Like a Lion

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March is about to come in with it’s traditional “Like a lion” self, at least in the Portland area. I’m done with this crappy rain. I haven’t blogged in a while, because I’ve been too busy toweling off 3 soaking wet, muddy dogs. Just kidding.

SO! What’s been happening? Here’s my quick recap of  of 2016.

I had an interesting first half of the year with my Ironman training. I traveled to Phoenix for a triathlon camp and to train on the Ironman Arizona course. Two days into the 5 day trip, I was sick in bed with a high fever, sinus infection, and what ultimately morphed into Pneumonia. Needless to say, I spent the balance of the trip in bed with the curtains drawn. Sadly, Jeff also had the same illness. We were completely pathetic. The flight home was a painful blur, as was the next two weeks.

In June I had Endoscopic sinus surgery and a Septoplasty, to open up the passageways in my sinuses that were too small to function properly. After a lifetime of chronic sinus infections, it finally dawned on me to go to a specialist.

The surgery went well, and after a week I was able to start moderately working out. (I never told my Dr that I ran an 8k race less than 1 week post surgery-shhh)

Summer went well and I started catching up on training. I became a first time grandmother! I felt great, and competed in the Mighty Hampton’s Olympic Triathlon. The swim was crowded, and made for a slower time than usual, but I finished the race 2nd in my age group! The next day, at my house in Montauk, I held a garage sale. Feeling elated at my previous day’s success, and reveling in the visit with my daughter, son in law, and grand daughter, I made a monumentally stupid decision to hop on a balance board.

Nasty nasty balance board

I barely set my foot on it, when it shot out from under me, and down I went….right onto my wrist. Crunch. I don’t think there is a word in any dictionary or thesaurus that quite captures the pain I felt in the immediate moments following the crunch, or the several hours later, as the swelling increased.

I was alone outside, as Jeff was taking a nap (HE NEVER NAPS, but if you have ever been to Montauk, you know EVERYONE naps there) Dede and Evan were packing up the baby paraphernalia and planned on leaving within minutes. I was laying flat out on the ground.

I struggled to get up, and the pain shot through me so severely that halfway into a standing position, I fainted. Right down on the ground. I came to, stood up and tried to walk, and went down a second time. After that, I crawled up the front stairs, and managed to fall against the front door. (Did I? or did I open the door? I don’t remember) Next thing I knew, I was sitting on the entry bench holding my arm and Dede came running over. “Mom, are you ok?” Me-I couldn’t muster up more than a whisper: “I don’t know. It hurts. It hurst so bad” I was hyperventilating, and getting ready to pass out again and Dede put my head down between my knees. She looked at my wrist, against my will. (I was afraid to see it or show it to her, because if I saw it, the reality of the break would be revealed) She went to wake up Jeff and tell him what happened, and he bolted up. “SHE WHAT?” Dede- “I think she broke her wrist.”

IN the car we went- on our way to the closest Urgent care which was 15 miles away. I had ice on it by now, but the pain was intolerable, and I went into shock. The first Urgent Care didn’t have an Xray or doctor on sight, so we had to drive all the way to Southhampton Hospital, which was 32 miles away. In Sunday afternoon traffic. (New Yorkers will know what that means)

The wait in ER was unbearable, and I finally got put on a cot and left in a hallway. The Physician’s Assistant said “Oh yeah that’s a pretty good break you got there.” (Nice guy) And then he left me alone again.  Another 45 more minutes on the cot, I finally demanded something for the pain. The PA brought me 2 Tylenol. By now, my sweet, courteous demeanor had gone all to Hell and I screamed at him, “I don’t have a fucking hangnail! I need something much stronger than this for God’s sake.” I got 2 Percocet STAT.

Once the Xray and CT scan were taken, the break confirmed, they sent me on my way with a prescription and the advice to get back to Oregon asap,to get a follow up, because I probably needed surgery.

My vacation was cut short, and I flew home two days later, high as a kite. The next 5 weeks I had a cast, and learned all about how much we really do need both arms, wrists, and thumbs.

I did everything I could to continue my Ironman training. I swam with a waterproof cover, I rode my bike trainer, and I ran as best as I could.

The cast came off 2 weeks before my scheduled race, and after going for a terrifying outdoor bike ride, I made the difficult decision not to do IMAZ. I had no control over the bike, was completely off balance, and it wouldn’t be safe for me or the other participants if I tried to do that race.

Ironman is one of those goals that consumes your life for 6+ months. Once the training starts, it is a 7 day a week commitment. To have to bow out, for any reason can be devastating. It is easy to tell someone “There will be another one.” “You did the right things” “You’ll get over it.” But if you have never had this experience, you can’t know how it affects you. I didn’t realize how it would affect me until I found myself in a dark depression for several weeks. I finally pulled out of it just before Christmas, and started working out again, trying to gain back the muscle balance and strength that I lost while in the cast. Things were going well…….until I got sick with another sinus infection. BAM. Down again for a week.

There are many reasons that 2016 is a year to celebrate. I raced twice and got 2 triathlon podium spots, I became a grandmother for the first time, I got to see all of my out of state children several times, my Real Estate and athlete coaching businesses continued to grow, and I have the most perfect life partner I could ask for. BUT, I was pretty damned happy to say goodbye to the OTHER things that 2016 brought.

I’ll update you on this year soon. Life for me is one big fat, “second childhood” adventure, and I’m glad to share it with you. When you find yourself running in muck, tighten your shoe laces, and keep going. What other choice do you have?

Question Authority

question authorityI grew up in a small, sheltered town on Long Island, where families went to church, and had large gatherings around BBQ’s, pools, and at beaches. Kids rode bikes wherever they wanted, and I routinely stayed out after dark, without any fear. Our unincorporated village was “idyllic”, like most you see in old fashioned post cards, or in those corny black and white television shows from the 1950′ and ’60’s.

My family was Catholic. Some of my friends were “Public”. That’s how I saw it. The Publics were mostly Jewish and Protestant, but to me they were “Public” because they didn’t go to our church or school, and went to “Public” school. Oh, the simplicity of life and labels.

We were taught to respect authority. Authority was the teacher, parent, a nun, the policeman (we didn’t have any police women at that time) the priest, your boss, the store owner, etc. We said please and thank you, and never smart mouthed an adult. Sure, we got into trouble, and pushed boundaries once we got to a certain age, but that’s just called “growing up”.

If memory serves me right, there were only about 3 or 4 police officers employed by the village. I remember one of them, an attractive, dark haired guy, who used to patrol on foot up and down Main St. He flirted with me and my friends. Sometimes the flirtations made us uncomfortable. We were 13 or 14 years old. But, we were taught to respect our elders, so we never thought to complain about him.

There was another cop that sold pot to kids at the McDonald’s parking lot, just outside of the village, when I was in high school. Again, we wouldn’t have thought to report that to anyone.

I had a male teacher when I was in 7th grade, and all the girls fell in love with him. He was fresh out of college. While nothing ever happened in school, he did show up 4 years later, at the beach where I was a life guard, and ask me out. I went out with him twice, and wasn’t interested, but also felt like it was a little creepy that he wanted to date a girl that he taught when she was 13.

I was involved in a near fatal head on collision on Christmas Eve, my senior year of High School. I spent 2 weeks in the hospital with a serious head injury, in and out of consciousness. I remember being examined one time, but the Neurosurgeon, and he lifted my shirt, and fondled my breasts. There was no one else in the room. He was the doctor. He was supposed to know what he was doing. The authority. I didn’t report him. I told my parents that I didn’t like him  but didn’t go into details.

During college, I took some drama classes and managed to get the lead role in the Spring play. I poured myself into the role, and got several rave reviews from the college paper as well as the local town paper. The production was to count for a huge part of our grade, and I was confident that I would do well. I enjoyed the class, and got along with everyone, including the professor. When grades came out and I was given a “C” in the class, I was stunned. I went to the professor’s private office, to find out what had happened, and he told me in no uncertain terms, how I could get my grade up to an “A”. I could have done that right then, in his office. In the blink of an eye. I kept the “C”, and it forever affected my GPA. He was an authority figure. I was supposed to respect him. I didn’t report him. I hadn’t found my voice yet.

So many more experiences…some I don’t care to face, even in my own mind. Years have passed and I have stuffed those memories away in a safe place. Physical, sexual, and psychological abuse.

When my kids were in grade school, the priest scandal was exposed. I was sickened. Disgusted. Hurt. I found out that my Diocese assigned our then-Pastor to the Parish, after it was known that he was a child mollester. I finally found my voice and sent a scathing letter to the Archdiocese. He was removed, but I’m sure my letter had nothing to do with it. Those scandals continue. Men in authority, preying on innocents that are too afraid to speak. Like me.

Now this

#blacklivesmatter

Authority figures. Police. Respect them?

I don’t pretend to know all of the exact details in every case of these all-too-common altercations that are plastered all over the news and social media. I can’t fathom the intensity of the situations surrounding some of the incidents, and the “in the moment” decisions that forever change the lives of those involved. I am NOT the person to give judgement or advice, but I am the person who now has a voice.

I weep for the dead. I weep for the families on both sides. I weep for America, where it’s assumed that if you support ONE cause, you HATE another. I am angered that the color of your skin determines how you are treated. I hate that an innocent man, obeying the “rules” at a simple traffic stop, is shot at point blank range and dies in front of his girlfriend and a child, for simply reaching for his wallet. I hate that our black community has to  walk on eggshells and even when they do, they risk getting SHOT AT BY OUR WHITE COPS! Can I say that any louder?

To the black community: Please hear me. I am with you. Will you accept my support, even though I am what is considered to be a “Privileged white”?

To police officers everywhere: Please be careful. Please be well trained. Please be smart. Please DON’T BE RASIST! Please be the authority we can all respect, once again.

I am enraged that white police around the country are now targets for the mere fact that they are wearing a uniform. The police in Dallas had NOTHING to do with the events in Minnesota and Louisiana. The only thing they shared was a badge. And now 5 are dead. This is all wrong. WRONG! We live in America and for God’s sake, this is 2016! Why all the hate? Why all the racism? Why all the fear? STOP IT! You can’t justify ANY killing as retaliation for another.

I am sickened to my core that the world is full of hate and mistrust, and that people can’t walk safely down the streets of our cities, without the imminent threat of violence. I hate that people feel the need to carry guns on their bodies, to protect themselves. I hate that when I enter a building, I make sure to know where every possible exit is, in case some crazed person with a gun starts shooting. I hate that every time I enter a public place where there is a crowd, I fear that something terrible might happen.

How does this end? I don’t know. I can’t fix this. YOU can’t fix this. Authorities can’t fix this. I naively want to return to that corny post card time, and ride my bike wherever I want, without fear. Don’t you?

 

 

Well, What Are Ya Gonna Do?

My dogs look at me with distain every time I walk out the door without them. The huge (almost) floor to ceiling living room window frames them as they stare me down. It’s so pathetic, and while I love the living crap out of them, when they do this, I just think they are assholes. Trust me, they get lot’s of love, and lot’s of exercise.

This week, my workout gear, bike, and running shoes are harassing me even more than my dogs. There are 3 bikes in my house and every time I pass one, it hisses at me. My Cervelo may never speak to me again. I don’t even charge my Garmin anymore!

On Monday, June 27th, I had Endoscopic Sinus Surgery  and a Septoplasty. After years of of debilitating sinus issues, and way too many round of antibiotics, I sought expert help to find a solution. It was only a few weeks ago that I got word that my septum was deviated, and my sinuses were anatomically deficient. Well ain’t life grand?

After the diagnosis, and consultation, I decided on the recommended surgery, but because of my Ironman Arizona training schedule, I either had to do it NOW, or wait until after November. Luckily, there was an opening and I grabbed it. Now, I may seem like a badass and all, but the idea of surgery up my schnoz, close to my BRAIN, didn’t give me giggles. At my pre-op consultation 3 days before the procedure, my doctor asked me if I was ready. “No. I will NEVER be ready.” was my answer. He cocked his head, a little surprised, and asked, “What will it take for you to be ready?” My exact answer was, “I will only show up if you can guarantee me that the minute I am admitted, they will hook me up to an IV, and give me some kind of happy juice.” He laughed, and said he would make sure.

Not exactly an Ironman bracelet

Not exactly an Ironman bracelet

LIAR!!!! I checked into the hospital at the scheduled time, and after an hour delay, which I spent chewing off and spitting every fingernail , I was finally called in. They tell you not to wear lotion or deodorant before surgery. They may have regretted those instructions, once I polluted their sanitized air with my anxiety sweat stink.

My legs were shaking so hard, I had to hold them down.

My legs were shaking so hard, I had to hold them down.

I asked the nurse for my cocktail, and she looked at me like I belonged in the Psyche Ward. When she said there was no order for a sedative, I began shaking, screamed profanities, threw rubber gloves at her, and kicked the intern in the head. “PAGE DR SMITH NOW.” I took my gown and wrapped it around my head, climbed up on top of the computer table, and threatened to hang myself until they produced and anesthesiologist!

The page was sent, and my nurse, who undoubtedly had years of experience was so unsettled by my unearthly transformation, that she couldn’t get the IV in my arm, despite two tries. THAT’S TWO TRIES. Poking and twisting around inside my arm, while I held my non-sedated breath and called upon all that is holy to calm me down. I finally threw my shoes at her and bellowed, “I HAVE AN ANXIETY DISORDER!” She promptly left the room and sent in an older male nurse who most likely served on the front lines under General Patton. This guy zero’d in on my feral eyes, grabbed my other arm and said, “How about this arm?” With my best Lagertha Lothbrok stare, I told him, “Get it done.” Fearing for his life, he shoved that needle into the back of my hand, set the IV, and disappeared in seconds. A third attendee arrived and pushed the sweet “Mother’s Milk” into the tubing, and finally, the puffy, soft clouds and winged fairies floated into the room.

Who doesn't like a nifty accessory?

Who doesn’t like a nifty accessory?

The surgery went according to plan, and within a few hours, I was home, babbling non stop about everything and nothing, (a side effect of general anesthesia) and my darling friend Lauren settled me in and quietly escaped. I was so hopped up on whatever the hell they gave me, that I wandered around the house for several hours, slowly picking up stuff, doing laundry, and cleaning the bathrooms. Mind you, I was supposed to go to bed right away. Yeah, sure, like that was going to happen.

The first few nights I “slept” on the couch. There really wasn’t much sleep involved, because my head was so stuffed up, I couldn’t breathe through my nose.

I had the best nurses to tuck me in for naps

I had the best nurses to tuck me in for naps

I discovered this the day after surgery, when I took a shower.

A parting gift! I discovered this the day after surgery, when I took a shower.

Post op instructions called for complete rest for a few days, no lifting, or exertion for 7, and no working out at all for at least 14 days. Here’s how it went:

Day 1: Cleaned house, did yard work. (VERY slowly, mind you, with no bending over!)

Day 2: Met clients and gave keys to their new house. Went shopping at 4 different discount stores, and Home Depot, to buy stuff for the back yard and garden. Napped.

Day 3: More shopping, a walk, several hours working in the back yard. Showered with the dogs. Stopped in at the running store’s Thursday night beer run, to support the cause. Napped.

Day 4: A 2 mile walk to my office with the dogs, an hour or so of work, and another 2 mile walk home.

I have no pain, only discomfort. I’m not allowed to blow my nose and sneezing has taken on a whole new meaning. I am keeping my heart rate down as best as I can, and following the antibiotic and sinus rinse prescription. I refused to take the Prednisone they gave me, so that was a waste of money.

The fact that I am only on day 4 of a 14 day work out restriction gives me cause to panic. I am seriously not cut out for the sedentary life. When the Hell did that happen? My mind has the energy of a 10 year old with hypertension, and my body needs the rest, or at least a short nap. I crave a run in the forest.

For now, I have to feed the beast with small household projects and blogging. Well, rehabbing from an injury is why I started this blog, back in 2013. I guess this is just one more episode of life getting in the way. If you see me around town this next week, with wild eyes, and bad hair, clenching my teeth, you’ll know I am once again, runninginmuck!

I love that you chose to visit here and read my posts. I hope you can tell the difference between truth and fiction. HA!

Epilogue to Ironman

Are you tired of hearing about my Ironman experience yet? No worries! We’re almost done.

People ask me  questions like: WHY I did it, WHAT  I learned, How did I feel the next day, and,  Now what? That’s the most popular one.

Before I tackle those questions, I want to tell you a secret about what happened after the race. That big, glorious smile I sported while crossing the finish line and posing for pictures with my family didn’t last very long.

One more finish photo, with Jeff. He got to place my medal around my neck.

One more finish photo, with Jeff. He got to place my medal around my neck.

Immediately after crossing the finish line, I found myself extremely thirsty, and had to keep moving. Standing still made the nausea and dizziness worse. So I paced, and laughed, and tried to burp and make myself feel better. Jeff, my kids, and SheriAnne all surrounded me and we celebrated. Mostly, I just kept repeating, “I can’t believe I did it.” After a half hour or so, we decided to round up my bike and transition bags and go back to the hotel to relax. On the walk over to the bike, it hit me. I HAD to sit down. Dede and Jeff went to get my bike, while I sat, more or less, on the sidewalk and faded…

The security is fantastic at Ironman, and I am thankful for that, and they won’t let anyone without the proper ID remove bikes from the corral. When they wouldn’t release it to Dede,  she came and helped me walk. We got the bike and started off toward the car. I couldn’t do it. I had nothing left in me, and had to sit down, and down I went-right on the concrete. I was oblivious to the throngs of people walking around me. Dede helped me over to a huge cement block and sat me on it, so I could put my head between my knees, and feel better. A volunteer tried to get me to go to the medical tent, but the concept that I would walk back there was laughable at this point. Dede is a nurse, so I figured she would know what to do. At one point, I caved and asked her to go get a wheelchair so I could get back to the medical tent, and she took off. A few minutes later, Jeff came back and said that he would help me to the car, and take care of me. I tried to stand up, and that’s when it happened.

Puke. Puke shot everywhere. Violent, wrenching, LOUD puke. (Oh, how I didn’t want to get it on my nice white running shoes.) Puke with the force that curled my toe nails. All the while, Jeff just stood there waiting for it to stop. His kind, loving words: “What did you eat that was SOLID?” LOL. What a guy.

FRITOS! That’s what did it. Fritos corn chips at mile 56 on the bike. Ice tea, too. What was I thinking? This stuff had stayed in my stomach for 60 miles on the bike, and 26.2 miles running. Not anymore!

Once I finished, Jeff helped to to the car, where Mike and Audrey had already loaded my bike and gear. THANK YOU! They asked me if I wanted to be alone and just meet up in the morning, but I didn’t want to miss any time with them.  Jeff and I got to the hotel first, and I crawled through the lobby, looking like a dying crack head. On my way to the shower, my body decided it wasn’t finished emptying itself, so I enjoyed another round of deep dry heaves. Lovely. I showered and got in my jammies, and my kids arrived with SOUP AND PEDIALYTE!!! Glorious recovery magic. After sipping both, I came back to life within minutes, and we ended the night celebrating until almost 2am.

4 hours later, I was up and getting ready to go back to the Expo to enjoy shopping at the Ironman finisher’s tent.

Yay, cool finisher's jacket.

Yay, cool finisher’s jacket.

Later that day, while Jeff worked, the kids and I went to lunch.

Oh, is that a DIFFERENT finisher's jacket?

Oh, is that a DIFFERENT finisher’s jacket?

What a weekend. I felt great. Ready for another day of fun!

I didn’t go on this Ironman journey just for fun. I had teamed up with Zero to raise funds and awareness for Prostate Cancer research. My boyfriend Jeff, is currently battling this disease. I had no idea that one in 6 men will be diagnosed in their lifetime. 33,000 will die this year in the US alone. Did you know that a simple blood test is all you need to determine if you have the disease? If caught early, it has a 100% chance of being cured. BUT, if caught late, there is no know cure. MEN: get tested!!! If you would like to make a donation of any amount, and help fight this horrific disease, please do so here: Zero the End of Prostate Cancer.

One more thing about Jeff. His cancer medication has side effects, one of which is a weakening of the bones. Recently, Jeff found out that he has a fracture in his pelvis. He has what he calls “Episodes”. These can come on slowly, and last up to 2 days, or quickly and last several hours. The pain can be overwhelming. He manages to survive these episodes and come out fighting.  He still kept training for this Ironman. He had a stellar swim and bike, but the run became too painful, and he made the decision to stop after the first 13 mile loop, and wait for me at the finish line. What a guy. I can’t say enough about his strong will to beat this disease. I know he will. Oh, and he’s doing another Ironman in Arizona in November! I’ll be there, volunteering, and cheering him on….which lead me to…

I’m signing up to do Ironman Arizona next November. YES! I HAVE to do this again. Now you know the answer to “What’s next?” Oh, I’m sure I’ll have moments of doubt again, but they won’t last, because I know I can do this, and I now know how much fun it can be.

I won’t bore you with the “What I learned about myself…” subject, because I’m still learning, and most of what I learned is for me alone to know.

I am ever grateful to my kids for surprising me. I am in awe over Jeff, for keeping the secret. I’m thrilled that my coach SheriAnne was present to see the fruits of her coaching. And in the end, I’m proud of my accomplishment….and my bravery, or stupidity, for doing this:

Yes I did

Yes I did

As always, thanks for joining me on my journeys. I love your feedback and comments. Did you know you can subscribe to my blog?

 

 

 

Ironman. It Happened. Part 4

After grabbing my transition bag and running into the tent, I told myself that I had to take my time here, and not rush. Never mind that I had just completed a 116 mile bike ride, that was the PAST. Now it was time to carefully, expeditiously prepare for the marathon, and  earn my new, coveted title, IRONMAN.

So there I was, entering the tent to change into my running gear, suck on my Albuterol inhaler, and carefully prepare my feet and toes with moleskin, so that I could not only endure, but ENJOY the final 26.2 miles of this incredible day.

Dump out the bag, take off bike helmet, shoes and socks, take off all my clothes, put on new, dry clothes, dry my feet, apply 3 strips of moleskin, change my socks, put on running shoes, visor, sunglasses, and down a bottle of GenUcan. THEN run outside and use the porta potties. This took FOREVER! 9:13 and I was off. Just outside of the tent, before I hit the course, I saw my kids, waving and yelling my name. I ran over to them, and gave them all a huge hug and kiss. I was surging with adrenaline. I ran out the exit, down the path, turned around and started running the course…UPHILL. Yep, the mean people at Ironman love to throw hills at you when you least expect it. Just then, I saw Mike (my son) running down the grass, encouraging me, and smiling ear to ear. Nothing could have made me feel better! I knew I was in for a long afternoon, so I relaxed and just started running, with no stress on how fast I was going.

My “loose” plan, was to run to an aid station (one at every mile), walk through the station, then run to the next. The first few stations came and went more quickly than I imagined. Within what seemed like minutes, I was at the 3rd one. My body felt great, but my right foot didn’t. The blisters were already roaring at me. Knowing I had 22+ miles to go, I played it safe and stopped, took my shoes off, and inspected my feet. Sure enough, there were three ugly ones’s already forming. I asked a volunteer for some tissues so I could pop them quickly, clean them and get on with my run. I got up and headed out. I managed to rally for a while and enjoy the scenery.

Feeling great early on.

Feeling great early on.

I continued my plan of running to the next aid station, and started partaking in the “water, no ice” offerings. I had my nutrition loaded into my back pockets, so I never accepted any of the Gatorade, Gu’s, potato chips, fruit, coke or chicken broth, although I did have a few grapes along the way.

Coming up on mile 8 or 9, I had to stop again, to adjust my socks, and try to calm down my feet. It was starting to warm up considerably, so I also grabbed 2 ice-soaked sponges at each aid station-one to  tuck in the front of my shirt, and one to tuck in the back. These sponges were absolute life savers.

A few other things started happening about this time. I got my first wave of Nausea. Since I had my Base Salt vile tucked into the leg of my tri shorts, I started taking some, and this quelled the nausea. I also started to walk more often, since the running jostled my stomach too much. My spirits were still high, though and I never let a negative thought enter my head.

The scenery along the river was SWEET

The scenery along the river was SWEET

While crossing over the river to the hilly side of the course, I saw my coach, SheriAnne, on a bike. She rode next to me for a while and we talked about how I was doing so far. I told her about the blisters, and nausea, and that, despite these things, I still felt great and was enthusiastic about finishing strong. I think she was not prepared to hear that, based on some of my recent race challenges!

The miles on the other side, are pretty brutal. Up, down, long slow up, short down, rollers, and then Up up up, down, and across the river, to pass by the finish, and start the second loop all over again. They positioned the “Bike Special Needs” aid station just after you start the second loop. By now, I wasn’t feeling so great, so I only ate a small portion of the Fritos, and took some sips of GenUcan. I was a little unsteady on my feet at this point, and the volunteer cheerfully held me up, while I paced in circles around him.

Off I went for round 2. By now, the nausea was taking it’s toll. I tried to use the salts regularly, and it helped stave off the inevitable.

Where is that Salt vile?

Where is that Salt vile?

Oh there it is!

Oh there it is!

Walk, jog, walk, jog…just keep going. Faster. Take a break. Ask for band aids, drink water, walk, jog….at the second bridge crossing, I saw my kids again, and I was running! Seeing them motivated me to keep going! They repeatedly told me how proud they were, and that was enough to shove the pain back into the recesses of my head. Once I got into the hills again, I conserved my energy, and did a lot of power walking. I kept looking at my watch, however, because, while I had no reference point for really setting a hard time goal, I did hope to finish in under 14 hours.  I stopped at an aid station around mile 22 and asked for some mole skin. A runner shouted, “I have some!”, and gave me whatever I wanted. By now, I knew it was only a short time before I would hear my name at the finish.

I’d like to say that I rallied and ran my heart out at the end, but at mile 25, I was toast. I actually accepted a cup of coke, hoping to stop the desire to throw up all over the place. One sip told me that was not a good idea, so I just kept going. By this time in the race, I no longer had the energy, or ability to smile, thank people, or be in any way jovial. I stopped looking volunteers in the eye. A nod and a “thumbs up” was all I could muster. Heading across the last bridge was quite the experience of torture.

Ohm, it's getting ugly now

Oh, it’s getting ugly now

My emotions all surfaced on this bridge and I started crying. Spectators yelled my name, told me how awesome I was, called me “Ironman”, told me how strong I looked, and basically carried me the entire distance. I knew they had been out here for HOURS, doing the same for every athlete that passed. You have no idea how that felt. I still get chills!

Within minutes, I was rounding the last turn, and heading towards the finisher’s chute. Me, 56, late-blooming athlete, novice triathlete, a nobody, with asthma, bunions, GI issues, and a lot of self doubt, finishing an Ironman. 144.3 miles, to be exact! I can still hear the crowd. I can still see the blinding lights. I can still hear SheriAnne and my kids screaming my name,and I can still see Jeff standing at the finish line, waiting for me. Most of all, I can still remember hearing, “PATTY BROCKMAN, YOU. ARE, AN. IRONMAN”,

I can see the finish line

I can see the finish line

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My official time 13:37:55. 15th in my Age Group

My official time 13:37:55. 15th in my Age Group

Jeff  me my medal and  my kids and SheriAnn showed up and gave me all the love and happiness I could handle. what a day. What an experience. What an accomplishment. Pinch me.

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There are no words. There will never be words enough. However, there is more to the story, if you care to check back.

Thank you for taking this journey with me.

 

Ironman. It happened. Part 3

To convey what went through my mind as I ran my bike out of transition, is as easy as it would be to  describe how someone would drink an ocean. One sip at a time? There was an urgency, yet there wasn’t. This was going to take HOURS, so how would I manage that urgency? For reasons mentioned in previous blogs, and more, I hadn’t ridden more than 75 miles in my training cycle. On my new bike, only 30. I didn’t know what was to come, other than the distance. Ironman bike distance is 112 miles. Chattanooga Ironman is 116. Maybe that makes this an “Ultra-Ironman”.

After mounting my bike, I hit the button on my Garmin, and it should have switched to the cycling mode, but it didn’t. I’m so OCD that it drove me crazy to think it wouldn’t track correctly, so for the first mile, I screwed around with the damned thing, ultimately deciding to close down the “triathlon” mode and switch to the “bike” mode. Sure, I lost some time, but at least I got it to work, and then I forgot about it. I put my head down and pedaled on. The first part of the race consisted of a few hills, and several turns, as we made our way out of the neighborhood, and out onto the open road. My bike felt good, and I settled in for a day of sight seeing. Several people gave me advice before I attempted this, my FIRST Ironman. Most of the advice went like this: “Relax and enjoy the experience. Take in every sight and sound, and don’t stress on your time. Just stay in the moment…” I thought I would do that exact thing…..until about mile 5. It was at that time that I sensed the “other Patty” come to life. You might know her. Fiercely competitive. Wickedly insane when she races. Is commonly seen yelling and singing at the top of her lungs while racing. Yeah, that’s the one.  “Sister, if you don’t leave it all out here, you will be ashamed of yourself, and beat yourself up for the rest of your life! Get your ass MOVING.” So I did. I didn’t give a crap if I dropped dead.

WOOHOO

WOOHOO

The course is  11 miles out, a 47 mile loop that you ride twice, and then 11 miles back into town. There is a 4400′ total elevation gain. My first 50 miles, I averaged 18.41 Mph. the first 30 were mostly uphill. I don’t know how I held that pace up some of those hills, but I did, and I was maniacally happy. I played leap frog with a few cyclists and got frustrated with a few more. At one point, I called out to a guy blocking the passing lane, and I think I scared him. I never saw him again.  I hated seeing people in front of me! The second half of the loop is all rollers. When I say rollers, I mean steep, out of your seat on the way up, and short not so steep on the way down. The downhills were never long enough to give you a good recovery. Her’s what it looked like:

bike.

Oh sure, the hills look small when spread out like this.

I remember as I  struggled up a long, relentless hill,  thinking, “Oh God, this is gonna suck the next time around.” I’m pretty sure I shouted that out to a few people as I powered passed them on the way up. I stuck with my nutrition plan, alternating between GenUcan and Cliff Bar Organic Energy food packets. I also had Base Performance Salt in a vial that I tucked into my cycling shorts, and took hits off of that periodically. I took in an average of 110 calories per hour. Everything worked like a charm.

The on-course support was over the top. Volunteers and spectators kept our spirits up, and while I didn’t partake in anything from the aid stations, I made sure to smile and thank everyone as I sped by.

The Special Needs stop was at around mile 56 in the historic town of  Chickamauga. People were EVERYWHERE, cheering us on. The efficiency of the volunteers, with calling out our numbers, and directing us to our bags, stunned me. Within seconds after entering the area, a volunteer handed me my bag. I had a brilliant idea of filling it with Fritos Corn Chips and ice tea. The crunch of the salty chips was Heavenly after only consuming liquid and gel-like food all day. The ice tea gave me a nice caffeine boost. I shoved as much as I could handle down my throat and tried not to stop for too long. In minutes I was off again, fueled and ready for another lap. As it turns out, I made a second stop at the next aid station, to use the porta potties. As much as I don’t object to peeing on the bike, I just didn’t want to and quite frankly, felt the need to get off the bike and stretch the legs a bit. There was a line, so I lost some time here. The athlete tracker shows that between mile 50 and 75, I had slowed to 14.86 mph. Stopping does make a difference! I got a little tired at this point too, as the hills were starting to hurt.

OK, this might just suck right about now.

OK, this might just suck right about now.

1155_024317

Why are you taking my picture?

I got a second wind and between miles 75 and 97, I averaged 20.12 mph. I did the second loop and never even noticed that big hill I was worried about! At mile 100, I started experiencing pain in my left knee. Deep, sharp pain. It came out of nowhere, but it had happened at Lake Stevens 70.3, and I was not looking forward to the next 16 miles. I made sure to press my knees in tight to the bike, to take pressure off of the IT band. “One more hour” I kept repeating to myself. OUCH! Oh man, at mile 110 the knee AND foot were now in terrible pain. I had to stop using the muscles in my left leg, and only pedal with my right leg several times, just to give it a break. “Where did this wind come from? Oh God, it’s hot. For Heaven’s sake, I don’t remember this road being so long on the way out!!! WHERE is the freaking finish?” I wasn’t really discouraged though, because I knew I was near the end of the course, and the pain would stop as soon as I got off the bike.

Coming into transition, I dismounted and handed my bike off to a volunteer. Let me tell you, there really is no sane reason to sit on a bike for 116 miles! Time 6:46:22.

As I ran through the transition area, I saw my kids!!! They were yelling and smiling, and jumping up and down. I was on top of the world again.

Heading into the tent to change for the run.

Heading into the tent to change for the run.

I only had a marathon to run, to earn the title “Ironman”, and nothing would stop me from doing that today!

To be continued…

Ironman. It Happened. Part 2

Dede arrived at 4:20 am to drive us to the event. I don’t remember anything about the ride, except the part where we missed the exit and had to back track. I was numb; shell shocked to put it bluntly. As we approached the check in, the pre-dawn darkness couldn’t cloak the energy pulsating from the excitable crowd of athletes, spectators, and volunteers. I couldn’t see a thing, but managed to give my “Special needs” bags to the right volunteer, and then made my way over to my bike to make last minute inspections, and place my water bottles in the cages.

 

Where's my bike?

Where’s my bike?

Another stop to add a few items to my T1 and T2 bags, and there was nothing left to do but wait for the start.

I got in the porta potty line to “unload” some of my stress, and then headed to the shuttle buses. The buses took everybody up river to the swim start, 2.4 miles away. While most people excitedly chatted, I sat in my seat, looking out into the dark morning, and quietly wept. I was afraid. I was afraid of failing, of disappointing myself, my kids, my coach, my team, Jeff, and all of the people that follow and support me. Could I do this? By the time we arrived and entered the long line of competitors waiting for the swim start, I had calmed down a LOT. There was no turning back now.

I look a tad bit freaked out

I look a tad bit freaked out

Waiting sucked. I started to get impatient, and didn’t like standing around long. Once the race officially started, the line began to move. We were way in the back, so we started almost 30 minutes after the first people hit the water. As I was pulling up my wet suit approaching the dock, I broke out of my haze, and started really breathing for the first time all morning. I took a few quick pulls on my asthma inhaler, tucked it in the front of my suit, and moved forward. All of a sudden, I found myself walking down a plank and realized, “Holy shit, we have started!” Jeff and I smiled at each other one more time and then SPLASH- in we went. The water felt unbelievably perfect. All week long the current was the topic of conversation. This day the current wasn’t strong at all, but it was a down stream swim, so we definitely got some help. I had been worried about the swim all Summer. I never swam 2.4 miles before the race. This day, though, I had the most perfect swim of my life. Sure, some typical swim things happened-I got kicked by a breast stroker, got my goggles knocked off once, had to dodge a few zig zagging swimmers, and such, but I smiled the whole time. I swam most of the distance with only one eye open because my left goggle kept filling with water.  In no time at all, I was nearing the exit, and I never tired once. All systems a go!1155_006647

 

After I exited the water, I ran across some grass, where  there were volunteer “Wet suit strippers”. It’s hilarious. You run up to a stranger, throw yourself on the ground, and they pull your wet suit off of you. Royal treatment. Next I ran to grab my T1 bag and head into the women’s changing tent.

Wet suit in hand. On to the bike.

Wet suit in hand. On to the bike.

This is where things got gooey. Inside the bag was all of my bike needs: shoes, socks, cycling shorts, top, sunglasses, helmet, saddle cream, and my nutrition for the first half of the bike ride. I had 2 packets of Justin’s Nut Butters sitting inside my helmet. I dumped everything out of the bag, pulled off my wet clothes and got into my cycling clothes, put on my socks, and shoes, and then noticed something on the top of my shoe. It looked like  poop. WTH? I let it go. Then I grabbed my sunglasses and helmet and just before I put the helmet on, I always double check to make sure I don’t put it on backwards. (Yes, I have seen it happen) I looked inside it and was convinced someone had taken a dump in there! WHAT IS GOING ON?

It was then that I remembered that I had cut open a small slit in the nut butter packets, to make it easier to eat it on the bike-without having to bite it open while riding. Well, the chocolate hazelnut one somehow had exploded all over the place. There was no way I was going to put that oozing mess on my head and ride for 116 miles. Thankfully, the wonderful volunteers had a table with some baby wipes on it. A gracious lady grabbed the helmet from me and cleaned it out as quickly as she could, while she and I laughed our butts off. All of this took some time, and I had a very slow transition of over 12 minutes. I am sure my kids all thought I must be taking a nap or something.

Leaving the tent, I had to run to get my bike and then take it to the exit before mounting. I had had a stellar swim, and now I was off to ride 116 miles of Tennesee countryside and I had no idea what to expect. I heard there were some rollers…..

To be continued.

 

A Day in a Ditch

The alarm was set for 4am, but after spending hours NOT sleeping, I got out of bed at 3:45. Struggling to shake off the drowsiness, I prepared my tea and small breakfast in silence. It was 19 degrees out, but it would warm up to 80 by the afternoon. I quickly dressed in layers, and Jeff and I headed down to the hotel lobby, to meet the rest of the runners. We nervously joked about the temperatures and the physical challenge we were about to undertake.

group shot

We set out to run the Grand Canyon.

Arriving at the Bright Angel trailhead, the 9 of us turned on our headlamps, donned our gloves, took a few pictures, chatted nervously in the dark, muttered something like “Holy FUCK, It’s COLD”, and off we ran- beginning our descent into the biggest hole in the USA.

head lamp

Six of the nine quickly disappeared into the abyss, as they were the elite athletes, embarking on a 50 mile “Rim to rim to rim” run. Jeff, Shane, and I had our sights on 20-23 miles. As any of my running buddies will tell you, I am a bit of a whiner on the trails. Before attempting this crazy ass adventure, I hadn’t  convinced myself that I even REMOTELY liked trail running. So, what the heck was I doing? Too late to turn back! I pushed the button on my headlamp, and started down the trail. Visibility was limited to the beam from of our  lamps  and  obstructed by the eerie swirling of the trail dust. I had no idea what lay beyond the small circle of light as we silently barreled down those first miles of switchbacks. Of course, I would find out later that most of the trails had shear cliffs and deep drop offs just outside of our sight.

The first signs of light began to glow within an hour of our start, and as morning broke, the views opened before us. The reveal of the Canyon’s layers, as the sun rose  provided a dazzling show of rainbow colors against the massive walls surrounding us. We  stopped to photograph the moment.

Sunrise in the canyon Sunrise

At the 4.5 mile mark, we came upon Indian Gardens campground, nestled in a valley, with colorful trees and a stream. It was only when we approached this area that we saw the first signs of other people. We mistakenly took a wrong turn, which turned out to be a 3 mile detour and ran the  Tonto West Trail. This lead us to a gorgeous rock platform overlooking the Colorado River. Gorgeous, but in the wrong direction.

Patty at overlook

 

We turned around and found our way back to the correct trail. What’s a few extra miles, anyway? The terrain was mostly flat for these few miles, so we ran comfortably and took in the sights. It’s indescribable.

Before long, we found ourselves navigating  steep and technical trails, with extreme switchbacks, so we slowed our pace considerably. The trails were now crowded with people hiking in both directions, but as far as I could tell, we were the only one’s actually running. I got some wonderful comments from people of all ages, showing encouragement and awe at what we were doing.

Jeff on trailPatty on trail

Shane on trailAs we rounded a corner and saw the Colorado River, I was blown away by it’s power and history. The sound was mesmerizing. We stopped  for a while, just to experience it and stare. Here was the 17 million year old river, with the power to cut a 277 mile, 6000+ feet deep canyon. The mighty Colorado River.

Colorado River

At this point, Jeff’s calf was giving him trouble, so he decided to start the trek back up the canyon, and Shane and I continued on to find Phantom Ranch. As it turns out, it was only a few more miles and one metal, grated bridge crossing. SCAREY!

bridge

By this time, we were 4 hours into our run and I felt incredible. I had energy to spare and wanted to keep running forever. Shane and I found Phantom Ranch and took a break to snack and refill our water bottles. There is a US Post Office at the ranch, and the mail is brought out on mule train, so Shane sent some post cards to his family. Post office

I was THRILLED to find that the small cafe served Tazo English Breakfast Tea-my favorite!!! I sat down outside and thoroughly enjoyed a cup with my snack of peanutbutter energy bars. At that moment, all was right in my world.Resting at Phantom Ranch

A short time later, I took this

The first 6 miles of the ascent felt great. I had energy to spare and I powered up the hills, sweating, but thoroughly enjoying the challenge. I met people from around the globe, and shared encouragement with them all. It got quite hot though, so I started dunking my head in every stream crossing, to cool off.I kept looking up at the cliffs and started feeling a bit overwhelmed with the long, steep climb still ahead.

Once back at Indian Ranch, I thought about the 4.5 mile 4600 foot climb and realized that I had to do it without stopping or I would get miserably discouraged. It was approximately 8 hours since we started, and I knew I didn’t have several more in me. I told Shane that I would meet him at the top and headed off. This excruciating climb took me 1:21. This was the most physically and mentally challenging thing I have ever done. I can’t even convey the degree of difficulty, putting one foot in front of the other, all the while looking up at the grueling switchbacks and knowing I still had miles to go. I sweat like a pig and stunk worse than one when I reached the top. I could barely walk.

Jeff met me at the car and we went back to the hotel to shower and submerse ourselves in the glorious hotel hot tub. The pain was incredible, but nothing like what we would experience in the next few days. We drove back and met Shane and the rest of the group and then gathered to have dinner and celebratory drinks. I ate almost an entire gluten free pizza by myself.

The next morning, we all stumbled down to breakfast and shared our stories. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting everyone and sharing this epic experience with them. Late that day, we said our goodbyes and headed back to Phoenix for our last night. Getting out of the car was hilarious. Our legs didn’t work. Checking into the hotel, I was informed that the room I reserved wasn’t available, so they upgraded us to a Jacuzzi suite! YES!!! I think we stayed in that tub for an hour.

hot tub upgradeThe next day at the airport, I couldn’t resist…my poor body.

Airport massageOver the years, I’ve traveled the globe, and seen some amazing things.  There’s a reason why the Grand Canyon is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. Go see it. If you are crazy like me, go run it. You will love it. Every beautiful, sweaty, stinky, sucky part of it.

As always, thanks for reading my blog. Subscribe so you can follow along. Share it, if you’d like. Until next time….

 

 

 

A Winter Diversion

I decided to get away from the office for a week, and take a trip to Florida to visit  my parents. My folks “Winter” in the South, like all good retired New Englanders. I call it “Heaven’s waiting room”.

I’m cursed with the lack of ability to relax, so I scoured the internet to see if there were any races near my parent’s place. Luckily for me, the 25/75 Championship Triathlon was scheduled nearby, so I registered for the Sprint distance. (750 meter swim, 12.4 mile bike, 3.1 mile run) The Port St Lucie Club Med hosted the event. I found a local triathlon shop nearby and  rented a nice bike.

Florida weather is unpredictable. It was cloudy and windy most of the week, with temperatures in the 70’s and low 80’s. The humidity  kicked my butt  as I continued my daily training. I found an outdoor pool to swim laps and rode a crappy recumbent bike  while watching “The Price is Right”  with  retirees who  exercised on 30 year old equipment.

Back to the weather. All week, thunderstorms threatened the area and the weekend report was bleak.  I half expected the event to be canceled. The day before the race brought a  storm of Biblical proportions. Six to Seven inches of rain before 1 pm, and strong winds. I took this video from parents’ dining room window.

That’s not a sidewalk that you see-it’s a flood.The video doesn’t portray the intensity of the storm, but you get the idea. Flooding was widespread, roads were closed, and many neighborhoods  around Stuart and Port St Lucie were underwater. I didn’t have a great feeling about racing in these conditions.

Sunday morning, I woke at 4:30 am. It was still pouring. Yippee. I stood in the kitchen, making my tea, eggs, banana, and peanutbutter breakfast, and questioned my sanity. “No turning back now.” I thought. When I left the house at 5:45, it was still raining. I had my rental bike, pump, wet suit, goggles, cap, towel, running shoes, bike shoes,…..and a million other necessities that a triathlete needs for a race. With a pit in my stomach, I rolled along the highway, imagining the miserable day I was about to experience.

Halfway to the race location, the rain stopped. It wasn’t quite sunrise yet, but I could see some breaks in the clouds and was hopeful for  improvement. My mood lifted, I tuned the radio to a local Rock station, cranked up the volume , and started singing at the top of my lungs. Just like that,  I WAS READY! WOOHOO!

I set up my bike in the transition area, chatted with other athletes, visited the bathrooms a half a dozen times, and drank my pre race GenUcan. Time to kick ass.

 

Getting ready to race

Getting ready to race

Twenty minutes before the  swim start, I wiggled into my wet suit and made my way to the river. I was repulsed by the color. Black. Dirty black water. Gross. The starting gun went off, and into the churning mess I went. It was a rectangle course, and it took almost half of the distance before I got away from swimmers kicking me, hitting me in the face,swimming over me, across me, and under me. The wind  picked up, and the swells were so high, it was difficult to sight the buoys. I like to swim a tight course, but had a hard time navigating. Finally, I rounded the first buoy and the course opened up a bit. At the second turn, the current  tried to push us off course. One guy in front of me was “tacking” wildly, making it difficult to pass him. Every time I tried to go around him, he moved right in front of me. Desperate to do something to get out from behind him, and between his legs, I made a fist and socked him in the…ahem….sensitive area. This got his attention and he moved over. (Am I bad?) I exited the swim and started peeling off my wet suit as I ran to transition.  I heard people calling my name! It was  my sister, her family, and my parents jumping up and down, cheering for me.

I never look behind me when I race, and this day was no exception. Arriving in transition I had a momentary “unusual” experience. I stopped and looked around me. Most of the bikes were still racked. How can this be? I was in the second to last wave? Had I passed people? WAKE UP, Patty, and get going! I managed a quick transition and was off running with my bike to the exit.

The bike course was flat and technical. The storm  left behind puddles and debris on the roads. This poorly designed course had multiple traffic circles, several complete 360 degree TIGHT turns at round-abouts, at least four 90 degree turns, and a few bumpy brick stretches. Strong winds on the open course added to the difficulty.  There were plenty of course volunteers, and I thanked every one of them as I sped by. I averaged 18 mph, which was disappointing to me, but  only a handful of people passed me. Heading into transition, one of the volunteers said, “Great job-you’re in a good position. Keep going.”

I couldn’t find my asthma inhaler, and I usually need it for the run. Exiting the main area, I watched a few runners dodging puddles, but being an Oregonian, I blasted past them, running right through the water. (Those that know me at home, know that I hate having wet feet, or getting my shoes dirty. HAHA)  I ran my heart out. While I struggled with my “mental” race, I was determined not to let anyone pass me. Can I keep this pace? Can I make it? Will I stop and walk a bit? WHERE’S THE FREAKING MILE MARKERS? When I felt myself slipping,  I actually started praying. Yep. Good old Irish Catholic girl. I meditated as I ran, calming my breath and shutting out the negative thoughts. Rounding the final turn before the home stretch, I once again saw my family cheering. There was a 180 degree turn twenty or so yards before the finish line, (REALLY???) and finally, I was done! I got hugs from my family and I felt great.

finishedMom and dad

We hung around for a while and then walked to the pool for the reward ceremony. I had no idea what my results were. A long while later, I found out that I had won my age group! YES! I was ecstatic. Turns out I was 9th overall female finisher and 54th overall. I missed my  Sprint Pr by 45 seconds, BUT I PR’d the 5k run by over a minute. 1:25:40 was my official time for the Sprint. 23:54 for the run.(7:41 per mile) Not bad for a 55 year old gal.

race photo

I’m glad I had this opportunity to race in Florida and even happier I got to spend time with my sister, her family, and my parents. That made the trip special!

Thanks for reading my blog. I encourage you to get moving. Make healthy choices. Enjoy your journey. Share your story with me!

Setting Aside Limits

rainy ride (2)It’s 8 am and I am 8 months and 4 days away from competing in the mother load of races: Ironman Chattanooga. Just opening up the website creates a knot in my stomach. I’ve got time. The knot will loosen. It will tighten again, but I am not afraid  anymore. For now, I am focusing on the training-putting in my time. Eleven scheduled workouts per week. I can’t honestly say I complete them all EVERY week, but I do a pretty good job. At 55 years old, I have never put myself through this type of sustained physical effort or concentration. I’m breaking through old self imposed limits and finding where the new ones reside. They won’t live there long though, because I’m starting to relish the shattering sound of them crashing beneath me as I crush them and shove them behind me. Don’t bother looking back Patty, they no longer exist! As a self proclaimed mediocre athlete, I must confess, I struggle with training. Sometimes I train too hard. (To the chagrin of my coach) Sometimes my head gets in the way, and negative thoughts sabotage the day. Other times, I cruise through with the confidence of a champion. Most days are not glamorous. They all end in sweaty, stinky clothes, and I do laundry by the ton.

goggle eyes (2)Goggle eyes are a new fashion statement

 There are moments of agony, while I’m cycling past the ability or will to keep my legs spinning, or swimming exhausted, knowing I have another thousand yards left, while wheezing on the verge of another asthma attack. Then I break through realizing a second wind is coming,and through the pain, a smile forms on my lips, even though the tears may already be spilling. I put my head down and continue. Eye on the prize and all that.

10931339_10205192531229532_6455596911344352003_nCurrently, the phase of my training is called “Base Training”. I’m mostly putting in time and training my body aerobically, to get it used to the hours it will need to sustain. There are lessons learned along the journey and one that I am (not too) happy to be learning now, is how to sustain the work load without running myself into the ground. I am in the throws of my second sinus infection in two months, and not enjoying a single minute of it. I think it has to do with insufficient nutrition and lack of rest. Seems logical! I’m working with the best people I know, and learning more about becoming a successful endurance athlete, but I am making rookie mistakes and paying for them. My goal as I heal from this setback, is to improve my nutrition and to listen to my body. My coach turned me on to MyFitnessPal. I’ve just started playing with it, and I love how it calculates the categories of foods you should eat, based on your weight and the amount of time you exercise per week. I’m also paying better attention to the supplements I should be taking. It’s a journey!

I just finished the book Running Past Midnight by Molly Sheridan. This woman started running at age 50 and has since run in over 45 ultra marathons, including the 150 mile race through the Sahara Desert, (Marathon Des Sables), the 135 mile race through Death Valley, (Badwater Ultramarathon), and she is the first American woman to finish a 138 mile race through the Himalayas over TWO 18,000 feet peaks. (La Ultra-The High) One particular paragraph spoke to me, and echo’s my thoughts about training for my Ironman. Molly was attempting Ancient Oaks for the fourth time and an injury sidelined her 13.5 miles short of the 100 mile finish.

“…but if I’m invited back, I’ll have a new game plan. I am considering carrying my Dalai Lama prayer beads, wearing a rosary, and listening to African Women warrior drumbeats as I chant and pray my way through the Queen’s territory. Some might call me mad. Along that fine line of madness is my desire to reach past my physical and mental limitations. I want to go  beyond what I think is possible. Is there really a big Queen oak tree out there purposefully stopping my progress, or is it my own internal Queen telling me I can’t make it? Whether she is in my head or out in nature, it makes no difference. I still need to overcome her.”

(Quote used with Molly’s permission.)

 Rock on, Molly. I’m in your corner and whether you know it or not, I just put you in mine. Thanks for the inspiration.

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