Monday, October 29, 2007

Why, Hello Gorgeous!

Wow! I continue to be simply amazed by the wonderful weather we've been having. (knocks on wood) Doesn't it just ROCK?? How can you not be completely FIRED UP when you step outside into the sunshine and mild temps...I mean COME ON!!

I set out on what was supposed to be an easy 30min run today around Lady Bird Lake (I'm trying, I'm trying!) and was just feeling downright inspired by the weather. I decided with all the fast fun running I've been doing of late to see if I could do the whole 4 mile loop in 30 minutes.

I started out from the annex heading north across the bridge at what I thought should be something like a 5k-ish pace and realized that yes, I really do need a warm-up before starting to try to go after it. So, I warmed up across the bridge, onto the trail and headed east to get to the 4 mile marker on the trail. That way, I figured, I could use the mile markers on the trail and check my splits along the way. (Genius, I know.)

After my little warm up to the marker, I dialed up some good tunes on my GO! playlist and hit it. And I mean, seriously, can you ask for better weather? And the trail wasn't even that crowded. (I guess when you run at Lady of Leisure times, there just aren't that many folks out) The down side was that there weren't any rabbits to pace or folks to ABC and hawk down. The good side was that I didn't have to run around a bunch of bikes, strollers, walkers, etc. (Which normally on an easy run, I really don't mind, but since I was trying to go for time....)

Anyway, here are my splits:

Mile 1: 7:16.18
Mile 2: 7:21.54
Mile 3: 7:24.23
Mile 4: 7:11.46

Total Time: 29:13.41
Pace: 7:18

WOO HOO! Now THAT was fun. Not consistent, but fun. (note to self: work on dialing in and settling into consistent pace) According to my most recent pace calculator thingy, my 5k pace should be 7:14, so I felt pretty good that I was able to average somewhere close to that for the 4 miles.

In my exuberance, I texted my beloved coach Panther to tell him the news. His response:
"That's great as long as that was your easy pace. So tomorrow you'll do sub 6."

YIKES! ...guess I kinda messed up that whole easy on Monday, hard on Tuesday thingy. Sorry Panther! (Sometimes being bad is so much more fun!!!!)

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Sweet 16!!

Pop! It's done! My first 16-miler! WOO HOO!

Now, for many of you marathoners, I'm sure this is no big deal. But this is THE FARTHEST I've ever run!

It had auspicious beginnings as I just realized that morning at 5:30am, I had run out of my favorite endurance shake that I've been taking before big workouts AND I had also run out of my favorite GUs! (Nothing like being prepared! oy.)

So, I tried a different breakfast option and then borrowed some GU from a friend, not my fav flavor, but beggars can't be choosers, right?

Started out with a nice, easy, slow, long run pace as a part of the fearsome foursome: me, Nick, Michael and Dave. (Ala Panther's recommendation of you cannot go too slow on a long run.) We settled into a nice groove and were just chatting along. Well, except for Dave, he was still really tired so he just ran quietly. ;)

Well, the new breakfast was a bust and around mile 4 or 5 (near the second water stop, I think) I had to make a pit stop at a coffee shop. The boys were nice enough to wait for me at the water stop. Well, nice, except for the amount of ribbing and heckling I received after I was FINALLY ready to proceed! ("Now, we have to warm up all over again." "You are killing my pace!" "My garmin thinks the workout has ended!" yada, yada, yada.....) Seriously..it wasn't really THAT long...sheesh.

The next couple miles went along swimmingly. I found out that Michael doesn't drink..ever...but we still like him anyway. Dave believes in relying more on stored energy during training runs rather than taking GUs. And that given 10 hours of sleep, Nick can literally talk non-stop for almost 3 hours! ;)

Mile 8 was when I had decided to take my first GU (I vaguely remember Sisson telling us during half marathon training that in the half, if you don't take it by mile 7, forget about it..because after that it isn't going to do you any good.) Ripped it open and...YUCK! Did not like the flavor at all....in fact, I couldn't even stomach the rest. So I pitched it, made a silent prayer to the run deities and proceeded on. Guess I'll be taking Dave's approach today...and lord knows I have plenty of "stored energy" that should be tapped.

Saw Panther around mile 11-ish...he looked hungover. I'm sure he was out howling at the moon the night before...or whatever it is that Panthers do....

Was still feeling strong when Wiley went screaming by us around down near campus somewhere. All I heard was a whoosh and a chant "Always Be Closing...Always Be Closing.." and then just saw a pair of skinny, pastey, scrawny legs motoring down the road. As much time as those legs spend in the sun, you think they'd have a little color! It gave me a good giggle for at least a mile. Thanks Wiley.

I was feeling really good, so Nick and I decided to pick up the pace for the last 5k and bring it on home. Upon arriving at the annex, I felt GREAT!!!! Yes, my legs were a little tight and I could feel my knees talking to me a bit....but otherwise I felt AWESOME!

Granted, getting to 16 from 13.2 isn't that big of a jump..but regardless, I'd never done it before so it was fun checking it off the list. Onward and upward, I say!

Of course, I hear from all the veteran marathoners that shit doesn't really start to break down until 18 or 20 and you have to start doing ice baths and crazy stuff like that (which I am SO not looking forward to...remember me and cold water..we don't do very well together...)...so we'll just have to see if I can keep it together.

But until then, I'm going to frolic in my Sweet 16 for a bit! HOORAY!!

Friday, October 26, 2007

And I was running...

Following my PR at the IBM 10-k, I'm really getting pumped for running season! I've (unofficially) decided to do the marathon (vs. the half). There...I said it...in writing even...course I haven't actually paid for the race yet, so technically I guess I'm not FULLY committed. But in my heart, I'm pysched to be going for it since I've NEVER run that distance before! We'll see if my body (and mind apparently) can hold it together for that kind of endeavor!

Yesterday's run was awesome! I mean, seriously, who can ask for better weather??

I did the 7-mile loop around Lady Bird Lake (I'm trying to get with the name change...) and tried to run it at what "felt" like a good 10-k pace. It was really cool to actually be passing people on the trail. I used to run...no, jog...the loop and see all these fast folks zooming past me and would always think "holy crap...they are really moving!". But this run, I kinda felt like "hey...I'M really moving". I actually felt like a (gasp) runner!

And since I'm redunkulous and can't ever find all the mile markers, I usually just check my split before I begin the last mile and then try to go hard and drain the tank for the last mile. Here's what I got...

Paces:
Miles 1-6: 7:40
Mile 7: 7:10 (WOO HOO!)

Total Time: 53:16 (7:36)

While it wasn't quite my new 10-k pace (7:30), it was pretty good for me in a non-race environment. And I suppose given that I was able to run 7:10 for the last mile, I really should have picked it up over the course of the entire run a little bit more. Oh well, these are the lessons that we learn on our runs, right?

Wish me luck for the long run this weekend....16 miles! It will be my longest....EVER! AAAGGHGHHHH!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Viva Tha Fevah

What gorgeous weather we've been having of late. While I am a tropical people, I do enjoy the fall...Texas style, at any rate.

Yesterday was PERFECT for an easy ride through the countryside. Or, at least that was the plan. And you know how those plans go.....

Met Panther out in Cedar Park in the morning for the nice and easy 35-mile Cedar Park Fever route. The sun was shining, it wasn't hot...in fact, I was even wearing sleeves under my jersey, and after a delayed start (per usual), we turned on to Lakeline Blvd to start our ride when....HOLY HANNAH!....can you say WIND???

I mean...good grief! I kid you not when I tell you it took us about an hour to ride 10 miles. Turns out the first 10-15 miles of Tha Fevah is all uphill. Seriously. And no matter which way the road turned we had a vicious, vicious head wind.

It was hard and not at all the easy 35miler we had intended, but actually quite comical. At one point, Panther and I were both just cracking up, pedaling hard uphill at a blistering 11mph. We just kept telling each other at the next turn we should be getting a tail wind. Then we'd turn and it would just be a wicked cross wind! Several times me and my little tri bike where blown sideways and I literally had to lean sideways into the wind to keep upright! We would just laugh some more and say, Hell...at least we're not working, how bad can it be??

It was a total adventure and I loved every minute of it. We got to see some great scenic views, ride through and with some crazy construction and big rigs, look for a road on the route that no longer exists (I swear...they must have blown up the road or something), startle a goat...or was it a jackalope, we're not sure.....get harassed by a tee tiny midget dog, see five gloves and two lawn chairs. Couldn't have asked for more!

Afterwards we threw back some Margaritas, beers, several bowls of chips, salsa and jalepeno ranch dressing and other yummy things at Chuy's and shot the breeze under a beautiful, sunny (but freakin windy as all hell) sky in Austin.

Pretty damn cool. Thanks Panther. Thanks Austin.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Problem Solving from the Devonator


My 2.5 year old, Devon aka the Tank aka the Devonator (at this age he is currently weighing in around 40 pounds...about the size of the average 4 year old...) had a little surprise for me....


We are currently (still) weaning away the pacifier (affectionately called, the Binkifier (binkie + pacifier = binkifier) and he is ONLY allowed to have it at bed time. So, I've stashed some extras up in the bookshelf for quick middle of the night emergencies when he has lost the one he has somewhere amongst the pillows and blankets and needs a quick fix to send him back into slumber.


I didn't think he knew where they were. Clearly, I was mistaken.


So, there I am this morning in the shower and Devon comes wandering into the bathroom, a little teary (we are not a morning people) and says "I want my binkifier...", really meaning he's still tired and wants to lay on the couch and watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse with his blanket and pacifier....I mean who wouldn't? He looked so sad but cuddly in his jammies and tousled hair, but I was in the shower so what could I do? "Sorry sweetie, I can't get it for you right now."


And then when a great deal of enthusiam, raised eyebrows and a smiling stealing across his chubby cheeks, he thrusts his index finger into the air, "AHA! I have idea!" and goes toddling out of the bathroom. (We may not be morning people, but we do like to do things with a flare. The world is our stage!)


From the bathroom on the first floor I don't hear much until I hear the telltale thump, thump, thumping of someone going up the stairs.....a pause....a BIG thump from the bedroom upstairs...no crying, so I figured that was ok....another pause...and then more thump, thumping of someone coming downstairs.


After hopping out of the shower, I proceeded to the living room to survey the damage. And there is the Devonator...curled up on the couch, snuggled in his blanket AND a purple binkifier nestled in his mouth.


Upon inspection of the upstairs, here's what I pieced together.


First he went into the kitchen and got his two-step yellow step stool and hauled it upstairs. (Which is no small feat for a small...yet clearly determined...boy). Used the step stool to climb onto the dresser, then shimmied sideways over to the bookcase where he then made at least one attempt to get the binkifier from the top shelf which resulted in failure while pulling several Dr. Suess books to the floor. Upon a subsequent attempt, he successfully secured said Binkifier and probably plopped it into his mouth right then. Finally, he scooped up his blankie, returned downstairs and went into his comfort zone.


While I was bummed that the binkifier was being used in a restricted zone, I was very proud of Devon for figuring out how to get it. He's growing up so fast...what happened to my baby??

Sunday, October 21, 2007

And...We're OFF!

Wow! What a way to start the "off" season with a GREAT IBM 10k!

Here's one great reason to be a middle of the packer.... you don't have to worry about getting lost on the course or misdirected! I'm so sorry for all you speed demons who got totally hosed on the race because of going the wrong way. THAT TOTALLY SUX!

Fortunately for me, by the time I got around to that part of the course, they had it all figured out and we went the correct way without a hitch..in fact, I didn't even know there had been a problem until I finished and ran into Mark Denton, Panther, JJ and some other fast freaks who got shanghai'd by the mix up. Sorry boys!!

Anyway for me...it was a SUPER race!

Pre-race week began with Panther calling me out, saying that he didn't think I was "mentally ready" to race again so soon after the Half Ironman and that I should just go out and have a decent run.

Um....Hello? Do you not realize I live for this shit? I thrive on endorfins. I'm a Gamer, baby! I didn't get the nickname "Primetime" just because my name is the same as Mr. Sanders.

"Don't expect to PR" he said. Whatever. Course, he could have been saying that just to get me fired up. If so, nice psychology Panther..you bastard. It worked like a charm!

Besides, I've never actually RACED a 10-k, so with minimal effort I should be able to PR...kinda like the first time you do a distance, it's a PR...that kind of thing. I checked my time from last year.... I ran an 8:55 pace. Nice and easy. After this season, I should be able to do that in my sleep. PR here I come.

Race morning I got up and went through my standard pre-race regimen that I have finely honed all summer and it served me well. Got to the course and actually did the 2 mile warm up as I have discovered that yes, the warm up actually helps me...believe it or not. I am NOT a morning person and I just can't seem to get myself in gear until mile 3 or even 4 on a long run, so warm ups are DEFINITELY in order for me.

Felt great on the warm up. The weather was shaping up nicely...not too cold, not too hot. (You know I'm a tropical people, so I like it warm rather than hot...)

I queued up in the start corral with Menard and Arturo and ran into one of the GREATEST compliments I had all season. They were standing next to this very fit and very fast-looking gal about my age. Menard chimes in and says, "Patty, do you know Dionn?" She turns to me and says, "Yes, I know who you are." Turns out it was Patrica Murphy, fellow 35-39 age grouper and triathlete BAD-ASS! Always on the podium whenever she competes. It was really cool that she even knew who I was. It was really fun to feel like the little guy nipping at the heels of the big dogs in my group. Yep...better watch out...here I come! ;)

Of course then I realized that all three of these guys were probably going to run sub 7's in the race and as much as I wanted to, that was no place (or pace) for me to be. I humbly said my goodbye's and dropped back in the starting line to a place more applicable for my pace.

And speaking of paces, according to my most recent time trial, that pace should be 7:44. I've never run a race of ANY distance at that pace, so I knew I was going to be in for an interesting day. But, as a numbers gal, I had faith in the pace calculator and just told myself, well...if that's what it says I can do, then that's what I'm going to do. check. I'm on it.

BANG! The gun goes off and we are off and running. The first mile was your typical weaving through traffic (didn't seed myself all that correctly after all..) and folks trying to find their grooves. Pace: 7:55

I didn't stress because I knew the first mile would be somewhat of a cluster anyway, but I figured I'd have plenty of time to make it up. And I did. I settled into what I felt was a good sub-8 pace...breathing hard, but steady and finding my groove.

I had a great time following the ABC (Always Be Closing) plan....with a D-twist of course. I would find a gal whose body I thought looked great and then I'd hawk her down, reel her in and move on to the next target. This was a great strategy for me and I had a blast doing it. Everytime I passed some chick with great legs and tushie I would think...keep running like this and I TOO can look like that!

I kept on this plan through all the rollers and tried to push it hard during the last mile since I didn't want to be chastised for sprinting at the finish because I didn't leave it all out on the course. (per Ruth's race plan). It was awesome to see all the friends out there...thank you guys so much! It makes SUCH a difference to have you out there, yelling my name, telling me to "Push it...push it REAL GOOD!", "Go Dionn!" and even Wiley's attempt at "WOOT!" I LOVE IT!

I ran hard through the finish and felt great! I didn't have much left in the tank for a sprint at the end, so I felt like I had done my job and left it out on the course in miles 1-6 and ran a consistent pace throughout the whole race. I'm totally fired up about my performance and am PYSCHED for the tri off season! WOO HOO!

Final Stats: (according to my watch)
Mile 1: 7:55
Mile 2: 7:18
Mile 3: 7:19
Mile 4: 7:31
Mile 5: 7:37
Mile 6: 7:33

Official Run-Far Splits:
1st 5k: 23:18.8 (7:28)
2nd 5k: 23:12.6 (7:26)

Time: 46:32.1 (7:30) ----- PR!!!!

AG Place: 13
Gender Place: 59

Last year's time: 55:21 (8:55)

Topped off the morning with lunch at Trudy's with great friends and many, many Capt. Morgan and cokes. What an AWESOME day!!!

So...what's next??

Friday, October 19, 2007

Valuation

As many of you know, I've been contemplating becoming a "Lady of Leisure". What that really means is NOT pursuing a regular, in the office, full-time job right now. I know that I am EXTREMELY fortunate to even have the opportunity to make a decision and I am exceptionally grateful for that.

And while it sounds really fun, for someone who has always (right or wrong) valued a signficant portion of my success by the size of my W-2, it has been quite the internal wrestling match.

But today, I had a breakthrough! At the beginning of the school year, I signed up to volunteer in Shay's classroom for Math centers. (Yes... a black woman who does math...craziness, I know..). What that means is that I will just be helping out the teacher when she breaks the kids into smaller groups to do some sort of math-related activity. And TODAY was my first shift.

This morning as we were getting ready for school and Shay found out that we were going to be driving in (instead of riding our bikes per usual) he wanted to know why. I told him I was going to come and help out in the classroom today. He got this HUGE smile on his face and asked what we were going to be doing. I told him I didn't know for sure, but we'd find out when we got there. He gave me another big goofy grin (he's missing a front tooth, so it's that super cute 7-year old crazy teeth kinda smile...), rolled his eyes in that I'm-really-excited-but-need-to-act-like-I'm-not-so-I-can-be-cool kinda way and went skipping off to tell Devon how mommy was coming to his classroom today.

When I arrived in the class, Shay's teacher, Mrs. Hedges let the kids know that Shay's mom was going to be helping out today. All the kids looked at me, then at Shay...and Shay smiled proudly back at me and I swear puffed his chest just a little bit.

A great time was had by all as we played "Allowance" (think an easier version of Monopoly) and ALSO were super suprised when Shay yelled out "Mrs. Hedges, LOOK! The butterfly is emerging from its chrysalis!" And sure enough, this BEAUTIFUL monarch butterfly emerged from its chrysalis that was hanging on a plant in the classroom. (Pics to follow...) Over the course of the next 30 minutes or so, the butterfly dried its wings, dropped some meconium (just pigment..it happens to every butterfly) and began looking like it was ready to take flight. So after we had finished the game, Mrs. Hedges put the butterfly in a small net and the class marched (single file, hands behind their backs, quietly) outside to release the butterfly into the wild. It was really, really cool.

All in all, the morning was definitely better than any digits or comma's on my W-2. I think I'm starting to get it...

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Stanford Class of 1992 Reunion!!

Yes, I'm that old that I just came back from my 15-year COLLEGE reunion. (hush!)


But what a BLAST it was! We had a fantastic turnout by our classmates and a great time was had by all. I won't bore you with details, but here are a few highlights:


--Eating at my FAVORITE restaurant...yes, it was Tex-Mex....in northern California, but no one, I repeat, NO ONE makes chips and salsa like these guys...I don't care what you say..and believe me, I've tasted A LOT of chips and salsa.

--Driving through the beautiful campus of Stanford University. I remember why I stuck around for two degrees. If it wasn't for having to do that whole dissertation thing, I TOTALLY would have gotten a PhD from there.


-- Passing by certain landmarks and recalling fond memories such as: hey, there's a new building where that one time after a SAE/Pi Phi party, I was so drunk I crashed my bike into a tree.....and hey, I remember when Ems puked in that bush before the Stanford/Cal game......and hey, that's where I lost that game of "Bike Death" and performed my campus-renowned flying-dive-roll-over-the-handle-bars-with-grace maneuver and escaped unharmed.......and that's the bollard that I puked behind that night coming home from the Sigma Nu Sunsplash party......and other such memorable moments...


-- Friday Night Reunion Party was a blast where Jack and Coke seemed to be the reigning drink of choice. It was a chance to get dolled up and catch up with everyone....kind of like speed dating! Favorite person I hadn't seen in forever? Kate Saldutti! (Even her name is cool. And did I mention she plays the sax? Uber Cool.) I am totally booking a trip to NYC to go visit. She is awesome and I miss her.


-- Saturday morning Band/Dollie Field show rehearsal. Wow...it has been a long time since I've danced on a football field, but it all came back in a flash! It was sketchy at first, but between the four of us Dollies we were able to drag out of our memories the routines needed for the half time show at the Stadium.


-- BRAND NEW "Music Rehearsal Bldg" Unveiling! Affectionately referred to as "The Band Shak", the Band and Dollie's new digs are PHENOMENAL! A far, far cry from the (literal) Shak that we used to rehearse in. The COOLEST thing (IMHO) is that the band photographer, Robbie (who has been shooting the band for literally decades) has FILLED every square inch of wall space with his shots of the band and Dollies throughout the ages. Imagine my shock and surprise to go up the stairs to find this HUGE photo...


of me! Yep...that's me in the red flapper dress and garter belt! (Y'all know how I LOVE themed events!) Check out the height of my jump! WOO HOO! That pic was taken at Big Game 1990, Stanford vs. Cal. We kicked their ASS! GO STANFORD!! FUCK CAL! WOOT!

Anyway, it was really, really cool to know that there is still a little bit of me on campus doing something I absolutely loved. Yes, I got a little teary...so sue me.



-- Saturday afternoon tailgate. More socializing, drinking and BBQ. (I love that I come all the way from Texas to eat Tex-Mex and BBQ!) Somehow convince myself and my Dollies that 4 beers counts as a pre-performance warm up. (um..yea, not so much....keep reading.)

--Saturday GAMETIME! Wow..the new stadium ROCKS! (Guess those Alumni dollars are doing something after all....) But let me tell you how cool it was to been down on the field again. There is NOTHING like the college football atmosphere at ground zero. It ROCKS!

Just for a little while, we got to relive the glory days. Dancing on the sidelines, watching the Cardinal play, goofing off with the band, cheering with the student section and even taking the field at half time to dance. Talk about endorfins! I had such a blast dancing at half time that when we ended with the fight song, I was transported back to my hey day, went with music and danced my ass off. Unfortunately, during all of this drinking and partying, I didn't really stretch very much...and well, this 36-year old body needs a little more stretching that when I was 18. Needless to say on an over-exuberant high kick in the fight song, I felt my right hammie go "ping!". Fortunately, that was the last routine we had to perform, so it was all good. And I would TOTALLY take that injury again if I had to do it all over again. What a freakin' blast.


All in all, it was a wonderful trip and I can't wait for the next one! (Course I think I'll try to remember to stretch or something....)

But boy, did that put the dancing/performing bug in my bones again...I wonder if I should try on a new pair of blue hot pants and look into flights to Dallas in April.......hmmmm

Monday, October 8, 2007

(Half) Ironwoman --Hear me ROAR!


OMG! THAT was the coolest thing EVER! 70.3 miles under my own power! Hell YA!

What an amazing day. I still can't believe it.

HALF IRONMAN: 1.2 mile Swim, 56 mile Bike, 13.1 mile Run

Pregame:
In the darkened War Room, the team leaders sat around the large mahogony table. Silent. Focused. The commander spoke: "The time has come. We've been working, building and training for a long time and now it is our turn."

The commander looked around the table and saw the fire in their eyes, the determined clench in their jaws, the power in their frames. "And we are ready."

"What do we do?" she asked.
"FINISH!" they responded.
"How do we do it?"
"STRONG!!"

C: Ok, let's review the plan. We've built a strong machine that can handle this, but we have to have FUEL. Team Sigma Delta Tau -- what's your objective?

SDT : Sir, provide 400 calories at 0530, 100 at 0730 and 200 at every hour ON THE HOUR, SIR!
C: What about fluids?"
SDT : Sir, as much fluids as we can take on every 30min during Phase II and every 2 miles during Phase III, SIR!
C: Excellent. What do we do?
SDT : FINISH!
C: How do we do it?
SDT : STRONG!

C: Team Eta Eta Omicron -- what's the Phase I objective?
HHO : Sir, Go Steady, Go Strong, SIR!
C: What's your estimated final position?
HHO : Sir, 1,2 or 3, SIR!
C: Excellent. You know that you will be on your own out there. There will be emergency back up power available from Team Terra, but we really need those guys focused and available for Phases II and III of our mission, so we don't want to tap that if necessary.
HHO : Sir, NO NEED SIR!
C: We all remember what happened in the Simulation...we can't have that again.
HHO : Sir, we are ON IT. That will not happen. You can count on us, SIR!
C: Good. You are the leaders here, we need to you start us out strong.
HHO : SIR, YES SIR!
C: What do we do?
HHO : FINISH!
C: How do we do it?
HHO : STRONG!

C: Team Terra Alpha -- what's the Phase II objective?
TA: Sir, a smooth and steady 17mph while supporting the objectives of Team Sigma Delta Tau, SIR!
C: What happens if the competition takes you over?
TA: NOTHING, SIR! Stick to the plan, meet the objective, SIR!
C: You may be tempted...
TA: SIR, NO SIR! Team Terra Beta will take care of them, SIR!
C: Good point. Estimated position?
TA: 10-15 SIR!
C: Excellent. What do we do?
TA: FINISH!
C: How do we do it?
TA: STRONG!

C: Team Terra Beta -- what's the Phase III objective?
TB : Sir, Steady Run. NO WALKING. Hawk 'em down. Reel 'em in. Four 3mile loops. Loop 1, Phase II Recovery. Loop 2-3 -- steady and strong. Loop 4, Bring it home, SIR!
C: Good. Remember you must let Team Sigma Delta Tau provide fuel whenever they call for it no matter how well it is going.
TB: SIR, YES SIR!
C: Excellent. Estimated pace?
TB: 10 min/mile, SIR!
C: Conservate estimate?
TB: SIR, YES SIR!
C: Better kick it's ass then.
TB: SIR, YES SIR!
C: What do we do?
TB: FINISH!
C: How do we do it?
TB: STRONG!

C: You all have worked very heard to get here, you deserve this. We are on OUR GROUNDS and we are going to take this objective on OUR TERMS! There is no QUIT in this team! WHAT DO WE DO?

All: FINISH!
C: HOW DO WE DO IT?
All: STRONG!
C: Now let's go out there and KICK SOME ASS!!!


And so it began....I was mentally and physically ready for this one. I could feel it.

Gameday:
The swim was a goofy kind of a start. As I waded out with Wave 4, one of the Kruetz photographers asked me to come over by the pier so she can shoot some shots of my J&A's jersey in the water. So as the 1 minuted countdown began, I was literally jumping up and down in the water so she could get some good shots! It was actually a great way to ease my nerves before the race began. About 20 secs before my wave was about to start swimming off, she said "Ok thanks!!" and I hustled back to my starting spot.

I didn't start on the outside edge like I usually do because it was jammed with other folks, so I just found an open space in the middle near the front and started there. The horn went off and we were swimming...scratch that...crawling through hydrilla! I felt like I was doing water ballet with ribbons! I kid you not...they were draped over my arms, my legs, around my neck! It was crazy! I went out a little hard because I just wanted to get away from all the crap! As I was swimming I saw the lead group of red caps out in front of me and a lot of waves splashing around them. I thought to myself, wow they are really going hard right now. I didn't change my pace. 1.2 miles is a LONG way to go...I knew I could reel them in. I settled into my pace of breathing every fourth stroke until the first turn as my warm up. After the turn and some open space, I started swimming strong. 1, 2, Breathe, 1, 2 Sight, 1, 2, 3, 4, Breathe. 1, 2 Breathe, 1, 2 Sight, 1, 2, 3, 4, Breathe. That's my strong open water cadence....and it didn't fail me. I caught the lead group as it had stretched out and swam on the outside edge. We were passing two other colors of caps of the swimmers in the earlier waves as we went, dodging and weaving, trying not to get caught in traffic. Rounded the last turn....I think there was only one other red cap and me. It was really cool passing a lot of really fit guys! Checked my watch 37 minutes. I'll take it.

On to the bike! It was a pretty uneventful ride, save the gunfire, dogs, and dropping my chain twice (total user error). The big win was that I managed to eat EVERYTHING in my bento box and drink both of my bottles! I went steady and didn't try to push my pace...although the first half I probably averaged around 20mph since it was so flat and nice...but the hills on the back side slowed me down a bit. There was a great physics lesson out there also....as we were in the rollers, I cyclist came up and passed me on the left. It was a taller guy, with fancy disc wheels, aero helmet and all. He had just gotten ahead of me when the next up hill came....I was turning a nice little cadence and just kept going..and going..and going...before I knew it I had caught up to him on the hill. I didn't want to mess with my momentum, so I was like, Oh well...here I go. So I entered the passing zone and passed him up the hill. He looked over at me and with an English accent said, "Hey...that wasn't supposed to happen!" I just giggled and kept chugging my little bike up the hill. Of course, he totally passed me on the next downhill but was really cool and said, "Nice work on the hill...I'm gonna have to work hard so you don't get me on the next one!" We both smiled as he went aerodynamically screaming down the hill ahead of me. It was fun!

I came into transition and checked my bike split.... 3:01! Wow! I was thinking it would've been closer to 4 hours ...maybe 3:30, but COOL! 56 miles of bike. DONE. On to the run.

I swapped into my running shoes and took off...and the strangest thing happened. My legs felt GREAT! I mean there was none of that usual cinderblock heaviness or anything! I couldn't believe it! I went chugging out on to the course and ran through the first aid station where Carolyn and Ruthie were. "Hey - here comes DIONN!" Carolyn yelled surprisingly! All the fellow Rogues jumped up and had everything ready that I might need. The best thing was that Ruth handed me a little Rogue towel that had some ice in it.... I wasn't sure exactly what to do with it, so I slung it around the back of neck and tucked the edges into my top so that the ice was right on the back of my neck. And LORD did that feel good! I decided then that that was going to be a great way to keep cool on the run. So at every aid station I grabbed fresh ice for the towel and then took another handful and dropped it into my jog bra. Yep..that's right..I put a whole cup full right in there. And let me tell you, I never got hot. My core was feeling good!!

It was great seeing Panther et all at the Rockstar station. He asked me how I was doing...and I told him great! I think he was surprised to see me so soon and actually doing well! (Traditionally the first couple miles in a brick for me SUCK ASS!)

The run was really, really fun! There were so many volunteers that I knew that were yelling for me...and SO many other racers that were saying hi to me and telling me I looked strong...it was inspiring and invigorating! At one point and gentleman who was running at my same pace turned and said to me, "I think I'm going to change my name to Dionn!" It made me smile and I kept chugging along.

After making it up that last brutal hill without having walked NOT ONCE! I came across JJ on the outside of the fence. "Hey D! How's it going? You look fresh, first lap?" I smiled. "NOPE!" I only had 1.5 miles left to go! I think JJ was uber-surprised as well!

He jogged along the outside of the fence as I went up the final hill yelling support and telling me to pump my arms up the hill. At the top, I turned the corner and headed in to the finishing chute.

Adam was there with his usual exuberant self exclaiming, "And here's comes Austin's OWN DIONN SCHAFFNER! Finishing strong for her first Half Iron!" (Or something like that...)

I stomped on the gas and let it all out and went flying over the finish! I felt like crying...it was SO AWESOME! I had such a blast and what a way to finish. I'm still feeling the finishing high! This is why I train. This is why I Tri.

Offical Stats:
Swim: 37:11 (1:56)
Bike: 3:02:24 (18.4 mph)
Run: 2:05:27 (9:35)

Total Time: 5:49:30

Class Position: 8 (WOOT!)
Gender Position: 35
Overall Position: 160

(Note that the top 3 in my class were in the Top 10 Females, there are some fast 35-39 year olds..wow!)

Friday, October 5, 2007

Then and Now

Wow.... how times have changed....

THEN: 4 years ago in the spring I began a 12-week training session for my very first triathlon, the Danskin. The 800m swim, 12 mile bike and 3.1 mile run seemed so daunting and unattainable. I was nervous and sick to my stomach just thinking about it.

NOW: Took an easy pre-race 14 mile ride followed by a 2 mile run to pick up Shay from school. Didn't think twice about it and found it rather relaxing actually.

Cool.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

We Miss You

The song in your heart is wild and racy....I haven't heard it, but I know.

The spirit in your soul is rebellious and free....I haven't seen it, but I know.

The love that you give is strong and sincere....I haven't felt it, but I know.

The adventures you had were wondrous and exciting...I wasn't there, but I know.

I know because I've seen your smile on someone else's lips. I know because your spirit shines in those who knew you best.

I know because of the memories of you that carry them through each day. I know because there's an emptiness inside them that won't ever go away.

On the street, we won't see each other and your voice I'll never hear. Your eyes will never gaze upon me, nor your arms hold me near.

We won't kiss at Christmas or cheer together at a game, but you will always be my brother and I'll love you just the same.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Ups and Downs

This morning as Team Schaffner rode to elementary school (read: Shay on his bike and me on my hybrid pulling a 40-lb sled...oh, I mean a semi-comatose Devon who I literally scooped up and buckled into the Burlee) Shay was "On Your Left"-ed by some 5th grader on a fancy gear-bike on the sidewalk. Well, actually, he was a rude 5th grader who simply yelled, "Move over so I can pass!"

I looked over and Shay was crushed, but diligently rode close to one edge so the kid could pass. I saw him for a brief second start to cadence up and catch the kid, but he just kind of relaxed and kept pedaling at his pace.

Not 1 minute later we were approaching the "Big Hill" and I looked ahead on the sidewalk and saw that same bratty kid WALKING his bike up the hill. I peeked over at Shay... he saw him too.

Shay buckled down and kept pedaling...up, up, up the big hill we went. I could see him working hard, and he was focused. Up, up, up and closer, closer, closer we got to the kid. Shay didn't stop, just get driving his legs, forcing his pedals around and around and around. No gears to help, just his little first-grader legs pushing a heavy bike and a will that wouldn't let him stop. Without fanfare, he politely stated "On Your Left" as we passed the kid.

When we got to the top of the hill, Shay with a few beads of perspiration on his brow looked over at me. I winked. He simply turned his head straight ahead and went barrelling down the other side of the "Big Hill" with a GIANT smile on his face.

And mommy had one too. Being a mom ROCKS!