Bath time

when you dont have a bike rack.....a tree will do! man, this bike gets dirty! but it sure is PRETTY!



oh man, i'm tired. i guess it's from the heat, but i seem to not be able to get enought rest. wake up, sleep, eat, sleep, ride, sleep , swim, sleep. geez.

yesterday i scrapped a long ride i was supposed to do in lieu of sleep. i just needed it - and i felt so much better this morning. it pays to recover.

we are getting our first taste of fall this week and after my experience in Cancun and all the hurricanes, it is as welcomed as ever. This mornig the temp dropped to just under 60 here which is a BIG DEAL in these parts. i had a sweatshirt on when i went to the gym at 4:30am!

They say it wont last long, but it is still a nice change and a relief from the insane hottness. I wonder if Austin will be cooler next weekend for LONGHORN 70.3? Hmmmmm....


I have been spending a lot of time reflecting on my race last weekend, and going over all the drama in my head and sharing my experiences with friends and family. What a trip. The only thing that would have made it better was if Ryan was there. The time I spent in Mexico was fantastic - very calm and relaxing leading up to the event, then explosive when race day rolled around. (of course, when I say explosive, I am not referring to my time!!- if you haven't noticed that is was hardly a quickrace). I met so many wonderful people in Cancun, one in particular was Fish. Gilbert Fish to be exact. What a name!! Fish and I met as we rolled out of the hotel early Saturday morning and rode our bikes down to the practice swim going on at 7am. we became instant buds on the ride and ended up sharing our stories and experiences in triathlon (and life) over the next few days. He was there after missing his Clearwater spot in Monacco and wanted to secure that in Cancun, and I was there, well, to race well and hopefully make a little moolah. Who knew what the day had in store for each of us.

We hooked up for our pasta dinner the night before the race which was nice to have company, especially since I was about bored to death with myself and spanish TV. The morning of the race amist all the hubbub, he came over and we wished each other luck. I told hime I'd see him at the finish line...but like I said, only God knew what was in store for the day.

Then, it was at about mile 25 that I saw him on the side of the road leaning against his bike. he wasn't scrambling to change a flat, just hangin' out - so I knew it wasn't goot. but there was no time to ask as I was riding pretty quickly. then I saw him again....and again. he was out there in the sun on the side of the road for more than an hour - maybe 2. The next time I saw him I was on the run and he was standin' around talking to MJ on the side of the road cheerin' me on. He was done for the day...and I wanted to be done too, really bad... but I had to finish my race first. He so kindly reminded me of the margharita we spoke of before the race - the one waiting for us at the end of the day - which kept me running as if I hadn't earned it yet! whatever!

Anyway, to cut to the chase, Fish broke a spoke and had to call it a day early on in the bike. a total bummer and hopes of racing in Clearwater...POOF! It's hard to find the lesson in that and see the silver lining, but you have to. and he did...I hope! He took it in stride and joined me in my celebration for lunch and cocktails back at the hotel and for the awards ceremony.

Thanks Fish!



Ironman Cancun 70.3

word for the day......"HIELO" (means "ice"). I think i yelled this 100 times on the run. ice was my best friend today. i had it everywhere. even in my shorts! it was cold, but that was the idea...!

Holy crap was it hot out there. I was having flashbacks to when I did this race 2 years ago and remembered exactly how it felt on that miserable run - VERY UNCOMFORTABLE and UNPLESANT! :-)

Now, mind you, every run is "uncomfortable" to me (hehe), but this race takes the cake and wins the prize again for the hottest race I have ever done. it´s officially a tie - Cancun 2008 #1, Cancun 2006 #1! There is something to that pure mexican heat.

So how did the race unfold? interestingly enough, it seems like patience and slow paid off in the end. It´s all on a relative scale, I know. Slow to me is wicked fast to others, and scary slow for the super fast. I just tried to stay in my zone and watched the race unfold before my eyes. it all all seemed to happen on the run..... although there was plenty of drama on the bike, i will refrain from getting into it right now.

the swim was ok. i have no idea what my splits were, but i wasn´t very fast, i know. BUT, I kept all anxiety to a minimum, and just tooled along. the first loop was totally uneventful, but the second loop was little to be desired since as soon as we rounded the buoy it was straight into the second wave of AG men in a holy mess of flaling bodies! from there, the swim was a bit more stressful and much more crowded, but in the end it turned out fine.
The marathon barefoot run down the beach and through Wet and Wild to the transition area was FOREVER. It hurt my foot a bit to trek along there and was passed my a few foreign women on the way, but i made it to my bike eventually only to be completely out of breath and fumble with my helmet that didn´t seem to want to cooperate. but...as always...i got it on and was off on the bike. now i had to catch those girls who passed me on the T1 run!
I passed them 5k in...only to see them BOTH in a pack behind me at the turn around 20 miles in. I was pretty peeved.....but tried to stay in my own zone and focused only on the rider in front of me who was in blue..I had her # for the time being....!
at about mile 40....after i passed the blue girl...I had a queezy feeling come over me and I puked some of my carbo-pro-Gu20 up. yuck! I started to feel pretty bad and decided to lay up a bit, and get some water down. I guess it worked. i was able to burp a few times without hurling before the bike ended, so that was a good thing i thought. the brief shower on the bike was nice....but the headwind that followed it was ugly. the final 10 miles on the bike were slow into the wind....peaks and valleys.....I was not feeling too optimistic about how i was going to feel on the run...but you never know...
so it was into T2 and off onto the run. oh man, rough. but I kept telling myself..." just keep moving. sometimes it takes you time to get going." re-assuring myslef i can be top 5 if i just stay steady. . .she was done. i was 4th headed out on the run. then 5th about 1k in. then i saw MJ (michellie jones) on the side of the road. 4th again! then 5th by mile 5 again. ok, 5th. just hang on, i thought. then, the heat began to take its toll. by mile 7 i was 4th again. then soon after that I was 3rd. whoa. they were dropping like flies. where was 2nd i thought....? i saw her at the turn around. not too far, but by this time, i was cramping, and was trying not to push too hard. ok, so i didnt have to try to go slow. i couldnt go any faster! my body kept me in line...finishing at this point was most important. i was happy with 3rd, but cramping and pulling out towards the end was unacceptable to me. the final 4 miles were tough. mentally and physically. i was crapming in my calves and i felt my quads twitching. would i make it? focus. picture the finish. i as good as there. man it´s hot. then at mile 11 or so, i needed gatorade. anything with electrolytes. somewhere around this time i hit the pavement. some guy after the race told me he saw me fall as i hit the leg of the table with my foot. i went down and totally cramped up in my leg. yes, i let the 4 letter words roll out in my very own true-to-form-fashion. oh, it hurts to lock up. how would i get up? no idea. i had to. i peeled myself up and leaned on the table to calmly stretch for a bit....(yeah, if you know me at all....there was nothing calm about me inside, but i didnt want to contract any muscle at all so i was forced to move slowly) then i looked to my right and there was the 4th place girl coming ....time to go, i thought!! so i began to walk, then hit a semi stride...and just ran home. then low and behold....ahead and around the corner - there was 2nd place. could i catch her? no way. yes. and did she sprint to the finish line. yes. did I? yes, but it was more like a wobble. so she beat me to the finish...BUT....did I mention she got a penalty for running off course? yes! VOILA! 2ND PLACE! There you have it. what a day. I´m as red as a lobster.
Now it´s time for that margharita I´ve been dreaming of....


Ready to Roll

I`m starting to get a little edgy now. I picked up the packet and have to wait another day to race. I spent most of the day putting the bike together, cleaning it, and watching bad movies in spanish.

There`s not a lot on TV here and I`m trying to stay out of the sun - so I`ve become a vampire of sorts and only come out of my room when absolutely necessary! I`ve had enough of the american CNN network as they keep playing the same ol political doom and gloom over and over and over.....so the spanish movies are more entertaining. all those years of french in private school are doing me no good now.

So tomorrow i`m off to swim, bike, and run to work off some steam and get my legs under me for the race on Sunday...wish me LUCK!....and here`s hopin I don`t get stung by any strange sea creatures like I did 2 years ago here!


Here we go.....time to race

Ironman Cancun 70.3

Why on earth do things get so crazy before I leave for a race away from home? Sometimes I wonder if I am the only one this happens to, or if everyone else in this sport goes through the same thing. I dont know what to think. I think I make it a little more difficult on myself, but maybe not. Maybe I just try to do too much to prepare for my absence in addition to the regular prep of the equipment, etc....
On Monday and Tuesday nights, I had very little sleep. By Wednesday, i was a walking zombie just trying to get through the day. That proved very difficult with all the packing required and last minute preps needed for the bike, etc... I just kept telling myself once i get to Cancun, I can sleep, sleep, sleep. Not really recommended to do this sort of thing in this sport as recovery and rest are vital, but I had no choice.
Wednesday night I stole about 6 hours of sleep once i finished packing, etc. I was supposed to run before heading to the airport at 6am, but after emailing Coach about my sleepless nights and my super fatigue, he told me not to run, and sleep however much I could. I liked that response. It was what my body wanted to hear!

So, now I`m here. I made it to Cancun without a hitch! I love it when all my luggage shows up and my bike comes out in one piece. It`s a gamble every time I fly, but a necessary evil. Last night I slept for 11 hours. WHOA. it was awesome.

So today I will check in, get my stuff, and rest some more. I am still tired, but on the upswing. The weather here is typical - sunny and hot. It will be just like home, but with more of a sea breeze. i like it.


The IKE effect

So what do you do when a lake takes over your regular 5 mile run ?

Well, get the mountain bike out and go for a ride of course!

Old Mandeville took a lickin' from Hurricane IKE - not nearly like Houston and Galveston,but no one really expected so much water here....the winds were just right and pushed all that that gulf water into the lake then, since we have no levees up here, it just flowed right into Mandeville about 5 blocks up. Yesterday, the water finally flowed out enough that folks whose homes and properties flodded could begin to clean up and I went to visit my friend Tommy (aka "Dr. Gunbo") who lives on the Lakefront. He was trapped up in his house for the time the water was up - of course, he had a pirogue to get around if he needed to - like paddling up the street to keep moving his car as the water rose! when I went by to see him, he was cleaning the debris from the lake out of his muddy brown pool while the neighbors were walking around with a bucket picking up crabs out out of the grass! Only in Louisiana!

Here are some of the pics in the hood....I just walked, or waded out my door last weekend and this is what I found...

notice the blower on the rear....

Look who I found....our favorite mandeville cop- YVETTE!


What's so LOVABLE about a bug?

Hurricanes are good for something....or so I thought until yesterday afternoon....

Last saturday before the mass exodous from southern Louisiana for Gustav, Ryan and I went for our long ride. We figured we needed to get in in before all hell broke loose and there was no
telling what the next few days would be like. (turns out that was a good idea). The ride was one of the most trecherous I've ever been on - people driving like maniacs to get from here to there with trailers full of generators, plywood, and gas, to prepare their homes or properties or deer stands...whatever. I was almost hit a few times by oncoming traffic - people passing on two-lane back roads at high rates of speed. And ryan was run off the road by an apparently angry dump truck driver who i guess thought bikes had no business on the road that day.

The traffic was a necessary evil of the day and we knew it would be nuts going in, but there was no excuse for the new love bug invasion. Highway 450 was downright ugly. Remember the scene from "You,Me & Irene" with Jim Carey on the motorcycle with the bugs in his teeth? well, that was me. I didn't think it would be that bad because early on in the ride it wasn't super hot and the sun wasn't totally up - but once it heated up and the asphalt got relly hot - they went crazy. They are apparently attracted to the heat of the roads. I think I swallowed a few, and I had to stop once along that stretch to wipe my sunglasses clean of dead bug guts.

Towards the end of my ride, I was glad to be almost done and still upright (and not in a ditch somewhere) and thinking how awesome it would be if this hurricane just comes along and doesn't do any damage and completely wipes out the love bugs. how cool would that be? surely they couldnt survive 100+ mph winds? They're splattered on my windshield when I go 40 in the car. It was good timing for some high winds I thought selfishly - clean the air out. save my face from the pelting of dead bugs. at least a hurricane can be good for something other than forcing me to clean out my fridge and freezer....

Well, I rode yesterday, and my theory was shot to hell. not only did Gustav do his damage around here, but he left those pesky little boogers behind. clever little creatures. again, it started off cool (cool for us...the 80's) and was overcast most of the morning, but by 10, the sun peered through the overcast sky and the heat came up and VOILA! there they were! just in time for the last 10 miles of my ride. smack! wham! splat! It was terrible. How did they survive? It amazing how a little bug can be soo annoying! They make me crazy....especially when they don't die when they hit you, and thay stick to your arms b/c you put on sunscreen...and then they crawl into your jersey and helmet and torture with an itch you can't scratch unless you stop...but if you stop, they all find you and you cannot escape....then you finally get to your car and open the back to put your bike in, get in quick and drive home only to find there are 100 love bugs inside your car and if you can only make it home without wrecking it will be a miracle....

Oh, boy.....I LOVE LOUISIANA in September!

Now I'm gonna grab a beer and check out Ike's path...


Back Home

We made it home as soon as St Tammany Parish said we could come back, and to my delight - I had POWER! I am soo lucky to live across from a school (hospitals and schoold come online first). It was a long drive from Jackson as we were joined on the road with millions of others from this region making the anxious drive home wondering what we would find when we got there. After Katrina, the drive home was downright nauseating as we drove across the gulf coast from Florida and thru Mississippi where the eye passed over. in 2005, there was debris everywhere, boats in trees, cars flodded on the side of the interstate, road washed away, and trees snapped in half for over 60 miles....and that was along I-10 outside of New Orleans!

This time, we drove the back roads for a while to avoid I-55 that was backed up all the way from the Louisiana state line to I-20. I knew this thanks to the am news station WWL which is by far the best news station in the world. If you are from this area, that is where you get your information. It's the real info - not the crap you see on CNN. WWL streams and if the weather is just right (cloudy and overcast) you can pick it up as far as Jackson in the daytime - and at night I've listened to it as far as Missourri. Two years ago, Ryan and I went out to the car in an Ice Storm to listen to a Saints Playoff Game! It was zero degrees outside, and we were in the parking lot of Wal-mart (best reception there) tuning in! it was priceless - OH, they won too, which made it even better!

So anyway, the trip home this time was much less stressfull. The traffic was moving well and the damage was so minimal that there was very little anxiety about what we would find at home. Along the way we found a few trees uprooted and some signs down, but all in all by the time we made into St Tammany, the debris in the roads was cleared and it was smooth sailing. Granny and I drove down to the lakefront to see how high the water came up and it looked ok - I don't think it came up as high as Katrina, but it was up at least 3-4 blocks (I'm 6 blocks from the lake!). There was still some water in the street (the rest of it drained back into the lake already) and we stopped when we saw an egret looking for some lunch. It wasn't long before he scooped up a fish out of the puddle in the street! It was awesome!

Thursday was back to business. I got a text message from Franco's to let us know that the club would be open since the power came on there too. I was so happy to hear that b/c my training has been a little off since i have not been able to ride since saturday. riding in Jackson was out of the question - high winds and rain - and i didnt bring the trainer :-(

I tought a spin class on Thursday morning that lasted 2 1/2 hours. There were a few troopers who stayed the entire time (JP and Sue), but most just came and went during that time. There were no official classes on the schedule - but being the die hard that I am in addition to the fact that the roads ate full of debris - riding outside was again out of the question. Oh, and did I mention the a/c in the spin room was not working? yeah, it was hot, too. after that, it was home for a nap then back to swim, run and do some weights. I didn't think I would be able to swim so soon since after Katrina the pools were out for so long. But Robbie and Sue stayed in town for the storm and got to work as soon as they could to get the pools up and running. What a great job they did - us swimmers and truly grateful!

Now, it's recovery time - in more ways that the one I'm used to. Today is my day off of training, but for the community it is a mass scramble to get back to normal. I will be heading into Metarie and New Orleans today where power is still out and there is much more damage since they were closer to the eye of the storm. I have to run a few errands, and Granny wants to come along and take a look. Her apartment building in the city will not be re-opening until Monday, so she is still camping out with me in Mandeville....and she is bored to death!


Still Waiting

Well, the news is good all around. It seems like this hurricane was just that - a hurricane. Maybe now we can get that Katrina reaction out of out heads. It will be tough to convince the media to chill out though. Yesterday as we were watching Geraldo, you would think the city was sinking yet again. It is amazing how much hype the media puts out there. If there is only one sign down and a tree uprooted, they'll find it an put it on TV!

Today is Tuesday and Gustav-O is just sitting around over Louisiana pulling moisture out of the Gulf and keeping us wet. I am still in Jackson, MS with Granny and have decided to stay one more day. I hear my home is ok and the water did not come high enough to get inside (YEAH!). We have no power though, so that means hot humid sweaty nights ahead. I am sure there are plenty of tall pine trees down in Mandeville, so it may be a while -hopefully they'll get the power on soon. as far as Granny getting back home in New Orleans, well, that may be a few more days.

Yesterday (monday) was another good day running for me. I was able to get a long run in some hills early and the foot held up fine. If it stays like this, I will be so happy. It feels sooo good to run!

The weather began to turn bad at about 9am Monday here and has been raining ever since. the winds are gusting pretty good too as we are getting the feeder bands off of the storm now.

I made it to the Y here for a good tempo run and some weights and will be able to get in a swim later on. Seems a little like normal...but i'll be glad to get back into the regular swimg of things

AND THE YMCA in Jackson
for letting me train while I am displaced!
y'all are awesome.