support was fantastic.

As soon as the course turned west again, I knew right where I was on Hwy 60 that goes to Clearwater Beach from the airport. It was easier to have a crosswind rather than a headwind. I had a guy on the sidewalk yelling out to me to kick it into high gear and chase down that guy in front of me. The athletes had an entire lane coned off near the center of the highway. A motorist would have to be a complete dimwit to have driven onto the course because of all of the orange cones, but then again we did find one of those dimwits at mile 44. The only thing left to tackle was the causeway bridge. I set my gearing appropriately and started on my last hard effort on the bike. There were already hundreds of people out on the run and I knew that I had to get a move on it to get in the game. Then I looked down at my watch. I was going to finish this ride in less than three hours. Rock n' Roll!!! I was ahead of schedule! I got my feet out of my shoes and prepared for the dismount line.

I approached the dismount line, swung my leg over the bike and hopped off and ran under the "Bike In" arch. There were lots of great volunteers ready and waiting to take my bike and I ran down the racks of gear bags to get my red "bike to run" gear back. The volunteers in the change tent were helpful and asked if I needed sun screen. What I really needed was a Port-o-can! The least amount of time I could spend in a hot Port-o-can the better, but since I had a shy bladder on the bike, I had no choice but to make a pit stop. In and out, and I grabbed a handful of sanitizer lotion from a volunteer and I was on my way to the Run Exit arch.

My first goal was to keep my heart rate from going through the roof. The first 400 meters was confined to one normal traffic lane. Runners coming in and runners passing me by. Slow girl was doing her best to stay to the inside and stay small. It is a good thing that we were all sweaty and everyone was sliding by each other. The spectators were thick again and cheering loudly. My plan was to run for 8 minutes and walk for 2 minutes and keep my pace around 10 minutes per mile.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

More Action From the Bike Course in Clearwater

Hey! The last post left you at the point where I had rolled throught the first water stop and was riding through the residential areas with all of the cheering folks along the course.

From here, we made a right hand turn and skirted a mall and then we went on to a main road that pretty much had been shut down from traffic just for the race. Once we got under a bridge, we took a left hand turn and we were on a long parkway. The cars were on the outside two lanes and the racers were on the inside lane and the shoulder. There were still more fans in the median and at the crossovers since none of the cars were allowed in these areas. It was fun to see the cars creeping along or at a bumper-to-bumper standstill while were zipping along past them. There were a few large groups that passed me on the way out to mile 20 and the turn around, but for the most part I was holding my own and keeping a check on my speed. Sometimes I would look down and my speed was 19 mph and sometimes it was 22 mph. I was feeling good and my legs were turning. I had started in on the Accelerade and a package of Clif Shot Bloks for fuel. Every once and a while I would here ambulance sirens, but I never saw the emergency vehicles. All that those sirens told me was that someone had crashed on the bike. I made sure that I was not drafting and no one was going to take me down. Not long after I had made that mental note to myself, some DORK (I had a better name for him during the race...)from the Men's 40-44 age group came screaming around me and cut in front of me so close that his back wheel almost hit my front wheel! Was he looking where he was going??? Well if looking ahead is where he was going, then yes, but other than that he was not looking. I had no time to hit my brakes, but I did momentarily pop out of my aerobars and made it known that I was not happy with his race tactics.

I approached the turn around and then headed south and all of a sudden it felt like there was a tailwind. Once I changed my gearing and settled in to my pace, I checked my watch for the time. HOLY SMOKES!!! I had only been on my bike for an hour. That means that my pace was averaging at 20 mph! There should be no problem in finishing the bike course in under three hours if I kept up the pace. Around mile 25, Geoff pedaled past me and gave me a shout out. I was surprised that it had taken him that long to catch me on the bike. That must mean that I was crankin' on the bike. SWEET!!! We pedaled under a pedestrian bridge were a large crowd of people were cheering for us and they had hung motivational banners. The cars in the lanes next to us were still moving slowly. At one point I was hanging tough with a guy in a convertable and I was VERY temped to look over and ask him how fast we were going, but before I worked up the guts to do it, he had to slow down and I rocketed past him. The cars were now being diverted off the road and into one lane. I saw the flashing lights and saw that the traffic was moved over so that we could move over and get around a bad crash. I saw at least two people down on the ground and being attended to but there seemed to be at least 3 or 4 bikes on the ground as well. That was not good, but I just had to keep up with my race and not get distracted.

The cars were exiting off of a ramp so that the racers had the Hwy 19 bridge over Tampa Bay all to themselves. Looking down at my speed I saw 24 mph! Man I was cruzin'!!! I had some German guy pedal past me and ask me a question which I had no idea what he was talking about. I just shouted back "ONE!" Oh well, so much for foreign diplomacy. I was working on my second bottle of Accelerade now and mildly thinking that I had better think about making room for all those extra fluids I was drinking. I had emptied the holding tank on the swim but I had slurped down 48 oz. of fluids since then. I had thought that I was going to take Geoff's advice of not stopping and draining the bilge on the bike, but as much as I wanted to and gave it my best effort, nothing happened. I was suffering from sphincter lock-up. All those men who have to take Flow-Max, just get them to do a cycling race and try to make them pee on the bike. They might be hard pressed just like me. A few times it was a cheering parent and their kid that kept me from relaxing and other times it was just being on top of the game in the race. I figured that I was not in pain and my eyeballs were not yellow yet so I could probably wait for the transtion area. I had been thanking all of the police men and women who were doing a fantastic job of keeping the course auto free and keeping us safe.

The course now took a right turn and we were headed west again. The fantastic tail wind turned to a cross wind, but it was still a fast course. The only traffic problem I encountered was a large SUV that pulled out of a parking lot and then SAT IN OUR WAY. People who were cheering on the street began yelling for the SUV to move and I started my own cussing tirade. They could not move because the lane of traffic they were trying to get into was at a stand-still. I slowed down and got around their back bumper and took off. We were quickly approaching the turn that would take us north back to Hwy 60 and then back in to Clearwater Beach.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Race Day: Part 2

Hey! You're back for more. Cool!!! O.K., the last post took you right up to my swim exit and getting my wetsuit ripped off. Now, for your reading pleasure, we slip past the glistening wet bodies of some of the fittest humans on the planet and enter into a secret world that only the athletes are allowed into...The Transition Area.

As I entered the Transition area, hard cold pavement gave way to hard, wet astroturf. Little did I know then, but my swim was pretty darn good at seconds over 35 minutes. I had decided that my best strategy was to run down the far left side of the gear racks rather than down the middle row because of traffic congestion. the racks were set up in a large L-shaped configuration with ample room at the bend to go down any of the rack aisles. My bags were on the outer left aisle after the right hand turn. All of the blue gear bags were gone from the first racks that I ran past. That is the only bad thought that goes through a triathlete's head, "Dang! those people are way ahead of me on the bike."
As I made the turn to grab my blue gear bag off of the second rack, who do I see standing along the fence but Johnny Tri! He had his camera out and was ready to catch me, Geoff, and David as we came running through.

I grabbed my bag and dashed into the Women's Change Tent and with the help of one of the super-star volunteers, got my sock on and grabbed my race number, sun glasses, and helmet while she stuffed my wetsuit, cap and goggles in the bag. I was outta' there! There were volunteers ready and waiting to slather on sun screen but I had done that earlier so I ran down the astroturf carpet to the second row as I buckled my helmet and race belt on and dashed to the 5th rack on the left for my bike. It was a grab and go moment and I was making a run for the Bike Exit. My shoes were already on my bike so all I had to do was get past the bike mount line and I was off! Total time in T1 was 3 minutes and 42 seconds.

Once I got past the bike mount line I realized that all the spectators were cheering for us and ringing cow bells. I picked up some speed, slipped my feet into my shoes and took off. I had to keep my heart rate under control because as soon as I got past the first mile marker I would be climbing "The Bridge". I had filled my aerobar bottle with water so that I could get that nice briny deep taste out of my mouth and dilute any sea water in my gut that I had swallowed. I was passing some people, but lots of people were passing me on the bike. My goal was not to get any drafting penalties on this tight course. And then, there it was... looming larger than it did when we approached it in the car. It was "The Bridge". Some used the strategy of coming up and out of the saddle to attack it. Others geared down to spin up it. I built up as much speed as I could approaching it and was going to rely on my fading knowledge of high school physics to use momentum to get as far up that sucker as I could before I really had to hammer hard on the pedals. I am lucky that my light weight and my good climbing legs from all of those rides around Lake Tahoe make me shoot past other riders who really should be leaving me in their wake. Photographers at the top of the climb! Smile and look invincible! After rolling over the crest, I shot down the other side of the bridge but with care as there was a left had curve at the bottom of the causeway.

The course took another left hand turn and we zoomed past the Pinnaelus County Courthouse and the downtown storefronts of Clearwater, Florida. I had some free space so now it was time to dig out my Power Bar fruit and nut bar and start chowing down the calories. I had been smart and pre-opened the wrappers so all I had to do was get the bar out of the Bento Box and keep moving down the road. Riding hard, breathing hard, and chewing a Power Bar is not an easy task! I was slipping by some more riders already out on the bike course but now the hard core men from the 40-44 age group were coming up on my rear. Just the sound of their disk wheels let me know that I needed to get as far to the right as I could to get out of their way. I kept my concentration on the road, drinking my bottle of water and chewing on my fruit and nut bar. I wanted to empty that bottle and be finished with the bar by the time I hit the first aid station on the bike course. A right turn here, a left turn there and now we were begining to roll through a more residential area. The locals were all along the street here with painted posters, cow bells, flags, and lots of cheering for us. That was really cool! Whole families were out with their kids in wagons. Older spectators had set up their law chairs and were settled in for the show. Other cyclists and triathletes from the area had ridden their bikes over to watch us and encourage us. There was even a couple who had dressed up in inflatable "fat suites" that looked like they had beach attire on. They were pretty funny. What I did not see but wished that I would have was the three boys who were around 12 to 14 and had gotten bored with blowing into the horn that you see at football games that make a lot of noise. They had one kid laying on the ground with the dang horn in his mouth and another kid was pouring water into the other end of the horn like some wacked out "Water Bong" while another kid was cheering. See parents, you can never take your eyes off of them!!! David relayed this story to us after the race. He said that he was cheering for them as well.

As I was coming up to the first aid station, I had a "Hero Moment" as I rolled by Rick and Dick Hoyt on Dick's special bike with the seat in front for Rick. As I pedaled past them I yelled out "Go Ricky!". I had reached my goal of emptying the water bottle but I now had to start working on the two bottles of Accelerade I had on the bike.

Stay tuned to Bike Course entry #2...

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Race Day: Part 1

I had a hard time getting to settle down and crawl in bed the night before, but when the alarm clock went off at 4:30 am, I wanted to hit the snooze for some more sleep. I started to get my race clothing on and devouring a Power Bar. Bathroom stop #1. I started hearing the rest of the guys moving around downstairs. I headed down to get some oatmeal and see everyone else's status. I had been using my Rescue Remedy spray to help me chill out. Still, I was nervous as all get out. I have done tons of these but I still get the hee-bee jee-bees before a race. Geoff took advantage of the Rescue Remedy as well. The oatmeal was not sitting well, but I knew that it was just nerves. Nervous bathroom stop #2.

We were bundled up for the 55 degree weather and we headed out the door at 5:20 am for the short walk to the Transition Area. When we stepped out the door we were greeted by the music and the instructions from race officials booming from the speakers at the race venue. There were also those search lights scanning the sky that you see at grand-openings and strip clubs. This was a BIG DEAL!

Once we got to the Transition Area, Geoff and I got in line to get our "Official Ironman Markings" on our arms and legs.
No Sharpie wielding kid who messes up the number and tries to go over the 5 to make it look like a 6. These volunteers were using the number stamps here. We really looked like Cat. 1 racers! It was then on to our bikes to load on the water bottles, bento boxes with gels and food, attach the shoes to the pedals, and check the tires. I finished up pretty fast and Geoff came over to borrow my dental floss to tie up his shoes on the bike. I found Johnny Tri (JT) at the fence and I went over there and hung out for a while. I met the wife of the Ironhead Race Director. Ironhead was the Olympic distance race that we all did this year back in July. There were lots of people speaking lots of different languages milling about and some were starting to pull on their wetsuits. Transition was getting ready to close and I had to high tail it out of there. One last hug from JT and then it was off to find the other guys. I found David and he watched my stuff while I went in search of a Port-o-can for pit stop #3.
I stopped on the way back to meet David for the National Anthem and then it was the start of the race with the Pro Women running down the beach and into the Gulf of Mexico at 7 am. Not long after I got back, Geoff found us and we started to watch the Pro Women and Men crawl out of the water and dash into the Transition Area. Dang they were fast. Andy Potts finished the 1.2 mile swim in 22 minutes, but he was not the fastest guy out there. I saw the timing clock and realized that It was about 15 minutes to my start. I took a Power Bar Endurance Gel, washed it down with the last of my water, dropped off my morning gear bag with all of my clothes in it and then headed over to the start corrals to get with the rest of the women in my wave start.

The sand was cold, but it was soft under my bare feet. Everyone was pulling on purple swim caps and goggles in anticipation of being led up to the start line by the head swim start volunteer. Mike Riley, the "Voice of Ironman" had been starting the swim waves and giving updates on the athletes running out of the water and now he was announcing that it was time for the fastest Age Group women to join the party. I felt like I had sneaked in and crashed the party on this one. I am NOT fast. Not even close to fast. I would be hard pressed to make it back to Clearwater in a legitimate race spot. The luck of the roll down was the only reason that I was even there. But there was magic in the air and Dr. DeWalsh had used "Magic" Kinesio-tape on my ankle so something magical had to happen during this race. With the crack of the starting cannon, the magic had begun!

The 150 women in my group and I sprinted down the beach and into to chilly surf and dove in to start putting 70.3 miles behind us. The swim field was gentle compared to my mass swim start at Arizona Ironman where I duked it out with over 2000 men and only 384 other women. All the gals I was swimming with were actually polite and swam around rather than over one another. We had a half mile swim out and a nice line of big yellow markers with the Ironman logo on them to follow. There were Coast Guard boats, life guards on jet skis, kayaks, surf boards, and helicopters roving overhead. If anything was going to happen, there were plenty of people to take care of us in case of an emergency. Since we were all fantastic swimmers, the only threat that we might encounter would be sharks! "Excuse me, but we are racing here and do not have time for your predator instincts. Yes we look like slick seals in our wetsuits, but we are NO WHERE as fat and juicy as a seal. We are lean, mean, racing machines here Mr. Mako--so SCRAM! BEAT IT!! GET THE F--K OUT OF MY WAY!!!" Whoa, there is the orange marker to start the turn around. At this point I see one or two green swim caps from the men's wave from behind us and then, I swear on it, I saw David! Who else would be this far up on the swim course in a red swim cap and in a sleeveless wetsuit??!!?? David swam for UT and was only hundredths of a second off from making the Olympic trials. As we turned the second orange marker and turned towards shore, we were blinded by the sun that had gotten high enough to become a major distraction. I now had to look for large triangular shadows rather than yellow markers to make it back to shore. I was feeling faster on the way back in with the waves pushing me along. Soon a larger group of men in green caps overtook me and I was able to draft off of them for at least 100 to 150 yards. Now I was seeing pink caps from the men's swim start that was before ours. I started to see Pier 60 on my left and I knew that it was not long before I would be back on the beach. Surprisingly, I was able to see the bottom of the gulf and saw the ripples in the sand that were highlighted from the sunlight streaming through the water. I was getting close. I started seeing people stand up, but I knew that I had to try to get as close in to shore as possible. Some people stand up in waist deep or thigh deep water, but they still have to wade into shore. I shorten my stroke so that when I stand up I am only in water that is half way up to my knee. It makes it so much easier to get out of the water and get running up the beach. I unzipped my faithful Orca/Team in Training wetsuit and dashed up the beach as I pulled it off my arms and got it down around my hips. I ran over the timing mat, through the showers to rinse off my face and then over to the volunteers who were stripping wetsuits off of the athletes. They helped me up off the ground, gave me my wetsuit and then it was off to get my blue gear bag.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Friday--The day before the BIG race

On Friday morning, Mitch, David, and I got up early and had some breakfast before heading out the door to do an open water swim. We left Geoff still sleeping, back at the casa. It was a little chilly at 8 am and we had some warm clothes on. It was not a lot of fun to stand on the cold sidewalk in bare feet. David showed me a nifty trick of putting a plastic grocery sack over my foot as I got into my wetsuit. It just slid on! How had I missed out on that tid-bit of information? We turned in our gear to the Gatorade tent and tracked through the cold sand down to the edge of the water.

COLD!!! That was a shock to the system! I kept my head up for a few strokes and then started putting my face down in the water. Ah, that lovely taste of salt water. It does not bother me so bad as others. I just always think of salt water taffy or having a big bucket of popcorn with my brine water treat. I could hardly see a thing in the water. I did see my hand with the sunlight streaming into the gulf, but that was about it. They had the course already put out, but they only let us swim a quarter of a mile out and then we swam north about 100 yds. and came back in. I was doing great and only took in one gulp of the gulf. When we got out of the water, David was right there, but we did not see Mitch back in yet. We had worked up enough body heat that we felt good being wet and out of the top of the wetsuit. It was the rinse showers that cooled us off. We were able to dry off and get into our warm clothes when we saw Geoff. He was asking us how the water was. We did not want to give too much away about the waves, so we told him to suit up and get out there. David caught a glimpse of Mitch, but then he found his Austin buddies Maurice and the rest of the crew and we chatted with them for a bit. There were tons more people there now then when we showed up.

Back at the casa, Mitch was waiting for us so he could head out to get his bike worked on at the Repair Tent. As soon as Geoff got back, we loaded up the van and headed out to the Athlete's Race Meeting. This was back at Sand Key Park where we had the banquet the night before. The sun was out now and it was nice, unlike the chilly evening before. After the race meeting, we booked it back to the casa so I could get ready for my interview with the Ironman PR team. Johnny Tri had gotten back from his overnight stay with Bigun and Di and was waiting for us.
I grabbed a quick salad, got changed, washed the salt water out of my hair and JT and I headed over to Pier 60 for the interview. Geoff and David said they would meet us over there.

My interview went smoothly and I answered all of their questions and really plugged Team in Training. I had my TNT gear on and a huge smile on my face. Geoff and David pedaled up on their bikes just as I was finishing up. We headed back to the Expo tents and JT bought himself a hat. Now I needed to get on my bike and make sure that my speed sensor was working, get the race number on it, get my transition bags ready and get them over to the transition area.

Before we headed over, I saved Geoff from making a huge blunder on race day. He had his swim to bike gear in the bike to run transition bag. After a quick bag change, we all headed over to drop off our stuff. It was a good thing we got there when we did because there was no line and we had great volunteers walking us all through the area to show us around and get our stuff in the correct place.
I had a great volunteer who was a triathlete himself and we got stopped many times by other athletes with their questions. This guy was the answer man. JT took lots of pictures! Geoff and I headed back in to take pictures of the bag racks and to look for some of the Pro's bags. After a few more pictures, we now noticed that there was a huge line to get into the bag drop-off in the transition area. We lucked out on timing.

Once the bikes and our gear was out of our hand, it felt like a huge weight had been lifted off our shoulders. We went back to the casa and watched Gladiator and chilled out. JT gave me a pre-race adjustment and got me in tip-top shape We headed out for diner at 5, but got there a little too early. We found out the Italian bistro we were encouraged to go to did not open until 5:30, so we drove down the coast and did some sight seeing. Our meal at the bistro was yummy! Geoff and I had the Salmon, David had the Pene, Mitch had Fetuchini Alfredo, and JT had the stuffed Manacoti. We all shared some Bruchetta and a Creme Brule desert as well. Now that is was dark, it felt really late even though it was only 7. We made one last stop at Walgreen's for last minute breakfast stuff and then it was back to the casa to get our stuff ready for the next morning. The lights were out and everyone was in bed by 10pm.

Stay tuned for RACE DAY!!!

Coach Liz

I DID IT--And I made a PR!!!


This is super short, but more will come later.

Finish Time--5:52:43

This is 25 minutes faster than my fastest half Ironman time. The race was fantastic.

As I said...look for a full race report later today.

Coach Liz :0)

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Day 1 at the Worlds-NEW RACE NUMBER 1102


I am here in Clearwater, Florida. I got here last night with Johnny Tri and Geoff. The townhouse that we are staying in is beautiful! there is a 2 car garage that has lots of space for our bikes.

There is an elevator to the upper levels which was great for us lazy triathletes and for taking our luggage up to our rooms. On the second floor is the living area and kitchen and one of the bedrooms. The third level has a master bed and bath, another room and the laundry. On the roof there is a hot tub and the view is great. We are located only a short distance away from the race venue. We ran to the local Albertson's grocery to pick up stuff for breakfast and then it was off to bed for a good night's sleep.

I was up at 6:45 eastern time and the sun was up. I got up and started breakfast while the guys were still asleep. The smell of coffee, blueberry pancakes, and scrambled eggs got them moving to the kitchen. After breakfast, Geoff and I had thought about going to the open water swim practice but we decided to do the swim on Friday morning. We went to the beach-front area and took a look for the packet pick-up but instead we found one of the race expo tents! $112.32 later, I walked out with some cool stuff! I got a sweat jacket, a tech shirt, a water bottle, a car magnet with the M-Dot logo, a pair of socks, and a nifty visor. Geoff got two visors to replace his Triathlon magazine visor that is always attached to his head. Johnny Tri was acting as our driver and had dropped us off to look for a parking space. We called him back to pick us up because we needed to head to the airport to pick up David and Mitch. When he found out that we were shopping for cool SHWAG while he was keeping the car made him pretty cranky. LOL, we love you Johnny Tri!

We picked up David and Mitch and then headed to Packet Pick-Up. It all went smoothly except that Geoff forgot his photo ID.
We got our race packets, got wrist banded, weighed in, and were given our cool Ironman drawstring bag filled with goodies. Then it was another trip to the Race Shop. I spent another $612!!! OMG!!! Hey, you only get to the World Championships once if you are slow like me. Here is a breakdown of the goods: 1 Ironman beach towel, a cool 70.3 WC bike jacket, 70.3 WC tri top, 70.3 WC bike shorts (they were out of tri shorts in my size), a nice 70.3 WC run/casual jacket, a short sleeve tech shirt, a long sleeve tech shirt, a long sleeve tech run top, a few stickers for the bike case, some tattoos, and 2 CO2 cartridges.
DANG!!! It was totally worth it!!!

We had a late lunch and then took Geoff back to packet pick-up. Mitch had to go back to look into renting race wheels. His friend Erin was using his race wheels last week at Ironman Florida and she had a crash and cracked the front wheel rim. Kuota wanted both wheels to look at and told him not to use the wheels to race on in case the back wheel had damage as well. So after Geoff got his race packet, we took Mitch to the bike shop for wheels. Johnny Tri met us with Bigun and went to his pad to have dinner with him and Mrs. Bigun.

Geoff, David, and I went for a short 10-15 minute run down to the water and then got cleaned up for the athlete's Welcome banquet.
We took a short drive to Sand Key Park and were met with this awesome stage with a reggae band. It was like being at a beach concert. The food lines were short, the food was yummy, the music was good, and the following presentation was very inspiring and motivational.
The only thing that was a negative was the windy conditions that made the temps chilly. We headed back to the townhouse to give the hot tub a go, but it was really not as warm as we first thought. We only lasted a few minutes in the "cool" tub and then crawled out. I am waiting for the weather forecast, and then it is off to bed.

Well, that is it for now...more tomorrow!

Coach Liz

Sunday, November 4, 2007

I made the cut!

Man, time has been flying by for me here as I wind it down to the Ford Ironman 70.3 World Chapmionships next Saturday. I got a pretty amazing phone call last Thursday. I was in the parking lot of the bike shop to get my bike and I got a phone call from the Ironman PR department. They said that they go through the applications for the Championships in Kona and Clearwater and look for athletes with interesting stories and backgrounds and they were calling to let me know that they had picked me as one of the athletes they would like to profile. Shazam!!! What an honor!

I have an interview set up for Friday at noon and I have to show up in training clothing so that they can also get footage of me running and training. I don't know all of the details on where this interview is going to go, but I will keep everyone informed. I don't know if this means that I am one of the Human Interest stories that NBC uses for their coverage of the race. Now I get to feel like a human billboard. Team in Training wants me to wear the logo front and center, Power Bar would like me to have the logo prominently displayed since I am a Team Elite member, my coach mentioned that when it was convenient to mention his name in the interview, the bike shop wants a pic of me by something that shows the race logo while I am wearing one of the shops team jerseys. I am sure that when I tell the sports docs they will want me to wear the logo as well.

I have started my packing and I fly to Tampa on Wednesday afternoon. I did my last brick workout today and things should be winding down now as I prepare to head to the race. It is bed time and I have to focus on good sleep this week so I am signing out for now.

More details as they come available!


Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

Well, it is time for the holiday sugar rush to begin. Each year between the days leading up to Halloween until just after Christmas people everywhere will be over-indulging on sugary sweets, tasty fattening goodies, and the standard second helping. It is also the time of year that females dress up in some "hoochy" version of any occupation, fairy, bug, or sport participant and males to either dress up as something way too scary for little children or too tacky to really be out in public. I am not trying to rain on any one's parade here. Just my observations.

My kid's first costume choice was Metal Skull Biker which to my relief was sold out when we went costume shopping on Sunday. I guess that means I will have lots of Metal Skull Bikers knocking on my door for the goods. His second choice was the Scream Mask which reminds me of the painting The Scream and frankly I find a bit disturbing. We left Party City without a costume and headed off to Target to see what was left. The costume selection was pretty sparse due to Halloween parties being held over the weekend. At Target we found "THE COSTUME". I find it amazing that Star Wars continues to have legs after 30 years and still generates millions of dollars. My kid will be decked out as a Storm Trooper or Clone Trooper or Super Trooper or what ever the hell it is. Here is the kicker. The picture on the package shows this great costume that looks like it has all of these cool plates of body armor on it but in reality it looks like a pair of Storm Trooper pajamas that are full and hang down in the butt with molded card board shoulder pads sewn in the shoulder seams. It is a good thing the costume was on sale for $21.99 and I did not have to pay the $40.00 full price ticket.

Well, my Taper has started as I start winding down to the 70.3 World Championships. On Friday I ran my last long run of 11 miles and felt great. Saturday morning my TNT peeps ran either 6 or 11 miles and then I picked up Geoff and Ryan and we headed down to Kemah to ride and run over the Kemah bridge. Traffic was hellish and we cut our ride short but now at least we know how we are going to feel running over that bridge in Clearwater next week. We had a good workout and Geoff and I feel prepared for what we are going to face in our last race of the season. I have done some short efforts but slacking off generally. I have a swim today and tomorrow is a last ride that i may put off until Friday if my bike is not ready at the shop tomorrow.

Travel is one week away and I need to start getting my gear laid out so that I can have everything packed and ready before hand rather than pulling an all night packing rush.

More later on the trick-or-treat events of my Storm Trooper,


Friday, October 26, 2007

Change in the weather...

Fall has finally hit the Lone Star State! The only bad thing is that it is still hot in Clearwater, Florida and I am not getting that good heat training in anymore. Last Monday we had a Blue Norther run thru the state bringing rain and high winds. By that evening, the rain had stopped and it was dry enough to run track practice for my TNT marathon group. I wore a long sleeve tech shirt and a thin running vest and shed down to my shimmel top soon after we got started.

Tuesday was bright and sunny and it has been that way all week long with lows in the 40's and highs in the 70's. It has stayed windy and I have not been on my bike other than the trainer on the back deck of the house so I have not had the pleasure of beating myself up with the wind yet. The running has been fabulous!

Today I had my last long run of 11 miles before I race at the Ford Ironman 70.3 World Championships on November 10th. The race is just 2 weeks away! This weekend, Geoff and I have our last high volume training weekend before we start tapering back the miles but keeping the intensity up for a few more days and then it will be slug time for a few days of travel and getting set for the big race day. Clearwater has a huge causeway bridge that we have to go over two times on our bike and four times on the run. Geoff and I will be training on the Kemah bridge this weekend riding and running so that we know what we are going to be up against. I have to give David and Mitch a call to see if they want to join us since it will be their last weekend to get it in as well. I am really jazzed about the race. I know that I can finish it and hopefully go faster than my usual times that have been all within a few minutes of each other. I would like to think that I could crack this one wide open but we shall see. I may be the last one in my age group to cross the line like I was at the USAT Short Course Nationals a few years ago. But hey! I get all the cool shwag!!!

The other important news is that I have 83 half marathoners and 75 full marathoners that recommitted to TEAM IN TRAINING in my training group for the Houston Marathon!!! That is not counting the three other training areas. I am super stoked because they have almost met last year's fundraising total and they still have lots of time to keep raising money for the fight against leukemia, lymphoma, and other blood related cancers. MY TRAINING GROUP ROCKS!!!

All right, it is time to go raid the kitchen or go out and find some food in this city.

More later about my Saturday workout with the peeps...

Coach Liz

Monday, October 22, 2007

Lance is in the House Part 2...

O.K., some of you have been on Johnny Tri's blog and seen those awesome pictures of Lance signing my LIVESTRONG Challenge jersey. JT did a great job of detailing the whole event so I won't re-hash it. If you did not hear about it, hop on over to his blog and read on! Needless to say, I was pretty jazzed about the whole event. But, what JT did not mention is what I am going to do with this signed jersey. That is the story that is gonna make you all warm and fuzzy.

Here it is...

Last year I was signed up to ride the 100 mile route for the Austin, Texas LIVESTRONG Challenge ride. Only four weeks befor the ride I had to have knee surgery to repair a torn medial meniscus that I had f---ed up in a kickboxing class. I had done some fundraising and thought that I would ease back into some bike riding and just do the 10 mile route. It had only been a week or so before the ride that I was able to get on the bike and pedal slowly (with a lot of pain) while teaching my indoor cycling classes. I picked up my kid after school with the bikes loaded on the Honda Element and we drove west into the sunset to get to packet pick-up.

The free SHWAG was great and the two of us were loading our bags with water bottles, posters, magnets, buttons, bandanas and more. They had the Nike/LIVESTRONG gear on sale and since I was only a few days off from my birthday, I decided to buy myself this nice LIVESTRONG Challenge jersey for $90. I have a couple of cycling buddies up in Portland who were part of the 10//2 crew and I had seen the jersey and had been very envious. We get back to the Motel 6 and my kid tells me that he does not have a jersey to wear for the ride. I told him that I had packed him a jersey but he said it was not good enough since it was not a Ride for the Roses or LIVESTRONG jersey. Only a mother's love would drive me to say that he could wear my new LIVESTRONG jersey and I would wear the 2003 Ride for the Roses jersey that I had brought with me. He was under strict orders not to spill red Gatorade on it or get bike chain grease on it.

The next morning while we are waiting for the ride to begin and we hear Lance talk to the crowd, the kid anounces to me, "Mom, we have to do the 40 mile route. Lance is riding the 40 mile route!" O.K., so what about this 10 mile route that we had discussed, and what about mom's knee, and hey you only have a Giant BMX bike that is a single-speed...all of that did not mean crap to my kid. Lance was riding the 40 mile route so we were riding the 40 miler. He did a great job on the hills and he did not linger long at the rest stops because, "Lance might be at the next one mom. Let's get going."

I thought it was great that on the last 10 to 15 miles of the route, the guys who started barreling by us as they finished up their 70 and 100 mile rides began shouting out encouragements to my son. "Come on Buddy, you can do it!" "You're looking great Bud, Keep it up!" "You're almost there, keep pedaling!" There was only one hill that he had to get off of his bike for but 2/3 of the adults were pushing their bikes up this hill. He was so tired at the end and almost wanted to quit and walk the bike when I pointed out where the finish line was. He stuck it out and rode across the line looking like a WINNER.

He talks about Lance everyonce and a while, but he is pretty consumed with other things such as Ferarri automobiles, Ed Roth's Rat Fink drawings, and baseball. At the begining of the school year, the kids are asked to fill out a worksheet that lists their favorite food, best subject, and their hero. My kid put down...My hero is Lance Armstrong. WOW! I asked him about it and he said it was really cool what Lance was doing for people who had cancer like Grandma. My son was able to remember my mother's battle with Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma and her loss with that battle.

I knew what I had to do. I went back to the car and was glad it was a cool morning and I had not really sweat in the newly signed jersey. It is now awaiting a framing job along with the picture of Lance signing mom's back that JT took and it will be waiting under the tree on Chirstmas morning. I cannot wait to see the look on his face when he unwraps the jersey.

Alright, I still have more to blog about, but I have to get to track practice. More later...

Coach Liz

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Day after Kona IM...

What a day in Kona! Huge surprises all the way around. Familiar faces were missing or puking their guts out on the bike and new faces and rookies were riding/running like they stole it...and they did. Now we get to see if Crowie and Sam can defend their titles in Clearwater. It should be interesting to see it all play out. Now we just have to wait for NBC to put together their IM show to see all the stuff that was not happening at the front. All of the human interest stories are the ones that make you cry or inspire you to make that big leap of faith and sign up for an Ironman.

I would love to do another one, but my schedule is hard with a nine year-old and a husband who does a lot of international travel and when he is home, works nights. It is hard to get all of that training done. I can handle half IM training and even that is tough on some days. I will stick with the half IM distance for a while until my son is a little older. I know that sounds like a cop-out, but I don't have a better way to get the training in without becoming a single triathlete and possibly loose custudy of a kid because all I do is train. Not as bad as being a drug addict, but very very close. That is why the number of men far outnumber the women at these distances. You have to have the support to do the training and unless the family or partner is part of the triathlon world, it is very hard for them to understand the drive and the desire.

Ok, enough of that...

Yesterday, I had a blast! After going and running a 10K with my TNT group, Johnny Tri and I headed to the casa and hooked up the laptop to the flat screen Sony and started the live-feed of the Hawaii IM. We downed a bag of BAKED Tostitos and salsa as we got things hooked up and then...URL not Found!!!

No coverage for almost an hour!!! What's up with that??? Some ding-dong probably tripped over a power cord and lost the feed. Well in the mean time, it was time for more food and more friends showed up. Geoff and Lauren along with Sunny and Jay showed up. Jay it a great friend! He brought me 4 6-packs bottles of Dr. Pepper made with Imperial Cane Sugar! DP from the can just doesn't taste the same. It is $7 a 6-pack and it is worth it. Thanks Jay!!! Johnny Tri was on to his second sandwich and we waited patienly for the live-feed to come back. Norma and Luke showed up and Luke brought his framed finish photo and medal from The Longhorn Half Ironman, his first Half IM distance race. Luke finished in 6:22!!! Great effort for a first Half. Congratulations Luke!!!

Now that most everyone was there, it was time to start digging into the brownies. I have gotten famous for my brownies and Norma had requested them. I'm not sure how well brownies go with Corona beer, but both were consumed in large quantities. I passed on the beer. If I am going to ingest calories, I would rather it be chocolate over barley and hops. Sunny and Jay had to leave because Sunny was ready for a nap. She did her first 10K that morning and she did a great job. She earned that nap. Dustin and Shika brought some more Corona and the bike leg was playing out on the live-feed that had come back up.

Right now my house is the cleanest that it has been...probably ever, lol. Naw, it has been clean before, but with work and training, and keeping up with family stuff the house gets neglected. I have a post card in my bathroom by the mirror that states, "A clean house is a sign of a waisted life." I live by that motto.

Ok, I have lots more to blog about but I have a project for work that has been looming over me for literally months and I was asked about it on Friday and I lied and said it was done. So I have to do it today!

I will write more later...


Sunday, October 7, 2007

Birthday Fun!

Only a complete tri-geek would have a great birthday getting up at 5:15 am in the morning, driving out 30 miles to pedal over 60 miles of rolling hills with your training buddies. The only thing that could have made it better was if all the roads we covered were as smooth as the ones in Montgomery County. Thanks to Geoff, Ryan, Nathalie, and Johnny Tri along with Lauren later in the day wishing me a Happy Birthday. It seems a little uneventful since USA Triathlon rules state that you must race under the age you will be on December 31st of the year. It seems like I had my birthday back on April 1st, when I did my first race of the season.

I did not make it to see the Yamoto Drummers of Japan. Instead I had dinner at California Pizza Kitchen after work and ate some pizza wih my son. We got to watch the Braves whup up on the NY Yankees. Friday I had a PT client that did a no-show and then I had my small group training session with 3 ladies that I train. Had lunch with my son and then it was off to train.

I was trying out a new Speedo race suit on the bike to see if it was comfortable with no pad in the seat. After an hour on the bike I had determined that it was ok. The road was rough in spots and the wind was gusty, but rough roads and wind are your friends during training according to one of my past cycling coaches.
The big surprise was when I came around a corner and came face to snout with a longhorn bull that had gotten out of the fence. I stayed calm, but moved past as quietly as I could with little distraction so that I would not get charged at. He was curious enough to stop chewing his cud and scope me out, but at least he held his ground and did not move.

I met up with Johnny Tri and we waited for another training buddy who did a no-show and then we put in some open water swimming time. JT had to practice in his wetsuit. I should be doing that as well since the swim at the World Championships is a wetsuit swim, but it was hot and the water was warm. We did just shy of a mile and then it was off to find some food and fuel up.

Saturday was an early morning setting out course signs for the Houston Marathon group that I am coaching with TEAM IN TRAINING and my trusty assitant coach, Johnny Tri, and I got in a 6.5 mile run before the rest of the group showed up to run at 6:45 am. With all the whining that JT was doing about the humidity, the length of the run, and the need to pee I was ready to open a liquor store. Well, read on and you will see how "What goes around, comes around".

Saturday afternoon I splurged and bought a new easy chair and ottoman. I had moved some furniture and made some more space in my living room because I am having a bunch of tri buddies over to watch the live feed of the Hawaii Ironman next Saturday. So moving the sofa left a huge spot on the floor that needed to be filled with a chair. The best part was it fit in the back of my Honda Element (I love that car!).

So then it was Sunday and that great ride. I have a cousin who has a birthday the day before I do. 20 years ago she was in a car accident that left her in a wheel chair. I consider myself to be very lucky to take a bike ride on my Birthday because Jayne will never get the chance to do that. Be thankful for the small things or the things that seem insignificant.

O.K. I have work to do so I will get back later!


Thursday, October 4, 2007

10/4 Good Buddy...


October is here and I am still training like mad. I have eased back into the grind again as I get ready for Clearwater, Florida. I am actually very excited to be going to the World Championships. I would have never thought that a front of the pack sprint and Oly racer and a mid pack long distance racer would have qualified for a slot but stranger things have happened such as having K-Fed determined to be a better parent than Brittany(not that the inverse would be more logical).

Johnny Tri and I went out for a 30 mile bike workout yesterday around 1:45 in the afternoon. I am not sure what the weather is like in your part of the world, but where we were it was sunny, 93 degrees, and windy. We thought we were going to be getting a tail wind on the way back but that did not happen. It seemed to be harder on the way back. Here is the part that really sucked. My Polar said I only expended 863 calories and his Garmin said he was over 2300 calories. Yeah, I know, he is a lot bigger than I am so he has to burn more...but almost 3x as many??? Shi...I was going quiet a bit faster than he was and had to be nice and slow down so he could catch up on several occasions. I did not even earn a scoop of ice cream outta that one. I love you JT, but dang man, stop rubbing it in that I'm little.

I am going to try to get some tickets tonight to see the Yamoto Drummers from Japan. I will be cutting it close getting to the theater after work, but I won't be all sweaty. That is one of the benefits of teaching Pilates over, say a run workout. I won't be smelling like a water buffalo. Just a treat for myself for my birthday. I will finally be the age that I have been racing under all year long, LOL!!! It really does not seem like I have aged a bit since I have been "USAT Aged" since the first race of the season back on April 1st.

O.K., nice training weekend coming up. I will try to get some photos and show what I've been up to.

Roger that...

Coach Liz

Sunday, September 30, 2007

By Popular Demand...

I was asked to include my race report from Arizona Ironman 2006. I don't know if there is anything that I wrote about that others are just waiting in anxious anticipation for. I hope that it at least provides entertainment.

I made it to the FINISH LINE!

I want to thank everyone who sent me messages of encouragement last week as I was getting ready for Ironman Arizona. Your quotes, prayers, and thoughts of you logging on to helped get me through some of long and mind-numbing parts of the course as well as the physically tough ones as well.

When I arrived in Phoenix on Friday, I was greeted by my wonderful friend Cathy Breig at the airport who traveled out to see me race and to be a volunteer on the run course. We got checked in at the hotel and made our way to find some lunch and then to go get checked in at the Athlete Village. I proceeded to sign my life away on the waiver, get weighed in, tagged with a wrist band, and was given explicit details about all of my gear bags, bike check-in, my timing chip, and my black swim cap with my race number written on it in black permanent marker by one of the helpful and very comical volunteers named Don. I then got suckered in to pre ordering race photos and spent an amount of money that I will not reveal to my husband on commemorative race clothing and souvenirs. Heck, how often do you do one of these things—Live BIG! I ran into one of the members of the gym where I teach my indoor cycling classes and he stopped in town on the way home from a business trip to see friends from the local Houston Racing Triathlon Club do the race and he said that he had my race number down and he would be cheering for me. I also saw someone that I had been coaching last year to get them started on their Ironman journey and he admitted that he was very nervous. I told him that it would be fine and that he should enjoy the experience. I talked to my coach and set a meeting time for the next morning and then went to the mandatory race meeting to learn all of the finer details of the race. I had a hard time sleeping that night as I was awoken by a bad dream that I did not have my wetsuit on and everyone was walking toward the start of the swim and then my Dad approaches me and tells me that he found out that they had one race spot left and he decided to sign up and do the race with me. I then woke up as I was frantically looking for a wetsuit and a bike for him to use. That was 1:30 am and I laid in bed for another 90 minutes trying to get back to sleep with no success, so I got up and started getting my gear in order.

After some breakfast and setting my gear by all of my gear bags, I did a double check that anything that I would need on the bike was in my Swim to Bike Gear Bag, and anything I would need on the run was in my Bike to Run Gear Bag, and that my Bike Special Needs Bag and my Run Special Needs Bag had food and other items that I would need at the 70 mile and 15 mile marks respectively. Cathy had a volunteer meeting at 9:00 am and I had a practice swim in Tempe Town Lake at 9:00 am. The water was a chilly 65 degrees and I was glad I had my wetsuit on. I did some easy swimming and swam out towards the start line to get a good look at the buoy line down to the first turn a mile away. After crawling out of the water, I was met by my coach, Anthony “Woofie” Humpage, and we went over my strategy for the next day which was just to finish and to finish strong. If I was going to race, then I needed to sign up for another race. We went over details of importance on the bike course and how to avoid some trouble spots that could lead to some flat tires. After getting things squared away, Cathy and I went to lunch and to run those last minute errands for things that I needed such as Velcro, Salt and Vinegar Chips for my Special Needs Bags, a Tic-Tac box to empty out and put salt tablets in and Velcro to my bike for easy access, Gatorade, and rubber bands. If anyone needs rubber bands, I have plenty that you can have. A 0.99 cent bag at Big Lots could last a small office for a year! I got my bike and gear bags and headed back to the Athlete Village for bike check in. After dropping off my stuff, we picked up some dinner at Whole Foods and had a nice picnic around the pool at the hotel. We watched Best In Show, a goofy movie about people who enter their dogs in dog shows to take my mind off of the race and then I collapsed into a nice dream-free sleep.

On Race Day I was up at 4:00 am and starting to get my double breakfast smoothie ready and to get my race clothing on. I loaded up all of the stuff that I would need for the race that I did not drop off the day before and started mixing up my energy gels and energy drinks with protein in them for on the bike. We drove out to the Athlete Village and I made the first of many trips to a Port-o-Can on the way to get my race numbers marked on my arms and my age put on my leg. With 2000 other athletes, I went to my bike and started to load on the bottles, spare tires, CO2 canisters to inflate the tires, food, and electrolyte tablets. After checking the tire pressure on my wheels, it was one more trip to the Port-o-can before I pulled on my wetsuit and made my way over the timing mat to activate my timing chip that I was wearing around my ankle.

At the dock where we were to get into the water, a volunteer was shouting into a bull horn to hurry and jump in or to push the person in front of us in and to swim out to the start line. The cold water was a little shocking as it seeped in through the zipper on the back, but soon it was warmed up to body temp. Before I had hit the water I had a couple of hits of a product called Rescue Remedy that my sports chiropractic doc had given me to help reduce stress. In the water I was pretty calm as I positioned myself along the line of buoys out to the first turn. I heard the announcer say that there were triathletes there from all 50 states and 30 countries around the world. Nearly 800 of the 2000 racers were doing an Ironman for the first time, and there were 385 women along with the men competing for a spot to go to the famous World Championship race in Kona, Hawaii. After the National Anthem and the gun, we were off and the water started churning like a washing machine.

It is true in a race like this that swimming is a contact sport! People are hitting each other with their arms and hands. Feet and legs are kicking other people in the head, torso, and arms. People are crawling over each other to get to the next buoy in the water. If you notice from the picture, we were swimming right into the sunlight so it made things hard to see with the light reflecting off the water. The picture shows how a lot of people were holding close to the shore, but my strategy was to stay at the bottom near the boats because that is where the buoy line was. If I had stayed to the shore then I would have had to swim further north to get to left turn and to start heading back. Once I slugged it out with all of the other people to get to the first turn, then the course headed north for 200 yds. It was still congested but then after the next turn to head back west and towards the swim exit, I found some “clean” water and I was able to really get some good swimming in. With the sun at my back, it was easier to see the buoys in the water and I continued to swim directly to them. Each one I passed I was only 3 to 10 feet away from the line. Along the entire course there were people in kayaks, jet skis, and boats in case someone needed assistance. I later saw in a video of the swim that one of the kayaker was capsized by one of the athletes trying to crawl up on top of the kayak to get out of the water. I am very thankful that I am a good swimmer! I felt very relaxed in the water and was able to keep a good pace. As I swam under the bridges towards the buoy that I would make one last turn to the left at to head back to the stairs, I decided that I needed to “take care of things” if you get my drift so that I did not have to wait in line at the port-o-cans in the transition area. That, I am afraid, is one of the less desirable aspects of the sport. After 2.4 miles of swimming, I made it to the stairs to climb out of the water and there were volunteers helping us up out of the water. I unzipped the wetsuit and then there were a barrage of volunteers forcing triathletes to the ground and peeling their wetsuits off of them as quickly as possible and getting them back up and pushing them off to the transition area.

I saw the time clock and I was not really pleased with my time, but what I had not realized was that the clock was started 15 minutes before our start for the Pro Racers. As I ran into the transition area, I ran over the timing mat that beeped as it picked up my timing chip and then I dashed to the rows and rows of gear bags to find my stuff to get on the bike. Volunteers were calling out people’s race numbers and they had our bags ready as we came running by. There was a men’s and women’s changing tent if you needed to change clothes, but I stayed in my race suit. All I did was dry off my feet, get some socks on, put on my cycling shoes, latch my helmet on, and grab my sun glasses. When I exited the tent two volunteers proceeded to slather sunscreen all over my body as I squeezed down another energy gel and some cold water. When I was shoved out of the area, I ran into the area where the bikes were on racks and started to count the racks like I usually do to find the one where my bike is. To my surprise, the volunteers had my bike ready and waiting for me out in the aisle for me. I grabbed my bike and trotted off to the bike mount line to cross over another timing mat to leave the transition area.

Once on the bike, the plan was that I needed to eat and drink as much as I possibly could in the first two hours and to keep up with my salt intake. I had my inhaler with me in case my asthma kicked in like it had when I was in Phoenix for the Rock n’ Roll Marathon in January or the SOMA Half-Ironman race last October. I proceeded to empty the bottle of Gatorade that was between my handlebars fairly quick and I started in on some water. There were several turns to maneuver, but I was able to find a stretch of road where I had enough time to dig out an Iced Chocolate Mint Clif bar with caffeine and start eating. By mile 12 I was done with 250 calories and 48 oz of fluids and I felt like I was going to burst. Some people get good at taking a foot out of the pedal and “taking care of business” and washing off with some water. I am not good at that skill. So now I am desperately looking out for a bush along the road that is big enough to get behind. I find a good candidate and think to myself that one of my running buddies Emily from Team in Training would be proud of me that I have gotten over the fear of hanging my rear end out for God and everyone to see. So there I am in a median, hunkered down behind an overgrown tumbleweed with car traffic racing by on one side and cyclists zooming by on the other hoping that a race official does not see what I am doing. The funniest look on someone’s face is the look you get when you stand up quickly from behind a bush and you are still pulling your shorts up. So, it was back on the bike and back to the task of eating a drinking. I took a few electrolyte tablets because even though it was pleasant on the bike when I started, it was starting to get warm. Miles 14 to 19 were uphill and into the wind. The Pro racers had been heading back in on the first loop for some time. I had to laugh because their aerodynamic helmets that were tear-drop shaped and pointy at the back made them look like human pterodactyls.

At the turn around we had to roll over a timing mat to make sure that no one had cheated and cut some of the course short and then it was into the second “Feed Station” Volunteers were crowded along the side of the road holding out bottles of Gatorade, water, bananas, energy gel, and oranges. The second aid station was manned by the Phoenix area of the Desert Mountain States Chapter of Team in Training. I got big cheers as I rode through and picked up more water. I had already started drinking my Accelerade with protein to keep the body from wanting to tap into muscle tissue for fuel. I started in on my second Clif bar, this time going for the Peanut Toffee Blitz with more caffeine. Around mile 25 I was desperate for another large tumbleweed, so I was keeping a sharp eye out for all of my options. I ended up having to crawl down in the ditch which is not an easy task in cycling shoes. As I made my way back into town the crowds and the noise grew as I pedaled down Rio Saledo Parkway and past Sun Devil Stadium at Arizona State University. After looping over the bridge and getting jazzed up by all the music and cheering spectators it was out for loop number two on the bike.

This loop was HOT and the wind had changed directions. I continued with my schedule of eating, drinking, and ingesting electrolyte capsules. At a third of the way into my second lap, the Pro racers started passing me by on their third and final loop on the course. It is a humbling feeling when you are working hard and the Pros move by you so quickly it is almost like you are standing still. I was seeing lots of people along the side of the road changing flat tires and I was thankful that so far, I had not succumb to that fate. Along the course, motorcycles were carrying race officials looking out for rule violators. There was a very sophisticated system where if you were in violation of a rule, you were either shown a yellow paper plate and your race number was taken down or you were shown a red paper plate and told to go to the penalty tent and sit out for four minutes. I did see people in the Penalty Tent, but I follow the rules so I never had to have a paper plate flashed at me. At mile 64 we had an area where race volunteers were handing out the Bike Special Needs Bags. I had packed mine with extra energy gel, a bag of the Salt and Vinegar chips and other necessities. I was always on the lookout for big bushes and tumbleweeds and by the end of the second loop I had consumed 168 oz. of fluids, 1090 calories of food, and 7 electrolyte capsules. At Rio Saledo Parkway, I saw my dad and caught him off guard with his camera. He was able to get some pictures once I looped around over the bridges and started on my third loop of the bike course. Once again, the crowds and the music boosted my spirits at mile 75 and I knew that I was going to be able to make it. I determined that my next stop would be at a Feed Zone rather than a tumble weed so that I could get some more sunscreen.

The third loop on the bike was much the same as the last two, but now there were fewer people out on the course. There was a thin haze of cloud cover that helped to take the edge off of the heat, but I continued with my plan for hydration and nutrition. I am not sure if it was the heat or just a coping mechanism, but I started singing songs from Sesame Street to pass the time. On the way back in, I made my second pass by Dave, Race Number 984, who was riding one of those collapsible folding bikes, with a pair of surf jams, a t-shirt, a flower lei, and flip flops on. The first time I passed him, he was pedaling bare foot and the cow bell attached under his seat was ringing away. Many of the volunteers on the bike course were members of the local Native American Indian tribes and they did a terrific job of traffic control and helping us out. The last loop over the bridge and back to the transition area was very exciting with all of the cheering crowds. 112 miles, 240 oz of fluids, 1290 calories of fuel, and 15 electrolyte capsules later, I was going to see if I had prepared well for the run. As the route brought us back in, the volunteers were there to take our bikes once we got off of them to take them back to the racks. What a treat! I am so used to having to do that myself.

The timing map beeped as we ran into the area with the gear bags and volunteers where shouting race numbers out to have our bags ready when we came by. In the change tent, it was much faster this time as I slipped on my running shoes with the elastic laces, dumped a cup of ice down the front of my race top, grabbed my hat and fuel belt and dashed out the door and ran past the cheering spectators and on to the 26.2 mile run course. My friend Cathy was right at the start of the run course under the Mills Ave. Bridge and she gave me a big hug and then shouted out to the crowds to say “Go Elizabeth!”, which they did and started cheering loudly. The echo under the bridge made it sound really loud. It was so very motivating that I started to cry and then was struck by the thought that I had done good with my hydration if I was still able to squeak out a few tears. My Dad was right around the corner to take pictures and the path was lined with spectators and volunteers who were handing out cups of Gatorade, water, fruit, energy gel, and cookies. I had done a great job on the bike of keeping my heart rate around 140 beats per minute and I wanted to continue to do that on the run. I walked on the up hill sections and ran on the down hill and flat sections. I walked through the aid stations when I needed to drink because running and drinking out of a paper cup is not a skill that I am very good at. It was HOT and the clouds that had been out were now gone. All along the run route were signs that people had made the day before to motivate the athletes. I had made one for myself to remember that I was doing this race for Chad, Eve, and John my Honored Teammates and especially in memory of my Mom who would have been very concerned about me, but very proud. I would see that sign on each loop of the run to keep me going. I continued to keep track of my salt/electrolyte intake as well as my intake of amino acid compound to keep my muscles from being used for energy for the body. I was glad that I was so diligent in doing this because now I was seeing strong men reduced to throwing up and passing out along the side of the course. I was glad that I could run and run as fast as I could, away from the terrible sound of miserable people. The volunteers were handing out cold, water soaked sponges that were great for wringing out over the head, stuffing down the front of back of the race top and using it to wipe off the sweat and grime on your face, neck, and arms. I was doing a good job of keeping my heart rate down, but the running was getting the digestive track moving. That meant more port-o-can stops and I tried to make them as quick as I could because it was so hot inside of them. I passed by the race venue again since each loop of the run was like a figure eight. I saw my buddy Cathy again and people were cheering and commenting on my great smile. I was just so happy that I was running! I saw my coach for the first time and he was asking me how I felt and if I had my inhaler. He said I looked good and to take it easy when I needed to. As I headed out the other direction to run around Tempe Town Lake, there were more motivational signs and the aid stations had some great music playing. I had Van Halen’s song “Running with the Devil” and A Flock of Seagull’s song “And I Ran” literally running through my head for most of the first and second loop. There were more timing mats to run over to check where you were on the course and that you did not cut part of the course. After walking up a steep hill to get back to the Mills Ave. Bridge, Ford had a Hoopla Station and their Motivational Mile with music, a mist arch to run through to cool off and lots of cheering fans with those crazy blow-up noise sticks. On the second lap I saw my Dad again and his fiancĂ©e Val and her sister-in-law from her first marriage who were out there in the heat cheering for me. I told them to go find some food and that I would see them at the finish line. I started to really notice the huge salt stains on everyone’s race clothing and I was not surprised when I came across more violently sick people. I kept running and checking my heart rate. Since I was right on target with 138 to 142 beats per minute, I knew that I was doing a good job of taking in enough fluids and fuel. When you sweat and dehydrate, your blood becomes thicker and your heart has to work harder to pump it through the body and the result is an elevated heart rate. There was a lady who did not like the fact that I was passing her when she was walking and she would start running to get ahead of me and then she would have to stop and walk. I would trot on by and then she would start running to get ahead. That continued for some time until she could no longer pass me. I felt a little sorry for her because I know that her pride was a bit wounded, but I was also laughing as I thought of the race between the tortoise and the hare. I kept going my slow and steady pace. I ran for a while with a girl who was twenty-four and she was feeling a little queasy but she was still running. She had only started doing triathlons in the last year and was telling me that when she signed up for this race, she had no idea how hard it would be. I like to call that beginner’s courage. That is when you should have fear, but you don’t have enough information to be fearful. The sun was starting to go down and the heat was not as intense. I thought about picking up my Special Needs Bag at mile 15, but I was doing o.k. and I thought that I would save it for the next loop. The Sour Patch Watermelon Slices would be a good treat and I knew that I would need the glow stick after it got dark. I saw my coach again and he said I looked strong and my form was good. Other than being tired, I had no complaints. I “ran” into my client that I had coached, Carlos Albert, and checked on how he was doing. He was walking but he was finishing up this third loop. I told him that he could do it and I kept running. I did not see him again until he was about a mile from finishing and he passed me in an aid station where I was getting some Gatorade. I wished him luck and he told me to hurry up and finish. I saw a motivational message from my friend Cathy on the lighted message board at the Ford Motivational Mile. One more loop to go. I handed off my sunglasses to Cathy and headed out in the dark. More and more people were walking now. The sun was down and I noticed that it was starting to get comfortable again with the temperature. Not only were there sick people, but people who were sitting and lying on the ground next to the run path. I kept running. It was starting to become a game to see how many people I could pass by between each aid station. At one of the aid stations, a volunteer told me that I only had 10 kilometers to go and that put a huge smile on my face. I kept running as more people were walking. The crowds were thinning out now and I asked a volunteer what time it was. He told me it was 9:00 pm and that I had plenty of time if I was on my third loop. I had been out on the course now for 14 hours!!! With less than a 10K to go I kept repeating a prayer that had been sent to me by someone I am coaching for Team in Training. I would make it through this! I would finish strong! Again, only walking to drink at the aid stations, I kept up my steady turtle pace of running. I had skipped on picking up my Special Needs bag because there was plenty of support out on the course and someone had handed me a glow necklace that I put around the brim of my hat like a funky halo. All of these men that were walking were telling me to keep it up as I ran by. I thanked them and kept going. One last hill to walk up and then it was across the bridge to the finish. I got some fresh sponges to soak my hair down so that I did not have “hat hair” for my photo finish. I tossed the sponges, passed a few more people on the bridge and ran over a timing mat and had volunteers pointing me where to go.

I turned the corner and saw one of the most spectacular things I had ever seen—The Finish Line. The music was blaring, the spectators on the grandstands on either side of the finisher’s chute were cheering, and there was a huge Jumbo-Tron screen showed me headed in toward the finish. Then I heard what I had been waiting a whole year of training to hear, “Now coming to the finish, age 35, from Houston, Texas, Coach Liz, YOU ARE NOW AN IRONMAN!!!” The volunteers put up a finishers tape to run through and there was someone on the other side to catch me if I collapsed. I was so elated that I think the volunteer was a bit surprised that I was doing so well and did not need to sit down. Someone took the timing chip off of my ankle and my personal volunteer got me one of those foil “space blankets”, some water, and a backpack of finisher’s gear and then, I got my medal! I had my picture taken and then Cathy and my Dad stumbled out of the crowd to get to me. I was on such a mental and physical high. After taking a moment to get more pictures and a little food, it was time to collect my bike and my gear and head for the car.

Swim: 1:19:25 Bike: 7:34:41 Run: 5:46:53 Total Time: 14:52:55

All in all, I could not have asked for a better day to do a race. I had no mechanical problems on the bike, no flat tires, no stomach problems, no blisters, no black toe nails, no injuries, no aches or pains, and no DNF for Did Not Finish by my name in the results book. I walked away with a bit of sun burn, blood shot eyes from the dry winds, and a new found respect for what the human body is capable of doing. I have been riding this incredible wave of positive energy that I was only fazed a little bit when the airlines lost my bike on the way home. I was reunited with my bike on Wednesday morning and I was sad that it did not get frequent flyer miles. Again, thank you for all of your support over the last year and especially in these last few weeks as it got closer to race day.

Warm Regards,

Coach Liz

Team in Training Triathlon Coach

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society—Texas Gulf Coast Chapter

USA Triathlon Certified Coach