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.