Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Grinch's heart is melting...

After a healthy dose of "A Charlie Brown Christmas", "Elf", and getting my kid to decorate the Christmas trees I am starting to feel a little more in the spirit of the season. I still have some other stuff to sort out such as buying people gifts before we head to my Dad's tomorrow while still having to work today.

Physically, I am that sad bag of Misfit Toys from the Rudolph TV special. Some things are getting better. Other things are out of control. Right now, my main pain is coming from my pelvis. I went to Spine & Sports Therapy on Monday for some tightness in my left IT Band, a feeling of instability in my left Sacroiliac joint, and a pinch in my right shoulder that gave me a zinger of a pinch on my Saturday Masters Swim Workout. My regular Doc, Dr. H, is already on holiday so I saw the new doc in the office, Dr. Jeff. Dr. Jeff did a release on my Sacrotubural ligament, put some vertebra in my mid back and neck back in place and I felt great walking out of there. Things were fine at work on Monday. On Tuesday morning I woke up before my alarm and I knew things were out of sorts.

I don't know if men really understand how hormones and their constant ebb and flow of them in the female body can wreak havoc on our health and ability to function. Throw in a viral infection to the mix and things start spiraling out of control. I was able to get through a Pilates mat class with some Tylenol and other pain relief options but by the end of the day I was having trouble getting comfortable. The pain in my pelvis was back and now something was compressing my Sciatic nerve and sending radiating pain down the back of my left leg.

This morning, the one morning I could sleep in without having an early class or to get someone up for school, was something I was looking forward to. Well, not so much. El Esposo was snoring louder than a freight train and woke me up at 4 am. THREE HOURS before my alarm. I moved to the guest room to sleep, but the pain in my pelvis (butt) was so intense I could not get back to sleep. I crawled out of that bed after 45 minutes and ate breakfast and looked at the latest copy of Outdoor magazine for about 90 minutes and then tried to crawl back into bed. The pain was bad but if I could just get 30 minutes of snoozing before the alarm went off I would be happy. Nope, the snoring started again mere minutes after I crawled back under the blankets.

So now I am waiting to see if I get a call back from Spine & Sports to go back in and get fixed again.

No running, just hobbling. No cycling. I don't think I could swing my leg over the bike. I don't know what I am going to do about the noon class I teach. Oh well...

More later,


Sunday, December 12, 2010

My Christmas Wish...

Yeah, I am still around.

I had a great time in Cozumel watching my friends Lauren and Laura finish their first Ironman race. I got to fly home in the comfort of first class sitting next to an old acquaintance and I had a great day the next day after I got home.

And then things got turned upside down. It is little stuff and it is big stuff. I have been told that what does not kill me will make me stronger and that I just need to put my head down, readjust my pace and keep putting one foot in front of the other. Easier said than done.

I have been called Scrooge because I am lacking Christmas Spirit. I'm sorry but if I see one more car with fake antlers attached to the car windows and a red pompom tied to the radiator grill, my head might just explode. Thankfully I have avoided having to hear any holiday songs by Karen Carpenter or Band-Aid singing "Do They Know It's Christmas Time..."

So what is my Christmas wish? Well for starters, more sleep. I will also take silence, like the silence of that first snowfall out on a country road. I would like caring and compassion rather than ostracism and avoidance for all people. And last of all, I want my smile back. It might be hard to find in all the logical places but if you do find it, it is free. Take good care of it while it is in your possession. If you need to hold on to it for a while, I will understand but remember that I need it as much as you do. Oh yeah, and I would like a dog.

Don't worry if you don't see any posts for a while. I will be training and you can find me on Facebook if you need to. I just need a little time to consult my compass and my map to find a new path and possibly a new destination.

Season's Greetings,


Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thanksgiving Fun

Hola Chicos y Chicas!

Last Monday, with our bags packed and arrangements to be absent from work for a week, we boarded the Carnival Ecstasy and set sail for South of the Boarder. This was the second cruise for me and El Esposo having taken one 18 years ago on the Carnival Festival to the Bahamas. This was Bud's first cruise and the first time out of the country. We hoped that he would appreciate the cruise but also get a chance to see a bit of "The Real Mexico" on our journey.

Now I am not one to judge what is deemed to be questionable in taste....oh all right, yes, I do judge from time to time. Heck, I had a mother that I'm sure Martha Stewart took tips from. I had a card carrying member of the Etiquette Police as a mother. With that being said, I do find myself picking up on the things that most people overlook due to the busy society we now live in, the forms of electronic devices that they seem so interested in rather than the people and sights around them, and their own lack of manners from no formal training. A cruise ship is like a wacky shop of horrors for people like me. Here are just a few of the highlights that stand out in my mind:

  1. Is it appropriate for a cruise line to play Celine Dione's "My Heart Will Go On" (Theme song from Titanic) over the intercom and piped into your room before the ship sets sail?
  2. Is it appropriate for the Regge Band on the Lido Deck to play Shaggy's "It Wasn't Me..." ( Honey came in and she caught me red-handed
    Creeping with the girl next door
    Picture this, we were both butt naked, banging on the bathroom floor
    ) where kids are splashing in the pool and grandparents are lounging on deck?
  3. Is it appropriate for the DJ running the cocktail mixing contest on the Lido deck to play the Paradiso Girls " Patron Tequila" (By the end of the night
    Imma have you drunk and throwing up (hey! )
    By the end of the night
    Imma have you so f--ked up!
    ) again with kids splashing in the pool and grandparents lounging on deck?
  4. If your cruise includes wonderful meals why would you eat hamburgers and hot dogs up on the Lido deck or have pizza from the 24/7 cafeteria? Are you too lazy to get a shower and get dressed up?
  5. Yes Sir, I know what you are checking out behind your glasses and I'm sure she is under 17.
  6. No Ma'am, I cannot tell that you have had plastic surgery at all but thanks for trying your darndest to show me that your additions probably cost the same amount as the price of this cruise.
  7. Girls! Really??? Pajama pants and Uggs on a cruise??? REALLY???
  8. Wow, isn't that great that the entire family and extended clan all have the same t-shirts and tropical shirts on each day so they can find each other in a crowd. Very helpful if you get lost somewhere between your cabin and the water slide. (And all the men in the family went along with this???)
  9. Just because it is there and free does not mean that you have to eat it.
  10. As you approach the small round hot tub to climb in, what is the number of people you would think it takes to make a full hot tub? 9? 12? 15??? And you still want to try to climb in?
  11. Why is there a Men's Hairiest Chest Contest? WHY??!!??
Just so that I do not come off sounding like I did not have a good time, I did. I really did. I had some excellent meals and because the other four chairs were empty at our table because the other family decided to partake of the hamburgers and pizza on the Lido deck, we had a nice family meal each time we sat down. El Esposo even rented a tux one evening and I wore a nice LBD (Little Black Dress). I was able to read my book, work on my tan lines, and take it easy. We were so relaxed sitting and having coffee one evening in a quiet part of the ship that some guy passing by sarcastically told us to settle down and not get too crazy. Bud will have to have a vacation from his vacation because he stayed up every night past midnight hanging out with other kids in the Circle C club and doing fun activities. I was a dull girl and was in bed every evening by 8:45 and fast asleep by 9:00 pm and never heard El Esposo come in from the Karaoke bar or the evening show. Each morning I was up and on a treadmill by 6:00 am to get a workout in before breakfast.

In Progresso, Mexico we took a kayak trip through a mangrove "forest" and saw pelicans, flamingos, sand pipers, gulls, and fish jumping out of the water. All I can say is that I am sure there were some sore people the next day after that adventure. I was the only person in the excursion that had a single kayak since we had an odd number of people and I was the only one in the group with any kayak experience. The wind picked up half way into the trip and we were headed into the wind the entire way back. Even my arms felt the burn of the lactic acid but since I am in shape I had no soreness the next day.
Progresso is a sleepy little coastal town. Most people were taking excursions further in to Merida for shopping or to Mayan ruins 60-70 miles away. Only one cruise boat docks per week in Progresso and we were it for that week. Progresso has the longest dock in the world at almost 4 miles long. In the next few years, the pier will be extended out into deeper waters to allow more cruise ships to dock. I am sure the town of Progresso wants the added American dollars flowing through it.

Our next port of call was Cozumel. After some paperwork and wrangling, we were able to get off the boat and I was able to get off with all of my luggage. We met my friend Dennis who runs Casa Deja Blue and he drove us to his villa. We got changed into swim gear, walked down the street, and swam with the dolphins! Seriously, Dolphinaris is two blocks from the villa. The dolphins were amazing! I think I am in love and my new boyfriend's name is Linco.
We got to swim up to and pet the dolphins so many times I lost count.
We got belly rides,
and hand shakes as well as other amazing displays of jumping and singing. Our dolphin Trainer, Anna, had a degree in marine biology and was very good at answering everyone's questions about Linco, Marina, and the other 15 dolphins at the park. With the dolphin adventure over and fajitas in our stomach, it was time for El Esposo and Bud to head back to the ship. I stayed behind on the island!

Now many of you know what is going down this weekend on the island! If not, you will need to stay tuned to all the details that will be coming.

For now, Adios from South of the Boarder and from the island.

Later Gators!


P.S. Sorry for any typos. Here in Mexico, spell check does not work so well with all English.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Imagine No More!

Today at lunch I was checking my e-mail and found a message from Carol Nash, the Advancement Coordinator from the Awty International School. My blog had popped up on her Google Crawler and she was nice enough to send me some of the photos from the Ram Run 5K. Thank you Carol!

So imagine no more and look at me run:
In both photos you will notice that BOTH of my feet are off the ground!!! I really look like a runner!!!

Leave it to my buddy Shawn to comment that he was glad that I was able to pass that 10 year-old behind me. There were some fast kids at this race. The female overall winner was a 12 year-old with a pace of 6:05! The organizing committee did a great job of putting on this event. There were fun activities for the kids, guest appearances by Ronald McDonald and Pepe the Parrot from Fiesta Grocery, lots of great food and drinks at the post race party, and a DJ that was awesome. Everyone was dancing in the street in front of the stadium. El Esposo's boss had two kids who graduated from the Awty International School so I decided to give back to the school and support their athletic program.

Tomorrow is the Kingwood HS Rock the Band 5K and the money they raise will help send the band on their trip to New York. We shall see how I do. Check back in for details.

Later Gators,


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Ooops, I Did It Again....

Ok, so I'm no Brittany, but I did it again.

This is from the Awty International School Ram Run 5K this past Saturday...

Overall Female Masters Winners

Place Name Bib Age Overall Time Pace

1 Elizabeth Garcia 63 40 22 22:15.3 7:11/M

And this is crazy because I am NOT a runner. I would include a picture of me running in the rain in my bun huggers and arm warmers, but the photo proofs cannot be copied. Sorry, you are just going to have to use your imagination of me running down the road.
Try really hard on the running part because again, I am NOT a runner.

Swimming, biking, and running adventures are just around the corner! I will document as best I can and make sure that I don't leave any of the excitement out.

Later Gators,


Friday, November 12, 2010

He's at it again!

Hey boys and girls,

As the holidays approach, have you looked back to see what list you are going to end up on??? Have you been good and done all of your workouts your coach gave you or did you skip one too many? Did you increase the amount of fruits and veggies in your diet or did you increase the amount of beer in your diet? Did you get 7-8 hours of sleep a night or did you pull a few all-nighters?

There is still time to turn things around! Head on over to DCRainmaker's blog and get registered to win a Garmin Forerunner 210 and get your training back on track. Do it now!!!
Have a great weekend kids!


Monday, November 8, 2010

AND....My 2 weeks of recovery are over...

I was told by a very wise person that it is hard to have an interesting life and still have time left over to blog about it. Well, for the last two weeks, I guess that has been the case. Each morning I opened my daily coaching e-mail from Coach Woofie and saw, "You have no upcoming workouts." At first, I felt a little lost. But, then I started to think of all the fun (er, trouble) I could have (er, get into).

So, in order to keep it short and so I don't get too wordy, here is what I have been up to the last 2 weeks:

1.) I baked some cupcakes and sent them off in the mail to some very worthy runners...

2.) I carved a pumpkin...

3.) I ran a 5K with a 5'4" (or taller) banana and I really gave myself a fright...a good one!

Time of 22:13, pace of 7:09!!!
Getting my Frankenstein head trophy with Overall Female Winner, Rebecca Marvil.

4.) I attended the symphony...

5.) Went trick-or-treating with the 5'4" banana...

5.) Got rid of both of these hideous wall papers in my downstairs bath and and got paint instead...

6.) Got a treat of my Zipp 606 wheel set!!!

7.) Did a bunch of knitting...

Sleeves on a sweater I am almost done with.

8.) I bought more yarn...(you have permission to yell at me if I buy more)

Alpaca, angora, and just some fun chenille yarn...

9.) I did a little shopping...

Swimming adventures are on the horizon!

10.) I spent a weekend at my kid's swim meet...

And then today in my mailbox was this message...

Elizabeth Hi

I have your next four weeks up in TP. Next week is testing, mostly. I am holding your TRX workouts and foam rolling but I have added a couple of TRX workouts. I expect you to find the challenging but this is more in my campaign to bulletproof you and keep you injury free.

I will re-send all your exercises that we are re-using together with a PDF that has links to films of the new TRX exercises.


PS: You will see I have added 5Ks with expectations :-)

So today it was back to TRX and foam rolling goodness. I know I am going to be a little sore in the next day or two. Tomorrow is swim testing and run testing. This weekend is another 5K. We shall see how it goes...

Thanks for stopping by.

Later Gators,


Monday, October 25, 2010

Ironman Austin 70.3 Race Report: Part 3-The Thrilling Conclusion!

If you missed the re-cap of the bike leg, STOP READING RIGHT NOW and scroll down to get all the details of how I pissed all down my leg and was happy that I did. Just because I turned 40 did not mean that I developed incontinence overnight. No, this is trained incontinence.

When we last left off, I was running out of T2 and still pissing down my leg. As I ran over the timing mat I was glad to see an aid station right at the start of the run course where I could grab three sponges soaked in cold water to stuff down my tri top to keep cool and to grab a cup of PowerBar Endurance drink to get some calories and electrolytes in me. Running down the hill to the turn that took us out of the Travis County Expo complex and towards Walter E. Long park I saw a bunch of my Team in Training friends cheering me on among the crowds of people that were lining the road. They offered me a beer and I told them I would think about it when I came back by for loop #2.

Before exiting the Expo complex I ran up on a guy who was limping and grabbing his hamstring. I asked him if he needed some salt. He perked up like I had asked him if he had needed Beyonce to sing personally to him. He started running with me and I dug out two S-Caps for him to take. He was very thankful and told me good luck as I kept going. The sun was out and the temperature was hot. I had to pay attention to my salt and hydration as well. I took a cup of water at the aid station to drink and another to dump over my head.
Feeling great heading out on the run!

The road out to Walter E. Long park is hilly. I passed one or two people on a downhill and saw the fast pro racers coming back for their finish or their second loop. I just kept putting one foot in front of another. I knew at the top of the second big hill that I was going to have to control my heart rate and not let it get too high. I did not want to hit the wall on this run. We entered the park and I told myself that I would walk the aid station to get some fluids and to lower my heart rate.

As I walked the aid station I saw that 24 year-old draft queen walking from the bike course walking the aid station as well. I told myself that I could probably take her on the run. After finishing my fluids I got running again. The course went from pavement to grass. Normally I hate running on grass. I have always felt S--L--O--W running on trail and grass. I am not sure what kind of super-human transformation has taken place over the summer but once I hit the grass I felt like I sped up without too much extra effort. Now I was speeding by all of these fast looking men and I could hear a few grunts as I passed them up and they tried to hang with me. We had a downhill with wood chips, larger rocks, ruts, and roots covering the trail. I heard some guy tell me to be careful and not trip and hurt myself. I told him thanks and leaped over a rut and dashed around the corner. I knew he was not in the know that I did a bunch of trail running in Breckenridge over the summer. This trail was easy compared to some of the trails I faced at 9,000+ feet of altitude. Time for some Shot Bloks!

How....How in the world was I passing all of these people??? I did not feel like I was running that fast but I guess I was running faster than most of these guys and gals. At the next aid station I grabbed some PowerBar Endurance sports drink and took the time to walk and drink a full cup. Once I got running again, I was able to easily pass up the people who got the jump on me through the aid station. The trail took us back out to the edge of the park where we ran along the fence line and then we took a turn left and proceeded to run down a LONG downhill that a few years ago when I did this race, we ran up it. I kept my eyes on the ground to not hit a rut or a root wrong and I was able to move around a few more people. I was especially pleased to dash by an Air Force Academy Cadet who had passed me on the bike.

At the bottom of the hill I paused at the aid station to grab four cups of ice which I proceeded to dump down the top of my sports bra and to grab some water. I started to run, but the ice was jumping out of my top. I decided to walk and keep my heart rate under control. The uphill was long and I kept pumping my arms to make it a brisk hike rather than a slow walk. There was a race announcer at the top of the hill calling out people's names and encouraging people for their hard work running up the hill. And then he saw me walking. "HEY!!! TEAM IN TRAINING LADY!!! I DON'T WANT TO SEE YOU WALKING!!! COME ON, SHOW ME WHAT YOU'VE GOT!!!" I cussed him out and got running again. We had a down hill and a flat section that I would be able to regulate my heart rate on. The ice in my top was keeping me cool and rattling and clinking along.
Getting ready to exit the park on the first loop...

There was a little uphill to the next aid station and I decided that I needed to take some salt to keep my calf that cramped in the swim happy. We wove our way through the park and up a steep loop towards the last aid station before we exited the park and headed back to the Expo Center. After a cup of water and a brief walk, I got back on the road and running against a heavy flow of athletes heading to the park for their first loop. I was happy to be heading to the start of my second loop. I did great on the hills back to the Expo Center. How was I feeling this good and doing this well. The miles kept ticking off. I was approaching the turn to head to the area where all the spectators and tents were set up. My Team in Training buddies were going crazy when I came around the corner. It was great to get some love. Up the hill I got some more love from other Team in Training group from Nebraska. All of the spectators were fantastic!
Getting ready to make the turn around for loop 2...

I got to the turn around and began the second loop and picked up more cold sponges for my top and to wipe my face off. On the way back out, James, Rochelle, Laura, Kevin, Andy, and others were cheering me on and telling me I looked strong. On the way out of the Expo center I had someone run up beside me and said, "GO TEAM!" I said thanks and looked over and realized that it was my good friend Ryan. He told me he had a flat on the bike and his stomach was sloshy feeling and he was going to run with me for a while. We chatted and I could tell that what was an easy pace for Ryan was a fast pace for me. I told him to head on so I would not slow him down and that I would see him at the finish line.
Heading out on loop 2.

Now that the course was packed I had to stay to the left to be passing people on the hills out to the park. I saw TNT people and gave them a "GO TEAM!" As I was heading up the hill right before the park I thought about stopping to walk but I kept telling myself to plug along and I would be on grass soon enough. It was like a switch had been flipped when I hit the grass. I either kept my pace or I sped up but I was passing people! I forged on. My ice was now gone from my tri top and I knew I needed to get more. At the next aid station I got two cups and poured them down my sports bra and grabbed a cup of PowerBar Endurance formula sports drink and gulped it down. I got running again and played fishing to reel people in and pass them up.

After zooming down the Quadzilla hill and coming around to the uphill I told myself that I was not going to walk it and have the announcer guy call me out. I looked down so the brim of my hat hid the view of the hill from me but gave me enough of a view to see if I was running up on people's feet. I was running pitifully slow but no one passed me and I passed tons of people on the way up that hill. It was such a victory to make it to the top. I slurped some water out of my Fuel Belt and kept running. On the way the next aid station I saw my Austin buddy Carrie on her mountain bike riding along the course. I gave her a shout out and she was surprised to see me. I kept running and soon Carrie was pedaling right along side of me telling me how strong I was looking. I told her that unless I blew up in the last two miles that I had left, I was going to have a big PR. She told me to keep going and asked if I wanted to go out to dinner later. HELL YEAH!!!
Do I look like a running BAD ASS or what???

2 Miles! 2 Miles left!! Only 2 Miles to go!!! I ran up the steep little hill before exiting the park and grabbed one more cup of PowerBar Endurance Formula drink and crossed the last of the grass back to the pavement. I had been giving shout outs to TNT people as I saw them and I think on the way back in I saw more since there were a lot of people out running the course now. On the hill up to the Expo Center someone had put up another great banner and picture of Coach Allen Salinas on the side of the road. It was not there on my first loop that I could recall. I was so glad to see that someone who loved Allen and someone from the FLEET family had paid tribute to him this way.
Heading to the Finisher's Chute!

One mile left. I passed the last aid station and took a swig off of my Fuel Belt bottles. I knew that this was the time to start getting rid of sponges that I had stuffed in my tri top and to get ready for the photos at the Finish Line. I ran past my TNT buds one more time. They were awesome! I cannot thank them enough for being out there and cheering for me. I love you guys and gals!!! A quarter mile left to go. After getting big cheers up that little slope from all the spectators I entered the Finisher's chute and got more cheers. Up hill...ugh! last one..., down hill...., around the bend and into the dark entrance of the Arena with spectators cheering for us on the bridge above us. YAHOO!!!
Take 20 minutes off the clock time!

The music was pumping and the crowds were cheering as I ran across the Finish Line. I had no idea what my finishing time was but I knew that it was a new Personal Record. Whoo Hoo!!! I got my medal and finisher's hat and went promptly back to sign up for a massage. Ryan found me and gave me a big hug and said I looked really strong at the finish. And then, like a dummy, I started bawling my eyes out. Some guy got out of his chair and made me sit down and put my head between my knees and take deep breaths. I was so happy just a second ago, why in the hell was I crying? ARHG!!! I had to pull it together and stop being a dang girl. That only lasted for about 2 minutes and then I was back to normal.....I guess. I kicked off my Newtons and noticed that I had run hard enough to put two holes in my sock on my right foot. I got a great massage from a guy that looked like he had played football at the University of Texas in the past year or two. He was a brick wall! He kept on asking me if he was working too hard on my leg muscles. I told him that I may look little, but it would take a lot to break me. After that, it was time to find some food. You know you are in Austin when there is BBQ and Black Bean patties served in the food line. The shredded BBQ beef/pork did not look that appetizing but I knew I had to eat something. I got the sandwich, slapped some pickles on it, and grabbed a bag of potato chips. Rochelle found me and gave me a foil blanket to wrap up in. As hot as it was outside I was starting to chill inside the air conditioned arena in my wet gear. I took a bite of the BBQ sandwich and it was the most delicious sandwich I could have asked for at that moment.

After finishing off the sandwich I went to go check out the preliminary times that were posted on the wall...

5:33:39!!! HOT DAMN!!! A 14+ minute PR!!!

Swim- 38:01 1:58 min/100 m. Meh, ok. Not my best but I could have done better

T1- 4:04 Zzzz....

Bike- 2:51:20 19.6 mph average on the bike!!! YES...And I had been holding back!

T2- 3:03 Zzzz... again....

Run- 1:57:11 HOLY S--T!!! 8:57 min/mile!!! AND THAT WAS WITH WALKING BREAKS!!!

That is my second fastest half marathon EVER!!!

Here is the best part.... wait for it...

wait for it...


13th in my Age Group and the 8th fastest run in my age group out of 95 participants!!! When did I become a fast chick??!!??

I was all smiles! I went to gather up my gear bags at the Expo hall and take them back to my car. On the way to my car I saw Kathleen again and she gave me a big hug for my accomplishment. I saw my TNT buddies Lauren and Caroline who had recently finished. We had all done very well. I passed on the beer they offered me because I was holding out for a Mojito. I went on back to the arena to wait for a few more TNT people to finish up and to wait for my training buddy Greyhound. He had started in a wave that got going almost an hour after mine so I knew he would appreciate someone waiting around for him at the finish line.
With my special girl-friend Lauren who will be racing Ironman Cozumel next month.

After seeing Greyhound cross the finish line I gathered up my bike and the last of my gear and ran them to the car. Yes, I ran. I had to hurry back to see if there was a possibility of getting a roll down slot to the Ironman 70.3 World Championships next year in Las Vegas. Sadly, all the slots in my age group were snapped up. So now it was time to run to the car and get to the hotel and clean up to Carrie, Shawn, and Greyhound for a celebratory dinner in 75 minutes. I would have to move fast and use quite a bit of smoke and mirrors to look presentable for dinner.

Yes, I got that Mojito...and another...and White Chocolate Bread Pudding for dessert. I celebrated!

Well now that the season is over and I can be a slug, I am ready to get a plan from my coach. I think that racing some 5K's over the next few weeks is on the boards as well as recovering well. I want to thank all the people who have made the 2010 race season amazing for me. Thank you to Dr. Lehman for taking care of my knee issues and discovering that I had a huge Vitamin D deficientcy back in February. Thanks to my coach Anthony Humpage for putting together a training program that not only made me stronger, but made me faster. Thank you to my bike mechanic Bill Duckworth and David Cycles for dealing with all my broken wheel rims and for the use of the bike case to take my bike to Breckenridge for altitude camp. Thank you to Dr. Hasenbank for putting me back together every time I fell off my bike or slept wrong and jacked up my neck. Thanks to Kimberly for all the fantastic Raindrop Therapy sessions that kept me healthy and able to train. Thank you to my most awesome training partner Greyhound for swimming, biking, and running with me and to his family for inviting me and my kid to Chez Greyhound in Breckenridge for summer camp. Thanks to my Dad and Step mom for watching my kid while I raced. Thanks to my Team in Training friends for being my cheerleaders out there on the course. Thank you to YOU--my blog readers for all of your supportive and funny comments on my adventures over the past years and months. Last but not least, thanks to El Esposo for his support. He has not seen me race in a very long time due to his travel with work but I always get a good luck message before a race on my iPhone. I would thank sponsors, but I don't have any. If you would like to sponsor me, drop me an e-mail!

I have been enjoying my time off and recovery, but I have already started running and riding my bike a little at very low Zone 1-2 levels.

But the adventures do not stop with this. I have some exciting things that are coming together for next month so stay tuned. It involves some swimming, biking, and running!

Later Gators!


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Ironman Austin 70.3 Race Report: Part 2-The Bike

Heading out of T1...

Picking up where I left off on the last post, I was dashing out of T1 in a not so special time of 4:04. It was a long run from the lake to where my bike was located near the Bike Exit and I took time to clean off my feet before pulling on my shoes. I am not sure why I wanted to clean off my feet to stick them into the nastiest and smelliest shoes on the planet, but I did.

Once I got over the mount line and started pedaling my first job was to get my sun glasses on and dig out my Clif Mojo bar and get ready to snarf it down. Some poor dude had a flat tire not 300 yards from the start of the bike course and he was pulling a Norman Stadler on the side of the road and yelling. The bad thing was he was swinging his wheel around and his bike was still in the road. I yelled at him to move his bike off the pavement. I am sure he was feeling the love for me. After we passed the Travis County Expo Center and got onto Decker Ln. I knew I had a few miles of rollers to eat my Mojo bar before there was a hard right turn on the course. Coach had set a plan for me to hold back a little on the bike so that I would still have energy for later in the race. The second part of the bike plan was to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate....and then hydrate some more. I had almost a full gallon of water and Gatorade on the bike with me and I was going to do my best to drink the majority of it. Pedaling along and eating and drinking I was coasting on the down hills and holding my own on the up-hill portions. The sun was out and I was feeling good.

After I made the right turn I had a little more road space to maneuver around people and find free space to tuck into. I knew from riding this course before that at the end of the road was another right turn that put us right onto a steep uphill. I prepared by dropping my chain into the small ring as the corner approached. I made that corner and was ready for that hill as I sped past people who were mashing and frantically changing gears. SWEET!!! There was a nice downhill to coast and recover on. Soon I was passing the 5 mile marker. Dang, that was fast. I had not really checked my watch to notice what time I left T1 but I was quickly doing some math in my head based on speed and distance and determined that I was rocking a killer pace. It may have even been a tad too fast. I went back to focusing on my hydration plan and was mildly amused at some gal who was working hard to pass me up only to have me pass her on a hill. Since this was a hilly course we played leap frog for quite some time before I dropped her like a bad habit on a long uphill on a feeder road of a highway.

Over the highway we went and through a neighborhood of sorts of large ranch homes. I found another gal who played leap frog with me. I just tried to make sure that I was not too close and accused of drafting. The officials were out and I saw them nab some dude and flash him a red card. Mile 10 was passed and the course made a left turn toward Manor, TX. Thankfully the road crews had been out and had filled in a lot of the wheel sucking cracks that ran along the pavement and parallel to the shoulder of the road. It also helped that I did not have to ride in the shoulder since we had the entire lane on a closed part of the course. The sun had been covered up by some hazy clouds and for a moment I was regretting the fact I did not have my arm warmers. Oh well, HTFU cupcake! It was time to eat a Clif Kid's Twisted Fruit Rope and I could tell that I was nearing the bottom of my aero bottle. Drink, drink, drink. Around mile 15 there is a speedy down hill with a bridge at the bottom and the pavement is bumpy and rough. The second gal who I had been playing leap frog with was slowing for nutrition. As I passed I gave her the head's up about the bump at the bottom of the hill. She was very thankful as I pedaled past. At least the race crew had set up "BUMP" signs in bright orange at the bottom of the hill and had sprayed orange markings on the pavement. The road work crews had also done some work to make it a little better as well. On the way back up the hill and to a right turn, I emptied my aero bottle. I started filling it back up after I got around the corner and popped a few S-Caps as well.

I was letting a bunch of men pass me up and that was fine by me, they were all the faster young guys. I saw one of my TNT friends, Caroline, pulling over to the side of the road and I asked if she was OK as I passed. She said she was good so I kept plugging away. With the sun still covered by haze I was not sweating much or at least as much as I normally do on a Texas bike ride. However, I kept the hydration going. Passing the 20 mile marker I did quick math in my head and figured that my pace was around 20 mph. I was happy with that because I was holding back as per the plan. There were plenty of volunteers out on the bike course that were keeping us on the course and from making a wrong turn and to flag us about rail road tracks and turns. I made sure to thank them all. The next right turn put us on Monkey Rd.

I am only out of my aero bars because this is right before a turn. Notice it is not too sunny. This is where I wanted my arm warmers.

So far, I had moved to the left to move out of the way of people slowing down to go through aid stations but on Monkey Rd. there were cones up and signs telling us to stay to the right. I knew another steep hill was coming and I also knew I needed to get out of the way of these people. I had to ignore the volunteers who were motioning us to stay right to move around a guy and then I saw all the orange tape all over the pavement highlighting the cracks, holes, bumps, and patches. OH SH-T!!! Now I know why they wanted us to stay right going up that steep hill. At the top of the hill it was time to spin out the legs and get ready for a tight right hand turn.

It was time to eat and drink again. I had some nice speed on gentle down hills to just cruise along and take care of nutrition and hydration. I was noticing a gal who I would pass and then she would pass me back up hooked onto some one's back wheel. She was 24 years old as indicated on her calf and I figured that this was her first time at the dance. She probably had not read the rules and did not know about them at all. She probably did weekend rides with a bike club, but she stuck out as a newbie because of her blatant drafting. I just let her roll on by knowing that I would see her again.

I rolled up on my friend Lauren on Hogg Eye Rd. and told her she was doing great. At the top of the hill I knew that we would be rolling down on the stretch of road that only a week earlier had been gravel and pot holes. In that week, tar had been laid down to keep the dust down and to fill in the holes. It was about this time that I emptied my aero bottle for the second time. I needed to get rid of fluids as well. I did not want to open up the flood gates and hit someone with spray who was behind me, but then I thought that it would serve them right if they were drafting. I worked on releasing just enough pressure so that I got a little relief but nothing was running down my legs and into my shoes. When I passed the 40 mile marker I looked at my watch and saw that my speed had dropped off a bit. Oh well, I was holding back. Just as long as I kept my pace, I would be able to finish in 3 hours or less. Just past mile 40 was the bridge with a sharp lip on it that I broke a piece off of the axle of my Mavic Krysium wheels last month. Again I was giving people the head's up about this down hill and bridge as I passed and thankfully the road crews had put down some asphalt to make a small ramp up the lip. The volunteers flagging people to slow down on the down hill and the large orange "BUMP" signs were great as well. A little further down the road was a sharp right turn at the bottom of a hill and then it was time to start heading back to T2 with some tailwind.

Again, coming around another corner. The sun is out and it is starting to warm up.

This part of the course got a bit dicey in parts. There were tons of cones out so that cars could travel in each direction and the race participants could have room on the road as well. Sadly, there was only room in our lane for two bikes abreast. This meant that there was a lot of drafting by the young fast dudes passing the old slow ladies like me and the 50+ men. I saw the 24 year old draft chick again pass by on some one's wheel as well. All I could do was ride my own race. Other than a few rough patches on the pavement, some gravel, and the cones, we had a nice sized shoulder to ride on. I stuck with the eat, drink, pee, pedal formula the rest of the way in. When I knew that I was less than a mile from T2 it was time to open up the flood gates for good. On my last downhill, I emptied my aero bottle for the third time and stuffed the last three Shot Blocks into my tri top for the run. On that downhill I saw the most wonderful thing. Someone had erected a big banner on the side of the road with Coach Allan Salinas' picture on it and and his name and set up a little memorial. Allen was supposed to do this race in preparation for Ironman Arizona. I gave a little kiss to the sky and told Allan that he would have loved this race today.

There was no time for tears because I was quickly approaching T2. Looking at my watch I could tell that I was coming in under 3 hours and I was happy with that. How much under 3 hours, I was not sure. So my pace could be somewhere between 18.5 and 20 mph. I would just have to forget about it and focus on getting to the run. Later I would find out that the bike leg took me 2:51:20 to complete at a pace of 19.6 mph.

So, did I meet my #1 goal for this race? Yes I did! I did not fall off of my bike. Yahoo!!! I hoped that the road surface on Hogg Eye Rd. had been repaired, and it was. I hoped that I would not crack a wheel rim on the bridge at mile 39-40, and the wheels were intact. I hoped that I would not put my wheel down into one of the vertical cracks on the pavement during the early part of the bike leg, and the road crews had been out and had patched them up.

After I got off the bike and ran into T2 I just focused on moving swiftly to get my socks and shoes on and my bike gear in the bag and tied up. On the way out of T2 I heard someone yelling my name and saw that it was one of the gals who attends my early morning cycle class. Her husband was racing as well. It was great to see a familiar face. As I ran out onto the run course I knew I had a lot of work still ahead of me. T2 took 3:03 minutes to get through. Again, nothing special here.

Stay tuned for the exciting recap of the run and some amazing stats for the race.

Later Gators,


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Ironman Austin 70.3 Race Report: Part 1-Pre Race and Swim

As I am laying out sunning my buns on my new back deck, I am happy to report that all the hard work that I have been putting in the past 9 months since I finished the Goofy Challenge out at Walt Disney World back in January has paid off....BIG TIME. I have really seen more improvement this year than any other. I am not sure if it was the TRX training, the weight loss, or the focus on speed work for shorter distance races that did it. If you recall from my post last week, I had laid out some goals for this race:

  1. I don't want to fall off of my bike. That seems to have been a theme at some of my races.
  2. I don't want to come in last in my AG. After all of the hard training I have been doing, if I blow up and have to use the entire 8 hours granted to me to finish the race, I will be angry.
  3. I want to stay healthy throughout the race. That means no barfing, no twisted ankles running up Quadzilla, no debris or random junk puncturing the bottom of my foot as I wait around for the swim start, and no med tent after the race.

We shall see how I did on all three goals. The TRX is awesome and I cannot recommend it enough. You do not need a gym membership or a bunch of fancy equipment to get a workout that is going to kick you in the butt and make you stronger. I did not do any thing special to loose 10 pounds this race season. I was kinda frustrated back in April and May when I was putting in long marathon miles and nothing was happening. And then, KAPOW! I started dropping pounds here and there over the summer as the speed work ramped up. I am eating and for the most part I clean my plate unless I'm served so much food that it is enough for two people. I have been drinking more adult beverages than normal. Normal for me is none. I have not cut back on my chocolate intake either! The speed work has gotten easier. Could this be because I am no longer hauling around an extra 10 pounds? Could it be because I got some new Zoot and 2UX training gear? What ever it is, I may no longer be that painfully slow kid who is pulling up the rear.

Ok, I am sure you do not want to read all of my musing, rather, you want to hear about the race. I had my gear packed up early because I had to get the house cleaned up for my Dad and Step Mom to come and watch the kid while I was racing and El Esposo was still in Venezuela. I got up early on Saturday morning, loaded the car, and hit the road around 6:50 am. Traffic was surprisingly heavy as people were headed to College Station for the Texas A&M football game. Once I passed the Hwy. 6 turn-off, the traffic lightened up and it was smooth sailing all the way into Austin and to the Travis County Expo Center. I rolled into the parking lot just a few minutes after packet pick-up began for the morning. I was taken aback when the volunteer at the first check-in table made a comment about me being "a local" and how she had not seen many of us. That was weird. I guess I am guilty of just thinking that this is another one of the local tri events rather than a big M-Dot event that pulls in people from all over the country. This year the Collegiate Championships were taking place at this race so there were cadets from all the military academies as well as racers from several major universities. After getting checked in, I miraculously got out of the expo without purchasing any M-Dot gear. Again, I think it is because I still consider Austin a local race for me. I did buy a new pair of arm warmers because I left mine at home and it was still chilly that morning.
See how close I am to the end of the rack? NICE!!!

I drove over to Decker Lake and got my bike and bike gear bag ready to drop off at T1. There were some people out swimming in the lake. The lake was glassy smooth and the weather was warming up nicely. My bike was way on the other end from the swim exit, but that just meant that it was close to the Bike Out arch. Once leaving my bike and my shoes, race belt, gloves, and helmet in the Bike Gear bag hanging from one of my bottle cages, it was time to drop off my Run Gear bag at T2. Once my shoes, socks, hat, and Fuel Belt were in their bag and at the appropriate spot under my race number on the bike rack it was time to check in at the hotel and find some food.

See how close I am to the Bike Exit? NICE!
See how far away I am from the Bike In? Meh...
At least the run out is not as far.

A short walk from the hotel was a P. F. Chang's and I made sure to drink plenty of fluids with my Hot & Sour soup and grilled salmon with brown rice and asparagus that I had for lunch. Of course, no meal at P. F. Chang's would be complete without a fortune cookie. Sadly, the fortune was kinda lame and forgettable. Once back at the hotel, it was time to unwind and relax and get a nap in there somewhere.

After an early dinner, some baseball on TV, and getting all my stuff ready and laid out for the morning, it was time to go to bed. I was tired enough that I was not kept awake by the loud music on 6th Street. I woke up only when El Esposo pinged my phone at 10:45 to wish me good luck and again at 2:00 which of late seems to be when I have a lull in REM time. When the alarm went off at 4:30 I had nearly 8 hours of sleep and I was ready to get up. With some Bare Naked Chocolate Heaven Granola, Oikos vanilla Greek yogurt, and pomegranate seeds down the hatch for breakfast, I gathered my Morning Gear bag and headed down to get my car and drive to the race site.

I was parked by 6:10 and on one of the buses to take us from T2 over to the lake and T1. I saw my friend Kathleen in body marking. She asked me where Greyhound was and I told her that I would keep an eye out for him. I had lots of people to be looking for. A bunch of my Team in Training buddies were doing this race as well as some of the people who attend my early morning cycle class. I got over to my bike and loaded on my Bento Box filled with my 770 calories of nutrition that I would need to eat while I pedaled 56 miles. I also filled up the aero bottle and bottle cages with nearly a gallon of water and Gatorade that I would need to drink on the bike as well. That is an extra 8 and a third pounds just in fluids on the bike. I'm going to say that I lost the body weight to carry the extra fluids on the bike and be able to stay fast. With that done, I headed out towards the swim start and found Greyhound as he was walking away from his bike as well.
It was still dark out but the sun was starting to lighten up the clouds on the horizon. The temperatures were not as chilly as the morning before and I had decided that I would not need my arm warmers that morning. While waiting for time to tick away, I ran into Coach Grant and my TNT buddies Ryan, Lauren, Caroline, Taryn who were racing and Sarah who was spectating. After that it was time for me to get my wetsuit on and drop off my morning gear bag and start heading to the swim start. I was in wave 6 so I had to get a move on.

No sooner had I pulled up the zipper on my wetsuit and squished my goggles into my face, it was time to get into the water and wait for the gun to go off. It occurred to me in that instant that the swim buoys were yellow and my swim wave was all wearing yellow caps. That would make sighting fun. As the gun went off and I started to swim, I immediately got pummeled by just about every 40-49 year old woman in my swim start. I am a pretty decent swimmer, but these gals were out for the fight. I got hit in the back of the head, kicked, punched in the nose (OWWWW!!!), and swam over from someone beside me several times. I even had someone grab my ankle and try to drag me back as they swam over me. I just kept plugging along moving as well as I could from buoy to buoy. I found a little bit of free water once we made the first turn, but now I was in the thick of the blue cap men from the wave ahead of me that were the slow swimmers in their wave. These dudes were just in the way. I had to do a lot of weaving to get around them or in some cases away from them because they had some idea that I was a punching bag as well. Then I caught some stragglers in purple caps two waves ahead of me. I was feeling pretty good about my progress. Then I got the crap beat out of me by the fast men in the red caps from the wave behind me. Well, that is what you get for swimming on the buoy line. I made the turn for the finish and plugged along passing blue and purple caps and keeping up with a few yellow caps. As is customary, I got rid of any extra fluids that I was holding on to from my earlier hydration sessions. I swam it in until my hand hit the sand at the bottom and then it was time to pop up and run it in to T1. Almost 38 minutes flat. Meh, not the greatest but I had not done a single swim workout since August. I know, kill me. I swim ok, but it is the bike and especially the run where I need to put my training time in. I could do all of those swim workouts and gain 2-3 on my time or just go faster in T1 and T2 or pick up the speed on the bike. My coach had set out the plan to just have fun on the swim and get it behind me. I'm not sure how much fun it was getting punched in the nose, but I got it done.

On the way to T1 I had a hunky guy strip my wetsuit off of me in less than 5 seconds and then I finished running towards the bike racks. The carpet ended and the grass and dirt began and I was glad I had stuck a grubby hand towel in my Bike Gear bag. I was racked in row 5 at the very far end. Rather than following everyone like sheep and turning to the right to run down to row 5 and then dodge close to 100 guys and gals all the way down the row I ran straight down the fence to the end of the last bike rack and then turned right to run to row 5 and to my bike 4 spaces from the end of the rack. I even had someone yell at me that I was running the wrong way. No I wasn't, sucka! I pulled out my shoes and helmet and jumped into my race belt and stashed my wetsuit, cap, and goggles in the bag. I wiped the grass and dirt off of my feet and put my shoes on and snapped the chin strap on my helmet and I was out of there. 4:04 in T1. I could have been faster, but that's the way it is folks. The extra time was for putting on cycling gloves. I normally don't do that but I had slick handle bars from condensation and I have fallen off of my bike in a race and have had my hands nice and FUBAR. I was not going to repeat that on this bike course since I did not know if the section that had been gravel and potholes the weekend before was fixed or not.

Ok, more to come along with official race pictures. Stay tuned,

Later Gators,