My jeans are tight.

I think it's time to get back into things. It's been 3 weeks since Clearwater and at first I didn't want to do anything for a while...then I began to do some stuff....and now, i feel the urge to get back into the swing of things before it's all gone - or rather - before it all comes back (the "bootay", that is)!

I officially start back tomorrow. everything comes into play - weights, nutrition, sleep, stretching, heat & ice....did I say nutrition? That's a big focus this year...

I think i ate too much turkey.


Clearwater 70.3

Ironman World Championship 70.3
Clearwater, Florida

My first World Championship Race as a Pro

WOW. It's been almost a week now, and I have had a lot of time to reflect on the race.

Let me start by saying I have had better racing days. In fact most of the races I have done to date have felt physically better than that one.
The weeks leading up to Clearwater have been up and down, but mainly down. My training has not been at it's peak and I knew this going in, but just because I thought I was not 100% ready to go didn't mean I really wasn't ready to go. Does that make sense? well, to me it does. sometimes when we think we are too rested and feel sluggish, on race day it turnes out to be an awesome taper and you have a great day. and then sometimes when we think we are ready to go - then we find out on the bike that we are flat and out legs feel heavy.... and of course, there are those times when you don't feel ready, but you convince yourself you are and you just go anyway. you throw it on the wall and see if it sticks. sometimes it works...I went in hoping it would stick.
it's a puzzle.
actually, it always works and comes together, but the outcome all lies in your definition of "sucess" and "winning".
The key to being the best is to figure out the puzzle. Joanna Zeiger is good at that. I admire her for her ability to be consistantly great. even as I passed her as she walked the run at KONA last year.
I sat behind her in the pro meeting the day before the race and noticed her ring - with the olympic rings on it. I was suprisingly calm going into that meeting. the greatest athletes in this disatnce where here, and i was among them. Would I ever be as fast as her? maybe. who knows. I have aspired to be there for a long time now, and there I was sitting there alongside them.
The days before the race were filled with meetings and fun in the expo. It was hard to find down time but it didn't seem to bother me. I was enjoying being there and seeing everyone from Lifesport and Zoot and many others I have meet throughout the years. I was taking it all in - in my new perspective.

On Thursday, Missy and I did the expo and came across the BLAZEMAN FOUNDATION booth where low and behold was a big picture of DONNIE! We stopped in our tracks. it was emotionally overwhelming. he was there with me. i mean, he's always there with me in my heart, but he was right there. he is on this journey with me, still.....perhaps still trying to reminding me that I get to do this :-) we stopped and spoke to the Blaises' about Donnie and the impact he had on not only Missy and myself, but our whole community. Mr Blais mentioned he recently read an article on ironman.com mentioning Donnie - that was the article about me from Clearwater last year and how Donnie helped change my life (the article is on my website)!! Once we made that connection, it was like meeting a part of the family. It was meant to be. I have always followed the Blazeman and the efforts of his family to keep his spirit alive, but that's just it - i have always followed.
I danced around the idea of making that change in my life 7 years ago for a while before I actually did it. ( kinda like quitting smoking - you know, you quit 100 times before you actually do it. ) Donnie helped to direct me in the right direction. There is no doubt that I met Donnie in 2002 for a reason. He was brought to me by something greater than us both. Now the Blaises have been brought to me face to face. No more supporting from the sidelines and dancing around the issue. No more crying in the crowd when I hear them speak of their son. I remember 2 years ago at Clearwater when The Blazeman was there on stage after he watched KONA (he was progressing so quickly he couldn't do the race again). It was so emotional for me. And in 2006 year when his parents threw some of his ashes into the sea at Clearwater. It's now time to do more. Time to reach out for ALS. I am where I am for a reason. And I am connected.
It takes me a while to get it sometimes.....but I do eventually see the light!
If I forget the whole race one day (which, I admit, at times I wish it would blurr more quickly!) , I will never forget being there with Missy and having that conversation with Robert and Mary Ann Blais.
OK, back to the race. I woke up early as usual before the race and managed to get my stuff together in plenty of time to walk down to transition. I wanted to get there early as I was going off at 6:47 and wanted to have plenty of time in case something went crazy with my bike or something. Walking down the road, I ran into a guy I met last year in an airport waiting in the customs line. ((I missed my plane that day waiting on my bike...))anyway, he was easy to spot because he is a PC athlete, so we walked down to transition together and talked about stuff that's been going on. He has been busy coming off of Kona and a marathon in the past Month! I felt like a bit of a slug at that point! haha
Anyway, I manged to get set up quickly in transition [the camera's didn't seen to get in my way at all :-)....as a matter of fact, I think I got in their way a lot more!! haha ] and then hooked up with Russell and Melissa who flew in to watch the race before heading out on their 10 day cruise (lucky...). they were my 'domestiques' for the day since Ryan couldn't come to the race because of work. thanks for being there you two!
I went out for a quick swim before the race start then saw my friend "Fisch" from Cancun there at the start (he's actually from Switzerland, but we were buddies in Cancun). It was great to see him. I knew he would be there, and I looked for his wife in the program...but apparently they are a "hip couple" as he calls it - so she doesn't go by his last name! Now, who wouldn't want that last name?
It was great to see him and if there was any edge to going into this race, that "reunion" took it off.

Swim start - man, lots of camera's on the pro's. again, I think I was in their way more .....although there were going to get run over by me if they didn't move! The swim went off without a hitch, except I was a little slower than I wanted to be. Other than that, I felt great and relaxed.

Then it was onto the bike. After about 10 miles, I was hoping to settle into a good pace. I kept looking for that pace and a good feel, but never seemed to find it. "It is what it is" I kept telling myself - even if it is not what I want it to be! I was struggling. I felt like my legs just wouldn't go. I was working really hard to go this slow i thought. maybe it was the wind (not). maybe I had a flat. No. I was the one that was flat.

There were a few girls around me on the bike and except for one, they were all riding pretty legal i thought. I was a bit peeved at one girl drafting close to me (especially since i didn't feel good to begin with and was working hard enough just to carry myself along), but the officials soon took care of her! she pulled out of the race later on...

so, about halfway on the bike, i conceded to the fact that today was not going to be the stellar day I was hoping for. but i was still out there, upright and moving. I was just going thru the motions now, hoping for some magic and that things would improve...this course didn't seem quite as fast as I remembered it!

I went to some dark places on the bike. places i have not been a lot, but have visited on occasion. Why does this happen, I don't know. Controlling those thoughts is a work in progress. And I admit, I was not doing a very good job for a while. The ideas of calling it a day passed thru my mind over and over. I had a good reason to stop - I'm a pro now. If the race isn't turning out the way I want it to, I should stop to save face. Who want's to be in the bottom 3rd? not me... so, DNF (Did Not Finish) - that's what Pro's do, right? It's all about winning as a pro, right? Surely I'd be ok with it if I just rode into transition and called it a day. My sponsors would understand. I kept going back and forth. I thought....It sure would ne nice to stop this misery.
Then I turned a corner and saw a guy laid out on the side of the road beeding from his nose and mouth. He had to be a pro that crashed bad. the medics were everywhere and he was unconscious from what I saw. I only had a glance of the situaton, but that was all I needed. It was a wake up call. That guy (bless his heart, and I hope he is ok) would trade places with me in a heartbeat to be upright and riding right now. then I began to think of many others who would like to be where I am at this moment. Maybe I'll feel ok on the run....
Into transition and onto the run....it was ugly. My legs were like lead. or maybe it was the few extra pounds in my booty! [that's another story :-) ] I saw some spectators and friends as i was going out on the run and as they cheered me on i am certain my response was not a positive one. I could kick myself now for letting the bad stuff overwhelm me, but I had to go thru that I guess in order to take away from the race what I eventually did. I made it to about mile 4 where Andy Potts passed me up heading home for the day. I cheered him on thru the aid station while I was walking and slamming a GU... I was really not feeling good at all. I even had the idea that I could just call it a day after one loop. I mean, it was getting worse than ugly out there. But I just kept moving on. I made it over the bridge that kicks my ass every time then down to the ground where the message board was...and I saw something on that board that sealed the deal for me. I knew Missy typed something in there for me on Thursday before the race....what would was it I wondered?....."ENERGY FOLLOWS THOUGHT". she nailed it.
It was then that my lightbulb went on. no wonder I was feeling so bad. My mind was going negative so my energy was negative. why I didn't get a grip on this sooner, I'll never know. but it turned me around almost immediately. no way am i stopping now. I was out there for bigger reasons that winning that day. I have a greater purpose then many of my peers.
Thanks, Missle.

The rest of the run was a personal victory. I had no excuse to stop, except plain ol' quitting, and that wasn't gonna fly. My career as a triathlete has a different foundation than most of the other Pro's out there. I have 10 years of being a bum to keep me motivated to "just finish" without feeling like I am settling for less. 7 years ago my life was on a different path. everytime I finish a race now - no matter where i finish in the results, I suceed. It's all about perspective.
And it sometimes takes a conscious effort to keep it all in perspective. I have to work at it. I have lost it on occasion and have witnessed others lose it altogether and believe me, it wreaks havoc on you.
So, my eyes re-opened at that moment and my energies turned positive. I began to really focus on the good things. Perspective. I mean, all along in the race so far, these positive thoughts floated around in my brain, but i failed to really tune into them.

At the finish line, i was not only relieved to finally be there, but also happy to see everyone else there. I saw Ben Harper with Zoot and fellow athlete Amanda (who just came off a top 10 finish at IM FLORIDA!) waiting for us to come across - and some of the other girls that were out there suffering alongside me for the past 4 1/2 hours. I told everyone about my day and how relieved I was to make it to the end - and what an internal personal journey it was. My time was reflective of how poor my overall race was, but my attitude was reflective of how excited I was to be there, how truly blessed I was to be in that moment and to pursue a dream.

then it was time to eat.....


Gearing up for Clearwater

I know it's been a while.......I've been a busy bee

I spent last weeekend in Florida watching Ironman and now I'm off to Clearwater to race in the Ironman World Championship 70.3. Wish me luck! I'll catch up later whan I get home.



Ironman Florida

With World's in Clearwater looming in a week and my training winding down, I took a trip with Ryan this weekend to watch him do Ironman Florida. For a while he didn't know if he would even be able to do the race with work being the way it is and all, but he fianlly decided to "get her done" and put all that long training to use...

The past few weeks have been a bit weird trainig wise for me. I'm not sure if it is a result of the long season and the wacky up's and down's that came with it, or if it's just plain old mental fatigue, but my training just has not had the "pop" I want it to. I can't put my finger on it, but something's up and my body is responding with sleeping whenever I can, sluggishness, illness, and the desire to get Clearwater over with so I can look forward to the next year. Maybe I'm being a little too honest by saying all that, but that's what I've been dealing with. When I am faced with this crap(as I am sure I am not the only one out there who faces these mental and physical challenges), I always find a way to push through it and make it to the starting line and hope some of that "race day magic" comes through for me...

The past week has found me with a cold that I aggressively fought off by resting a lot and drinking lots of fluids, then a sudden onset of another migrane. this is the 2nd one I have had in the past year that has made me violently ill. brace yourself -- 6 hours of puking....and you know, after an hour or so, theres nothing left to give up - so it's just brutal! And since these are new to me now (guess it's hormonal or something) I haven't been able to figure out what's going on until it gets so bad I can't get any medicine down. Needless to say, my taper for clearwater started way earlier than expected since the week was pretty much scrapped with all that stuff. I just keep hoping the rest will be for the best!

So back to Ironman Florida. It was great to go to a race where I get to watch it all happen and NOT be a part of it. OK, I was a little part of it. I had a few of my swimmers toe the line - so I decided to get up close and personal and volunteer for the swim where I helped corall all the athletes for the start then helped a PC (physically challenged) athlete Chris Self with his prosthetic leg. Nothing inspires me more than watching someone like him tackle an Ironman. I got to watch the 2,500+ mass swim start go off from a perspective I rarely get to see - from the back of the pack - and man, what a mess!


Since the swim was 2 loops, I stood at the beach watching for Chris to come to the beach so we could help him out. we were watching closely when all of a sudden, from a pack of swimmers on their feet exiting the Gulf flew 2 objects - over to the inside of the pack landing in the water. there were about 10 of us (volunteers /media/ NA Sports Staff) on the beach who saw this and we were all like "what the ** was that?" and then simoutaneously mortified to realize the objects floating in the water were fins. someone had fins on and tossed them off before exiting the water for the first loop. we were all in shock - and no one noticed who threw them. we were all stunned, and pissed that anyone would even do such a thing. I mean, why do an Ironman if you are going to cheat? you're just cheating yourself. and if you find yourself so focused on the time it takes to do the swim.....then you've missed the greater gift of embracing the journey to get there. some people will never get it i guess.

Ok, enough rambling....back to the fins. we watched them floating in the water - still shocked that anyone would even do that - and wondering who threw them, when low and behold, a guy who was entering the second loop of the swim just shimmied over and picked them up! HA! what a FOOL! Immediately the swim police were on him like white on rice and took the fins, and had his number and wetsuit make and followed him for the rest of the swim. he was a marked man. I am not sure what happened from there on out since my job was done after the swim, but I hope they bust that guy and don't let him race Ironman anymore. I am a big fan of "COPS" - so I love to see people get BUSTED! I must have been a cop in a former life.... :-)So, in spite of all that drama (which was exciting to me I must add) I had the pleasure of watching all the athletes including Pamela and Bobby and Mike come out of the water happy with their respective swims and start their days off on a positive note...yeah, I missed Ryan AGAIN coming out of the water.

I went out for an hour run (of which i was not feeling too good on, but plugged along anyway) after that then returned to watch the pro's come in on the bike. I then got out the mountain bike and spent the rest of the day on the course watching the suffering unfold! I love to watch it. And surprisingly I wanted to be a part of it! I wanted to take part in the race and the beautiful weather they were having. I haven't really felt that way about an Ironman since last year....good sign i think!

I had a lot of fun out there and have some great pictures I will post - so be sure to visit this post again in a few days...

After it began to get dark, I parked the bike had a few beers and waited at the tent for everyone to finish. Ryan finished in 11:55 despite many visits to the porta potties along the way. I am so proud of him. Training has been tough for him this year, but he stuck it out. I remember how frustrating it was for me to do IM Florida one

year and have the GI issues. We learn more from the tough days. It's all part of the puzzle....and I hope it wasn't dinner the night before :-). After we collected his things, we headed back to the condo and washed up. I was pooped! He wanted to go back and see the midnight finishers (!), but I wasn't gung ho about it. (something weird about that...past my bedtime I guess! spectating is hard work!)we ended up crashing instead.

Everyone seemed to be happy with the day - from the Pro's to the Age Groupers. It was a fast day out there and I wondered what I could have done on a day like that. I find myslef looking forward to taking one on as a Pro next year. why not....?

Congrtas to Bobby for smashing his 12 hour goal and to Pamela who finished in a rockin sub 14 1/2 hours - pushing throug the struggles of injuries while training and staying focused on the journey. Over 50 and an Ironman - way to go!

visit back for pictures...I'll post them when I get my camera back....