Thursday, August 27, 2009

Race Week Thoughts

It is really possible that I've eaten 3/4 of a jar of apricot preserves in 2 sittings without putting even one spoonful anywhere but directly into my mouth?

Have I gained weight?

I cannot recall one detail of any long rides or runs I did. Did I actually do any?

Don't forget to Vaseline the shorts' seams. I love love love the Desoto tri shorts, but the seams can make me cry.

It's too late to cram any more mileage in, but can I cram vitamins?

I think my lymph node is swollen. Surely cancer.

If one more person at work comes into my office telling me that they're sick, I'm quitting.

Going up the stairs makes me feel like a 90-year-old obese woman (not that many actually exist, but I know how they'd feel if they did).

Does putting my spare and changing tools in a water bottle in my extra cage save any weight over the 8 pounds of electrical tape I normally use to attach that stuff to my seat?

All those hours of drills better do me some good Sunday!

If my race tire goes from 130psi to 40psi overnight just sitting there, how much will the weight of my body make it decrease in pressure during the 5.5+ hours I'm on it during the race?

Last Ironman had temps of 46F low/ 73F high. Forecast for Sunday: 50F low/ 76F high. Perfect. Now what did I wear on the bike? Thanks to, I can find out.

Where in downtown Louisville can I pick up some Uncrustables? The race food of champions!

Do I wear socks on the bike for these things?

I love graphs telling me that I am going to suck in the swim because there's an upstream section and I'm a bad swimmer. :)

I have to stop telling random people how undertrained I am. They maaaay not understand. A sweet acquaintance asked me what I'm doing this weekend. "An Ironman," I said with a slightly scared look on my face. "But you jog a lot. You'll do fine," she answered.

Monday, August 24, 2009

The IronSherpa

n. (ī-ərn-sher-puh) 1. an expert in the field of pack-muling and spectathlon, who devotes him- or herself entirely to the chosen triathlete for a day (or longer), to support in any way possible the athlete's desires and/or needs on the road to a successful finish line crossing at the race of utmost importance.

Jeremy gets his first shot at IronSherping this weekend at Louisville. He has the daunting task of not only being my sherpa, but Nancy's as well. I'm not sure he knows this. I mean, sure, he knows he is there to "support" us, but the full realization of what is required has most likely not occurred, nor will it until the end of Sunday when his legs are as tired as mine and his exhaustion (but not elation) exceeds mine. One clue that he was clueless came when he mentioned hanging out with an old friend during the race. I think I flinched. He may want to be napping instead. I'll let him figure that out on his own.

At my last Ironman in Panama City last November, there was an apparent competition for Sherpa #1.

Laura won with flying colors. Not only did she dress the part,

she also made enormous posters of our heads, and took excellent care of me during my forced post race pool leg soak and towel bath, all the way to planting me back on the couch later that night. For that she won the honor of IronSherpa #1, and will accompany me to Kona in about 6 weeks. What a prize. :)

Her competitor made mistakes right from the beginning. Nancy will never see her pump again, and here is the evidence of who last held its little tube before abandoning it on the vast sandy beach:
So tasks for Jeremy may include but are not limited to the safeguarding of pumps at all cost, towel bathing and crutching the racers post race, dressing up, cheering (not to be taken lightly), possibly walking many miles while carrying bags of race gear or in support of walking racer (please no!), and generally doing anything requested of him. All after waking up at 4 am. You got all that babe?

Good. No pressure. Any suggestions from the crowd for this newbie?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Morning Ride

It's a great feeling to get in almost 3 hours of exercise and a shower before 8 a.m. Of course the pain of getting out of bed at 4:30 is sometimes almost unbearable. Is it just me or do others feel actual pain that early in the morning? I've finally taught myself that the feeling only lasts until I get on my bike. Every Thursday, Nancy is waiting for me on Island Drive with her bright headlight catching my eyes. Once or twice she's been early and ridden up and down the road. I know that there are no other crazy people on bikes that time of the morning, so the light belongs to her. We ride sometimes quietly, but more often with sleepy chatter (at least mine is sleepy), hoarse voices (ok, that's just me), and half opened eyes (yeah, me again).

About 15 minutes over the bridge and down a deserted 2nd Street later, we get to the Y where Jonathan and Brian meet us for the rest of the warm up ride to Highland. The warm up is often a tour of early morning smells. Sometimes it starts with a bacony barbecue smell from some restaurant on Main. Today it was an overwhelming fresh baked bread scent from the Wonder Bread Factory. Next we ride past another bbq joint and a CK's diner with its bacon and hasbrowns. Further down Union is the donut shop. If it weren't for the early morning hour and the English muffin sitting in my tummy, I think I'd turn right into several of those stores for a snack.

Forty minutes or so after leaving my house we get to the meeting place of the group ride. By then there's some traffic, cyclists coming from all directions, and during the long summer days, a little light in the sky.

Today, still dark at 5:44, the lights of the railroad crossing began flashing as a train's horn signaled its approach. Now at this crossing, the trains are just leaving the yard and only beginning to pick up speed. When coming from the other direction, they often come to a full stop, dividing the university campus and backing traffic up for miles. Today that wouldn't be a problem. It seems, however, that a few of the 50 or 60 riders get a little fidgety at that time of morning on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and the sound of the train's horn meant the first sprint was underway. I wasn't convinced that many of the guys would actually cross with only a few seconds to spare until I found myself with about 8 or 9 others stuck on the wrong side of the tracks, sitting still, with nowhere to go. No bridge, no overpass, no shortcut to take. We were OTB before a pack had even formed. Five minutes is eternal when you know what's going on down the road and can do nothing to stop it. Of course there was no soft pedaling for the weenies who didn't have the guts to risk their lives on the tracks. I think none of us expected for that many to get across in time.

When we finally did start riding again, a couple of guys looked like they wanted to chase down the group. That effort lasted about 30 seconds (doing the math, we'd have to go about 2mph faster than the group to catch them by the end, catching no red lights). The 10 of us actually had a good ride, as can happen when you actually take a pull (yay, finally!) and don't have the draft of 30 people to ride in. It was somehow a calm, quiet ride, at least relative to the mayhem of the usual pack.

Of course we had a couple of scary guys out there; there are enough to go around. One was wearing no helmet, which leads me to believe that he has never kept up with the group before. If he had, he'd know how many people ride like maniacs out there and how endangered his life is. I guess when you don't realize the importance of your brain, maybe your brain isn't that important in your day to day life.

The other guy at least had a helmet on. But he'd be second in line and suddenly sit up, hands off the hoods, to mess with his glasses or something. Dude, can you at least not backpedal with no hands and 8 people behind you? Thanks.

The ride actually went by fast and before I knew it we had caught a few stragglers and were headed home on Shady Grove. There was a cool breeze, a few smooth roads, and nothing standing between me and my second breakfast but a few miles of coasting. Oh, and a 2 mile brick. I love Ironman training!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

But why?

Along the lines of Gale Bernhardt's 13 Weeks to a 13 Hour Ironman, can we please get a 9 weeks to a 9 hour Ironman? Coach, are you on that?

Since my first IM of the year is in 19 days (I got a little stomach flip there), I think it's time for Bob Mina's 140.6 Reasons to Do an Ironman. Now, these are a little old, especially for most Ironmaners, since Bob wrote this in 2001. That year just happened to be the year of my first ever Ironman. That year I had to remind myself over and over again just why I wanted to do this. Now it's just a subconscious pull toward the training and the racing. Most people that have done one know how you miss the training when it's all over. Some people have even said it's anticlimactic to race the race. I love the actual race, but since it's an insignificant amount of time compared to all the training involved, it's only a small fraction of the pull to Ironman. I love a lot about the training, from the long swims to the dreaded bricks after 100 mile rides. I even enjoy the feeling of fatigue in my legs as I'm walking up the stairs at work. I particularly love the volume of food I can eat without seeing the scale change. And if I didn't get to see Nancy every 12 hours, I don't know what I'd do with myself. :)

I'm not ready for it to be over so soon, and luckily, it won't be. After Louisville, the real fun begins: training with Laura, Steve, and Jonathan for #85 on #37.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

race pics

I got some pictures from the "race" over the weekend. You can see how much fun we're all having, since it had stopped raining at that point.

Some people, like Sam, tend to make funny faces when they race. I don't know what you can call the face that I've been caught making either during or after races. Man, I have a huge mouth.

Monday, August 3, 2009

26 days, 19 hours, 5 minutes, 47 seconds. Approximately.

Where's that countdown clock on the Ironman Louisville website? I need something to intimidate me with the ticking down of the seconds until race start. I've also read that starting in 2010 there will be no more searchable participants lists for any of the WTC races. How am I supposed to search for every 30-34 female's results from past races since 1999 in a timely fashion when I have to look through the entire participants list and pick out names? Will we also be regressing to paper only results that are mailed 3 weeks later like I received for my first few tri seasons? Those were actually kind of fun.

This past weekend was my last race before the aforementioned Ironman. It was the Summer Sizzler, which, as Laura mentioned, was anything but sizzling. More like a summer soaker. Starting out in the rain, er... thunderstorm, didn't create much enthusiasm by me, but it was only to going to be 30 miles and I figured I could suck it up that long. With Damie cheering us on, we began the first of 6 wet laps. The rain actually stopped eventually, and the river that crossed the road got shallower with each lap. We practiced some rotations and attacks, and unfortunately my big breakaway was thwarted by the Cat 5 guys coming through, which required us to soft pedal a few minutes. It was a nice break. In the end, Andrea planned how we would lead Casey out to the finish, with me leading first, and therefore getting dropped first, then Marda, Andrea, and Casey sprinting in. I guess it went as planned; I was far enough off the back of that hill after my max 2 minute effort (it was probably more like 30 seconds; it seemed like eternity) that I didn't see how it all went down. We piled all the money together and took away a nice amount for the post race meal.

I felt a huge sense of relief after the race was over. I hadn't even realized that I was stressed about it. I had to get in a few extra miles of riding, which I did the morning before the race, and ended up feeling the best at the end of the day. This was helpful to my mental state, knowing that I am still a long distance person after all, which should come in handy in 26 days, 19 hours...