Tag Archives: IMC 2012

New Team

There’s no time like now for a little training update. Right? Especially since tomorrow marks exactly 3 months out from August 25, also known as Ironman go time?

After IMC last year I was ecstatic about my race for a couple of days, then exhausted for a few more, and pretty soon after that I started thinking about the next one. It didn’t take me very long to decide for certain that there would be another, but I didn’t want a repeat of 2012. I wanted, and still do, a lot more than that.

I want to go to Kona. And if I don’t get a spot I want to walk away knowing there was not one thing that I could have done to be more well-prepared to earn it. If I believe that in my heart, I will be a happy Ironman no matter what.

I can’t complain about my 2012 season or Ironman Canada. If I had a magic ball the only things I’d change are things that can’t be controlled anyway: freak weather in Boise, freak bike crash in July, more freak weather at Lake Stevens. I have not an ounce of regret about how I handled any of it, but when the season quieted down I knew, and know, that I can do better.

What worked for my first Ironman (and second summer of triathlon) isn’t the same thing that that will help me continue to grow as an athlete. If anything, 2012 was more of a preparation against failure rather than aggressive and planned growth. So last fall I outlined what I needed to do to be better and came up with a few things:

  • Bike more. No matter the bike, no matter the weather. Saddle time!
  • Train, purposefully, with FAST friends. Force myself to (try to) keep up.
  • Join a master’s swim group to swim more. <- Thinking that if I swim more, I’ll get better, and hate it less, maybe.
  • Challenge myself. Make myself uncomfortable. Work through it, and find confidence.
  • Have fun.

Then in December I did something that was pretty challenging for me (thus meeting one of my goals?). I broke my routine with the friends and coaches I had become comfortable with and  joined a new tri team: Pauole Sport. And I think I was more afraid for that first day of master’s swim than I was the morning of Ironman Canada.

The good news is: it’s working. I’ve gotten stronger in the water and on the bike. And on my run off the bike as well. I have a pool (literally, ha) of talented athletes to use as carrots, training buddies, and resources. And I’ve met some awesome people who I’d want to hang out with even if we didn’t all have to ride for a million hours every Saturday so we may as well do it together. And on top of all of that my new coach is fantastic.

Things still feel exhausting and hard on many days, but having confidence in my coach’s plan, having friends to endure it with, having resources to learn from, and having the occasional day off is currently making all of the difference in the world for me. These things make it possible for me to spend time with my family and friends, have a (small) life, stay sane, and still think Ironman is fun while getting better.

Greg LeMond’s quote is the real truth, “It never gets easier, you just go faster.”

 

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Goals, Ironman, Training

You Are Ready

In the week or two before Ironman Canada I was stalking Slowtwitch forums and found the essay below, written by Hurricane Bob. After becoming an Ironman I don’t have anything new to say about it other than,

Bob, you are right. This IS Ironman Canada.

But I wanted to make sure that when I need to read this 800x next August or September for inspiration and a reality check, just like I read it 800x before this year’s race, I can find it.

Right now you’ve all entered the taper. Perhaps you’ve been at this a few months, perhaps you’ve been at this a few years. For some of you this is your first IM, for others, a long-overdue welcome back to a race that few can match. 

You’ve been following your schedule to the letter. You’ve been piling on the mileage, piling up the laundry, and getting a set of tan lines that will take until November to erase. Long rides were followed by long runs, which both were preceeded by long swims, all of which were followed by recovery naps that were longer than you slept for any given night during college. 

You ran in the snow. 
You rode in the rain. 
You ran in the heat. 
You ran in the cold. 

You went out when others stayed home. 
You rode the trainer when others pulled the covers over their heads. 

You have survived the Darwinian progression that is an Ironman summer, and now the hardest days are behind you. Like a climber in the Tour de France coming over the summit of the penultimate climb on an alpine stage, you’ve already covered so much ground…there’s just one more climb to go. You shift up, you take a drink, you zip up the jersey; the descent lays before you…and it will be a fast one. 

Time that used to be filled with never-ending work will now be filling with silent muscles, taking their final, well-earned rest. While this taper is something your body desperately needs, Your mind, cast off to the background for so very long, will start to speak to you. 

It won’t be pretty. 

It will bring up thoughts of doubt, pain, hunger, thirst, failure, and loss. It will give you reasons why you aren’t ready. It will try and make one last stand to stop you, because your brain doesn’t know what the body already does. Your body knows the truth: 

You are ready. 

Your brain won’t believe it. It will use the taper to convince you that this is foolish – that there is too much that can go wrong. 

You are ready. 

Finishing an Ironman is never an accident. It’s the result of dedication, focus, hard work, and belief that all the long runs in 
January, long rides in April, and long swims every damn weekend will be worth it. It comes from getting on the bike, day in, day out. It comes from long, solo runs. From that first long run where you wondered, “How will I ever be ready?” to the last long run where you smiled to yourself with one mile to go…knowing that you’d found the answer. 

It is worth it. Now that you’re at the taper, you know it will be worth it. The workload becomes less. The body winds up and prepares, and you just need to quiet your worried mind. Not easy, but you can do it. 

You are ready. 

You will walk into the lagoon on August 26th with 2000 other wide-open sets of eyes. You will look upon the sea of humanity, and know that you belong. You’ll feel the chill of the water crawl into your wetsuit, and shiver like everyone else, but smile because the day you have waited for for so VERY long is finally here. 

The bagpipers will walk across the beach. Steve King will ask you to sing along. You will. 

O Canada! 
Our home and native land! 
True patriot love in all thy sons command. 

With glowing hearts we see thee rise, 
The True North strong and free! 

From far and wide, 
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee. 

God keep our land glorious and free! 
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee. 
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee. 

You will tear up in your goggles. Everyone does. 

The helicopters will roar overhead. 
Maranatha will roar. The splashing will surround you. 

You’ll stop thinking about Ironman, because you’re now racing one. 

The swim will be long – it’s long for everyone, but you’ll make it. You’ll watch as the Penticton Lakeside Hotel grows and grows, and soon you’ll hear the end. You’ll come up the beach and head for the wetsuit strippers. Three people will get that sucker off before you know what’s happening, then you’ll head for the bike. 

In the shadows on Main Street you’ll spin out of town – the voices, the cowbells, and the curb-to-curb chalk giving you a hero’s sendoff. You won’t wipe the smile off your face for miles as you whisk along the lakeside, past fully stocked, silent aid stations for the run to come. 

You’ll spin up McLean Creak Road. You’ll roll down towards Osoyoos, past the vineyards glowing in the morning sun. You’ll settle down to your race. The crowds will spread out on the road. You’ll soon be on your bike, eating your food on your schedule, controlling your Ironman. 

Richter Pass will come. Everyone talks about it, but it’s really nothing. You’ll know this halfway up, as you’re breathing easy and climbing smoothly. Look to your right. Look how high you’re climbing. Look at all the bikes below, still making their way there. You’re ahead of them. All of them. 

You’ll climb over Richter, and descend to the valley below. You’ll ride the rollers, one at a time. You’ll start to feel that morning sun turn to afternoon sun. It’s warmer now. Maybe it’s hot. Maybe you’re not feeling so good now. You’ll keep riding. You’ll keep drinking. You’ll keep moving. After all, this is just a long training day with valet parking and catering, right? 

You’ll put the rollers behind you. You’ll head into the Cawston out and back. You’ll put on your game face, fighting the urge to feel down as you ride the wrong way for what seems like hours. 10 miles in, you reach special needs, fuel up, and head out. 

By now it’ll be hot. You’ll be tired. Doubts will fight for your focus. Everyone struggles here. You’ve been on that bike for a few hours, and stopping would be nice, but you won’t – not here. Not today. You’ll ride on leaving Cawston behind you and head for the final showdown at Yellow Lake. 

You’ll grind the false flats to the climb. You’ll know you’re almost there. You’ll fight for every inch of road. You’ll make the turn towards the summit as the valley walls close in for the kill, and put your head down. The crowd will come back to you here – the cars are always waiting to cross the summit, and you’ll soon be surrounded in the glorious noise that is the final climb of Ironman Canada. Let their energy push you. Let them see your eyes. Smile when they cheer for you – your body will get just that little bit lighter. 

Grind. 
Fight. 
Suffer. 
Persevere. 
Summit. 

Just like that, you’ll be descending. 12 miles to go, and no climbing left. You’ll plunge down the road, swooping from corner to corner, chaining together the turns, tucking on the straights, letting your legs recover for the run to come – soon! You’ll roll back into town – you’ll see people running out. You’ll think to yourself, “Wasn’t I just here?” The noise will grow. The chalk dust will hang in the air – you’re back in Penticton, with only 26.2 miles to go. You’ll relax a little bit, knowing that even if you get a flat tire or something breaks here, you can run the damn bike into T2. 

You’ll roll into transition. 100 volunteers will fight for your bike. You’ll give it up and not look back. You’ll have your bag handed to you, and into the tent you’ll go. You’ll change. You’ll load up your pockets, and open the door to the last long run of your Ironman summer – the one that counts. 

You’ll take that first step of a thousand…and you’ll smile. You’ll know that the bike won’t let you down now – the race is down to your own two feet. The same crowd that cheered for you in the shadows of the morning will cheer for you in the brilliant sunshine of a Penticton summer Sunday. High-five people on the way out. Smile. Enjoy it. This is what you’ve worked for all year long. 

That first mile will feel great. So will the second. 
By mile 3, you probably won’t feel so good. 

That’s okay. You knew it couldn’t all be that easy. You’ll settle down just like you did on the bike, and get down to your pace. You’ll see the leaders coming back the other way. Some will look great – some won’t. You might feel great, you might not. No matter how you feel, don’t panic – this is the part of the day where whatever you’re feeling, you can be sure it won’t last. 

You’ll keep moving. You’ll keep drinking. You’ll keep eating. Maybe you’ll be right on plan – maybe you won’t. If you’re ahead of schedule, don’t worry – believe. If you’re behind, don’t panic – roll with it. Everyone comes up with a brilliant race plan for Ironman, and then everyone has to deal with the reality that planning for something like Ironman is like trying to land a man on the moon. By remote control. Blindfolded. 

How you react to the changes in your plan will dictate your day. Don’t waste energy worrying about things – just do what you have to when you have to, and keep moving. Keep eating. Keep drinking. Just don’t sit down – don’t EVER sit down. 

You’ll make it to halfway at OK Falls. You’ll load up on special needs. Some of what you packed will look good, some won’t. Eat what looks good, toss the rest. Keep moving. Start looking for people you know. Cheer for people you don’t. You’re headed in – they’re not. They want to be where you are, just like you wanted to be when you saw all those fast people headed into town. Share some energy – you’ll get it right back. 

Run if you can. 
Walk if you have to. 
Just keep moving. 

The miles will drag on. The brilliant Penticton sunshine will yawn, and head for the mountains behind the bike course…behind that last downhill you flew down all those hours ago. You’ll be coming up to those aid stations you passed when you started the bike…fully alive with people, music, and chicken soup. TAKE THE SOUP. Keep moving. 

You’ll soon only have a few miles to go. You’ll start to believe that you’re going to make it. You’ll start to imagine how good it’s going to feel when you get there. Let those feelings drive you on. When your legs just don’t want to move anymore, think about what it’s going to be like when someone catches you…puts a medal over your head… 

…all you have to do is get there. 

You’ll start to hear town. People you can’t see in the twilight will cheer for you. They’ll call out your name. Smile and thank them. They were there when you left on the bike, and when you came back, when you left on the run, and now when you’ve come back. 

You’ll enter town. You’ll start to realize that the day is almost over. You’ll be exhausted, wiped out, barely able to run a 10-minute mile (if you’re lucky), but you’ll ask yourself, “Where did the whole day go?” You’ll be standing on the edge of two feelings – the desire to finally stop, and the desire to take these last moments and make them last as long as possible. 

You’ll hit mile 25. You’ll turn onto Lakeside Drive. Your Ironman Canada will have 1.2 miles – just 2KM left in it. 

You’ll run. You’ll find your legs. You’ll fly. You won’t know how, but you will run. You’ll make the turn in front of the Sicamous in the dark, and head for home. The lights will grow brighter, brighter, and brighter. Soon you’ll be able to hear the music again. This time, it’ll be for keeps. 

You’ll listen for Steve King, or Mike Reilly, or Whit Raymond. Soon they’ll see you. Soon, everyone will see you. You’ll run towards the lights, between the fences, and into the nightsun made just for you. 

They’ll say your name. 
You’ll keep running. 
Nothing will hurt. 

The moment will be yours – for one moment, the entire world will be looking at you and only you. 

You’ll break the tape. The flash will go off. 

You’ll stop. You’ll finally stop. Your legs will wobble their last, and suddenly…be capable of nothing more. 

Someone will catch you. 
You’ll lean into them. 

It will suddenly hit you. 
You will be an Ironman. 

You are ready. 

Hurricane Bob 
* You are ready. * 

Leave a comment

Filed under Racing, Training

Race Recap: Ironman Canada 2012

I asked the twittersphere how long a race recap could get before it got “too long”. I received a lot of good responses, all of which reminded me of something. It was my day. And I want to remember it. Plus, this is my blog. If you lose interest, I’m sorry I’m not sorry.

It was an amazing and wonderful day, one that words can’t do justice. And the journey to get there has been, dare I say, even better than that single day. So without further ado, my Ironman Canada race.

 

Ironman Week and Race Morning

About how I did hardly anything leading up to the race, and it was awesome. Except when I thought I had kidney stones again.

 

Swim and T1

About how I finally had a good swim in a race, and that I should medal in transitions.

 

Bike and T2

About how my bike was pretty strong  until my stomach started hurting. I still threw down a good ride, but it wasn’t a good sign of things to come.

 

Run and Post Race

About how I ran until my stomach no longer hurt, and the only leg I didn’t cry on.

 

Happy reading or snoozing!

2 Comments

Filed under Goals, Race Recap, Racing

Thank You’s

Ok, one more post before I post my recap. It’s written, so promise I’ll put it out there soon!

But before I recap my day I want to thank a lot of people. It feels corny and self-important to me to profess my thanks to people who may only moderately care that I did an Ironman, on the Internet no less. But in the simplest terms I want all of these people to know that in some way or another they made IMC possible for me. That I thought of all of them while I was out there. And in a few cases, they’re why I held it together and hurried back in to town as quickly as my broken stomach and tired legs would carry me.

Training Friends

Not one person in my usual cycling and running circle was racing Ironman Canada, nonetheless I’d receive texts and emails from them every week asking what the weekend’s workout was. They’d meet me for whatever portion of my day they could schedule in and let me complain about how long my long days were, as well as that my short days weren’t long enough. Through injury, the crash, and life I never doubted myself while training with them; it turns out their confidence in me rubbed off. Thank you for long rides, longer rides, and the longest ones as well. There’s probably no one that gets what this took better than you.

Coworkers Past & Present

Luckily I have an extremely understanding and supportive employer who cheered me on every single day leading up to IMC. I cannot imagine putting in those kinds of training hours without having the support of my workplace to slip out for a lunchtime, and don’t want to imagine not having people to talk to who understand the ups and downs. Luckily I’ve also had colleagues who are supportive in the past – in fact one of them was who put me on this crazy roller coaster. Thank you for not telling me how tired I look, and for putting up with my monopoly on the women’s shower. Thank you for a wonderful, inspiring, and supportive send off. And thanks for planting the Ironman seed in my mind.

Coach

I’d like to think that I’m a low maintenance athlete, but I suspect alas I am not. I might not analyze everything entirely to death, but I like to analyze it at least all the way to the ICU where it may or may not be revived. Thank you for your patience, direction, and leadership. Thank you for understanding how important this was, is, and will continue to be to me. Thanks for pushing me. And keep at that last one, please. We’re not done yet.

Friends & Family

Ironman is sort of a crazy thing to try to explain to loved ones. “You’re doing what?! All in one day?!” But everyone that I know was amazingly interested, and though it can be hard to understand an IM everyone was encouraging and immediately believed in me. Thank you for supporting me, and thank you for celebrating with me.

To all of my virtual friends, your advice, support, and feedback kept me going every step of the way. All of your training, racing, goals, and achievements inspired me on less than stellar days, and your celebration of my own accomplishments reinforced that I could do this. Truly, knowing that you’d be tracking me kept me going!

To my parents and Courtney and Thomas, thank you from the bottom of my heart for being there for my day. I didn’t know how much that meant to me until you were there, and I was saying goodbye and heading into transition. And it was reinforced every time I was nearby enough to think about coming back into town and spotting you. Thank you for never poking fun at how much time and energy and work this took. Thank you for screaming your brains out. Thanks for understanding, without question, that this was going to be so important to me all year long. Thank you for wearing neon yellow shirts.

Garth/Husband/Race Sherpa/Videographer/Photographer/Chef/Bike Bottle Fixer

And the most thank you’s on earth, more than even exist, to Garth. They say Ironman is a lifestyle, and it is. What they don’t tell you is that it is a lifestyle for everyone in your household. You carried my bags, forced me in the water, woke up at 5am, fixed my bike, folded about 800 sports bras, and got in bed at 9pm to do it again. When I told you I was going to do an Ironman you said, “Awesome.” When I told you my goal was sub-12 you told me, “You can go faster than that.”  There’s no one that believes in me more than you. And there’s no one that loves you for that more than me. There are a few moments from that day that I believe I always remember, and all of them boil down to one thing: seeing you believing in me. I hope that you always know that I know how lucky I am.

 

Alright guys, ready for round #2? 🙂

Leave a comment

Filed under Ironman, Life

IMC – Successes and Opportunities

Post race, even small ones, I always try to pull out a couple of successes and learnings. No matter how awesome or terrible a race is there are always things to remember and replicate – or never ever do again – next time.

Lather. Rinse. And Repeat. Self, remember these tips!

Pre Race

  • Race vacations are a must!! Spending the week in Penticton, but away from the chaos, was a really great decision for me. By the time race day rolled around I not only felt totally engrained in what was happening, but also totally relaxed. Heck, I even had a favorite Safeway checker at that point! When all of the crazed triathletes arrived I retreated to our castle townhouse and stayed away from anyone that would psych me out (everyone). I lived in my Ironman-less bubble of denial until I was ready to get amped up rather than letting the crazies rub off on me.

Swim

  • As part of Operation: Survive the Ironman Swim I’ve been quietly trying to figure out ways to avoid a panic attack during the swim. Turns out a mile warmup run with strides plus swimming for just a few moments does the trick quite nicely.
  • Usually I try to only focus on myself during the swim, thinking that if I don’t acknowledge the feet kicking in my face that it’ll calm me down. It wasn’t intentional, but during the IM swim I found myself focusing on EVERYTHING happening around me, and sighted far beyond the clusters in front of me. I didn’t get an anxious about the people right in front of me because I was able to look past them, to the open clear water up ahead or the next buoy.

Transitions

  • You don’t win an Ironman in transition… but I feel like I sort of deserve a medal for my T1 time! And my T2 time was slower but it included a trip to the porta potty so I’ll take it. Though I haven’t done many triathlons to truly have the art of transition down I did put a lot of planning and thought into what I was putting in my bag and what I could enlist help with should I get a volunteer to myself. I didn’t put anything extra in my bags because I knew I didn’t need to take time making decisions and it kept me focused and moving. Keep it easy.

Bike

  • I went out on the bike too hard, and I knew it. So once I calmed down I checked my HRM and worked hard to relax and lower my average heart rate. I let people pass me and said “so long!” It was hard to do, but when I got to Yellow Lake and passed folks back during the climb I knew I made the right move. I made smart decisions and stuck to the plan.
  • Special Needs Rules. I had plans to not stop, but once I did the math I realized I’d need more hydration and infinit than I could carry (duh) and I didn’t want to have to mix on the go. I included 2x 24oz bottles in my bag and made sure to drink from mine first. Those extra bottles saved me, because I was having trouble taking in calories that weren’t in liquid form. The set up was easy and the volunteers rocked. I just tossed my empties at stations along the way, slowed to a stop, grabbed my bottles from the volunteer handing them to me, and rode on!

Run

  • Again with the smart decisions. My stomach was not happy and I feared that everything would make it worse. Rather than risk a total bonk I had tiny drops of gu at a time and resorted to Pepsi for additional calories. When the pain scale got too high to think about withstanding for more than a mile I slowed to a walk for however long I needed to alleviate the pressure. None of this was in my plans, and I’ve never had GI issues during a race or training, but I’m glad I stayed calm because no matter how much my run disappoints me I still believe this was the right method.
  • I didn’t allow myself to think of the run as a marathon, but rather an aid station-to-aid station event. This attitude got me through 4 hours and 16 minutes of running, but looking back it felt like maybe 3 hours. Small goals worked for me at that point much better than larger ones.

Do Not Accept $200. Do Not Pass Go. DO NOT REPEAT!

Pre Race

  • Too. Much. Food. I attribute my demise on the run to my Ensure, 2 bagels, peanut butter, and banana. Blech. All that after the previous day’s pasta dinner, sandwich, bagel, etc. My stomach still sort of hates me, over a week later.

Swim

  • There are many things I could do to improve my swimming, but given my current fitness, pace, and swim anxiety there is nothing I could have done – other than be a better swimmer – to make my swim better.

Bike

  • I knew I would go out too hard, I always do. I wonder a little bit if my stomach issues were due to the intensity up front. They started on the bike but didn’t hinder my performance until the run.
  • I could have used more nutrition on the bike; once my stomach started up I stayed conservative. Ideally I would have had more calories and more liquids to top myself off for a strong and hydrated run. I did a good job bringing a couple of options just in case, but I need to force myself to eat while I train like I want to eat during a race to simulate how to handle GI upset.
  • Cut up Powerbars don’t work. If you slice 3 up into little tiny bits and put them in a bag – even after letting them try out for 24 hours – they will still end up as a single glob.

Run

  • Mile 15 was the only point during the run where I remember focusing on distance. My thought was, “Well, eff. I haven’t run more than 15 miles during training, and I still have over 10 miles left to go!” At this time my body was starting to kick the GI distress and wanted to run, and my legs were honestly not that poorly off, but my knee-jerk reaction was to continue to conserve. With some better psychological preparedness I could have better spent that energy focusing on HTFU.
  • Despite stomach issues, tiredness, etc., etc., I could have pushed myself more on the run. As soon as my GI alleviated I picked it up for a handful of miles. Then I let doubt creep in a bit knowing that I still had 5 miles left and backed off. At the time I thought playing it safe was smart, and it might have been, but I know that I could have fought harder out there.
  • There is no need to carry any food, at all. With aid stations every mile my own bouncing gu’s did nothing but annoy me.

Leave a comment

Filed under Ironman, Racing

Delayed Recap

I’m not quite ready to write about Ironman Canada itself.

I haven’t forgotten about writing a recap, but rather I’m still processing the race and the weekend. During that day and at the finish I was so so so happy with how I performed, the decisions I made, and how everything played out. The day WAS actually rainbows and unicorns for the most part. Once I got out there and started I felt like I was prepared to handle everything that came my way, and due to practice, focus, and somewhat due to luck, I made the right decisions when things got less than perfect.

However as days pass I guess I feel less content with how things went and more hungry to take what I learned and put it to the test again. I still think I made the right decisions for the day, and wouldn’t trade the positive experience I had to risk shaving off a couple of minutes here or there. But I feel less and less victorious and more eager to push myself much further than I went – and dig deeper than I had to – last Sunday.

Maybe that’s normal. Maybe I’m nuts.

And don’t get me wrong. I know I did well. I exceeded my own expectations in countless ways. For the first time ever I didn’t have a panicked anxiety attack during a race swim. Some people want to swim fast, but I wanted to swim smooth. On the bike I had a strong 56 miles, then patiently took in more food and drink, and let people pass by while I dropped my heart rate average by a few BPM. It paid off because I was able to tackle Yellow Lake with energy to spare. And the run. From mile 4-17 I had stomach cramping that slowed me to a walk every 5 minutes or so, but I took in enough calories to keep going and not make things worse. It paid off and mile 17-26.2 felt how I wanted to feel; like a RUN.

In all senses of the word this race was a huge achievement. Overcoming early season stress fractures, a scary bike crash, and gearing up to race an Ironman with barely any triathlon experience under my belt. However I still struggle with the fact that I know there is so much more I can do out there. I can push myself much further than I had to last Sunday.

I am happy that I don’t feel done out there though. Next stop: sub 11.

Leave a comment

Filed under Ironman, Race Recap, Racing

Hi, Pretty.

Why, hello there, Pretty! So glad to meet you. I’m happy you’ve finally arrived, and I can’t wait to get to know each other. It’s been a long time coming, but I think we’re going to do some pretty fantastic stuff together. I’m really looking forward to becoming long-lasting friends.

3 Comments

Filed under Bike

2012 Will Be Busy

Not to be negative, but I sort of hate New Years. It all feels arbitrary to me. If you have resolutions or goals to make, why not commit the moment the moment that you realize you can’t stop thinking about them? Why does 1/1 make it easier to put them to action and apply to life? (It doesn’t). Tomorrow probably actually won’t be easier than today, so rather than starting a diet tomorrow why not skip the pie and ice cream now? Because there’s also a possibility that tomorrow will be MUCH.FREAKING.HARDER. and that you’ll need that pie for survival.

New Years also always has this massive amount of buildup around it. What are YOU doing for New Years Eve? Well, if you really want to know, if I had my way I’d probably stay at home in my PJ’s that I got for Christmas, eat that pie and ice cream I was just talking about, and be asleep by 10pm. But alas I will get dressed up. I will have a marvelous dinner with good friends. It will be an amazingly fun night, NYE or not. And hopefully I’ll still have those PJ’s on by midnight.

Truly though, 2011 was a really incredible year. We rang in NYE in Paris, followed by London, Venice, Florence, and Milan. I ran the Boston Marathon. I completed my first Sprint, Olympic, and Half Ironman triathlons, all sort of on a whim. We had our 1 year wedding anniversary. Garth’s blog was a huge success, like, ridiculous huge. We looked at a house, decided to stay renters, and feel ridiculously good about it. We learned, laughed, healed, and had a lot of fun with hardly a moment to rest. I don’t know if we’ll be able to beat all that fun in 2012, but we’ll certainly try!

There’s some fun in store for the new year already, and there are some definite things I want to accomplish in 2012. Clearly. See my race schedule page if you don’t know what I’m talking about. And not only do I have a race schedule plotted out, but I have some lofty goals to accompany each race. I want to break a 1:35:00 half marathon. I want to give IMC my all get a Kona slot in Canada. And if I’m not too broken by November I’d like to BQ before we ring in 2013. Along the way I want to eat too much good food and drink too much good wine (disclaimer: this goal may not be as lofty as the rest). My plan to get there is to follow the plan and make every day count toward arriving at where I want to be. This year, there’s really nothing to change. Just lots to keep doing, and do it I will.

Leave a comment

Filed under Goals

Getting Better

There aren’t many things that put me in a better mood than running in chilly fall air under a clear sky. An added bonus: hearing leaves crunch under your feet. And extra credit: Running fast, feeling strong, and smashing a 400/800 workout with energy leftover. And just as awesome: Post run laughs with tired and sweaty friends.

Happy to report that I aced all of the above tonight. I love feeling hard work pay off with tangible progress (i.e. fast times). There have been sessions in the past weeks where I feel like I could have done better, or things should have been easier if I’m planning to race at the level I’d like. But even during days of blah I’ve worked through, done the best I could muster and have pulled it together to get my job done. You never really know whether that’s good enough though, and I guess I still don’t, but posting faster times and feeling less pain tips the scale in the direction I’m looking for.

I’m feeling good about getting better and being faster. Progress is good. But the part I’m most excited about is the time that I have left to work harder, grow more, and really find out what I can do.

Leave a comment

Filed under Training

Book Review: You Are An Ironman

I have a bad habit of wanting to read the end of a book before I read the beginning. All books have a finish, an end, and I want to get there. Knowing a bit about the end helps me enjoy the bits and pieces and side stories along the way so much more, so that I don’t have to worry about what’s going to happen or read too quickly to find out. Yes, very telling of my personality, always on to the next. Well, I did not jump ahead while reading this book if that tells you anything. I wanted to experience the journeys to Ironman the same way I will.

When You Are An Ironman by Jacques Steinberg was recently released I couldn’t even wait for paperback. I swooped it up and finished it in a matter of days. With IMC seemingly forever away I hang on to these little Ironman bits deeply to feel connected and remind myself what this all means. Yes, that means I’m unavailable December 10 for your fabulous event or party or what have you because I’ll be on my couch watching the IMWC broadcast.

Overall the book was an excellent way to feel connected and remind myself of what’s in store for me and the couple thousand people who I’ll be racing alongside. Through the pages I followed 6 individuals while they endured a year of training and mishaps on their way to be an Ironman. Training happened, life arose, more training happened, they were nervous, scared, more training happened, they got excited, inspired, doubtful, happy, and then were done and relieved. I imagine, summed up, that could describe many roads to Ironman. I got to live moments through the characters that I haven’t yet on my own, and experiences that I anticipate were written out for me to breathe in.

I’ve read other reviews that describe the book as somewhat self-indulgent and tiresome, saying that the bar of tolerance is set high as only triathletes really care about the specifics. Now, I’m a triathlete so don’t care or worry about that second bit much, but I actually didn’t feel that the book was too narrowly focused and specific. In fact, I felt like it was too broad.

The part of the next year that I look forward to most is fighting my way to be as good as I can be. Literally. Fighting. Downhills in the road are awesome, and I hope to have success. I don’t look forward to the countless crappy workouts that I expect I’ll experience, but I very much look forward to facing those days in the eye to conquer the challenge. I look forward to withstanding it all and learning to be stronger. Via the stories I experienced bike crashes, sickness, fear, family death, financial struggles and some awesome training sessions, but I didn’t feel as inspired as I wanted to. When I read about each athlete’s low point I couldn’t relate it to feelings I’ve felt, and when they celebrated their successes it choked me up for certain, but only because I have an idea of what this all means. Their particular success wasn’t that relatable to me as an athlete, but I can’t help myself but root for the age grouper underdogs.

I wish that they had chosen to follow less athletes, but much more deeply. I wish that there was more coverage regarding the details of those crappy workouts rather than glossing it over by leaving me hanging and jumping to the next soon-to-be-Ironman’s story. I wish that I had felt the shift in confidence more than described by tired legs or fatigue. Perhaps I’m the exception, and probably I am, but I wanted to finish the book knowing how I’d feel for the next 10 months.

Guess I’ll have to experience the next 10 months before I’ll really know!

Leave a comment

Filed under Articles, Books, & News