Thursday, November 22, 2012

2012 Ironman Florida Race Report

Here it goes, my first race report. It's gonna be a long one, I mean it was an Ironman and it took me a while:)  The actual race report is a ways down!

Race week Re-cap

Jon and I arrived to Panama City Beach on Tuesday. We split the trip into two days with an overnight in Savannah, GA that involved some tasty burgers and some sweet potato beer. We left even earlier than we had planned due to Hurricane Sandy. The drive down was overall uneventful. I was just very pleased that our new bike rack kept the bikes safe!

View from condo! Hello PCB!!
There wasn't too much activity going on Tuesday or Wednesday which was nice. Jon, Lynn, Pilot Mike, Kate and I put on our wetsuits and hopped into the very choppy and rough Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday morning. The swells/waves were probably 6-7 feet high. Not kidding. I now know what it feels like to swim down hill. And HOLY salt water. I mean I knew the swim would be in the ocean but I really wasn't prepared for how it would just dry your mouth out and make you kinda want to vomit. I kept telling myself that the water would calm down for race day.

As we had hoped, as the winds calmed down so did the chop. Every day leading up to the race we had short swims, bikes and runs. We rode our bikes around the run course which was as advertised: FLAT as can be. Part of the run took us through a state park where we found two deer that almost let us pet them!  We decided not to drive the bike course which in hindsight was likely a very good decision. More on that later.

New friends on the run course. Crazy close.

Short easy ride

Also with each day, more and more Richmond racers and support crew arrived. There is something truly magical about the days leading up to the race. I won't lie and say that it was as exciting as IMCDA last year BUT I will say that I was over-the-moon excited for Jon and his first IM. I've also never really sought out races that I knew a lot of local people were doing but this year was special. 52+ Richmond athletes were down in PCB. Some I knew and had trained with and others I had just seen pop up on Facebook threads. Regardless, it was pretty awesome to see so many familiar faces and feel his/her support.

New friend in PCB! 13 yo weim!!
Mom and Dad came in on Thursday which was oh so amazing. I know how much my mom hates does not care for flying so it was pretty WONDERFUL that they came down. This would be the first triathlon of mine they would be watching!! That night for dinner we went out to Flamingo Joe's, a local hole in the wall with amazing food. Months ago I had stumbled upon a local PCB triathletes blog and this place was recommended. What  I didn't know was that the owner would have TWO WEIMARANERS out back that she let me love on. I missed my girls so much. It was just what I needed.

Note the tattoo? It's the R-dot or the Richmond Tri Club Logo! Laure had a TON of these made so that the Richmond Folks could be identified during the race. Lilo also had awesome RVA tats made that I stuck on my calf.

A car load of Pro-K peeps arrived on Friday including photographer Bryan, coach Karen, cheerleader Jill and Steve.
Jon's dad and step brother, Sebastian, made it in on Friday and finally sister Shelly and boyfriend Jason! They both volunteered at the finish line. Little did I know that they would be my "catchers".

Race Morning, we headed over to the transition house that Lynn and Kate had rented (amazing, you could see swim start) and started the process of stuffing the sausage (wetsuits on), lubing up and convincing ourselves and each other that the water was calm (it wasn't). Before races, I usually feel pretty calm and I work on just getting into the right mind set: this is gonna be a fun but long effing day.

Pro-K making sure we've got the proper shoulder ROM!
No, he isn't strangling me.
We got some last minute advice from Karen (this involved her telling me to go for a 6-hour bike split, yikes), gave everyone hugs and wishes of luck and walked down to the swim start. I got to see Spring and gave her a big hug. She just learned how to swim and was hopping into the Gulf for 2.4 miles. bad ass.

I kissed Jon good-bye, told him I'd see him on the bike course and made my way to the front lines (because karen told me to) There, I found Sally and swim beast Laure Ray. uhhh she's too fast for me to be around...So then I made my way to the right (because Bob told us to). I looked around me and saw only dudes. Started to panic but then just said "Eff-it, it is what it is"

Swim: 1:12 something (goal: around 1:10)

As the cannon scared the sh$t out me went off, I started making my way through the waves and finally started swimming.  The current was pulling us to the left which was perfect since that's where the buoys were. I had counted 5 yellow buoys until the red turn-around one so I tried to keep track of them. This proved to be very difficult as I was being pummeled by what felt like millions of arms and feet. I got swam over, under, kicked, knocked all over the place. Holy shit panic. Quickly, I calmed down and got over it. There was a dude in front of me that was barely moving his legs but as soon as my fingertips grazed his feet, he started pounding his feet. Really? I'm usually a very nice racer and am known to give out high-fives, 'woo-hoos' and occasional butt smacks.  However, nice Meredith did not like getting her face pounded on so she grabbed the dudes ankle and gave a gentle but firm tug. Problem solved.

The first lap seemed to take FOREVER. It was rough, the water was choppy and salty. I finished the first loop, got some much needed water and headed out for the second loop. I went really wide to the right and found myself swimming alone, away from the swarm of racers. In hindsight, this was probably good since the current helped push me to the left. The second lap was marginally better than the first though I felt like the water was more choppy. I felt like it was taking me at least 2 hours to do this swim.

When I came out of the water, I heard Jill yell out "1:12 mere". I don't wear a watch so this was a surprise.

Excited to see people and to have not died during the swim and rocking the awesome goggle marks. Photo courtesy of Dealio.

 T1 6:37 (Goal: didn't care much)

Since I had already pulled my wetsuit down as I walked in with the waves, it was easy for me to plop in front of the wetsuit strippers and have them yank the legs off. It was NOT easy getting back up though. I stumbled my way to the fresh water showers, pulled my cap off and enjoyed. That is until some pesky little woman came up behind me, pushed me and said, "MOVE". Rude. Actually, that didn't stop me. I wanted that salt water and sand OFF. I grabbed my bag and ran into the changing room. There were TONs of volunteers waiting. I grabbed one and started the process. She was so nice and helpful and actually put on my helmet and socks. (if you ever do an IM, tell the volunteer exactly what you want and they do, awesome) Even after I tossed down a gel, I had a funky taste in my mouth. I had a pack of "magic gum" in my T1 bag. HUGE help to get that salt water funk out.
After thanking the volunteer, I awkwardly ran in my bike shoes to find my bike but this wonderful girl had already pulled it for me so I didn't even have to slow down to get it! Again, awesome volunteers.

After the showers, heading into transition

Bike  Race time: 6:11 something   Garmin ride time: 6:05 something Goal: ummm under 7 hours...

I feel like I could summarize the bike course in just a few words. Flat, pine trees and more pine trees.  Boring. Oh and of course, DRAFT. PACKS.

I took it very easy at the beginning of the bike. My stomach was a touch queasy and I puked 2 times early on but then felt better and could start taking in calories. I was happy to find that my legs felt GREAT. Not fatigued and sore like they were for Patriots Half. The weather was perfect as this point. I was just a little chilly. In the beginning, the draft packs weren't that bad. I got passed by tons of dudes easily and had to remind myself that I didn't need to try and keep up with them. I kept waiting for Jon to come flying past me and I was on the lookout for friends and RVA folks.  The tattoos really helped because lots of Richmond people gave me shout outs as they FLEW past me (none drafting BTW). Bethany passed me pretty early and looked really strong.

Mile 20ish was when I was passed by what I assumed was a draft pack. They went by so fast that I couldn't tell. It was as if I was NOT MOVING. I checked the Garmin which showed I was going 20mph. They must have easily been pulling 27+mph. I just shook my head and kept on. Then the groups of dudes and quite a few females kept coming. I made it a game to yell out different things as they flew by. "nice draft-pack douchebags" "Nice Peloton" were some of my favorites. Shame on them. In a race this size there are times where you can not avoid being in someone's draft zone. But this, this was just blatant cheating. Lame. Enough about that. they suck.

I can't remember what exact mile markers it was but if you do this race there is a HORRIBLE out and back section where the road quality is awful. I saw tons of flats here and even one wreck. Every two seconds your whole body and bike would bounce really hard. I want to say it was about 6 miles but I don't know. I am happy that I did NOT know about this section because then I'd just been dreading it the whole time. I'm guessing this is when my bag of salt tabs and gels popped out of my tri top pocket. (So, glad that I had put an extra bag of salt/nutrition in my T2 bag!)

When I made it to the halfway point where the special needs bags were my Garmin said 2:53! And I still felt great! There was a snickers bar calling my name. And more chamois butter. I over-shot where my bag was so there was some back tracking involved. I re-filled my Carbo-Pro bottle and water and tried to eat some of the delicious Snickers but it just wasn't happening so I gave it to the Volunteer.

This is when Lynn caught up to me. We chatted a bit and then we saw Jon heading into Special Needs! I was just happy to see he survived the swim! I knew he would but I wanted to hear all about it. I kept plugging along, enjoying the sun and checking out peoples bikes. I got a lot of comments about my road-bike-without-aerobars. Whatever, works for me. I did see a handfull of other road bikes out there.

The aid stations were not exactly 10 miles apart. Some were more and some were less so that kinda annoyed me especially when I needed to pee. It got so bad at one point that I ALMOST peed my bike using Bob's method that he told us about.

Mile 60-100 or so there was a pretty strong head-wind and I really wanted to tuck in behind the tall guy in front of me. But I didn't. My pace was slowing down but I knew at that point I would definitely come in under 7 hours. I stopped 4 times during the second half due to various reasons so I figured Jon had passed and I had missed him. I was bummed that we couldn't catch up real quick.

As I made my way back to transition, I had a huge smile on my face. I felt great. No saddle issues, no pain and a new bike split PR! What made it infinitely better was seeing sooo many special people cheering for me in the homestretch. The picture below takes me back to exactly what I was feeling at that point in the race. Thanks Bryan for the pic!  Seeing my mom, dad, sister, Jason, Karen, Jill, Kate, JR, Bryan and sooo many more people just made my day even better. I *may* have been cry/laughing at this point:)
This is when I saw family and friends. My cup runneth over.

The Whitehurst clan all in one shot!

T2 3:30 something, Goal: didn't care, just faster than last year:)

I safely dismounted my bike and handed it off to a bike catcher. I. Love. That. Bike.  Easily grabbed T2 bag and ran into the changing room. (This year I marked my bags with an orange ribbon that stood out which helped a lot) Three teenage girls were there to help me. I decided not to change  out of my bike shorts but I did wipe down my legs with a baby wipe, threw on my shoes and Garmin and was ready to go. As I was standing up, fellow RVA triathlete, Amy sat down next to me! She looked great so I wished her good luck and was on my way. Legs felt pretty good. Foot, not so much.

Run 4:47 (goal: to finish)
Typically, the run is my favorite part. Still is, but I just wasn't sure how it'd go this year. The run started off kinda rough. My stomach wasn't feeling that great so I went ahead and took some salt and water coming out of transition. Fortunately, that did the trick quickly. I have very loose plans when it comes to nutrition on the run. I try to listen to my body and again my body said ORANGES. Every aid-station I grabbed a few. Glorious.

I had not done too many T-runs this year in training and my foot wasn't too happy with me. My plan was to run to each aid station and then walk through while I got water/food/etc. This worked out for the first two miles then I  had to walk/run.

The run was a two-loop course that took us through some neighborhoods and a state park. The first section coming out of transition and the first neighborhood section was great! Lots of people, a 'girl zone' which had scantily clad men and women dancing oh, and an old guy dressed up like Elvis. They were fun. After that, the run course became really boring. Once you get into the state park there is another out and back section that lets you see other people. I caught up with Sally and we walked for a while together and I saw Lynn and Bethany. They were both having great races!  My legs still felt good and with the exception of some occasional intense sharp pains in my foot, I was good to go.

I saw Jon a little while after I came out of the State Park as he was going in. I figured that he was on his second loop. We stopped, shared a quick xo and chatted. He had swallowed too much salt water and had GI issues on the bike. Seeing him was a huge boost though and I kept moving along. Somewhere in the final section of hoods I met up with a previously-unknown-except-on-Facebook-RVA person. Ameer and I introduced ourselves and became run-course friends. We did a run-walk thing which was helpful. When we were running we kept a good pace. His original goal was to finish under 12 and mine was to finish under 13 so we decided to stay together. Of course, I had no clue what pace I was going or what time it was so I went along. As we approached the turn-around and special needs bags, I again saw my family and friends!
Love this pic! I gave sweaty hugs to Mom, Dad, Shelly and Jason!

I grabbed my special needs bag which had a long sleeve T-shirt, gummy bears and arm warmers. I took everything out but gave the long sleeve T to Bryan and kept the arm warmers. The sun was going down and I didn't want to get the chills. I shared my gummies with Ameer and some salt tabs with a guy cramping and kept chugging along. (note for future IMFL people, pack a headlamp in run special needs or T2 bag depending on when you will get on run course)

Once we got into the lovely state park again, Ameer decided to go for his sub-12 goal. His Garmin had died so I gave him mine for pacing. I was pretty sure at this point I'd go sub 13 so I kept one foot in front of the other.  I made myself hold out until mile 21 before I started taking the flat coke. That stuff is the shit!  I also gave some chicken broth a try. not my thing.

Around mile 22 in the super dark and boring neighborhood, you could HEAR the finish line. oh so close. At mile 24, I saw Erik with a K and he ran with me for a little bit and let me know that Laure was doing well. At this point, my foot was killing me but I just wanted to be done.

On the way to finish!
ProK found me around mile 25ish and jogged me into the homestretch and gave me a pep talk. She told me I'd get in under 12:30 if I kept pace. Then Bryan and JR ran me into the shoot! I was moving (at least I felt that way, it was but a mear jog for Bryan and JR!) I gave high-5's to Sebastian, Mom, Dad right were the finishing chute started. Further down I saw Holly and Patrick!

I took my time going down the chute this year and enjoyed it! As I crossed the finish line I didn't pay much attention to the time clock but I did see a '12'. Sweet!! The volunteer catcher asked if I was ok and I said yes. I looked up and it was JASON! and then in front of me was sister SHELLY!! perfect ending.

Finish Time: 12:21:19   Goal: sub 13  Secret Goal: sub 12:30

Video Clip of The day!

 After the finish, I made my way to the massage area, got some chocolate milk then headed back to find mom and dad. Shortly after, I saw Jon finish. We went back to the condo, showered, stretched then headed back down to the finish line with some new RVA Ironmen, Shelly and Jason. Awesome experience to watch the final hour of finishers come in!

Great day but I found parts of the course boring. I think this is a good first Ironman because it's pretty straightforward (read: IT IS STILL NOT EASY) It really gets my goat when people label IMFL as the easy Ironman. Nothing about it is easy. I'll likely not come down to race this one again.  The volunteer support was simply amazing but the thing that set this race apart for me was the people. This race was such a special day for me and I'm so fortunate that I got to share it with so many amazing people! Thank you to everyone for your support and cheers!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

No excuses

So, I've been a MAJOR slacker with trying to keep up with this blog. I have a lot of things going through my head and sometimes it just seems overwhelming to put it all down on paper. The main theme for me this year seems to be changing my goals and expectations for IMFL. Due to an injury (not an OVER-USE injury, so I don't want to hear that I do too much). ugh so frustrating.

This Saturday is my first triathlon of the season which sounds crazy that it comes so late but I like to keep my 2 triathlons per year trend going. Never. Ever. Have I gone into a race (run or triathlon) knowing and planning to walk. My mentality has always been, 'why walk when you can RUN?' that, and I love the run.  This Saturday, because of my stupid posterior tib and stupid navicular, I will have to walk. NOT cool but the alternative is not an option. I have considered just not doing the race (this was maybe a 2 second consideration) since I can't go for a PR but that's quitting. Yes, I have an injury which could be an excuse but I CAN NOT STAND excuses. I listen to them everyday. All day.  They grind my gears.

So this half-ironman will not be a PR. Oh well. I will finish even if it takes me the whole 8 hours. I will actually try to push the swim and maybe go a little harder on the bike knowing that I don't have to save my legs for the 'run'. I will even have to eat my words. I once said that I would never buy speed in the form of race wheels, speed suits etc. BUT I AM! wow those wheels do make a difference, plus they sound cool.

Bruiser looks good. I, however, have horrible posture in this pic. Please ignore.

I get asked frequently why I decided to get the M-dot tattoo. We all have our own reasons for getting them. Yes, I am proud of myself for finishing an Ironman. More importantly, I got the tat to remind myself when I am older to keep pushing myself.  No, I may not be doing Ironman when I'm 60 (i hope i am) but I promise myself that I will never be old, out-of-shape (with knee and back pain) and lazy with the EXCUSE that I'm too put excuse here to be active. If I have knee and back pain it will be because I've pushed myself and kept moving and not because I've given up and let myself accept a sedentary life-style.

I will just keep swimming, just keep swimming....and biking and running dammit.

No excuses.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Hills with a side of fog please

Just got back from my FIRST bike ride out on the Blue Ridge Parkway! This was no where on my Training Peaks for this weekend and not even a consideration until yesterday's bike plans kinda sank. I find that sometimes the best trips/experiences are the ones NOT planned. The impromptu nature of this ride prevented me from over-thinking and over-analyzing what this ride entailed (descents).  I did loose some sleep last night though thinking about it and this morning I had jitters similar to what I sometimes feel on race day!

The day did not start off too well but what can you expect when you get up at freaking 4:30. I needed gas but the Exxon up the road wasn't working and for the life of me I could not remember my PIN number. This is the same PIN number I've had for YEARS. I had to scramble to the nearest Sheets and hit the road to meet up with the crew at the park-n-ride.

I enjoyed the ride up to the Blue Ridge with great/easy convo with JB but inside, I was kinda nervous. When we got higher up to our starting point the fog was insane. I couldn't see the car that was 15ft in front of me! When JB mentioned that it may be unsafe to ride, I gotta admit that I was a little relieved. Luckily, Lynn was already waiting for us and let us know that it was clearing up.

When we first started, I felt strangely out of place. The air temperature was in the 70s which seemed cold compared to the 100+ degree temps. That, the fog and the gentle misting made me feel like I was in Forks on an early fall day. Less than ideal to start but I ended up being grateful for the milder temps and cloud cover/fog.

Once my legs warmed up a little, I started to relax and soon I found myself enjoying the ride. It's also important to note that this was my first outing on saddle #3, the Terry.  I was nervous about doing a longer ride on a new saddle but I figured nothing could be as bad as last year. I must say that this saddle  is at the top of my short list. I've tried a many saddles and so far Terry>Cobb>Deva. Thank goodness for people like Craig at RCC that are patient with picky people like me!

During the ride, I kept thinking how lucky we are to have such an amazing place to come ride. There was minimal traffic, amazing views and just clean, fresh mountain air. The fog did make a few of the descents a little sketch and my hands will definitely be sore from squeezing the shit out of feathering my brakes so much.  I snapped this with my POS droid at the top of a climb. I'm getting my Christmas tree from here this year! So pretty!

After about 13 miles of climbing/descending, JB and Lynn went off to do Vesuvius because they are crazy insane good on their bikes. The more sane people, including myself, just did an out and back and met back up with the girls to finish up the ride. Of course, now Vesuvius is a goal of mine now but mainly to check out Gertie's Country Store! what a great name:)

The way back to the cars seemed to be more descending rather than climbing and I found myself remembering all of the advice Karen has given me over the years. I relaxed my arms, pushed my butt back, leveled out my feet. and kept my line of vision out ahead of me. I'm getting the hang of it slowly but surely with every ride I do. Progress.

After about 3ish hours, we made it back to the cars. Some did t-runs while others texted significant others to let them know we survived and some tried to help a cute doggie that clearly didn't want our help. Lynn mentioned Devil's Backbone Brewery and I perked up at the thought of a burger and a beer. We enjoyed an unseasonably mild lunch on the patio which was the perfect ending to surprise impromptu ride. 

And I get to do it again next weekend at the Wintergreen TortureFest!!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Month 3

So month 3 of IM training is here (and now more than halfway over) and I must say that I'm not feeling like I'm training for an ironman. An aquabike, maybe. This is mainly due to NOT running. After a 2 hour run last Sunday, I knew that things weren't going well so now I find myself on a running ban, wearing a brace or getting my foot taped everyday. I'm trying to remain positive about that but with every week that goes by (2 more) I'm feeling less and less optimistic about my posterior tib issues. Dr. B even said the dreaded "s" word.  I told him that this wasn't gonna happen until after November. fingers crossed.

This blog's main purpose was to keep track of my IM training so I could look back and learn from my mistakes for future races or to just reminisce on days where I was active and happy. I'm not feeling happy right now, I'm feeling really frustrated. Not running in addition to a TON of changes at work has left me somewhat of a grumpy monster. I tell patients everyday to be patient and to allow his/her body to heal and I say that knowing that I would probably have a hard time following that advice.

I think the changes at work are bothering me more than I've admitted to myself. It may not be directly impacting IM training but it definitly does indirectly. I love my job and love my co-workers but over the past couple of weeks we've lost two PTs and gained a new-grad, a new part-time and soon a new PTA.  There was even talk of another new hire. After 5 years of experience, I find myself as the "old" therapist.

I will miss Chris and his goofy ways. We worked really well together and balanced each other out. We got work done but still managed to have fun. I take pride in the fact that most of our patients loved coming in because of the great dynamic we had. bye chris:(

I will miss Dan who I've known for almost 10 years and who I respect tremendously as a therapist and a person. I will miss our chats about bikes and our conversations about his son, Rudy, who is now a kick-ass pro-triathlete.

The good news is that the new PT, A, is a super fast runner. Like a sub-three-hour marathon runner! Annnnd I'm pretty sure I can convince him to do an Ironman with me! Or at least get him into triathlons.

.....several weeks have gone past since I first started that post. I still don't feel like I'm training for an IM so nothing has changed on that front. That just makes me anxious to make plans for next year. Since this year probably won't turn out like I had wished, it is time to make new goals for IM Florida AND save my time goals for next year!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Back on track

Yesterday, I survived my first track workout post ankle sprain despite the heat/humidity and lovely aroma of manure! Freeman was fertilizing the football field so that was an added bonus. So refreshing. I wanted to puke before the workout even started. Not good.

Karen, of course, made it a tough work out but the Pro-K crew made it much better and kinda fun. (in a weird bryan-deal-kinda way) We did some 800s, descending by every 400, some relays and then a timed mile. The ankle felt OK but I didn't want to push it much. It felt great to be back out there and sweat like that even though I was pretty whiny before going. Ok I was A LOT whiny but I sucked it up anyway.

On Sunday, I did about 11 miles with Millie and Gertie and it was amazing. No ankle sprains or surprise dog attacks were involved this time. I finally felt normal running again. Running is truly my happy place. I can plug in the Ipod (don't judge me) and get in a zone and work out all my thoughts/concerns/worries. Not much makes me happier than waking up early(ish) on Sunday and running through RVA with M & G. There is no pressure, no one asking me questions no worrying about checking the Garmin. Just me and my tunes and sight of the girls' happy, wagging tails just makes me smile. Plus, any run that starts with 'baby got back' is going to be a good run!

Still working on teaching the dogs the importance of negative splits but they aren't catching on very well...

Also, new to this year is YOGA and more massages! I'm fortunate with my job that I am pretty much moving all day. I stretch a lot and don't spend much time sitting down. Last year, I cursed everyone who had a desk job. All I wanted to do at work last year was just sit down and rest my legs. This year, I'm embracing the fact that I'm up moving and getting used to being on my feet for 12+ hours a day. 

After running Sunday, I did a yoga class with the very fit and talented yogi, Becka. It was amazing and I must make this a weekly routine. I'm also getting more frequent massages this year to keep the legs less tight and injury free. Between Becka, Randy-the-butt-man and Carole, my flexibility will improve damnit!

I also committed to going to the Wintergreen TortureFest at the end of July. This scares me, of course, because where there are hills and climbs, there are huge descents. By then, I hope to be even more comfortable on my bike. Lynn told me to put on my big girl panties (love her, she's awesome) and I intend to do just that. It gets on my nerves that I'm such a wuss about descending and it's kinda starting to piss me off. So I'm just going to suck it up and go for it.

I can't believe it has been almost an entire year since IMCDA. I remember it like it was yesterday and I can not wait until IMFL! Though judging by yesterday and the rest of the week, it's gonna be a long hot summer!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

fallin in love..

with my bike of course! Over the past couple of weeks I've had some pretty great and not so great bike rides. I'm trying hard not to do too much comparing of last year and this year IM training but it's pretty much inevitable that it will happen. Especially when it comes to the bike. I guess in order to move forward it is important to, every now and then, look back.

My days of triathlon started the day my good friend Beave said "let's do a triathlon". Without much hesitation, I agreed. I didn't know what I was getting myself into. I went into a local bike shop which shall remain unnamed and bought the first bike the bike shop dude brought out. HUGE MISTAKE!! It was a pretty Cannondale Synapse Road bike. Carbon fork, aluminum frame, shimano components blah blah blah. I didn't know what any of that was but needless to say, it was not the bike for me.

I continued on said bike for 3 summers. At the end of each summer, the bike was unceremoniously tossed into my office and collected dust until Karen told me I HAD to get on it. You could say I neglected the Cannondale but it made me suffer. And not suffer in they way I've come to kinda enjoy on the bike. I was so uncomfortable. Bike guru, Les, gave me a fit that I'm pretty sure was the only thing that kept me from picking up the bike and throwing it in a ditch.

I admit, last year I dreaded getting on the bike and sometimes even cried. I found myself asking myself why I was even doing triathlons if I hated the longest part of most distances. Nonetheless, I stuck with it. I remember one particularly rough day at West Creek Karen said to me, "well you aren't fast but at least you're tough". This be the truth. Come to find out that the unnamed bike shop sold me a bike that was TWO SIZES TO SMALL. No wonder I look like a giant in all my race pictures:)

I do not blame this bike shop, (much) but it just makes me that much more grateful for the bike I have now. I'm happy to report that the Cannondale has been sold to an unlucky UVA student. Ha, good luck  with that! mwahaha

Getting off the bike at IMCDA was the best feeling ever and the cutest old bike catcher man took the Cannondale away from me, after I gave him a huge hug. Poor guy. I was tempted to leave it in transition but just couldn't do it because I had already paid a shit ton to TriBikeTransport to have it sent back to RVA.

Anyways, back to this year. Last Thursday, training peaks said to do a "hilly ride". This means Miller Lane out in Goochland. I started with the fast people and actually took the pull for a good stretch. Last year, I would not have attempted this because they intimidated the mess outta me. They dropped me going down hill which is no surprise but the important thing is that I tried.

Last Saturday, training peaks said "flat, fast 2 hours" .  Again, I went out with people who are much faster than I am and learned a tough lesson. Last year, because I never pushed myself on the bike, I never really had to pay much attention to nutrition. Now that I'm actually trying to push myself, I have to drink and eat. Well I didn't and paid the price. I kept up as much as I could but it wasn't pretty.

Today, I headed out to Lake Anna with a group to do an OWS and then bike. I did about 2 miles sans wetsuit then hopped on the bike for a 60 mile round trip ride. The first 30 miles, I hung with the fast peeps for a while but then they flew off. I trudged along and felt pretty good. We re-grouped after the first 30 and headed back to Lake Anna. I was able to stay with them the entire time. Yes, they were soft pedaling more than they usually do but I didn't drop off even though I wanted to at times! I have to stop being such a sissy on the downhills and I must get more comfortable eating and drinking on the bike.

But when I look back on how bad last year was, I feel excited about the potential this year! I think I can take some time off my bike split now that I'm happy and comfortable on it.  I'm so lucky to have such positive and skilled people around me! Here are some of 'em!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Hello Quads! One month down, 5 to go!

Soo, I have not been on top of the blog as much as I would have liked to have been! However, I now have a spankin' new lap top so that WILL change. I'm going into training this year with a different perspective and want to keep track of it all!

I've got a month of IMFL training under my belt and this year I'm actually tracking what I do on training peaks. The breakdown thus far:

- Bike: 17.73 hours
- Swim: 8.67 hours
- Run: 7.66 hours (not enough)
- Strength training: 6 hours (not enough but 6 hours more than last year!)

Anyone who has known me > 5 minutes knows that cycling is not my favorite! Last year, I had a love/hate relationship with the bike. I loved when I got off the damn thing and started running and pretty much hated every second I was on it. I'm happy to report that this has been remedied by the wise purchase of a new road bike!

BH Cristal Road Bike = much better for Mere than the old Cannondale!  I'd never really heard of BH before this season. I went to see Shawn @ Blue Ridge Cyclery to try out some of the Trek Madone WSD but tried this one out first. It's safe to say it was love at first ride.  Also safe to say that my crotch is now a carbon fiber snob and will not ride on anything else. I can ride over potholes and not feel a thing! yay for carbonfiber.

I may be the only person at IMFL on a roadie BUT at least I will be comfortable riding my new beloved BH. I shall name her Bruiser! We had a great bonding time during the Cap-to-Cap 100 miler. I rode 100 miles during my first month of IM training and ENJOYED it!! Huge progress!

So there is no question that the swim and run are my favorite! I'm feeling pretty decent in the water even though I haven't swam much since CDA last year. I'd like to MAYBE increase swimming from 2 x/week to 3x/week. That may change though as the weeks get harder.

My run doesn't feel quite as strong as it did at this point last year. I ran 2 marathons in the "off" season and felt pretty good but so far for IM training I haven't run much because of an medial ankle sprain. When it initially happened, I thought I'd fractured it and I'd kinda accepted that I may be doing  a LOT of aqua-jogging this year. The x-rays looked good though except now I know that I have an extra bone in my foot. Cool, as long as it's not fractured.

I went on my first outside run this morning with the girls, took it easy and felt pretty good. The longest I've run so far was 13.1 for Monticello Man relay aka the hilliest half-marathon ever. Thank GOD I wasn't doing the bike on that too! The 54 mile bike ride the day before was more than enough for my quads which, by the way, are starting to get HUGE again! I blame Bruiser :)

Looking on to Month #2, my goals will be
1.) Continue to become more comfortable on the bike and descending/handling etc.
2.) Be Consistent with Track (actually go when not injured)
3.) Hit the gym and not just what I do at work with patients
4.) Be patient with my run, I'll get it back