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!

What a Panic

Do you remember as a kid saying things like, “That was a panic!” Or, “What a panic!” when you and your friends had a crazy, fun, spaztastic time? I’m talking about those times when you laughed so hard, snot came out your nose, and maybe you accidentally peed your pants?  I’m not sure of the origin of this expression, and I don’t recall how old I was when I stopped using it. It came to mind recently, though, for reasons that weren’t too funny.

If you are familiar with my blog, you know that I started writing when I was rehabbing from a nasty foot injury, caused by (ignorantly) overtraining for my first marathon. (Read about that here.) You would have learned about my  injuries, diseases, allergies, asthma, and other obstacles that I regularly deal with in my life and in my athletic training.  I have dedicated countless hours to learning how to overcome these challenges, by  studying the science of exercise, nutrition, training, hypnosis, and meditation, all in an effort to not only help MYSELF, but to arm myself with the tools I needed to coach others in the running and triathlon community.

Very proud to have earned this certification

Very proud to have earned this certification

Lots of my friends and fans believe I have it all together. Flattering, but come on,  do you really believe that anybody  has it ALL together? No way; some of us simply master the skills of making it look that way.

Training for any athletic competition takes dedication, time, discipline, and perseverance. Throw obstacles in the way, and there are ALWAYS obstacles, and the athlete has to find a way to overcome them. For me, the three main obstacles I am faced  with  are: allergies, asthma, and blisters on my right foot. OK, no biggie- there are things I can use to treat these, right? Well, not so simple. Regular use of most allergy medicines has been linked to early onset Dementia and Alzheimers. Flonase is linked to Cataracts- and I have the start of one in my left eye from long term use! Blisters? Well, I continue to try just about everything out there….

During my Ironman training in 2015, I suffered from severe seasonal allergy symptoms, which put a serious strain on my running training. I found myself getting asthma attacks while training out doors all Spring and into mid Summer. I’m talking stop-in-my-tracks-bent-over-gasping-for-air-to-the-point-of-almost-passing-out attacks. Consequently, my long distance running abilities suffered. After long training bike rides, I would often end up with my eyes swollen , red, and itchy, and three times wound up with sinus infections.  (That’s another story that is unfolding as we speak)

Bound and determined NOT to suffer the same ill fated training season this year, I decided to get a complete physical, and bring my entire list of complaints to my doctor and see what she recommended.  While I do have allergies, and exercise induced asthma, it turns out that the biggest surprise diagnosis is PANIC ATTACKS. What? Yeah, those ATTACKS I kept having where I start wheezing, gasping for air,  getting hysterical, and nearly fainting? Panic attacks. They start out like asthma symptoms, but quickly morph into the most terrifying, heart palpitating, can’t breath, throat closed, “fear of imminent death” panic attacks. I can’t describe the absolute all encompassing primal terror that I experience during these attacks. They can last for minutes or hours, and the severity of them can bring me to my knees. Both my boyfriend and my coach have witnessed the episodes, while we ran together, and now we know what is actually happening.

I have had these attacks a few times in my past. I remember having one  on an airplane flying home from China. It was like the plane was closing in and suffocating me, and I was completely helpless to survive another minute. I hyperventilated, and death-gripped the  tray table in front of me, all the while struggling to suppress a guttural scream. Another time was in an elevator in Denver,  and a few times while driving in Portland. The driving one’s prompted me to seek medical attention immediately, fearing I was having a heart attack. BUT, these were all years ago and so much in my life has  changed since then. I am healthier, happier, and stronger. So what the heck???

This past weekend, it happened again, and it came out of nowhere, at a time that I never would have guessed. It started in the swim portion of the Pine Hollow Triathlon, after warming up for several minutes in the crystal clear, comfortable water, in the most peaceful, serene setting.

Pine Valley

I started swimming competitively in Kindergarten. In open water in the Long Island Sound. With jelly fish, and seaweed. I am not afraid of swimming in open water, like many people. So, after my first few strokes that morning, when I started hyperventilating, and wheezing, I was caught completely off guard. The intense panic set in suddenly, and in less than a minute after the start, I rolled over onto my back, and briefly thought about quitting. I was terrified, gasping for air, and confused-desperate, more like, and frantically tried to find relief. I did a few breast strokes to try and keep myself afloat, and summoned every ounce of my will to move forward and continue the swim. I know how to swim; I know how to make myself relax in the water. I know ALL the tricks. Nothing worked. I swam, trying to breath every stroke, all the while fearing that I couldn’t get enough air. I sighted the red buoy that marked the turn around point, and it never seemed to get any closer. I felt my wetsuit crushing my neck, my chest, and my shoulders. The breaths I took sounded like screams. I prayed that it would end. 850 yards. Just under 16 minutes. No relief. When I exited the water, I was dizzy from hyperventilating, and in an agitated state. I don’t remember much of the run-or walk, I should say, to my bike. I got out of the wetsuit, got my shoes, glasses and helmet on, and took off. The bike course was hilly and I never caught my breath. This  aepisode lasted until the 9th mile, when it fizzled. The rest of the race was more brutal because it was 91 degrees with no shade, and the 4 mile run, was on a technical trail with lots of gravel, steep hills, downed trees to climb over, and my body was spent. Here’s the funny part. In all my hysteria, I managed to be the 2nd overall female finisher, and 1st in my age group.

2nd place finisher

2nd place finisher

There you go. I couldn’t believe it.

SO! I am learning to identify the warning signs. I have started to take proactive actions when my body starts spiraling. I now have medication for the times when it comes on suddenly, and I need the help. Thankfully, I do NOT need daily medication, as many people with anxiety disorders require. (Been there, done that, thank you very much) I also have a new app on my phone called Calm that reminds me every day when to meditate, and guides me through a 5-10 minute relaxing meditation.

Strangely enough, I am more excited about this diagnosis, that you would think. Up until now, I thought that I was powerless to the negative effects my seasonal allergies had on me, and doubted the benefit of my Albuterol Inhaler. I felt doomed to suffer and fight through every Spring and Summer. Now, however, I know there is something I can do to fight this thing and hopefully become equipped to defeat it! I am not powerless to this challenge anymore! This past weekend gave me the chance to test it, and once again, I was able to power through.

IF you suffer from anxiety disorders, please get help. Talk to your doctor. Meditate. Do yoga. Equip yourself with tools to get you through it.  I have a lot to learn, and hope to beat this.

finished

 

 

A Weekend in Phoenix (With a Health Scare)

If you have followed my blog, you know that I planned to compete in  Ironman Arizona 2016.  IMAZ registration, like many IM races usually sells out within minutes of  opening, but if you volunteer, you get a guaranteed spot at early registration. I signed up to volunteer this year. Jeff was doing THIS year’s race, and I wanted to be there to support him. Phoenix is  where Jeff’s business partner, and my  coach lives, so we all planned on spending time together. I was scheduled to fly in Saturday, volunteer Sunday, register Monday morning, and fly out that night. Jeff would be there for a week, to also conduct some business.

I arrived  excited about the race, but also excited about visiting my alma mater, ASU. The hotel where we stayed was just a few blocks from campus. Jeff and I met at the hotel, walked down to the athlete’s village,  enjoyed seeing people we knew, and checked out the vendors. Then we went back to the hotel so he could rest and make final preparations for his race. It was fun NOT competing, and watching someone else stress out for a change. Pre race jitters are normal!

We had a nice dinner with  team mate Jerry and went to bed early, after setting the alarm for 4am. Jeff woke up at 3:30 and quietly got  ready. We left the hotel around 5am. It was chilly-in the low 50’s and the water temperature promised to be in the low 60’s. The forecast was for mid 60’s and possibly a shower or two starting around 7pm. Perfect racing weather! Jeff checked in and put on his timing chip.

Ready to go

Ready to go

Before we knew it, they called for the athletes to line up. 2600+ wetsuit clad people headed for the swim start, and we said our final “good luck’s” and exchanged  hugs and kisses.

Seconds before the start and ready to crush it.

Seconds before the start and ready to crush it.

Once Jeff got in the water, SheriAnne, two of her kids, Jerry, and I went to the hospitality tent for some breakfast. Jeff hoped to complete the swim in 1:40. At about 1:15, we all walked over to the bike area, where we could watch cyclists start their 112 miles, AND see swimmers enter the transition area. It was colder  now, a little windy, and threatened to rain. We cheered on the cyclists and chatted happily, waiting to see Jeff running to transition. Once his “planned” finish time past, we started getting nervous. Ironman allows 2:20 to complete the swim or you get your timing chip taken from you, and you are listed as a DNF. (Did not finish) I couldn’t believe we hadn’t seen Jeff at the 2:00 mark. By 2:10, I ran to see if his bike was still in the transition area, thinking we might have missed him. Sadly, it was still there. My heart sank. How was this possible? A few more minutes and the cut off time passed. Jeff didn’t make it. Now I was worried. We all were. We went over to the swim exit in time to hear his name called as being one of the last to exit the water. He looked horrible. SheriAnne said he was pissed, but I saw something else. His face had a grayish black pallor. When he met up with us outside of transition, he explained what happened.

Upon entering the lake, and feeling fine, he swam out to the open water and started swimming steadily. 800 yards later, his heart rate suddenly spiked and he couldn’t breath. His chest felt constricted. He flipped over onto his back to rest for several minutes, and try to calm things down. He settled finally and tried swimming again,   and made it to the turn around with plenty of time to finish. When he had 300 yards to go, it happened again. Vertigo, nausea, difficulty breathing. He had to stop again, and get under control. Finally, he was able to finish and exit the water. He was more angry than I’ve ever seen, and “humiliated” in his words.

After a few minutes of rest, he started feeling horrible again. He managed to get to a trash can before spilling the contents of his stomach. His dizziness continued and we stayed in the park for several more minutes. Once he felt well enough to stand, we went back to the hotel, he showered, and decided to try and eat. After lunch, he mentioned that he still felt dizzy, his chest was tight, and he had tingling in both arms. I text my daughters, (both nurses) and they recommended that he return to the medical tent to get checked out. Once in the tent, after taking Jeff’s history (which included his current stage 4 Prostate cancer) they determined he needed to go straight to the hospital.

Getting checked out by the medical volunteers

Getting checked out by the medical volunteers

Off to the hospital

Off to the hospital with a thumbs up from SheriAnne

He wouldn’t let me come with him and insisted that I go ahead and do my 5 hours of volunteering. SheriAnne followed in her car and promised updates.

By the time I got to my station-the run “Special Needs” area, the rain was coming down in sheets.

We wore black lawn and leaf bags for most of the day.

We wore black lawn and leaf bags for most of the day.

I spent the next several hours texting with SheriAnne as I helped runners try not to freeze to death. The rain was relentless and I saw numerous cases of hypothermia. Those poor people!

Jeff was tested for arterial blockage and the levels of Troponin were significant enough to require him to stay overnight for further observation. I called the airline and changed my flight.

Bright and early Monday morning, after ZERO sleep the night before, I arrived at the registration tent and paid the $740 to register for 2016!

Oh boy, here I go again

Oh boy, here I go again

 

While waiting for the new tests, I needed to burn off some steam, so I went for a run around ASU. Wow, it sure has changed in 35 years.

 

I hardly recognized anything!

I hardly recognized anything!

I did, however find the apartment building that my cousin and I lived in while we were there. Oh, the memories!

3rd floor balcony.

3rd floor balcony.

By mid day, SheriAnne picked me up and we went to see how Jeff was doing. He had just been taken in to have an Echocardiogram, and an Angiogram. After several excruciating hours, they came out and told us that he had 2 arterial blockages, but not so badly blocked  to require a stent. He would go on medication and need to follow up with a Cardiologist when we got home. WHEW! They released him at 7pm, with instructions to rest for a few days and follow whatever the Cardiologist prescribed.

OUT OF HERE!

OUT OF HERE!

We had separate flights but both were home safe and sound by 6pm. We were exhausted, cold, and needed to decompress significantly. Jeff was sore from the wrist to the shoulder, due to the Angiogram, and that lasted 2 days. He is waiting to find a Cardiologist that will accept him as a patient.

The lesson here is, once again, it doesn’t matter who you are, how healthy a lifestyle you live, you are still at risk for illness. We don’t exactly know whether Jeff had a real heart attack or not. What we do know is that he did have subtle symptoms in the past few months. Some shortness of breath. (“Of course I’m winded, I’m running uphill.”) Some unexplained coughing at night (“It’s just a left over cough from my cold.”) Some stiffness in the neck (“Body aches are part of my Cancer medicine side effects.”) Some dizziness (“Again, I’m working out hard! I’m Ironman training.”) Simple, subtle symptoms that most athletes have at one time or another. Even the doctors don’t give us stress tests, because they don’t work.

My advice is to be aware of ANY changes you experience in your health. No matter what your age, you can have latent issues just waiting to surface at any time. Please get regular check ups. Tell your doctor EVERYTHING, no matter how insignificant you think it might be.

I’ll be riding Jeff’s back until he has a follow up and a plan in place with a Cardiologist. I can be very persuasive.

Be healthy. Train smart. Have fun. Thanks for following my journey.

 

Ironman. It Happened. Part 1

If you have been following my blog, you know that I have had some interesting hiccups leading up to Ironman Chattanooga. (Catch up here) The jinx continued as we prepared to ship our bikes. We contacted FedEx and made arrangements to have them pick up our boxes at the house in Montauk the day before we flew to Tennesee. We used my dad’s account number for convenience. When the driver hadn’t shown up in the given time frame, I got worried. Then my dad called and said he arrived at home, IN NEW HAMPSHIRE, to find a note from FedEx on his door, telling him that they had come by for a pick up. Oh boy! Now we were left with figuring out how to get the bikes shipped, and we were supposed to head into the city that night to stay with my daughter before going to LaGuardia early the next day. SCRAMBLE!!!

At the same time, I contacted the Jitney, to make reservations for an evening ride into Manhattan. I was told that there were no seats left on ANY of the buses that day. WHAT? Are you kidding me? Another reason to send me over the edge. The short answer to how we solved this last flurry of “oops’s” was this: We rescheduled FedEx, skipped the visit to my daughter’s, and reserved seats on the 4:15 am Jitney for the next morning. Oh, yeah, and there was a car that I also had to take to the local shop for repair to deal with as well. The day turned into a blur, but we managed to make it to the airport the next morning, with several hours to spare.

 

I found these at the airport. Thought about buying it for the race.

I found these at the airport. Thought about buying it for the race.

Arriving in Chattanooga, I was struck by how small the airport is. We quickly got our bags, and walked up to the Hertz counter, where the most delightful woman set us up with an SUV, gave up a free upgrade, and threw in a few other perks. The process was quick and easy, and we were on our way to the hotel. Jeff got us a room at a Residence Inn, so we could have a full kitchen. Eating the way you are used to is VERY important before a race, and we wanted to have full control over this detail. My bike was waiting for me when we arrived, and we piled everything into the room, and headed off to the Expo.

How much crap does one need?

How much crap does one need?

Athlete check in was quick because the bulk of racers hadn’t arrived yet. We got some great swag too.

This is really going to happen!

This is really going to happen!

My coach, SheriAnn was there, working a booth for NormaTech,, and I got to try the boots out for the first time. PURE HEAVEN. After checking out the vendors, we headed to the grocery store and then back to the hotel to unpack and settle in.

If you EVER get a chance to try these out, you will love them.

If you EVER get a chance to try these out, you will love them.

Friday we went back to the expo and it was raining. It was a soggy mess. Later we brought my bike to a shop to have them put it together and make sure everything was ready for the race. Jeff picked up the bike he was borrowing from a friend there, as well. Naturally, there had to be another “Uh oh”, as we discovered that the wedge that holds the bike seat in place was missing. As I got back in the car to drive back to the hotel, I was stunned. Kind of in a daze, actually, trying not to cry. Trying not to throw up. I hoped and prayed the entire drive that the wedge was somewhere in the bike box. To my extreme relief, it was. So, BACK to the shop I went, and within minutes, we wheeled our bikes out, and headed back to the hotel.

Saturday morning, the rain was pouring down, and while we intended to try out the river before Sunday’s race, I was not interested in doing so in the cool, crappy weather. I opted for a swim in the indoor hotel pool. We then drove to the Expo and checked our bikes and transition bags in,triple bagged because it was still raining. Mid day, we went to meet with the other athletes that also had partnered with Zero, the Prostate Cancer charity. We had a yummy lunch and shared our excitement and nerves, about the next day’s adventure. The rain had started to subside as we headed back to the hotel for the final preparations, and to rest.

It was inspiring to meet other athletes that raised money for the cause.

It was inspiring to meet other athletes that raised money for the cause.

Within seconds of entering our room, Jeff said, “There’s a knock at the door.” I didn’t hear it, but went to the door anyway. I opened it, and nobody was there. I think I was about to tell him he was hearing things, when the knock came again. So I opened the door, and to my absolute and complete shock, my son Mike was standing at the door. All 6’5″, 200+ pounds of him: grinning from ear to ear. Behind him, were BOTH of my daughters, Dede and Audrey, all sporting huge smiles. I can’t tell you how surprised and completely happy that moment was for me. they had flown in from Minnesota, New York, and California! THIS was the best and most precious moment. Of course, I cried, and laughed, and hugged them tightly. WOW, they came to support me. I was over the moon. Once the shock wore off, we hung out and had fun, just being together.

THIS is how I still see them sometimes...

THIS is how I still see them sometimes…

The "Kids" done growed up!

The “Kids” done growed up!

After the kids left, (LOL, kids. All adults, over 5’10”, with careers, and their own lives, and I still call them kids) we put the rest of our race nutrition together, and talked about our hopes for the next day. Mostly, I hoped it wouldn’t rain-at least until the run. When I went to bed that night, I felt nervous, scared, excited, and vulnerable, but most of all, I felt loved. We set the alarm for 3:15 and tried to get some sleep. Let’s just say that we didn’t need the alarm. Ironman Chattanooga, Patty’s coming to get you…..

Less Than One Week Until Ironman

The past 9 months have come and gone. The work has been done. I am ready. That’s what my coach tells me. If you know me well, you won’t be surprised that I have moments where I doubt everything that I have done thus far to prepare for my first Ironman Triathlon. Every missed workout. (There haven’t been many) Every time I didn’t complete the entire planned workout as scheduled. (There HAVE been several) Every glass of wine, margarita, candy bar, bowl of ice cream, extra pat of butter…..I obsess just a bit over details. Me thinks I “overthink”.

What I AM celebrating, however, are the countless hours that I DID do the workouts. Since early this year, I have completed up to 12 workouts per week, sometimes exceeding 16 hours total. I’ve managed to  do this while still maintaining my business, my health, and my sanity, although those close to me might disagree on the sanity part. I can recall many a time where, when working, I fell asleep at my desk, and nodded off during continuing education classes.I barely make it to 8PM every night without sneaking off to bed.

I am sure some of my real estate clients wondered why I sported dark circles under my eyes( from my goggles), and reak of chlorine. None of them ever asked me why I often didn’t accompany them up or down stairs in the homes I showed them, or why I would loudly groan if I dropped keys on the ground-(after a particularly long training ride or run.) I hope they understood.

I have never eaten the mounds of food that I am currently eating.You could  not possibly fathom how much and how often I shovel food.   I am terrified that these habits will continue and I will blow up like a tick once this race is over. (There I go overthinking again.) I joke that I eat like a high school football player. The thing is, I have a son that was a high school football player, and I’m pretty sure he wasn’t the human vacuum cleaner that his mother has become. Oink Oink.

Case in point-today's lunch

Case in point-today’s lunch

My plan was to come to Montauk, NY for 2 weeks prior to Chattanooga, train there on the hills and in the Long Island Sound, relax on vacation, and arrive in Tennessee free of stress, and feeling well rested.

Reality went something like this: We boxed up our bikes and Fed Exed them to Montauk. They arrived on time and 2 days afterwards, we set out for a 70 mile bike ride. Jeff’s bike  had a broken shifter, so he couldn’t change into the small ring. My bike made a funny noise, and 3 miles after we started, I felt a big CLUNK, and my whole bike seized. I was just starting up a hill, and luckily I was able to unclip my feet before tipping over. Turns out, my bike frame broke, my derailleur snapped, and the bike was totaled. No long ride for us.

This frame is toast

This frame is toast

So there I was, 16 days from Ironman, and I was without a bike. Since the carbon frame in all one piece, there was no way to fix this problem. We immediately took to social media and looked for a solution. To my amazement, team mates and friends from all over the country and in Canada offered to ship me their bikes! I was astounded! I had offers from people I had never even met. The triathlon community blew me away. We started communicated with the bike manufacturer too, to see about a warranty. Over the course of the next week, we exhausted every option, weighing the pro’s and con’s until we decided to buy a new Cervelo P2 at Sunrise Tri Shop, in West Babylon.

Getting a custom fit

Getting a custom fit

I can’t say enough about the service Frank gave me at the tri shop. No wonder people fly from all over the world to buy and get fit on specialty bikes from him.

The running in Montauk is scenic and offers a mix of rolling hill roads and an abundance of trails, through woodsy forests and along ocean view cliffs. There are miles and miles of them! In all the years I’ve been coming to town, I had never explored the trails, and now I can’t wait to come back to them.IMG_4471

 

Got a little lost on this trail. Found the mosquitoes though.

Got a little lost on this trail. Found the mosquitoes though.

My last long run of my training was a 3:15 on a Sunday morning. It was HOT and 82% humidity. I managed to get 17.29 miles in, and let me tell you, the last 4 miles were CRANKY! Run, shuffle, walk, curse, limp, whine about my blisters, my knees, and my sunburn, bla, bla, bla….typical long run for me. I imagine Chattanooga will have some moments like this, so in the end, who cares? I’ll get it done.

When I went to pick up my new bike, we decided to stay in Centerport at my friend Kathy’s house because it was much closer to the bike shop. The other bonus was that the Cow Harbor 10K Race was taking place. This nationally ranked race is in my home town of Northport and I have run it the past 2 years. Jeff and I signed up and ran the race, in CRAZY hot and humid temperatures, and had a blast. I ended up not only with a personal best but a course PR of over 10 minutes. I couldn’t have done it without his help pacing me along the difficult course.

 

Official time 52:24

Official time 52:24

We had many visitors during the trip, too. My parents, daughter Dede and her husband Evan, cousin Jill, sister Terie, nephew Richie, and his dad Rich, plus we spent time with a local Montauk friend, Kathy. What a whirlwind.

 

Best parents in the world

Best parents in the world

There's ALWAYS time for Dom Perignon

There’s ALWAYS time for Dom Perignon

I got to ride my new bike for a few hours and it felt better than any other bike I’ve ridden. We got a good swim in at the YMCA of Easthampton, and today we are getting pampered with massage at Gurney’s Inn.

The “hay is in the barn”, so to speak. The pit in my stomach isn’t as big as it was several months ago, but make no mistake; it’s still there. I suppose that’s a good thing. I’m a few days away from completing the most difficult physical race/challenge of my life. Send me some good vibes, will you?

One last thing. I’m doing Ironman Chattanooga for a charity, to raise money and awareness for Prostate Cancer. Would you consider making a donation? The men in your life will appreciate it.

Donate here

See you on the other side of Chat!

Stair Steppin’

This month’s training is brought to you by: Oregon has the Highest Pollen Count. Lucky me! Let’s celebrate! Since the beginning of May, my eyes have started out burning in the morning, and if I’m lucky, by mid afternoon, still remain functional-albeit almost swollen shut and on fire. I submit for you, exhibit A:

alergy eyesWhile I deal with this every year, 2015 has had me questioning my choice of geography. By mid June, the allergy circus escalated to the degree that, BAM, I found myself sitting in front of Zoom Care, too sick to get out of the car. I managed to do so however, and a half hour later left with my every-few-month-dose of antibiotics, for the explosive sinus and ear infection that I seem to be fond of attracting quarterly. You see, training for my “A” race, Ironman Chattanooga, requires several hours per day running and cycling outdoors, inhaling the lovely and caustic pollen that coats my sinuses, lungs, eyes, and skin.

I spent the next three days in bed.

One week later, I was set to race the Olympic distance in the Clackamas Cove Triathlon. All week leading up to the race, I tried to take good care to ensure my nutrition, rest, and hydration were perfect. I slept a lot, took my Allegra, Flonase, and vitamins, and didn’t drink alcohol or eat anything outside of my Metabolic Efficiency Diet.

My training schedule is focused on Sept 27, 2015. THAT is the bulls eye. All of my training is geared toward that one race. I am stair stepping my racing schedule to MOSTLY include only triathlons, starting with the Sprint distance that I did in February. This Olympic is twice that distance. My next race in August will be the Lake Stevens 70.3 (a half Ironman), and then the BIG MAMMA, Chattanooga!

The day before the Clackamas Cove tri, Jeff (boyfriend and coach extraordinaire- with PRSFIT ) and I went to the site so I could run through some of the swim, run and bike transitions, and tour the course to set up my race plan. The swim was supposed to go from a cove to the spill into the river, and downstream to a boat ramp, where we were to exit into the transition area. The low river levels left part of that course without water! more cove

I practiced swimming up to the shallows, running out of the water, across the rocks, and back into the river. We decided I would bring a pair of shoes to leave on the beach, so I could run across the rocks without hurting my feet, and then kick them off as I dove back in.

We drove the run course, and part of the bike course and I felt pretty good about the plan that Jeff and my coach SheriAnne mapped out for me.

The morning of the race, I woke up at 4:15, so I could eat my normal breakfast and do my, ahem, morning “routine”. Well, I’m a nervous type, so I did my routine 4 times before I left the house. Nervous? That’s an understatement.

Have I ever told you how much fun it is to put on a wetsuit?

cove

(You have to slather the equivalent of Spray Pam all over your body, to aid in the rapid removal while you are transitioning from the swim to the bike.)

               VOILA!

VOILA!

 

Due to the ever changing river conditions, the RD decided it was too dangerous to navigate the river portion of the swim, so they kept the swim in the cove. My race was now a two loop swim of approx 1600 yards. This created an interesting situation for the athletes, since we were no longer exiting at the transition area. Now we had to get out of the water and run .4 miles to T1. CHANGE OF PLANS. No problem. I brought some water sandals to throw on, to protect my feet. Running .4 miles in a wetsuit is pretty hilarious.

The bike portion was a 24 mile out and back, with some rolling hills and the promise of a huge hill at the turn around. While I had heard about this hill, I didn’t preview it the day before. THANK GOD. As I approached it at mile 11, I looked up and thought, “Are you freaking kidding me? I have to ride up THAT?” To be honest, I wasn’t sure I COULD. Fortunately, my fears were unfounded, and I managed to tackle it will all of my dignity in place. After the turn around, I let loose and rode like a mad woman back to T2. My legs felt great, and I was hydrating as planned. The only snag was the redneck in the F350, towing an RV, that didn’t like bikes on the road, who nearly ran me into a ditch, while cursing me out. Share the road!

Having severe allergies AND asthma presents some challenges for me, particularly in the run portion of a race. I struggle to keep the asthma attacks under control, especially when I am stressed. (I also have a seriously messed up intestinal system, as a result of years of undiagnosed Celiac disease, so fueling my body for long periods of intense activity is a constant challenge) Here I am heading out for the run portion, sucking down some GenUcan, while shaking up my Albuterol Inhaler. cove tri

How’s THAT for multitasking? I had two loops of the run course to go, which included running up these stairs (100+ of the buggers) TWICE.

11202063_10202743358344699_4685113185101236491_n

That aint no Stairway to Heaven, let me tell you. The first loop went great, and as I ran back through the transition area, I didn’t get directed to the right place, and ended up going the wrong way. (oops, should have scoped that out beforehand!) At this time, I thought I was at least in the lead for my age group, and with every second counting, I got a tad bit upset. You DO know how high strung I am, don’t you? Well, this set me off on a lovely asthma attack, which had me wheezing starting to choke up and get dizzy, which escalated into me getting emotional, bla bla bla. Jeff was right there to calm me down and encourage me, which worked, and I just kept running. I managed to get it all back together, and finish well, even winning second in my age group of women 50-59.

10500439_10207166544261248_645928651766799941_n

Overall, with the changes to the swim, the hills, the maniac redneck, and the stairs, this was a fantastic race. I loved the challenges, and testing my body. I’m thrilled with how my training is proving to be spot on, and I’m looking forward to the next adventure.

Thanks for sharing this journey with me. As always, I welcome your comments, and I’d love to hear about your training.

Lastly, please consider making a donation to help fund Prostate Cancer research. We need to find a cure for this horrible disease. Thank you.

Donate here

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!

Run and Done

I’m a liar. I lie to my family, my friends, my coaches, and even myself. This past weekend, I lied to strangers. Funny think is, I know a large number of those people were lying too. We knew it and we were ok with it.

Let me explain. I ran the Vernonia Half Marathon on Sunday. This was the third time I’ve done this race, and it has become my favorite half. Two years ago, it was the first half marathon I had ever done, and that was a huge milestone at 52 years old. Of course I cried when I crossed the finish line. I was escorted the whole 13.1 miles by my fellow Honey Badgers, and I knew I wouldn’t have been able to finish without their help and support.

My support group

My support group of Honey Badgers-the best, most badass girls in the world.

Since that date, I have run 9 half marathons, 2 full marathons, 3 triathlons, and countless 5k’s, 10k’s, and relays. During this time, I spent much of the later part of 2012 and the first half of 2013 injured. I alternated between NOT running and doing Physical Therapy, to running TOO much, and hurting myself again. Like Winnie the Poo, I am a person with “little brain”. SO, I got a one on one coach to help me “Be healthy, train smart, and have fun.” (PRS Fit)

Working with a coach and being a member of an international team of athletes keeps you on your toes….and in the pool…. and on the bike. It also keeps you from buying Doritos and having “just one more glass of wine” at night. You see your weekly workouts and wonder, “How the heck am I going to do that?” And you DO it. Some days the challenge seems easy. Other days, you set off for a series of fast running intervals, only to succumb to a severe asthma attack, get scared, throw up, and cry. THEN you walk a little because, after all, you’re three miles from home, and what are you going to do? You get home, log your workout and wait for your coach to review and comment on your amazing effort.

This is where the lying begins. I tell myself that I am NOT a good athlete. I tell myself that I am not strong, not fast, not “worthy” of my team and my fellow athletes. The words “I am a poser” have crossed my lips more times than I dare admit. Silly I know, but I imagine you might have had these thoughts from time to time, as well.

These lies are poison. They are death to the mind, the ego, and the soul. I am making a commitment to end the repetitive negative self talk that accompanies me on my athletic journey. I know I will struggle with this, but I will keep at it, like I will keep doing my interval runs, despite my asthma. Like I will go lap after lap in the pool, until I am dizzy and shriveled. Like I will endure the pain in my legs while cycling uphill in zone 4. Like I will continue to work out, log, learn, and improve.

This past few weeks, as I was training for the Vernonia race, I struggled with every run. I had serious doubts about finishing the race at all. I told my coach I wasn’t looking to PR, but I wouldn’t mind at least finishing as fast as my LAST PR back in December during the Holiday Half Marathon in Portland. That was my best race ever, despite a nervous stomach and some GI issues around mile 5.

         PR'd at 2:04:58

It was a chilly day in Portland, but perfect running weather for a race!

What I didn’t tell my coach was that SHIT YEAH, I wanted to PR! I wanted to break 2 hours, to be exact. But I lied. I didn’t think I had it in me, so I stuffed it. I was afraid of failing, of admitting to myself that I thought I could do it, and afraid of….WHAT exactly? I don’t know. Coach gave me a plan, and I committed it to memory. I still didn’t know if I had another 2:04 in me.

The morning of the run, I was surrounded by the familiar faces of dozens of my running friends. It was a glorious morning, in the low 40’s to start, with temperatures expected to reach the 70’s by afternoon. The sky was blue and the trees were all in bloom. Talk about beautiful! The first mile or so of the course is downhill, so you have to be a bit careful not to blow out your legs by going too fast too early in the race. The rest of the course is fairly flat until the last 3-5 miles, where you gradually go uphill the whole time. Last year, this uphill killed my damaged Achilles. I walked a lot that year. THIS year, however, I was determined NOT to let it stop me.

I ran my “plan” and found myself just a little ahead of my time at the mile marks. I felt pretty good, so I just kept on going. I chatted with friends along the way, but got into my own head and kept on pushing myself forward at a steady pace. I set my sights on a few people ahead of me that I knew were shooting for a sub 2 hour finish and tried to keep up with them. I got an amazing compliment from a young 20 something year old girl who said as she came up beside me; “I’ve had you in my sights for a while, and it was my goal to catch you.” What? Me?

I did all my secret tricks for staying focused on this run, like repeated mantras in my head, said lots of prayers, and replayed my coach’s words of encouragement. I knew I was on target to beat my stated goal and now I was HUNGRY to beat that 2 hour mark. Doubt is a bastard though, and in the last 3/4 of a mile, my body started listening to the devil within me. EVERYTHING started to hurt: my knees, my IT band, my “bad” ankle, my blister on the bottom of my foot, and my head. Three times I stopped for just a second or two to stretch and just say “NO” to the noise. When I saw the last short steep downhill switchback, just before the finish line, I barreled around a group of runners, and made the last effort to get it done. My official finish time was 2:00:29. I had beat my recent PR by over 4 minutes!

2014-04-13 12.00.52Boy, did that feel great! I had a great run, on a great day, and proved to myself that I am not a poser. I’m a strong, determined competitor that is still improving. From now on, I will not lie about my goals. I wonder how well I would have done if I had admitted to myself and my coach that I wanted to finish in under 2 hours. Well, in about 2 weeks, I am running the Tacoma Half Marathon, and I WILL beat that time. I hope to tell you all about it!

Do you hide your goals behind your fears or doubts? Do you lie to yourself? Let’s agree to work on that, shall we?

 

 

 

 

100K on Jan 1st

Woohoo, I just banked 100K! No, it wasn’t money, it was kilometers. On a bike. In temps between 35-39 degrees. Without shoe covers. Yeah, I’m an idiot.

These past few months have been crazy with activity, challenges, and changes. I have been too busy to blog, and too overwhelmed to even THINK of things to blog about. But, today I will put down some thoughts.

I cut eleven inches off of my hair in August. Yep. It was the best decision! I love the freedom of short hair, and the fact that I don’t even need a brush anymore. I can dry it in five minutes!

The new ME

The new ME

Yeah, I know, I look ten years younger. Haha, I FEEL 10 years younger, actually. I’m doing the “Benjamin Button” thing this year.

I’ve been training with a maniacal (and hugely effective) Triathlon coach since May, and I am doing some form of training seven days a week. This training is all based on heart rate, and if my resting HR is 8-10 beats per minute higher than it should be, I get a day off. This has only happened once in the past three months. If you told me a year ago that I would be doing this much physical activity at this age, and still functioning, I would have laughed in your face and eaten another bag of Doritos. For the record, I haven’t had Doritos since the Summer. Farewell my spicey friend, I miss you so. True confession time: I actually did eat these in Mexico in November:

nachosTechnically they are not Doritos, so it doesn’t count.

When I returned from my trip to NY in October, I made the decision that it was time to downsize. For the past eight years, I have been living in a 3000 SF, 5 bedroom, 4 bathroom house, with a 3 car garage. My children live out of State, and are not coming back, so there is no reason to hold on to this size house anymore. Some long term tenants recently gave their notice, so this was the “Speak now or forever hold your piece” moment. Little did I know what I was about to experience. The idea of downsizing sounds all sorts of sexy. It’s not.

A lifetime of accumulated articles of memories, baby clothes, kids’ school projects, camping and rafting equipment that hasn’t been used in years, client files, 2 snow shovels that have never been used,…you get the picture. Did I mention that the new house doesn’t have a garage? Moving day was December 20, 2013. Oh wait, no. It was actually supposed to be the 19th, which was the date I put on the lease my new tenant, (moving into the big house) signed. OOPS!!! It didn’t help that I went to Mexico for 10 days to celebrate Thanksgiving with family! I already had started to loose my mind before the trip; evident by the fact that I arrived at the airport with my expired Passport and missed my flight.

Patty missed flight

This is my “I missed the flight because I am a dork, and now I have to take a later flight alone” face.

In the end, I made it and kept my cool.

Back to my training. While in Mexico, I continued my daily training, because, 1) I eat and drink like a college student while on vacation, and 2) My other “team mates’ and I were in a Team Challenge that included doing daily prescribed workouts, logging them, and posting video proof on Facebook, for bonus points. I wanted to win this challenge, so I went full speed ahead, despite the alcohol poisoning that was, no doubt creeping up on me. I wasn’t a total lush on vacation, and some days I actually had healthy food. Who wouldn’t when this kind of stuff is available and CHEAP?

Patty's healthy breakfastSome days we even had a late morning or afternoon snack of a Pina Colada in the container that Mother Nature provided, as is demonstrated by my able bodied assistant, daughter Audrey:

Coconut, courtesy of one of our trees.

Coconut, courtesy of one of our trees.

The trip was fantastic. I got all of my workouts in and posted, including some fun videos of me “suffering through” the crappy weather, all in the name of fitness. Who’s kidding who? This is pretty much what I felt like every day in Mexico, knowing that I was not in the cold Pacific Northwest in November:

Happy girl in MexicoOne week after I returned, this happened:

20 degrees with a wind chill factor of 10

The cold reality that is my REAL life hit like a steel door in the face. Winter had arrived in Portland and I was not prepared for the sudden shift. I got over it after a real breakdown on the Portland Waterfront.

I have much more to tell you and for today, I will leave you with this. Happy New Year and I will be back more regularly to thrill you with my escapades!