Monday, November 23, 2009

Rest, review, repeat

Rest, recover, recuperate. Who knew I needed all of these things after a long season? I didn't know. I had no idea.

But I started my race season way back in April. April!! Rage in the Sage in Vegas (BABY!). It seemed a bit early at the time but at that point my race season was to be over mid-September. And I distinctly remember eagerly awaiting the race because the off-season had gone on too long. Oy. Two days after Rage, I lit my headlamp and started running down the Grand Canyon. And kept running all the way to the other side and up a bit too. Until my knees started giving me trouble and I turned around and ran back. For 38 miles I had an incredible adventure.

Beth and me at Rage

Grand Canyon

The month of May came and went and I rediscovered my legs after a couple months of "over" training. And I decided to run BolderBoulder for the first time. Then there was the Hugo Bike Race at the end of May (78 miles!) and racing was an absolute blast. And I was training with my peeps and feeling good.


Me, Sonja, Beth post-78 mile road race

And June? Well that's where my season started to go long. I went to Kansas to race in my first 70.3 and qualified for Worlds. And really, who can turn down a spot to Worlds? Certainly not me!! So I forked over my $300 and made plans to be in Clearwater in November......I didn't race Lake to Lake because at the last minute I decided to haul the girls to Hawaii for my sister's wedding. (good decision!)

That's my Clearwater spot!!

Aloha

July came and went, with only one race...Boulder Peak (and the first time EVAH I went to the med tent). But I also met my new love, my new-to-me tri bike Newt and we started spending quality time together. At high speeds. Ahhh, still makes my heart flutter!!


Newt ready to race at State Games sprint

August was all about speedwork. A sprint at the beginning of the month and Nationals 3 weeks later. And then 3 weeks after that, Worlds in Australia. Can you say whirlwind??

Nationals

Australia with Anthony, Sonja and Beth

And though my season when initially planned out was supposed to end after Worlds, I had one more Worlds to prepare for in Clearwater. But I really wanted to be done. And the weather turned too just to make it a bit more difficult. The beautiful "normal" October fall weather we have here in Colorado turned cold, wet and snowy. And the trainer had my name all over it...in October. I started to doubt my fitness and all the hard work I put in over the spring and summer. I didn't have many long days over 3 hours. But I managed to put a great race together.


Sonja and I racing together!!

Clearwater has come and gone and now I am setting up next year's race schedule!! I am so proud of this last season, I am almost sad to say goodbye to it! But I am ready to put it to bed and look forward to the challenges that 2010 will bring. A couple of bike races, a couple of half ironmans, a handful of oly distances, a worlds race. And the kicker? Ironman Arizona 2010. I'm signed up!

But back to resting, recoverying and all that good stuff. I got sick after Clearwater (and no I'm not blaming Sonja but she did start it!) and decided it was good to take a few days off. A few days turned into a conscious decision to actually take an entire WEEK off. I haven't done that since I had salmonella poisoning almost 3 years ago. The week went on and my cold didn't get better and I really had no good reason to swim, bike or run. It was kinda nice. I do admit to lots of lounging. And eating too because I think my appetite was still big from the race. I have been baking. And I have not missed training.

Until now! So, starting tomorrow morning I am back in the pool. And since I have a marathon in January (why, oh why did I pick a January marathon???) the miles will also pick up tomorrow!

So, with that....farewell to "last" season, and the 2 week "no" season, and hello to "off" season!!!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Ironman 70.3 Worlds Race Report

I am sitting here in my kitchen so thankful to be home with my family and to be in front of my beloved computer! I came home from Florida last night, it was 15 degrees in Colorado.....and I had a sunburn from being on the beach earlier in the day!

Sonja, Anthony and I arrived in beautiful Florida on Thursday afternoon. Except it wasn't that warm....lingering effects from Hurricane Ida had cooled things off. We quickly built our bikes, got a bite to eat and then headed over to Pier 60 for a look at the ocean in the dark. As we walked over, it became quite obvious that the ocean was, well, angry. It was roiling, wavy, and clearly not meant for swimming in. Although, of course, I'm thinking about a nationals repeat and a swimmers course. The buoys were not in yet. Huh?. Oh no....they won't cancel the swim will they?


Yes, it's a poor picture but here's the official logo in the sand

Friday morning rolled around and it was time to check in. This is where I got my first case of nerves.....I saw the sign....Ironman 70.3 WORLD Championships. Oh shit....what am I doing here? There are 75 women in my age group.....75 of the toughest women in the world..... AHHHHHH!!! Time to take a deep breath, smile, relax, and remember what my goals are for the race. It's not about everyone else. It's about me!!! Anywho, did you know they weigh you at these races? Crap. I hop on the scale (after taking everything off I possibly could without actually being naked in public). Didn't like the weight number. Didn't like the % body fat number. But I did like the third number....hydration. I was ready to race because I was peeing every hour!!


This is where I initially freaked out....

Being only my second 70.3 race, I am still not used to all these bags they give you, morning check in bag, bike bag, run bag.....I was a bag lady. We finally got everything packed up and it time to check the bags and bike in. Here was where I really started to realized how great the volunteers are at this race. I was greeted at transition by this volunteer who took my bags and walked me to where I was to rack my bike. He gave me a map of the new swim (yep, WTC decided to switch from the ocean to intracoastal bay) and walked me through everything I needed to know about bag drop, picking up the bags, changing tent (girls on the left!!).....it was friggin' awesome (those that went to the awards banquet will understand that reference)!!

We then went to check out the swim start and swim exit and realized that it was a time trial start. Yippee!!! Looking back at my Worlds experience in Australia, a big mistake I made for the swim was getting caught up in the beach start and looking for feet to follow, assuming there would be faster swimmers than me. It lead to me getting the crap kicked out of me in the swim and a relatively slow swim time. So it was important for me to stay in my own head and my own race at this swim start. But with a time trial start, I knew that it would be my race from the get-go. There would be no splashing around, kicking, fighting for position. Just me getting to the left/right of the line of swimmers and doing my own thing. I told this to Sonja too because I knew she could also have the same experience and I knew it would play right into her goal of having a kick-ass swim. (not to mention the fact that she has been puttin' time in the pool the last six weeks and also would play into the kick-ass swim)

The four of us (Son, Anthony, me and Steve) settled in early and relaxed. And then it was race morning! Sonja did a spectacular job of finding us a hotel 2 blocks from transition.....so we dropped off our bottles in the morning and went and relaxed back in our room before heading to the swim start. It. Was. Awesome. Avoiding the transition area craziness and chatter!!

Me and Son

Transition

Swim
OK, I will confess now. I did not warm up. I did not run. I did not swim. I did nothing. But apparently that was OK. I did, however, have to pee. Again. And then I realized that the pavement wasn't wet from people getting in and out of the water....say it with me....EWWWWW! So I joined in the fun! With that taken care of, I lined up and got in the water. The day had finally begun. I started out extraordinarily controlled and relaxed. My breathing was fantastic as was my sighting. I kept thinking about the pacing I had done in the pool in order to have the swim I wanted.....I was so tired of having mediocre swims!! I knew to start out slow and build into it....focus on turnover and breathing. I ran into some traffic but it wasn't too bad. I felt like I was flying in the water with minimal effort. It. Was. Friggin. Awesome. The swim exit was a bit crazy as we were essentially funneled in to a skinny, slippery ramp and there was traffic. But I swam as long as possible and got the heck out of the water. I didn't have a watch and had no idea what my time was but I felt great about my swim. So I smiled. At every spectator and volunteer. And I thanked every volunteer I encountered.

T1
I had a great number so I was able to pick out my bag right away and head into the tent. There were not one, but two volunteers there helping me out! OMG. I love this! They took off my wetsuit and asked me what I needed. And then they sent me on my way!

Bike
I picked up Newt, saw teamie Anthony, told him to have a great ride, got on my bike and off I went. Was this really going to be the draft fest I had been hearing so much about? My goal was to stay out of it and be legal. I kept my chain in the little ring to get my legs under me through the 12% short climb up the bridge and I started my garmin because I wanted my heart rate data to manage my effort. I was being passed from the get-go like I was standing still and naturally, I picked it up. And then I scolded myself.....what are you doing??? You have 56 miles, this is not an Oly race. Simmer down!!! Be true to yourself. And that was my motto for the rest of the ride. Be true to yourself. I knew where I needed to be via heart rate and I knew that I was going to be much more aggressive compared to my ride in Kansas. So I just settled in and smiled. At the spectators, at the people passing me, at the people I passed, at the volunteers. I was having fun! And, I was going fast. Everytime I checked my watch I was in the 22 - 24 mph range. Really? But, I was in fast and flat Florida and my heart rate was exactly where it needed to be. Weeeeeeee!!!!

For the first 24 miles of this ride, I was riding alone doing my own thing. I think I even asked myself at one point, where is the drafting? And then I found out. I started getting passed by PACKS of people. 10 - 20 deep. Really? Apparently, these peeps weren't too concerned about drafting and certainly not looking to avoid it. C'mon, just give it a try....race on your own!! And then it got scary. I was approaching a U-turn and a pack had overtaken me and I was being passed on the left and right. People yelling and accelerating into the U. OMG. Some f****r is going to take me down!!! I made it through that turn and just tried to get over to the right and let them go by. Saw a penalty tent and it was inexplicably empty. I finally got in a good place to drop back and be alone when I was overtaken. Again. By another deep pack. And once again, I was being passed on the RIGHT! AHHHHH!! DANGER DANGER!!!! I was trying to figure out where to go with this pack when I heard the officials motorcycle and was in a bad place. So I made a break for the front. I will pull these assholes if needed!! I went left, yelled at people that I was on the left and got to the front. Phew. This was crazy. But I avoided a possible penalty by moving to the front. And so it went from there, just trying to avoid pack after pack. I was kind of "on" my nutrition but I was also a bit concerned I hadn't taken enough in. My hydration seemed to be good because I had to pee again. But had I taken in enough calories???? Probably 500 calories on the bike....seems low. I looked around and I was on a flat bridge and it was absolutely beautiful. Water all around me. Sunny. 5 miles to go. I started shaking out my legs and headed back into town.

T2
You know what the volunteers did when I came into transition??? They took my bike!!!! I felt like a friggin' rock star!! It. Was. Awesome!! Picked up my bag and headed back into the change tent. Once again, I had my own personal assistant giving me water and asking me what I needed out of my bag. Hat? Yes. Gel? Yes. The area smelled suspiciously like urine but I wasn't about to pee on the seat.....and for the first time EVAH, I had to use a porta-potty during a race!! (as a side note on transition area porta-pottys......EWWWWW......c'mon peeps can't you hit the bowl? When you are pooping????????? EWWWWWW)

Run
I was out of transition and onto the run course and initial check of the body was good! My legs felt decent! And then I realized I had left my hat on the chair in T2. Crap that's my favorite hat. And then realized I hadn't taken off my top like I had intended so I could just run in my sports bra. Duh. Hello....race brain???

I soon realized that there were some pro women finishing up their first lap as I started my first. I saw Jodie Swallow ahead of me and heard she was fourth woman overall. And I seemed to be catching her. Huh? I looked at my watch and told myself to simmer down. But I felt good. I caught her. She passed me back and I was on her shoulder. I saw Sonja's dad and waved and smiled. And there was ELF (I read her blog) on the sidelines cheering for Jodie and telling me to stay with the fourth woman overall!! It. Was. Awesome. And then I passed her back on the hill. And never saw her again. Then I got passed by Laura Bennett, Sarah Groff, Amanda Stevens, and Michellie Jones!! I could reach out and touch a pro! But I didn't because that would be kinda weird. I continued to feel good but knew I had many miles to go. I took a sip of gatorade at each station and cooled off with the sponges.

Just so you know, this run course is a bitch. It is hard. It is not flat. It is 2 laps up and over the Memorial Causeway, which just happens to be a 12% grade. So, 4 hills over 13 miles. Very difficult. As I was coming in to finish my first lap I still felt OK. I started lap 2, and around mile 7 I started to hurt. Badly. My knee hurt. My feet hurt. My back hurt. My hip hurt. I had officially entered the hurt locker. Ugh. I still had 6 miles. Up and over my third hill. I just wanted to walk. I wanted to quit. I told myself there was no way I would do an Ironman next year or even ever do a 70.3 again. Never. I started the bargaining process....just run to the next block, the next tree, the next whatever. Constant forward motion. Just keep moving. Had I run out of nutrition? Possibly. One more hill and then the finish.

And then the best part of my day happened. Sonja had started 5 minutes behind me and I knew she would pass me at some point. And on that final hill, there she was. On my shoulder. She didn't say anything. Nor did I. We just climbed the hill. We crested the hill. I felt better with her there. I told her to go on and she said she was exactly where she needed to be plus she wanted to get her dad to take a picture of us racing together! She handed me water, told me to relax my shoulders. I told her to go. She said no. Then we saw Eric and got our picture and I sent her on her way. It. Was. Friggin'. Awesome. I am lucky enough to be able to train with this wonderful woman and she is an amazing training partner and friend but to be able to run with her in a race? That was the most amazing mile and a half. It brings tears to my eyes thinking about it.....Thank you Sonja!

Then there it was, the finish line. I smiled and crossed the finish line. I did not need the med tent, I did need advil. Anthony and Sonja were there and we did the thing we love to do.....cheer other competitors to the finish line. What a great day. Oh, and I will do another 70.3 and I will do an Ironman. Next year.

Here are the numbers:
Swim: 27:53 (Yippee!!! And, 2nd out of the water in age group!!)
T1: 3:28 (Listen, I really wasn't in any big hurry, I wanted to chat with the lovely volunteers!)
Bike: 2:23:33 (23.4mph!! Woot Woot!!)
T2: 3:27 (I had to pee peeps and clearly still not in that much of a rush!)
Run: 1:44:30 (didn't meet my goal of negative splitting but oh well!)
Total Time: 4:42:15

9th in Age Group!!!

Pier 60

Ahhh, the beach, toes in sand!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Building Again

Here's the latest update......I am building my house again after the "fire" (I really don't want to offend anyone that has actually been through an actual fire)! I picked up my computer yesterday from the data recovery dude in Boulder. And the good news is, I have more data than I thought I would get back! Bad news, I have lost all recently created pages and numbers documents. And all of Isabelle's baby pictures from the first 3 months of her life (but I'm pretty sure my mom can help me out with this one). And I have to reorganize all of my 3000+ emails into their proper categories (I use email as a filing system for personal and business). And I have to re-do all photo events for the last six years. And I lost all of my play lists on iTunes. And for some reason the recovery process duplicated lots (500+???) songs that now need to be deleted. But hey, I have data!!! So even though I am looking at hours and hours of work in front of my computer......it's OK. I can deal with this.

And bless my wonderful husband, he took on the whole "negotiating with Apple" part of the deal. And as of last night, I feel mildly satisfied at what they are doing for us. Of course, it is not compensation because they are not liable for data loss blah blah blah. But they are at least doing something.

Speaking of my husband, a big Happy Birthday Michael!!! You are my rock, my love, and I cannot imagine life without you!! Have a wonderful day:)

Oh, and that other little thing around the corner......Clearwater???!!! Yep, hopping on a plane in the morning and racing on Saturday. I am excited! I'm looking forward to meeting new peeps, and racing in another "worlds" this year. I have my race plan and nutrition plan all set up, now it's just getting to the start line. Of course, I am traveling with my buddies PIC Sonja and Anthony and I know we will have fun:)

I will try to post an update or 2 and I believe you can follow live on www.ironman.com. Just look up my last name and make sure I got out of the water without too much bruising and ego bashing (last world's experience). My start time is 7:15!

Ciao for now!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Apple Burned My House Down

Or, alternative title...The Things I Lost in the Fire. There was not an actual fire I assure you but the only way to describe the loss I have experienced over the last week is to compare it to that. PIC and I got to ride outside the other day....it was glorious and 75 degrees. As we talked about what happened, she said just that. It's like your house burned down.

It's my computer. My mac. My life. Apple has ruled my world since 2006 and actually before that I think. I am an Apple lover and we are an Apple family (except for Michael's work stuff)....an iphone (my second one since they don't actually swim), 3 shuffles (only 1 currently works), 3 nanos, 2 classics. I need a laptop soon since my kids are taking over the desktop and a macbook pro was at the top of my list. Was.

So what happened you ask? I upgraded my operating system to Snow Leopard about a month ago since I wanted to upgrade my iPhoto and do more things with my 4,000+ photos. Easier editing, better organizing....it all sounded so wonderful. I put more memory in the mac to handle the new OS and at the beginning of October I was up and running! It was great! I love iPhoto. iTunes was pretty much the same and I also changed my mail option to mac mail. For the last month I have been editing, sorting etc. etc. Snow Leopard also prompted me to set up a guest account. Great! I was thinking about having the kids work/play there and not potentially mess up my stuff. But Sunday night my computer went to sleep while I was putting the kids to bed. I came back down to check email and accidentally clicked on the guest account. It took a very long time to log in. Way too long. So I hit escape to try to get back into the main log in screen. Once there I logged into my account.

And it was gone. Gone. Gone. Gone. I did what any person who has had experience with an IT department does. I rebooted. And logged in again. And once again. Gone. I literally panicked. I may have screamed. I freaked out. Michael freaked too. It was all gone. The programs were there but they were empty. iTunes prompted me to start a new account. Same with iPhoto and mail. WTF? The documentation of my children growing up over the last seven years. Years of building a great iTunes. And my mail. All documentation of my work, my business, receipts. Gone. As I type this I am shaking again. Garmin data for the last 3 years? Gone.

After 30 minutes on the line with Apple support on Monday, I get this.....we know about this problem with Snow Leopard and guest accounts but we can't help you. You need to go to a third party data recovery specialist. WTF? I was crying trying to keep my shit together and not rip the Apple guy's head off on the phone.....because I know that as much as that may have made me feel a tad bit better, it wouldn't have accomplished anything else. So I find a data recovery specialist and after several days of him looking into the problem here's what we know. He has found raw data files but it doesn't have any information on it like date stamps or anything helpful like that. He feels pretty confident that he can recover most photos (THANK YOU!!!), all of iTunes, and not so sure about mail and any other documentation. All for the low low low cost of $700. And, more than likely, I will have days and weeks of work to go back in and reorganize all the data.

And what is Apple doing to help us out? Well, at this point, nothing. Nothing!! They keep pointing the finger back at me......because I didn't back up my data. See, because I had the new OS, I was a tad bit lazy getting around to backing up my computer. I was confident that I was OK with Snow Leopard. I have a hard drive. It's just unused and empty. But is this problem really my fault? I think not. This is a known problem to Apple and there are no warnings out there. No one told me at the Apple store....BTW don't set up a guest account you may lose all your data.....no warnings. So tell me, what is your data worth to you? How much would you pay for it? How much should Apple?

I will get my computer back on Tuesday. And we'll see what I've got. I am mildly hopeful but I still wake up in the middle of the night thinking how stupid I was for trusting my OS and not backing up. And freaking out that I may have lost all those wonderful family photos. My children's history......My business.......My life......

Lessons here peeps???? BACK UP YOUR DATA!!!!!!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

AHHHHHH

So last week, I didn't have much to say.....this week I do. But on Sunday night after dancing with the girls to a variety of music on my computer (including Thriller!) I somehow managed to delete everything on my computer. Or maybe not delete. It's just hiding. Somewhere. Every single piece of information on my iMac. You know, like every single photo taken the last 6+ years. My iTunes? Yep, it's gone too. Tax returns, word files and even my mail. Just gone.

I call up Apple Support on Monday morning and talk with "Mark". Mark has no clue what I have done except that it has something to do with a guest account. (I accidentally hit guest account to log in after putting the girls to bed rather than my account) "Mark" put me on hold to talk with someone who apparently knew alot more than he did and when he got back on the line I got the dreaded......"this is probably not what you want to hear but you'll need to try to get you data recovered from a third party"....... Are you f***king kidding me? I go to the wrong account and my data disappears into thin air. Really? Oh, and the kicker - "Mark" tells me that this problem is known to Apple (I just recently upgraded my operating system to Snow Leopard) and they are working on a solution. That made me feel tons better. How about you?

My computer is now sitting with some recovery expert dude and I am waiting to find out how much this will cost. And how long it will take. In the meantime, I have hijacked my hubby's computer while he is out!!! Fun, fun, fun.

Thanks Apple!! Appreciate the support for your f***ked up operating system Snow Leopard. Beware out there peeps and back up your data!!!!!!!! And don't use any sort of guest account!

On the training front, I am finishing up a pretty tough week (snow storm included) and am fried! But should be just enough time to be recovered and rested for Clearwater! I can't wait for the after race margarita on the beach, toes in sand:)