Thursday, October 30, 2008

New Friends, registration complete, best bike rack spot ever!

Angie and her new,pink crackberry. She's had it two days and knows more about it than I do!

All I have to say is if you're looking to find new friends, bring one "Angie" with you. We can't get down the street with 'people' falling in love with her - men, women, children, dogs, everyone. Hell, she talked a guy out of his banquet dinner ticket for tonite, for free. See, they were sold out of dinner tickets, he was walking through with a boot on his foot, I asked - are you racing? Knowing full well there's no freakin way. I asked if he had an extra dinner ticket, Angie smiled at him and he handed it over. Unbelievable. She should have asked him for money and anything else he had in his bag. Jeeze.

Registration is officially official. Got my numbers, chip and all that good stuff. Still not freaked out yet, even though it's 'real' now. Had a great swim - other than the fact that Andy's wetsuit took a bite out of my shoulder. Otherwise, it was really great.

Um, my bike is on the rack next to the transition bags, next to the changing tent, next to the toilets...perrrrfect. Seriously, it couldn't be any better.

More to come as it happens!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I'm Off!

Rolling out of here shortly for PCB. It's just hard to believe this has been a year in the making. Holy Crap. I will try to update the blog with pictures and event notes while I'm there. Thanks for all the wishes and look for me - #2207, Jennifer Hulbert on Athlete Tracking,!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Jam Out with your .....

For those that will be in FLA, look for me...I'm working to get this onto my lime green top for the run. If anyone has seen Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay, you know what scene this is from.
Well, a week from tomorrow is the day. Weather looks like it has potential - but I don't trust any forecast this far out. Only a few more things to do before we depart - like get the POS Thule bike rack that I just bought in working order. I would most certainly NOT recommend Thule. I'm in a pinch so my father in law is re-engineering the damn thing to get my ass to Florida - no time to return or exchange.

Let's do this thing. I'm ready.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Last Open Water Swim, kinda...

Note: for those 'creepy internet friends' tuning in to ironmanlive on race day, I'm #2207, Jennifer Hulbert, Missy is my nickname. THAT is another story for another day. TUNE IN and send all your good ju-ju, mojo, prayers, whatever you've got in you, send them my way.

The weekend started like this...we were doing a swim, bike, run and it was cccoooold at the start. As you can see I was skerd. I actually haven't done the full deal in a while so I wasn't totally sure how it was going to go.

As you can see, everyone else was much more relaxed about the whole thing. It was only to be 45 minutes in the pool, 3 hours on a bike and an hour to run, no big whoop. Ah, 3 hours on a bike, now that actually sounds like FUN.

No broken cooter bones or nothin'.

It was a great workout without incident. Sunday was to be our last open water swim before we hit the ocean! I knew something was amiss when I pulled in and saw signs that said no parking except for slip owners (sailboat marina). I ignored it - it didn't say NO SWIMMING, afterall. I pulled into our usual spot and this is what I found...
I'm all for being hardcore and all but my ass is NOT getting run over by a boat. I waited for everyone else to show, hoping that the sun would burn it off.

This is as far to burning it off as we could get AND when we found out about the sailboat regatta that was going to start at 9:00, we decided that we better hurry up and get into the water and get our swim on before we'd really get into trouble.

This is what 'getting our swim on' looked like today. Now, they did get their feet wet so in my book, it totally counts...not to mention we all drove 30 minutes+ to get to this point.

Kasha was totally IRONBUMMED this morning. Did I mention that the air temp was a cool 40 degrees? She SO wanted to swim but it was not to be for sure - kept pulling me to the waters edge like - what the hell, mom? You're going to drag my ass out of bed all the way here and NOT let me get in. It was a really sick tease. Poor girl. She'll have to wait until next year!

Kim was in a hurry so she just jumped in her car, wetsuit and all, when we said Cracker Barrel would have to constitute our morning 'swim.' She was there!

And seriously, who KNEW that there were wetsuit strippers in the Crack Head Barrel Parking Lot?! Yeah, we got a few looks but, whatever. From parading around in spandex, to running in the park in just a bathing suit, to farmers blows on the bike and belches on the run that could rival a fraternity contest...we've lost all humility. We get darn near naked in a parking lot and don't think twice, we'll put body glide on our nether regions while holding a conversation with someone else and not think a thing about it, we'll borrow any piece of clothing if we forgot our own, even if it's dirty because, by God, we have to get that workout done. I guess it's all part of it - you spend so much time training together, almost more than you're own family, that they just become your family.

Here's to you guys - for making me 'show up' and keeping me honest, to listening to me bitch for hours on a bike when I wanted to kill it, to going slow with me when I wasn't up for it, and for showing up to swim on a cold morning when you didn't have to. It's been a helluva ride and I can't wait to see what the day brings. It's going to be a great day. You guys are the BEST! Thanks for all of it!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

100 Miles and 100 things to think about...

I wish I could say I saw this on my last ride...but this is what we call a Tennessee Bird Dog! HA!

When you're riding 100 miles solo, you have all kinds of time to think, contemplate, visualize race day, think some more, eat a little, pee a little, stop a time or two, think some more, wonder who ever lived in that now abandoned house, who is buried in all these old family cemeteries and who IS that guy that waves to me every week? Does anyone really buy the "tomatoes and corn" from the tomatoe and corn guy (He spells it with an 'e'.)? How many turtles made it across the road today? Do I really look like a tasty treat to that dog? Do they wonder what the hell I'm doing out here? Are the turkey vulchers looking at ME like I'm the one that's dead...and they're just waiting to scrape me up off the ground? What did die over there because it freakin wreaks? Who's yard am I going to pee in? Would they even care if they saw me? If I got caught in a bad storm, would one of the farmers give me a ride home or at least a space in their barn? Do they spay their cats? The list goes on. I bet I came up with 1,000 things to think about last weekend...

I DID have one great revelation on my last 100 miler - that Ironman Medal - has almost NOTHING to do with that ONE DAY and EVERYTHING it took to get ready for that ONE day. As I rode past all my usual spots, same people, same farms and farmers, I came to that conclusion. For sure that medal, that day, is the REWARD for a years worth of preparation and sacrifice...of early nites to bed and long days worth of work outs, missed parties and happy hours, missed meals with family and sandwiches standing over the counter by yourself, eating in the dark because everyone else is in bed already. It's a medal for getting up to run when 'normal people' are coming home from the bar or getting up 'in the middle of the nite' for their first pee. It's a medal for enduring that funky skin infection you got from the nasty lake we swim in every weekend (Abby!), for breaking your cooter bone on the best bike seat on the planet because no one is really meant to sit all the way bent over for ~6 hours (I really do need to use 'that' again you know), for the wart on your foot and the rash in your nether regions. It's a medal for getting up when you didn't want to or going to swim on a cold nite when the only thing on your mind is hot chocolate and a fire. It's a medal for your family that held you up when you wanted to give up and for being proud of you in the process - side note - one of Ryan's favorite things, in a mixed crowd of non-triathletes...some how it comes out that I'm doing Ironman and the conversation goes like this (picture 35ish, drinking, smoking, 20+lb overweight guy) - Ironman is HOW long, 2.4/112/26.2, WOW, how long will that take you?, I don't really know yet, I've never done one but I've got 17 hours to finish. Wow, you know, I could do the bike and run part but I just can't swim, Oh really, yeah, the swim can be tough for people. (Here's where Ryan, my greatest defender comes in) - Oh, you could do the bike and run part, reeeeaallllly? Well, Missy's ride will start at 5:30 tomorrow morning and go until about 11:30, then go out for a run afterwards for good measure - you STILL ready for the bike and run part? That usually shuts them down pretty quickly. It's hilarious, but I digress.

The medal, the day, it represents so much, so much more than 140.6 miles. Until now, I never really understood why people dragged their families across the finish line at Ironman. Now, I know why AND I also know why MY family will make me go it alone. I can't believe this 'year' is almost coming to an end. Kind of makes me sad and happy all at the same time.
Sorry to get sappy on all y'all, I try not to get too serious because, well, that's just boring.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Phases of Ironman Training

Ironexcitement - You've just decided that you're going to register for your first Ironman race. You're totally excited at the prospect and you may have just watched one know that will be you in about a year. It may look something like this.

This was taken at Ironman Florida 2007, the year I signed up. Our Nashville crew members are known as professional Ironman cheerleaders. This is what Ironexcitement looks like. You know you're getting ready to watch Ironman knowing this will be you, knowing that this is going to be a great day, knowing that your friends are getting ready to start a very long day. Somehow, you think that THIS is still a VERY good idea.

Ironpumped - You're training, playing and racing your way through the year with friends. You have a couple of good to decent races and you're Ironpumped. You're pumped because you may have set a PR and because you still felt pretty good at the end. This was taken at Gulf Coast - the mandatory pre-race recon half ironman - while I felt like I was in a dishwasher during the swim, I was pumped that I met my goal, got an IV and a beer. Pumped.

Ironrelaxed - You're well into your ironman 'year', you've done a couple of half ironman races, and the thought of a 3-4 hour ride isn't as daunting as it used to be. It, actually, sounds like fun and might look something like this...You joke when you think about a 'long ride' ...ha, ha, ha, do YOU remember when a long ride was 20 miles? Do you really remember that? I do since it wasn't THAT long ago for me, <5>

Irontired - Everything is starting to take its toll and you're needing extra sleep or a nap after that long ride. It's still manageable, you just need some extra rest.

Ironhungry - This would be the point where everyone starts to look at you because you've finished your plate and you've got your fork in theirs and they're not done quite yet. You may also be waking up to eat fig newtons on your bed stand in the middle of the nite, I'm just sayin.

Irontard - I don't think I need to explain much here. This is one of my favorite phases and times - this is the point in training that you can't reason and have NO rationale. You're exhausted, you're hungry and working out has, literally, become a part time job.This is what my triswami does to me. He turns me into an irontard, gets me all hypoxic on my run workouts and then starts talking to me like I can freakin speak or something. Another irontard moment you may be familiar with is in the pool...when you're supposed to do a 200 something or other and you just can't count THAT many laps, you look at the guy next to you and he doesn't know either, jeeze!

Ironmad - You've had enough, enough is enough (see previous post to see what this looks like). You're tired of being tired, you're tired of the fact that the rest of the world is going out for dinner and drinks and you have to go home to clean a bike, change a tire, pack a gym bag or something equally exciting. Yep, you're mad.

Ironbitch - Very similar to ironmad but you go 'bitch' on the people that love you and help you the most. What's for dinner, what do you mean what's for dinner, I just got back from a 2 1/2 hour run, get dinner your damn know, that's just not nice. He really WAS just asking a question.

Ironloser - home reading this blog on a Friday nite because YOU have a 6 hour bike ride tomorrow (Hi Michelle!) while everyone else goes out or at least has two beers.

Ironrecovery - Getting ready to start this so I'm not exactly sure what it will be like...yet.

And the BEST FOR LAST...IRONMAN, We'll just have to see what that phase is like!

Feel free to add other phases to Ironman Training in the comments section - I'm sure there's some I've missed...

One more big weekend, one more big weekend...and then I can sleep. I swear I'm sleepin' in until 6:00 at least!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Death of a Bicycle

A friend of mine (Rebecca) asked me the other day - have you ever had visions of 'killing your bike' ... like lifting it over your head like superman and throwing it as far and as hard as you can? AT THE TIME, my answer was no but I did want to jump in front of a car the other nite at the end of my long run. Oh, how one long ride can change everything.

A time trial bike is meant for one thing, go fast in a straight, flat line. I was sick of all my usual long ride routes and was ready to try something new before I totally freaked out on the same old farmers at the stores I stop in to get water - yeah, I get it, I'm crazy and I just love to parade around in front of your tobacco spitting friends in spandex. So, I ventured was a cool 43 degrees at the start but guaranteed to warm up quickly. I planned an hour out/back to drop all the gear and then finish up the remaining four hours. I was on the Natchez Trace. I've lived here long enough to know, IT'S NOT FLAT OR STRAIGHT THERE but I went to an area that was FLAT-er. Kinda. Suffice it to say, I was cussin' - a lot. Since the route was out and back, for every glorious 40 mph downhill I just knew I had to climb back up and that sucked. No two ways about it.

As I was running out of water on the out, I hit a campsite. Figuring that certainly a campsite would have delicious, cold running water, I went in to hit the bathroom. After filling my bottles and taking a HUGE swig from the water fountain, I spewed it like whale...holy crap, what IS this? This isn't even well water...I can deal with that. This tastes like paint thinner, honestly and truly it tastes like paint thinner. After 10 miles on the return, I just stopped drinking it for fear that it was paint thinner or lighter fluid and I was most certainly going to combust or barf. This did not bode well for the remainder of the hilly ride back to the car. I got back with some kind of killer average going wayyyy longer than I had hoped and totally axed the three mile run. My everything was dry and I was slightly dehydrated on the inside. Until, I saw it, the beacon, the light at the end of the tunnel, I swear I heard angels sing and the clouds parted and there it car. In my car, cold water (fresh, not the paint thinner variety) and a coke. I hammered both, felt like a million bucks and got the f out of there. I swear, I DID want to kill my bike today.

So, I waited to kill it when I got home instead, yep, I had a ceremonial killing of my bike!

So, Rebecca, yes, I DO know what you're talking about and I'm sure my bike and I will reconcile shortly. For now, my ass is chapped (literally) and I feel like a permanent speculum has been jammed in me, my neck is on fi-rah and my legs are full of junk. It's too late for a nap and too early for bed, so we drink beer instead...and tomorrow we swim. For the love of Pete....

Nice face for girl sitting there will her kill after the hunt...nice! I was over this bike!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Ironman Brain Scramble

AH, the Ironman Swim Start, got to love it!

It's official, I have IBS - not irritable bowel...Ironman Brain Scramble Syndrome. I can't hardly put together words, sentences or complete thoughts. I've been in meetings and lost my place completely. While others look at me strangely, those that know, know. I'm beyond tired and I'm beyond hungry. I keep fig newtons on my nightstand because I can't make it through the nite and I can fall asleep on the toilet. I fall asleep within two minutes of hitting the pillow only to awaken to pee (I'm very well hydrated) and eat a fig newton (I'm starving).

After this very hard, long week, we start to see the light - the light of a recovery week, the light of Ironman right around the corner, the light of the 'sling shot' (Nick says this is a must do ride) in Panama City Beach, FL as you approach the finish line. I swear, that's all I can think about when I'm out running these days...just think about the lights, when you start to see the lights, you're almost home free. Free from what, I'm not so sure, but you're almost home, you will be an Ironman. Last nite, however, I was possessed with miles 15-24 of the run. As I was finishing my 2:30 run last nite, I thought I was going to jump in front of the next car during the last 20 minutes, I was SO over it. I just wanted to be home, home with my family, home with the dogs, home with a beer. All I could tell myself is THIS is what miles 15-24 are gonna feel like so get over yourself. This will be the true test of wills, for me.

To all my friends that I'm neglecting, I'm sorry. To the friends and training partners that I DO talk to right now, I'm sorry too because I'm not making much sense right now. I've been given assurance that IBS will pass and I will return to normal, or normal for me, at least. Thanks for hanging in there with me. It's less than a month away, holy shit! Didn't I just sign up last week!?

IronMissy - it's official!

IronMissy - it's official!
A vision in green!