Thursday, June 21, 2012

Deep vs. High

Dig deep.

Aim high.

The depths of despair.

The height of glory.

I've been thinking a lot lately about the difference between deep and high. As a triathlete, one of the reasons I train hard is that I want to be faster (duh.) Obviously, once you get beyond the "I just want to finish mentality" of completing your first sprint, olympic, half-ironman, full ironman triathlon, everyone just wants to get faster, and I am most certainly one of those people. For the past two years one of my goals has been to go under 6 hours in a half-ironman. I have been very close a few times, but still haven't been able to shave those few minutes off.

After Rev3 Quassy, though, I was feeling a little bit down about the direction my running has taken over the past year. Basically, I have slowed down. Granted a lot of the slowing down has been purposeful to work on my base aerobic level and really develop that system that is going to power me through 140.6 miles in September. However, it is always nice to see some results in terms of improved speed over the long haul. I had a long conversation with Sonja about this after Quassy and she said something that really resonated with me. She said, "You might not be getting faster, but your fitness is getting deeper." Meaning, even though I can't run at X pace, I can hold Y pace for a lot longer.

At first I protested..."well, that's great, but I want to be faster." Then I realized you have to dig deep before you shoot high. The taller the building is the deeper the foundation needs to be, and the foundation is there long before the top floor is complete. Once I wrapped my head around this, I was comforted to see that yes, my hard work is paying off. It may not be as tangible right this very minute as running fast would be, but the base is getting deeper with every slow mile I run.

I'm racing Syracuse 70.3 this weekend, and I'm hoping to see if I can build a few stories of my building on top of my deep foundation. I honestly have no idea how this will go. I have no time goals. I have some HR goals, and I have a plan, but mostly my goals are mental.

Dig deep.

Push hard.

Aim high.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

38? Impossible!

When I was nine years old my mom turned 30, and I vividly remember the surprise party we threw for her. Ever since then I have always thought of my mom as being 30 years old. What a shock for me when I turned 30! I mean, if my mom is 30, how in the world could I be 30?

Today, I turned 38, and I still feel the same way. Thirty-eight? Impossible! My mom is only 30!

She called me first thing this morning and said the same thing! It was fitting that my mommy was the first person to call me this morning as she was the first person to know me. Ever since I have become a mother, I always think about the fact that the day a first child is born is also the birth of a mother. I always make a point to wish a mother special wishes on the birthday of her child. Thanks, Mommy! I love you!

I had a wonderful day today - a bike ride, the last day of school, ice cream, So You Think You Can Dance, and all my boys - now that is a lot of #summergratitude! I've been toying with the idea all week long of doing a 38 things in my 38th year list, but, to tell you the truth, I'm not sure I can come up with 38 things today! I need to think about it more. So, maybe I will have a list, but maybe I will just live my 38th year as it comes...or maybe I will do both!

So on the longest day of the year, the day of my birth (coincidence? doubt it!), I celebrate a life lived and to be lived with love, excellence, gratitude, grace, sweat, maybe some tears and a whole lot of laughs.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Summer Gratitude

I am so grateful for many things. Some of them right this very minute:

  • the dark chocolate with sea salt and coffee on my nightstand as I write this

  • my sister who sends me beautiful things I would never buy myself

  • the smell of a certain 5 year old who has been playing outside
He was very proud of this soccer trophy.
He carried it around all day the box!
  • iced coffee in my refrigerator
  • a sweaty husband just home from a run (I know I'm not the only one who thinks that is sexy)
  • summer weather that is actually hot

  • air conditioning :)
  • salad

Even though I am grateful, sometimes it is easy to forget and let the everyday things we aren't so grateful for crowd out these simple pleasures of life. Last year I started a daily tweet that I called #summergratitude to remind myself to keep my eyes and heart focused on the right things and to see the beauty in a life that is sometimes reigned by chaos. My twitter/blog friend, @Donna_de, joined in and she reminded me of it again this year, so we will both be back at it on twitter officially starting the first day of summer, which is June 21. Please join us!! Just tweet your simple pleasure of summer with the #summergratitude tag. 

I might have to start many things to be grateful for.

Sunday, June 10, 2012


As I train more and more and become more focused on my A race, Rev3 Cedar Point Full, I have become more and more paranoid about every new little ache and pain my body dares to put up.

Last Sunday, after Quassy, I woke up with a sore left foot. Now I have been dealing with heel pain now for about 2 years and I have it pretty much under control. I know what I need to do to manage it, and I actually think it is starting to turn around a bit with the help of my great sports chiro, Dr. Parker. This foot pain, however, was not in my heel but on the top outer side of my foot. It got gradually worse throughout the day, so that by the time we got home I could barely walk on it without pain.

On Monday I noticed that it was slightly bruised and commenced with what I will call my first 140.6 freak out. Of course I made the mistake of diagnosing myself with Google (not a good idea, btw), and was positive that my September race was in jeopardy. I called my chiro and got an appointment, but due to several things beyond my control I was 30 minutes late and had to reschedule for Tuesday. I got home and basically had a huge pity party for myself. There might have been tears involved.

Kel, the voice of reason, said I shouldn't worry about it until I knew for sure what was up. I let coach know what was up and rested and iced. Each day it was feeling better, so by Tuesday I was a little less freaked out. I ended up getting an X-ray just to rule out an acute fracture. Since stress fractures don't show up on X-rays, we will wait a few weeks and if it is still bothering me I'll go get another.

As it turns out, the only thing that showed up on the X-ray were a bone spur on my heel which I knew about, and a bone spur on the top of my foot that was something I did not know about. The best we can surmise is that either running hard at the race or something the ART guy did while working on me aggravated the muscle around it.

I did two 20-minute test runs on Friday and Sunday, with no pain during or after, so I am hopeful that it was just some weird niggle and not a lasting injury.

The funny thing about this week is all the stuff that goes through your head when you start to think your A race is in jeopardy. I started being hypersensitive about every little creak and pop, and then I realized I just need to relax and have faith.

And that is exactly what I will do.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Rev3 Quassy Olympic Race Report

It's been a crazy week, so I'm just now sitting down to write my race report from the Rev3Tri Quassy weekend! This is the 4th year that Kel and I have headed down to Connecticut for this race, and once again Rev3 did not disappoint. In a way, this has kind of become a sort of hometown race for us, even though we live 5 hours away. We usually start seeing Rev3 teammates and friends the minute we park the car, and we get to see some of our Syracuse friends as well, which is always nice.

We rolled into the park on Friday just in time for the practice swim. The boys were spending the weekend with Gramma and Grampa, so we were footloose and fancy free for the weekend. We headed straight down to the water and hopped in. It felt great. I got about 1000 yards or so in, and felt good about the race the next day. I had no dizziness, which I was a little bit worried about.

We picked up our packets, said hi to all of our Rev3 family, and then went for a little spin. Turns out that was a good idea because Kel's bike wasn't shifting great. Fortunately, we ran into Rev3 teammie, Chris, in the parking lot and he helped us out. After a little pep talk from coach, we checked our bikes in, grabbed some dinner and checked into the hotel. (I was a slacker and took very few pics this weekend. Sorry about that!)

Sometime in the middle of the night I woke up to what I thought was the shower dripping. Nope. It was a steady rain that didn't stop until late in the day on Saturday. It was pouring as we left the hotel for transition. This bummed me out a little because I had some goals I was shooting for on the bike and I knew that with the wet roads I wouldn't be able to ride the way I had planned. I have met the road before and have no desire to do so again!!

Once we were down at transition, the rain just kept coming and it was pretty cold as well. I got into my wetsuit as soon as possible and just hung out until the swim start. Since I am still a few pounds over 150 I decided to race Athena and was pleasantly surprised to find myself starting in the first wave, which has never happened to me before.

Swim: 26:07, 1st Athena, 25/227 Females

The swim was good. My goal was to build throughout the swim. I did get a little off course at one point because the buoys were kind of getting blown around and I was sighting off of a sighting buoy instead of the turn buoy. I'm pretty sure I wasn't the only who made that mistake, but it did make me feel as though I wasn't having that good of swim at the time. After the last turn, I really cranked it up and powered through to the swim finish. Imagine my great surprise when I got out of the water and big cheer went up among the crowd, "It's the first woman!"

Ha! I was so surprised. My swim wave was Athenas, Clydesdales, and men and women over 50, and indeed I was the first woman to finish from that wave and since my wave was first I just happened to be the first woman out of the water. I have to say this was by far the coolest thing about this race, as the chances of that happening to me again are pretty slim. I ended up being the "lead" woman until about mile 9.5 on the bike, which was pretty funny and fun! Just for kicks I checked my age group (W35-39) and I would have been 6th in my AG out of the swim, so still not a bad day!

T1: 2:19

In and out of T1, in the pouring rain still. I did take the time to throw on some rolled up arm warmers.

Bike: 1:34:34, 16.29 mph, 1st Athena, 50/227 Females

I was still riding pretty high on being the first woman out on the bike course, and my spirits were lifted by seeing Rev3 teammate, Jen, out at the first turn of the course. However, the bike could really qualify as a swim too it was so rainy and wet. I was pretty nervous about pushing at all on the downhills because this course is very technical. I hung my goal up in T1 and decided to do my best just to get through without hitting the pavement. The hardest part about the bike was going downhill because the rain was pelting me in the face so hard I could barely see and I was gripping the handlebars so tightly my arms were sore the next day. I saw several people that had clearly made BFFs with the blacktop, including one guy who literally had no back left to his tri shorts. It was pretty scary because I was riding mostly with men around me and they seemed much less concerned with their safety than I was. I'm sure my race pics will be interesting with snot running out of my nose, only one arm warmer rolled up (because I was too scared to take my hands off the bars to roll up the other one), and a look of frozen terror on my face.

Needless to say, I was so happy to roll into T2 all in one piece.

T2: 1:05

Smoking fast, if you ask me! I'm sure my Pearl Izumi Iso Transitions helped with that! No socks necessary!

Run: 1:01:54 

Ah, the run, my constant nemesis. I ran hard out there. The course is so difficult, but today this was all I could pull out. I have been doing a ton of training at pretty slow paces since that is what 140.6 training looks like. Unfortunately, that doesn't do a lot for olympic tris. Even though I got passed (and passed and passed) including getting passed by the woman who took 1st Athena, I'm happy with this run. I pushed myself, I stayed fairly steady, I encourage the people around me, I had fun, and I smiled...a lot. One of the best moments of the run was around mile 2 when I heard Kel's voice behind me. His wave started behind mine about 15 minutes so we were both wondering how long it would take him to pass me. I wish it could have been closer to the finish line, but it was nice to see him and know he was safe off of the bike. He ended up having a great day finishing in 2:38.

Total Time: 3:05:58, 2nd Athena, 67/227 Females

While I didn't run quite as fast as I would have hoped, I still beat my time from last year by almost 3 minutes, which is a success, especially with the rain fest. Just so you can have a sense of what it was like, this is a picture of someone coming across the finish line (through the mud pit obstacle...wait, you mean this isn't Tough Mudder?)


After we dried off  and warmed up in the car, picked up the awards (a totally cool medal that I can fit my finisher's medal in and a Fuel Belt) and then headed to get something to eat. This was my sweet reward: quinoa granola with fresh fruit and local coffee ice cream.

Unfortunately, that's it for pics on Saturday, but I was able to get one on Sunday since Kel and I stayed for a bit of the HalfRev and to cheer on all of our friends racing.

Here is a great pic of the men's pro start. Lucky for the HalfRevvers the weather cleared up beautifully.

All in all Quassy was wonderful! A big shout out of thanks to all of my great sponsors: Team Rev3Tri, Pearl Izumi, Blue Seventy, Swiftwick, Normatec, TriSwim, and Powerbar.