Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Fortitude Test #3

It has to be done. I have to become one with the cold water. I mean seriously...what kind of nemisis is that? Cold water...sheesh! So lame.

More importantly, I have to get it squared away before Ironman CdA because guess what folks...that water is CO-OLD! Last year's water temps? Somewhere between 55-58 degrees. No, that is not a typo. HOLY CRAP! BRRRRRRR!!!!

So, first of all, I invested in a full-sleeve wetsuit. Hell, if they had a full body one that was legal, I'd take it. But I have to tell you, the difference of just having your arms covered is phenomenal!! Light years in difference I feel. Could be just cognitive dissonance -- but I don't care -- as long as it works!

Up until today, for this training season, I've been in Barton Springs twice in my new wetsuit and it wasn't too terrible. But now that BS is closed for 3 weeks for cleaning, we had to take our open water swimming party elsewhere.

Off to the Quarry Lake at Pure Austin we go...ugh. You know it is bad when you check in at the front and the guys said to us "You're swimming in the quarry today?" in incredulous disbelief. Dude, I'm thinking the same thing. What the hell are we doing?

But our intrepid posse of Ironmen and IronmenWannabes -- Alison, Shawnda, Vegas, Alisa, Tom, Jerry and I -- made our way down to the lake.

Save the ducks...there was no one in the water. OF COURSE NOT! IT IS TOO FREAKIN' COLD!!!

We get onto the dock and suit up. And my internal conversation begins:

D: What are we doing here? Is this REALLY necessary?
IMWBD: Yes, it is necessary. Get the damn wetsuit on already.
D: ok, ok

The rest of the group does the polar bear thing and just leap of the dock into the water. Of course the come up sputtering, gasping for air as the cold water sends their airways into complete shock. I'm standing on the dock...just watching...and conversing...

D: You see that? Ridiculous...I'm not going in..
IMWBD: Yes, you know the drill...let's move it.
D: But...
D: Shit.

I sit on the edge of the dock and dangle my bare feet in the water. YIKES...that IS cold! Ugh. I swish them around back and forth, just getting a feel for the temps. Meanwhile Alison and Tom take off with a couple strokes.. I yell after them..."WAIT..don't go yet!" They paddle and stop and swear at how freakin' cold the water is. F-bombs are flying all over the place from everyone (except for Jerry of course).

IMWBD: Phase II -- get some water on your face, girl.
D: ok, ok

I lean over and scoop up some water and splash it over my face. Brrr...that will wake you up for sure. I do this a couple more times so my hands and face get used to the temps.

IMWBD: Phase III -- down the suit sister.
D: ugh.

I cup some water in my hands and let it fall down the back of my neck. I can feel it sliding underneath my wetsuit...chilling my spine as it trickles down. A couple more times of this and I'm ready for the next step.

IMWBD: Get in.
D: June is really far we have to do this now?
IMWBD: Get in.
D: Seriously?
IMWBD: Seriously.
D: ok. crap. shit. F*CK!

I ease off into the dock and slip in the water without letting my head go under. Instantly the water seeps in through the zipper and the edges of the suit...not alot...but enough to feel the coldness. But guess what...not so shocking...hmmm...ok...good.

IMWBD: Final step. Face in the water.
D: Ugh.

Just then, Tom comes paddling back over. He has this look on his face like he doesn't want to do this either. We debate getting out..but as we see everybody else starting to swim off (note: some swimming head out of the water style still!!)...we decide to be lemmings and go with the flow.


So I start breaststroking forward...but not putting my face in.

IMWBD: Um...this isn't quite the swimming we are supposed to be doing.
D: I know! I just need another minute
IMWBD: STFU and put your damn face in the water.

So, I take another breaststroke and put just my chin in the water as I move forward. Out and grab a breath. Next stroke, I put my face in so that the water line is just under my nose. Out and grab a breath.

IMWBD: dunk under. I won't be that badl
D: yes, it will.
IMWBD: LOOK! Everyone else is swimming and they are not dying...just do it.
D: ok, OK!

Another breaststroke, face all the way in the water this time. Out and grab a breath.

D: Hey! I did it!
IMWBD: Nice. Now quit being a dork and swim.

Touch, pull, roll....Touch, pull, roll...breathe...Touch, pull, roll.....touch, pull, roll...breathe. And I'm swimming! YAY!

I look up and the rest of the group has already rounded the first for Shawnda, who needed some additional encouragement to put her face in the water and swim. I yell over, "One stroke at a time....just one stroke at a time!"

My hands and feet are pretty numb in the water, but I try to focus on other things.
1. Catch up to the group
2. Watch out for snakes
3. Don't forget to roll
4. I wish I knew how to kick when I swim, then maybe my feet would have some blood flow and get warmer
5. EEEEEK! What was that? A snake???? Oh, just a duck. phew.
6. Damn..someone remind me to take my rings off...this cold water is shrinking my fingers and they are sliding all over the place...I do NOT want to lose these in here...
7. I wish I knew how to draft when swimming..that seems like a good skill to have for this sport...

By turn 3, I had made up ground on most the folks (except for speedy Tom of course) and actually felt like an athlete again.

When I got back to the dock, I stopped for a second and looked longingly at the dock.
D: Well, I accomplished my main goal for today.
IMWBD: And that was...
D: To get in this damn water and swim
IMBWD: But your workout is supposed to be...
D: shush

And then Tom chimes in, "Don't even think about it...just keep going." Damn it. Alright. Lap 2, here we go. Tom took off and I figured I'd just use him to sight since I certainly wasn't keeping up with him. But I would look up to sight and would have to scan right and left of the line we were *supposed* to be on to find him....the boy was zig zagging all over...dang it. That plan is out. So I picked a point on the shore and just swam for it.

Lap 2. Check. At this point, Alison is out on the doc getting ready for yoga. Tom debates back and forth about going the next lap. He decides he really wants to do the yoga class and we did actually swim in the frigid water so that was a good workout, right? Right! I agree.

Just then Vegas pulls up and says "Aren't you guys doing a third lap?" I hem and haw.."well, we" Vegas responds, "The workout says 3 laps, right?" Jerry throws his hat in, "I'm in for 3." Well, dammit. Of course I'll go around again.

"Damn you, Vegas. DAMN YOU!" And with that I set off for the 3rd lap.

Afterwards I felt pretty damn good. It was some serious cold water and I got in and I swam. And I swam the whole workout. I may just be able to do this Ironman thing afterall!

Of course, now the real question that I know how cold it is...will I be able to convince myself to get in again and experience the appendage numbing greatness???? Stay tuned.....

Need inspiration?

I'm stealing this from Mike who stole it from Priscilla who stole it from someone else, who read it in the local online paper.

THIS is some good stuff. And yes, I cried.

Last place marathoner shares story
By Pamela LeBlanc
Monday, February 23, 2009, 10:41 AM

Lara Newcomer wasn’t the first across the finish line of the Austin Marathon last weekend. She wasn’t the 100th or the 1,000th or even the 4,000th.She was the last person to officially cross the finish line, and she did it with the help of her husband, other people in the race and a whole lot of folks who saw her go by and reached out to offer encouragement. It took her 7 hours and 20 minutes.Here is her story. Thanks for sharing, Lara. And congratulations!

“Last Sunday’s marathon wasn’t my first, but it was certainly my hardest. About a month ago I was diagnosed with plantar fasciitis, which makes walking very painful at times. I stopped training and started treatments to try to let things heal up a little, but was still struggling with it. Then a week before the marathon I came down with the flu. I spent Monday and Tuesday in bed coughing and wheezing, with my fever hovering between 100 and 103.My parents tried to talk me out of doing the marathon. But, I’ve been doing the Distance Challenge, a series of six races that started in October and totals almost 100 miles. The Austin Marathon was the last race in the challenge and if I didn’t do it, I wouldn’t get any credit for the Distance Challenge at all. So, I decided to give the marathon my best shot.I knew when I got up Sunday morning that I wasn’t 100%, but I thought I had enough in me to do the marathon.

I met up with my training partner, Shae, and two of her friends at the starting line. It all started pretty well —- I thought it was a good omen that there was a guy playing the cowbell on the Congress Avenue Bridge. It only took about three miles before I realized that my body was not going to let me keep up with the pace Shae and her friends were setting. Shae realized this and sent her friends on ahead. We slowed down a little, but I could tell that the pace was still just too fast for my poor recovering body.

By mile 8, I had decided to send Shae on ahead. I really thought I was done. I had texted Adam, my husband, that my body just couldn’t keep the pace and that I was going to quit. Shae said she’d stay with me until mile 10 because that’s where our husbands were. At mile 10, she went on ahead, but I decided that I had nothing to lose. So, I told Adam that I was just going to keep walking until I couldn’t walk anymore.

A lovely woman named Marissa had overheard me talking to Shae and to Adam and she was walking about my pace (very slow) and decided to walk with me — we decided that we would help and encourage each other. I don’t know her last name or where she’s from, but she walked with me from mile 10 until mile 23 and was a great encouragement.

By mile 13 my feet were killing me. Each step was painful and my knees were beginning to hurt because of the way I was compensating for the pain in my feet. A woman I don’t even know looked at me and told me she could tell by my face that I was dehydrated. And then my dear friend Edgar rode up on his bike. He just happened to be riding first aid and gave me a bottle of water with electrolytes and some of his wife’s “magic” pierogies. Thank God for Edgar and the water and pierogies! It was like someone flipped a switch and I suddenly had more energy and I was pretty confident that I was going to make it.

By mile 17 I wasn’t so confident anymore….the police car and official race vehicles had been right behind us since mile 15…..I knew I was the very end of the line. Everything below my hips was hurting and I really thought that something was going to seize up and I just wouldn’t be able to walk anymore. But, Edgar showed up again at mile 17 with more water and pierogies and my switch flipped again and I kept on walking.

At mile 20, I thought— heck, 6 more miles?! That’s just a 10K — I can do that in my sleep! My pace picked up a little and I really felt confident. Marissa was starting to slow down and I did all I could to encourage her.Mile 23 nearly did me in. At that point a motorcycle policeman rode up next to us and told us that we needed to pick up the pace and catch up with the ladies in front of us or we’d have to move out of the street and on to the sidewalk and would probably not get credit for the race. Well, I nearly quit right then —- I knew my body didn’t have enough left to catch up to those women. Marissa tried to encourage me, and she found some sort of inner reserve and powered right past those women in front of us. I picked up my pace, but I couldn’t breathe and my body felt so weak. I just wanted to sit down on the curb and give up.

Adam had met me at several different spots on the course to encourage me and see how I was doing and if I needed anything. He showed up again just past mile 23. I was ready to quit, but he hopped out of the truck and started walking with me. He just wouldn’t let me stop.Then Edgar showed up on his bike again. And there we went —- Edgar on my left, and Adam on my right (in his blue jeans and work boots). Every time I wanted to quit (which was pretty often), they talked me out of it. Edgar coached me through the hills and helped me catch a breath when I was having trouble.

Every time Adam saw spectators he shouted, “You know what we have here? A marathon finisher!!! We’ve got a finisher here!!” or “You know what I see? I see a woman who looked inside for some quit but couldn’t find any!!”

There was a police woman at 23rd and Guadalupe who reminded me that pain is just weakness leaving the body. And another police woman at 20th and Guadalupe who shooed pedestrians out of the crosswalk so I didn’t have to break my stride (slow as it was). The motorcycle officers on MLK began cheering with Adam as I made my way down the hill.

And then I had less than a mile to go. My body wanted to quit so badly, but I was so close.When there were 200 meters left, a race official with a walkie talkie approached me — I was sure he was going to tell me that I was too late, they’d already closed the race. But, he held out his hand and said, “Lara, I’m the race organizer and it’s my honor to escort you across the finish line.” I burst into tears — and Adam did, too. I turned the corner on to Congress Avenue and Adam shouted again, “Do you know what I see? I see a woman who looked inside for some quit and couldn’t find any!”

And the DPS trooper standing there looked at me and said, “That’s the kind of determination we need. You should be on the force!” Adam clapped his hands, looked at me and said, “I am more proud of you than I have been in the 18 years I’ve known you. I’ve seen you do some remarkable things, but I have never seen anyone with such determination, will power and grit. You made a conscious decision all day long to keep at this and you never gave up.” I cried, he cried … and stepped away from me, for the first time since mile 23 … so that I could have the finish line to myself. I felt like a celebrity — there were photographers and race officials and people cheering.

Once I crossed the finish line, the race organizer put the medal around my neck and we had a photo op (guess there are some advantages to being last) and the workers started tearing down the finish line.

I want to thank the police officers who spent all day sitting at intersections to keep my slow butt safe. And a special thank you to those who were so encouraging to me. I also want to thank the families who stayed out in their front yards for hours to cheer on even the slowest marathoners (especially those at Rutgers Avenue and those on Avenue H). Fellow marathoners Marissa and Walt were incredible inspirations to me — I wish I knew how to contact them and thank them.

And I just can’t thank Edgar and Adam enough — without them, I’m fairly certain that I’d have just sat down on the curb at 24th and Guadalupe and given up.It took me 7 hours and 20 minutes to complete the marathon. I was the last “official” finisher. But, I did it — I conquered my weakness and my doubt and I accomplished my goal.

It was an epic journey — and one I’m glad is over — but I will never forget the feeling of confidence from finishing what I set out to do.”

Saturday, February 21, 2009


I've finally started feeling like an actual runner this week... It has been a long time since I've felt good about my running. My paces just haven't been where they were last year when I was training for the Austin Marathon. Granted, I had started marathon training in October and this year I didn't really start until January, but in my head I just haven't been able to get comfortable with the fact that my speed and endurance isn't where it was this time last year. All a mind meld, I know...but what can you do?

ANYWAY! It started with a great run on Thursday. I was coming off having only done 1 workout (a swim) in the previous two days. (Forced day off on Tuesday as I was puking my guts out...big fun, I know...then just a swim on Wednesday) I had forgotten how nice it was to run on fresh legs. Holy Cow! The weather was absolutley beautiful..the sun was shining and it was about 60-63 degrees on the trail. Just perfect.

I headed out on the trail for the 7 mile loop. (Sisson had suggested 6-8 miles in preparation for the Soul Buster on Saturday) I figured I'd just start out easy and the try and descend each mile. And here's how it went down:

1 - 9:18
2 - 8:42
3 - 8:30
4 - 8:17
5 - 8:13
6 - 7:58
7 - 7:07


THEN, today we had Soul Buster Lite with Team Rogue which was 16 miles of hills (on streets with names like Mt. Bonnell and Mountain Climber..big fun) followed by 4 miles on the track at Marathon Goal Pace (MGP) which is currently 8:23/M (which is a 3:40 marathon). The route was supposed to be similar to the Boston route.

Keep in mind that the last time I ran 20 miles was...well...the marathon LAST Feb! I wasn't sure how the distance was going to feel, so I figured to just take it nice and steady so I still had some left for the track work, and did just that.

I stayed on top of my nutrition and felt good throughout the 16. Ran E.V.E.R.Y. hill (there were LOTS). Didn't walk at all. YAY!

Hopped on the track and busted out the following:
17 - 8:16
18 - 8:13
19 - 8:03
20 - 7:37


Ok...some would say at this point that I'm sandbagging on my MGP, but until I can actually run at least 20 at 8:23... I ain't changing it!!!! I'm sure I'll have the opportunity quite shortly...

But in the meantime, I am PUMPED! SUHWEET! YAY RUNNING!!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Training - A New Level

A friend posted this on her FB page. I've seen it before, but it ALWAYS cracks me up...each and every time I watch it. So I thought I would share...enjoy!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

And the worst part....

...about being sick has been telling Devon that he couldn't climb into bed this morning for our morning snuggle because I didn't want him to get sick.

He was so very, very sad and broke my heart....

...and then I sprinted to the bathroom.


Carry on.

Monday, February 16, 2009

President's Day

...means a surprise visit by Devon for lunch with Shay!

We were just *this* close!

What an experience this weekend..... pacing my friend Adriana for the last 10 miles of her first marathon!

I gotta tell ya.... I was more nervous about this than I was for my own first marathon last year! I mean if I have a bad day, or need to stop for a bathroom or whatever..the only person affected is me! But she was going to be counting on me to hit her 8:42/M pace and I couldn't let her down!

It was a really fun day. I parked my car up by Shoal Creek/Anderson Lane...right around mile 17. Then I walked down the course from 17 - 15 to where I was supposed to meet her. It was REALLY COOL to get to see the leaders and everyone else who was going sub 3:55.

It was funny to see so many expressions from folks I knew who were running and saw me...there were like "WTF? Why aren't you running? Get in here!" But it was really fun just cheering people on. (Shocker -- I know. Me, enjoying cheering.)

So, I got to the corner of Great Northern and still hadn't seen A yet. This was not a good sign. Then the lovely and talented MEREDITH passed by with her awesome 3:50 group! YAY Meredith!!

It was great to see her, but not so great to not see A. But within a few moments I saw her waving frantically at me. YAY! There she is! Ok, here we go.

I had her check her watch because I couldn't figure out how long she'd been running since I'd heard they'd started late. Turns out she was about 4 minutes behind her cumulative time according to our handy dandy pace bands. Ok...we had some work to make up.

Other than being a bit behind, she was doing great. She appeared to be taking plenty of nutrition along the way and I was carrying a water bottle so I offered her water in between water stops until we ran out.

We ended up getting into a good pace. I figured we try to pick up some time on the downhills and keep our average pace on the ups and that should eat into the 4 minutes a little bit, right? I figured we had 10 miles to make it up. That seemed doable. And appeared to be working as I kept checking the cumulative time at each mile marker...for about 7 miles.... then it started getting tough.

A couple times she said she wanted to walk...just for a bit...I said, "NO WALKING! You may run slower, but we are NOT WALKING." So we slowed for a bit and then we'd pick it back up. I remember one time after the turn from 15th, I looked back and she was walking. I hustled back to her, but my hand on her back and said, "C'mon. Get it going. Just jog. Then we will pick it up. C'mon. You got this." And she did indeed pick it back up and get going.

Dean Keeton was a killer. Everybody was having a hard time with that hill. I her and everyone else who was around us to just keep working up the hill...recover after the crest...keep the legs moving...big arms, little legs...go, go, GO! We made it up and kept going.

At this point, I forgot to check the total time and just kept trying to motivate, get the pace up, keep going. I had no doubt that she would finish...but I was worried about meeting her overall time goal.

Our paces for the last 10 ended up:

She finished at 3:51:38. Which is AWESOME for a first marathon!

The only bummer is she missed her Boston Qualifying time by 39 SECONDS!

Ugh. So frustrating!! I feel like I had known exactly what our cumulative time was and just how close we were, I could've communicated that to her and I'm sure she could've found a little extra in the tank to make it.

I got some awesome advice today from another friend with a similar pacing experience and he suggested having the runner either wear two watches at the start and give on to the pacer when the meet up or just have the runner hand her watch over to the pacer so the pacer knows EXACTLY what the cumulative time is.

Damn. That's a good idea. It would have been a GREAT idea if I had known Saturday. Shit.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Ahhh...that's better

Finally conquered my first early morning Tuesday 14-miler today!

To begin, we had some wonderful tropical weather... 68-70 degrees and HUMID!

I addressed my nutrition problem and made sure I ate well yesterday, although I don't think I drank enough. Went to bed relatively early last night. Woke up this morning feeling good and not TOO tired.

Ate 2 Gu's on the run. I remember last year's marathon training, I had a lot of success having a Gu every 5 miles. Why I haven't been doing that this year? I have no idea. Dumb D.

Thermolytes are your FRIENDS!! Took two every hour. No leg cramps. YAY!

Had a wonderful run group including Sadie and Coeur d'Claire! Claire was getting me all pumped for CdA!

Had a PureSport Recovery drink post run and that kept me feeling great. Although I'm still really, really thirsty....

Now, I just need to make sure I stay on top of my nutrition and hydration for the rest of the day so I can tackle my two-hour core/spin this evening! :)


Monday, February 9, 2009

And so it begins...

As the second graders were lining up to head off the lunch room, I hear a soft voice say "Shay -- will you grab my sweater for me? It's hanging on the back of my chair."

Shay said "Ok" and scampered off to retrieve it.

As Shay handed it to her, she softly replied, "Thank you, Shay."

He responded with a silly half grin, "You're welcome." And stepped into line behind her in the spot she was saving for him in line.

As I witnessed this I was thinking....awww, that's so cute! Then I thought about how sweetly Elise had asked, and how nicely Shay had responded and how he had that funny, quirkly look on his face...and then I thought....wait a minute..

Wasn't that Elise's name signed on the bottom of those little pink and red strips of paper that read "XOXOXOXOXO"!!! that I pulled out of Shay's backpack last week?!?!?!?!

Oh lord.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


Found out something very interesting yesterday...

After a very, grueling (well, it was for me anyway) 14-miler that I turned into an 11-mile run, I was quite tired. Saying I bonked on that run would be an accurate depiction.

Upon further review, I think it was a nutrition problem. Having the kids home from school on Monday threw me off my game. Between hanging out, running around and general tom-foolery with them all day -- I realize (now of course) that 3 pieces of pizza (it was WHEAT crust Meredith!!) and a small Schlotzscky's (however the hell you spell that...) sandwich and maybe, MAYBE, 4 glasses of water is not really enough to:

(a) reload after a 50/3.5 brick on Saturday and a 16-mile run on Sunday
(b) prepare for 5:30am 14-mile run on Tuesday

Not. Even. Close.

I was tired when I woke up at 4am for breakfast....was *this* close to just going back to bed and running later, but since the kids were out of school Tuesday also, it was going to need to be then or never. So up I went.

Needless to say, the run SUCKED A$$. I took only 1 Gu at mile 7 -- so that probably didn't help matters. I made a deal with myself (you know how my conversations go....) that I could cut the route short BUT had to keep running. NO WALKING. Inked that deal and turned the 14 into 11 and called it a day.

Played with the boys and their friends all day until it was time to head to core. I was still very, very tired. I ate pretty well during the day, but just couldn't seem to get my energy level up. How the hell was I going to get through the night's core and spin? I had no idea.

Arrived at core with Mo and was fine with all the upper body and ab stuff.....but just couldn't get my legs to respond to the death lunges, frog jumps or any of the other lower body stuff. Seriously. Just Pathetic.

Got on my bike, woefully, and tried to warm up. Legs. Dead.

I motioned to Mo who was wandering the aisles doing his coaching thing. I said, "Mo. My legs are toast." I'm sure I looked just pitiful, begging for someone to put me out of my misery.

He replied, "You're here. Just spin out the legs easy for 30 minutes. Drink your recovery drink while your spinning. That's it."


So, I sat. And spun. (Spinned? Span?) I warmed up with the group. Coach Charles called out some cadences and gears. I figured I'll just follow along at maybe 1-2 easier gears and get this 30 minutes done, go home, lick my wounds and live to fight another day.

"Pick it up to 110" So, I picked it up to 110.

"Big chain ring, 2 gears from the outside. Stand it up. Let's go" I geared down, stood up, and went.

"Right leg only" Clicked out the left. Right oval. Right oval. Right oval.

He kept calling out the workout. I kept going.

Lo and behold I was 45-minutes in, had a good sweat going when Mo reappeared by my side. "How's it going?"

"Not bad, actually?! I feel ok!"

"Thought you might." And he left as quietly as he had come.

I ended up finishing the whole workout! I was definitely tired, but not kneeling on death's door as I had felt previously.

WTH? What kind of coaching mojo to coach

Turns out that for me, maybe it's the fear of failing that's worse then actually failing.

Mo gave me the permission to fail, so then it wasn't so crucial whether I failed or I just let that go and gave it my best effort. And Voila! Go figure.

Damn, he's good. Thanks Maurice. Thanks T3.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Week #4 -- CHECK!

Still hanging in there....

Swim: 2.5 hrs = 6600yds
(2-T3 swim classes)....still haven't gotten in BS yet...THIS WEEK, I SWEAR!

Bike: 6.5hrs
(1x1.5hr spin, 1x1.25hr spin, 58.5 mile Dam Loop ride)

Run: 7 hrs = 46 miles
(including 4.5mile recovery run, 16mile long run, 10miler w/4 miles at Tempo-ish, 12miler and 3.5 brick of the bike)

Core: 1hr
(2x.5hr core class)

Total Hrs: 17

When's that recovery week coming already? sheesh....

My lunch dates..

... And a lesson on static electricity!!