Friday, August 31, 2007

Wow, and other grunts of appreciation

Oh my.

It certainly is time, isn’t it.

I’m in a state of perpetual single-mindedness, while at the same time imminently distractible. I can barely stop thinking about IT, even with one of the most stressful work weeks of my job and a major mano a mano throw down with a member of our board of directors. Oh, and not to mention the three grants and one grant report that I have to get out the door today and the 1000 piece mailing that was dropped late last night.

I don’t have a glamorous life (perhaps why nobody has offered the Ableiscious moniker to me), but I certainly have a busy one.

Oh, and there’s the packing, which has changed course now that the temps in Wisconsin seem a little lower than I expected. (I guess it is Wisconsin after all!) (Although, btw, what’s up that the humidity up there? Is it the lakes? Cause you guys have an inordinate amount of moisture in the air. I thought that was all saved up for Texas.)

And there are the thank you notes and expressions of gratitude to send. I often can’t find the right words. I know. Me. IM Able….at a loss for words. Pah-shaw.

But, seriously, how do I thank everyone? The strangers who I never knew who helped me pay for the initial entrance fee, with the help of the Kahuna himself. My family who were adamant at my ability to do this even before they knew what IT really was. My future in-laws who always met me at the front door at every gathering with questions about training progress and who called after every big race. And what about the donors to CPL, who plunked their hard earned cash down for the future mobility and happiness of someone they have never met and will likely never know. And the bloggers. You guys, who I would always look for ideas and inspiration over coffee in the morning. And, Mighty M…there just isn’t any way to find the right words.

Perfect example.

Last week, Mighty M’s mother gave me the most precious gift, leaving us both in tears in the Wilmington Bertucci’s. She and I – criers. Anyway, it is a delicate charm bracelet, with tiny silver ovals scattered around its circumference. Each one says “I Am” on one side and various adjectives on the other…strong, loved, blessed, courageous, woman, joyful, etc. And there is one special charm set apart from the others that simply says…"I Am Able."

How do I thank her for that? Where are the words to describe how it feels to know someone supports you and your crazy inspirations with such resolve and kindness?

(By the way, I’m wearing it on the run. I can’t risk losing it on the swim or bike, but by golly I’m wearing it on the run. So, amid the cowbells and cheering, if you hear someone sound like wind chime tinkling away on the course…yeah, that’s me. You never know…I may need the reminder out there in the darkness.)

I’m in awe of this journey. I’m in awe of how much the small efforts you lend to the world come back to you having grown exponentially on their trip. And with all of the excitement and anticipation, all I can seem to come up with are single syllable grunts of affection and appreciation and words like “wow.”

“Wow” just doesn’t cover it. I’ll come up with the right word soon – maybe even out on the course – but for now, wow will have to suffice.

9 Days

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Route for Me


A bib number.

So, I'm really doing this.

Holy geeze.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Meet Up!

I call you guys my "Imaginary Internet Friends" - a great little turn of phrase I stole from one of my favorite non-triathlon blogs (gasp...I *KNOW*...the horrors!).

I slip into saying things like, "Hey, M. Guess what? My know, the one in Australia/Chicago/Timbuktu? Yeah, her. Well, she said the funniest thing today...".

Mighty M laughs and plays along with my little "game." Imaginary internet friends. Ha!

So, it's time to actually prove to M that you guys DO exist and that NO, I'm not living out the social life of a gamer who lives at his Mom's house, wears lots of black, and cracks the code to the iPhone while jacked on sugary drinks.

(Not that that's necessarily bad, dude. Fight the power! But you may want to get out into the sun soon... . Just sayin'.)

So, according to Stu and the raceAthlete powers that be, there are three meet up times and one place for us to make the most of the weekend together. Check out the details here and grab a printout of the map Siren posted.

I'm shooting for Friday 11:00 AM, but that all depends on how horrid the ChiTown traffic is that morning. If not, I'll be at the afternoon one.

And DON'T LOSE THE DIRECTIONS. And DON'T GET DISTRACTED and go to buy more stuff at the expo. And DON'T WANDER AWAY until I have confirmation that you exist.

Cause, you just standing on the corner would be way sad, people. WAY SAD.

And, frankly, I'd never hear the end of it from Mighty M on the 18 hour drive home to Philly.

PS - If you really want to catch up with me, I'm happy to send my digits on the DL (I mean, sersly, could I get any cooler?). But I don't put out on the first date (not even for you, Bold) and I tend to eat...a lot. Just sayin.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

You looking for a sign?

And then, there was this.

Left to me by my dessert tonight.

Or karma.

Or something.

But these things do not just happen by mistake.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Quiet Conclusions

It occurred to me how little I have shared about this journey with everyone. While there are hundreds of posts that I’ve made – some more personal than others – I am left with this haunting feeling that too much has been left unsaid. So many thoughts left out on the road. So many impressions and conclusions that were experienced and appreciated, but never articulated. So many moments. So many tiny moments of happiness and glimmering hope for my own life.

So many.

I am starting to feel the comfort of conclusion. With the actual race still three weeks and 900 miles away, I am already going through the natural process of tying up loose ends. I think this is part of my growing understanding that the journey is the destination and I have had a very enjoyable journey. I have learned so very much about myself, regardless of the cliché. I have struck the right balance and I’m happy with my work. I would change a little, but not a lot. So, as the big day approaches I have this counter intuitive feeling of conclusion. It’s odd, but it makes sense.

My taper is somewhat agreeing with me, if you can look past the weird fits of sleeplessness, the unidentifiable aches and twinges, and the moments of spontaneous crying. But, generally, I feel a large dose of relief. Relief in a job well done and the knowledge that I can balance a challenging lifestyle that would befuddle many, and that I can do it as a part of recovery. I can say for sure that there was not one moment this past year where old coping mechanisms made sense and my natural proclivities became more of an interesting oddity than unabiding compulsion.

I have come a long way from my first day in rehab, on June 4, 2005. And regardless of where my chip will fall in Wisconsin, I am sated by that knowledge. I have become all of those things I sought out to become – reliable, mature and a person rooted on her own integrity. The steps to this were made of daily choices and small decisions. But their cumulative result has been a year well lived. My year well lived.

And I have fallen in love. Deeply in love. And for the first time in my life, I plan for the future with hope rather than fear. I know that I can be there for my partner and I know that I can be a good parent. I know that my future is full of hope and I see that clearly when I watch Mighty M quietly sleep at night. I touch the halo of this joy when I hear his voice and we laugh together. The two of us. Not against the world, but diving into the future. Hand in hand.

So, in a way, I guess I have come to see the Ironman as a coming out party for myself. I have aged and grown through these miles on the road and laps in the pool. I have developed strength beyond my muscles and an endurance that applies as fittingly to my relationships as it does to my centuries. I have begun to trust my instincts and my wisdom, as well as my physical abilities and limitations. I have rebuilt my life, all the while building my body. It has been an amazing trip.

I have said before that in order to begin the Ironman, I have to be content with not finishing the Ironman. I think I have come to that point now. Last night, Mighty M relayed a conversation he had with a friend, highlighting that he feels the courage to start the race far outshines the fact of finishing. I believe that now. I believe that what I have done goes well beyond simply swimming, biking and running. I believe that what I have done is prove that no matter where you find yourself in life, no matter what circumstances are pressing on your future and what influences are forcing your hand, you can change everything for the better. It takes courage. It takes a huge amount of humility. And it takes the kindness and compassion of others. But it can happen.

I am no longer who I was. I am the person I always wanted to be. And for this, I am thankful.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Everyday Hero

Just a reminder to the Ironman Wisconsin racing/volunteering/spectating group... Don't forget to nominate someone you think would be a good fit for this year's "Everyday Hero" award at the Wisconsin race. I know who I think is the perfect fit, so I'm going to write Helen with my nomination.

Have you been inspired by someone's journey? Have they shown the qualities of a true hero, in a world of sporting that leaves so much to be desired and opportunities wasted? If so, take a few minutes over lunch or whenever to nominate that person for the Everyday Hero award.

In a world with so few, we need to shine the spotlight on those how truly make a difference in the world. Shine away!


Ford recognizes special Athletes with the
“Everyday Hero” Award

The next individual to be recognized as a Ford “Everyday Hero” Award will be at the Ford Ironman Wisconsin on September 9, 2007. This program has been created by Ford to recognize the efforts of special individuals who have had a positive impact in their respective communities.
The winner of the “Everyday Hero” Award will receive an entry slot into any North America Sports Race in the next year; including those already full to general entry, in addition to a $1,000 donation to a local charity of their choice as well as other prizes. The recipient will also receive local exposure in the form of video coverage at the Ford Ironman Welcome Dinner where they will be seated with the Ford corporate representatives.

Ford presents an Everyday Hero award at every full-distance Ironman event on the North America Sports race calendar. The Everyday Hero Award is geared toward athletes who have contributed to a person, charity or organization in a significant way and who have done so while undertaking the rigorous training for an Ironman event. The recognition tied to the award will give the Ironman community a first-hand account of the contributions and sacrifices this person has made.

We know there are many stories of athletes who have used their Ironman journey to improve the lives of people and organizations in their community. Please help us to recognize these special individuals and their causes. Send in your submission for a Ford Everyday Hero to North America Sports, via e-mail at

Because lists are F.U.N.

This is because lists are fun and you guys have GREAT suggestions! Keep 'em coming!

Nutrition Plan

Breakfast (~4:00 AM)

Raisin bread and Peanut Butter 350
Dannon Fruision Drink 260
Banana 100
Coffee w/Cream and sugar 100
Total Calories 810

Pre-Race (~6:00 AM)

Dannon Fruision Drink 260
Gel w/caffeine 90
Total Calories 350


The Basics

Accelerade (180)
Gatorade (100)

Food Units
½ Power Bar (115)
½ Clif Bloks bag (100)
1 Gels (90)
1 Newton (100)


1 – 20 oz Bottle/hour

Each 0:30, 1 food unit
H1 – no solid
H7 – no solid
Electrolytes 2-3 tabs/hour (depending on weather)

Plan in Action

H 1:
1 Bottle Accelerade 180 ON BIKE
Blocks 200
Subtotal (380)

H 2:
1 Bottle Accelerade 180 ON BIKE
Bloks 200
Subtotal (380)

H 3:
1 Bottle Gatorade 100 STATION
Bar 230
Subtotal (330)

H 4:
1 Bottle Gatorade 100 STATION
Bar 230
Subtotal (330)

(pick up special needs bag)

H 5:
1 Bottle Accelerade 180 SPECIAL NEEDS BAG
Newtons 200
Subtotal (380)

H 6:
1 Bottle Accelerade 180 SPECIAL NEEDS BAG
Bar 230
Subtotal (410)

H 7:
1 Bottle Gatorade 100 STATION
Bloks 200
Subtotal (300)

TOTAL CALORIES 2510 calories

Special treat: Blue shark gummies in special needs bag!


The Basics


Gatorade (100 - ??)

GU gels (100)
GU/pills/Inhaler in pocket attachment


Gatorade and water, as needed (calories in Nathan bottle, water at stops)

Each 0:30, 1 GU
Solid food as tolerable from stations
Electrolytes 2-3 tabs/hr (based on weather)

Special treat: Blue sharks gummies and cherry gummies in special needs bag!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Items of Great Necessity

[oops! sorry for the double post! who knew that Ctl-P = publish in blogger! not me!]

...that's the name of my packing list.

I am SO neurotic when it comes to making lists and, you know, it's a neurosis I'm pleased to hang onto. The one about hospital corners on the bed is one I could lose. But this one: Good.

Here is my planning list for my race day and race day prep. Since I love to look at the lists others make, I thought someone may get a kick out of mine. Enjoy!

Items of Great Necessity
Race Day & Prep Checklist
* in transition/special needs bags


Antifog Drops
Body Glide (#1)

Race Day
One-piece bathing suit
TYR bra
Ankle Strap
Chip (provided by IM)
HRM strap
Cap (provided by IM)


Chain lube
Cleaning shammy
Small/med screwdrivers
Scissors (small)
Tire pump (floor)
Electrical tape

Race Day
Asics low-cut socks *
Cycling shoes *
Goody cycling shorts *
Goody cycling top *
Gloves *
Helmet *
Sun glasses *
Inhaler (# 1)(on bike)
Bike number (provided by IM)(on bike)
2 x 28 oz bottles (on bike)
Electrolyte pills (on bike)
700 tube (# 1)(on bike)
CO2 repair kit (on bike)
Nutrition for first half (on bike) [still refining details on this]
Spare contact lenses (on bike)
Lube, travel size (on bike)
Garmin (on bike, cleared and off)

Alternative clothing for weather
Goody Rain jacket
LL Bean Vest
Arm warmers
Long sleeved blue jersey

(1) Mounting the Garmin properly on new bars or wear on wrist?
(2) Small or large saddle bag?

four Jamis 28-oz bottles, travel size lube bottle, extra inhaler



Race Day
Asics *
Asics low-cut socks *
UA compression shorts *
Running top w/back pocket *
Visor/hat *
Reflective tape *
Iroman lap watch *
Race belt w/number *
Nathan QuickDraw bottle *
Body glide (# 2) *
3 x GU Lemon Sublime *
3 x GU TriBerry *
Inhaler (# 2) *

Alternative clothing for weather
Long sleeved green top
3/4 length tights
LL Bean vest

(1) Adding pocket attachment to race belt -- instead of Nathan?

Extra running socks, Running top with pocket, reflective tape, small Body Glide

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Right Way and the Wrong Way

Cause I love y'all, I'm compelled to share my reflections on the right and wrong way to do a long run. According to me...


Plan ahead. Like the night before. Pack a bag with all the necessary implements -- clothing (big plus), shoes, Garmin, HR strap, socks...blah, blah, blah.


Forget your water bottle. You know, the one that holds your fluids that you will need while running through the heat. Oh, and the one that has a place for your keys.


Be flexible. Instead of running from the office, zip home right after work and plan on a quick change and hitting the road.


Make it home and get immediately sucked into email.


Plan ahead (sense a theme?). Bring your running bag home.


Leave the entire bag at the office, sitting quietly waiting for you on the couch. Realize this and scope the huge pile of laundry in "your" room and realize that you only have an overly tight pair of compression shorts and a snug top to wear on the run. And you're bloated. Grab the cleanest jog bra you can find in the aforementioned laundry pile and hope you don't offend other runners. Because your Body Glide is at the office, make do with the Butt'butter lotion you have for cycling. Same idea, right? Try to not look at yourself in the mirror before heading out.


Take care of your feet. Wear supportive shoes.


Since your current pair of running shoes is sitting on the couch in your office, grab the next best thing: the Asics you retired months ago after 100s of miles of training in them. Ignore the "X" sharpied in the heel of each one, your attempt to insure that you don't wear them for running again.


Plan ahead. Again. Pick a course that allows you to either double back for more fluids and calories or bring enough for the whole trip.


Intend to do the loop route, but whimsically take the long road through the trail system, leading you miles and miles away from water, accelerade, peanut butter sannys, and civilization.


Be aware of the time. Bring reflective gear if you will be running in the dark and chose a route close to home for safety. Consider bringing your mace.


Choose a new running path on the trail system and run until it's almost dark. Then turn around. Play a game with yourself when it turns pitch black and you can no longer see your feet. The game is: managing your energy so you can sprint at any moment away from a psychopathic killer lurking on the trail in the dark. Name the game Fear Intervals. Wonder why you're the only one out there playing the game.


Coordinate a panic time with your significant other. Let them know your route and when to worry if you do not return. Bring your cell phone in case of an emergency or change of plan.


Just tell your significant other that tonight will be a "long one." Fail to mention that you'll be exploring new trails (because you, yourself, have yet to decide that!). Make sure you plug your phone into the power cord at home before you leave, so it's nice and juiced up for the next time you need to call out for sushi.


These are just some tips from my last long run. It was fun. Can you tell?

Since I've managed to do it the WRONG WAY for everyone, feel free to make the RIGHT decisions next time you're headed out. I'm just sayin'.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Finding Your Gut

There's something that I think everyone training for an Ironman distance race should have. That one day on that one ride when you feel like the road and the route and the hills and the heat have torn you to pieces and left you twitching on the side of the road. I've had a couple that come close, but I'm hoping for one more this weekend. But there so very necessary. Because you come out on the other end with an inflated bank and a new sense of ability.

Meet Erin. I love Erin. I can't for the life of me figure out how I just found her blog. Check out her post about the Dairyland Dare, a 120+ mile, 10,000+ feet climb, BEAR of an organized ride out in Wisconsin.

This thing put ELF through the ringer and she's two Clif Bars short of being a pro. She earned her spot in Kona this year and the Dairyland Dare tried to break her.

(Oh, and by the way, ELF went 100 miles -- including the last two around the parking lot for good measure. Erin? The whole 120. And then she ran, cause she rolls like that. AND THEN, the very next day, she raced an Oly. Mah-Sheen.)

So, leave Erin a little comment love and remind her that when you leave everything you have out there on the road, it remembers who's boss when you return.

Monday, August 13, 2007

A Brave New Week

Yesterday, I laid out two large plastic tubs and three smaller ones on the guest bed. I carefully folded my wetsuit and placed it in one. I pulled my Goody team cycling kit, the windstopper jacket and my favorite running hat and tossed them all on top. I put the heart rate strap in one of the small tubs, along with my Garmin power plug and favorite lap watch. I lined up a bottle of electrolyte pills and Hammer gels in another small tub.


Because I'm...



I'm jumping for joy at what was -- a mere week ago -- a given. I'm jumping for joy because I spent hours (and I mean HOURS) laying in bed wondering if I would make it there. Wondering if my back would sabotage my efforts, as my body tends to do now in it's thirties. I ouched and grimaced and moped and slugged my way through the week. And even by Friday afternoon, it seemed as if I would spend August explaining my injury to those amazing donors who have supported CPL and those unexpected and irreplaceable friends who have come along for this journey with me.

And I went to bed on Friday night with a glimmer of hope, because I hadn't needed aspirin for over 6 hours. And I cozied up to my heating pad and reminded myself that Tuesday held this hope for me, only to be dashed the next morning.

But, Saturday morning came. And I could reach straight up in the air without wincing. And I would rotate my arms all the way around without hurting. And, even though my back and shoulder sounded like a garbage disposal full of popcorn, I was standing there in my living room without pain.


Absolutely NOT what I expected to happen. And the most blessed thing to come my way in a while.

Oh, and I am thankful, friends. Thank. Ful.

I'm not up to 100% yet, but I went for a 4 mile run yesterday and my only complaint was the heat! I have another run and a short bike ride planned for tonight, and I'm hoping to have the same experience. I'm going to keep up with the aspirin, heating pad and cautious stretching. And I don't think the pool will see me for a few more days at least.

But I'm on the mend. I am on the mend.

And I couldn't be more elated at packing some plastic tubs than I was yesterday afternoon.

One for race clothes. One for food. One for electronics. And one for bike gear. A copy of the bike elevation chart sits next to this display, with careful notes taken when I watched Stu's video journal of the course. And my running shoes laid out for the next session.

Know why?

Because I'm going to Wisconsin, baby.

Watch out, cause...




Friday, August 10, 2007

Welcome to Melodrama 101

Warning: this post is pouty, noticeably devoid of perspective, and downright melodramatic. Aside from the first paragraph, it really lacks any meaningful content. In fact, just skip it and have a cup of coffee instead.

Thanks, guys. Everyone -- for being so supportive in the comments to my last post. I'm rooting for me, too. I'm keeping that goal in my sights. Bannish the WhatIfs! Onward to positive thoughts.

Okay, so the back. Only modest improvement since Wednesday. Last night found me up at 3 to take aspirin to help with the discomfort -- I'm hesitant to take anything more powerful. Can you imagine me on narcotics? Um, I'm already all over the place. I had high hopes for yesterday, since Wednesday was noticeably better than Tuesday, but it's was still aching away like a disgruntled aunt left alone on a bench at Target. Just. Not. Happy.

I totally agree with your suggestions -- I've been keeping the massage idea in my back pocket for financial reasons. It's taken a lot of wrangling to just save the money for gas and hotel for the trip, so an additional expense like that is hard. I made a deal with myself that I would make an appointment for a massage therapist for a sports massage (but clearly focusing on my upper back rather than a standard deep tissue) if things weren't improving by this afternoon. Ah, Stronger...yet another reason to live in Colorado! I would so be on your doorstep with zucchini bread and vouchers for years of babysitting if I were only on that side of the Mississippi!

Mighty M has helped when he can, but yesterday I took to moping around and eating horrendous food. Cake at 10:00 at night. I gave up gratuitous cake months ago, so it was a fiiiine example of emotional eating. I had mac and cheese at lunch. Me -- mac and cheese. I usually have a green salad with tuna and red peppers, and I found myself all pouty at the hot bar at our local Giant. Good grief, girlfriend.

All the time on my hands? Not a clue what to do with it. Except worry. I intellectually know that this is the smart way to heal, but my spirit is chomping at the bit to be let out to play. I see the calendar and know that I have such a short period of time to really make the most of fine tuning my legs and lungs before taper. I know that you can't gain any fitness during this time, but that's not what I want. I just don't want to LOSE any of the stuff I've got. And each day that goes by that I wake with continued pain, I feel like my body is a sieve and I'm dripping away my chances at finishing under cutoff.

How's that for dramatic.

I'll spare you the weight I lay on Mighty M at night. All about how I've worked so hard to prove I can do this and to have my own body betray me. And how I have so many people relying on me showing up and trying and feeling like my chances of finishing are getting smaller and smaller by day. And childlike rejection of the thesis that the journey is the destination and I've made the journey.

I'll spare you. Cause it goes on and on.

So I've become a pouty drama queen, too, throughout all of this. Sigh. I feel so Lifetime Special, all internal dialog and long stares out windows. Dra. Ma. It's getting old.

Tonight I'm going to try to jog for a little to see how it feels. Tomorrow I had a 100 mile bike scheduled that clearly won't be a good idea. But I am hoping that I can spin a little on the bike around town. If it starts hurting, I promise to stop right away. But I've gotta try something soon, right?


I'm such a crappy patient.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

On a Dime

How is it that things can turn in a different direction SO DARNED QUICKLY???

Picture this...Monday night. I've just returned from work, happily thinking about my ride on deck and thanking the powers that be the it's only 90 degrees and not the 190 degrees it was supposed to be the next day.

Enter, stage left, an unsorted looking group (and when I say group, I mean THREE CARLOADS FULL) of teenagers on our corner. Nothing to do. Bored and randy. Lots of hideous language they would never say in front of their moms and loud music from the car radios.

Oh. Fun.

Enter stage right, the local Po-po. Dutily called on by another neighbor. The teens were questioned and their waterbottles were checked. The cops stayed there a good half hour and then took off, because there wasn't any good reason to take anyone in. Like I said -- just bored and hot on a summer day.

But they didn't scatter. No. Teens these days don't worry about stuff like this. They got louder and started sitting on neighboring cars, setting off alarms and causing a ruckus. Mighty M and I had had it up to here and gave them a talking to (in our own, very different, ways). It was not fun, and more than a little stressful.

And afterwards, I had a weird feeling in my back. Upper left back and neck. Like I had pulled it or something. What, yelling at teenagers? No way.

So we went to the store for an errand. Still hurt. Came home and made some chicken for dinner. Hurting worse. Hmmm. No ride tonight, took some aspirin and went to bed.

And tossed.

And turned.

For the next 9 hours.

By morning, I had 5 minutes of sleep and was in enough pain to call out sick. Spent the whole day on my back trying to find a way to just *be* that didn't hurt.


Today is better and last night I actually slept. But I'm worried. A lot worried. Really, really worried. I keep telling my back that I'M SUPPOSED TO BE PEAKING THIS WEEK! Not laying prone staring at the ceiling.


(deflated sigh)

Instead, I have exactly zero hours done so far. Hours of the plan just completely down the tube. Hours of training that I wanted and needed to be ready for Wisconsin.

The progress today is making me feel a slight bit better. But I'm still grumbly. (Can you tell?) What if this doesn't heal? What if I can't swim? What if... ??

I don't even dare say it out loud...

Monday, August 06, 2007

Clicking and Planning

Things are starting to click, my friends.

Finally, they are starting to click.

The couple of weeks following the HIM in West Virginia were tough ones for me -- lots of doubt about ability and serious concerns about making it through the cutoff times at Wisconsin. Every training ride and run after that was steeped in those memories and I kept hitting a cycling wall -- convinced that I lacked the training necessary to do what I set out to do. And there was much disappointment. I was disappointed that I couldn't make a strong showing that day, after such hard work for months and months prior. And it took a couple of weeks and some mental gymnastics (wrestling) to come to terms with that emotion, knock it around for a while, and then toss it over my left shoulder and move forward without glancing back to see if it bounced.

Now, the last two weeks, in comparison, have been much better. Lots and lots of clicking. Some great swim sets that have really built my confidence that I won't need rescue in Monona. I've been having some really strong runs, too, that I just haven't posted about. Long ones are still hard on my joints (knees and, now, my right ankle), but I'm getting them done and staving off the discomfort until later and later in each session. And my century last weekend was another moment where I was able to feel in some way what the 9th will feel like.

All of these are just attempts at approximation, but they're so helpful for me, the newbie who got a little hopped up on caffeine and luck last September and signed up for this Ironman thingie. Approximation is really helpful. I know that a 4000+ straight set won't make major differences in my swimming ability, but it will make me enter that water with more confidence. And sometimes ballsy bravado can get you through some tough sit'cheations. I'm assuming Ironman qualifies as one of those... .

So, now I'm starting to feel the excitement around this, rather than the fear. I'm starting to plan -- with lists and more lists. I got all giddy last Friday (yup, I'm a dork) when I took Mighty M over to Kmart to get just the right sized plastic bins to transport my gear in the car. (One large for racing clothing and shoes, One medium for wetsuit, three small for tools for the bike, nutrition, and electronics.) I have -- I kid you not -- a SEVEN PAGE LIST of things like my nutrition plan and what goes in what special needs bag.

Oh, and don't forget my wardrobe. Must not forget wardrobe. There are lists for that, too.

It's so weird, though, to see the timer count down to these last two weeks of high volume training and then the taper period. It's so weird to know that I only have two long runs left. It's weird to know that I only have one long (100+) and one medium (75 mile) ride left. It's weird to be talking to my LBS about my last tune up.

Weird in a good way. Not in a fearful way. Weird in a very good way.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

What is it with Wednesday nights?

I mean, really. Recently I've been knocking my Wednesday night swims right outta the park.

Another good one tonight, so it seems. Apparently I have mid-week mojo.

When I got to the Y, I definitely had a shorter set in mind. But when I started swimming, I realized I had much more in me than a handful of 1000s with breaks. So I wound up doing a 200 warm up and 4050 straight as the main set. (The extra 50 was a breaststroke break I took early on when I had the lane to myself.)

Booyah, I say!!

The main set took exactly 1:30 and was a big confidence booster for me. There's no way I can approximate the Iron swim in reality, but the more of these long swims I have with energy to spare at the end, the more confident I am that instinct/adrenaline/luck will get me through Moo unscathed.

At least, that is, until the bike. ; )

So...any chance you think they'd move the big race to a Wednesday night for me?

Updated: Here are my times for the session, and I'm wondering how I can ward off the downward slope of times that starts around 2000-2500 meters. Any suggestions? Swim longer distances more frequently? More endurance sets (e.g., 20 x 200)? Something else?

1000 m 20.58

500 m 10.17

500 m 10.08

500 m 11.17

500 m 11.32

500 m 11:39

500 m 11:47

According to Me: Accelerade

It is abundantly clear to me that I like talking about me. I mean, really...I have an entire webpage dedicated to that very hobby. Plus, I'm a lawyer. And frankly, we LOVE to talk. Often about ourselves.

So, I've decided to do an "According to Me" segment to the blog. Mainly because I'm a wonderfully lucky individual who sometimes is approached by endurance product companies to review their products.

And anyone who is willing to send me free food and drink is my BFF.

My first installment of "According to Me"?

Now, I know I'm not the only lucky ducky who got THIS promotion from Accelerade, but I'm damned glad I did. And here's why: I was deep in iron training and adding more and more hours to my bike and was building a hate-hate relationship with my endurance drink.

There. I said it.

I had to break up with Perpetuem. It was a sad breakup. One that I will not easily forget. I had taken my little baggies of powder with me everywhere -- it was a cornerstone of my weekend rides. And still, weeks after the transition, I find plastic baggies labeled "Perp 2 scoops" in the oddest places. It's sad. Like desperate "let's talk about it messages" left on the unanswered phone, late at night after too many martinis with the girls.

So sad.

But it had to be done. And Accelerade turned out to be my rebound relationship and -- frankly -- this rebound is coming with me for the long haul. The iron haul.

Here's the basics:

1) Accelerade comes in powder and premixed form. I was sent the premixed bottles and they now fill prime real estate in my fridge. For a foodie to give up shelf space to a beverage, it's gotta be good.

2) It comes in bottles that are exactly the same volume as bike bottles. Surely not a mistake, and definitely a detail I didn't miss.

3) It comes in fantastic flavors: fruit punch, citrus grapefruit, mountain berry and, peach mango.

4) It has shelf-stable protein in the drink. SHELF STABLE PROTEIN. The perfect 4:1 ratio to make my (and your) legs go the extra mile.'s my review of Accelerade:

1) Taste. I really love the taste of all of the flavors, with the exception of the peach mango. In fact, I haven't tried the peach mango. Frankly, I hate mangoes, so I don't want to ruin this budding relationship. Kind of like reading a new boyfriend's old emails. Bad. Idea. But the flavors make the concoction amazingly easy to palate and I find myself scarfing it down on both reasonable and super hot rides. I never "scarfed" down my Perpetuem. It's just not the scarfing kind of drink.

On the down side, there is a weird quality to the taste of the drink. Mighty M picked up on it and we've been trying to figure out what it is. It kind of gives you 'dry mouth' when you drink it, but it's weird. Not off setting, just odd. I've found that it's best to also have some plain jane water with you to cut this taste, but it hasn't persuaded me to find another product.

2) Texture. I've been doing the premixed drinks, so it has the texture of...well...water. Go figure! But this is a big leap forward for me, because my discontent with Perpetuem was really a textural thing. It just never dissolved in a way that made it easy to drink. Not that it's horrible. It certainly is NOT. I have lots of long rides to thank Perpetuem for. But, if these were going head to head? Accerade all the way, baby.

3) Performance. I have about 4 months of training with Perpetuem under my belt and about 6-8 sessions with Accelerade. But, I've found that a couple things happen when I'm using the latter. First, I drink more. I don't get more calories from this drinking (we'll talk about that later), but I do get more fluid. Almost always a good thing.

Second, I can go longer, as in more hours and more miles. Now, here I have to qualify my According to Me statements. Accelerade has entered the picture at my peak moments. So, I can't say that it's because of the drink that I can manage longer rides than before. But I can say that it hasn't impeded that progress in the end of the season.

4) Recovery. Case in point. Last weekend did a 108 mile ride with about 6,200 feet climbing, with the temps in mid-80s and humidity topping out at 82%. NOT AN EASY DAY. It was hot and sticky, extremely sweaty, and there was some serious pounding on the legs going on. Accelerade was there for a good portion of the day (as well as other fluids and solid food) and a muscle milk recovery drink. The next day -- felt minimal soreness and mild dread for the following day, when I usually get hit. Monday came and things were perfectly fine. So, again...I can't say it was the Accelerade, but I can say the Accelerade didn't get in the way of the recovery. Had I tapped out early in those 8-hours because of lack of fluid or fuel, no amount of muscle milk would have brought me back. I'm just saying.

5) Calories. Here is my only complaint about the product. The 20-oz bottle only has 180 calories in it. This isn't horrible, of course, but I'm used to my 300 - 400 calorie bottles of Perpetuem. So, folding Accelerade into the picture has forced me to get creative with planning out my calories. I'm eating more bars on long rides and now also have fig newtons.

So, in sum, I like the product. A bunch. I hope they send me another shipment like they said they would, so I can use it at IMmoo. If they don't, I'll go find it at some LBS and stock up. My favorite flavor is the citrus grapefruit because it's so tart.

NEXT UP: Mattise and Jacks Organic Nutrition Bars!

PS -- Also of note, Accelerade is paying attention to the online community and its endurance junkies. They are building an online community called Accelerade Edge, where people can share ideas and articles, compare notes on their favorite activities, etc. It seems to be in the young stages now, but I've signed up and posted a few things and found a familiar face or two there, as well. Check it out!