Friday, November 19, 2010

Chasing the high

Once again it is clear to me why I have chosen triathlon as my hobby.  It is the closest I will get to giving birth again.  We have 5 beautiful children and our family is complete but I miss a lot of the aspects of pregnancy and birth.  Thankfully I am finding fulfillment and similarities in triathlon training and racing and while it is an expensive sport it at least I won’t have to send Dori (bike) to college.
The day of my first half Ironman was challenging, overwhelming and a true euphoric high.  Having family and great friends congratulate me at the finish and tell me how amazing I was after working very hard for 8 long hours brought back memories of my births.  Like a natural birth an endurance sport is mostly mental.  You can do what you think you can do and just when you think you are done your body surprises you.  In the middle of it you find humor in odd places, tears come easily and everyone is your friend.  When people start yelling you are almost done you don’t really believe it until you see it for yourself.  The afterglow is a haze, the pain is there but so is the smile and relief of a job well done.
You sleep hard and heavy and when you wake up you feel the previous day in parts you didn’t know you had.  You have to remind yourself that yes, you really did it and a little piece isn’t sure until you hold something tangible, proof.  The next day you don’t sleep nearly as well and when you wake you find more parts you didn’t know you had now ache and cry out.  Then the hunger hits, hard!  If you don’t get food somebody is going to get hurt.  And not just some food but a LOT of food and you want food you wouldn’t normally eat.  Everything fried with a frozen beverage on the side.  This goes on for days and it’s OK because you deserve it!  There is no guilt, you only hope it will stop before you grow out of all your clothes. 
As the days grow less people mention the amazing accomplishment and it feels a little less special but you know you have achieved something few people do and you look forward to doing it again.  It’s a new high you start to chase.  Good thing it takes so long and is so damn hard or I’d be chasing this high every day.
Time to train…..

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Race Report

Pre-race routine:

Set alarm for 4am but couldn't sleep past 3:30 so I got up. Everything was pretty much ready to go. Aleve and water at home and Odwalla bar and coffee in the van. I wasn't able to finish either. Drove to Conroe with Ken and Dad.

Event warmup:

Walked Dori to transition, froze my toes off in sandals, peed, got wetsuit on and headed to the swim. Had a moment when I asked Ken WTF am I doing here? "You have a race today, you got this"  My Dad had my Rescue Remedy so I found him and wished more than ever that stuff came in ready to drink bottles.  Got in the water just to wade because it was warmer, burried my toes in the sand to try to thaw them out, bitched about how cold it was.

Swim - 37:40

Really looked forward to this swim after seeing the course the day before.
However, the run and dive was pretty chaotic and I got my goggles knocked off almost immediately. The demons started hovering but I shoo'd them away once I started counting. Sighting was a bitch with the fog, I just hoped the pink caps in front of me knew where they were going. Once we made it out of the cove it opened up but was still tricky to sight for a while with the fog and glare from the sun. Got into a nice groove for several hundred yards then started seeing people walking! I really didn't want to walk so I swam until my hands hit the bottom, when I walked I could really feel it in my legs and I knew I needed them so I'd start swimming as soon as it got deep enough. The swim was over too soon.

What would you do differently?:

Get rid of the demons already, start counting sooner.



Came running out of the water, saw the strippers and pointed to a 12 or 13 year old boy and said "you!" His face just lit up and he pulled it off in one yank!
HR was up and walked to bring it down. Overwhelmed having to put on so many clothes when we usually just wear what we swim in here in Houston. I tried it all on the night before but it was still tricky.  Added cycling jersey, arm warmers and the gloves were hard to get on wet, numb hands.
The good news is the wardrobe decisions were spot on!

What would you do differently?:

Put helmet on FIRST. My hands were getting cold fast and I put my goves on before buckling the helmet - and could not get it buckled then tried to leave w/o fastening my shoes.

Bike - 3:48

I had to keep my mind in the game. The first thing I noticed before I even hit Walden is my arms hurt, maybe the swim? Not sure but my biceps were sore from the get go.
Had a ticking sound coming from the front but that stopped after a few miles. The next thing I noticed is I had a 0 cadence reading. I was going to have to do this ride off feel, I had no HR monitor and no cadence. Ok, ok, be smart Keri.
Stopped at the first potty and a chick was coming out - perfect timing!
After the stop I realized my front break was rubbing and there was grass wedged between my brake pad and the tire which had to be from transion so I've been riding this whole time like this. I leaned over, pulled the grass out and pulled the break pad away from the tire.

Played leap frog with a cutie named Tina in a pink helmet for a while.
Average speed at the turn around was 16.2. Turn around went well, got the hand up and no stopping to pee. There were folks waiting in line so I was glad I didn't have to stop.

I had my nutrition plan on the side of my aero bottle held down with rubber bands and I stuck to it. Electrolyes, Fig Newtons & Chomps. I didn't eat the last Fig Newton, just didn't sound good so I started on my Chomps - Strawberry, yum!

Miles 35-45 were long. Once I gave up on the cadence fixing itself I changed the computer over to distance and the numbers weren't changing fast enough for me. Saw a gal on the side of the road and asked if she was ok, she said "I"m done" I felt bad for her.
By 40 miles I had to pee, BAD! I was looking for a potty but there wasn't one in sight, I tried and tried to pee on the bike but just couldn't make it happen. I thought about pulling over and just squatting but there were too many cyclists and not enough coverage. I had to go so bad I was in pain. Then a potty! YAY! The Boy Scouts were awesome bike holders. I had to wait in line but that gave me the opportunity to stretch the cramp I had in my left hamstring. The guy in front of me was named Peter and we promised whoever finished first would put the others name on the massage list :)
Back on the bike and the odometer is at 49 and I tell myself 6-7 more miles. Then I realize a few miles later it was 45, not 49! The wind was rough at this point and I was really struggling with speed. I would start freaking about the run to come but would remind myself "just ride your bike, you are on a bike ride, ride your bike" One thing at a time. The last 5 miles flew!

What would you do differently?:

Double check my bike for cadence and stuff like that, it's my responsibility. Learn to pee on the bike.



Had to take off bike jersey and arm warmers so that took more time.
My lips were killing me so I needed to find my Burts Bees lip balm in my back pack. Changed shoes, grabbed balm, gu, chomps, hat and number.

What would you do differently?:

Have lip balm out? Didn't need chomps. Run.

Run - 3:27

So we all knew this was going to be hard. I have a stress fracture in my left heel, was on crutches and had a boot for a few weeks, started running again and it got much worse. I hadn't run at all for 3 weeks and not run any real training runs for 6 weeks before this race.

The first lap went well but I have to admit all the off road stuff was a bit more than I bargained for.
I ran for the first 28 minutes then walked the 2nd aid station where I took 2 Aleve and started back on my electrolytes.
I made the first 4.36 loop in the time we were hoping for. I'd see signs with big numbers like Mile 10 and say to myself "Not right now but it will be"
Mile 5 the cramping started in my quads and hamstrings, for the next 2 miles I was in a dark place. Thoughts of DNF came to mind. I was going to finish the 2nd loop and throw in the towel.
Mile 7 brought animal crackers. I don't like animal crackers and they were not part of my plan but at this point I didn't have much to lose. I washed 2 down with Gatorade and felt awesome almost immediately. Kim came to mind, she told me there would be good miles and to look for them and while in the moment I recognized THIS was a good mile.
From then on I was going to finish this race. I was doing a 9/1 walk that would turn to 8/2 and sometimes 7/3+. I realized this was not working for me so the new plan was to run as long as I could and walk only when I had to. The good(ish) news is when I walked I felt sick so I didn't want to walk. Running was so painful it distracted me from my stomach.

The third loop was easier mentally than the 2nd. At one point I came to the conclusion I was going to finish this race and not have my times, I wasn't going to make the cut-off but that was OK, the numbers didn't matter anymore. At mile 11, just past the marker I tripped and bit it pretty hard on the pavement, both feet cramped up bad, I could feel my toes twisted. I kept saying outloud 'you're ok, you're ok, get up, you're ok' Took some skin off my knuckles and forearms but not bleeding or anything.

A bit further down the road I got my last animal crackers and met Carol. She was wearing a HRTC suit, she asked how much time we had and I told her I didn't know. She said she didn't want us to miss the cut off and I understood what she was saying but at the same time knew I couldn't go any faster. I told her to go if she could and she did after a bit. I got to the street leading up to the finish and ran the rest of the way. The folks walking to their cars were awesome, they knew how long I had been out there. One guy saw me and said "Now THATS a long day" My cheering section was screaming their heads off. I saw Jusitn and Ken take off to head out to the finish. Justin started screaming "Blah Blah Seconds, Run Keri Run!"
I kicked it in with all I had.
Turns out Carol got there first asked Ken and Justin if they were waiting for Keri, she told them I had to hurry and they had to let me know to kick it to make the cut off.

Everyone was there to hug and congratulate me. I wasn't sure Karen was going to let me go.

What would you do differently?:

Not get a stress fracture so I could keep with the training plan.

Post race

Warm down:

I told Ken right away we had to get the bike, I was afraid if I stopped it would be bad. I walked to transition, Travis the boy scout helped me pack my bag and carried it while I walked the bike. Handed the bike off to Ken, lost my balance and Justin caught me. I'm seeing tweeties and stars and I hear some guy say "Is she seizing?" I say no. The next thing I know somebody is asking about an ambulance and I tell them I am NOT getting in an ambulance. They bring a stretcher over with their equipment on it, I'm laying on the ground with my feet in the air. I told them to take the stretcher away and they told me it was just for their equipment. I said over and over "I'm fine, I'm fine" but they kept asking me stupid questions like have I eaten anything today. Seriously, I've been racing for 8 hours what do you think? But at this point I can't say anything. I can feel the blood rushing back to my upper body and that is not a fun feeling. I wasn't enjoying this ride at.all. Some oxygen and a banana and I was sitting up again. Our awesome friend Karen ran down to get our van so I wouldn't have to walk.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

I exceeded my fitness.
My furthest run in training was 8 miles before my injury in September. My body wanted to give up many times.

Event comments:

I will do another 70.3 but I promised myself out there I would not race in this physical condition again. I am ready to sign up for 2011!

I also had THE best cheering section, they were LOUD, had great signs and were super cute too.
Rode home with the whole crew including my Dad.  Told Ken to drop us off at the house and pick up some Carl's BBQ (it sounded soooooo good!)  Hopped in the icebath for 20-25 minutes.  Replied to some texts, took a hot shower,  got out for some awesome BBQ and a Cherry Coke!  I was surprised how good I felt, my legs were stiff but not cramping.  Took some Aleve and hit the sack hard around 9pm.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Tick Tock

12 hours and counting folks.  I managed to keep myself pretty busy today.  My wonderful husband encouraged me to get a pedicure which was long overdue so now I have bright red toenails with stars on them!    When I got home I browned some Italian sausage and put it along with some basil and vodka tomato sauce in the crock pot to simmer all day (our traditional pre-tri meal).  I met my great friend Karen on my way to packet pick up, we enjoyed a cup of coffee outside in this beautiful weather and she did a great job keeping me distracted.  Packet pick up was uneventful but it was good for me to see the swim course, I am pretty excited about the swim!
Today the emotions have been close to the surface.  This morning Ken and I were watching You Tube videos of various Ironman events and just about every one had me on the verge of tears.  Tomorrow is a big day.  I’ve thought about this race for many months and the realization it is here is a bit overwhelming.  I don’t want to let anyone down.  My Dad gets in from California later tonight, my husband, kids, awesome friends and my coach have expectations and so do I.
The reality is I can only control what I can.  There is so much in a race I cannot control and success means rolling with the punches, taking what the day gives me and making adjustments.  I am more excited than anxious.  My coach and I have discussed last minute details.  I’ve made my wardrobe decisions, practiced putting everything on and gone over my nutrition.  Ken took great care of Dori cleaning her up, changing her tires and greasing her chain while I was out today and she is ready to go!
My wave gets the gun at 7:08, I look forward to the swim as I navigate and glide through the water.  The bike will bring challenging hills and gorgeous scenery.  The run will bring my family and friends likely screaming their heads off and encouraging me to just keep going. 
The messages, e-mails and texts from my tri community have been overwhelming, I am so very blessed.
Time for me to make it my truth.

Friday, November 5, 2010

What was Ben thinking?

Daylight savings time, I’ve never been a fan.  Having grown up in Arizona, one of the three states that does not observe DST, I remember hearing about it the first time after we moved to Colorado when I was 10.  I was sure the other kids were playing a trick on me, the new kid, when during school they started talking about moving our clocks back.  What?!?  Who moves the clock?  That is crazy!  It took some convincing and to be honest I never really understood or appreciated DST…… until now.  We move the clocks back this weekend giving me an extra hour of sleep Saturday night and an hour earlier of sunshine for the race Sunday.  Now that I think about it I am sure it is the ‘spring forward’ I always had a hard time with.
 I feel nearly paralyzed with anticipation.  The long term planning is done and it is a little too soon to do the short term stuff – packing my backpack, loading up the van etc.  This is the calm before the storm.  Not unlike planning a wedding or getting ready for a baby, it seems there is a lot of stuff to do to get ready early on and then nothing until it’s TIME!  Fortunately for me all of my labors were spontaneous, I honestly have no idea how women with planned births do it.  Knowing the date ahead of time would make me crazy.  On the other hand I certainly wouldn’t want someone coming up to me on a random day and saying “this is it, race day, ready or not.”
Adding to the uncertainty is the weather.  Honestly, the weather Sunday will be gorgeous and perfect for the run.  The bike will likely be quite chilly especially for someone who is wet already.  There have been numerous discussions on my tri board about what to wear/bring on race day.  Until now for all my races I simply wore the tri top and tri shorts I swam in for the entire race.  I did wear a wetsuit at Gateway but once that was off I was wearing my tri outfit.  It will be too cold for that Sunday and I have to consider wearing arm warmers, full finger gloves, an extra shirt, warmer socks, and a jacket.  I will likely take everything and make decisions that morning about what I will be wearing. 
This race is somewhat of a mystery.  Usually when you do a race there is the uncertainty of how fast you will go but not IF you will finish the race.  The mystery is how my foot is going to feel, I really have no idea.  I have full confidence I can finish this race and I have great supporters but I know they are concerned.  Running 13.1 undertrained with a stress fracture probably isn’t the smartest thing I have done.  Lucky for me I have lots of people who support me, primarily my wonderful husband.  There is a good chance they are having conversations about me with each other but they also recognize this race is very important to me and I am just a little hard headed. 
It is going to be a gorgeous day.  If all goes well the race will take me somewhere around 7.5 hours give or take.  I will enjoy a great deal of that time, I will be thankful for the opportunity and for my AMAZING support – Ken, Cory, Brendan, Kerianne, Avery, Lilia, Dad, Karen, Dave, Simon, Eli, Justin, Melissa, Eric, Betsy and the many  others who take time out of their day to cheer on some crazy triathletes!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Less than a week to go

This was the kind of week you hope for leading up to a big race.  After the rough swim in the relay it was important for me to get some good wetsuit time.  I headed down to Lake 288 Friday evening and had a very nice swim.  Later that evening Ken and I had a little date at a local seafood restaurant. 
Saturday morning Dori and I headed out to the Pattison/Belleville area for my last long ride.  The temperature was perfect and I got in 43 great miles.  Saturday evening the family headed to Steak n Shake to celebrate Avery’s Birthday, it was her choice.  Her birthday wasn’t until Sunday but having a Halloween birthday means changing up the celebration a bit sometimes.
Woke up Sunday and was glad to see my heel wasn’t swollen from Saturday’s ride.  I headed down to 288 again for more time in the wetsuit.  I swam 1.2 miles consecutive so I would have an idea what it felt like and get an idea of my time.  I was happy with my swim time and would be ecstatic to swim that on race day but with traffic and nerves it is unlikely.    Rumor has it I will be in the first wave which helps matters as the water won’t be as choppy but that has not been confirmed.  Sunday afternoon it was all about Avery’s birthday and getting Halloween ready.  I ran some errands after the lake and Avery opened her presents and had some ice cream cake before costume time.  The girls had a great time trick-or-treating and my foot/heel didn’t bother me at all during the festivities.
We got home from trick-or-treating and had a message on the machine from my Dad, he was calling to wish Avery a happy birthday and said something about needing to talk to me about flights.  What?  I talked with my Dad Friday evening and he seemed pretty sure he wasn’t going to make the trip.  I was pretty bummed but I understood.  Finding out he was going to make it after all had me over the moon.  I was excited about my race all over again.  On a few of my tough runs I pictured my Dad being at the finish line as motivation.  Knowing he was going to make it is great news but also makes me feel just a tad more pressure.  Dad isn’t a fan of flying and has been on a plane maybe 5 times in his life, he is taking two planes to get to Houston the night before my race.  WOW!
Kerianne & Avery  

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Get your mind right girl!

I had my ‘holy crap, what was I thinking’ moment last week.  I was showing a friend my race report from the Gateway Olympic distance I did in the spring.  The swim and bike reports are good and then you get to the run report which starts like this “Holy Mary Mother of God.  This run chewed me up, spit me out and took my dignity.”  Then it all came back, the pain and agony of my last ‘long’ triathlon, the run was only a 10K or 6.2 miles.  November 7 I will be running 13.1 miles!  Because of my injury during training for this race my longest run was 8 miles and that was back in August.  Thoughts of DNF (Did Not Finish) came creeping in my head.
Making matters worse this past weekend Ken, Cory and I did the Katy Firethorne relay.  I swam, Ken biked and Cory ran.  I am not great at swimming, biking or running but swimming is by far my favorite and most comfortable for me.  However, the swim this past Sunday was my worst tri swim ever.  I was in a wave with Clydesdales (men over 200 pounds).  Don’t get me wrong, I love the Clydes, I just don’t like them swimming on top of me.  I was swam over a few times, took a few body shots and at one point a good sized guy in front of me switched to breast stroke and I took a heel to my jaw.  This swim was all about survival, not speed.  My pace was 2:22 which isn’t horrible but certainly not what I was looking for.  The wetsuit was also an issue.  I am not a fan of clothes in general so a wetsuit is like torture for me.  Most triathletes LOVE the wetsuit and the phrase “wetsuit legal” is music to their ears.  Not this girl.  I thought about going without but thought it would be good practice for Iron Star.  Not so much.  It’s not fun panicking in a cold, murky subdivision lake with a 300 pound man on top of you while you are convinced the suit designed to keep you afloat has taken on a mind of its own and is conspiring to choke you to death.
You can do this Keri!  An endurance race is more mental than anything.  I see constant parallels with birth and endurance sports.  Preparation is extremely important, the mental game has to be there and your support team is invaluable.  My body was built to give birth and I have done a very good job of it five times now.  I’m not sure my body was built to do a half Ironman but I know I can do it. 
I had a nice chat with my coach last week.  We agreed the run is going to be a suffer-fest.  It will suck.  It will suck at mile 3, 6, 12, we are not sure when it will really start sucking but it will.  Going into labor drug free I knew at some point it would suck and suck pretty bad.  As a good friend of mine says “embrace the suck” knowing it is going to happen, acknowledging when it is happening and knowing I will get to the other side is the battle.  I have 11 days to get my mind right…. To channel my inner Snoop Dog I’ve got my mind on my race and my race on my mind.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Dork Factor

At the insistence of my chiropractor, Dr. Cadena, yesterday I started aqua jogging.  I felt my dork factor go up immediately, surely I am too young to wear a floatation belt but a lot of the experts really think aqua jogging is the best thing for an injured runner to do.  The fact that the cute 18 year old lifeguard was looking at me strange didn’t help matters. 
In the past week I was slowly increasing my mileage, running 4 miles Wednesday.  It wasn't a bad run, my cardiot felt great and I enjoyed the wonderful weather we are having, I missed Longenbaugh.  At the time my foot was aggravated but I wouldn’t say I was in pain, the pain came later in the day and it was pretty bad.
The suggestion is to do no running at all for the next two weeks, allow my foot to heal and go for a 6-7 mile run a week before Iron Star.  Of course I have no idea if this is going to work but I am going to give it a try, I am determined to race Iron Star!
I rode the course with Ken again last weekend.  Actually I rode the course + 9 miles.  We are increasing my bike distance and swim intensity to offset my non-running.  Best case scenario I have a great swim, very good bike and survive the run.  Pain free would be lovely but I’m not counting on it.
In Mama news – Brendan got a new pig Monday, his name is Beau and as of yesterday weighs 45 pounds!  Brendan is in FFA, raised a pig last year and did very good at auction.  This year he is rolling all his money from last year into the pig, pen and feeding expenses so he gets to keep whatever he makes at auction in February.

Cory is a senior this year and in a program at school called Ready-Set-Teach, he spends 2 hours a day 3 days a week teaching kindergarten at the elementary school he attended.  He has decided his future is in secondary education but he enjoys going and the kids love him!
Kerianne started swim lessons this week.  The plan is to get her ready for swim team which starts November 1.  She has to be able to swim the length of the pool to get on the team.  Her instructor had her swim as far as she could on her first day and she made it almost the entire length.  She made huge improvements in the first lesson and LOVES it!
Last but certainly not least today is Ken’s 40th birthday!  We have big plans starting with a Nickelback concert this evening, he has a bike ride with Justin tomorrow, family time with the kids, dinner out with the whole family and a night race (NASCAR).  Happy Birthday Honey!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Iron Star?

The road to Iron Star has not been a direct route and I am still not 100% sure this road will lead to Iron Star but it is looking much better.
There is good news – I ran yesterday, it was my first run since my heel injury.  My last run was Friday, September 10, almost a month ago!  The run went well, it was short and on the track behind the Y, I went 2 miles at a 12 minute pace.  The first mile felt awesome but I have to admit I was pretty gassed by the end of the second mile, really hoping that fitness comes back fast.
I had an ART appointment with Dr. Cadena already set up which I was happy about since I did feel some IT band tension.  He noticed some swelling so I iced it before my ride yesterday afternoon and again last night.  The heel looks good this morning.
Other good news is the Iron Star bike course, I rode it Sunday with Justin and Ken.  We started from La Torretta Resort, Justin rode with me while Ken drove the Sienna Swagger SAG Wagon, he would drive ahead so we knew where to turn and also provided the first two bottle hand ups so I could practice grabbing a bottle and not wrecking at the same time.  At some point the guys switched, Ken rode with me and Justin gave me the last bottle hand up.  The course is gorgeous!  Ken brought a camera but didn't have the chance to get any shots.  I LOVED this course, the weather was perfect and it made for a beautiful morning but I also felt if the race doesn't happen it will be evern more heart breaking if the race doesn't happen. 

Friday, October 1, 2010


I know, such an exciting thing to blog about, right?  I love washing and drying clothes, love when the house smells “April fresh” but I sure wish the clothes would fold and put themselves away.  Honestly, if I had the money for help I could employ somebody with laundry alone.
We are a house of 7 people, 4 of which are adult size and one is still sleeping in cloth diapers.  We do a lot of laundry.  It is nice feeling at the end of a productive Sunday when laundry is clean and put away unless that includes your entire running wardrobe.  Before my injury I was running 4 days a week so it was rare for all my running clothes to be clean and put away.  Generally, they were in some form of laundry limbo (apparently my word of the week).  LOL
My running clothes have been clean and put away for weeks now.  I miss them.  I ran many, many hours in 95 degree temps and high humidity knowing it would get cooler eventually and I just might get faster.  The cool weather is here and I can’t run.  Seems like some kind of cruel joke.  I am not a runner, of the three disciplines of triathlon it is my least favorite but I can honestly say I miss it and look forward to running again.

Thursday, September 30, 2010


The good news is the foot is getting better.  I am just not sure if it is going to be good enough, soon enough. 
Some folks may think ‘just do the next HIM=Half Ironman’ and though that is a possibility, not all races are created equal.  Each race has its own personality and atmosphere.  I fell in love with Iron Star last November when I was there cheering friends on.  The atmosphere is very friendly and feels more like a neighborhood relay than an Ironman distance race.  It is a smaller race with a lot of familiar faces.
If Iron Star does not happen the next HIM in my area is Lonestar in Galveston.  This race is an Ironman branded race which means it is all about the M-dot.  Some athletes prefer M-dot races for a lot of reasons.  The race is MUCH larger, it carries the M-dot corporate logo whereas Iron Star is Half Ironman distance, Lonestar is an actual Half Ironman.  Ironman is the corporate sponsor, not the actual distance though both races are 70.3 miles.
Ken and I volunteered at Lonestar last year and had several friends racing and it was exciting.  However, it didn’t have the same feel as Iron Star.  It was HUGE, VERY corporate, lots of pomp and circumstance, professional athletes and thousands of spectators.   The run is 4 loops so you have to pass the finish line 3 times before you actually finish which sounds like torture to me.
The two races are very different and I am more the laid back racer without all the crowds and corporate hoopla.  The decision I have to make is what is most important to me, the actual HIM distance or the course.   
I am not ready to give up on my first love just yet.  The hardest part of the last week has been not knowing what the next couple of weeks will hold.  This past Sunday Ken and our coach both raced in the Houston Olympic Triathlon I obviously missed.  After the race we went to lunch and my coach asked me when my cut off was.  He wanted to know when I felt I needed to start training again in order to make Iron Star happen.  I admitted I hadn’t thought about that just yet, he told me he had a date in mind and it is close, very close.
I just looked at the calendar and Iron Star is 37 days away.  Right now is when I would be doing my longest runs and longest bike rides.  The 2-3 weeks before a race is taper, when you scale back your training so your body can recover and be fresh for the race.  Training up to the race date is not an option.  I would love for Iron Star to be in the cards but if it isn’t I will continue to train and make a plan for the 2011 season.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Update on MRI

Hello Sexy.....

Stress fracture of the calcaneus (heel bone) and shin splints = boot, crutches, script for anti-inflamatory and rest.  Time will tell.

Baby Steps

Mentally I am better.  Physically the same.  Saw the doctor yesterday and the x-rays were negative.  In his opinion it is shin splints rather than a stress fracture but we are still not sure why I am experiencing so much heel pain.  I am going for an MRI this morning and hoping it gives us more answers.  Will have the results Monday I hope.
The good news is the doctor saw no harm in getting on the bike so last night I put Dori (my bike) on the trainer and had a pretty good 40 minute ride.  I didn’t want to push it too hard the first time.  I am not a big fan of the trainer all that pedaling to nowhere but it felt good to get my heart rate up and sweat a bit.  If I can ride I can keep my fitness up even if I can’t run.
Not a surprise to me, my tri community has rallied around me with inspirational notes, e-mails and phone calls.  I went to a pretty dark place for about 24 hours and honestly needed all the help I could get to see the light at the end of the tunnel and they were all there for me.  I am still hoping for Iron Star but if that doesn’t happen there will be another race and I have always been a strong believer that everything happens for a reason.  My plan isn’t always THE plan.
Now I have to decide if I will make the Houston Olympic an aqua-bike or skip it altogether.  I think the experience, especially the swim, would be helpful.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Hello anger, come on in

I feel like I'm moving throught the stages of grief though I am not sure I am going through them in the right order, I definitely feel a loss.
At first I denied it was anything serious.  Next came frustration, then I tried to surrender and accept I had no control.  Yesterday was all about being angry and this morning I was able to cry.
If the sitter comes through I have an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon tomorrow.  Anybody who knows me knows it takes a lot of surrender to meet with a surgeon but I am desperate.
I know my Olympic distance race this Sunday is gone.  My only hope is to hold onto my HIM=Half Ironman distance November 7.  I have moments when I am hopeful when I wake up in the morning the pain will be gone or the next visit to my ART provider will work magic.
We have tried many different things and nothing is working.  Last night I went for a very short jog in my cul de sac so I could test it out and the pain was worse than ever making me wonder if it isn’t something a bit more serious than a strain.
Mentally this is very tough.  I want to know NOW if it is going to get better and I need to focus on the HIM or if that is simply a pipe dream and all the folks who didn’t think I could do it were right all along.  I feel like I’m in limbo.  Do I swim today?  What’s the point?  I’ve lost my focus.

Sunday, September 19, 2010


Here is your shameless Mama post of the week.  I have two teenage sons, a 17 year old senior and 15 year old sophomore.  My Mama dream came true last night when I was able to get a picture of both boys with their girlfriends.  The couples went out to dinner before the homecoming dance and rolled in around 11:30.  A great time was had by all.

Friday, September 17, 2010


Sometimes the only thing you can do is surrender because you simply cannot control what is going on.
I am practicinig this right now with an Achilles injury.  I was having pain during my run so we stopped that.  Both my coach and doc thought cycling as OK because it doesn’t bother me much when I am on the bike.  I did notice pain when I was pulling and using more torque, going up hill or starting from a stopped position. 
I haven’t run in a week and the foot isn’t getting better, it’s actually getting worse.  Deductive reasoning tells us the bike is aggravating the Achilles injury causing swelling and pain with walking.
Initially the reality of this injury was very frustrating.  I have an Olympic distance triathlon on the calendar September 26 and need to continue training for the Iron Star HIM November 7.  Today though while at Dr. Cadena’s office I realized it was time to surrender.  My body is talking to me and it’s time for me to listen.  So no long ride this Sunday and I see lots of swimming in my future.
On a good note it is Cy-Falls Homecoming weekend!  Tonight is the game at Pridgeon stadium against Cy-Creek and tomorrow night is the Homecoming dance at The Berry Center.  This year we have a senior and a sophomore attending homecoming with dates entailing Mums for each girl (to be worn Friday at school and the game), a corsage (for the dance),football game tickets,  homecoming dance tickets, dinner and ties to match dresses.  The good news is our lawn has been well manicured by boys eager to earn money to pay for homecoming.  The bad news is neither have volunteered to clean out the van for money, I think they are afraid of what they might find.
And for those of you not from the south and unfamiliar with the mum tradition here is a picture of the mum my sons girlfriend wore to school today and will be wearing to the game this evening.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


The best part of triathlon is the people.  Early on I met some local folks who are very supportive and an important part of my triathlon journey.  They inspire me, rally me, keep me honest and piss me off and sometimes that is exactly what I need.
A lot of my training is done during the day when most folks are at work.  I run solo and ride and swim solo most of the time.  This is good on those mental toughness days when I know I can only rely on myself.  Nobody is going to be out there on the trail, the road or the pool to keep me honest.
However, my favorite part of training is when I get together with other triathletes.  There is a lake we go to for our open water swims south of Houston.  It’s a drive for most of us but the open water experience is important to training.  It is at the lake where I have met most of my tri friends and those friendships are the reason I am still doing triathlons.
I met my biggest cheerleader at the lake.  One day we were there by ourselves and swam together following the buddy system rule.  We were both new to swimming not drowning.  He was just getting into triathlon and had yet to race.  We both have a gaggle of children so we know how difficult it is to get training in.  He came to my 2nd race.  This guy who didn’t really know me stood out in the sun with crazy high temperatures mid June with one of his daughters and cheered me on.  We did my third race and his first race together.  Now he and my husband ride together just about every weekend.  Justin is my own personal pep rally.  During training we all have days/weeks when we find it difficult to stay the course and follow the plan.  Injuries get in the way, mental and physical exhaustion sets in and let’s not forget about that gaggle of kids and working hard to maintain the balance of life.  Justin reminds me why I’m in this sport, the trials we have faced in the past and how we got through them.  No matter how down I am about myself or my training I can always count on Justin for a pick me up.   Just last night he sent me a note telling me to get pissed off and get after it which is exactly what I needed.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Don't tell me what I can't do

The first time I got an itch to do a triathlon was 1997.  I was going through the Houston fitness magazine they give out at gyms (also known as the plastic pages because of all the plastic surgery ads) and I saw an advertisement for the all women’s Danskin triathlon series.  At the time I had 2 small children but was in pretty good shape working out regularly.  Not knowing anything about triathlons or training I started training inside my Bally’s.  I would ride the stationary bike and run the indoor track.  I *knew* I could swim played a mean Marco Polo so I wasn’t so worried about that part.  Of course after trying to swim my first real lap I got a reality check.  After a couple weeks of training I mentioned the triathlon to my then husband.  He looked at me and said “What makes you think you can do that?”  I abandoned my training and any thoughts I had about doing a triathlon.  As soon as he said those words to me I felt like a fool.  What was I thinking?  Who did I think I was? 
The second time I got an itch to do a triathlon was 2009.  We lost a lot of our home to Hurricane Ike in September 2008.  With the relocation during re-building and stress I had stopped working out, was eating poorly and gained some weight.  2009 was the year I would turn 40 and I decided I’d either be 40 and unhappy with myself or 40 and getting happy with myself.  I joined a run club with my sights set on a 5K.  One day after running one of the other gals mentioned TriGirl.  She did the super sprint distance in 2008.  My ears perked up immediately.  I asked her if she was going to do the race again and she said NEVER!  Well, that’s reassuring.  I went home, looked up the race, sent the link to my NEW husband with the title ‘What do you think?’  I anxiously waited for a reply but it didn’t take him long to e-mail me back “Meet you at the finish line.” 
I joined the run club in February, swam my first 25 yards in March, bought my bike in April and did my first triathlon Mother’s Day, May 10, 2009, 10 days before my 40th birthday.  Who do I think I am?  I’m a TRIATHLETE!!!
Love this shirt…..

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Staying Healthy

One of the many issues endurance athletes face is staying injury free.  At the ripe old age of 41 staying injury free hasn’t been easy.  I have aches and pains but it’s important to discern what is normal and what needs attention.  Early on in my training I started having pain on the outside of my left knee.  I was told this was ITBS or Iliotibial Band Syndrome.  The band that runs along the outside of my left leg was inflamed and caused pain when I ran.  I did stretching and exercises which helped for a while.  During my training for my first half marathon the ITBS came back with a vengeance.  My plans for a half were interrupted by life but the reality is I would not have been able to run it considering the amount of pain I was in.
The next event on my calendar was the Gateway Olympic.  Nothing I was doing was helping my ITBS so I turned to other athletes at Beginner Triathlete asking for suggestions.  A member posted they had success with ART = Active Release Techniques.  I found a Houston provider in Dr. Xavier Cadena.  After only 2 appointments I was running pain free.  I only wish I had gone sooner!  All those months wasted when I could have been pain free.
Since then there have been small issues that likely would have become big issues getting in the way of my training, some shin splint pain and now an Achilles issue I am being treated for.  I have been a fan of chiropractic care for years and I like the idea of treating the problem before it becomes debilitating rather than taking off months of training or taking pharmaceuticals.  If you are in the Houston area I’d highly recommend Dr. Cadena.  If you live outside of Houston you can find an ART provider in your area

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Making Time

With 5 children I get asked often how I find the time to train for and race triathlon.  The short answer is I have to make time.  The summer months were easy, my older 2 children are teenagers and attend public school with a traditional schedule, they were awesome at helping watch the girls while I went for a swim, run or bike ride.

Now that school has started I am forced to be more creative.  Making matters a bit more challenging, I homeschool my younger children.  We have a family membership at the Langham Creek YMCA I check the girls in and swim or go for a run outside.  When the boys get home from school I take the opportunity to ride my bike. 

Of course I have days I'd rather hang out on the couch and catch up on bad TV but I enjoy training and having a race on the calendar keeps me motivated.

My husband races as well and we have to work at coordinating our weekend training, taking turns for our long training day.

It's not easy, we are always busy and there is usually something going on but we work hard at keeping a happy balance.