29 September 2008

Changing Gears

I've been struggling with finding my workout mojo for the past couple of months, which has led to some weight gain and frustration. I've tried a few different strategies to get over this funk, but none of them have really worked. So, after much thought, I realized that I needed to completely shake up my training program, which led to the decision to purchase the P90X system from I've learned that my body responds really well to strength training, which is one of the reasons that I picked P90X. Plus, I feel like I could use some good hard sweaty intense workouts that don't take place on a bike, in a pool or on a run.

Along with the workouts, I've decided to follow the nutrition plan. I've spent the weekend reading through the nutrition guide, working on a menu, cleaning the junk food out of the kitchen (surprisingly there wasn't that much), and grocery shopping for my food for the week. I feel like a I have a plan in place (for this week at least) and I just need to follow it.

I spent some time thinking about how much of this process I want to share online. I am planning on taking the before and after pictures, but we'll see if I decide to post them. I will post some of my stats, but I think I'll mostly just keep a workout log and mention my nutrition as well.

So, those are my big plans for the next three months. I'm kind of excited about the timing of this and how well it fits into the off season for triathlon. I'm excited to see what happens to my body and I'm excited to get back into shape. I'm also interested to see how this nutrition plan works. I'll keep you all up to date on how everything is going and I'm sure I'll be mentioning the challenges that will come with this switch.

23 September 2008

A Happy Ass

I have fallen in love with Pearl Izumi's new campaign regarding a happy ass and thought I might share some of the images because they make me GRIN.

22 September 2008

Changing Plans ~ IM Wisconsin 2009

Earlier this year, I had great, glorious, and grand intentions of signing up for Ironman Wisconsin 2009. My friend Sherry was planning on signing up and I told her I would as well, especially since the IM is why I decided to start doing triathlons. I had plans to volunteer at Madison this year and then to wait in line to get a slot for next year's event. Towards the end of the summer, when I was struggling with motivation and not doing very well with my training, I started to think long and hard about training for an IM next year. I know that doing IM distance triathlons is what I want to do, but I also know that I need to have the fitness and mental strength to be able to carry out the training.

This year, I learned and realized that training for a 1/2IM is hard and time demanding. Training for an event that is twice the distance has to be at least twice as hard and knowing this contributed to alot of thought regarding the decision to commit to IM Wisconsin. As the season went on and the date for making the decision got cloers, I really started to weigh the pros and cons.

During all of this thinking, several things crossed my mind. I discovered that it is really difficult to commit to an even like the IM, especially if you have an idea of what the training involves, a year before the race. I realized that I wasn't 100% sure about the race and that I didn't feel good about spending $525 (yes, that's how much it costs to register) on a race that I may not be 100% committed to. I also wasn't sure I was ready to be completely exhausted all summer. There were many other things I thought about and I was even losing sleep over the decision.

After the Railsplitter Triathlon in August, I was wiped out and spent most of the next day sleeping which was kind of a surprise. This made me think about how tired I would be after a 1/2IM, and then, extrapolate that to a race twice as long. Was I going to be able to do the Great Illini 1/2 and then spend the day volunteering in Madison? I just wasn't sure if I was physically, emotionally, or mentally prepared. So, I was still debating what to do...

At some point, I started asking for advice. I mentioned my dilemma to my friend Sherry and she reminded me that I still have lots of time left to do an IM and that there is no reason to rush. I asked my mom what she thought and shared some of my thoughts about trying to make the decision. She gave me a very good piece of advice. She said that maybe I should focus on enjoying my races and progress and not pushing myself through the events so fast that I forget to have fun in the process. One of the things I struggle with in life is that I push myself very hard to achieve my goals and that I forget to enjoy the process.

After a couple more days of doing some thinking, I decided to not sign up for an IM in 2009 and I have to say it was a big relief. I want to spend the winter working on my base fitness and I want to do a couple of 1/2 IM tris this summer. I want to nail down my run and keep tweaking my bike, swim, and nutrition. So, those are my reasons for not signing up for IM Wisconsin. I'm not sure if they're valid or good reasons, but they work for me and I'm pretty sure that's all that really matters.

18 September 2008

The 2008 Triathlon Season

This is going to be an interesting entry for me to write because I think I'm still processing my races and I'm also kinda sad that the season is over. One year ago, I had completed one sprint distance triathlon. I fell in love with the sport and decided that I wanted to be a triathlete. I had some things happen last fall that derailed my training, but in January, I decided to sign up for a 1/2 Ironman. I started doing some training and decided to attend the C&C Triathlete Factory camp in April. That was the beginning of my tri season and I feel like I need to take some time to reflect back over the past year, remember the highlights and celebrate how far I've come.

Last June, I started swimming in a pool. I could only swim one length freestyle and alternate it with breast stroking. Eventually, over the next few weeks, I built up my endurance and I felt like I was ready for a triathlon. In July, I bought a road bike, as well as cycling shoes and clipless pedals. I road it a few times (maybe 5) and wrecked a few times before my race. Last year was a great running year, so I wasn't concerned about that part of triathlon at all.

My first race was an interesting experience in many ways. I was completely freaked out during the swim because it was my first open water swim EVER. I actually got out in the water and seriously considered turning around. I barely made it to the first buoy before I finally calmed down. The bike ride was painful to say the least. My seat was too low. I dropped my chain. I couldn't drink and ride at the same time. My saddle was really uncomfortable. The run was fine except for the the first wobbly legged mile. The race was definitely a learning experience and hooked me to the sport, but it also made me realize that I had a very, very long way to go.

Over the winter, I worked on my swimming and bought a trainer so I could ride my bike indoors. I tried out some Spinervals dvds, ran some races, and just tried to maintain some level of overall fitness. In February, I got an e-mail that a couple of guys from my tri-club (both of whom are going to race in Kona this year) were putting on a tri-camp here in IL for a very reasonable price, so I decided to register and go.

Tri-camp was an incredible experience. I wrote about it earlier, so I won't go into too much detail; however, there were a few things that happened there that made a difference in my season. First, I learned that I can actually swim very well. My stroke is fundamentally sound and while I'm not super fast, I swim pretty well. Second, I learned alot about nutrition and how to use nutrition to have successful events and training. I discovered the benefits of Pop Tarts for breakfast and how many calories to take in during events. Finally, I put my big girl pedals back on my bike, got my bike fitted to me, and learned that I have a very long way to go on my cycling.

I also had some mental confidence building while I was there. When I arrived at the camp, I almost didn't go in. I felt like I had no business being at a triathlon camp. However, over the course of the weekend, I realized that I can be a triathlete. I learned that I have the skills and determination to be a triathlete. At the end of the camp, I received an award from Chris S. and Chris D. They gave me the award for "Most Potential" which added to my confidence and helped me through many workouts and races. When I left the camp, I felt ready and excited for tri season to begin.

My race season had its ups and downs. I won first place in my age group in my first race of the season, fell apart during the run of my second race, and watched a man die in my third race. I lost some motivation during the last two months of training. I missed the 1/2 IM signed up for back in January. I spent some time riding around Cache Valley with my dad and practiced some open water swimming in Hawaii. I raced in hot, humid, nasty weather on poorly marked courses and I completed a 1/2 IM. It's been an eventful season and I've learned alot.

I learned that when I consistently train, I race well. I was frustrated with my performance in my last two races and the hard part for me was knowing that it was my own fault. I blew off alot of my training and my race performance suffered because of that. While I didn't enjoy learning this lesson, it was definitely an important one to learn and I think it will make a difference next season.

Also related to training in general is that I realized that I need to find a training program that suits me, or build up my fitness so that I can complete my workouts without feeling completely wiped out. I struggled a bit with burnout this season and I want to find a way to avoid that in the future. I haven't figured out a way to handle this one yet, but I do have all winter to think about it.

I finally bonded with my bike this season. It took me almost a year and there were some mighty big bumps to get over. I also finally came up with a name for my bike (Oscar) and I've learned to love riding. I graduated from my toe strap pedals to my big girl pedals. I learned to gear properly to make it up hills and I've learned that I love riding hills. In one year, I went from hating my bike to looking forward to the bike portion of the race. That's probably one of the best parts of the past year. I do think switching my saddle had alot to do with this.

Over the winter, I had the opportunity to work on my swimming endurance. Tri camp helped me realize that my swimming is fine and that I need to focus on speed. I knew going in to the season that swimming in open water would be an issue. I made plans to practice in the open water, but that turned into a fiasco. My second open water swim ever didn't go well. My first race in open water was really really cold (56 degrees) and I had some serious freak out moments. My next race was the following week and I finally had an okay open water swim, but coming out of the water, I saw a man getting CPR, who ended up dying. So, at the end of June, I was still feeling very nervous and uneasy about the whole open water swimming thing.

In Hawaii, after about a week of looking at the ocean, I finally got in and had several positive swims in the ocean. I learned not to freak out when I saw fish and I realized again that I'm a good swimmer, so I don't need to freak out. When I got back to IL, I had the opportunity to go to WOWS (Wednesday Open Water Swims) with my tri club. The first time I was totally nervous and freaked out. I had my heart rate monitor on and as soon as I drove into the parking lot, my heart rate jumped way up. With the help of a friend, I approached the lake and decided to just relax and swim. (Also, it's easier to be brave when there's lots of people watching and you don't want to look like an idiot.) The water was disgusting and I couldn't see my hands, but I was able to swim 1200 yards in the nasty Miller Park Lake with no freaking out. I continued to go and it REALLY paid off in my level of confidence in the open water. I even watched Jaws the night before a race and was able to swim in the lake with no freak outs. I believe that the open water swim practice was incredibly helpful because I was able to swim in my last two races well, with no worries about drowning or fish attacks or anything.

Running this year didn't go well at all. I started the year off with the Goofy Challenge, a really intense sinus infection that required 6 weeks of antibiotics, and a little bit of burnout. Also, the winter was long, cold, wet, and icy, so getting outside to run wasn't high on the list of fun things to do. My first 1/2 marathon didn't go well (or went surprisingly well, depending on how you look at it). My second and third 1/2 marathons didn't go well. I skipped alot of run training because I didn't feel like running. I gained some weight. My hamstring and IT band were bothering me. I had all sorts of excuses for not running. I also felt like I've been running for awhile and I need to focus on my cycling and swimming, which I did and which helped tremendously in those areas. In spite of being disappointed about my running, I learned a very important lesson. I learned and remembered that training is vital for success and when you skip your training, you can slide by a bit, but it will catch up to you in the the day of a 1/2 IM triathlon.

I finally nailed down a nutrition foundation that I'm pleased with. I feel like I've found a pre-race dinner (grilled meat, baked potato or chicken burrito with lots of guac), as well as my breakfast of champions (2 not frosted strawberry pop tarts). I'm very pleased with my Heed and Clif ShotBlocks on the bike. I still need to tinker with my run nutrition, but I feel much better prepared nutritionally than I ever have. I'm sure that I'll keep tweaking it, but it was very nice to have a solid nutritional foundation.

This season I had the opportunity to win my age group twice and to come in very close to bottom. I completed 6 triathlons; 3 sprint distances, 2 Olympic type distances and 1 half ironman. I learned to love my swimming workouts and the relaxation that goes along with being in the water. I developed a love for riding Oscar. Riding with my dad this summer was awesome and I can't wait to do a couple of century rides with him next summer. I'm not sure there are many things better than flying down a canyon road, down in the aerobars, going super fast. I learned to appreciate the feeling of jumping off the bike and heading out of transition on wobbly legs. I remembered how fun it is to cross the finish line and learned that crossing the finish line after a triathlon is much more fun than after a running race.

I have to say that this was a fun, rewarding season. I learned so much, not only about the sport of triathlon, but also about myself and others. I'm sad that I don't have any more triathlons this year. I am looking forward to next year and have already started making plans for races and goals. I also want to thank all of the people who helped make this season fabulous. (I feel like I'm making an acceptance speech at the Academy Awards.)

Chris S. and Chris D. - Tri camp was awesome and definitely set the tone for my season. Thanks SO SO much for taking time out of your busy schedules to put that on with such class! I hope we can do it again next year!

Sherry - Thank you for helping me to start on the path to living my dreams. Thank you for your listening ear and for helping me take away some very valuable experiences from my races. Thanks for all of the training runs and rides and for helping me to "show up" when it would have been easier to stay home.

Eric - Thanks for taking your boat out to the lake and letting me swim and for not laughing when I was freaking out.

- Thank you for being such an awesome cheerleader at my races this summer. Someday you'll be doing a triathlon and I'll be cheering!

Brooke - Thanks for going swimming in the ocean with me an for making sure that I didn't drown.

Mom - Thanks for going to races with me, for waking up super early, and for sitting out in the cold. Thanks for believing in me and for bringing Simon along to make me smile.

Dad - Thanks for all of the long rides, especially the hilly ones. Thank you for telling me to get over my fears and to just swim, even when the water is really really cold.

So, there's the story of my triathlon season. I'm hoping to do more races next year and to continue to add to my knowledge and experience. Someday, all of this will lead me down Ali'i Drive!

12 September 2008

2009 Races (Tentative)

As most of you know, I'm a planner when it comes to races and I always like to have a race on the calendar to look forward to. I've learned that it buffers the let down that occurs at the finish line. (I'm probably the only person who's sad at the finish line because the race is over...) So, I thought I would post my somewhat tentative race schedule now, to remind myself that there are lots more races coming in 2009!

January 8 ~ Circle of Life 5K - Orlando,FL
January 9 ~ Walt Disney World 1/2 Marathon - Orlando, FL
January 10 ~ Walt Disney World Marathon - Orlando, FL
March 8 ~ Walt Disney World Inaugural Princess 1/2 Marathon - Orlando, FL
April 4 ~ Lincoln's 1/2 Marathon - Springfield, IL
May 2 ~ Indy Mini Marathon - Indianapolis, IN
May 16 ~ Women of Steel Triathlon - American Fork, UT
May 30 ~ Shark Attack Triathlon - Honeyville, UT
June 13 ~ Ironman Boise 70.3 - Boise, ID
June 20 ~ Cache Valley Classic Triathlon - Hyrum, UT
June 27-28 ~ MS 150 - Cache Valley, UT
July 11 ~ Echo Triathlon - Echo, UT
July 18 ~ Scofield Triathlon - Scofield, UT
August 8 ~ Railsplitter Triathlon - Petersburg, IL
September 6 ~ The Great Illini 1/2 IM - Neoga, IL

08 September 2008

The Great Illini 1/2 IM Race Report

Results -
Swim - 44:14
T1 - 1:47
Bike - 3:23:25
T2 - 2:28
Run - 2:54:55
Total - 7:06:50
Average HR - 157
Calories Burned - 7157

I am a 1/2 Ironman! It has been and long, hard journey, but it is finally done and I can say that I'm glad that I did it. I will say that I thought I would feel differently than I am feeling about this race. I think I thought I would have a feeling of elation, but mostly I'm disappointed and a bit sad. I'm still working on processing the race, so maybe my attitude will change and I will feel differently. Here's the story of this race and how I became a 1/2 Ironman.

On Friday afternoon, I met my friends Melissa, Erin, and Jessica and we headed down to Neoga, IL to pick up our packets and to check out the race site. We found it okay, grabbed our packets, and listened to the pre-race talk. I also made a quick, much needed trip to the porta potty. The race t-shirt was cool and is definitely one that I will happily wear. After we picked up our stuff, we headed to Mattoon to our hotel and to grab some dinner. We ended up eating at a place called "Cody's." I worked on drinking enough water and also had a diet Coke that tasted wonderful. I ordered the Cherokee grilled chicken, loaded mashed potatoes and sauteed veggies. My chicken was way overcooked and reminded me of chicken jerky. After dinner we unloaded our stuff and started winding down for the evening. I worked on my mental list of what to do in the morning and was hoping to sleep really well. I filled up my water bottles, stuck them in the fridge, and made myself a note to not forget them. I set out my stuff for the morning so that it wouldn't require much thought. After a few minutes of reading, I was out for the night.

I slept really well until 3am, and then kind of dozed until 4:20am. I heard Erin get up and we talked for a few minutes and then started getting ready for the day. I put on my tri-clothes, wished I looked better in spandex, and then worked on eating my 2 Poptarts. We loaded up the car and headed down to the race. On the way, Melissa handed Erin and I some cards from Sherry. My card was awesome and reminded me to smile during the rough times. I was feeling fairly calm and was ready for the porta potty we we arrived.

Once we arrived, we unloaded our stuff and headed over to transition. When I got to my age group's rack, I noticed that everyone had racked their bikes in the same direction, so there wasn't much room. I ended up on the other side of the rack, with my brakes holding my bike up because the rack was too low for my seat. I set up my stuff, went to get body marked, put on sunscreen, grabbed my wetsuit and headed down to the lake. I ran in Tamara, Heather, and Chris from Tri-Sharks and we chatted a bit. I gave Melissa and Erin a hug, talked to Jessica for a minute and then walked into the lake.

The swim start was right on time and was a little chaotic but I handled it really well. I started swimming and was able to stretch out and swim the way I like to. The swim was clockwise so the buoys were on my right. I breath on my left so that was a little adjustment. The water temperature was great and the water even tasted good. (I know...I'm not supposed to drink it, but hey, it happens.) I made my first turn and was feeling good. I couldn't really tell if I was passing people or getting passed so I just kept swimming. I did get elbowed in the head once, which hurt and kind freaked me out and made me a little mad. When I made my final turn, I could see the blow up thing at the swim finish which really helped with my sighting. (Thanks for the tip, CD!) At one point, I forgot to sight and ended up on the wrong side of a buoy, but I straighted out and kept swimming. I swam until I could feel the bottom with my hand. Then, I stood up, staggered around for a second, and started working on getting the wetsuit off. While I was running up to transition, I took my goggles and swim cap off and didn't even notice the gravel under the carpet that I had worried a little about on my way down to the lake. The run to transition was slightly uphill, but I got into transition feeling good and smiling. I felt really good about how I swam straight and stayed on course. My goal time for the swim was 45 minutes, so when I looked at my watch when I was exiting the water and saw 43, I was pretty excited. By the time I got to transition, the time was 44:14.

T1 was actually pretty dull. I ran in, got my wetsuit off with no problems, got my shoes on easily, put on my sunglasses and helmet, grabbed my bike and was off. My T1 time was actually quite a bit faster than I expected. I was in and out in 1:50.
I headed out on the bike feeling good. I was right where I wanted to be timewise. I knew the first segment of the bike course was the hilly part so I watched my heart rate so that I wasn't pushing myself too hard. I struggled for awhile and felt kinda rotten, but managed to keep a 17 mph pace for the first hour. Once I got past the hilly part, I started pushing myself a little more. I hit some headwind that slowed me down quite a bit, but I still managed around 16.5 mph. The third hour was tough. I hit a serious headwind. I was working hard, my heart rate was around 170 and I was only going maybe 14 mph. I kept wondering when the wind would be at my back. I guess around mile 46 or so I finally felt a tailwind and was cruising along. I was actually really enjoying the bike course.

The course was four different out and backs so I got to see alot of people lots of times. My nutrition went well. I took in 2 bottles of Heed, 1 bottle of water, and 3 packages of Clif Shot Blocks (~800 calories). During my second hour on the bike, I really had to pee. I never thought about stopping and decided to try to talk myself into just peeing on the bike. It is really really hard to pee your pants! I couldn't relax. Finally, I felt like I was maybe ready, so I moved my water bottle so I wouldn't pee on it, shifted to my left side and let loose. It was a very weird experience and learning to pee on the bike apparently requires practice. At one point I was a little distracted and went off the road into the gravel. I really thought I was going down, but somehow managed to correct and not tip over. I'm actually really proud of that moment because it made me realize how far I've come on the bike in the past year. The last 30 minutes of the ride went really well. I really pushed myself and passed two people who were ahead of me for most of the ride. I was grinning going into transition because I was truly having alot of fun.

My goal for the bike was 3:15, but I didn't account for any headwind...mostly because I can't remember ever riding into a headwind on any of my training rides. My time on the bike was 3:23:25, so I was longer than I planned on, but it was also my longest ride ever, so I can't complain. I was actually smiling going in to transition because I had a good ride. I have learned that I really enjoy my time on the bike. So, while I was on the bike 8 minutes longer than I planned on, I was actually quite happy with my ride. Oh, and I feel like I could have kept riding and I didn't hate Oscar at all at the end, which was a very nice feeling.

This T2 was a little different than my usual T2. When I got off the bike, I had to walk about 15 steps before I got my legs under me. I ran to my spot, racked my bike, took off my shoes, started putting on my socks (for the first time ever in a triathlon) which was kind of a hassle, took off my helmet, put on my visor and shoes, grabbed my race bib, downed a Hammer Gel and then headed out of transition. I was in and out in 2:27, which was longer than I planned on. I'm sure it was because of the blasted socks. Did you notice that I forgot to grab my gels and endurolytes?

I headed out on the run feeling pretty good. I decided to run 8 minutes and walk 1 minute, mostly to make sure I was feeling good and to watch my heart rate. I got about half a mile down the road and realized I had forgotten all of my fuel. I knew that there would be gel and endurolytes at the aid stations, but I was a little frustrated with myself for being a dork and forgetting to grab them. Anyways, I was doing well and got to the turn around feeling okay. I stopped to pee and was surprised that I still needed to pee. On my way back to transition my feet were pretty sore and I felt like I was getting blisters on the balls of my feet.

I was still doing intervals and felt okay, but I was starting to get tired. I got back to the turnaround and headed out for my second and last loop. I made it about a half mile before my low back started cramping. I walked a little bit and the cramping moved all the way up my back and into my neck...not a good feeling. I really wanted to cry...mostly from frustration, but also because of pain. I was trying to figure out how to tough this out, when I passed the water station and heard my friend Melissa's voice. I stopped and waited for her. We ended up walking and running very slowly the rest of the race. I wasn't thinking very clearly and was having a very difficult time figuring out distances or anything. I was also STARVING. I remember telling Melissa, "I'm so hungry" multiple times. At some point, probably around miles 9-10 I took another gel which helped with the thinking. I think I ended up taking 3 gels on the run and about 10-12 endurolytes. We ended up walking to a barricade and then running to the next barricade. My feet were incredibly angry. My back was so tight. My brain wasn't working at all. We finally saw the finish line and ran in. We crossed together and met Erin (she finished an hour before us and placed 3rd in her age group) and Jessica.

The run ended up taking me 2:54:55, which is my slowest 1/2 marathon EVER, and was alot longer than I was planning on. It was also much more painful than I expected. My feet were killing me. My third and fourth toes still have a little bit of tingling. My back was in spasms. I was thirsty. I was starving. My finishing time ended up being 7:06:50, which I'm pretty disappointed in.

The finish line was pretty dull. I got my timing chip removed, hugged Melissa, Erin, and Jessica and headed to pick up my finisher's plaque. The only food was pizza from Casey's General Store, which I skipped, in spite of being STARVING. I ran into Chris, Andy, Heather, and Tamara and chatted with them for a minute. I grabbed a Cherry Coke, which may have been the best cherry coke EVER. We waited around for awards since Erin got 3rd in her age group. Chris Sweet won first overall, Tamara won her age group, and Andy placed 3rd in his age group, so the Tri-Sharks were well represented. After the trophy's, it was off to transition to pack up our stuff. I was incredibly slow, but eventually got everything together. We loaded up and headed over to the campground for showers, which consisted of a very cold trickle, but felt pretty good. Then it was a quick stop at Subway and we were on the way home.

So, there's my race report. I finished my first 1/2 ironman distance triathlon, and while it wasn't at all pretty, it's in the books and it's done. I can swim 1.2 miles without stopping or freaking out, even when people are bumping into me and elbowing me in the head. I can ride 56 miles on Oscar the bike and still feel like riding more. I can struggle through a 13.1 mile run, even when it's incredibly painful, with the help and encouragement of friends. So, yeah, I'm a 1/2 Ironman.

05 September 2008

The Great Illini 1/2 IM Goals

All week I've been trying to come up with some goals for my 1/2 IM tomorrow. I think I've got my time goals nailed down and I feel like they're pretty reasonable. I also have a few race goals in mind as well that I will share. I need to mention that I'm sitting here with a HUGE smile on my face because I get to compete in my first 1/2 IM tomorrow. I get to do something that I've been looking forward to since last December. I'm healthy and ready to go and that's kind of a big deal. I'm totally celebrating this accomplishment before I even get to do, here are my goals.

Goal Times
Swim ~ 0:45:00
T1 ~ 0:02:30
Bike ~ 3:15:00
T2 ~ 0:02:00
Run ~ 2:20:00

Total Time ~ 6:24:30

As far as the race goals are concerned there is really only one that I've had floating around in my head all week. I want to really enjoy and be smiling during this race. I want to smile during the swim because I've really been able to conquer my OW swim issues and I'm going to be able to swim 1.2 miles in a lake without freaking out. I want to smile when I'm out riding 56 miles of hills and cornfields because I've finally bonded with Oscar the silver bike and I've learned that spending long hours in the saddle provides so many rewards. I want to smile when I'm out on the 13.1 run course because I've run lots of 1/2 marathons and I know that I can do them and running is just fun. So yeah, that's my big race goal...
to totally and completely enjoy this race, to smile throughout the entire course, and to have a huge cheesy grin when I cross the finish line.
I'll be sure and post my race report on Monday.

04 September 2008

Pre-Race Dreams

On Saturday, I will be completing my first 1/2 Ironman distance triathlon. One of my goals this week was to get lots of good sleep this week so that I would feel well rested on Saturday morning, so I've been going to bed around 9pm at night, which has, I must say, been glorious. I also have been sleeping a good 8 hours each night so I feel like I'm on track. Last night, the pre-race dreams started. I should say that I don't really do the whole anxiety freak out thing in my pre-race dreams. Mostly they're just really silly. This one falls right into that category, so I thought I would share it.

I was all set for the race, which turned out to be in Utah (the real race is in Mattoon, IL). For some reason, the run was first, but I wasn't bothered by this at all so no worries. I took off on the run and was running on roads, through fields, through buildings and ended up at a house. I had to run through the house, but the owner stopped me because he just had the carpets cleaned. I was thinking, "Why would you do that if you knew a race was going to be going through your house?" I politely tiptoed around his very clean carpets and then ran out the back door. I did notice that there wasn't anyone around, but wasn't bothered by it. Then, I had to climb up the side of a the part of the race course. Of course, I do not have sticky Spiderman fingers, so this was a bit of a challenge, but somehow I figured it out.

At some point, I realized that I was probably not on the right course...probably at the point when I saw a peloton of cyclists flying down the road. Lance Armstrong was there with a livestrong team. I thought, "Wow, he's totally going to win this race." I figured I probably needed to find the transition area, but I couldn't find it. I was totally lost. I also realized that I had forgotten to put on sunscreen and didn't have my running visor. At this point, I was feeling anxious. Where did transition go? I went inside this store and was trying to find a race volunteer with some answers. I couldn't find one because the store was filled with tons of sorority girls who were giggling and screaming and gushing. Right about now is where I woke up.

Who knows what in the world made me dream this... I'm quite certain that race day will be nothing at all like this, but I was amused and thought some of my readers might be amused as well.

02 September 2008


This weekend, while I was running with my friend Sherry, she mentioned a blog and story that she thought I would find interesting. A few weeks ago, a couple from Arizona, who are LDS, were in a plane crash. The flight instructor was killed, the husband has burns over 30% of his body, and the wife has burns over 80% of her body. They have 4 beautiful children. Over the past hour, I have been reading a couple of blogs ( and ( and learning about this family. Reading these blogs has been incredibly touching and inspiring. They are in for the long haul and they are estimating the medical expenses to be in the millions.

If you would like to donate, please use the above button. If you would like to keep this family in your thoughts and prayers, I know they would appreciate it and acknowledge it.