Thursday, November 29, 2012

One for the Thumb!

Several years ago, I vowed for the 4th time NEVER to do an Ironman Triathlon again. I had finished Ironman Western Australia in 2008 and had a very, very difficult race physically, mentally..A few months later I ran into a friend who said "You have to do one for the thumb!!" I scoffed..Nope, never, never, never I told myself....Well, as H started dreaming of doing an Ironman for his 65th birthday, I started to falter. Like childbirth, we forget how painful the race truly is...The result?

Signup November 2011

Never say never..
We got off to a great start arriving in Tempe on Wednesday at the big Ironhouse. The whole family soon arrived there to cheer us on..This is our Iron crew:
The best part of the whole weekend were the 4 grand kids, who participated in the IronKids on Saturday. Hundreds of kids ran the mile long race; we have some true competitors in our fam. This was my inspiration:

Avery took the race very seriously! She took off  from the beginning..wanted to win!
The Ironhouse was perfect and the kids all being there helped take the edge off of pre-race jitters..We at our traditional pasta dinner and it was incredible having the whole family there!

Pre Race-

I woke up at 2:15 race morning and couldn't sleep. Perhaps it had to do with the fact that I went to bed at 8:00, I never sleep well on Race Eve, and was a bit over the top excited because my family was there to watch us. Our friend MG picked H and I up at 5:00 AM-this royal treatment being dropped off at the race start is something I could get use to! I will say that I was a bit anxious, not the kind of nervousness I usually get before races-more like happy anticipation. After scooping up 2 other friends, we got door to door service to the Transition site. H and I planned our pre-race meeting place and time. We wanted to go into the water together, and that was the last I saw of him until the finish line! We kept missing each other at the porta potties, I guess.

Dropping off last minute items in transition at 5:00  AM

The Swim (2.4 miles, 4400 or so yds):

In the practice swim on Sat., we had jumped in with our wetsuits to check out Tempe Town Lake, which if you don't open your eyes or remember ducks live and poop there, is not too bad..but the practice swim just freaked me out because I felt so cold from the frigid water-I started to get very nervous..
H and I at the pre-race swim
The water was 61 degrees on race morning. The outside temp was in the 50s. Actually, with a hood on under my swim cap, I felt pleasantly surprised how good the water felt. Maybe 2500 people peeing all at once in the lake from excitement made the temp go up a bit? I would never pee in the lake-ha!
And the madness begins..this was my view at the swim start..

See I'm right over there!
I made my way down to the swim with 2499 of my new best friends. I thought how happy everyone looked...funny, they didn't look like violent people..My adrenaline was pumping as they played the National anthem..dawn was starting to break in front of me and I felt pure gratefulness that I was healthy and strong enough to be here racing an Ironman Triathlon.There were hundreds of athletes lined up at the waters edge, all waiting for others to jump into the frigid, dark water first. I finally talked myself into jumping in about 15 min. before the starting gun..I thought it would be important to get a good swimming spot. Little did I know maybe that was not such a good idea...

We waited for what seemed like an eternity treading water until BANG the gun went off. This is when all these athletes turned on me. I got kicked, pushed, punched in the mouth, swam over and yelled at. I am use to having a bit of jostling around for a few hundred yards but eventually things start to spread out and I get my swim rhythm. Not on this 2.4 mile swim. I never could get any open space in the water to get into any smooth areas to swim well. I felt like I was working hard, but wasn't going too far. At one point a guy popped up and yelled at me "Stop kicking me!" Dude, I am behind you! I laughed...everyone was getting kicked so that was ludicrous!

After what seemed like an eternity, we rounded the last buoy and headed for the stairs at the edge of the lake where they hauled us out of the water. I kept thinking either I was in the front group and that is why folks were scrambling so hard or I was in the rear getting hit and run over by slower swimmers. The latter appeared to be true..I finally got pulled up the stairs, I looked at my watch and damn! 1:23. One of my slowest IM swim times ever..this was suppose to be my fastest discipline and I was already off my game. After a brief moment of letdown, I thought to myself ok, it is what it is, get over it and get going and make up for that 15 min you just gave up! This was my strategy, if one goal wasn't met, go on to a new one. I managed to jog up the chute to transition, where hundreds of people were cheering me on..this is the great thing about Ironman-the crowds are electrifying!! I found a spot in the grass, I had decided not to change my clothes in the changing tent..well this turned out to be not such a great idea-I didn't count on the fact that my hands were frozen from the cold in effect, all the time I was trying to save just was cancelled out by frozen fingers.

Swim time: 1:23

Transition 1: A VERY long 11 minutes. My fingers were completely frozen. I could not feel plan was to race through the transitions like lightening, getting my wetsuit off quickly, throwing my helmet, bike shoes, grabbing my bike and running the long trek to the bike start. As it turned out, I did manage to get out of transition all in one piece, but at a snail's pace..

Me so happy to be on the bike!

The Bike (112 miles):

I was never so happy to get on my bike. I started down the out shoot and saw my family!! That made me so happy! I stopped once I got a few hundred yards away because I heard a loud clatter in my bike wheel. WTH? I looked down to see my HR monitor strap caught in my spokes. Oh my gosh-didn't I practice this a hundred times in my head? I must've looked rather frantic because the volunteer helping me said, slow down, breathe, it'll be a long day out there..oh yea, I remembered and took a few deep breaths..after the HR strap was on, it never worked at all, not once in the whole race..oh well, so much for monitoring my effort. I would have to go by "perceived exertion". One more surprise, not so bad..

The first loop of the bike was nothing exciting. I felt ridiculously slow going out the Beeline, as was expected. I read an article about the bike at IMAZ and it said do NOT make the mistake of pushing up the false flat of 8 miles up Hwy. 87. Many riders do, only to run out of gas and have spent legs on the 3rd lap. So I turtled (is that a word?) my way up the gradual incline X3 loops. However, on the downhill, I flew!! Hoping to make up some time, I endured the almost 7 hrs of the bike primarily in my aerobars. Most of the time I was fighting boredom and random thoughts, except the 2 times I saw the kids near the turn around in town. It was so exciting to have a cheering squad on the course. Of the hundreds of spectators, these people were actually there to cheer ME! The surge of energy I received from that support was amazing! I asked the kids where H was-they told me 20 minutes back. I only saw H once very briefly on the bike. The rest of the day we kept missing each other. The best sign of the day was "Smile if you peed on your bike" I laughed! As I cruised the last 7 miles back into Tempe, I stretched my legs, did much spinning to work all the lactic acid out of the legs...I tried to stay in the moment as much I could but knew when I got off the bike, I was more than halfway done.

Me happy on the bike...probably the 1st loop..

Bike split: 6:56, average of over 16 MPH. Result=happy!

T-2 was uneventful. Took a lot less time than the first transition..6 min, 6 secs. This time, I could feel my hands...

Then I was running! (The sometimes never ending Marathon-26.2 miles):

I felt pretty darn good from the first step I took in my running shoes! I heard the crowd and family YELLING for me to GO! I saw more grand kids, gave them hugs. Avery told me "Grandma you are going to WIN!" I laughed and said " I wish that were true!" When I started to run around the bridge on the first mile-OUCH! My right back started to cramp. I have had this weird pain each time I have run off the bike in training for the last couple months. It really was hurting and I thought wow, if this keeps up, it will be a long rest of the day out here for me..yet I knew that aches and pains can come and go in the 26 miles of the marathon in Ironman. I stopped to pee, this is a good thing-means I was not too dehydrated. I took some Tylenol and Advil, stopping to stretch my back. It must've worked because sometime around mile 3, I started to feel better and took off running..I started to pass people, a first for me in Ironman running. I am usually the "passee". I finally, finally felt great running, at least for awhile. I stopped at each and every aid station about every mile, to walk and drink. I drank Iron-ade (Gatorade), coke, water. I ate potato chips, tried to take in gels. I was somewhat concerned about dehydration, which one should be in a race this long.  The fact is you are pushing your body beyond normal electrolyte balance. There is no way you can ever catch up, you just hope you can stay ahead of it! At around mile 5 on the run, my stomach started to blow up like a balloon..nothing was moving, no nutrition was getting through the old stomach. I knew this feeling, I knew it well. Something happens in Ironman that tells your body ok, maybe this all day race thing is not such a great idea-think I will stop digestion for awhile now. Here is where experience helped me. I knew this always a treatable passing state of being, yet I knew I could not stop taking in fluids or salt (I was taking salt pills all along to help with the massive loss of sodium). I remembered I had magic pills- Gas X! After taking a few of those, and after much self-talk (pain is temporary, I can do this, blah, blah blah..) my stomach decided it was time to start moving again. It worked!

 I can't remember when but at some point I started picking up the pace and passing more people. I noted with interest and pleasure that I was passing young strapping men/youngsters..this only served to inspire me!!
I made this picture smaller because of the determined (sour) look on my face~

The kids were there around mile 8 to cheer me on. I think I told them my stomach was a mess. Becca asked me what mile I was on, I said Heavens, I have no idea! I had my run Garmin on, but I couldn't figure out how to use it at that point I guess! See this is the thing I have learned about Ironman-expect the unexpected! 140.6 miles is a long flippin' way and s#%t will happen along the way..the thing experience has taught me is; OK stuff will happen that I don't anticipate in IM and when it does, then I adjust my goal/plan accordingly. This is the ONE THING a coach can't teach you, a book can't describe no one can impart. It comes from that place inside that can face the challenges and readjust my attitude/game plan. When I had a sucky swim, I just said ok, I will just have to make up for it on the bike and run! This helped me on the run go faster..I told myself there was no reason I could not run 26.2 miles, walking the aid stations. I trained a very long time for this race, I did my 1st IM eight years ago and I was better, faster-stronger. False humility is useless! At no time in this race, did I go to what I call the F^*%#k it! Zone. I had trained my mind for these thoughts. I did my best impersonation of Chrissie Wellington (champion Ironwoman) and said Never, never give up my dream! It is beside the point am not 32 years old and particularly athletically gifted, it was my Mantra the whole run.
MG took this picture as I headed out for the 3rd and last loop of the run...
Then came the race to the finish line. When I saw the kids for the last time, about 100 yards from the finish, Becca said RUN MOM- you can beat you PR! My PR for Ironman was 14 hrs. 15 min. eight years ago in Florida, my first one. I knew I was close! As I rounded the corner to the finish line, I saw the clock click over to 14:16. Mike Reilly, the "voice of Ironman" for the last few decades said
Debi Wess from Albuquerque, New Mexico-you are an IRONMAN!

Missed a PR by 1 minute! I have wondered since what would have happened had I NOT stopped to get Icy Gel put on my legs by the 2 young men on the run course-seemed like a good idea at the time! Maybe would have made that PR..No matter, I was happy, really happy about my race. I felt like I did my very best for this IM course, these almost perfect conditions and at my age.

Run Time: 5:39 my PR on a Ironman marathon. Happy Days!!

Final time: 14:16

Worst...finish picture...evar! 
15th out of 39 women in my AG, 1754 out of about 2500 athletes overall (this does not include the 200+ athletes who DNF'd), 415th out of 793 women finishers.

I'm in!!!

I saw the kids beyond the finish rope. The catcher that caught me threw a solar blanket over me, finisher's medal around my neck and asked if I was OK? I think I said "no" at that point. What did I need? Uh, I dunno..They asked me something about "what size T shirt did I want"-say what? I was quite befuddled by this point....I kept asking for; my family, pizza, water, not necessarily in that order! The "angel" catcher woman took me outside the finish area to my family..I asked Allison to immediately help me get PIZZA! After finagling our way past the "finish line guard" (Nazi), I wolfed down 2 pieces of pizza. I felt instantly better! It amazes me how much IM has changed over the last 8 years. I remember running right into H and Becca's arms in Florida. Now they have it all partitioned off so family can't get to you right away. This was a small hitch in an otherwise awesome, amazing, wonderful experience at the finish!!!
The family supporting H on the run of IMAZ. Love this pic!

 The grand kids hugged me, my kids took care of me as we waited for H to cross the line. When he did, we really celebrated!! 

Wow! Couldn't someone tell me my SKIN was showing!
The miracle of technology told me I finished 15th in my age group. Out of 32 women 55-59 years old that finished, this put me mid-pack-my usual. There were 42 women in my AG if I count the no-show/DNFs, which I think I will. This puts me in the top third? I'll take it..I raced my heart out and Kona (Ironman championship, which you have to win your AG to qualify for) is just not in the cards for me at this point in my life. Who knows if it ever will? I am still one lucky, blessed woman to be able to do this thing called Ironman!


1. Seeing friends along the way inspired me! Especially thanks to MG, my original partner in crime for IMFL, 2004. His encouragement then and now were SO helpful!

2. My goal time was 13:30. Being 46 minutes slower doesn't really upset me..

3. My other goal was to finish feeling pretty good-mission accomplished! For the first time ever, I did not swear off future IM races at the finish line..a major feat for me..

4. In 2 years, when I age up to 60-64 I will perhaps go to some remote location IM and try and qualify for Kona. I will NEVER give up my dream to go to the World Championships!

5. It is infinitely more fun to race with a cheering section in matching red T-shirts there supporting me. Thank you family!!

6. I hope, on a very special level that my grandchildren will remember Grandma and Grandpa doing Ironman. My dream is that it will serve as inspiration for them to reach for the stars and never, never give up!!

7. Ironman is a metaphor for life. How so? To achieve anything in life, you have to work hard and prepare. No matter what curve balls you are thrown, you readjust the Plan..and carry on. Sometimes it's outcome is disappointment, and occasionally it surprises you when everything comes together. No matter what, I know I have given it my all, at that given time, in those circumstances. If I don't, then I am challenged to be better, do better.

8. Life sucks really, really bad sometimes. I have to roll with the punches, fix the problem-then the pendulum swings..

9. Changing my clothes in an IM transition, or not changing my clothes makes no difference whatsoever. I am still a drenched in sweat, stinky, dirty hot mess at the finish line! Not worth the extra time it takes to change in transition..

10. I don't completely suck at running anymore...see #6..

11. My regret is that my parents never lived long enough to see me accomplish this athletic feat. But then again, maybe I am inspired to live longer, be healthier because of them. I get my stubborn, strong will to do anything I set out to, from my mom. The first 4 syllable word I learned-I remember distinctly my dad helping me learn it-was perseverance!

12. It is WAY more fun to train with my partner in life, my husband. He is the only one who understands how hard I have worked to achieve all my dreams-he is my "Hart" and Soul..

13. The 2 best Ironman races I have had have been under Coach Mark Mico. There is something about his plans, his belief in my ability, his humor, his many stories that push me to achieve my best. Also many kudos to my new bike Coach Adam, who kicked my butt up many, many hills on the bike, even through my loudest whining! This has only helped me make gains on the bike I never knew I had in me. To our Wednesday biking group, who put up with my slow arse for the first 6 months I rode with them-they never lost faith in me-THANK YOU!!

14. Yes, you CAN buy speed on the bike. Mrs. Venge, who cost as much as a new car catapulted me to to new level of biking. It took awhile, and I am still not amazing on hills, but having my mighty steed under me gave me confidence. I mean it has to, right? Otherwise I could never justify getting a fancy bike like this. If anything, she gave me the intimidation factor. More than once someone said Nice bike-during the race. Then I remembered, oh yea Mrs. Venge you rock!!

15. For the first time ever, I am not that sore after Ironman..A couple of days of stiffness then I was fine. One word...YOGA...been doing it for the past 9 months along with IM training. I am hooked! Thank you Yoga by Julia!!

Now, about that pizza...I am still hungry!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Boulder 70.3 Triathlon Race Report

(I just realized I started this blog and never finished..the story of my life when it comes to blogging these days)..

Boulder was a "C" race. Our big one is Ironman Arizona so when some friends decided to do Boulder 70.3 sometime in the late winter, early Spring, I thought why not? It'll be good training for the full. We started training with a coach, Mark Mico in April. He was my first coach when I did my first IM in Florida 2004. He was the first person who encouraged me that I could do this thing.... Ironman..The training back then was brutal, or so I thought. I was still working full time as a counselor. It was extremely challenging back then to fit everything in! I retired with H in 2006. His mom became ill almost immediately. Although she lived another pretty good 4 years, we were the closest family in proximity so we felt some responsibility as she great sicker in 2010. Long story short, before this year, we hadn't done many triathlons since 2009, the year we did Ironman Western Australia.. (I am sure I have talked about all this in my blog but I get a bye here because of age and I am too lazy right now to look it up)..

Sine the start of 2012 we have done 5 Triathlons and 1 Santa Fe Century Ride (75 miles of it)..The 5th one on the list was the Boulder 70.3 Race, completed on Sunday, August 5th. Some folks have asked me how much we train for these things. We are retired so what else do we have to do? It is like our part-time really fun job! Honestly on our hardest weeks, we train 12-18 hours a week. On our recovery weeks, maybe 2/3 of that and easier paces. This year, we bought new Specialized Venge road bikes which for me, has taken my training to a new higher level. You can buy speed on the bike!

We drove up to Boulder on Thursday before the race to see Becca, Dan and 2 grandchildren, which I found to be a great distraction from the typical pre-race jitters. Friday, H and I went to the Boulder Reservoir to check out the lake, swim a bit and a short ride/run to get our legs moving. The lake water was perfect-not too warm, not too cold. The outside temps however, were soaring! It was in the 90s on Friday and 80s Saturday. The 80 degree temp was OK for me, we are use to training in heat, or so I thought. Many of our training weeks leading up to this race, we ran/biked in the middle of the day in ABQ, hoping to prepare ourselves for the notorious heat fest on the Boulder 70.3 run. I assumed we were prepared for anything temperature wise..hmmmm, more about this later..Our bikes had been stuffed into a Subaru Forrester, compliments of the Honda Dealer..We bought a new Honda CRV 10 days before, which promptly started leaking differential fluid after 70 miles of driving-say what?!?. The repair, which was a "human error in assembly" took days, WAY longer than they said it would..So by the time the trip came, we had no car. We had already had fixed up our older car to sell to a buyer who already committed to buying the Forerunner today. I was grumbling much of the time packing our bikes into a car that basically would not fit them unless we squished them in, putting pressure on the frame, cassettes, etc..We spent the good part of Wed in the Honda dealer trying to obtain a better, bigger car to take to Boulder while our NEW CAR was being repaired. No deal! I was so frustrated with the Honda Dealer, I was tapering for a race and was grumpy to begin with. The people at the car dealership showed us why car dealers have such a bad rep. We caught them in several lies and the owner of the dealership was "on vacation" so their hands were tied. So we were stuck with this Subaru, which had a broken windshield and was not user friendly in my mind at all! (we did finally get our new car when we got home yesterday. I am still going to write complaint letters galore when we finally find out our new car is not a lemon). 

Anyhoo, here we are with the bikes which were probably OK, but I was convinced there was something amiss because of the way the bikes had to ride in the crappy, smaller than CRV car..Oh well, I tell myself there are starving people in the world and you are worried about a stupid bike? This seemed to snap me out of this..We went back to Becca's, picked up Becca and the kids-headed back to the lake to pick up our packets. The schwag is awesome: a very cewl bag:
I always feel compelled to have a good race when I get stuff with the name of the race on it like this! There was the Ironman Village there, which is another name for soaking athletes for money as they purchase anything with the name "Ironman" on it (I admit, I have been guilty of this-many times!). I saw a woman who had the same T-shirt as me: "Ironman 2012 in Training". She said Nice shirt! To which I replied thanks! Are you doing Ironman Arizona too?" She said no, she was just doing Boulder 70.3 triathlon. Wow, I said to myself-doesn't she know she is breaking some rule that says you can't wear an Ironman T-shirt unless you did or or doing the "full ironman"? It's official: I am an Ironman snob! I digress..


We got up at 4:30-yikes! My most un-favorite part of racing.. After eating my half bagel with cream cheese, a cup of coffee and a Red bull, we were off to the start! After piddling around transition for 90 min. I was done setting up transition. I realized I had WAY too much stuff!

Wow-I need to work on this before Redman half IM! I felt a bit nervous and usual..rushed-for no particular reason at all...this is how I roll. However, as I stood at the swim start, I felt calm. One thing about this race is, they did not have music BLARING at the felt peaceful and calm. I wrote the race director afterwards and said, thank you for not having loud music BLARING at the start! After the National Anthem, that always makes me cry, the horn sounded in one of the first waves and I was off!

The Swim:

The sun was just rising and in my face sighting but I didn't care. I started the swim strong, I felt like a rock star..For the first time probably ever, I started near the front, as my coach suggested. I was smooth and felt fast. There were no anxiety symptoms which usually are with me the first 10 mins of the swim. I thought I must be going fast and what felt like no time-the 1.2 mile swim was over..I put my swim shoes on and ran up the dirt. I passed under the showers and to my left I saw a baby pool filled with water, where folks were running through to clean there feet. This seemed like a good idea at the time, or so I thought. I stepped to the left to run through the pool and bam!! I fell into the baby pool..I prayed no one saw me but noooo, there was a whole crowd of people lined up to see my spectacular fall!! Crap!!Someone helped me up as I heard Debi??. I looked up and saw someone I know from ABQ..of course..I fell and there was an ABQ witness! Oh well, I carried on and asked someone what time it was. He said 7:45 I think, it made no sense to me at the time..I had gone with the race without a watch on the swim, although the Garmin was with me on the bike and run. This was before I bit the dust!

Swim time: 39 minutes..I really thought I had done a 30 minute swim..then one of my friends there told me he thought the swim was 100-200 meters long, according to swim times..this made me feel better! :) Was first out the water in my Age Group..

T-1: I always try and get through transitions fast because, well that is one place I can make up time! Well, apparently I took a nap at this transition. My transition time was 5:10 min..very slow for me..Oh well, I again cursed the fact I had so much crap in my transition area..Lesson learned! I looked happy though!

Bike: I jumped on the bike and felt my legs immediately..Not just transition sore, but sore all over! With my new Mrs. Venge bike, I could not understand this...Oh well, I thought. this soreness will pass soon..But no, it never passed. I rode up the first incline for about 5 miles with screaming legs! I knew I would be tight up the first hill but this was ridiculous..At the turn and down the hill into Boulder Dam it was downhill. I pushed as hard as I possibly could because damn..I was slow up that 8 mile hill! Back into transition only to head back out for loop 2 of 56 mile bike. Again, my legs hurt-my quads, my hamstrings, everything..I was getting pissed by now-I had trained so hard on the bike and now I was feeling like I had never ridden my bike ever! I always try and smile for the camera however:

Never let 'em see you sweat! The second loop was as hard as the first but again, I pushed hard on the downhill. I tried to eat and drink my prescribed 250 calories an hour. However, I knew this is impossible for me these days. I chomped on gels, bars and Infinite to try and prepare for the run, where there was not in a chance in hell be able to keep up this eating plan. I finally crossed into T-2 and I was never more grateful to start the run! I dreamed about getting off the bike the last 40 miles of the bike leg. This never was a new feeling for me. 

Bike time: 3:14. This is one of my better times, but not a PR. I was happy just to finish the bike! I was still in 2nd place off the bike in my Age Group.

T-2: Here is where I stepped it up as far as my transitions. I ran through like lightening to get my stuff on for the run. Out of there in 1:52. That's more like it!

The Run: This is where my competition gets me every time! Although I have been upping my running miles over the last 3 years, it seems to always bite me in the ass when the run comes! I ran the first 10k in 1:20 and the 2nd 10k in 1:28 for a total of 2:48 for the half marathon part of the race. The second half of the run, it felt like someone turned the oven on and it became somewhat of a death march! I loved it though. I stayed positive and for once did not beat myself up because of my slow run..this is progress for me. I smiled at others alot, and tried to chat but those with me on the death march didn't seem to find the humor in it all! One man walked with me and said Are you taking electrolytes? I must have looked salt depleted-how did he know I had forgotten my salt tabs? I felt like he was an angel when he handed me an Endurolyte-thank you Mister Angel!! This perked me up a bit for a couple miles. There was a death march around me with young fit looking men walking so I did not feel so bad! I finally on the last 5k of the run, found a woman to talk to. She was wearing a Lululemon top and we bonded over this..Kindred spirits, us Lulu women! She was a good 30 years younger than me but we chatted about races, race wear, family, anything to get us off the thoughts that this was a suffer fest after all in the heat! Finally I said, go on-you can run this..thanks for the distraction! And off she went into the sunset, well the heat anyway. By now it was REALLY HOT- I was a bit surprised by this although I shouldn't have been. I knew the run was HOT at this race, my sense of entitlement told me Oh no, it wont be hot for ME this year! No such luck. I was never so happy to get to the end of the run. I had walked much of the last 10k. But hey, it is a "C" race, right? I really did not think I had finished in the medals, I knew that run had ruined that chance for me..I was sweating so much by the end, I must have lost 10 lbs in fluids...I tried to eat and drink, and drink-using their Gator-Ade, coke and water was hard to force fluids by this point, but I knew I had to if I did not want to crumple under the heat..I am looking a bit more serious as I take off on the 2nd lap of the run!

Final Run time: 2:48..not my best, not my was actually only 2 minutes slower than my PR in a half Ironman run, which surprises and delights me! Not bad for a "C" race..I was happy!

The clock is the Pro time. My actual finish time was 6:50, my 3rd fastest time out of 8 half Ironmans I have done. I am one happy camper with this thought! As I fell into the finish chute, a volunteer put her arm around me and asked if I was OK. Hmmm, I guess I am not OK right now! I felt a bit dizzy and disoriented because I did not know if H was still on the race course, didn't know where my teammates were. The volunteer angel said the temperature had gone up 12 degrees in the past hour. It was 97 degrees! Holy balls Batman! No wonder I was feeling like a wrung out dish rag! I still felt happy through the haze. I knew I had done my best in the regrets here! She asked what I needed, who I was and where I was from, trying to assess my mental status and I passed I guess. I squeaked out Take me to the lake please! The sweet volunteer steered me to the lake's edge and I jumped in. Cold water never felt so good!! I barely got my shoes off first...I still was confused as to where all my peeps were..I hobbled over to the finish line and started trying to call people. I finally got ahold of a teammate and he said H was walk/jogging the run and would be coming in soon. I intermittently watched the finish line and the posted results. I figured I had come in middle of the pack, my usual in a big race like this. That was fine, I was still really positive about my effort. Finally, when the results still had not been posted in my AG, I approached the table in front of the award stage. I gave my name and the woman said, You were 4th in your AG..I smiled-this was a little higher than mid pack? Then she said You will receive an award, we go 5 deep for AG awards! Holy cow!! I said Are you sure?, a bit stunned by this revelation...Then it dawned on me-I won a friggin' award in a big 70.3 race- in Boulder-friggin'-Colorado-home of Chrissie Wellington!! I felt surprised, happy and amazed..I still could not find H or anyone so I waited while they started giving out awards..Feeling still  bit befuddled, the woman next to me started crying when she realized she was getting a 2nd place award. She had never won anything or even placed-she was overcome with joy! So she and I went up to get our awards. The 1st and 3rd place women did not show, probably still in the medical tent for all I the woman next to me and I went up to the stage and got our wood piece for an award..

 I was a bit sad H was not there to see me get my new trophy shaped like a tree trunk! As I walked down the stairs afterwards, there was my sweet husband!! He hugged me forever and said he was so proud of me.This was, by far my best race outcome ever! Given the conditions and that this was not an "A" race for me, I was tickled pink!!

And now, we are heavily training for the next chapter of our racing..Next up, Redman Half Distance Triathlon! September 22nd right before our daughter's wedding in Austin..Life...:

It's Getting Better all the Time!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

I get around..

I am becoming a Yoga whore..yes I am getting around to alot of classes in the last couple of weeks. It started out when we saw a Yoga studio  just about 1 mile from our house in the Albertsons shopping center. We checked it out and they had a 20 classes for $20 on sale. Who could refuse this? Yoga, for the most part has always been a challenge doing, going, staying at any Yoga Studio. The last Yoga I tried was Hot Yoga, where I nearly died of heat exhaustion. First few time I tried it, I became dizzy each time I stood in a sweltering room and tried to contort..I had to leave early a few times because I felt sick. The last hot Yoga class I left feeling nauseous and faint by the end of the class. I really, really wanted to like Hot Yoga! I wanted all those "amazing benefits" of Hot Yoga! I felt a bit like a failure when I could not get past the heat part. So I gave up, assuming being all Eastern meditative and flexible was not in my future.

Fast forward a few weeks ago, where I went to Yoga at the new place. It is not hot, seems almost manageable, even though I toppled over a few times the first couple of classes. Yesterday something finally clicked and it felt like I was getting ever slightly more stretchable, which is not saying much! I also began to like the feeling of "Child's pose" which got me to a state of new relaxation after doing some pretty hard poses...This is my best attempt to be a meditation person. I have never successfully been able to sit and "think of nothing" for more than 2 minutes. However, something about moving while meditating is easier for me. Julia, the new instructor is also amazing and encouraging. Something about her makes me think I could actually keep coming back and getting benefits of the practice. I plan on continuing as long as I can until the swimming, biking and running overtake our hours in the day.

We hired a coach on Monday. It is my old coach, Mark from Ironman Florida days, my first IM in 2004. IMFL was my PR and I have never been able to match it. When he asked me what my goals were for Ironman Arizona, I quickly said, without thinking-to break 14 hours..I figure any time faster than my last IM-Western Australia, where the heat gods got me, would bed good. H and I will be training with him separately and together. I look forward to being pushed in a different way.

Our triathlon and running race year seems to be shaping up. We were going to register for Jay Benson, the local sprint triathlon that has been here every year for 20 years. But seems the base director (race is on the air force base here) has other plans! The race director may not get a permit so registration is postponed until further notice. Bummer! I have begged off several morning rides in the last couple of weeks. My tolerance for training in the eff-ing cold is way down. I hate, hate hate, biking in the cold. When it stops being fun at all, I draw the line. ABQ us just not warming up to South American standards yet! Hopefully tomorrow, we can get out early to ride with a group. I am already psyching myself up and planning my many layers to begin the ride with...

I actually got into a pool the other day and swam 2000 yards. Wow! I never thought I could be so sore trying to swim! The muscles in my arms were freaking out, legs yelling at me and form was atrocious. I can only hope that with  more practice, I will be less stiff in the pool. It did not help that when H and I got to the pool and asked to share a lane with an older guy, he yelled at us. Apparently, in this gym, the elderly get to call the shots in the pool? He finally moved out of his lane, griping to anyone who would listen about how rude we were to try and share a lane with him..Geez! Swimming at this new gym may be a challenge but I can beat up those old people if they start to get sassy with me! :) I can be just as grumpy and old-they better watch out!

Off to run today..I am having a grandson on Tuesday..I am on Cloud Nine!!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Okay New Year, New Goal

I tumbled this idea inside my head for a few weeks. Should I keep blogging or not? I guess one reason to keep writing is to not let the cobwebs grow too much in my head. I read an article on "reasons to blog" and these are some:

1. You will find your kindred spirits. 

I've made best buddies for life from my websites. After all, blogging and putting myself out there has helped me find you, my kindred thrifty spirit! My favorite part of blogging is making heart to heart connections with my readers. 

Blogging is better than Facebook siphoning away countless hours.

I haven't found this balance yet but hopefully I can do both while not being a total online obsession about myself.

3. Your writing will improve. 

Blogging is daily writing practice. You'll learn to write engaging copy faster and you'll sharpen layout and content organization skills.

4. Your photography will improve. 

I always felt like I had a good eye, but snapping daily photos for my blog has helped my photography improve by far! I can take better pictures faster, and I keep learning every day. 

5. You'll learn, grow, and discover yourself with every single post.

Your self improvements will go beyond writing, photography, and journaling. Blogging daily helps you make personal improvements. We improve on our weaknesses because they're highlighted when we document them. I like how Penelope Trunk says it: "Writing daily is a path to self discovery."

I have several races coming up in 2012. Why not write about this? Triathlon, running, biking, swimming-it's all therapy for me. Looking toward goals is how I find my life interesting. I fill in the spaces with family life, retirement life-which is not always that interesting. After our trip to South America, I was stunned that people enjoyed my writing. Really? I tend to be way more critical of myself when I blog, OMG my grammar, spelling, word phrasing sucks! I am apparently hardest on myself. The people who read my blog are way more forgiving of my errors.. 

My ultimate racing goal is Ironman Arizona-scheduled for November 18, 2012. In the meantime we have two weddings and one baby coming in 2012. This makes for interesting back stories. In our growing family of 10 plus 3 (baby and soon-to-be-son-in-laws) makes for some pretty interesting drama. Of course I can't share everything about all of our family, I still can write from a Grandma Debi perspective in general terms. 

IMAZ (short for Ironman Arizona) will be my 5th Ironman race. We are hiring a coach, which I have done before. I have trained without a coach but results speak loudly to which is better. My first IM, I had a coach who trained me to do my PR for IM. I figure even though I am 8 years older, perhaps I can break my own personal record. We shall see! We also joined a new gym, I started doing yoga as a routine thing. I love Yoga-finally! I have tried and tried to love it before and been very inconsistent..The new Yoga place is 5 minutes from my house, it does not seem like a big production to get there each class...I plan on keeping up the practice, if only for the reason of maintaining my flexibility.

In my world of idle time and lack of structure, I welcome IM training as a way of "accomplishing something" and keeping myself on track. It is also a way to connect with other like minded, interesting people in the triathlon world, who challenge me physically and mentally. H does all that of course-it is just nice to expand my world.. 

It is a beautiful day in ABQ. We are off to the new gym to do weights and I may, just may-actually get in the pool today!