Thursday, November 20, 2008

You know it is marathon season when...

you put down 42 miles in 5 days.

Whew!!

That's right. 42 miles. Running. Under my own power.

Woo Hoo!!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

R.I.P. Chewy

No matter how big or how small, pets touch our lives in many ways.
Chewy was a good friend and a good hamster. We will miss building mazes for him, sneaking him extra sunflower seeds (even though he was quite the pudgy hamster already), oiling his wheel so it doesn't squeek ALL NIGHT and catching him in the his hamster ball before he takes a tour of the steps(!).
Shay requested a proper burial and services and how could I not oblige. We even invited a few friends over.

Here's Shay working on the burial site:


Shay laid hands on Chewy's grave and said some final words:




With a recent photo and a popsicle stick cross, Chewy is laid to rest. Good bye Chewy. We will miss you.





Thursday, November 13, 2008

2008 Tri Season In Review

Season #5 has official come to a close as I look at my calendar and see no more triathlons on the schedule. It is bittersweet because, let's face it, I love racing -- but I know I should take a break. (Plus, I don't think there are anymore..other than IMs of course..or are there?..wait! Don't tell me..I'm taking a break..I'm taking a break..I'M TAKING A BREAK! but if you feel like whispering one to me, I won't hate you..)

Looking back, here's how my season went down:

Spenco Sprint Tri (4.6.08)
*not originally on schedule, I blame Erin for planting the wild hair seed
1:12:46
Age Group: 1st place
Gender: 3rd place

The Rookie Tri (5.10.08)
0:59:42
Age Group: 2nd place
Gender: 13th place

CapTex Olympic (5.25.08)
*debacle in the water -- part deaux
3:14:50
(I know, I know...I KNOW..ugh.)

Danskin (6.08.08)
*running with Plantars..fun! NOT!
1:26:56
Age Group: 4th place

Couples Tri (7.13.08)
*D and E Rocking the race!
1:23:13
Division: 3rd Place

Jack's Generic (8.3.08)
1:17:47
Age Group: 3rd place
Gender: 13th place

Sweet and Twisted (8.24.08)
1:28:58
Age Group: 9th place

Longhorn Half Iron (10.5.08)
5:38:32
Age Group: 21st place

USAT/Halfmax Half Iron National Championships (10.18.08)
6:24:12
Age Group: 12th place

IronStar Half Iron (11.9.08)
6:12:15
Age Group: 2nd place


Summary Metrics:
  • 5 out of 10 podium placements
  • New Half Iron PR
  • 3 Half Irons within 35 days
  • Qualified for 2009 USAT Nationals
  • Qualified for 2009 USAT Worlds (!!more to come on that!!)

Not too shabby for a season's worth of work! :)

And I have to say many, many, many thanks to my family, friends, babysitters, coaches, training partners, volunteers, cheerleaders and lurkers. I seriously couldn't have done any of this without you. THANK YOU! (Come find me, I will buy you beers..many, many beers.)

Next Year's Highlights:

(UPDATE: after much flack for not representing my true intentions, I've thrown in the B and C races I plan on doing also...alright? sheesh. This is just a preliminary wish list!!!)

February 2009 - AT&T Austin Marathon

April 5, 2009 - Lonestar Half Iron

April 20, 2009 - Boston Marathon

May 10, 2009 - Rookie Tri

June, 2009 - Danskin

June 21, 2009 - Ironman Coeur d'Alene (Idaho)

July 12, 2009 - Couples Tri

August 2, 2009 - Jack's Generic

September 20, 2009 - Halfmax National Championships (Oklahoma)

October 18, 2009 - Longhorn 70.3 (crap..that's not really going to work is it?)

October 25, 2009 - ITU World Championships (Perth, Australia)

Wow. It's gonna be a fun year! Who's with me???

Monday, November 10, 2008

3 x 70.3 in 35

Yep...that's right.

3 Half-Irons over 35 days.

I'm sure there are people who had done more, but for me...that was a lot!! (But I loved it anyway!!) Some people said I'm crazy. Which may be true. But my favorite response has been: "You are a MACHINE!" Me likey. The D Machine. YES!!

And now, my Conroe Race Report!!!

Let me begin my commenting on how powerful the mind is... I was in complete denial about the weather for the weekend...I literally did not think about it at all...well, rather that I was blocking it, because you know how am I about the cold....

Therefore, the only thing I arrive in conroe with in addition to my regular racing gear are my arm warmers. What I needed was a PARKA! HELLO! It was really, really cold...at least to me (and a few others I would hazard a guess when I looked around at the faces at the race).

Blasko was nice enough to lend me his spare pair of gloves, so I had those too...thank goodness!

But let us begin and the beginning...the swim....which under normal (read: warm) circumstances is a strength..but throw the cold in there and it becomes my biggest weakness. (What am I doing signed up for CdA?!@??!?!?#?!?$??&?@#?%#$!!)

So, I wade into the water in my !#!$%! sleeveless wetsuit and am instantly bummed that the water doesn't feel any warmer than the 40 degree air temperature. Crap. I ducked under the water to get my face wet and try to get my body acclimated to the temps, but it was no good.

I positioned myself in the second row and when the gun when off I started off, put my head in, took a stroke...and came up gasping. Wow. It was really cold. I could feel my chest clenching tight in rebellion. Ok, D, let's try that again. Put my head in, took another stroke. NO! Popped right back up, gasping for breath. Oh no, here it comes...the panic creaping in...wetsuit choking me..too tight...can't breathe... I stood there (the water was only waist deep) and watched the ENTIRE wave of women swim off without me..... I walked through the water....looked back at the swim entrance...it wasn't so far away...I could just turn around, walk out, put my warm sweats back on..cheer for the day...I had nothing to prove today...was just here for fun...if it's not fun, why do it...I could just turn and walk out...but I kept walking away from the start...deeper and deeper into the water....come on, D....pull it together....I thought of Lupuente and reached for my zipper and pulled it down about half way...more cold water slushed in...but the relief across my chest was heavenly...I took a full breath for the first time....ok, D.....you can swim..you are a good swimmer...you rock at swimming...just put your head in the water and swim...but, it's cold...put your head in the water and swim...the water was up to my chest now...put your head in the water and swim, D......now....DAMMIT, NOW! ok...ok.....OK! I put my head in....took a stroke..then another....then a breath....then another stroke...and another...and breathe...Hey! I'm swimming! Yes! I can do this! Slow and steady..here we go...just swim nice and easy...the PR is all gone for today....just swim....

And with that I finally settled into my pace. Before I knew it, I was passing the bulk of the ladies in my wave. I guess I wasn't that far behind after all. It felt like I stood there fighting with myself for a good 5 minutes, but maybe it wasn't that long after all. I knew I wouldn't catch the fast ladies in the front, but I ended with a 39 minute swim time. Definitely not my best, but not my worst either.

And as I exited the swim ramp, I thought to myself, I've already won today. I don't care what happens next, but I stood teetering on the edge of my own personally created disaster and stepped back and carried on. HUGE MENTAL WIN.

With that I leisurely entered T1, dried off with a towel, watched some of the other ladies zoom in and out and actually said the person next to me, "Wow! Those girls are really moving! If I was racing today, I'd be concerned about that." And proceeded to put on arm warmers, gloves AND my Stanford underarmour shirt on over my T3 Jersey. Yes, it was that cold. If I had my swim parka, I might've put that on too!!

After a nice stay in transition, I headed out on my bike. The course was beautiful! It was a nice, 56-mile rolling jaunt that took you through Sam Houston National Park (I think that was the name of it...). I settled into a comfortable pace and tried NOT to think about the cold. I focused on getting my nutrition down, staying aero and flat pedal strokes. That last part was interesting because my feet were so cold I couldn't feel anything at all. I just hoped they would thaw out by the time my run started.

I tooled along enjoying my ride, passing a few folks along the way (even chicked some dudes going uphill!), getting passed by a few folks...until a few folks turned into two ladies...in my age group....HEY! Wait a damn minute. Even though I'd already turned off the "competitor" switch, after I saw the ages on their leg, auto pilot kicked in and the switch went ON!

I kicked it up a little, caught up to them and passed them. We played back and forth, dropping one gal in the process....then there were two of us. The one remaining gal had passed me and started pushing the pace more and I decided I would let her go for now (keep her in my sights of course) and take her down on the run. But then as we approached an aid station, I saw her pull over..not slow down as in to take a bottle up...but to stop and make a potty stop.

Aha! So, the minute I saw her unclip, I bottled up, locked the beverage into my aero bottle and dropped the hammer for a bit. I figured if I could get far enough away where she couldn't see me, either her spirit would be broken or she'd fire it up and try to come and hawk me down....either way, she was going to have to work. And that seemed like a good plan for me.

I finished the bike without seeing her. (Of course I never looked back, but she didn't pass me, so I really have no idea where she was...) I felt good in T2, shedding all my layers as the sun was finally out and I could feel my toes again! YAY!! I grabbed my run nutrition, hit the potty and headed out.

The run was full of twists and turns through a neighborhood so we got to see alot of the other athletes over and over as we went in and out of probably every culdesac in the 'hood. I settled in to a nice easy pace. I really just wanted to complete the run steady and with no cramping! I walked through aid stations, took my nutrition and my electrolytes on schedule, then around mile 8, guess who came running past me! It was her!!

Oh ho ho! So you caught me, did you? Ok, it's on now, sister! I was feeling quite good on the run so I decided to be a strategic b*tch and just mess with her. I literally ran 1-2 feet behind her for several miles. I know she knew I was there. It was quiet enough where you can hear footfalls and breathing of the other runners and I was in lock step behind her. When she slowed down, I slowed down. When she walked through water stops, I walked through water stops. When she started running, I started running.

I figured, I'm a kicker. I felt good and if I could keep her just in front of me, when we got to mile 11.5 or so, I would drop the hammer and hit it hard. She might be able to counter, but I would have the element of surprise to get a little head start and she would have to really work to come take it from me.

So there was a little bit of a hill, just after the last water stop (that we had walked through...me following her lead)...so even though we had just started to run after the water stop...she walked on that next uphill.

I debated what to do. I didn't feel like walking, but I didn't want her behind me with that far to go...but as I was debating I passed her on part of the uphill. Dang it. There goes my element of surprise.......unless....I neared the crest of the ridge and slowed to a walk. I could hear her walking up the hill also. I was over the top and now on a little bit of a flat, but she hadn't caught back up yet and wasn't running yet. So I continued to walk...so did she... Dang it!!

So then I actually stopped. Bent over. Stretched my hammies (like they were bothering me or something.....what? It could've happened!!) And finally she passed me.....running again.

Phew. So I gave her about 10 yards and then started running again. I closed on her pretty quickly and she was laboring in her stride and with her breath. I looked at my garmin and it said 12-something miles, so I said, the hell with it...let's do this thing.

I picked it up and passed her! I kept it steady, leaning forward into my stride, forefront striking on my feet, even steady breaths and was moving nicely.

I could see the volunteers near the finish line, hear the announcer and see some of the finishing hoopla not too far ahead. Then I saw the mile 13 marker....I took a quick peek behind me, saw that she wasn't too close, then put together and nice strong finishing run! YAY!!

I am so mean. I will/would be so pissed if someone did that to me. But as some of my other Type A friends reminded me when I told them what I had done, said Hey. It's a race. That's just competing!

After seeing the results, I beat her only by 30 seconds (lord, do I know how THAT feels!). But it was nice to be on the winning side of that little battle this time!

So all in all, I had a great day. A huge mental win, some fun on the course and a 2nd place Award to boot!

And many, many thanks to all my T3 teammates racing with me, surprise appearances by friends from Austin cheering, and all the other volunteers. I would DEFINITELY recommend this race to anyone next year. Just be really, really mentally and physically prepared for the cold! ;)

Big thanks to Maggie for the pics! Here I am before the swim...freezing and faking a smile for the camera.

And here I am having a total mental celebration that I survived the swim! YAY ME!

Here I am on the run, flat out enjoying myself!

And so, I don't get grief from Mike...here's my award!



ps. Yes, I know I haven't posted a Vegas Halfmax report yet...it's coming! I swear!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Simply Amazing

Wow. What a night last night! YAY OBAMA!

But even more exciting to me than his victory was the comment made by Shay this morning. Recently in his class, each student selected a President to study and then do a report to the class. Shay chose Abraham Lincoln. I think mostly because he remembered studying him last year in first grade.


Here's what Shay said to me this morning after I told him Obama won and was the first black president, ever...in the history of our country:


"Wow. Abraham Lincoln freed the black people in 1863. And now a black man gets to lead the country, just like Abraham Lincoln."
(And then I couldn't help but think, Let's just hope he doesn't depart the office the same way Lincoln did. Can you say beef up security, please?)


Wow, indeed.


Here's a pic of our President-Elect that I snapped this past winter when E and I randomly ran into him on the trail. (Here's a recap of how that went down) It was weird...even then, I knew I was in the presence of something remarkable.


Tuesday, November 4, 2008