Monday, September 14, 2009

The Ironman Tattoo!

So I have wanted a tattoo since I was a teenager but opted out for several reasons

1. I acknowledged that I was very young and even though I was in love with vampires, horses and some guy named Chris and thought I might be forever...maybe I shouldn't risk the teen angst tattoo and regret it later.

2 All my friends had them and abstaining from a tattoo was my form of rebellion.

3. Hello..they hurt!

I grew up, fell out of love with Chris, although I still like vampires and horses :)
and the desire for a tattoo was still there. The timing was never right and I never really latched onto what I wanted. Got married, 5 kids later and the desire was still there...I toyed around with some designs but nothing seemed just right.

In 2005 I lost a bunch of weight, found triathlon and was blown away by how passionate I am for the sport. Triathlon came to me when I was at a pretty low point. It bought me through to where I am today. I am in the best shape I have ever been, I have kids who are excited to be active with me and I have accomplished things that I never thought possible. I went into Ironman season not knowing at all of I could even finish, let alone enjoy the experience. I came out the other side feeling like I can now accomplish anything.

So many people do the Ironman and rush right out for the tattoo. I is my chance..I think this is it. The tattoo makes me feel strong and happy and reminds me of what I have done and what I can do.

It may not be for everyone but as my husband really suits you.

I did a lot of sketching and combining art pieces to get it just right. I went to Slave to the Needle on Sunday and 3 hours later I walked away with a permanent reminder of the fact that I am strong and happy

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Ironman Canada 2009!

Well I did it! After a year plus of training I finally did it and it feels great.
I went into IMC knowing I could finish but not knowing how fast I would be able to go.


We arrived in Penticton the Tuesday before the race and got settled into our rental house. I arrived with my husband, 5 kids and Mom and Dad so it was a full house but we were all pretty comfortable. I spent the week relaxing with the family and doing minimal workouts with the team. All in all we had 16 people on our team racing and the level of support we got from each other and our coach, Jill Fry was awesome.

The night before the race I ate 2 pieces of pizza and some bread and went to bed by 9 pm. Surprisingly I slept really well the night before.

Race Morning:

Up at 3:30 a.m.

2 pastries
3 eggs
2 thermolytes

5 a.m. Got to the race site, dropped off the bags, got body marked, entered transition and loaded up my bike for the day. Saw lots of people from the team which made me feel relaxed. At 6:10 I put on the wet suit and headed across the timing mat and onto the beach. I saw Coach Jill and my family and teammates and was so excited to race!

Swim 1:27:21

I started to the back and to the far left as my coach had told me to and she was so very right! I had a great swim with minimal contact. I stayed slow and relaxed the whole way. After rounding the first houseboat I veered a little off course but got back into the fray soon enough. I was hoping for a time closer to 1:22 but I exited the swim smiling and relaxed so good enough!

T-1 5:14

Tried to get through this quickly but still took 5 min. to get through all the steps. Had the wet suit ripped off and had to find my bag, into the tent and took the time to change the wet shorts into dry tri shorts. Sunscreen on and off I went.

Bike 6:50:41

Took off down main street like a flash but within a few blocks reined it in to my planned 17-18 m.p.h. Had a lovely tailwind out to the lake and spun easily up McClean Creek Road. Had another decent tailwind through Oliver all the way to Oysoyoos an I held the heart rate in check and took advantage of the free speed. I was taking in my salt, liquid and calories all on schedule and felt great. I spun up Richter pass and started hitting a bit of wind on the rollers. The out and back was really tough with another head wind but I was following my plan and knew mentally to expect this. I hit special needs, loaded up and was off again within 2 min. The climb up to Yellow was slow and steady and I continued to feel strong. Up to the top with all the people lining the streets incredible was that? Awesome! Just like that I was screaming down the hill and hit a new personal best of 49.8! I noticed on the downhill that the smoke from the local wildfires was getting pretty thick where I was and the smell and the smoke inhalation started to make me nauseous. Turned left to head back into town and felt like I was cycling through glue. I big headwind hit me here and it was a long tough slog into town. This took a lot of my mental energy and sucked it all away. I was really hoping and on track for a 6:30 split and was really distraught to see the time slipping away as I could barely hold onto 13 or 14 m.p.h. on what should have been a fast section. Back into town and pulled into T-2 where I saw Greg working the bike dismount(Hey Greg!! I still owe you a beer!)

T-2 4:24

Happy with this transition. Bike was thrown to a volunteer, bag handed to me and a wonderful volunteer had me sit, dumped out my bag and helped me get ready for the run. I was still feeling queasy but not too bad.

Run 5:44:56

It all comes down to the run doesn't it? This was where the wheels came off. I felt my race at this point was going great. My bike was a bit slow but other than that I was having a good race. I was having the race that I had planned for and trained for. I felt good heading out. Ran past the team tent, past Coach Jill and Zot, past the kids and several friends. I was so excited that it was down to the run and I was going to finish strong. I made it to mile 2 and took in the planned nutrition. One cup of water, one cup of pepsi, ice in the sports bra and 2 cold sponges squeezed over my head. About 1/2 mile later my stomach rolled and I barely made it to the side of the road to projectile vomit. I continued like this for miles. At mile 4 I ceased taking in any liquids at all and started to walk more than I ran. This continued until mile 10 or 11 when I finally started to feel a bit better. I continued to run/walk until the turn around at which point I made the decision to walk the hills and run the downhills. This worked out ok. I basically would run until my stomach started to roll and then walk until it settled.There were so many people crashed out on the side of the road and ambulances racing by. It was like a battlefield. I have since found out about 9 percent of the field DNF'd for various reasons. Not sure if this is typical or not but there were a lot of bodies scattered about for sure! I saw tons of people I knew on the course which was great. It made me so happy to hear some yell, "Hey JFT!!!" I started to pick up the pace a little as my mood improved. I was heading in and was still seeing a ton of people heading out on the run. The last few miles were TOUGH! The nausea was returning and I was just trying to keep it together. I was feeling crappy but so elated because I knew the finish line was within reach, I pulled into town and the crowds were insane! The final turn to head to the Sicoumous was actually great for me. All of those people just screaming your name....unbelievable! Saw coach again along with my family and I knew I just needed to suck it up and get there. Down the chute with huge smile on my face and just like that it was over.

Final Finish Time 14:12:34
Age Group Place 112/159

Post race: So I was lucky enough to cross into the finish area on my own 2 feet. I had my warm space blanket, my medal and I was good to go. Met up with John Marquis from my team who is about the nicest man on the planet. He had just finished his IMC volunteer shift and was hanging out with me I asked him if it was ok to sit in the grass and he said sure. We sat and talked for awhile and I asked if it was ok to lie down and I think he said ok. That is about when I passed out I guess I got into a wheelchair and I remember hurling copious amounts of vomit first on myself and probably John (Sorry John, I guess I owe you a beer too!!!) and then into a ziploc. My blood pressure was taken and registered a whopping 73/60 and that was my golden ticket to an iv. I had 2 liters put in and was finally able to sip enough gatorade to be allowed out of the med tent 90 min. later. I was so cold it was unbelievable!

My best friend and husband greeted me with a warm sweatshirt and whisked me back to the hot tub at the rental house. I think I made it 15 min before I passed out for the night!


Many many thanks go to my husband who was single parent for so many weekends while I rode and ran, my kids who were/are my biggest cheerleaders, my best friend who would drive any distance to see me race and support me, my team mates who patiently answered all of my iron newbie questions and talked me down off the ledge when needed, my other tri buddies who kept me showing up to long runs and swims, my chiropractor who "fixed" me repeatedly and finally to my coach, Jill Fry. Jill has been an inspiration to me from the first day I met her. She is an incredible athlete and talented coach who never hesitated to answer any questions that I had thoroughly and completely. She developed a plan to get me to IMC happy and injury free and she carried me with kid gloves this entire year. She brought me to the start line ready to race and left me with enough enthusiasm to sign up for 2010. So thanks coach Jill!!! You are my hero!!

I can't wait for Ironman #2!!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Ironman Camp Day 1 and 2

Well here I am back at Ironman camp again.

This camp is different than the one I went to in May. My coach ( hosted this camp and she is involved in my training on a daily basis so the camp is personal and tailored specifically to my needs. We arrived after a long and hot drive Wednesday evening. We are staying at a hotel right on Lakeshore drive right across from the lake and in the center of all the ice cream shops and restaurants. The kids are in heaven!

Thursday morning we woke up and met at the lake with our wetsuits in hand. Swam for about 40 min. and got the bikes ready to ride the entire course. We stayed together in a pack so we could discuss the course as we progressed. 40 miles in we arrived at the base of Richter pass, stocked up on water and calories and headed up the mountain for a nice steady climb. Until this point the weather had been holding steady in the low 80's and we had clouds but just a sprinkling of rain. As we descended off of the back side of Richter the wind picked up quite a bit and the rain started to pour. The thunder and lightning that were off in the far distance all the sudden seemed to be right on top of us as we climbed and descended the 7 rollers on the course. Visibility was getting next to impossible and the winds were blowing us all over the roads. At one point lightning hit the hillside on our left and started a small fire...yikes! There was nothing to do but keep going as there was no shelter nearby. We pushed on slowly until about mile 65 where we found a fruit stand where we could get under a shelter. Our aid cars didn't have enough room for most of us but they ferried a few bikes and athletes back into town about 30 miles away, unloaded and came back for the rest. The temperature at this point had dropped to 58 degrees and none of us ha warm or dry clothes so the hour plus wait was awful. Zot finally came to get me with the heat blasting in the van and it was wonderful!

I had a hot bath and got into dry clothes and spent the rest of the evening trying to unclench my fists. I think I left permanent marks on my handlebars from gripping them so tight. I have never been outside in a storm that severe, let alone biking in it.

Day 2

Today we woke up to a sunnier day. Swam long in the lake and coach ran us through all the things we would need to know for the swim and transitions on race day. After a quick breakfast we carpooled out to Skaha lake for a run out to the marathon turn around and back to the marina. The weather was perfect. 80 degrees and a good wind with no rain in sight. This was my first chance to get a look at the hills close to the turn around and they were challenging for sure. Ran back to the marina and stood up to the hips in the cold lake to cool our legs and aid recovery. Coach's husband, Mike arrived with many pizzas and we ate a bunch and headed back to town.

Zot and the kids and I rented a 6 person bicycle trolley and road all over the waterfront in the afternoon which was so much fun albeit not aerodynamic!

Had dinner with the team tonight and I have just finished gearing up for tomorrow.

The plan is a one hour swim, quick transition on shore followed by biking the entire run course at our own paces. We will return to town to throw the bikes in the room and the transition quickly for a 1 mile run. Should be a goo race simulation. We will have aid stations set up so we have bike course support just like in the race.

This is a great way for us to practice our race day nutrition and pacing. I am still trying to iron everything out.

Can't wait!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Pacific Crest Half Ironman

This race was the toughest race experience I have ever had but it also was the most beautiful and I do enjoy a challenge.

Got into Bend, Oregon on Thursday evening, checked into hotel and had an early bed time

FRIDAY: Up early and at the Athlete Village to register. Met up with the coach and some team mates to bike on the run course. The course is not too hilly but winds incessantly on the bike/run paths at Sun River Resort. You can't see more than 40 feet in front of you which makes it mentally challenging for a half marathon.

Drove up to the reservoir to rack the bike. The basic gist of the race is that you swim in this beautiful reservoir, which happens to be at 4700 feet, bike 58 miles around Mt Bachelor to an elevation of 6300 feet and then descend to 4200 feet into Sun River for T-2 where your meander through Sun RIver for the Half Marathon.

The water looked beautiful but cold!

Had an early pasta dinner at the athlete village and listened to the race meeting and then off to bed.

5a.m. Up..took a thermolyte and ate eggs and pancakes, drank a big glass of water
5:50: left with team mates Anna and Judith with all the geat for t-2. Laid out the run transition stuff.
6:30 Got on the bus for the reservoir. 45 min later we arrived, put nutrition on the bike and laid out T-1

The race was delayed by 30 min since a bus transporting athletes was stuck in construction traffic. This impacted us in a few ways, my nutrition was slightly off and we would be racing later which means more heat but not a big deal

We warmed up in the swim which was a GREAT idea since the temp of the water was 60 degrees After the warmup I felt great

SWIM 45:03

Started slow which I never do, stayed consistent and strong, got kicked a few times but no biggie, felt great the WHOLE time which never happens. I attribute this to coach Jill helping with my stroke and showing me how much energy I conserve when I swim the right way. I wasn't fast but I was 4 min faster than last years Half and I got out feeling like I could go right back in and swim again.

T-1 Took forever! 2:31...I had to take everything off and put it in a bag for transport back to Sun River. Had to remember to tie the bag..ugh!

BIKE 3:12:20 This is slightly different fro most halfs in that it is 58 miles instead of 56. My bike was AWESOME!! I really loved this course! The hills were challenging but not terrible. The scenery was beautiful. The sun started to get hot and yet I was climbing high enough to have big snow drifts right next to me. At the top of the last climb before the long descent I got smacked in the head with altitude sickness which manifested itself in a huge throbbing headache and nausea. I have had this once before in Colorado and it sucks! My nutrition and salt had been spot on. I drank 16 oz of water the first hour, 2 thermolytes and 250 calories, same for the second and third hour. I knew it was not nutrition. I threw up going downhill thank god but felt awful pulling into t-2

T-2 3:05 I unloaded my bike, shoes and hat on and ran all of 50 feet to the aid station in T-2. I grabbed a bunch of ice and sat in the shade at the side of the road for 20 min with ice under my hat on my head I had packed some advil and took 3. My headache was just relentless. By now it was about 88 degrees and I don't think the heat helped :)

RUN: 2:41:15 After 20 min I got up and walked/jogged the half marathon. Each mile aid station I drank 2 cups of water and added more ice to my head. My hands and feet started to swell so I backed off the salt and kept to water only.

FINISH: 6:44:14 12/29 in Age Group. I am not thrilled with this time but here is what I am thrilled with:

1. This course is VERY challenging and I didn't DNF
2. I only spent 10 min. in the medical tent getting oxygen and the headache FINALLY went away.
3. My nutrition seemed spot on
4. I still beat my time from Lake Stevens last year by 12 min. and that is with sitting on my arse for 20 min which shows you how slow I was last year~
5. I am slightly sore but really feel ok this morning..glad to have a few days of rest.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Issaquah Triathlon 2009

I went into this race with a little bit of trepidation. Since training for Ironman I have been doing a lot of slow long endurance stuff and I was hoping that I could find the fast twitch muscles again for a sprint distance.

Up at 4:45 am after a good nights sleep..breakfast and coffee in the car. Got to the race site around 5:30, racked the bike, set up the transition area and brought my bag over to our new team tent to meet up with the team.

Everyone seemed relaxed and calm for the first tri of the season. The weather was PERFECT. The water was perfect and I felt great. Warmed up in the water for 15 min and stood around chatting before the start.

SWIM 7:23

This honestly was the roughest swim I have ever had. I have done a lot of wave starts and it was NOTHING compared to this swim. It was short but brutal. I started out front of my wave which was 88 women deep. Gun went off and I dove in, 2 women directly in front of me flipped over on their backs and started to backstroke and I basically swam over them after crashing into them. Not a good start. Until the final buoy I found no place to swim where I wasn't being pummeled and boxed in. I was hoping for a sub 7 swim but it was not to be.

T-1 1:45 Uneventful. Rode in just the tri suit, no glasses, no gloves and it was fine.

BIKE 39:33 22.62 m.p.h.

This was both my triumph and my downfall. I had some big time frustration with this course as the no passing zones seemed excessive. The areas just outside the no passing zones were also difficult to pass in as several women were trying to tell me I could not pass when I could. I felt great on the bike. I felt like I was flying. I hammered up the hills and stayed in aero for most of the ride. I passed a whole lot of people and was only passed a handful of times. Got stuck behind a pack of people in the no pass zone but my time was almost a 5 min improvement from last year!

T-2 1:11 Again, uneventful, run shoes on, helmet off, hat on ...go!

RUN 26:52

And this is where that fast bike caught up with me. I felt really slow and stiff starting out and my legs did not really feel like they were ok until after the first mile. Even after that first mile I never got a good pace going. The course is cross country and the footing is weird for me so I was rolling my ankles right and left. It was not a pretty run for sure but I know now I need more work on the bike/run balance for next time.

In all I was happy with this race. It was fun to do and I improved by almost 7 min from last year. Aged up into a more challenging age group and still maintained 10th place.

TOTAL TIME 1:16:45 10/88 age group

Best thing for me was being 147/940 on the bike!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Day 3 Full IMC bike course plus 20 min run

Up early for coffee and breakfast

The day was a bit overcast but warmer than the previous 2 days. Suited up with lots of random layers and remembered to sunscreen really well. Took off with the medium paced group for the ride out to Husky. Had a headwind again but pushed a bit harder this time around. I also started on tired legs that seemed to remember the 95 plus miles on Friday an the 2 hour run on Saturday. McClean Creek Road was there before I knew it and it was a hard first little hill. Legs were not happy. At Husky we stopped at the aid station where I took off arm warmers and booties. The day was really starting to heat up. Started the climb up Richter and seemed to have some gearing issues in the first half. I figured it out and spun up to the top. Friday we had a tailwind. Today we just had a lack of wind. The rollers were tougher this go around. Got to the out an back and didn't skip it today. Pushed another headwind. I was taking my Thermolytes every hour which worked fine on Friday but now it was about 15 degrees warmer and I started having some issues. I felt like my helmet was getting tighter and the top of my head felt tingly and numb. It occurred to me that I was really needing more sodium so I began taking a lot more salt. After about 30 min. I was feeling better and stronger. False flats were tough and then a windy climb to the top of Yellow Lake and a scary descent with crosswinds picking me up and blowing me around quite a bit.

Tried to spin a bit coming into town but my toes were on fire at this point an I just wanted to be done. Ran the bikes into the room, running shoes on, hat on, angry music on ..GO! One mile run out and back felt like hell but then we were back at the Slumberlodge and DONE!!

Hobbled over to the icy lake and sat up to my waist for the requisite 15 min.

Warm shower and then out to dinner with friends. A great day.

110.6 miles total

6 hours 33 min

16.8 m.p.h average

I am so ready to just sit on my arse and enjoy my Monday and Tuesday off.

I am so glad I did this camp now to build up my confidence. I have another camp in July with my coach. I am really looking forward to improving on my time and training more in lovely Penticton.

Sleeping in tomorrow and ambling home.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Day 2 run and swim but without the swim!

Had another great day today. Up early, walked to coffee and came back to sunscreen up and go to the camp meeting at 8:00 a.m.

We drove in groups about 5 miles into the out and back marathon course and parked at the marina. I wanted to do about 2 hours on the course so I plugged in the tunes and off I went. The course is not flat but I was feeling good this morning and running strong. The day was beautiful and the course runs along a lake so how bad can that be. Stopped to get some water at the aid station mile 4 and ran a few more miles before turning around and heading back. Got in about 11.5 miles nice and easy.

Stood in the FREEZING cold water at the marina for a good 15 min. up to my waist to cool down my legs, grabbed some food an Paul and I headed back to the room. After a quick shower it was off to the famous Bike Barn to peruse the goods. I almost bought a kids xl bike jersey which would have fit me. It was covered in cupcakes and said "Riding cupcake mountain"

Back to the room where I held the realistic thought process about doing the open water swim. The lake we were to go to was rumored to be "ok" as far as temps went but no one could really explain what "ok" was. I was STILL cold from soaking my legs earlier plus all the training was catching up on me so I opted for an endurance nap instead.

Woke up, dressed and headed over to the Penticton Lakeside Motel for a buffet dinner with the 50 plus athletes at the camp. Paul and Anna had been to this banquet before and wisely guided me to pick out dessert first before I ate dinner so they would not run out. Us triathletes can EAT!

Had a lovely time. At the end Cal, the director of the camp talked about the ride tomorrow. We will be going off in staggered groups with the slowest ones leaving at 7, then 7:30, 8 and 8:30. The staggering is to prevent those who are fast starting to early and missing the aid stations before they are set up.

Paul and I will be riding in the 7:30 group. The plan is to do the full course, with the out and back, all 112 miles followed by a 30 min run.

Best part of the evening was listening to a talk by the legendary Steve King who has been the announcer and the voice of Ironman Canada for 30 plus years. He is an incredible athlete and announcer. He told a number of inspiring stories and really got me thinking of this journey I am taking and what it means to me.

After the talk, Paul introduced me to him and he is one of those people who remembers everything. Maybe he will remember me when I cross that finish line in August.

Back to the hotel to get bottles loaded with nutrition mixed and put in the fridge, clothing laid out and bikes ready for the big ride tomorrow. It is looking to be in the 80's so a tough day for sure.

Tomorrow is last camp day. I will leave Monday morning for home. I miss the kids and husband something awful but I think I needed to this trip on my own to just focus on me.

I sat around tonight around all these athletes here finally feeling like I am one of them.