Tuesday, April 28, 2009

No, I have not started to build an ark

Flooding along my neighborhood run.

The rain the past few days has been heavy but the rain in the last 15 hours has been crazy. According to our rain gage we received close to 7 inches of rain and areas just a few miles south of us have gotten 11 inches. We have had tornado watches and severe thunder storm watches. The stop lights are out and the local Wal-mart is in the dark. Cypress Creek is out of its banks and there is more flooding all around our house. School has been cancelled and I did not make it to work this morning.

It is all good. I have seen worse. The rainbow will appear.

Later Gators,


Monday, April 27, 2009

Rockets Playoffs and a misplaced sacrum...

Well, all I am going to say is getting a year older sucks. I don't like having to take so much recovery time rather than giving up training. Some people would be thrilled that they could skip a workout. Skipping workouts gives me guilt. But there are some days that you have to skip the workout or else you will be skipping more than just one. It will grow to a day or two and frightfully more if you are not careful.

After the MS-150 ride last weekend, the car ride home was not ideal for a tired low back. I have a habit of making myself take the uncomfortable spot, position, place, or job. Basically, I tried to make myself as small as possible so that someone else will not be uncomfortable. As a result, I make myself uncomfortable. So last week on the ride home I paid special attention to make sure I was taking up as little space on the back seat so that the other two passengers did have plenty of room. With one cheek on the flat part of the seat and one cheek on the sloped up edge of the seat, my hips were at an angle all the way home and I made sure to stick my upper body close to the door to let the person next to me have plenty of arm room. No one's fault but my own if I was all jacked up.

Then on Monday, I had my normal slew of classes and clients. Nothing really out of the ordinary here other than I could have used some more sleep.

On Tuesday, I had my 5:30 am spin class and my 9 am Pilates Mat class. I worked the group hard in Pilates and we used the foam roller quite a bit. I think I might have done a move with the foam roller under my pelvis that could have irritated my tired muscles. I do this exercise often, but this time I may have tweaked something. I had a bunch of errands to run and then that night we went to Toyota Center for the televised Game #2 in the Houston - Portland showdown. We left at halftime around 10:30 pm and I slept in the car on the way home. Sleeping in car seat = pain.

On Wednesday, I had the feeling like my low back wanted to pop back near my sacro-illio joint in the pelvis. I just could not get it to feel comfy. I did some other extra curricular activities that frankly, my back was not something that I focused on so I cannot say if that irritated it or made it feel better. I didn't get much sleep before my early class the next morning. So that did not help.

On Thursday, I took the day pretty easy since I knew my workout was later at night. I went to the movie and saw 17 Again. I was surprised that it was pretty enjoyable. It has a few good messages for teenagers and a lot of good laughs for those of us that graduated high school in the late 1980's. My back still felt like it wanted to pop back into place. I did a 75 minute run while my kid was at swim team practice and my run seemed harder that it really should have. There was a point in the run that I was ready for it to be over and that is not normal. I have grown to enjoy running so this was a bit irritating to me. I did not sleep well because every time I rolled over I felt my back. The only good thing about that is the new James Bond, Daniel Craig, was in my dreams.

Friday was a busy but normal schedule at work and at noon I taught my Power Flex class which is a variable resistance barbell weight lifting class. I did all the lifting unlike the Friday before where I only did the upper body work. I worked hard and at not time did I feel any sharp shooting pains. We went to Game #3 of the NBA Playoff games between the HOUSTON ROCKETS and the Portland Trailblazers. We got to the Toyota Center and I was happy to sit in my seat for 90 minutes before the game started while Buddy and his dad roamed the concourse doing stuff. I was tired. More like my back and legs were tired. The game was AWESOME and the Rockets won!

On Saturday morning I had Team in Training coaching and my tri group was running 6 miles and then doing an open water swim. I ran the six miles with them and took a slower pace with my gals who pull up the rear and I was happy to be going a slower pace. My hamstrings and adductor muscles were sore. I did not have any back pain while I was running, only tired legs muscles. After the swim workout I had to attend a nutrition clinic and getting out of the car I noticed my back was sore. I felt like I was walking funny. I felt like I was walking even weirder when I left the nutrition clinic a few hours later. The soreness in my back got more intense as the day wore on. Sleeping was not easy because I kept on waking up from the pain. Robert Downey Jr. was making a guest appearance on this night. Again, I am not complaining.

I woke up Sunday morning and I was sore all over. My legs hurt, my pelvis hurt, my back hurt, my pectorals hurt, my neck hurt, and I am sure my ear lobes hurt. It was not achy sore but deep muscles soreness. I had to do something so I took my bike out to the park to do some easy pedaling and loosen some things out but there was a "Fun Walk" and rushing water going over the road in spots from all the rain that we have been having that I only got about 10 miles in. Getting in and out of the car was painful but riding my bike was not painful. Very strange. El Esposo was asking me if I was ok when we were at his company picnic later that day because he could see that I was walking funny. I had sharp shooting pain near my sacrum. After watching the Rockets win a nail biter of a game to take the lead on the series against the Trailblazers I made an early appointment to get in to see Dr. D and find out what was up with my back. I ended up going to bed with an ice pack on my back and it felt great.

Today I was out the door early and to the Spine and Sports Therapy office by 7:45 this morning. Dr. D said I had really done a number on my back and that my sacrum was out of place and pushed back off the joint causing the discomfort in the spinal dura and the areas where my cervical spine in my neck were locked up and in my thorasic spine in my mid back that was popping out of place. My muscles in my legs and hips were compensating for the aggravated muscles in my back and my hip flexors had basically shut themselves off. So after adjustments, percussion therapy work, and acupuncture I had a little bit of relief. I still had a full slate of clients and classes so I had to take it easy. It was hard to take it easy and teach a step class but I managed to do it. The rain, thunder, street flooding, and tornado watches caused the cancellation of Buddy's swim team workout and the TNT swim workout both at open pools. So I have been taking it easy and now it is time for more ice and some Traumeel on the back.

I have learned that when my back or my pelvis feels like it wants to pop and it won't, it is time to see the docs. I did this to myself so I really cannot complain.

Later Gators,


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

MS-150 (more like 180) but this year only 80

It is time to get off my butt and write this post! First off let me say that I was glad that I did the MS-150 this year. I had made a pact with myself not to do the ride again after having done it twice before because it is (to me) a cycling nightmare. 13,000+ riders all being sent off at one time, with renegade riders who start in different locations, major a-holes who treat a charity ride as a race, and a good majority of the riders with only a few weekends of bike handling experience under their belt. Well, I had to eat my words when Greyhound asked me to ride as part of TEAM GREYHOUND. I could not say no. I do personal training with Mrs. Greyhound and she has MS. Frankly, I was quite excited to be riding with the famous Greyhound who has finished way more Ironman races than I have. Not only that, but I was going to get to meet Carrie-Tri to be Funny and her Hubbster, Shawn.

Friday when I went to pick up my packet at the Omni, it was dark and ominous outside. The weather was warm and humid, but there was a call for heavy rain. I ran into a friend of mine from TNT who is a Ride Marshall and he was dreading the ride conditions and all the riders out on the road. I got out of the expo without laying down any money other than my $400 donation to the MS Society and headed to the LBS to pick up my bike. At the shop, it started pouring. The lightning was crazy. The strangest thing was that as I was driving home at 3:30 p.m., all of the street lights and business lights were on and cars had their head lights on. It was as dark as 8:00 p.m. after the sun sets. I got home and started packing my gear.
Headlights on at 3:30 p.m. CRAZY!

At 4:20, I got a text from my buddy Erich that the first day was canceled. WHAT??!!?? It even made our local headline news. The storms that tore through La Grange, TX had flooded the fairgrounds where everyone was to be staying overnight on Saturday and the wind had torn up or knocked down many of the team tents. Greyhound called and said we were still on and Carrie and Shawn were on their way from Austin and to head over for diner. I finished my packing and by 6:00 p.m. the sun was trying to peek out through the clouds. Greyhound had fixed up a greyt (ha ha) gluten-free diner for us and we then huddled around the computer looking at the weather radar. We got the bikes and gear loaded on the main car and then got ready for bed.
We are all bright eyed and bushy tailed and ready to ride!

In the morning, we were again huddled around the computer and the radar was clear. The storms had moved east and there was nothing out west. We ate a yummy breakfast and gathered all of our belongings and loaded up the car. Mrs. Greyhound would drop us off and then go back to the house to get Superpounce and Terri who would be driving Carrie and Shawn's car and they were going to meet us at the Hyatt Lost Pines Resort.

An hour latter, we pulled into the parking lot of a Walgreen's and as soon as we stepped out of the car Greyhound and I thought we saw lightning. NOOOOOO!!!!! It was 6:45 a.m. and it was eerily quiet. We only saw two guys on bikes heading west. We thought we would have seen more renegades. We waited 5 more minutes and then we saw another flicker of lightning up in the clouds. Everyone saw it this time. Mrs. Greyhound pulled the plug on the ride and we loaded back up to find a Starbucks and head back to the compound.
We were all pouting. Starbucks helped, but not much.

After getting back we rearranged the cars to get all the bikes inside and out of the rain and we left at 10:00 a.m. just as the first big fat drops were starting to fall. We all agreed that at least it was starting to rain or else we would have been bummed that we scrapped the ride when we could have done it. The rain was awful! Visibility was bad until after Brenham, TX and we only saw a few moments of the sun before it retreated behind the clouds. At least the rain was done. We considered finding a place to pull over near Round Top, TX and riding from there past La Grange and on to the Lost Pines Resort in Bastrop, but there were a line of storms on the radar just to the south and we did not know which direction they would be traveling in.

We got to the Lost Pines Resort around 12:30 p.m. and when we piled out of the car, the humidity knocked us over. It was intense. We had a good lunch where it seems I consumed every vegetable I could find along with some grilled chicken. The buffet was very good. We took some stuff up to the rooms and then took our bikes over to the resort's fitness center. We had packed our trainers in case of the rain and once we got the ladies taking a Nia class out of the group exercise room, we took it over and set up our trainers and bikes, plugged in the iPod and started pedaling. There were nice windows out to the road coming into the resort so we got to see more and more cars with bikes on the back pull up and the occupants of said cars watching us as we pedaled it up. HA HA!!! We got to ride and you did not!!!
Only ding-dong tri geeks would bring their trainers with them on a charity ride.
There was a lot of guilt going around that we did not pedal 130 miles on the bike and we were at a nice resort.
We would ride and we would not be denied!!!

I was ready for this ride on the trainer. It is always better to ride with other people. I worked on an interval workout of 8 x 5 minute work in the 53x15 gearing with a five minute recovery in the 53x21 gearing. Greyhound and was getting a little fidgety in the saddle and he called it quits when Terra Castro (Luna Chix pro triathlete) showed up. Terra was nice enough to drive out from Austin and bring her massage table to give us massages. Shawn called it a day after 2 hour on the trainer and then he went for a run. The sun was starting to come out and things were looking good for the next day. When the boys left, I took the opportunity to hop off the bike and plug in my iPod. Sorry Greyhound, your tunes were good, but Carrie and I were ready for some thumping techno. The two of us cranked it out for another hour. Carrie commented on how I was not sweating. HA! I was soaked and I had beads of sweat running down my arms and off my nose. I was sweating big time! We closed it down at the three hour mark and after loading up the bikes and trainers, I went for a short run. I got lucky and saw two armadillos on my run.
3 hours later and we are still going! Notice the guys got chicked' and are no longer in the room.

I showered up and met up with Greyhound and the rest of the crew for diner. On the way to the table I ran into a guy who had been on this season's TNT team but did not recommit due to travel and other things going on. He was very surprised to see Coach and asked how I was. I had mentioned that we had done a trainer ride and I was ready for food. "Was that you I saw on the bikes on the trainers as we were rolling into the resort???" Yup, that would be me. Diner was super delicious and the desert table was so good it should have been a crime. There was every sort of pie and cake on that table along with bread pudding, mousse cups, a chocolate fountain, and cobbler. I had to have the Red Velvet cake.
Ah, the sweet elixer of repose and dreams.

After diner I got a great massage from Terra and then I started to get my stuff in order for the morning. I talked on the phone with Johnny Tri for an hour about his race at RAGE and he filled me in on how Coach Luke did. The bed and the pillow were so soft and going to sleep was very welcome.

The next morning I was up at 6:00 a.m. and was dressed, fed, and packed up at 6:45 and headed out to the car to load up. We slathered down with sunscreen since there was not a cloud in the sky and we drove out to Smithville, TX to hop on the route. We were probably 12-15 miles into the ride so we could hit the course without getting caught in the traffic in La Grange with everyone coming in from Houston. The morning was cool and I opted to wear my arm warmers and a light shell that I knew I would be taking off soon. The first part of our ride was through the state parks. With the shade from the trees I knew I would want the shell on coming off the climbs.
Day 2:  Carrie and Shawn getting ready to roll.
Greyhound making the last minute checks.

It has been three years since I had done this ride and somehow I didn't go through the state park the last time because I was concerned about the safety with so many people. The last time through the park seven years ago was a big ol' Cluster F--- with fast people, slower people, people walking their bikes, and idiots going the opposite direction through the park. Well, this time it was a treat to only have a hand full of people in the park. Some of the hills were steeper than I remembered and even in the 39 ring, I was working HARD in the 21 and 23 cogs and doing 60 rpm. That hurt like a Muther. I got through the park and pulled over to wait for Greyhound, Carrie, and Shawn. I did some fluids and Shot Bloks and pulled off the shell and stuffed it in my back pocket and then I noticed the wind that hit my sweaty body. Dang it felt good. Dang this wind was going to be a bitch to ride in.
The beautiful Texas hill country

We had been served up a heaping plateful of headwind with a side of 30+ mph gusts all the way in to Austin. Nice...NOT!!! It was 9:00 a.m. at this point and we knew the wind was only going to get worse as the weather warmed up so we got going. Our plan was to meet back up at the last rest stop if we got separated before we headed into downtown. I was just focusing on keeping my head down and to keep pedaling. I could sense that I had people sitting on my back wheel and I thought that it was Kendall, Carrie, and Shawn. Much to my surprise, it was some guy in Ralph Lauren Polo Sport cycling shorts who had been drafting off my back wheel for a mile or two who got tired of my slow effort pedaling into the wind and wanted to get around me. "Yeah, you go A--hole. Don't say anything like,'On your left.' or 'Thanks for the pull.' Hope you liked the view Mr. RLX cycle shorts. I hope that I did not provide hardly any draft for you. That's what you get for sucking wheel on a tiny chick's bike. You A--hole!!!" The wind was getting to me.

I knew I was pulling some people along because I could see their shadows on the road. I just kept going. If they needed the pull, then I guess they needed it. It was pretty depressing looking down at my speed and seeing 14 mph and I was working in my 39x17 gear to keep the cadence up and smooth. I could have pushed a higher gear, but I did not want to shred my legs. I saw that there was a sign for a rest stop 3 miles ahead and I was wondering if it was rest stop #5 or #6. I had to hit a port-o-can bad. When I pulled off on to the side road to the rest stop all of a sudden there were 8 or 9 people with me. Holy crap, had I been pulling all of these people along for the past hour or more??? I had passed about 10 people and there was only one group of 6 riders that had passed me that I could recall. Wow, I guess any port in the storm will do for a draft on a windy day.

The rest stop was #5 and I was slightly mad at myself for stopping before #6 but I had to stop or my bladder was going to burst. The best part was that there was hardly anyone at the rest stop! No lines for the port-o-cans. No lines for the food. They had bags of salted cashews! A gluten free snack!!! Shawn rolled up and I waited for him before heading back out to the road. Once we got going I pulled away from the group and then I was all by myself out on the road.

It was like a little slice of heaven. Just me and the wind and the road. I could hear the birds, my number hanging off my race belt flapping in the wind, and the approaching cars. My numbers picked up and now I was up to 16 and 17 mph. things were starting to get warm. I had ditched the arm warmers back at the rest stop and stowed them in pockets but it was getting hot. I rolled up to rest stop #6 around 11 a.m. and saw Carrie and Greyhound waiting for me. We waited for Shawn to roll up so we could head in for the final stretch. Carrie and Greyhound passed me by when I was emptying my bladder in rest stop #5.
Rest Stop #6 before heading in to the Finish Line.  Notice that I am the tallest one in the photo.  That never happens!

After some pictures, we hit the road. Carrie and I soon dropped the boys and fell into a pattern of taking pulls. The entire right lane was coned off going into town and there seemed to be a few more people struggling on the big hills leading into town. This ride was really enjoyable because there were not many people out on the road. Usually it is mega crowded, but this year it was perfect. I later found out that we were WAY ahead of everyone else. Carrie was dealing with some cramping issues in her legs but she stuck to me like glue. The plan was to meet up around I-35 if we got separated and then gather up to ride in to the finish line. We pulled into a parking lot where there were some other cyclists and lo and behold I run into a guy who takes my spin class. I call him "Orbea boy" because he was wearing an Orbea hat the first or second time he came to my class. I knew he rode for a local team and I had gathered that he was a pretty strong cyclist. Well he saw me roll up and he was pretty shocked. He asked if I had been out he day before in the rain. He told me that he thought that I was just crazy enough to attempt it. Ha, yep, we did attempt it but thought the better of it. One of his team buddies asked if I kicked his ass in class and I said, "Of Course!"
Last turn in downtown to the finish line.

Well, the guys pedaled by and Carrie and I were off to catch them and make it across the finish line. Greyhound gave me a sprint finish to the end so that he would not be chick'd. Good on ya Greyhound! We pedaled out of the finishing area and then followed Carrie and Shawn back to their house about 3 to 4 miles away. All of them miserably uphill. Uphill at a crazy 17 to 21 % grade!!! My quads were not happy. We got showers while we waited for Mrs. Greyhound and Terri to arrive so we could swap luggage. Ah, it felt good to be clean.

Even though the first day was canceled, the wind made it feel like I had done both days. It was great to have a blogger meet up with Carrie and Shawn and as always a big privilege to get to ride with Greyhound. A big thank you to Mrs. Greyhound for driving and Terri (the Greyhound's family friend and supper runner) for giving up her weekend to riding in the back of the car with me and to drive Carrie and Shawn's car from Lost Pines to Austin. Thank you Superpounce for putting up with a bunch of crazy adults all weekend long. A super round of applause for Terra Castro for coming out to visit and diner with us and to provide massages. I could have used another one on Sunday when we finished. And last but not least, a Big Thank You to Greyhound for organizing all of this and being a gracious host to all of us.

Later Gators,


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Way too many updates!

To say that I have been busy is an understatement. I am behind on my posting and I have good stuff to post about. So, in an effort to get caught up and get stuff down before I forget about it, today is "60 Words Or Less" topic day. Here it goes!

1. On April 4th, Buddy had his Swim-a-thon with his swim team/club. He had to swim as many laps as he could in 2 hours. My super-star kid cracked out 200 lengths of the pool. For those that are not quick on the calculations, that is 100 x 50 yards, or 50 x 100 yds. Yes, that is 5,000 yards!!! My 10 year-old cracked out a longer swim than an Ironman swim leg!!!

2. I met a cool gal when I was at the Disney Princess half marathon. Stef Fisher has a little company that takes old race numbers, heat sheets, race shirts, and other stuff and makes tote bags out of them. Her company is called Mile22 and she was nice enough to send me six of her bags so that I could show them off to other people and get her some orders. Take a look at what she has at her website. The best part is that she is going to donate 25% of the sales I made for her to Team in Training!

3. My tri buddy Ryan had his knee surgery to repair his ACL last Thursday. He is still in a lot of pain. I took him and his dad a diner of a salad, baked ziti, and home made tiramisu. Ryan hopes to be able to be back on his crutches to help cheer the TNT tri TEAM as they run the Blue Bell 10K this weekend. Best part about the run...all the free Blue Bell Ice Cream you can eat at the finish line!

4. Last Friday I got a special opportunity to do a bike ride with Greyhound. He invited me out to ride with him and two of his friends. I was going on a new route which is always cool and I felt great out on our 3+ hour ride. My heart rate stayed low and I was cracking out some good consistent 20+ mph speed. Thanks for the invite Greyhound!

5. I am feeling better. It is like peeling back the layers on an onion finding out about all of my allergies and weird symptoms. I have found out that I am very reactive to anesthesia. Most of my strange symptoms started back in the fall of 2006 when I had my knee surgery. There were other things that happened after the surgery that was like adding more heavy boxes on a shaky card table. Heavy race schedules, foods that I am allergic to, stress of dealing with a hurricane and the clean up, and a round of antibiotics for a sinus infection sent me into a state where I was suffering with symptoms very close to CFS and my liver, adrenal glands, and thyroid were severely malfunctioning. I am on the path to wellness and it is a long haul. I am just glad I am starting to feel better. Sorry, that was more than 60 words.

6. This weekend I have the Houston to Austin MS-150 ride. I am riding with Greyhound and some of his friends. Our honored Teammate is Mrs. Greyhound who I do personal training with. Mrs. Greyhound is a great lady and I really enjoy working with her. Pedaling 180 miles, most of it in one day, and raising some money is the least I can do.

Ok, there is the update! Later Gators,


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Race Report from Lone Star Triathlon Festival

This was a great weekend for my TEAM.  I loaded up my car on Friday morning and went to work to teach my noon class and then headed over to pick up one of my TNT participants at her house and then we headed down to Galveston.  The weather was beautiful and the temperatures were warm.  It was going to be a great race weekend.

When we picked up the keys for the beach house at the leasing office, one of the ladies asked me, "Are you a triathlete?"  HA!  Did I look like one???  I was in my black prAna yoga pants and workout top from teaching class.  Was it the Kuota Kalibur on top of my car that gave it away?  Lori said it was the loaded guns that I was sporting on my arms.  Anyway, it made me feel good that I did not look like the ultimate slug that I had been posing as for the past few months and that I had not let the body go all to goo.  They were nice enough at the leasing office to let us have a late check out of 3 p.m. rather than 10 a.m. due to the race and that there was not a party waiting to check in after us.  

When we got to the house and opened it up, it was incredible!  It looked like an interior decorator had gone through the entire place and they had done it up nice.  I felt bad that 11 sweaty/rowdy triathletes were going to be there all weekend long.  We unloaded the car and slowly, people started showing up.  One of the gals forgot her wetsuit and had to go home to get it and we all suspected that it was really because she did not like fish and I was making fish tacos for diner.  The fish tacos were YUMMY and for dessert I had brought a Texas Sheet Cake.  If you do not live in Texas and have never had a slice of Texas Sheet Cake, then you are missing out on what I like to call chocolate heaven.  The cake batter is made with Dutch process cocoa and is baked in a flat sheet pan like brownies.  While it is baking, you make up the frosting with more Dutch process cocoa, powdered sugar, butter, and vanilla and as soon as you pull the cake from the oven you pour the frosting over it.  You end up with three luscious layers.  A layer of cake, a fudgy layer in the middle where the cake and frosting blended together, and a layer of glaze like frosting on top.  One of the guys staying the weekend had cake for breakfast each morning.

We got the bikes all situated and tagged with the race numbers and then we headed to bed for an early wake-up call.  In the morning the coffee was waking people up and the house was jumping by 5:00 a.m.  We loaded up and headed to Moody Gardens to get the TEAM body marked and checked into transition and for me to meet up with other TEAM members who drove down that morning to cheer.  We took lots of pictures and tried to keep the gang who was racing from getting too nervous.  The funniest moment for Coach was when Jake and Everett realized that they needed to run back into transition to get their wetsuit, cap and goggles before they closed it down.  As we were walking towards the swim start, someone asked Jake if they needed their cap and Jake said yes.  The guy took off sprinting back to the transition area and Jake rolled his eyes and said, "Beginners."  I wanted to laugh so hard since they had almost fallen into that trap themselves.  Great way to keep it light and humorous.
Me and Jay who I coached two years ago to his first Olympic distance race.
Donna, Judy, Nick, and Lori ready to cheer on their Teammates!
Karla and Erika excited about all the HOT men in spandex.
Most of the TEAM pre-race.
The swim start

Lori, Karla, Erika, Judy, Ulysis, Nick, Raychel, Donna, and I all headed back to the swim exit once we saw the first two waves take off so that we could have our cameras ready to catch Ryan, Erich, David, Jake, Jim, Everett, Evelyn, Evelia, Megan, and Meredith as they came out of the water.  Judy had found a box of cow bells, so we were armed and dangerous!
Erich exiting the swim
Everett heading into T1
Evelyn in action!
You would never guess that Jim is 74!
Meredith said the only good thing about coming in near the end on the swim was that it was easy to find her bike and she ended up passing lots of people on the bike leg.

Ryan was the first one out of the water and came skidding in for the wetsuit strippers to peel the wetsuit off of him.  Keith Jordan spoils us with his fabulous race.  I had to remind my TEAM that wetsuit strippers were not the norm at most triathlons.  Jim came through next and then one by one, my TEAM made their way into T1 and out on the bike course.  I moved over to the Run Out and waited for Ryan and Erich to make their way onto the run.
Ryan heading out on the run.

 Jake and Everett were looking strong.  Ryan is smoking fast so after 15 minutes I had to make my way to the finish line.  I was watching the fast boys start to roll in over the finish line and here comes Ryan!!!  He finished just behind the first place guy in his AG.  I hung out at the finisher's shute  so I could see people run by on the run course on one side and finish on the other side.

As everyone finished the race I stepped in for some de-briefing and asking people's impressions of how the race went.  Jake made a statement that was really important to me as a coach to know how to proceed with their training over the next few weeks.  When I asked Jake how the race went he said, "Coach, I now know why you did not let us do a race until after Re-commitment.  If I had done a race before Re-commitment I would not have Re-committed."  That was my cue that the workouts that we have left together need to be more race specific.
Jake at the finish. He told me the next day he would do it again it was so much fun.

 We have moved out of base training and now focused on building power and strength as well as confidence.  Alex was angry for skipping socks on the run and getting blisters.  David said he had a freak out in the water on the swim because he could not see anything.  Everett said the swim was hard for him as well.  Evelyn claimed that the heat on the run was her stumbling block.  Erich was happy that her took 12 minutes off of his time from last year.  Jim was happy with his run but he wants to work on maintaining his pace with more miles.  Meredith was happy that she was able to pass so many people on the bike after a rough swim.  I did not see Evelia finish up and she met up with her family so I did not see her until later in the day.
Jim and Ryan with their awards

We hung around for the awards and watched Ryan receive his 2nd place award and for Jim to receive his 1st place award.  YAHOO!!!  I was very proud of them and we got a lot of love from the crowd when Jim went up to get his award.  It was time to gather up the gear and head back to the beach house because we had a birthday to celebrate!
Back at the beach house the crew hit the hot tub and I went to work on finishing up the birthday cake before David and Meredith arrived.  Lori got lunch going and Judy gave me a hand with the strawberries and I whipped up the sweet cream.  David was so surprised when he walked in and saw the cake.  Meredith had done a good job of keeping the surprise from him.  The cake was all from scratch and it was sooooo good!  The hot tub gang came in to watch a movie and I started the ham soaking in apple cider.Photobucket

My tri gal-pal Lauren showed up and the famous Greyhound arrived as well.  The dinner of Apple Cider Ham, Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes, Lemon Green Beans, Watercress Salad and Rosemary Bread was a hit with the crowd of 12.  After clean-up, the people who were racing in the morning started getting their gear in order and the non-racers went up the road to the local honky tonk for kareoke night.  I was in bed by 10:30 and out like a light.

4:45 am came early and Greyhound was already loaded up and gone by the time I was dressed and down stairs for some breakfast.  Ryan was up next and we loaded up the bikes and we were off to Moody Gardens by 5:30 a.m.  Once parked in a far lot that would allow me to get out without being in the way of the racers, I ran up to the transition area and went to go look for Coach Luke.  I got chatting with Luke and Jay and I talked with some of the gals from the Half IM team that I would be keeping tabs on while they were out on the bike course.  I looked down at my watch and realized that I had to high-tail it back to the car to get my bike and then head out on the bike course and get as far down the road before the fast boys from the Quarter Iron group came barreling by me.

As I got out on the road, I got the volunteers up out of their chairs and they started waving the traffic flags for me.  I was just testing to see if they were ready, lol.  I got to the Seawall and turned into the wind and the work began.  The temperature was 71 and it was foggy and humid. I was not racing, but I was working at race pace.  I was pedaling scared!  I wanted to get down to the turn around on the course before I got swalowed up and spit out by the Fast Boys.  I got about six miles down the road when a policeman on a motorcycle pulled up along side of me and asked me if I was in the race.  I hardly had enough breath to tell him that I was working  down to the half turn-around.  He asked me to stay to the right as the first guys were coming through.  I hugged the white line and kept up the pace while I felt the burn in my legs as I pedaled into the wind.  Within minutes I was hearing the roar of the disk wheel of the first cyclist on the course.  This Fast Boy from the Navy passed me up like I was standing still!  I looked down at my SRM and saw that my speed was 19.2 but this guy was handing my ass to me and dropping me like a bad habit.  About 90 seconds later I was overtaken by the second Fast Navy Boy.  We rolled through Pirate's Beach and I got a good look at the rear end at the third and fourth racers.  At least the view was good.  A depressing view, but a good view none the less.  I'm still working hard mind you.  Snot is dripping off my nose, spit is rolling out the side of my mouth, sweat is dripping out of my armpits onto my knees.  I roll by the first aid station around mile 10 and the volunteers were great giving my lots of cowbell even though I was not racing.  I had another two guys pass me on the way to Jamaica Beach.  Most of the guys seem to wear skin suits or tri shorts but one of the guys was sporting the micro Speedo.  Not many guys are "Speedo Worthy" but this guy was not a bad specimen.  Not to let my focus wander, but I knew I had to be looking for the turn-around.  I had one more Fast Boy pass me up and on the other side of the road I saw the truck and motorcycle cops escorting the lead Fast Navy Dude.  The turn-around could not be far now.  No easing up!  No one else was allowed to pass me up!  Little did I know at the time but Ryan was only a few riders back from passing me.   Relax the shoulders, hock some snot over the right shoulder, drive the legs and push the pedals.  I saw more Fast Boys on the way back in and then out of the fog I saw the turn-around.  The volunteers were flagging everyone to slow down for the U-Turn and I motioned that I was going straight and I heard, "They're doing the half" as I flew by.  I could not let up yet,  I had to get far enough down the road to let the fog envelop me and I could find a safe place to pull over.  Oh, and Fast First Place Guy...his bike split was over 26 mph.  No wonder I felt like I was standing still when he passed me.

The fog was lifting but the clouds still kept the sun under cover.  Here are a few pictures I took before heading down the road.
The long road to Sabine Bridge
That's the Gulf of Mexico across the road behind me.

 I took a little edge off of the race pace I had been working at and held a good pace down to the Sabine Bridge where I ran into some guys  on the bike course staff who were brooming the shoulder and road.  I let them know about a crack in the pavement that could suck a wheel in and may need some spray chalk.  They were great and offered me some sunblock and told me that they appreciated me telling them about the crack.  I headed over the bridge and stunned the kids who were working the aid station at the turn-around.  They had been unloading water and Gatorade bottles and they started scurrying to crack open boxes to hand me something.  I slowed to a stop and told them that I was not racing but that they looked like they were ready.  They offered me some bug spray, water, and a cow bell to cheer with.  Coach Luke called to tell me that everyone was out on the bike.  It would be another hour before we saw the Fast Guys so I had time to grab a seat on the road and relax.  I chatted with the adult sponsor for the kids working the aid station.  They are raising money to ride the MS-150 ride next weekend from Houston to Austin.  I watch the  bike course staff broom the roads and even get down on their hands and knees to pick up stray pieces of gravel.  The sun was out in full force now.  Around 10 a.m. we got a radio call that the lead cyclist was headed to the Sabine Bridge.  It was time to grab a cowbell and for everyone to take their places.

Todd Gerlock came screaming down the bridge and the cowbells were ringing like crazy.  The second place male was just coming down the bridge as Todd was heading back out.  It was pretty exciting to see all of these triathletes coming through the aid station and the turn-around.  It was not long before I saw the first Team in Training participant.  This guy looked fast.  I was cheering and giving a shoutout to a few people I knew that were racing.  The more I cheered for Team in Training participants, the more the kids running the aid station cheered for them.  TNT got a lot of love at the turn-around.  I saw Jonathan and Skyler come through the turn-around and I cheered loudly for them.  I stayed on top of drinking water and a few shot blocks while cheering.  After I saw Alice, Norma, Nikki, and Heather go through the turn-around I gave Coach Luke a call to give him an update and it was time for me to start heading back to Moody Gardens.   It was now noon and over 80 degrees and the wind had shifted out of the north and really picked up to a gale force.  I was very proud of these guys and gals.  I had coached them last year for their first Olympic distance race and now they were doing their first half IM distance race.

I did feel bad passing up racers who were struggling with the wind on the way back in, but my plan was to see if I could catch up to the gals and see how they were doing.  I passed Heather and she said her stomach was bad but she was going to finish.  I caught up to Nikki and she said that she had a flat.  We pulled over about 3 or 4 miles from Jamaica Beach I told her I could not change the tire but I could talk her through it.  She was pretty flustered and not moving efficiently.  She got the wheel off and her tools out while I looked for the glass or burr in the tire.  I found it and handed a tire boot to Nikki and talked her through getting the tire back on.  The yellow Mavic support car rolled up and asked if we were ok.  Several people offered help. I told the Mavic car that we were good and Nikki got the wheel back on.  I told her to pedal on and that I would give Coach Luke a call with an update.  After talking to Luke and getting back on the road, I did not go further than a mile when I rolled up on Nikki again.   She was crying and said the tire was flat again.  I gave her more than a pep talk and encouraged her to keep going to where we could see the flashing police light way up ahead.  Nikki starts on about being sorry, sorry that she is holding me back, and that she is the last one and they will close down the course before she can finish.  Ok, now it was time for tough love.  I told her that the tears had to stop.  She was not holding me back and I was not racing.  I was out on the course in case a situation like this happened.  They would not close down the course with people still out on it.  If it meant that I had to walk the whole thing with her, we were going to go the distance.  She had done the fundraising and there were so many people depending on her to finish.  NO QUITTING!!!  It was time to get comfortable with being uncomfortable!

We made it to Jamaica Beach and I sent Nikki on as I had the police man send out a call for the Mavic support car.  We waited around 6 or 7 minutes and had a handful of people pass when the Mavic car rolled up.  HA!, Nikki was not the last person out there.  I sent the Mavic car to find Nikki and it was time to give Coach Luke another call.  I was getting a little worried because I had not seen Heather in a while.  I got back on the road and I caught back up to Nikki after Pirate's Beach.  She had a new wheel and had calmed down and was on her way.  The wind was BRUTAL.  There were many time that I could have been blown off of the road.  I was glad that the right lane was coned off when I got to a stretch of road that did not have the wide shoulder.  When I finally turned off of the Seawall and headed north back to Moody Gardens I went from 17 to 18 mph down to 11 mph, UGH!  I rolled my bike up to the car and gave Ryan a call to let him know I was back and loading the bike so we could go back to the beach house and clean up.  I also called Luke and told him that I was back in and that Nikki was behind me and not too far away and Heather was still out on the course.

When Ryan got to the car, he gave me the AWESOME news that he won his AG for the Quarter Iron race and won the Texas Two Step Challenge for the fastest overall time for both the sprint and quarter races.  I was so proud of him!  This was his only race of the season.Ryan Showing off the Goods!  Earlier today he had surgery to repair his torn ACL.  His season is over and he is off of running for a year.  We jumped in the cars and headed to the beach house to get cleaned up.  I called the rental office and told them we were done with the race and after cleaning up we would drop off the keys and finish checkout.  On our way out we saw Heather getting a police escort about three miles from Moody Gardens.  I gave Coach Luke a quick call for an update.

After cleaning up and cleaning out the fridge, Ryan tackled the last bit of Strawberry Cream Cake before it went in the trash.  As I was holding the trash bag open and he is holding the cake plate, he starts picking out strawberries and breaking off pieces of cake.  I start doing the same and soon we have whipped cream all over our chin and nose.  We could not stop laughing.  We felt like little kids doing exactly what our parents would have been mortified at if they caught us doing it.  The cars were loaded, I did a last sweep through the house, and I told Ryan I would see him back at Moody Gardens after I dropped off the keys.

Once back at Moody Gardens, I found Nikki walking on the race course that ran along the main drive of the resort.  I rolled down my window and cheered her on. I found Ryan, Lauren, Lori, Ulysis, and Jay at the finish line and we started keeping an eye out for Norma. Norma is my poster girl for the "YOU CAN DO IT" campaign. Two years ago when Norma joined Team in Training she did not know how to swim at all and she was afraid of the water. I remember having to rescue her off of a floating dock that she had managed to get out to when we did an open water swim and she was too scared to make it back to the dock near the shore. The shore line was only 20 yards but it was too steep and filled with reeds to be able to get out so I had to drag Norma as she hung onto my legs a good 150 to 200 yards to the other dock. Now here she was finishing her first Half Ironman distance triathlon! I was so proud of her. When she came into view, Lauren, Ryan, Luke, and I ran her into the finisher's shute. There were tears all around as we took photos after her finish.
Lauren, Ryan, Norma, Luke, me, and Jay

Nikki came around for her last lap and she told me that she had crashed on her bike heading into T2. Dang it had been a rough day for her, but she had one more 3.3 mile loop to go. She was so appreciative of me helping her out with her flat tires and she kept asking me how I could love this race distance. Heather came by as well. She was walking the entire run due to the fact that she had been throwing up several times on the bike and she just had no ability to run. She was told by the lady on the run course who was handing out wristbands for each lap that the timing would finish in 25 minutes. Heather said it was ok and that she was going to finish no matter what. I coached these two girls last year and if someone would have told me that they would be the last people across the line I would not have believed them. They stayed tough! Flats, crashes, vomiting, and the clock running out was not going to keep them from finishing this race. Again, I was able to help Coach Luke run Nikki and Heather in.

What a day! I am so proud of all of these men and women. When the going got tough, they kept going. It may have crossed their mind briefly to throw in the towel, but they did not quit. They lived through the crucible and came out changed on the other end of the course. Sure, they said they would NEVER do another one, but I am going to give it a few months and their outlook may change. That is what I love about this sport!

Thanks for reading. Later Gators!


Monday, April 6, 2009

Lone Star Tri Success!!!

Ok, this is super quick just because I got in late last night and I am headed off to work and I still need to download photos.

Big News...

Jim Rosborough, my 74 year young TNT participant WON HIS AGE GROUP with a time of 1:42:27!!!

Ryan Taylor, my super bud that I have coached, done races with, traveled Europe with, and one of my TNT mentors, came in 2nd in his age group for the sprint distance race with a time of 1:03:30 (9th overall), and WON HIS AGE GROUP for the quarter Iron distance race with a time of 2:11:47 (15th overall) AND WON THE TEXAS TWO STEP CHALLENGE!!!

I also had Jake, Everett, Evelyn, Evelia, David, and Meredith finish their first sprint distance triathlon!

I am so proud of all of my TNT participants. I had a bunch of the TEAM that missed the registration come down and cheer for their TEAMmates. They all realized that they have to step it up in their training to get ready for the Cap Tex Tri on Memorial Day.

Ok, off to work and more later with pictures.

Later Gators,