On the Move

This blog has moved to carlsincharge.wordpress.com

Au revoir!


Coeur d'Alene: Day Two

Friday and Saturday were days to settle into the area. Summer and I arrived to CdA at the same time so I needed time to adjust to the heat. You know you have lived in Seattle too long when 85 degrees feels too warm!


After a delicious breakfast made by Kevin and a cup of coffee at the Java Cafe, Kevin and I made it down to the city park for my morning swim. It was my one chance to test the water before race day. I wanted it to be as similar to race day conditions as I was at the water's edge at  7 am. It was really busy with age-groupers and pros alike. As I put on my wetsuit, caps and swim booties, Kevin and I saw Lindsey Corbin and he told me to catch her feet! I'm not ready for that ... yet.

The buoys weren't out yet but they did have small markers out into the lake. I waded into the surprisingly decent water. It was cold for the first couple of breaths but then, I was comfortable. I headed out, following the markers. I was doing pretty well and didn't get freaked out until I only saw one swim cap in front of me. I promptly turned around.

Afterwards, I spent a few minutes in the hot tub. There is nothing better than a hot tub after a cold lake swim.

So peaceful and ridiculously pale.
I spent the rest of the morning and early afternoon with Kevin and my mom in Spokane. We went to Nordstrom to go shopping for her birthday! Her birthday was on Sunday, which of course, was going to be a big day for me, so I wanted her to feel special too.

That evening was the welcome banquet. I was dumb and didn't get a pre-purchased ticket for Kevin so we waited in line for about an hour. I was relieved that we got him a ticket and sat together to eat our pasta and chicken dinner. We sat across the table from the funniest Frenchman named Jeremy. He was looking to score a Kona slot and was definitely full of himself. He had on a matching Boston Marathon jacket and shirt and kept telling me I needed to run a 12/25 (like he does) instead of my 11/23.

The program was pretty entertaining. I thought it was kind of funny that they gave the person who lost the most weight by training for an Ironman a tote full of cookies. That man lost 190 pounds which is pretty incredible. I admire people who have the determination to stick with a weight loss program for that long. I can't imagine what that journey must have been. I know that my transformation into an Ironman hopeful was pretty dramatic, but absolutely nothing in comparison with that!

The 'mandatory' athletes meeting was directly after and they went over the rules. It was all information I already knew, but my favorite moment was when the bike course director told the gentlemen in the room that a woman would probably pass them on the bike and to not get too bent up about it! As a cyclist, I really appreciated the callout.

After the meeting, I knew I needed to get to bed. I had been told it would be the most important night of sleep. Kevin and I worked on my transition bag/special needs bag packing for a little bit and then tried to sleep. The results were just so-so. I hoped it wouldn't hurt me on race day.


Coeur d' Alene: Day 1

Just 2 days and a few hours left until race day.

I feel ready for the race but I'm not sure I'm ready for the journey to end. Of course, I'll do more triathlons and bike races, but you only get to do your first Ironman once.

It has been a tough, yet rewarding road, full of both moments of achievement and moments of complete humility.

As Coach Tom can attest, I could barely run 400 meters at an 8:00 min/mile pace. In mid May, I finished an 8k road race at a 7:38 min/mile pace. I've taken 2:15 off my 1,000-yard swim time trial. Also, I finally did a long ride on pace to finish a 112-mile bike ride under 6 hours.

I feel like I've done all I can do. I'm ready to start my life as an Ironman!

We arrived last night at 12:30 am after a drive through pretty violent lightning storms. Today, the energy in town has an electricity all its own.There are so many athletes with tanned, leathery skin and lean, cut bodies walking around. Kevin and I took the 15 minute walk from our rental house down to the Ironman Village where I picked up my registration and my bib number, 2094!

Super helpful volunteers
Afterwards, we made a couple of signs for me and my teammates, got a bite to eat, and headed back to the house. I then took my bike for a 45-minute spin followed by a 30-minute run, both out on the course. I am glad I got a chance to practice in a little bit of heat, because after day-in and day-out of cold and rainy weather, today's 82 degrees felt really hot! I seemed to do okay and I got to practice with both my aero helmet and my disc wheel. I felt speedy!

I am excited for more people to arrive tomorrow and Saturday. My dear friend Danielle has created a very cool t-shirt design for my race day supporters. I can't wait to see it in real life.


I love it! During a triathlon workshop, Coach Tom told us that sometimes you just have to 'Be the Bee.' Apparently, the physics of the bumble bee should make flying impossible, yet, it flies. Every day.

The whole concept has really stuck with me as a mantra. The funny thing? There is a diagram of a worker bee literally drawn on the wall of the laundry room of our rental house. I think it is a sign.

Okay, more tomorrow hopefully. It is time to rest and eat!


And then, the sun comes out.

Saturday, I raced the Pedal Dynamics Green Valley TT. It was cold. It was rainy. It was just plain gross. Most of my teammates were saving their legs for Vance Creek, so it was just Kat Meckle and me representing the cat 4 tomatoes.

It was really nice to see my bike racing friends and reconnect after not racing for a few weeks. But, I learned something recently. People actually read this thing. And it was clear to others after my last post that I was tired and a bit down-and-out.

Finishing the Pedal Dynamics TT
My performance on Saturday didn't help matters. While I still had a couple-minute improvement over last year's performance, I finished out of the top 10 and missed my target time by 6 seconds. It wasn't an awful finish by any means, but I wasn't thrilled.

Apparently, it was nothing that a few mozzarella sticks at Red Robin can't fix. 

I woke up at 4:45 am to get ready to race the Mt. Rainier Long Course duathlon. Rusty from at least 7 months since my last multisport event, I was a bit of a train wreck. I spent all winter using my race belt as a way to attach my blinking light to myself for early morning runs in the dark. I have NO idea where it is. I also had no idea what to wear for a race-start temperature of 43 degrees .... I packed everything—much like I do for a bike race. 3 pairs of gloves, tri knickers (yes, they exist!), tri shorts, leg warmers, arm armers, etc.

When we arrived in Enumclaw, I went into super-observation mode, which actually didn't help that much. I saw people in tri shorts, shimmels and arm warmers on one end of the spectrum, and full pants, jackets, gloves and hats on the other. As I unpacked in transition, I wore running shoes, glasses, arm warmers, short-sleeved base layer, tri knickers and full-fingered running gloves. In transition, I left a long-sleeved cycling jersey, tt helmet and bike shoes. I really felt like I was missing a bunch of stuff since I was wearing everything I needed for the run.
Start of the run. I'm in there somewhere.
At the start line, I tucked myself near the back, just like I would at a swim start, out of fear of being trampled. It was smart—I was 93rd of 115 on the first run. They weren't kidding that fast runners come out for this event—only two people ran mile splits longer than 10 minutes. My hope for doing well at this race dwindled at mile 1.
Parade wave to the camera.

Run 1—43:40.1 (5.12 miles at an 8:34 pace) - Last place in my division.

At transition, I decided to forgo the jersey I brought, so I put on my shoes, helmet and left. I think it was my fastest transition ever—58.2 seconds.

Okay, I felt much better when I got on my bike. I started to pull ahead of people, one-by-one, pretty quickly. I passed Cycle U teammate Chris fairly early on lap 1 and traded words of encouragement. The first climb up Mud Mountain was fine. I got into a nice slow-and-steady rhythm. I was slightly annoyed when a man passed me on the right (you are always supposed to pass on the left.) Not to worry, I passed that same man, never to see him again about a minute into the straightaway after the climb. I also passed quite a few people who were during the short course who were walking their bikes up the mountain. I had all sorts of thoughts run through my head as I saw them. Like, how nice it would be to join them, even though they were wearing tennis shoes and riding mountain bikes and I was on a super nice tt bike with an aero helmet.

I was glad that I had previewed the course the weekend prior because I was a lot less timid on the descent. Ever since my crash on Hollywood Hill this past winter, I have been a wimp when it comes to fast riding down hills. I think I may be getting over it, which is great. It didn't take long for my bruises to heal from that crash, but my brain is still recovering.

Just about to climb Mud Mountain.
Lap 2. I got stuck in a little bit of car traffic but was able to get back on a pretty good pace once I was away from the fairgrounds. As I started up the mountain the second time, I felt like I was in trouble. My legs were on fire. I was thinking I went too hard the first time around. Then, I remembered that this is supposed to hurt. That I had practiced suffering for months now. Also, because the race is small, I was in no man's land and couldn't tell if I was doing well or really poorly.

God bless the photographer! I got near the top of the mountain climb and she says to me, 'You're the 11th or 12th woman right now.' Seriously? I'm not getting massacred? I'm actually doing pretty well? It was the boost I needed and I tried to keep the bike pace high.

Bike—1:37:33.1 (28.88 miles at an 17:7 pace) -3rd place in my division.

When I got to transition, I had fellow Cycle U tri folks cheering for me, including Coach Tom. I was a bit frazzled and was yelling about what direction I was supposed to go. I'm sure they thought I was crazy and they'd be mostly right. But, this transition was now my fastest transition ever—44.4 seconds.

I headed out for the 2nd run in a bit of a panic. I have always been passed by runner after runner at this point in every race. I was so happy to hear that I was maybe 11th or 12th and I didn't want to lose my position. I ran as fast as I could muster. I felt like a weak water buffalo being hunted by a pack of lions. Paranoid, I kept looking behind me. I could hear feet. Luckily, when I turned around, it was a man. Phew! I kept running, turning the muddy corners of the fairgrounds, past the stables and finally down the grassy finish chute! No female passed me on the second run! I finished in whatever place I was in at the end of the bike.

Run 2—31:12.3 (3.82 miles at an 8:13 pace) - Second to last place in my division.

Final Time—2:54:08.1 - 3rd place in my division, women 20-29!

Wow! I was in disbelief. When Kevin told me, I was almost hesitant to believe him. I didn't want to get my hopes up. Who am I kidding!?! After being 'pack filler' for so long—okay, my whole life, I was so excited. I was going to get a medal!! I couldn't wait for the award ceremony. The two other girls who placed were ridiculously faster than me, but I didn't care. No one was going to spoil this moment for me. I gladly accepted my 'bronze' medal and smiled big for pictures.
1, 2 and 3!
I was in a fantastic mood all day that has carried me through the beginning of the work week. I wore my medal while enjoying a post-race meal with my Cycle U teammates, talking and laughing about all of the race shenanigans. I wore my medal under my sweatshirt to a birthday party later in the day. I wore my medal into the office the next day. It is now pinned to my cubicle wall with all my other medals.

In related news, yesterday marked 2 months away from race day! Last night's track workout included 3x1.5 mile repeats. I was able to do them all at an under 8-minute mile pace. When I first started training, I couldn't even do a 400 at that pace. I've come a long way indeed.


Ironman Takeover

66 days away from Ironman. I am tired. I ache. I feel really behind on life—job, housework, errands, blogging, being a good friend, etc.

Ironman now owns me.

This may be the closest I get to a 'meltdown' or maybe this is the pre-cursor to a major emotional eruption.

This morning, I left my house at 6 am for my first scheduled run over 2 hours. Now, it took a little bit for it to sink in: I will run farther than I ever have before (except for the miserable marathon that I didn't train for, also known as "The Disaster.") 2:10—I created a run that would be 13.5 miles or so.

1. Leave my house in Wallingford.
2. Run north towards Greenlake.
3. Run around the outside loop of Greenlake.
4. Plan on running down Ravenna to 55th and instead, forgetting and then run down 65th until turning south on 25th to get back on 55th.
5. Run up and over 55th until it meets up with Sandpoint.
5. Down the stairs to the Burke, run towards UW.
6. Take the left towards the IMA fields.
7. Take the trails and roads to and behind Husky Stadium.
8. Cross over Montlake Bridge.
9. Weave around to 25th to Interlaken Blvd.
10. Heave myself up the hill to Boyer.
11. Continue to climb up Capitol Hill to Volunteer Park. Briefly enjoy the view.
12. Gingerly run down the hill to Summit.
13. Cross over the freeway and trot to and down Eastlake.
14. Do all I can to make my way to my office on Stewart.
15. Take a hot shower.

I ended up running 14.5 miles in 2:20. My run was a bit long due to my mistake on 65th. I blasted my Pandora station on my new phone (I left my phone in my rental car last week in California.)

All day, I felt pretty accomplished, just really tired. I wasn't really looking forward to my longest swim of my life—3200 yards. But! I got it done. Sometimes it is just about pushing through and getting it done.

Lots of great things have happened in the last few weeks, I've just been too busy and tired to blog about them. (Somehow, I'll have to write some creative post later to incorporate them.) For now, I'm just happy to get these words out ... taking a little bit of control back, as much as I can.

Oh, and again, because blogs die without photos, here is a photo of the brave souls that did a 4-hour bike ride last Sunday, including two climbs up Mud Mountain.


Tattoo Anxiety

And you thought all I want to write about is cycling and triathlon.

You'd only be partially right.

When I dreamed up this insane Ironman goal, I also made up my mind that I would get a tattoo to commemorate the journey.

Now that were only 89 days away, I have not been inspired about what that tattoo should be. I'm about 98% sure it won't be the traditional M-Dot. I just don't think it is personal enough and let's be honest, it is a logo for a corporation. I don't want to feel branded. Now, if an M-Dot could be creatively included, I wouldn't rule out that scenario.

Maybe this whole conversation is premature and something will come to me on race day. That's fair.

It's just that a couple of tattoo artist recommendations have come my way and the good ones have a really long wait time. If I don't book my appointment until after the race, I might chicken out. Yep, probably will chicken out.

Here is the short list of ideas—which probably means I won't end up with any of these because I don't LOVE them. And, if I'm going to have a tattoo for the rest of my life, I better love it A LOT.

· bumble bee (they defy science!)
· dogwood
· footprints
· koi (symbol of perseverance)

The blog format is also going through an identity crisis. Please bear with me.


Breakthrough Week

So, big surprise, I have not spent much time blogging as I have been very busy swimming, biking and running. And, it's a good thing, too. I'm getting A LOT better.

Back in December, I blogged about my new attitude towards running. That slower was better. Well, slow is still better, but I'm not nearly as slow anymore. Back then, I was running about a 13-minute mile. Today? I ran 6.28 miles in the same heart rate zone in an hour! That is a 9:33 average mile! Now, you runners out there might be laughing at me, but this is a big deal. I have gone from being a snail to being a tortoise. And you know what they say about the tortoise ....

Also, I joined one pace group faster during my Tuesday-night track workout. That means that I did 800s at 7:20-7:40 pace. I think that is the fastest I have ever run in my life. Super pleased with myself.

Also, my swimming has improved quite a bit. At master's swim on Thursday, the coach had me do a set of 6 x 100 at the end of the session. 2 on the 1:55, 2 on the 1:50, and 2 on the 1:45. I am proud to say that I made all of the send-offs.

Then, there is my cycling ... not as impressive. I pushed myself at my indoor training session and 'saved' my legs for the race at Ravensdale Cumberland today, choosing to skip in the infamous IVRR.

About 23 women showed up for today's race. The weather man predicted unpredictable weather for the race so I packed everything—3 pairs of gloves, knee warmers, leg warmers, two base layers, arm warmers ... you get the idea. I ended up wearing the same attire that I've worn for the last few weeks except I traded my half gloves for the full ones. Thankfully, the weather held and we only had semi-wet roads to deal with.

The race started immediately after the neutral rollout. The course begins with a meandering uphill and the pack quickly went from 23 to 15. Then the real fun began—with a lot of attacks throughout until what I like to call the 'kicker hill.'  And the 'kicker hill' was the beginning of the end for me. I should have put myself on the front so that I wouldn't be too far behind after everyone passed me. But, instead, I started the hill near the back and then had to chase back on. I wasn't able to catch the 7 girls ahead of me, but LB from Group Health and I worked to exhaustion trying.

So, long story short, LB and I spent the rest of the race chasing the front 7 and trying to stay away from the 6 behind us. We were successful in the latter endeavor and finished 8th and 9th.

No upgrade points for 8th (they go 7 deep) but I did get a top 10 finish.

Me, sprinting for fun-sies.
Then, it poured on the afternoon races. I was really happy to be a cat 4.