Friday, January 16, 2015

2015. 2 Weeks Down. 50 Weeks to Go.

And I'm still sick.  On Monday I called the doctor and he asked me to come in and give a culture of what I coughing up and to pick up some antibiotics for a sinus infection and it might take care of the lungs as well, we'd wait for the lab to report back.  I had been feeling a little better, but the cough and congestion was not getting better.

I actually felt well enough to go out on Friday night.  Maggie gave me a couple tickets to see Steep Canyon Rangers.  I'd met a guy a while ago and thought it might be fun to head out for beers and the concert.  Beers were good, concert was good, company was meh, which is how most of my dates have been since moving here.  So far I've met a triathlete and we had nothing else in common, so meh.  And a guy who lives and dies by astrology, yikes! And a hot guy who is rumored to want to have a serious relationship, but said this to me "I've never had a dog, but I'm thinking of getting one, it will help me settle down".  He might want a serious relationship, but he's not ready for one.  Bummer.  And then there is concert guy. Fortunately there is still the out of state guy, who should be arriving any minute.

Tuesday I woke up feeling like crap, but chalked it up to dinner and wine with friends.  But by Tuesday afternoon it was obvious I was getting sicker.  I slept like crap, woke up every hour, my body and head ached and my SPO2 was down to 91-92%.  Wednesday I called the doctor and we talked some more.  After going way back to mid November, which was the start of my feeling achy and having a cough on and and off, he ordered me stronger antibiotics and diagnosed me with mycoplasma pneumonia, aka, walking pneumonia.  He told me I wasn't allowed to do anything until my 14 days of antibiotics were gone and he'd checked me out again.  I spent the rest of the day Wednesday waiting to feel better.  Turns out, pneumonia of any kind doesn't work that way. Antibiotics take a while.  But my sinuses are clear now and I have a lot more energy.  I've done more today than I've done the rest of the year.

Poor Moose. Getting very little exercise for two weeks brings out bad habits.
I sent Springer and him to camp for a couple days to wear them out. 
A week ago I put a few things on my to do list.  Take the bike in for a tuneup.  Go to ATT and get my iPhone 6 activated.  Vacuum.  Laundry.  This morning I put SHOWER at the top of the list.  I couldn't remember the last time I showered.  I know I did on Friday before the date, but there's a good chance I hadn't since.  For some reason it seemed like such a monumental task so I procrastinated.  My pantry is organized.  My fridge is clean.  My closets are organized.  My bike room isn't in shambles.  My zip ties are organized (the ultimate in procrastination).  Then I decided to make a quiche.  And somehow vacuuming snuck in there before showering.  I mopped the kitchen floor while the quiche was cooking and decided I didn't have enough laundry to worry about it.  I have yet to do laundry in 2015, but I'm also out of underwear.  Finally after a couple slices of quiche, I remembered out of state guy was driving up tonight so I showered.  And that pretty much wiped me out. Sixteen days into the new year, and I've been sick for all of them.  It's a good thing I'm still getting tired pretty easily because I'm not sure I can handle at least another week of this if I didn't sleep 14-16 hours a day.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

2015. 1 Week Down. 51 Weeks to Go.

So far 2015 has been off to a slow start.  After a long battle with cancer, my uncle passed away on Christmas day.  My mom and sister were visiting for Christmas so we drove to Virginia Beach, VA for the memorial service on New Year's Eve.  Want to know how to make a 5 1/2 hour road trip take 8 hours?  Travel with my mom and sister.  Lots of stops, at lots of different locations.  Sitting down to eat meals in restaurants. Driving the speed limit ;-)  But I made it back to Asheville about 1PM on New Years Day (after just 6 hours of driving).  I was supposed to go for an hour run, but I was exhausted so I thought I'd take a quick nap.  I was in bed until 11AM January 3rd. At that time I had a fever of 103.5.  My whole body ached.  I was sweating like crazy but had some chills.  There were times I needed to get up to go to the bathroom but my whole body ached so much that I dreaded the thought of moving.  When I did get up and brush my hair out of my face, my hair hurt.  I had zero appetite.  The only thing that appealed to me was fresh juice.  And that's pretty much what my diet has been since.

Here we are on day 7 of 2015 and I've done nothing but watch hours and hours of shows.  Call the Midwife (based on the memoirs of a midwife in East London in the 1950s).  Marco Polo (about the travels and life of Marco Polo...historical fiction, took a few episodes to get into it).  Broadchurch (crime drama set in England in modern time, only watched one season, not sure if I like it).  Mr Selfridge (set in 1910s about Mr Selfridge who moved his family to England to open a department store).  Turn (based on the spy ring General Washington had in the Revolutionary War.  I read George Washington's Secret Six a while ago and found it Turn General Washington is HOT!) If you can't tell, I'm sort of hooked on historical dramas.  Anybody have any suggestions?  I've used up all my trainer riding shows.

Today was the day that I was supposed to be over the flu.  It was the day that I was going to start to ease back into training.  I'll probably take a 15 minute walk with the dogs.  I did that yesterday and then a 3 hour nap.  I'm trying to force myself to eat. I'm down at least 8 lbs since right before Christmas.  I nibble during the day, but nothing tastes good.  I'm still coughing, but it's not as difficult to cough as it was a couple of days ago.  I think I'll be taking it easy for the rest of this week, and hopefully get going next week.

The one thing I have accomplished so far this year was coloring my hair.  I've been slowly going back to my natural (the best I can guess) color, using my brother and sisters' hair as a guide.  They keep telling me my hair isn't as dark as theirs, but my roots say otherwise.  I haven't had great luck with my stylist doing it, it always washes out (despite being permanent) and is never as dark as I want it.  I got fed up with paying so much and not getting what I wanted.  I found  You answer a bunch of questions, upload some photos and they create a color for you and send it to you. Then you can set it up so it comes regularly and their stylists are always available to answer questions. I was hesitant to use it because the instructions didn't seem like what I wanted to do for my hair.  I called them, they talked me through why it would work and I tried it.  The after picture really doesn't show how dark it is.  We'll see how long this permanent color stays in my hair.  If it doesn't, I might cut it short and start from scratch.
Being sick sucks.  Even (especially?) for my dogs, or at least Moose.  They were away at doggy camp for the time I was gone, so they came home good and tired.  This morning is the first time that Moose has started to show signs of being cooped up for a week.  And with the weather turning ugly and cold for a few days I don't see him getting as much exercise as he needs nor wants in the next few days.

I want to think they are comforting me because I'm sick.
But it might be the candy cane I'm eating that they are interested in.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Three Weeks. One Year.

Logging some miles and watching Kona on the big screen.
Had to get the bike ride in while working at the Recovery Pump booth.
Yesterday was Rev3 Anderson.  I signed up for the half at the beginning of the year.  Then I decided I wanted to try to do 70.3 World Championships in Austria next year, so I signed up for Silverman 70.3 and planned on working at Rev3 Anderson. Then my training wasn't going great and I made other plans to race in Europe next summer, so I decided to save the frequent flier miles, hotel and car points and skip it and switch to the aqua-bike at Anderson.  The weekend with current and prospective teammates was awesome.

We are all missing Chloe.
But the race did not go well.  Rev3 Anderson race report.

1.  Stayed up too late tracking people in Kona.
2.  Got my period in the middle of the night.
3.  Had to ask the guy at the gas station if they had any tampons.  He had to go look for them in the stockroom.
4.  Headed north on interstate when I needed to go south.
5.  Realized that I put the address to T1 into my GPS, when I needed to go to T2 to get the shuttle to T1.
6.  Realized I left my pre-mixed race nutrition in the fridge at the hotel.
7.  On shuttle to T1 I realized I left almost all my warm clothes in my car.
8.  It started pouring.
9.  I started shivering.
10.  They delayed the start of the race due to lightening in the area.
11.  I kept shivering until the swim start.
12.  By the time I got to the first buoy my hamstrings were starting to cramp. 
13.  Every time I sighted my left calf started to cramp.
14.  Anytime I kicked my hamstrings would cramp.
15.  As I stood up my legs cramped bad.  
16.  I floated on my back in 2 feet of water for thirty seconds.
17.  I was finally able to stand up, but not walk.
18.  I dumped a liter of water out of my aero helmet, all over my arm warmers.
19.  As I stood up my quads cramped.
20.  I DNFd.  
21.  I started shivering.
22.  I dropped a glove in a porta potty.
23.  My legs cramped on/off all morning and are still incredibly sore this morning.  

I had a similar experience at Rev3 Williamsburg.  I got cold enough before the swim to shiver.  Even though I did an easy swim warmup and the water temperature was warm (Williamsburg was wetsuit legal).  My hamstrings cramped by the first buoy.  At Williamsburg it was bad and I had to get help in the water.  Within five minutes of getting out of the water I was shivering.  At Williamsburg I didn't have the opportunity to try to get warm for about 30 minutes so I shivered for about 3 hours.  At Anderson I was putting on clothes almost immediately and stopped shivering after an hour.  I'm chalking it up to being cold before the race.  Neither race did I do a run warmup like I usually do.   Lessons learned.  On to IM Florida.

Three Weeks from last Saturday is Ironman Florida.  I still have a couple long rides and runs.  Training hasn't been great.  It hasn't even been good.  But I'm feeling confident in my ability to go out, do my plan, and only suffer the last hour of the race.  When I signed up for the race my goal was sub 10 and a Kona slot.  In June I realized I wouldn't be able to get to the sub 10.  My training just wasn't consistent enough to do be where I needed to be to do the type of training needed to make the gains I needed to get there. 

One year from last Saturday is Ironman Louisville.  When they announced that IMLOU was being moved to October (same weekend as Kona), I signed up.  I have family in the area and they have been bugging me about returning to IMLOU so we could have another family reunion where they all get drunk and have fun and I race.  I'm not opposed to hot humid weather, but it was tough on some of the older family members to be out in the heat that long in 2011.  October in Louisville would be perfect for spectating (and probably better for racing too).  I signed up and that meant my goal of Kona in 2015 was no longer.

I still have goals for Ironman Florida.  I might adjust them again before race day.  But right now they stand.  

Sunday, August 10, 2014

USAT AG Nationals: The race to the port-a-potties

Last year after Age Group Nationals I decided I wanted AG Nationals to be my A races this year. I wanted to come back to Milwaukee to podium and qualify for Team USA. My training this year has been a little inconsistent (but way more consistent than the last 2-3 years). I felt confident I could be in the mix for Team USA in the Olympic distance race, and even more confident about the sprint race. The goal of making the podium in the Olympic was forgotten, but not so in the sprint.

I flew in Thursday night and met up with Carmel at the airport. We grabbed a cab to the hotel and then headed out to Rock Botttom brewery for trivia night. Last year my team, Two Non-blondes won; defeating the team with former Olympic volleyball player, Tom. This year we teamed up with Tom and only came in second.

Friday was all about getting checked in, a quick run, and the practice swim. I got lost on the practice swim and swam the entire course. And I spent too much time on my feet and in the sun without eating lunch.

Saturday I woke up feeling pretty good and headed down to transition early. I set up my bike and run gear and headed back to my hotel to nap and then eat. I have no idea why I thought Canadian turkey bacon was a good idea. I don't eat turkey bacon, nor do I eat Canadian bacon. And I'm pretty sure that is what caused my race to become the race to the port-a-potty. I begged to get to the front of the line, not because my wave was getting in the water to warm up, but because I didn't want to have to wash my shorts if I didn't even get to race. I missed my wave start. And two more waves started before I felt comfortable enough to leave the vicinity of the port-a-potties.

I went back to the hotel for a four hour nap and then back to the race for a team photo and to get my bike ready for the sprint race. But 7:30 PM I was asleep, hoping to sleep off the headache, nausea, chills and body aches. I slept until 6:30 AM.

I woke up feeling like I had done an Ironman the day before. Full on body aches. I went back to bed for another four hours. Then I headed down to the race to get my bike. I felt better and decided I needed Chipotle so this trip wasn't a complete bust. Twenty minutes after I ate my decision not to race the sprint was validated. My goals for this year are being rolled to next year. I'll be back in Milwaukee for Age Group Nationals 2015. I'm bringing my own breakfast next year.







Tuesday, May 27, 2014

One Week To Asheville.

This post should be titled Two Weeks in Asheville, but I'm not there yet. My mom had to have open heart surgery to remove an ascending aortic aneurism. It wasn't super urgent but it needed to be done. We decided it was best to do it before I left than to have me come back for it. She is nearly 100% recovered. I'm amazed at the ability of the human body to heal itself. Four days after the surgery she was up and walking. Five days after they sent her home. She was tired and walking wore her out, but ten days post surgery there was very little that she can't do.

Anyway, my move was delayed (and some races cancelled). And for those who don't know I'm moving to Asheville, NC. For a long time I was planning on moving to Denver but in the end I picked Asheville because it's a days drive from my mom and even less to my brother's family in Ohio. So next Tuesday I'm loading up a trailer, packing four bikes and two dogs in the Tahoe and driving. I can't wait.

There are a lot of reasons I picked Asheville, but besides proximity to family I'm really looking forward to finding great places to S/B/R. I never thought I would place that much value on living in a place that makes it easy to train, but after almost a year in Alabama I realized that it needs to be somewhat of a priority for me to be happy. Especially now that I've really started training again.

Humid.  See the sweat on my chin. Not going to miss that.  
My injuries are healed. No more chronic achilles pain. No more paralyzingly back pain. Both of those seem to be long gone. I am nursing a bad shoulder and taking care of that is the first thing on my list when I move. Even before finding a place to live. I know it's likely to take a month or so to get enrolled in the VA and have the referrals processed. Yes, I'm being optimistic. Daily trigger point and icing keeps it at bay, but last night when I was eating a bowl of ice cream I almost dropped the spoon. Fortunately I can drink beer with my left hand or I'd be rushing to the ER to have it looked at. Biking is what really makes it ache.  A few hours in the aerobars and it hurts for the rest of the day. Swimming is hit or miss because of it. I don't think there is much I can do to make it worse; as long as I can tolerate the discomfort I'm pushing forward with training.

My training is starting to come together. I've done a few races that were from awful to pretty good. The swim/bike at NOLA 70.3 was AWFUL. Mulletman Triathlon a couple of weeks later was okay. I realized as I was zipping up the wetsuit it wasn't mine.  I swam in a suit two sizes too big.  I flatted on the bike and spent 10 minutes changing it (I'm not usually that slow, I took my time) only to get a slow leak all the way back to transition. I sliced my tire so it wasn't operator error that caused the leak. I half jogged half raced the four mile run after someone (possible me) stepped on my gel in transition and I felt the effects of not eating any breakfast by the end of mile one. I ended up third overall and was satisfied.

A couple weeks after that I did the Gulf Coast Tri Sprint. The swim was cancelled and we had to run on the beach, something I'm not good at. It used to really bother my calf and achilles so I took it easy. I had the fastest bike split which made me happy even though I still have a long way to go to get all my bike fitness back. I forgot to start the Garmin on the run and my chip didn't register leaving T2 so I have no run split to be upset about, but it wasn't a good run. I ended up third female and felt motivated.  The next week I decided the watts I was riding at were too low and went out an rode 10% harder on some intervals.  Of course I tried that again the next week (an additional 10%) and it didn't' work so well.  There was a little improvement but I didn't jump all the way back up to 2011 watts like I was hoping.  Speaking of not a good run I raced a 5k Saturday. I was about 90 seconds off my goal time but ended up winning it for the ladies and being 8th overall. A win is a win is a win, but the run is frustrating me. I have some thoughts on why the legs just didn't want to run fast and now that my achilles is better I think it will start to get better.

I'm racing a sprint Tri on Saturday. There is talk of poor water quality and replacing the 500 yard swim with a one mile run. If my shoulder is bothering me that might be a good thing as long as the one mile run isn't on sand. My goal is to go out, make it hurt and hopefully come away with the win. Then hit the beach for one last weekend of sun and sand and surf and seafood before I move to the mountains.

Friday, April 18, 2014

What Happened in NOLA Stays in NOLA

After the back issues I had at the Big Easy Sprint I spent a lot of time working on getting my QL muscles released and also trying to solve the shoulder impingement problem I've been ignoring for even longer than I've been ignoring the lower back pain.  I think I made progress.

Going in to NOLA 70.3 (swim/bike only) I knew it wasn't going to be pretty.  The shoulder pain had taken me out of swimming more than 1000 here and there for the last few weeks and even when did swim it was terrible.  I had no form, my feet were all over the place and I couldn't get the core to engage to give me any rotation.  I also struggled on the bike a lot in the previous 6 weeks due to the back pain.  But I was committed to doing the swim and bike portion so I packed up and headed to NOLA.  Without half of my tri kit.

In my mind the TT start would be completed within 45 minutes.  That's how long it took to get everyone in the water in Louisville.  But this TT start had long periods of down time between 'waves'.  Once again I was in the last wave.  So once again I was dead last.  Only dead last was almost two hours after the pros started.  And I did not have enough food for this.  I ate what I did have and just chilled in the grass.  Finally my wave was called and we all lined up.  They were putting six people in the water at a time and I was the odd one out. I really was last and I started my race with a cannonball.  Everything went down hill from there.

I think the only positive thing about the race was I swam straight.  But that is greatly overshadowed by my 37:xx swim.  Seriously slow.  Somewhat embarrassingly slow for me.  I swam sloppily.  Just like I had been swimming in the pool.  No coordination.  No reach.  The wetsuit pulled on my shoulders a bit which made it worse.  The swim just had no oomph!

Transition was pretty normal.  A little slow because of the wetsuit.  I also had to put a bike jersey on since I didn't have my tri kit top to wear (under the wetsuit). I made it on the bike and started rolling.  My Garmin was completely screwed up.  I wanted to keep a check on my power when I was riding but that field wasn't showing up.  I finally pulled over to fix it.  I wasn't racing, but I wanted some valid data from the ride.

I was finally on my way when I hit a bump and launched my bottle of nutrition.  I wondered if it was the same spot I launched it in 2010.  It wasn't.  I checked.  Once I was back on the bike with that bottle I realized my bottle cage was installed backwards.  The opening (top) was towards the back.   I was going to continue to launch it with every bump (and there are a lot of them on this course).  I decided to down my water and put the nutrition bottle on the down tube.  That was a bit awkward holding onto the extra bottle until an aid station came up.  Because of my bad shoulder I can't reach behind me to my jersey pocket with my right arm.  Because I'm uncoordinated I can't take my left arm off the bars and ride with my right arm controlling the bike. The ride was uneventful.  I didn't see drafting.  Nobody passed me except on guy and we went back and forth twice in 20 miles.  Then I passed him and never saw him again.  My power was low, my back hurt, my crotch was on fire from chafing.  I had no water on my bike and was dehydrated.  I lost all desire to ride my bike and forgot to eat.  It got ugly uglier.  If you've ridden the course you know that the last few miles are on concrete with a lot of bumps between the slabs. Every single bump jarred my back and my crotch.  And then for me the race was over.

The night before I picked up a bottle of something to drink after the race.  I swore it had rum in it.  It didn't.  And it tasted like crap.  I almost cried.  My race sucked and I couldn't even buy alcohol correctly.  It was that bad.  And that's it.  Or all I'm telling anyway.  Tomorrow is The Mullet Man Triathlon.  I can't wait.  Hopefully what happened in NOLA stayed in NOLA and it will be a good race.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

From Last to First...Big Easy Sprint Race Report

I toyed with doing the olympic distance but with the GCI relay coming up and NOLA 70.3 right after that I decided a sprint would be fun.  It is after all my favorite distance.  I decided to drive over the morning of the race which meant I left my house at 3:30 AM.  At 5:00 AM I decided driving two and a half hours for a race just over and hour long is too far to drive even when there is no traffic and you can set cruise control to probably a little too much over the speed limit.

The day before I had gone through my packing list 3-4 times.  I had everything I needed for the race, except for cold weather gear.  I finally realized I could put on my wetsuit and stay warm.  It helped but the sleeves are a little thin and the wind broke right through them.  I double swim capped it and was ready to go.  It was a time trial start and women 40+ were last.  I decided it didn't matter if I was first in my wave or last, I had to swim through people.  So, just like I like to do, I was the rotten egg....last one in. I didn't get to cannonball it like I did at IMLOU, just cross the mat and down the stairs.  I think I added 20 seconds on to my time waiting for the people in front of me to go down the stairs after they crossed the mat.  Lesson learned and in the end it didn't matter.

IM Lou.  I was no where close to landing on that dude.
I was worried about swimming in cold water, swimming in open water, and wearing a wetsuit.  I decided to take it very easy at first.  I just cruised.  I didn't have a panic attack (I don't think I blogged about my overwhelming panic attack at Lavaman 2013...lets just say it wasn't pretty and left me very frustrated because I'm a good swimmer and usually very comfortable in the water and will be worried about panic attacks during the swim for some time now).  My breathing wasn't affected by the cold and I didn't feel constricted in my chest from the wetsuit.  I thought I sucked at open water swimming when I did it a couple times a week.  I suck even more when I haven't really done it in about a year.   I've heard of people losing rings when swimming and I never understood how that was possible.  But now I know.  I spent the second half of the swim swimming with my right hand in a fist not wanting my ring to fall off.  I swam all over the course and passed a lot of people.  I got hung up in the congestion getting out of the water.  My swim was miserably slow.

The bike is looking very clean. And warm with gloves on.
My T1 was also miserably slow (almost 4 minutes I think).  I fell over getting my wetsuit off.  I had to sit down to put socks on (something I wouldn't normally do but because of the cold I did..and I'm glad).  I had to take one sock off and put it back on because it was on very crooked.  I stumbled with my helmet and shoes because of hands that were cold.  I decided to leave one of my swim caps on for the bike and that was the best decision of the race.

On the bike I was a bit slow to get going.  I had gloves to put on, also a great decision, but I probably should have put them on in transition.  Before the swim I stuffed a plastic grocery bag down my top and that helped a lot too.  Except I forgot to zip up my top so the bag was flapping in the wind and my cleavage was catching a lot of air.  Not to mention the swim cap let my helmet slide around a lot and my race braids were flapping in the wind too.  I was anything but aero.  But my bike was fast.  The actual bike, not my bike split.  It was fun passing people like they were standing still.  I realize the sprint was a small race and mostly a beginner crowd, but I was going to push it as much as I could and that means flying by people on road bikes.  And that's fun.

I've been having some back pain lately and it had been getting worse.  I kept telling myself 12 miles on the bike would be fine.  That lasted 4 miles.  I was in pain.  My left side was seizing and spasming with every pedal stroke.  I ended up hitting about 30 watts lower than I should have ridden.  The good thing is that I realized how jacked up my back was and decided I needed to fix the problem.  More on that later.

T2 wasn't much better.  I had to sit down to put my shoes on because of my back.  I had to walk slowly out of transition because of my back.  I had to start the run very easy because of my back.  At least my achilles wasn't bothering me (that problem has finally been fixed..more on that later).

The run was an out and back shaped like a candy cane.  On the way out I didn't see any other women (the olympic distance racers wouldn't be on the course yet, so the only women I'd see were pros and sprint racers).  On the way back I passed two women heading out, I was at least a half mile in front of them.  I picked it up some at that point, but then settled back into a pretty easy for a 5K pace.  I finished and was told I was the first female age grouper across the line.  That means I went from last person in, to first person done and that meant a win.  This was my goal for the race.

I didn't mean to leave the gloves on but I think it makes me look cool.
But then I looked at the results and it showed someone beat me (#1174...which was racked right next to me...and her name was Adam?).  And just like I did at the Cougars Running Wild race, I had to investigate to make sure I got what was rightfully mine.  And I felt just as silly as I did at the Cougars Gone Wild race because it was such a small and low key race that nobody really cared about except probably me.  I eventually went to get my bike out of transition and I met Adam.

He said "I wondered why I got a purple swim cap"
At the awards I let the announcer know that Adam was in fact a male and they gave me the win.  There were no overall awards for the sprint race, but I still know I won overall ;-).  It wasn't a great race for me, but it's a start and a learning experience after not really racing for almost two years.  I qualified for USAT AG Nationals, which was another goal of mine. I have three more sprint races in the next five weeks (one is called Mullet Man Triathlon...I love the race names down here!) and then an olympic distance mid may followed by a super sprint Memorial Day weekend.  This year I really am going to race myself back into shape.