Saturday, December 27, 2008
This is 'us' - Mrs. Triswami, Triswami (my coach), Andy (faithful running partner), Ryan and me on the deck polishing off two bottles of wine.
Next stop, cheeseburgers, made by hand in the back, grilled on the Weber out front. We all indulged in cheeseburgers, chips and cokes. They were as good as you would imagine. After all those miles and having to smell those burgers being grilled out front while I got some measly water or gatorade...this was payback time.
The tomato(E) stand was closed BUT this may be better. Bo, a retired veteran, gave me one of his tomato(E)s instead. He said he didn't have time for a picture...he obviously doesn't know me that well. Here we are.
This is the local dog at the store that won't come near you...unless you have a bag of chicken fingers. He's getting ready for some kind of tasty treat here.
Oh, yeah, it's dinner time baby!
I did it and I'm so happy I did. This is Anderson Yaeger, aka Snook, I think. He was very hard to understand and I had to ask him to repeat himself many times. Snook will wave at anyone passing by, cyclists, cars, anyone. We pulled up in our dually and I jumped out with my camera hoping that he wouldn't think it was an assault and shoot me. Crazy white lady running up to my house? Anyway, I got out and introduced myself as one of the many cyclists that passes his house and told him that I really appreciated him waving to me - it was often the highlight of my ride. I would just think about who he was, what he's done in his life and if he had carpet in his house. His house doesn't look like any place 'we' would live. Even in the middle of summer, smoke would billow out the top, I presume for cooking.
After everyone piled out for a minute, we chatted, took inventory of all his pill bottles, beer cans and liquor pints on the front porch, took a peek into his house to confirm he didn't have a dirt floor...it WAS at least 100 degrees in there. I could feel the heat pouring out.
And really, I don't know much more than I did from just passing by and waving. I'm still glad I stopped, though. I always said that when 'this' is over, I'm gonna. Melanie gave him her tomato(E) from Bo and he was really happy. For a second, I thought he was going to eat it right there. He did have many pots and pans out front collecting rain water - you can see some in the picture. I wonder if this is his water. His home may not have running water, from what I could tell. If it did, it was minimal. Maybe this is his water and that's what all the smoke is all the time - boiling the water for use? While I don't have any earth shattering or historical stories to tell you about Snook, I just know that he's 'on my route,' he's a nice man and he'll wave at you the next time you go by.
- A stop for at least one bottle of wine at Arrington Winery. I just hope we make it past this point - it's our first stop.
- A purchase at the tomato(E) stand. Maybe they have potato(E) this time of year.
- A stop at the old man's house in the country to say hello - he sits on his porch and waves at us each time we ride by. He looks to be at least 100 years old and his house MIGHT just have a dirt floor. Not totally sure. I hope we don't get shot on site. He's only used to seeing us at ~19mph in spandex.
- A stop for a cheeseburger at the College Grove Grocery Store. It's a small store and they grill burgers out front on Saturday's only. It was hell to ride a bike and stop for water and have to smell those things. This time, I'm eating one!
Pictures are on their way...P.S. Friends of mine celebrated Festivus (along with Christmas) this year on 12/23, Festivus Day - I am doing that in 2009. What a riot!
Monday, December 22, 2008
Thursday, December 18, 2008
and a bag of ice
Ironman Florida - 12:20 and happy as a pig in slop
I think I just erased my watch this week!
I think there's some other stuff in there but a lot of the year was a blur. I was eating, sleeping, training or working. Other than those three races above, the rest were just incidental or worked into the current training plan.
There were countless training sessions that were fun, some that I hated, some that I puked on and many that I did alone. They were all part of the journey I suppose. I won't recount them, I think I've beat that horse to death.
2009 - The Year of the Wingman - I will be your Wingman
Top 10 Traits of a good Wingman...I got this thing covered, oh, except that I don't have a penis but I'm still a good Wingman.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Monday, December 15, 2008
Friday, December 12, 2008
And on to our Holiday Eating Tips...
1. Avoid carrot sticks. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet table knows nothing of the Christmas spirit. In fact, if you see carrots, leave immediately. Go next door, where they're serving rum balls.
2. Drink as much eggnog as you can. And quickly. Like fine single-malt scotch, it's rare. In fact, it's even rarer than single-malt scotch. You can't find it any other time of year but now. So drink up! Who cares that it has 10,000 calories in every sip? It's not as if you're going to turn into an eggnog-aholic or something. It's a treat. Enjoy it. Have one for me. Have two. It's later than you think. It's Christmas!
3. If something comes with gravy, use it. That's the whole point of gravy. Gravy does not stand alone. Pour it on. Make a volcano out of your mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat.
4. As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they're made with skim milk or whole milk and how many sticks of butter. If it's skim, pass. Why bother? It's like buying a sports car with an automatic transmission.
5. Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control your eating. The whole point of going to a Christmas party is to eat other people's food for free. Lots of it. Hello?
6. Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New Year's. You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do. This is the time for long naps, which you'll need after circling the buffet table while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of eggnog.
7. If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like frosted Christmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position yourself near them and don't budge. Have as many as you can before becoming the center of attention. They're like a beautiful pair of shoes. If you leave them behind, you're never going to see them again.
8. Same for pies. Apple. Pumpkin. Mincemeat. Have a slice of each. Or, if you don't like mincemeat, have two apples and one pumpkin. Always have three. When else do you get to have more than one dessert? .....Labor Day?
9. Did someone mention fruitcake? Granted, it's loaded with the mandatory celebratory calories, but avoid it at all cost. I mean, really, have some standards.
10. One final tip: If you don't feel terrible when you leave the party or get up from the table, you haven't been paying attention. Reread tips; start over, but hurry, January is just around the corner.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
We know swim is going to be bad when she tells us to bring an old pair of running shoes. I am convinced that said coach likes to make us do this so she can laugh on deck. It really is hilarious to watch. Here's how it went down:
With warm up, ended up at a mere 2500ish BUT I'm telling you, the shoe drill makes you feel like you just did 5000, I swear it. I'm totally cashed right now. You have to kick fast or you sink, it's just a fact. Thank God I have good people in my lane that are good natured and all...we were all over each other, feeling each other up and the occasional hit BUT, we made it. OH, and P.S. this is the first swim workout that I actually completed since Ironman because I know how to pick 'em. OUCH! Maybe I will finally sleep well again, yeah, sleep like a dead man!
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
And then, it dawned on me, during this little run of mine...get over yourself for crying out loud. You don't have any sponsors hanging over you, there is not one person on this planet waiting for you to ________fill in the blank here, do a 21 minute 5K, a sub 12 Ironman, whatever...other than you. All I could think was - holy crap, I'm a real assh!@# to myself...the best is never good enough. Well, here's to 'getting over myself' - in the BIGger scheme of life, it's just not that important. Friends, family, now that's important. Cheers to all, I think I heard a bottle of wine open in the other room.
Monday, December 8, 2008
The final party of the weekend was our Excel Swim/Tri Party. Here, Dee and Ashley are scheming on what kind of torture session they can put us through next...I'm sure of it. This week, swim with your shoes on? Anyone ever try this? You work real hard but you don't go very far - like running/walking with weights on your ankles. Oh or swimming backwards...I'm taking video of all this very soon.And here is what I ended up with as my dirty Santa from the party - beer, shampoo and, um, a book. Nothing like some light reading before bed to settle me down....or not. Hey, they had to put the X back in Xmas!
So, this week, it's on. Back into the swing, no more CSI marathons on the sofa or anything that comes on Bravo, back on the road, back running more than 2x/week...the waistline says it must be so.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
I won't be a downer so I'll close with Funny Mom stories, she was hilarious. OK, so you understand her stature - she looked like me but darker skin and hair and was bigger. For most of the time that I can remember she was a size 16-20, just to give you an idea. SO, I go to the hospital as soon as visiting hours start. This was for round one of surgery, cancer, blah. Her surgery is over and she's wheeling around attached to bags of various kinds with a hospital gown on. Like any parent, they don't want to ask children for help but she had to pee. While you may not do this for a friend or stranger, you don't think twice so I get her up and we roll over to the toilet. I help her with her robe so she can get on the pot. Our exchange goes like this...
We're standing up still; she looks 'down there' (yes, at her cooter) and says:
When the hell did this happen?
When did what happen?
My hoo hoo is gray!
What do you mean your hoo hoo is gray?
The hair, the hair is gray. I haven't seen that thing in AGES and it's all gray...what the hell!?
At this point, I couldn't get her to the toilet. I hit the ground because I'm rolling, crying, laughing, she's laughing and yelling at me not to make her laugh because of all her incisions and it's making her hurt so she cries tears of laughter instead. Apparently, with all the surgery, she had lost enough weight to see her cooter again and it was shocking to her. THEN, my Dad is banging on the bathroom door because there's a guy next door dying. I'll never forget, something about a bad car wreck and the family was fighting over whether or not to keep life support going it was terrible. AS YOU KNOW, if you try to stop laughing when told to stop laughing, it's worse because you start snorting, hiccuping and making all kinds of weird sounds. That was us, laughing ourselves to tears in the hospital bathroom. Dad was embarrassed asking - what am I going to do with you girls? He is always the voice of reason ...he loved our antics.
So, if you have you're mom nearby, hug her for me, if you are a mom, hug your kids and hold onto them tight for an extra second until they say - moooom, c'mon. AND if you are the mom of a teenage daughter or pre-teen, hug her still, you may hate each others guts right now, but it'll change, promise:) Oh, and she wouldn't mind me telling you this either. She'd tell you herself if she was here.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Anyway, yeah, I got the funky too. I was all jazzed that December 1 was here…I was going to make a ‘come back’ since I’ve been on the DL since November 1. Well, another week won’t hurt me, I suppose. Last nite, slept in a chair to keep the head from getting totally clogged. Seemed to work but I woke up with cracked lips and a crack in my tongue from getting so dry – yep, pretty picture, me holed up with a ‘blankey’ in a recliner, eye mask on to block the sun, with my mouth wide a!@ open. I wish I had a picture to share, very hoooottt. But seriously, is there nothing better than blowing your nose when you’re sick and you can actually feel it come from deep inside your sinuses…you gotta keep pulling on it to get it all out? Gross yes, green yes, long and gnarly, yes, and you know you’ve done it! C’mon there’s not much that can really gross out a triathlete…you ride and run behind people that have peed on themselves all day and you may have even experienced the lovely odor of someone who has shat on themselves all day. So don’t let a little booger creep you out. Lord help me….please don’t let my head actually explode.
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Magnus, on the other hand, not AS gross but always lookin for love. The poor guy would crawl under your skin if he could...he loves EVERYONE but especially his momma. He thought this whole foot picture production was a perfect time to get some love.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
So much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving weekend. There is just not enough space or time to put it all down on paper. Most of all, I'm just thankful to achieve everything I set out to achieve this year. It was beyond all my expectations - at times, it was harder than I ever thought but the outcome was better than I could have ever imagined. So, to all my friends who laughed at me when I said I was only going to do one Ironman and this was it, I know why you laughed. It will probably not be my last. BUT can you ever recapture the feeling of the first time you hear Mike Reilly say that you are an Ironman!? And that is cause to question, now that Mike Reilly said that I'm an Ironman, do I NEED him to say that again OR would I be just as fulfilled if I did something like Beach2Battleship half or full ironman distance races http://www.beach2battleship.com/ for example? I mean, the W35-39 Age Group only had nine participants for the full distance. What about the fan fare, what about the volunteers, what about the spectators...are there any? This goes for any of the ironman distance races not owned by WTC. For me, it really is a race against myself, so would something like this be enough? The biggest bonus in all of this...the non-WTC races, 70.3 and iron distances, HALF PRICE or pretty close. While money isn't everything, I can do two non-WTC half iron races next year for the price of Augusta 70.3. It is something to think about for next years plans...I mean, Kona won't happen unless I'm still doing this in the 65-69 age group for crying out loud.
Monday, November 24, 2008
THEN there's all the crazy, funky skin things - the rash from the nasty lake that Abby had to shake, the funky skin thing from the pool that I got, lost toenails and NOW a wart. A big ass, painful, nasty wart on the ball on my left foot. Would I have picked up this virus if I didn't live out of a duffel bag for the last year? Probably not. Chalk it up to Ironman, the gift that keeps on giving. I had it during training but just sucked it up - I guess all my other shit hurt too badly for me to even think about this little piece of work. And YES, I tried to take a picture of it to show you (how nasty is that, sorry) but I couldn't get a good angle by myself and couldn't ask Ryan to it, I just couldn't.
So when you're out with your tri friends in a public place, just know that 'normal people' don't talk about chafing, rubbing, peeing on themselves or others, pooping, snot rockets and the art of farting on the run. This is why they are looking at you funny. You know, I think that's why Ryan dropped ME off solo at the bar on Saturday. Hmmm, that's very curious?!? Well, that's why I love you guys - we can talk about all those things and OH so much more and STILL get dressed up and look all perrty to go out with makeup on even (I think we all stopped to stare at each other for at least 10 minutes with hair did and make-up on). But deep down, you're just a nasty triathlete like the rest of us, and I love ya!
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Shelly (IMLouisville 2009), Dee (IMFL 2006 & 2008), Me (IMFL 2008), Abby (IMFL 2008) - Yep, Guinness was two for one last nite...baaaddd news but oh so tasty!
Fun times and easy workouts
I know everyone tells me to just 'do what you feel like right now' - no need to push it, it's the off season - it'll come back to you - you'll want to do it again. The sense of guilt is overwhelming, however. I'm so used to being scheduled to 'death' and I'm not sure I operate well with an open schedule. While I've been catching up with friends and having a total blast, it has involved lots of food and lots of beer = lots of calories. I'm used to meeting up with the same friends for a 100 mile bike ride and we're worried about getting enough calories. It's our time to learn to like it again, I suppose. I still like it all, even though the thought of anything more than a 20 mile bike ride makes me want to barf. Oh, and that 20 miler will be some killer speed of 15-16....I'm actually afraid of my bike right now. Swimming is great because we're just working on drills and efficiency and not a lot of distance, 2000 yards feels like 4000.
Funny swim stories
I won't 'call anyone out here' but if you're reading this you know who you are and it's just too damn funny not to share. Wednesday swim class consisted of a swimming backwards drill...and I don't mean backstroke, swimming backwards (I'll take pictures next time, hilarious). One of my lane mates was passing me in the opposite direction and got his hand caught in my bathing suit strap - easy to do considering we were paddling backwards like drunken fish. I grabbed the top of my suit because it was sure to come down. We both popped up and he proclaimed, I think I felt a booby. I was laughing so hard I cried, he apologized and we tried to make to the end of the lane. Needless to say, I couldn't let it go, thanked him for the cheap thrill (I really only DID feel a hand get caught in the strap not on my booby) and told him I didn't know it was THAT kind of workout. Hopefully, we can still be friends:) Laughing hard is totally underrated. I can just think about it now and crack up. I just love that...a good laugh...
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Excerpt from the 11/8/08 - Ironman Race Report
"After that, I had another milestone to look forward too, ‘my people’ were just up ahead (we planned it in advance so I knew they were close by). I’m not sure if I heard or saw them first but Andy, Ken, Nick, Stephanie and Danella were all there going nuts. It was SO very nice. I also knew this was my chance – I set my bike on their car and dropped my drawers. A pee never felt so good. I know it wasn’t ‘legal’ but I just HAD to go. Ken was afraid to touch my bike (outside assistance) but I’m pretty sure he stood there on one leg holding it up with his other leg. I didn’t even make it to the woods, just the edge of their car and peed on the wheel (sorry guys but I couldn’t wait). Ever have a pee actually put a smile on your face…it was that kind."
Monday, November 17, 2008
...yep, you guessed it. This is what the banana stand looks like at WalMart in an Ironman town a few days before the race. The water aisle was very similar looking. My friend (Angie) was on the floor rolling when she saw this. She also just kept walking around the WalMart saying, "All ya'll look the same." She is referring to triathletes in general - pretty thin, have that Ironman look (drawn looking in the face), pretty tan from all that outdoor time spent and wearing all that damn polyester technical crap...and eating all the bananas in town, apparently.
To ink or not to ink...
This is a huge question because I'm not a tattoo person - at all. There's just that illusive Ironman tattoo that seems to be a right of passage. Ryan said there's three reasons to get a tattoo - Ironman, you're in the military or you get to drive 24 Hours of Daytona (or other long endurance race, in his terms). So, I'm there, right? If there's any time in my life I would do it, it's now. If I do it, it'll be combination memorial to Mom and the M-dot. Would MOM spelled out with the first M as the M-dot be sacrilegious? I mean, she's what kept me going, she's why I did it in the first place and her name is on my bike (Sue). I don't think it would be but I'm torn. My Dad might freak out and I don't want to put it somewhere where it's not seen, I WANT to see it. I write MOM on my arms for every long race that I do to remind me where I'm from, why I'm doing this and that she would be proud. Mmmm, I just don't know. We'll have to wait and see...I'm afraid if I wait too long I won't do it....
Sunday, November 16, 2008
...sans sunglasses to go for a run, just a 5K loop from the house. About 15 minutes in, he was looking at me like - this really sucks momma, but I love you so I'll stay but really don't want to go any more. I looked at him - it was like we had ESP - I don't want to go anymore either, buddy. Let's go home. I swear he understands the English language because he perked up and we went home after a 17 minute 'run.' Oh well, I'm trying not to be hard on myself but it's difficult. I'm always hard on myself, always asking my mind and body for more and there's just not more to give right now. I think it's just tapped out. That ~2000 yard swim felt like 5000 yards but there was football on, after all, so I left.
Please tell me that it'll all come back and I'll want to do all this stuff again!?!? Good luck to all those Ironman Arizona participants...we'll be watching you!!!
Thursday, November 13, 2008
WTF, the guy swam with fins?!? The more I hear about it the madder I get. But really, are the fins any worse than the drafting and I am talking about the intentional drafting and peletons or people that are ‘working’ together? I saw some that were working like a well oiled machine while I got ‘stuck’ in a ‘bunch’ that couldn’t decide what speed they wanted to go, just didn’t want to get passed by a girl, I guess.
(This is Dad, Aunt Marilyn (his sister), me, Ryan and Uncle Bob on the end!)
WTF, a guy stopped to smoke a cigarette? OK, so my dad, Aunt and Uncle are standing in front of condo row waiting for me to pass by and throw my special needs back at them so I can save my junk. As they were waiting, a guy jumped off course, lit up, choked down a smoke and then got back onto the run course and kept running? Are YOU kidding me? I didn’t believe it but all three swear by it, they stood there and watched in disbelief.
The girl wearing a sign that said – Holy f!@#, you’re doing an Ironman! – While it may not have been appropriate for the children, it really did bring a smile to my face because all I could say was – Holy f!@#, I AM doing an Ironman! This was a good sign too and OH so true.
I'm sure there will be 100 more things that come back to me. I swear it still seems so surreal, like it happened to someone else. More to come, I'm sure.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Since Birthday's are anti-climactic as we get older, I thought I would compile some of my greatest learning's over the last 36 years. Feel free to add yours in the comments. These are listed in no particular order....
- You can pick your friends and you can pick your nose but you can’t pick your friends nose…but YOU CAN lend them your sleeve.
- Never spit while riding a bike into a headwind – nothing worse than having your training partners tell you that you have a huge loogey hanging off your shoulder or side of your face.
- Play nice with others…unless they are in your same age group.
- Be kind to strangers…they may be a volunteer at your next event.
- Running slowly with a friend may be more beneficial than turning a PR alone.
- People think I’m funny, Dogs worship me as a goddess, I will now be known as the Funny Goddess of Franklin.
- Sleep is totally underrated…especially on a cold morning when it’s raining outside and you’re supposed to go for a run, ah, to stay in bed.
- Ironman is one of the greatest things I have ever done.
- If swimming, biking and running were the most fun things we did as kids, are we really just big kids?
- Negative people suck the life out of me…I don’t hang around those people, I like the life part.
- Never trust a fart on a long run, you don’t need that kind of surprise when you’re miles from home or the nearest toilet.
- Always pack a pre-packaged baby wipe – they have many uses from wiping a baby to wiping yourself.
- Happy Hour is not just one Hour.
- I’m glad I moved to Tennessee from Michigan – you have to rake your roof in Michigan during the winter…to keep the snow from caving your roof in, yep, that one is TRUE!
- Friends will come and go. Good friends are the ones that bring you drugs or soup when you are sick.
- Mom was always right, you should try to pee before you leave the house, every time.
- Laughter can be the best medicine but sometimes Percocet is the perfect medicine.
- I don’t like getting up before 6:00am, I’ll do it but I don’t have to like it.
- Peeing in a wetsuit can keep you warm on a cold morning.
- A massage and a glass of wine is just the perfect way to end any day.
- If I could go back to high school or college, I don’t think I would – this part is way more fun…and I can remember it, most of the time.
- Loyalty is an underrated quality in people.
- Never sit on an unkown toilet seat. There could be creepy crawlies under the seat.
- Tell other people that your are proud of them for their accomplishments. We don’t hear that often when we’re older.
- Work is work and play is play. Why can’t I get paid to play?
- Fart jokes are still funny – as is the unintentional fart at the wrong time (i.e. in church on a wooden pew when everyone stops singing). HILARIOUS.
- There is NO greater compliment than making someone laugh so hard that they shoot their drink out their nose. That’s the sign of a great joke or moment.
- Always wear shoes on aggregate, it will tear your feet up – even if you are just going out to get the mail. Will I ever learn?
- Say I love you to your family every nite and every time you part. It could be the last time you see them.
- Fighting is for boxers and cage fighters, arguments and discussions are for families.
- Never negate, demean or call your spouse a name in front of other people. It’s not nice and makes you look like an ass.
- When you hear a good song in the store, you should dance, even if it’s MUSAK and even if you can’t dance. It’s fun and it’s always time for fun.
- Eat dinner with the TV off once in a while. There’s not much good on anyway, especially the news.
- Don’t worry about what other people think, why does it matter what they think, they’re probably strangers and you’ll never see them again. Their opinion of you has no relevance to your life and happiness.
- Picking up the yard after two dogs is the worst job in the house.
- Be yourself, 100% of yourself, not the edited version of yourself and surround yourself with people that like you at 100%.
Cheers and here's to staying in the 35-39 age group!
Monday, November 10, 2008
Sunday night football looked a little like this. One old boxer wrapped up in a blanket. I was totally feeling it too, girl. Snug like a bug in a rug...or maybe a burrito.
And this is what I walked in on today. Can you say pathetic?!? Now Kasha is 12 and is having 12 year old dog issues. She had surgery today on her eye. It is actually sewn shut for a few weeks so she's rolling with a lamp shade looking like Popeye with a limp (yep, she's got arthritis too).
Since Ironman a week ago, I've been sitting on my ass, watching football and wandering around my house asking Ryan what normal people do. I have realized - after a deep cleaning of the bathrooms - this IS what normal people do and DAMN it's boring. I just keep milling around the house like I don't know where I am. I bet I look a little like Kasha minus the lamp shade. I decided I needed to get moving again, it was time. With the weather getting cooler, Magnus was ready too. He's my boy. I just did what 'normal' people do and did a little 5K loop from my house. I was feeling just grand, not super fast or crazy good but I was feeling about right. Hamstrings could tell I was doing something and had done something big recently but no issues. It was nice to be out and moving again. I guess it's time to join the ranks of the normal...
...or maybe not. This is always the second frame of a picture with Magnus...he just can't help himself.
Saturday, November 8, 2008
If Triathlon is a solo event, why can’t I do it alone?
Pre Race Days
While I really wanted to ‘take it all in’ and be a part of the action, I was most concerned with staying calm. To date, I had not felt real anxious or nervous and I wanted to maintain that feeling. I went through all the cursory requirements, got my numbers, chip, goodie bag, walked through the expo once and that’s about it. Angie was the biggest trooper and waited with me in every line. It was nice to have company and a distraction that was not related to swim/bike/run – we talked about everything but that really. She was even my date to the pre-race dinner and racers meeting on Thursday. Thankfully, she had her Crackberry and was able to stay entertained. The cheerleading part was fine for a while, then, I just wanted to go to bed. If you see her, ask her the difference between cauliflower and chicken. It’s just too good not to share. Anyway, one thing I still don’t understand is why it took some people forever for bike check in. I took my bags to the designated spots, put my bike on its rack space, covered seat and computer with a bag and took off. People were just hanging out in there doting over their bikes. What WERE they doing in there? Even when everyone showed up on Friday nite for dinner – Ryan, Chris, Dad, Aunt Marilyn and Uncle Bob – I wasn’t too jacked up. I don’t know if people believed me or not because everyone just kept asking, are you nervous? I really wasn’t.
Race Day – Saturday, November 1, 2008 – Ironman Florida
Got up early, like everyone, had a couple wheat-free waffles, an egg white, a little coffee, water, grabbed all my crap lined up at the door and rolled to body marking. I dropped off my special needs bags and heard some fellow Excel teammates yelling my name. I think I saw Judy before I heard her. She looked like she was at a dance party, jumping up and down. Again, she was very excited. They were body marking volunteers. I got numbered and a hug (that was nice) and headed in to my bike for a last check, drop my fluids in and pump up the tires. I did all that and wanted to see my family before this day got started. The best kept secret is that all the hotels/condos are open on race morning…why the hell would I stand in line for a toilet that doesn’t flush (port o potty) when I can have a nice warm place with real soap to wash my hands!?! Everyone has nervous guts at this point (except for me, apparently), enough said. We hung in the lobby of the Boardwalk with Chris, Angie, Ryan, Dad, Aunt Marilyn and Uncle Bob. I’m pretty sure they were nervous enough for me. I could see it in their eyes…or maybe they were just tired? Who ‘likes’ to get up before 6:00am, really? Either way, we made our way to the beach. I’m sure I was getting quiet at this point which is most certainly NOT like me. I just kept scanning, scanning, scanning the water and the crowd for ‘my people’ – other participants and cheerleaders. For whatever reason, they made me feel more secure. I think when my feet hit the sand is when it hit me, this is really going to happen, Ironman is here. Holy crap. I still didn’t get too emotional or scared, just excited really. I mean, I spent a year getting ready and this was actually the reward for all that work. I just knew I could put it all together, but how fast? I saw Jere, Mark, Andy, Ken, Nick, Tom, Maura, Dee, Abby, Kris, Rebecca, Jill, Stephanie and Lana. Being there with them made me still think this was a good idea. I think at the point I shuffled my way through the swim corral was when my nerves, my excitement hit me. We shuffled, national anthem, a few hugs, cannon was off, hit my watch and worked my way to the water.
I may be a decent swimmer but I tend to have open water anxiety. I swam this loop a few days before and was fine. However, the Ironman swim was the piece that concerned me the most – not the fact that I could swim the distance – I didn’t spend every freakin Sunday at the lake swimming ~2.5 miles for nothing. It was the bodies, all those bodies hitting, smacking, kicking. I had a plan. I was going to swim on the inside of the buoys and then make the turns where required. Well, hell, you can NOT call that first loop of the Florida Ironman a swim at all (unless you’re fast enough to have clear water ahead), it was water derby. I should have practiced my doggie paddle with my head up more rather than all those hours of actual swimming. I think I got about two strokes for each time I had to pull up my head and look around. The water itself felt good. It was a nice temperature and very calm. It was just flying arms and legs, though. I felt like I was trapped in a washing machine with all my friends. I got kicked so hard in the mouth on that first lap that I had to check to ensure all my teeth were in place. They were and no blood, sweet. There’s really nothing like seeing land after the orgy that is the swim at Ironman Florida. BUT only for a second. You got to get right back in for loop #2. When I picked up my head, I saw Angie standing in the water with her camera. I smiled and then saw my Dad with Marilyn and Bob nearby. Waves all around, grabbed my gel that I had stashed in my boobs, ate it (the gel part), grabbed a cup of water and got back in. JOY, pure joy, the crowd had spaced out and I could actually swim. This was a novel idea. I just swam and tried to take in as little salt water as possible. I must have taken in enough to make my mouth a little raw but whatever. What can you do? I just got to swim that final lap and that was a huge treat because it calmed me back down. I didn’t want to go through that again. As I approached the last buoy, all I could think of was one down, two to go. What a treat. I got my wetsuit half off, hit the wetsuit strippers, asked them for a cigarette since they just ripped my clothes off and headed up the beach to T1. Got to see my people again which is just so damn nice when you’re out there.
This did not go as I had hoped. Apparently, they were out of volunteers to help at this point so I had to get my own bag, get undressed, make an attempt at getting the sand out of every crack and crevice…I was not successful. The hardest part was getting those cycling clothes onto a wet body. I did get some volunteer help in getting that sports bra on…it was choking me, I swear. Threw all that wet crap back into the bag and ran out for some sunscreen. The poor lady standing in front of me didn’t know what hit her – she slapped on some white gu onto my shoulders. I looked at her and said we’re friends now, right? She nodded with her little surgical gloves on and I opened up the front of my jersey for some sunscreen on my neck and chest. I looked like I had on a bad Halloween costume – sleeveless jersey + arm warmers and white gu all over me. I headed to my bike, grabbed it, got stuck in the mount area with people who don’t know how to get clipped into their pedals and did everything I could to get the f out of there. If they can’t clip in, then they certainly can’t have the greatest skills on the planet. I’m not getting taken down by some joker.
I knew this would be the longest part so I tried to just settle in and not get too excited about anything – the wind, the peletons, the blocking and every other penalty you can imagine. I just picked a gear, then went one easier and rolled on. I would not fight the wind or a hill just knowing that there was a damn marathon ahead. I had two things to look forward to on the bike – special needs and my family and friends in the 50-70 mile range. At mile one I had to pee, as I passed each port o john on course, there was a line. While I wasn’t going to set any cycling record, I didn’t want to take that kind of time. The guys were just peeing everywhere and thanks to the guy in front of me peeing while he was on his bike…jeeze, you could’ve given me some kind of warning to get the hell out of the way rather than take on your pee spray. So, I held it, thinking that a UTI would be a small price to pay at this point. Between the pending UTI I was sure to get, all I could think about was all the sand that was rubbing me in all the wrong places – in my drawers and under my sports bra. I stopped for my special needs bag at ~50 mile marker, grabbed my peanut butter and honey sandwich and slammed half a coke and took off. With sandwich in hand, I tried to eat. I got most of it down; just knowing it was a must even though I didn’t really want it. I think one of the course photographers got a picture of me and my sandwich or a mouthful, not sure yet. After that, I had another milestone to look forward too, ‘my people’ were just up ahead (we planned it in advance so I knew they were close by). I’m not sure if I heard or saw them first but Andy, Ken, Nick, Stephanie and Danella were all there going nuts. It was SO very nice. I also knew this was my chance – I set my bike on their car and dropped my drawers. A pee never felt so good. I know it wasn’t ‘legal’ but I just HAD to go. Ken was afraid to touch my bike (outside assistance) but I’m pretty sure he stood there on one leg holding it up with his other leg. I didn’t even make it to the woods, just the edge of their car and peed on the wheel (sorry guys but I couldn’t wait). Ever have a pee actually put a smile on your face…it was that kind. I know they were all talking and telling me I was doing great. I really didn’t know how I was doing since my POLAR bike computer was on the fritz. Got back on my bike and was wondering where Ryan, Angie and Chris were? I thought they’d all be clustered together and then I had the most incredible sadness, they didn’t make it, they didn’t make out to the course, they were late, got stopped, something. I really was bummed out and THEN I looked up at the next aid station and saw all of them – my hands were in the air so they knew it was me (it’s so hard to tell people apart at 18-20mph). They were yelling but I was still confused. Angie is bigger than life so I saw her first, she was front and center, camera in hand. Then I looked around and saw Ryan on one side of the street with a Gatorade and Chris on the other with water in his hand??? (Post race I learned that they were all drafted into the aid station nearby. Apparently, the volunteers just didn’t quite have it together, how to pass off etc. Chris and Ryan to the rescue!) Family was there too, cheering me on. It’s hard to put the feeling into words. I pride myself in ‘being able to take care of myself’ – call it the only child syndrome – but I just have always been OK with alone time and sixish hours on a bike is a lot of alone time. I trained for that, being alone in my head with my thoughts. BUT there is NOTHING like that kind of boost at that point in the day. It was just the best, the lift I needed for the end of that ride. Just to see their faces…After seeing them, I lived on that high for ~20 miles and then I was done. I was over the bike, the sand in my crotch, the sand in my bra and my neck that was on fire. I squirmed, adjusted and moved around a bunch in those last ~40 miles or so. With the wind at my back, I took advantage of that feature and rolled on. I could see condo row. I was so close that I could taste it, pass the restaurants, pass the condos, pass the t-shirt and airbrush shop, I’m there, I’m there. OMG, it was like the angels were singing, ahhhh, off this effen bike. It felt fantastic to get my feet back on the ground. Ryan asked me post race – what were you feeling/thinking when you got off the bike? Was it, holy crap, there’s a marathon ahead or I’m so happy to be off the bike and do something different? The answer IS – happy to be off the bike and do something different. I didn’t obsess about the marathon. I just wanted to get feet on land.
Got my bag and wanted to work on getting the sand off me. The nicest young little girl was ‘assigned’ to help me. We chatted a little and they are raising money for their school – NA Sports must give money to the various volunteer groups. She was great, unpacked my bag and laid everything out so I could choose what I wanted. I opted NOT to change my sports bra with all the sand (wrong decision) and put on nice, dry, comfy run clothes.
I trotted out and saw my Dad, Aunt and Uncle first thing. The looked surprised and said, we didn’t expect you so soon and I moved on. My guts were flipping. I didn’t want to take any food or fluid in just yet because I wasn’t feeling so good. I pushed on. I saw Chris, Angie and Ryan at mile 4 and all I could think at this point is that this is going to be the longest run of my life. I stopped to talk to them for a minute and I’m sure they thought the same thing, uh oh. We have a problem here. I saw Ken, Andy, Nick and crew just before that but I don’t know what I said, I wasn’t feeling good at all. I had to adjust my fluid and nutritional plan. I could not take in one more damn gel so I started on water, Gatorade and other buffet items they had to offer (banana, orange, grapes, pretzels). My guts were still funky so I stopped at the port o john – never trust a fart, I always say and now is the time to heed my own warning. Thankfully, that’s all it was. Mmm, I’m feeling better. OK, I can do this. Chug, chug, chug. I chose a ‘gear’ I felt I could maintain all day long, chug, chug, chug. I walked the aid stations and grabbed some buffet items and forged on. I looked at the pain in those that were turning back on this two loop run, they were hauling ass. Certainly, they were on their second loop already and heading home to the finish lined – they must be or they wouldn’t be shooting their wad like that or would they? Chug, chug, chug. At mile 9ish, there they were again, Ryan, Chris and Angie and I was feeling tons better. Angie ran with me for a minute which was really nice to talk to a friend. We also came up with a plan for the finish. Side note, I never got into any real conversations on the run, I didn’t meet anyone really. Approaching that finish line in daylight is neat but not for me, I had to turn around and head back out for my second loop. Thankfully, I was still feeling good, as good as you can imagine. I turned back, picked up my special needs bag, pulled out my gloves and took off my sunglasses, handed my bag back to the family so I could keep some of my gear! Knowing it’s my last lap was all I needed, the end is near. I saw the Nashville crew again at mile 15-16 and they went wild and then looked perplexed. Andy ran next to me for a couple of minutes and asked if I felt as good as I looked, actually, yes, I do feel good. I think they were perplexed because I wasn’t so good the last time they saw me. I remember him being there on my shoulder for a few minutes and that was nice…he’s usually running a few yards ahead of me and this time he was just with me. I don’t know if I talked a lot but I do remember telling him that I felt good, better than before. He was happy for me, er, maybe he was just drunk?!? Chug, chug, chug past all the fun cheering sections, past all the fun and cheerful volunteers and into the nite. Running into that park at nite, it’s what I imagine hell to be like. At this point, no one is talking and all you hear are running shoes hitting the ground and an occasional fart – I’m such a kid that it still makes me laugh, the old man walking farts. Then it happens, mile 21, I’m officially in the 20’s, hell yeah. This is working, chug, chug, chug. I didn’t walk the whole way, other than the aid stations to eat. I didn’t want to walk, just wanted to keep on moving, I couldn’t have the walk ‘happen to me.’ (Richard worked on this for me very hard, do NOT let it happen to you.) Everyone around me is walking and I’m just forging on. These are the same people that were flying by me earlier and now they’ve resorted to walking. My plan worked! My feet are sore, my neck hurts, I can feel the blisters on my feet, mile 22. I hook up with two people chatting like it’s a walk in the park and I hook on to them. They were so nice. It was pitch black and all I could say was I’m really a nice person but I can’t talk right now, can I hang with you? They pulled me in, didn’t make me talk and I ran with them. They would check on me just to see if I was OK and all I could muster was yes, I’m OK, just tired. Mile 23, a 5K to go, this may be the slowest 5K of my life but I got it in the bag. Mile 24, the slingshot, I can see it above my head lighting the nite. Mile 25, drunk cheerleaders, lots of them yelling my name, high fives all around (I even told the guy my hands/gloves were full of boogers and he didn’t even care), Nashville crew leaning over the fence so far I thought they were going to fall. I look up and see the arch, the finish line and now it’s my turn. I thought I’d get all choked up but I was on the ‘other side’ – I was so thrilled and excited that I couldn’t stop smiling, yelling, cheering, arms in the air, finish line at 12:20, hell yes! Wow, this is what it’s like. #2207, Jennifer Hulbert from Franklin, TN, YOU are an Ironman. YES I AM and I wouldn’t change a thing.
Lessons I learned along the way and the things I did that worked…besides training, that goes without saying…
Stayed calm the whole way, didn’t get too excited, that just = wasted energy. Reign in the energy and use it when you really need it.
Since I wasn’t freaked out, I got good sleep every nite before the race and even Friday nite before the race.
I refused to ‘do math’ all day long and try to figure out when I was going to finish. I had an idea of when I needed to be where but I was not trying to get it down to the minute. I decided on the front end that I wanted to take it all in and enjoy the day (advice from Andy). Part of that meant not doing math all day long trying to figure out when I’d finish.
I also refused to worry about things outside my control – weather, bike mechanicals, etc. The only thing I could do was be prepared for those things and not fret, fretting would get me nowhere. Stick to your plan, adjust when necessary and keep moving forward no matter what. You’re only excuse is if you’re being hauled away in an ambulance – otherwise, you’re moving forward (Thanks Triswami!).
Do some of your long workouts, rides, runs, bricks solo (Ken’s advice) - you have to train the mind and the body for this very long day. I knew when my mind would ‘go’ on me and I also knew how to manage it when it did.
Finally, maybe the biggest lesson that I learned, I DO need people. I need MY people, my family, my friends and even kind strangers. While I can be very bullheaded and don’t like to show weakness or my ‘need’ for others, I DO need them. I needed all of them along the way, in training and during the race, all for different reasons. I needed Ryan to just help me keep the rest of my life on track through all of this. I needed my training partners to answer every stupid question I had regarding Ironman and give me their $.02 along the way. Oh, and to keep me honest and make me show up when I didn’t want to. I needed my family, my Dad, Aunt, Uncle, cousins in my corner just to hold me up. I needed my friends to give me the reprieve from training when I needed it and to allow me to be me. I am very proud of the fact that I have surrounded myself with people that I can be myself with 100% of the time. While I DO know what’s appropriate and when, it’s just nice to be yourself, not the edited version, just you and they like you anyway.
I’m lucky, I’m grateful, I’m still a little tired and sore but more than anything, I am an Ironman.
Will you do it again? Did you sign up for next year? How are you feeling, mentally, physically? These are just a few questions that have been thrown at me and the answers are –
Yes, I will probably do it again, someday.
I did NOT sign up for next year. While it was an amazing experience and I loved and hated the training all at the same time, I’m not ready to make the decision to do it again. I need to get some balance back into my life. The problem is, I don’t know what that means any longer. I don’t know what I DID before I did this!?! I have to spend some time to figure out what I’m supposed to do now. I’m going to take the dogs for a walk and find a place for yoga. That sounds like a great plan right. I just don’t know what people do with all their time.
Mentally, I’m trying to wrap my brain around what just happened. Did I really do that? Yes, but it still doesn’t seem real. I will never forget the arch, the finish line and that feeling.
Physically, I just want to eat and sleep. The problem is, I’m exhausted but I can’t sleep. I sleep for a while and then I’m awake and I’m fidgety. My everything is just a little sore but I can navigate stairs just fine.
Now the question becomes, now what? I’m not sure of the answer but I’ll let you know if I figure it out.