Sunday, November 30, 2008

Me, My Wart, My Magnus, My Ironman!

Much to my surprise, Ryan was more than happy to help document this piece of nastiness. He said - I love you but man you're disgusting! Well, I can't help it. I walked into the dermatologists office and said, I think I have an underground wart (a month before IM, I've never had one before), she said, you have an underground wart, blah blah, some official name - she scraped it, froze it and told me to put the salicylic acid and duct tape on it twice a day. Here's what it looks like after five days of this process....WTF, it has texture, yes, it has texture, 3-D texture. I spent at least 30 minutes today trying to peel away dead skin. So gross. This can't be right, can it?! Ironman, the gift that keeps on giving, I swear, more damn weird bodily stuff...
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.
I can't believe it's been one month since 'the day' - Ironman day. I'm still living in the moment but if I don't get my sorry ass off the sofa soon and 'really' move, not just fake move, I might just have to hibernate and fatten up for winter OR go on the Biggest Loser. Beer, the fireplace and some football, yeah, now THAT's a great way to spend a Sunday. UNTIL Ryan said - hey, want to go ride this week? BRRRR BUT YES, haven't seen a bike in month. Let's get those headlamps charged up! This finishing photo looks like a third grade school picture where Mom said - smile big and keep your eyes open, don't you think? OR just maybe I am THAT surprised at this point..

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Can't Touch This!

I'm sorry but this is just too good not to share. Can you believe this redneck crap? I love it. The naked mullet of the 80's, oh maybe it was last just never know. It truly does take all kinds.

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 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

Triathletes obsess about...

Yep, they obsess, discuss and even debate bodily fluids and other strange bodily things, how nasty they are, how to get them out and what they look like when it's over. Example: whole blog postings on poop (Lana, it was freakin hilarious). OK, why is it hilarious - because your not 'supposed to talk about it' and we all do it, hopefully, each least once...unless your on a long run and your gut turns and then it might be more than once...but I digress. So Saturday nite, a group of us go to a local bar. What does the conversation turn to? Yes again Sherlock, peeing, did you pee on the bike, how do you pee on the bike, pee in a wetsuit is warm, a guy peed on me without even giving me the wave by - I was wondering what was getting me wet until I looked over. (Seriously dude, you could just give me the wave instead of peeing in my face.) Ironically, this lovely piece of tri life happened to three of the four of us that did IMFL.

This, in fact, happened to Rebecca (below). Hers was the best - dude was in a speedo peeing on her...nice, not even a hint of padding to help with absorption. She's fast enough to ride with the guys in the speedos!

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

Laughing Hard is Underrated

Well, the fairy tale has ended and Titans are at 10-1, not the 11-0 we hoped for...a few sketchy ref calls and Titans not playing up to par amounted to a loss. That would be an interesting conversation in the locker room since this team doesn't know what it's like to lose, they don't know how to mange it and the feelings that go along with it. As long as they get it together to beat the Lions, dear God...

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

The Happiest Pee Ever!

I had to go so bad I didn't even I know how happy I really was, the look on my face is priceless. That is the look of pain leaving the body...or at least leaving the bladder! Who knew it was documented on film, nice. Oh well!

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

High School Quarterback

I totally feel like the high school quarterback who keeps trying to relive the glory years..and the guy is in his mid30's or greater. It's totally pathetic and I was actually at a party recently and had to sit next to 'that guy.' I finally wanted to say, yeah, what are you doing NOW, what about NOW, but I digress. Well, I'm going to be the HS Quarterback for a while longer and relive MY glory days, Ironman - hell, it was only a couple weeks ago. I'm sure the high will subside at some point, right?

This is actually a hilarious get one guess when and where it was taken....

...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

10-essee Titans, Thank you very much!

Well, it's looking like I need to start saving for those playoff tickets, woohoo. The Titans are killing it this year. While most of our wins are NOT pretty, a Win is a Win and I'll take it. We've been season ticket holders and regular game attendees since they played in Memphis and then at Vanderbilt Stadium here in Nashville. It's very exciting!

In fact, I left swim early so I could catch the game on TV. Speaking of workouts, they are really hard right now. It's like I'm fatigued to the core. Friday, I grabbed Magnus...

...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

Ironman Tidbits...crap I'm just remembering now!

Here's a picture of my ass AND two Excel team mates body marking me on Ironman morning. It was so nice to have a familiar face AND documentation of how small my ass got...I'm sure it won't last...the Ironass!

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.

A drunk cheerleader went to give me a high five on the run at night (I had gloves on, see above). I told him I’ve been wiping my nose with these gloves all day – he said he didn’t care and high fived me anyway. You got to love the spirit of the crowd!

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

36 Things I've Learned in my Last 36 years

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....

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Play nice with others…unless they are in your same age group.
  4. Be kind to strangers…they may be a volunteer at your next event.
  5. Running slowly with a friend may be more beneficial than turning a PR alone.
  6. People think I’m funny, Dogs worship me as a goddess, I will now be known as the Funny Goddess of Franklin.
  7. 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.
  8. Ironman is one of the greatest things I have ever done.
  9. If swimming, biking and running were the most fun things we did as kids, are we really just big kids?
  10. Negative people suck the life out of me…I don’t hang around those people, I like the life part.
  11. 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.
  12. Always pack a pre-packaged baby wipe – they have many uses from wiping a baby to wiping yourself.
  13. Happy Hour is not just one Hour.
  14. 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!
  15. Friends will come and go. Good friends are the ones that bring you drugs or soup when you are sick.
  16. Mom was always right, you should try to pee before you leave the house, every time.
  17. Laughter can be the best medicine but sometimes Percocet is the perfect medicine.
  18. I don’t like getting up before 6:00am, I’ll do it but I don’t have to like it.
  19. Peeing in a wetsuit can keep you warm on a cold morning.
  20. A massage and a glass of wine is just the perfect way to end any day.
  21. 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.
  22. Loyalty is an underrated quality in people.
  23. Never sit on an unkown toilet seat. There could be creepy crawlies under the seat.
  24. Tell other people that your are proud of them for their accomplishments. We don’t hear that often when we’re older.
  25. Work is work and play is play. Why can’t I get paid to play?
  26. 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.
  27. 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.
  28. 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?
  29. Say I love you to your family every nite and every time you part. It could be the last time you see them.
  30. Fighting is for boxers and cage fighters, arguments and discussions are for families.
  31. 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.
  32. 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.
  33. Eat dinner with the TV off once in a while. There’s not much good on anyway, especially the news.
  34. 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.
  35. Picking up the yard after two dogs is the worst job in the house.
  36. 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

Popeye and my first post ironman run

Now WHO is ready for some FOOTBALL!?! (Hey now, Titans are 9-0!)

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

Ironman, the long Version - If Triathlon is a solo event, why can't I do it alone?

Grab some coffee, grab some beer, this is a long one...more pictures shortly but people have been asking me about my 'long ' race report so here it is...

Ironman Florida 2008 Race Report – the long version
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.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Ironman, the short version

Me with Dad - obviously before the swim start. Who looks more scared? I think he was afraid or anxious enough for the both of us.

Besides being one of the greatest friends on the planet, Angie is a great travel buddy. I mean, everyone should travel with a professional photographer!

This is one of the first emails I sent to my friends and training partners. This is the short version. My long winded version is about six pages long so far. I will post it very soon.

I still haven't really comprehended what just happened. It's weird. Ryan asked me what part was not what I expected and I couldn't really come up with much. I knew the first swim lap would suck ass and it did. I got kicked in the mouth and had to check for teeth. The second lap was fine, no issues. I wasted too much time in getting my wetsuit half way off in the water but whatever. This is my standard reaction as I see 'my people' throughout the day.T1 was crappier than I had hoped, had to find my own bag, attempt to get some of the sand out/off and put clothes on a wet body - while trying to body glide/lube everything I could. The bike was good. I stopped twice - once for special needs sandwich and coke and the longest pee ever on your car (sorry about that). I had to pee at mile 1, I swear. I could hear Richard in my head (great) telling me to pick a comfortable gear and then go one easier, I did and it worked. I also refused 'to kill myself' in the wind. I just backed off to save myself.

T2 was better but no records set. Had this poor little girl help me get changed - she wasn't tall enough to get the good spots. I took off on the run and knew it was too fast. Again, picked a gear I felt like I could do 'all day long.'. I felt like shit the first 6 miles, my gut was killing me and thought it was going to be a long nite. I changed my nutritional plan on the run to compensate for the bad gut and the fact I couldn't take in one more effen gel. I just alternated foods at the buffet and it worked. I didn't really go with my plan to walk a minute every other mile and just tried to get in what my body wanted when it wanted and walked for that duration. I'm not good at chewing and running. By the time I made the turn around and was heading back to the park, I remember talking to Andy. Yes, I was still feeling good at that point. I was just feeling like the end was in site now because I got a glimpse of it at the turn around. Miles 18-22 were the hardest mentally but something happens when you get into the 20's on a marathon. I guess you just know you're gonna make it. I didn't think I would have an ounce of energy left for that last half mile but I did. I saw and heard you guys loud and clear (thanks, you all know how much it means). I was so excited, I think I jumped at the end but I'm not really sure.

Pretty sure Ryan is holding me up here. He looks very relieved that 'IT' is over.

Forever a cheeseball, I just can't help myself.

While there are many attributing factors, some of the best/biggest:

Tuesday morning puke sessions with Richard and Andy when I didn't wanna run up that hill one more time and I think I did tell Richard to shut the hell up a few times (I'm sorry and thanks).

I truly didn't get all jacked up. I didn't get nervous until I was standing at the beach, shoulder to shoulder and just calmed my ass down.

I got really great sleep the preceding two nites. I refused to worry about weather, bike mechanical issues and anything else I couldn't control.

While I wanted to go sub 13, I decided that I would not be doing math all day long to figure out when I was going to be where at what time etc. I wanted to take it all in (Andy's $.02) and enjoy my time.

It was a great day - I'm just not sure it has settled in at all. It went by much faster than I thought. I'm sore and I think my hair hurts, getting better, though. All I want to do is eat and sleep right now.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Ironman Florida...

...make it your bitch! While I did not win a 'prize,' I finished in 12:20! I could not have asked for anything more from my body, that's for sure. I will have a full race report and killer pictures shortly. I'm feeling decent. I'm very tired and couldn't sleep last nite. My body was too jacked up. Just ate and I'm heading out for more food in a minute. I don't care to taste Gatorade or eat a gel for the rest of my life. Cheeseburger, fries and BEER, and Titans football - I'm outta here.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Holy Crap

I'll keep this short, holy crap! Got up at 4:00, heading down at 5:15, gun off at 7:00. Thanks everyone for your calls and wishes. I officially do not have my phone on. I feel like I've done the ironman already - I freakin dreamt about it all nite long. BUT I did sleep so that's great. See you on the flip side!

IronMissy - it's official!

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