Monday, April 30, 2007

Don't cha' think...

As my most devoted stalkers may have noticed, I've been mighty quiet and my training logs have been, as well. Here's the update on Planet IM Able.

I have been hosting a family of flies in my Chardonnay, as Alanis might say. The dreaded injury, the dreaded 'what-is-this-health-issue-all-about?', and a little dash of work related stress. All rolled up and plunked into my Ironman Chardonnay for my pleasure. Booyah.

If you troll the raceAthlete forums (which you should, because there's always good advice to be had or fun topics to read about), you know that I managed to pull my left calf muscle about two weeks ago. It's my first injury of the season and I'm approaching it with the mindset that if I rehab it properly and be smart about how much I tax it, I'll be more likely to not have it be my unknown factor come race day.

Enter stage left -- my flutter. I've recently been experiencing some odd pains in my chest and what I can only describe as episodes where my heart feels like it has tripped and fallen over itself mid-beat. It used to be occasional, so I didn't bother too much with it. But recently I'm having episodes daily, and often for a span of time each day. I've also been waking up at completely random times in the middle of the night, sitting straight up in bed and yelling out at nothing, gasping for air. Needless to say...completely freaking Mighty M out. Interestingly? I rarely remember this. So. Odd group of symptoms, might be smart to see the doc. I did and we have an echo scheduled and I have the thumbs up to continue my training at the normal rate now, absent any increase in symptoms.

And -- the third fly in my Chardonnay -- work. If you don't already know, I work as a development director for a social service agency. So I'm the go-to for all of our privately source income (individuals, events, foundations, corporations, etc). I adore my job. No really, let me say that again: I adore my job. But there comes one big event each year that takes every ounce of energy I have to follow to fruition, plus the hard work of our board members. I had hoped to not have the planning interrupt the training, but there just was no way to avoid the inevitable.

So -- bum left calf, unresolved cardiac issues, and a monster fundraiser has taken precedence over training for the last week. Last weeks totals? One swim (2350), One bike (37.71) and One run (1.5 miles).

I kid you not.

So, what's the silver lining? That's an easy one. Every training season is going to have issues like this come up -- the flu or a bad cold, unexpected in laws in town, chronic injuries flaring name it.

For me -- at least so far -- I had three crop up all at the same time. ALL AT THE SAME TIME. This, of course, means that I can take the time from training that I need to fix/address/bemoan them all ... yes, you've got it ... AT THE SAME TIME.

Love it.

So, our event was a smashing success last Saturday and I'm in the office (kind of on my day off) pulling together a last minute grant request that has to go out today. Work Stress? Check. Back to normal.

Feeling all a-flutter? Well, it's not completely handled and will definitely require some more doctors visits and tests, but my ECG on Friday gives me the thumbs up to train again at my prior level. Boyahh, people. BO-YAHH.

And, my calf and I are entering a course of couples therapy to discuss our issues and her anger with the hills I was running when she jumped ship. I think we've really been working through our issues and with a little more icing and maybe a bouquet of flowers, we'll be back on track. Literally.

So, it's Monday and I have a grant to push out the door and a bike ride to coordinate for tonight. And it's 80 degrees and sunny out. If I'm really lucky, I may be able to squeeze in a front nine of golf.

Life is good, guys. Life. Is. Good.

Monday, April 23, 2007

This Sometime

Sometimes I feel like a Nike commercial, with a blood pushing soundtrack in the background and profiled in soft lights. Sometimes I feel like I stand at a precipice, ready for what comes and what is entailed. The icon, the ediface, the athletic form. Sometimes I feel like I am uniquely qualified, by some grace of past decisions and stubborn motivation. And sometimes I feel like I may have the power to inspire myself and make me so much more than I was before.

This, is that sometime.

I chose late last year to try something entirely out of my comfort zone, and entirely gratuitous. I don't need to do an Ironman distance. Being a triathlete and healthy alone would be fine. But there has always been that persistent voice inside my thoughts that wants me to push even further. I want to know whether or not I can do something exceptional. To push just a little more. Could it be self-defeating? Could I be setting myself up for a simple confirmation of mediocrity? Perhaps. When I was younger, I would certainly have seen that road as the least painful and followed it, laden with guilt. I would have craftily explained away my averageness and carried it as a stone in my shoe, a hidden hair shirt under a well-dressed facade.

That is not me anymore. And I know that with certainty. I know that with the same certainty that I know I love Mighty M. I know that with the certainty that I know I will never sabotage my life again with distrust and fatalism.

I just know it. Clearly and with inherent resolve. It's just there, as a reality.

So I signed up for the race, and then basked in the glow of "You're doing an Ironman?" "No way! How cool!" I did the planning and found the training schedule right for me. And when the time came, I started training. And I've had the bumps in the road and moments of checking my own motivations and behaviors. Falls and injuries and set-backs and successes.

And I have simply loved every second.

The snarky lady in the pool. The personal best runs and the personal vendettas against cycling drills. Those wonderful moments where new habits surprised me with power and control. And those truly excellent moments of clarity.

And now, I'm there again. Cue the Nike background music. Cue lights, camera, and ACTION.

It's 20 weeks out from Ironman Wisconsin.

20 weeks.

If you're an endurance athlete, you know the power of 20 weeks. In 20 weeks, you can prepare for a marathon. In 20 weeks, you can sculpt an ultra-distance out of a lump of base building runs. In 20 weeks, you can craft an Ironman. And that, of course, is exactly what I'm going to do.

Twenty weeks is a check point in training that may seem arbitrary, but it's not. It provides just the right amount of time to build a better you. Just enough time to take your skills and traits and strengths and craft something exceptional.

I've put in my base, I'm building as we speak, and I'm feeling quietly prepared for the volume and effort. And yes, sometimes I feel incredibly scared. Shaking in my boots scared. Of limitations and sheer distance and limiters.

But, this is a different sometime. Right now I just feel ready.

Saturday, April 21, 2007


Broke my (first) glass ceiling last night with 3000 straight yards. At some point, I'll look back and chuckle that this was so notable, but for now I'm just glad to have hit that mark.

No pain, no problems, and only a little fatigue that I'm getting used to swimming through.

All good.

3000 meters.
120 lengths.
Avg 100: 2:05.

One happy triathlete.

Have a great weekend guys!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Race Report: Taxing Metric

It was a cold and blustery day...

(hmm...or maybe)

The day was as cold and windy as it was long...

(or possibly)

Good grief it's cold out here and you want to WHAT???

Yeah...that's the best title.

Okay, now that we've landed on just the right title, let me tell you a little about the Taxing Metric. It was a ride organized by the Brandywine Bicycle Club here in Chester County. And if you've ever ridden in Chester County, then you's a stunning place to ride. Stun. Ning. The course was through the back roads of Warwick Park and French Creek Park that were quiet and peaceful, and devoid of angry drivers and major potholes.

(Not, by the way, angry dogs. Um, thanks to the rider behind me who yelled loud enough to scare the bejezes out of that angry looking dog running straight for my front tire. THANK YOU! You diverted a messy, messy fall.)

You know what it wasn't devoid of? Yeah...that would be hills. Nope. Don't worry. There were lots and LOTS of hills! Long ones, short ones, and those sneaky ones that appear right after a dangerous turn or around a blind corner. Yeah...THOSE.

Now, this was my first time on a bike. No...okay, it really wasn't, but I really felt like it was! I've clocked something like 700 miles on Banana (my lovely road bike plus yucky aerobars) this year on the trainer. In the basement. Watching the endless DVDs of Nip Tuck, Season One. But this was the first time she came off the trainer and hit the open road.

[Now, just a quick shout out to my ever-reliable Sherpa, Mighty M. Cause, you see, right about 7:30 the night before the metric, M happens to mention my tires. Or, to be accurate, my lack of tires. Tread, that is. See, those 700 miles on the trainer? Let's just say the tires were shiny and, er, not safe for out on the road. A quick call to my local bike store and another big charge on the debit and I was set up with safe and tready tires for the ride. WHEW!]

So, anyway, I am blessed with being able to sleep in a little since the ride was right around the corner from our abode (yeah!) and, after being a bit lost on all those back roads, I finally made it to the show. And, by the way, don't you just LOVE pulling into a race parking lot? Everybody gearing up and checking their bikes and filling up bottles. I just love it!! It's all so exciting!

I pulled Fancy (my car, if you remember, has a name and yes you can just shut up if you think that's stupid) up into a row and started unloading. Got checked in and looked around for Cheaper Than Therapy and her hubby, Speedy. I did see them...pulling away! Bummer, but I'd catch up with them later.


It was time to take Banana out on the road. With the newly raised seat post. And the new pedals. And the relatively new LG shoes. And what felt like a million pounds of fluid in bottles. And me, dressed in sixteen shirts and with tools and powders and whatnot in pockets.

Let's just say...a little wobbly?

It took me a little time to get my confidence back on Banana. I'm still not completely at ease with the setup (for instance, it feels very top heavy and my forward positioned seat takes some getting used to), but I think that I'll be fine with a few more hours under my belt.

But the ride itself was just beautiful. I didn't take it too fast. Instead I approached the day with the intent of getting used to being back in the saddle and having a good Zone 2 ride.

Well, at least that was the first set of intentions.

By the 10th mile I realized I would need to amend that idea a little. And add in the goal of just-freaking-getting-to-the-top-of-this-next-hill. And that stuck as the repeated mantra for the remainder of the day.

This course was hilly, people. Hill. Ly. I'll post up the Garmin results as soon as we solve some technical issues at home. (Technical issues being dragging upstairs the old PC that seems to be the only computer in my universe that actually can sinc with the Garmin software. Again...seriously, Garmin, get compatible with the Mac already, will ya!!) But let's just say that I may have burned off my break pads trying to slow down on the descents...including those 12% grade, gravelly and kinda scary descents!

At the end, I was pleased with my effort at the half metric (about 34 miles) and all the hills in between, so I was calling it a day. Just as I swung myself off the bike, I ran into Cheaper Than Therapy and Speedy on their way back from getting hot soup and trail mix. CTT is another member of Team StayPut* and just an all around cool chick. I poached this picture from CTT, but I'll post another later. And please forgive the chubby sausage look from the day...can you tell that I have six layers of clothing on? Yes, it was cold!

Next up: Lessons Learned.

And this time there are a TON of them!

Be well, train safe!

* Oh, that's don't know about TSP yet! Ah...keep an eye out for fun info about the team, the Girls on the Run program, and my box of sixteen thousand Goody products!! Their website just went live, so I'm looking forward to posting all about the Team, my fellow 'mates, and GOTR soon.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Mushy Manic Monday

First snowed here last night. SNOWED! I mean really...REALLY !!! I have a ride tonight and now I have to slosh through snow for it!! Geesh...

Anyway, I have soooo very much to report, but am sooooo very slogged down with tasks that I need to focus elsewhere. But in true multitasking fashion, here is the bulleted version...

  • Look out for a race report on this weekend's "Taxing Metric," which we realized a tad bit too late was a double entendre. Ooof! But lots and lots of great lessons learned, so keep an eye out for that race report. (Don't worry, Speedy, I'm all over getting that Garmin data, too!)
  • I had the chance to meet two FANTASTIC new triathlon friends at the metric -- Cheaper than Therapy and her hubby, Speedy -- and now can confirm that my blogger buddies are actually flesh and blood people, rather that imaginary internet figments of my overactive and undermedicated psyche. No really... I have the photo to prove it!! And not only are they flesh and blood people, they are great!
  • I not only received, but got a chance to wear my fantastic new Team StayPut garb for the metric! I've got photos of all the fantastic schwag and fun goodies to come later this week! One brief reflection -- I had no idea the joy of a gel padded cycling short. What a difference!
  • After my brief throw down with my suspicions of laziness (and confirmation that I have a trucker's mouth on me) a couple of weeks ago, I can confirm that not only to I feel on track with my training, I AM on track! Aside from a minor injury with my left calf last Thursday (damnable hill training!), I'm feeling strong and fit and healthy.
  • All that training confidence aside, I'm also feeling a little scared. Of the Iron distance. And when I say a little, I actually mean a lot. I'll write more on this later, but it creeping up on me now and it's time to develop a little perspective on the whole thing.
  • I found a new bike store that is inconveniently 45 minutes away from me. The guys there (Greg and about three different variations of Josh/ua's) managed to get me tubs of Perpetuem and Heed on Friday for the weekend ride and I'm now a devotee of their shop. More on that later.
  • I've decided what not to buy for my bike! It was a series of epiphanies akin to Susannah and Trinny begin perched on my handlebars this weekend, explaining what bike bling NOT to buy. I think I saved a good $400 on this ride!
So, that's my "quick" update and, by my tally, I owe you something like a half a dozen posts! I better get cracking!

For now, though, it's time to focus on my work stuff and the insane chaos that has befallen my home. Oh, and groceries. I'm a hungry triathlete!

Have a great week, everybody!!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Canine Partners for Life

As most of you know, I'm raising money this year for a wonderful organization called Canine Partners for Life throughout my Ironman training "experience." If you haven't checked it out yet, spend some time over at the IM Able website to get more info on the charity, my supporters and CPL.

So if you're feeling down about training or feeling defeated by your bike speeds or run paces, take a moment to view life through a different lens. Here are only a few stories of the individuals who go through the CPL program and are enabled to so much more with the help of a canine companion. Feel inspired? You can donate directly to CPL through the Janus Charity Challenge site.

As always, thanks for reading!

Mary and Flame

This Colorado pair have taken the press by storm and have been featured both in written articles and TV spots. Mary uses Flame for a multitude of tasks, most importantly would be help with dressing, opening and closing doors, retrieval and carrying, and paying cashiers. Flame helps with shopping, cleaning, laundry, and her adorable looks make Mary an immediate social magnet.

Katy and Leo

This Pennsylvania college team is working hard. Katy uses Leo for support and balance while walking and on steps. Leo also helps with retrieval, laundry, and helps Katy get up off of the floor. Since their graduation, Katy has also begun having seizures and Leo jumped right in to help by alerting to them before they happen.

Claire and Larkin

Larkin is a successor dog for Claire who is a Pennsylvania high school student. This theatre loving pair are headed for great success. Larkin helps Claire by providing support, balance and momentum as she walks, along with helping to take papers to the teachers, pay cashiers, and carry school supplies.

Conrad and Hunschel

These two spent most of team training learning to move in the same direction and despite Conrad’s questionable driving skills in his new wheelchair these two became a wonderful working team!
Conrad referred to Hunschel as his "angel". Hunschel will be helping Conrad with retrieval, opening and closing doors, paying cashiers, tugging the laundry basket, elevator and door buttons, and light switches.


Quick question for everybody...

If you bonk in the pool, can everyone else hear the thud?

Um, yeah. Cause this morning there was an echoing thud on the bottom of the pool when I completely bonked somewhere around 1300 meters. Kapluey. See ya later, alligator. And all that.

I have myself to blame. I had a killer (KILLER!) run last night. Tuesdays are my long run nights and I had a 1:50 on the schedule. I headed up the Struble Trail -- a local trail to our house that I just finally followed Mighty M's advice and tried* -- and had a wonderful strong run. Spent the first part listening to Stu on the iPod (before it ran out of juice) and finished off with a loop around our local 5K route. When all was said and done, I finished 10.21 miles in 1:50!! If you know anything about me and my run pace, that is a solid pace for a Tuesday night jaunt!

Problem was that I had an errand to run with Mighty M right afterwards. So I made a recovery smoothie and headed to the mall. But I only managed to down half of the yogurt/orange juice/powder/frozen fruit concoction before getting there. Between that and the 2 cups of whole wheat egg noodles I made when I got home, I don't think I got enough gas back in my tank.

Because, like I said, there was a thunk on the bottom of the pool at 1300.

No worries, the suit is drying on my office coat rack and I'm heading back after work. There's no WAY I'm letting this session slip away from me without a fight!

So, lesson learned: When you burn 1100 calories in the evening, and replace it with only 400, don't expect to be able to swim a mile in the morning without some serious complaints from your body.

If anything, this triathlon thing will force me to be better about eating the right stuff at the right time. And go grocery shopping more often.

* Yes, were right...just like the shoes at the mall.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Brought to you by the letter "S"

Since yesterday's note was brought to you by the letter "F", I figured that today we would go with something a little more tame. Like "S."

S for smooth.

S for steady.

S for strong.

S for smart.

This is a good letter, one that sums up (ha!) my thinking now. I'm feeling it. Feeling things click back into place. A great run last night was smooth and steady. My heart rate was in a lovely Z2 and my spirits were high. Without ipod or partner to distract, I spent the whole run reflecting on my recent funk and how I'm going to respond. Because that's the deal, right? It's not about what's thrown at you, it's about how you respond. And then, this morning's swim was another pocket of time reminding me that I have a very solid level of fitness and my improvements, hard-won over time, continue to live in my bones and muscles. Feeling a bit more integrated now.

I'm shooting for doing this the right way the first time. Yesterday's rant may seem like a little self-serving reproval or some immodest hair shirt. Really, I just truly dislike regrets and I really don't want any regrets at the end of this -- like I should have done more arm work or I should have braved the solo century earlier. I just hate regrets. I learned from my mother's death when I was so young that regrets are more permanent, more indelible, than any other emotional experience. Joy leaves a fading glow and fuzzy, warm memories. Regret leaves a golf divot in your emotional history.

I can't avoid all golf divots, but I can avoid many. This being one.

So, smooth and steady. Strong and smart.

SamIam...I may just feel a mantra coming on!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

"F" -- In and Around this trip to Ironman

Warning: This is a rant. A self-rant, but still a rant. It includes bad language. Bad, bad language. I will likely offend the G's in my life -- Mrs. G, Mr. G and G-Love and Special Sauce. Actually, I don't really know G-Love, but it worked well in the sentence. So...if you may, in some way, shape or form, be related to Mighty M and you would like to keep a high opinion of me, please stop reading. I don't rant often, but when I do I swing for the fences, if you know what I mean... .


One of the coolest things about a blog is that it's both a diary and a taskmaster. I can write down all my inner thoughts and (for unknown reason that I'm still sorting out) people will stop by and read them. But also like a taskmaster because all it takes is one backlink to promises made or (gasp!) excuses thought up and SMACK!, my readership can catch me getting out of line. Full disclosure. Total transparency. Fun stuff.

Well, here's today's disclosure. I've been slacking. Not horribly slacking, but I've been letting my training and road to Ironman curl a little at the edges like some fancy french crepe. And while fancy french crepes can be tasty with apples and cinnamon, they don't work well as metaphors for training for the most grueling one-day event in the world.

Like I was saying...some certain things have been falling aside and I just don't like it. Makes me feel funny on the inside to let things slide. Things that bear importance on how painful this trip will be -- or could be. Things like weight training. And letting sessions from early in the week gather until later, and then feigning surprise when there's no time for them. Oh...and my ab and lower back exercises.

You know. Things like that.

It's not horrible -- I'm still getting in solid sessions and making progress on the swim and bike (although my run feels a bit stunted right now). But it's B-level work. Maybe B+. I don't want to be a B-student...I know I can do better. I just know it. How? Because I'm ridiculously determined and talented in other things in life -- like folding laundry and RPGs -- that there should be no reason why I can't do this like a champ. I want straight A's.

First, a look at what has been done. Here are the totals so far...

Swim 20,650 meters
Bike 252 miles
Run 20.4 miles
Brick 1 (!)
Race 1 (10K personal best time)

2007 totals
Swim 47,900 meters
Bike 584 miles
Run 95 miles
Brick 3+
Race 2 (1 trail, 1 road run)

So, that's nearly 100 hours of training so far, about 80-85% of my scheduled work. But I don't kid myself. Okay -- maybe I have been kidding myself, but no longer.

It really, truly dawned on me today that I can't play lightly with this. Okay, actually...I probably could. I probably could limp my way through the three sections and finish with this level of training. But I would not enjoy September 9th. I want every second of it tucked away in my spirit. I don't want it to be memories of pain or worry. I want memories of glory. If I mess around now, I would likely cause serious damage to my knees. I would risk an awful DNF and disappointing my friends and family. And I wouldn't look as good in a bathing suit. (Okay, that last one is my vanity talking...again.)

So...earlier today, after I was adequately soaked in coffee grinds and ever so slightly twitching with caffeine, I wrote this email to Mighty M. Here's where the naughty language starts.

Dear Beebie,

I’ve made a decision and I need to share it with you because if I don’t then I have nobody to hold me accountable and say, hey, remember when you made that decision? And you get the prize of being that person. YOU. Congratulations.

I’m done f#$%ing around. I’m done putting off workouts and sleeping in. I’m done eating cupcakes when I crave cake and bowls of carbs before bed. I’m done skipping my core workouts every week and failing to pick up even one weight. I’m done thinking that buying triathlon gear or reading magazines will make me a better triathlete. I’m done making the excuse that I’m “balancing” my life when I’m really putting off my training. I won’t drive myself to drink or self-destruction, but I also won’t drive myself to Acme for cake or shark gummies just because. I will stop using my laziness as a way of subtly beating up on myself.

I will meet my plans each week. I will wake up early every week day and sometimes on weekends. I will reduce my carbs late in the day and pull back on my butter consumption. I will reward hard work with things that don’t hurt me. I will eat more vegetables. I will stop talking about the Ironman every second of the day and slowly drive you mad. I will plan my training so it doesn’t conflict with my time with you. I will take this s&$t seriously and stop f#$%ing around. And maybe work on my language, too.

Okay. Now it’s said. Thanks, beebie.



So, time to stop messing around. And cursing. Time to get on schedule and make the most of this training. Boo-yah.

The Winz Strikes Again!

So, it's pretty cool to have a professional triathlon coach on your team. And a professional Enthusiast and General PsycherUpper. A talented writer. Someone to keep us centered. Someone to keep us up with the loop and remind us what matters. Somone to share the sport with our kids. Someone to gather us around a fire and someone to remind us that we all really do want to live in Colorado. And a fearless leader to keep us all in line.

But someone to map our way?? I mean...seriously, cool is it to have a PROFESSIONAL CARTOGRAPHER on your race team?

Not only does he answer all questions bike related, he's all over the mad mapping tip. (Yo, that's my jive, man.)

He's doing up one for IMmoo (check out the string on the raceAthlete forum) and mentions that "there are a few nice hills you all will be climbing."

Um..."nice"? I don't like the sounds of that...


Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Feeling a little brighter!

Yup, you can tell.

I'm feeling a little spring in my step.

Figured it was time to make sure my outside matched my inside, so I updated the blog ever so slightly. Still have to figure out how to get the IM Able banner up to the top using this fancy new template element system.

But I like the look and it feels a little brighter. Yeah!