Thursday, March 11, 2010

Going to the chapel...

A lot of people think it was Steve's idea to get married at the end of a 100 mile, mountain climbing bike ride but in was mine. It was so poetic - the hills, the valleys, obvious metaphors for the shared lives of marriage. I loved it; I was so caught up in the metaphor that I totally neglected to think about the reality. Which isn't really that unusual for people contemplating marriage. I think most everyone tends to be somewhat starry eyed and in love or why contemplate marriage in the first place, right?

Me though, I wasn't starry eyed about marriage, I was starry eyed about my metaphor. My century, 11,000ft of climbing -bike ride. It wasn't until the night before the ride, as I lay sleepless for hour after hour, did I realize that I was insane; insane yes, and stupid. Steve lay snoring next to me; content probably in the knowledge that he'd not only done this ride before, but he'd ridden in the alps, done three ironman races and countless century rides. There was no sleep for me....

I had only done one century, and it didn't include 11,000ft of climbing. Our marriage century was called Mountains of Misery - really, what is there to add to that? It is the hardest century on the east coast - the last four miles are considered a Hors Category, which in english means damn near impossible even if you do have a mountain bike cassette on your rear wheel. I was sleepless and petrified. I was definitely 'in a fix' since our family and friends would be waiting at the top of that last Hors Category to see us climb it and then to see us get married. I couldn't very well back out could I?

So how was it you ask? It was literally a nightmare. I was exhausted before I got on my bike and only got more tired as the day progressed. By mile 40 I was complaining regularly, by mile 60 I was threatening to quit and at mile 80 (which sadistically or conveniently depending on your point of view -includes a rest stop in the parking lot where the ride starts) I took off my shoes, my helmet and tried hard to quit. Steve, never the most empathic person - "well if you want to be a quitter".....I mean really who could quit after that?

The irony of this is that my metaphor really turned out to be more accurate and true than I ever could have imagined. The hills were brutal, painful and sweaty. The heart stopping descents terrifying. We saw the worst of each other, I complained and tried to quit, he was impossible, impatient and nonempathetic. We fought, I cried, he yelled and at the end of it all, we got married.

Monday, January 25, 2010


Change - a. To give a completely different form or appearance to; transform

Reading over my past blog posts I realized many things have really changed for me since the fall of 2008. Positive changes. Although never a fan of consistency - mostly because I had no idea how to accomplish such a thing - I made a vow to begin to schedule run training. So for three months now Mon is easy day, Tues is speedwork day, Wed bike, Thurs 'tempo' day and Saturday long run day. Sunday is long bike day and Friday is a freebie - for now anyway.

I missed a bike session here and there but have been pretty consistent with the run schedule. I have gradually increased my long run distance as well as the distances on the Mon and Thurs run. I do the same run every Tues and in two months have knocked two minutes off the time it takes me to do that run AND the run is easier. Running has gotten much much better for me!

I attribute about 70% of that to the consistent schedule. I don't have to think about what day to do which run, I just follow the schedule and adjust only my mileage.

The other 30% of the credit goes to a consistent hot yoga practice - consistent as in two times a week for about six months. I love yoga. I feel so much better. No more achy hips, sore knees and general all over feeling of being 152 yrs old. Yoga is the perfect compliment to the pounding and punishing aspect of running and I love it!

I'm still not fast, not by a long shot. But I am having fun running and I feel good, strong, awesome even.

My first goal is the Shamrock half marathon in March. I wish I could say my goal is to break 2 hours - how about: my dream goal is under 2 hours, my -not realistic but hey it could happen goal is under 2:15 and my -I can probably do that goal is to break 2:20.

Distance series this weekend. 15k which really for me is a long run not a race. Race report next....

Friday, December 18, 2009

Running and running and running

Steve first in his age group (yawn) but getting an award from LaShawn Merritt - now that's cool!

Me running lots lately, recovering well and loving every minute of it. Good to have even alittle bit of that feeling back!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Starting over....again

I won't even talk about promising to blog and then failing to follow through. As has often been my mantra in life - better late than never.
Luray, for the record, totally sucked for me. As it turned out they decided at the last minute to make it a nonwetsuit swim. There was no way I was attempting that swim without my wetsuit floatie. So I wore it and consequently started the bike pretty overheated.
The bike is a pretty darned hilly course. And wouldn't you know that my front derailluer broke about 15 minutes into the first loop. So no big chain ring for me on the significant downhill that made up the backside of the two loop course. But at least I could climb without killing my knees. For some odd reason I decided that a Starbucks double shot on loop two would be a good idea so I had put one in one of my water bottles. I know they say never do anything in a race that you haven't tried in training - but I forgot that they say that. It was really not a very good idea.
When I finished the bike and got off to run my stomach was 'tore up'! My heartrate skyrocketed and I basically walked most of the 10k run.
Horrible day discouraging race. Oh and did I mention the temps got up to about 87 degrees on my second loop of the run.
Supposed to have done Savageman this past weekend to make up for Luray. But I've been sick for two weeks all due to a visit on labor day weekend to the Savageman venue to peruse the bike course in advance.
On my birthday no less, Sept. 5th., I ended up walking up a climb for the first time ever. Apparently at some point during this humiliation a yellowjacket decided to take refuge in my shoe and then decided to sting me. OUCH! I got back on the bike at the top of the hill without even checking for exactly what had bitten/stung me. So it wasn't until about 5 miles later that Steve suggested I stop and see what it was. By then Mr. YJ was squashed.
That night my foot itched so badly I could not sleep. Then I got some sort of flu for about a week - then last week my hands and feet and knee (yes only one) swelled to twice their size.
Steve had a great race at Savageman though, made it up the Westernport Wall and got his brick!
I'm feeling better now - finally! So tomorrow I start my winter plan. The goal of the plan is to figure out just what I have to do to get even one minute faster on a
5k, maybe 7 miutes on a 10k since I'd like to break an hour!
More to come on that. In the meantime - update done - finally. The pic is from our Savageman perusal - I was appalled at the shortness of my shorts in this picture. Steve insists that is is really my legs that are the problem - they're too long. Either way....geez...

Friday, July 24, 2009

Fun - Training - Oxymoron?

Steve and I drove three hours to Waynesboro last Saturday for some serious (Read: bigger than Pungo Ferry Bridge) hill climbing. We didn't leave until noon which means we didn't get there with bikes out, gear on, ready to roll until about 4 p.m. Rather late in the day to get motivated for what was supposed to be a medium-hard brick, especially hard after a 3 hour car ride.

Medium hard means we do our own thing. (Steve's medium hard is my impossible hard). So I started out alone. The first ten miles on the parkway starting at Afton Inn are about nine miles of climbing and one mile of descent. I was working but I was also enjoying it. Something was missing....

I got back to the car and without the usual "ugh, I don't wanna" started my brick despite the fact that the route Steve said he was doing and that I couldn't possibly do due to my 'lack of agility' -therefore guaranteeing this would be my running route- seemed to be three miles of straight up hill. I was definitely working on that run but I was also enjoying it. Something was definitely missing...

The next day we did the old Blue Ridge Extreme metric route - thirty miles of rolling hills leading into a Cat 2 climb called Vesuvius that will forever intimidate me no matter how many times I actually make it to the top and then about thirty miles of parkway riding which means no climb too steep but more than one climb quite long especially on tired legs. I was working and hurting especially by mile 50 but I was also having fun, lots. Again I felt it, elusive but definitely palpable - something was noticeably missing....

As I dragged my tired, stiff and achy bones into the shower I pondered the mystery. Instead of feeling discouraged, I felt satisfied and instead of feeling like the biggest loser (and I'm not talking about weight loss) I felt great, happy, inspired even. Missing, gone and disappeared were the feelings of drudgery, demoralization and discouragement that usually follow my workouts.

I made a decision after Eagleman to stop comparing myself to everyone else. Who cares? I never cared and I realized that for me, caring sucks all the life's blood out of the sport for me. It's amazing. I'm having fun training. Fun training. For me at least no longer an oxymoron.

Sunday, June 28, 2009


Blog posting is not always easy. It's almost like homework - once you get behind it's easy to think of reasons why its better to catch up tomorrow. For me tomorrow turned into six months. Well I'm back. I could say I've got some catchin up to do, but I'm not doing any catchin up. Today is the first day of the rest of my blogging....

I'm supposed to be training for the Luray International Triathlon. For the less obsessed, international refers to the distance of the race not how far athletes come to race it. It is a small race and a good distance for me. After the aqua fiasco at Eagleman; it's time for me to scale back the distance and do some work on speed. Okay do lots of work on speed.

I started running 20 years ago and from the first day the thing that appealed to me was going farther not faster. Somehow I got caught up in the quantity numbers game. In my head I'm still like that. I have to remind myself constantly at the pool that I am there to actually learn how to swim not just to log x number of meters in the water. Same thing on the bike. If I don't ride at least 30 miles I don't feel like it's worth going. Running is really hard for me now but even so my mind says that running anything less than 5 miles is not even worth heading out the door.

So I'm going to fight my distance obsessions and focus on the international distance for the rest of this year. Luray in August and the Savage Man olympic distance at the end of September.

I'm going to really make an effort to become a better swimmer by spending at least 5 hours a week in the pool. I'm going to do speed work on the bike once a week and speedwork at the track once a week.

Steve keeps preaching consistency so I'm going to be consistent. In blogging and in training!

Vacation this week - training starts July 5th!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Friend: a person you know well and regard with affection

For the past two years I followed a blog by Leroy Sievers. He worked for NPR, had colon cancer and decided to blog about it. It was a wonderful blog; the man definitely had a gift for writing. He died the day before Timberman and I actually cried. I never met this man, but I cried!

I've 'met' some other cancer patients through leroy's blogs who also have cancer blogs (see I do have other interests besides triathlon). One woman, Stephanie Dornbrook, who lived for two years longer than they told her she would, actually did everything to prepare for her death so that her family wouldn't have to. She ordered silk for the burial shroud, planned the funeral meticulously and divided her things between all four of her children in boxes for them to open after she died. She even gave the family the names of four friends to call, these four friends would call all of her other friends so that her family wouldn't have to make those calls. Wow! That was all I could say! Wow!

Then there's Tasha a blogger I initially followed because of her hilarious triathlon training commentary. Tasha was diagnosed with breast cancer last year; this diagnosis has actually made her blog even more entertaining. I love her; she's on my 'cancer sucks now go away' prayer list and I've only 'met' her on the internet.

Rachel Ross is another blogger friend. She was the first amateur woman to finish Kona in 2007, is an awesome athlete, mom and yes...blogger! She's so funny despite facing some incredible challenges this past year. I consider her someone I know, She makes me laugh. And she is on my 'migraines suck now go away' prayer list!

There are many other blogger friends I've made this past year. Some are funny, some are just sweet as hell(BreeWee) some share great training advice (Mary); all of them inspire me.

Friend: a person you know well and regard with affection.