Saturday, May 31, 2008

2008 Corporate Cahallenge

Last night I got to do a race! A running race! With Sarah and 10,000 other people! Yes the Rochester Chase Corporate Challenge was as much fun as I had hoped it to be.

As a Pediatric Emergency Nurse at the University Of Rochester Medical Center I was honored to run for the giant U of R team, and many of those teammates included those I work with. The Pediatric ED was well represented, in fact the whole U of R was. Traditionally the Pediatric part of the hospital… correctly called the Golisano Children's Hospital at Strong (too many names … I know) would run as a separate team since we are considered to be a separate hospital. This year however we got swallowed up by the entire University… but that's okay with me.

The top six men and women from the U of R get chosen to be on teams, men's, women's and mixed. They all get flown to NYC to run in the National Corporate Challenge. I was informed a week before the race that while I'd likely make the team… I could not be on the team because runners have to work 25 hours per week.

I work 20. SIGH!

Traveling to NYC for a 25 minute run…. that's a little silly. I need a good 60 minute swim and 6 hour bike to warm up!!!!!

Wednesday kept me resting with a GI illness while Thursday brought GI happiness and a 2 hour ride in the morning. The sun was shining! Glory!

Since RIT is just 5 miles form my house… I rode my mountain bike over. Parking 10,000 runners is a mess, besides I need a little bike before a little run, right? Besides the 2 hour ride from the morning was already gone, can't consider that a warm up!

The best part of it was that Sarah was there (Adam too, but he doesn't run in a skirt!) and we planned on a good strong run. We've spent many good hard runs together the past few months and this would be no different. But at about 25 minutes it'd be entirely too short. We joked the night before that come the finish line we'd keep going!

"Don't mind those 2 nutballs! They think this is an Ironman!" I am sure they'd say.

The weather was great. 70 degrees and sunny. Place 10,000 people on a 2 lane 3.5 mile road and you will even heat it up 10 more degrees. Somehow I lost Sarah at the start but I found Kevin Walter. He didn't have a cup of Starbucks in his hand and I was amazed!

It was a great run! It was a lot of fun and I was really pleased with my time. Faster than Tempo Paced. I laughed because the 200 guys who bolted past me and my skirt during mile 1 were repassed by this skirt on mile 2.

I was impressed at how many good runners who were there who didn't officially consider themselves to be runners. I was impressed with all of the walkers and the volunteers!

I was so proud of my Pediatric ED team and the whole U of R team. 317 Strong and I believe we WON!

I even got to hang out with Carl Johnston for a bit who made me pinky swear this was my final Ironman (for a bit), and who never believes that I have any fun. He promised me he would show me some fun on the bike next year and I told him how much fun I was having becoming a runner.
And by the way I did make the team…. unofficially. WOO HOO!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

There's Something About Ed

I need to tell you about one of my athletes. His name is Ed. He is the author of "Ring The Bolus" which is his blog. Ed is an amazing athlete. A college football player. At age 27 he was diagnosed with Type I Diabetes. Type I Diabetes... not Type II. Type I.... insulin dependant diabetes. Yes, it is rare for someone to be diagnosed as an adult.

My brother is a Type I Diabetic. He was diagnosed at age 7. As a Pediatric Nurse I encounter many children who are diagnosed.

I met Ed on the out and back of Ironman Lake Placid 2007. He was with some friends, volunteering. He handed me water. I knew his friend but I did not know him. I saw him again at mile 21.

The next morning we met in line at sign up. Both in our camping chairs, me sore and dead from the Ironman. Ed... eyes wide open as he was dying to take this challenge on.

We spoke on the phone that week and I am honored that he hired me to be his coach. I coach another Type I diabetic and she's phenomenal. She's had diabetes since childhood and she manages it better than anyone in the world.

Coaching an athlete through an Ironman is one thing.... coaching a Type I Diabetic is a whole other ball of marbles. Blood sugars are our friend and at the same time our enemy. Ed was so proactive, hooking himself up with the experts in the field. There are a small number of Type I Diabetics who have completed the Ironman.... and within that same group a good number of endurance athletes.

Essentially for Ed it's been trial and error. Balancing blood sugars, blood testing, and insulin while balancing training and building volume. Seems that each week we had some sort of an issue related to something, but we got through it. Ed figured so many things out and I only hop I have been enough support for him.

This weekend was the first time he met the rest of the team. My instruction to my team was that they were to wait for no one unless it was Ed..... they knew Ed's story and they took him in. He roomed with Bill and Adam. Bill is a talented and brainy ICU nurse who also understands the workings of this disease. So he was able to help Ed with some things.

As the onlooker the three acted like a couple of brothers to be honest.

Saturday night Ed sat in my room and we recounted the debacle of the blood sugar that had begun on Friday. While he didn't get the entire 112 in he got a damn good chunk in on a dangerously low blood sugar.

I swear to god Ed could be at zero with blood pouring out of his eyes and he would still finish this.

We talked about how we are going to structure taper for Mooseman and IMLP and how we will need to plan blood sugar testing around that. You see, planning for a big workout requires three days of preparation. Now when we are tapering that can throw things off as we suddenly drop volume and try to aim for a pre race start blood sugar of over 200.

In true Ed fashion he nailed his blood sugar on Sunday morning for the long run. He even swam in Mirror Lake at 50 degrees. And on Monday he stayed behind and ride the 2 loops AGAIN. Successfully. And ALONE.

There's something about this character named Ed. Embracing the lifestyle of triathlon, the mentality of the Ironman, dropping that bag of shit and figuring things out. I have seen athletes just refuse to figure things out.... they could take a lesson from Ed.

Want a definition of HTFU? It's Ed.

So here's to you Ed...... may we balance the blood sugars perfectly at Mooseman and Ironman lake Placid. May you achieve your dream of being one of the very few people in the world with Type I diabetes to complete the Ironman..... and for the record I absolutely dread you going to Graduate School and moving to Virginia. You're part of us man!

In the Hole With Bree

Here's Amy Mo and I in Lake Placid. Yes, I am really that beautiful after 23 hrs of training!

Oh Bree.... I am right in the hole next to you. Mine is manifesting itself in the form of GI distress. Liquid both ways... and that's all I shall say. It's hard to say what will correct this form of self destructive hanging out in the holeness.... well there is one thing that will.

Our biggest four letter word.


Now we have to be very careful about how we treat this kind of syndrome. An antibiotic will only be effective if there is something (a bacteria) to treat. An antibiotic will do nothing against a viral illness. An antibiotic will do nothing for me in GI hell.

Rest will. Great nutrition will. Sleep will. Hydration will. Good vitamins will. But no mega doses of vitamins.... your body will only absorb so much. Take extra and watch the color of your pee change.

This is the tango we dance as athletes who walk the fine line. Overtraining can result in injury or illness. The cure is rest. How long to rest? Take it day by day. Knowing that this is how a big week and not a fast enough recovery manifests itself for me.... I know a day of rest will be sufficient. Maybe 2, we will see.

Not only will you return to health if you find some R&R... your body will actually be able to absorb the heavy load of work you did do. Which is the point. If we keep thrashing ourselves that work doesn't get absorbed and the hole gets deeper. Making climbing out of it ever so interesting.

So remember..... rest, fluids, nutrition, and see the doctor. Only they will truly know if an antibiotic is actually necessary!


For some reason I am am having the hardest time summarizing the whole weekend. I can say it in one word..... incredible. Everyone learned something about themselves out on that course. Including me.

My biggest mistake of the weekend..... was putting myself into a great big hole for a girl I know. It ruined me. She was riding with intentions of skipping part of the course. I had stopped to check on another of my athletes who had a flat and my girl rode on. To encourage her to continue on I made an epic ride pushing wattages I had no business being in.... to get her nutrition and to give her motivation.

And I paid for it for the next 2 days.

Sometimes you just have to let people figure things out for themselves. And I should have let her figure it out for herself. Next time I will.

Everyone else did do just that. How about Ed.... an amazing athlete with Type I diabetes. The guy figures it out. He does not sit around with a "woe is me" attitude. Blood sugar issues held him back on Day one.... but he made a comeback on Day 2 and Day 3.... with strength and fortitude and determination that downright frightened me. If I put myself in a hole for anyone it should have been Ed. At least he would have appreciated it.

But he didn't need it.

This is the stuff that Ironmans are made of. Riding in the rain. Getting dirty, muddy, drenched and blown by the wind in every single direction. Saturday brought the worst conditions I have ever ridden IMLP in. We got blown, rained on, froze, fried..... and every single person came out stronger because of it.

Everyone figured it out. That's what was important.

Sunday our long runs brought much better weather and terrific attitudes. The longest part of the weekend was behind us and the sun was shining. Still cold but at least we had sun.

Nathalie, Chris and I stayed later for another 2 hour ride. It was worth every minute of it. I am so incredibly proud of this team. for who they are. Who they have become and who they believe themselves to be!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Some Pictures......

Kevin Walter is the human Starbucks Store Locator. Not shown is wife Ellie "Sherpa" who is getting him his coffee!

Travis Early and Joey Meyer..... Boce Ball experts and beer drinkers extrordinaire!

Day two am.... drinking coffee and getting ready! Amy Mo and Amy N, bookended by Ed and Bill!

This is the first night.... thanks Alan for actually looking at the camera!

The boy's room..... I really wanted to get Ed's counter of stuff.....

Kevin Walter...... always with a cup of Joe in his hand!

Amy Mo getting her bike ready!

My homegirls. This is my car..... "the locker room" Nathalie is in the backrgound and Sarah is front and center!

The home girls in the car!

Getting ready to ride!

Monday, May 26, 2008

We Are Home!

Our annual Weekend at Placid Training Camp was a success.... full report and pictures to come but here are the highlights:

* everyone did GREAT
* I am so proud of Nathalie.... she changed her first tubular!

* Sarah tried to convince me that a marathon between 2 Ironmans was a great idea..... but did not succeed

* Kim was wishing she stayed at the Mariott and dressed for winter all weekend. She even ate with her gloves on.

* A new fuzzy cycling jersey mid ride is GOLD

* so is a Snickers Bar. And then another.

* Seeing the wizard, being pulled into the box of hurt and then the seven corners of hell complete with pitt bull, pickup truck and semi truck is my sick way of having fun.

* Bill might believe that I am now actually a screen and the wind blows through me.

* Nathalie is the best roommate EVER.

* Marit I got a French Press for you and I LOVE IT.

* Ed might be the new definition of HTFU. Complete with Giants Cap.

* Travis and Joey and uniquely talented at Boche Ball

* Ben and Jerry's..... enough said.

* I trained 27.55 hours this week and the .55 is the key.

* I ate Bill's extra meatballs, Chris' leftover bacon, Nathalie's Toast and a paper napkin.

* This team has an addiction and it is called Sarbucks.

*Kevin Walter will travel to the ends of the earth if it entails a Starbucks.

* Kevin Walter can also change three flats and still negative split the bike

* Ellie Walter was the smart one this weekend, after a day at the spa she looked much better than I did. But she looks better than I do on a dialy basis.

* Dennis gave up his woobie and I think he's secretly dieting.

*Amy Mo's Sherpa called us the freak show and wondered which was worse.... being a drug addict or a triathlete?

* He threatened to wake us up at 4:30am and realized we'd already be awake.

* Amy N. is a Nero psychologist sent here by my husband and I am sure of it. Her cover is that she's in law school.

* Sarah Nathalie and I can fit into a 2 seater car.

* My car is now called the locker room.

It was a great weekend. Much more to come!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Hat Trick

These are the practice ski jumps in Lake Placid.

I had a great week of swimming. It's been a long time since I took the reach in the pool. As I said before I got really complacent. Heck I was a college swimmer I swim an Ironman swim in under an hour..... it's a comfortable place to be.

Then you know what happened on Monday..... happened again on Wednesday.... and then again this morning. Bree left me a comment that she wished she was swimming 300's with me, so this morning on a set of.... heck I don't remember..... I wished I was swimming with her. I know she'd be laughing. I know she'd be smiling. And I knew I'd be smiling too.

Good thoughts.

I am in the middle of a 27 hour training week. Today we are headed to the mountains of Lake Placid for camp. By the time I arrived on deck at 5:45 I felt like my already low IQ had dropped a few more points since yesterday. That's what happens when I train high volume. I get even stupider.

Which it scary of you know me.

In high volume weeks it's hard to balance nutrition. You are rolling over volume from day to day and the normal calories don't suffice. So when I stood on deck this am on a power bar for fuel, feeling like I was three feet under.... I knew there would be trouble.

And so we began. We swam and we swam hard. One of my favorite lane mates Ken, was cheering me on. He made me go in front of him on a set of 50's I was not sure I would make. I kept my head down and kicked my ass off. I made them.

In front of me on the next set..... can't remember that now either.... he must have known I was seeing the damn wizard (thank you Elizabeth for that term...) because he cheered me on again.

It worked.

The last few minutes of practice the walls began to close in. Stars were appearing in my Swedish goggles. I was bonking, in the pool... a 90 minute swim! I laughed. I tried one more 200. Five minutes left. Do I reach or do I play it safe? I stopped. I got out of the pool and my legs were weak. I smiled. I haven't had weak legs from swimming in ages.

Excitement filled me.

As well as some nervousness. I am feeling this way on the day I am headed to Placid.... and I have a great big training weekend ahead.

If you've never been to Lake placid you need to place it on your "bucket list". It's about wellness. It's about athletes. It's about everything good in our lives. We've rented just about an entire hotel. Much of the team is coming. We have dinner scheduled tonight at 8pm.

Weekends like this are so important in terms of taking the reach. Getting out of daily life and making a break though. Fitness boosts are made for sure. But more importantly we learn how to make that reach. We learn to step to that edge and at least look over the cliff.

I very may well fall off the damn cliff. But I know when I come back again I will be better for it!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


"Five three hundreds." Coach Lorie instructed us the other morning. And then she set the interval. Doable, I thought, with a little reach. This morning I was swimming in a Grimm Sandwich. Erik in front of me and Heidi behind. I waved Heidi ahead, she was preparing for the Madrid World Cup and needed a little push.

Erik will typically lap me at 250 yards and today was no different. Except that I finally got sick of it.

A month ago Coach Lorie videotaped us swimming above and underwater. A DVD was then created of the whole team. I was horrified as I watched myself. I was a shadow of the swimmer I grew up as. I really never kicked. Never. Not once not even a blip.

As we headed into set #2 of those 5 X 300's I thought, this is it. I am sick of getting dropped. I am a swimmer damnit!

I began #2 on Grimm's feet. And that's where I stayed for the next four. I added my kick. I felt like the college swimmer i used to be. I felt my heart swell, I felt myself reach for something more. Contentment had taken over me in this lane and I hadn't made the reach in ages.

"What was that?" cried Dr. Les when we were done. "That's the best I have seen you swim in five years!"

""I decided to finally buck up and swim." I told him. I was smiling, my lane mates were proud. Through the next sets I did it again. And again.

Then this morning I did it again through 4,000 yards. It was not easy. I started to fall back but I kept trying.

When on earth did I stop trying?

When did I stop believing?

When did I get comfortable being last in the lane?

When did I stop reaching?

That all stopped this week. I dropped it. It's part of dropping that bag of shit I talk so much about. I just didn't realize this was in that bag. And it isn't anymore.

How often in our lives do we create those habits? We get comfortable with where we are. At the top, at the bottom, somewhere in the middle. We come back to that same habit. Over and over and over.

Well what if we began to create a new habit????

What if instead of avoiding the final hill we took it? What if instead of finishing ..... we finished big. What if we finished each workout with our hands in the air declaring victory?

You see what happens to the people who get stuck. They do the same thing day after day year after year. It's hard for them to stray. They wonder why they always end up in the same place. They try to move ahead but their old habits bring them back.

Don;t let that be you. Hell it almost became me. Look higher, reach further, dream bigger. Why not. We won't ever know how far we can go unless we risk going a little bit further.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Five Ironman Week Mistakes

My Coach posted this over on our forum.... ( come on over and join us no matter where you are from) which I think is brilliant advice!

OK Ironman season is here again. Here are five things I see that people do during the week leading up to an ironman that potentially sabotages their chances for a good race. A lot of the examples are from Lake Placid but they apply to all races. They’re in no particular order and I’m sure there’s a lot more that I missed. Feel free to add or debunk.

Too Much Swimming

Ok it’s ironman week. You’re in Lake Placid four or five days before the race with really nothing to do but taper. So what do you do? Swim a lot. You go down and swim one lap (2000 meters) of the course every morning. If you’re there five days before that’s around 8K meters plus the 4K for the race which makes it 12K meters for the week. For most age group triathletes that’s their biggest swim week of the year! You have to taper the swim as well.

Treating it like a Family Vacation

I know you have used up lots of emotional capital with the spouse and kids in your lead up to the big race. So you try to make the “down” time spent in town before the race more of a family vacation. You walk up and down Main Street shopping all day in 85 degree heat. You climb up Whiteface Mountain or the ski jumps. Spend too much time at the athlete’s expo shopping. Coupled with the 8-10K of swimming you’re pretty much spent by the time race day comes around. The best thing to do before race day, when you’re not eating or doing a workout, is to sit at the hotel/condo with your feet up (even better lying down). Show up as close to race day as possible and promise the spouse and kids that the vacation will start after the race. You might be a little sore, but. You won’t be as stressed. You’ll be able to eat and do anything, which will allow you to truly enjoy the family vacation.

Not Putting on New Tires

$500 Registration, $5000 bike, $2000 wheels, $2500 for lodging but you’re going to race on tires you have raced on for the last one or two years? Ok I don’t have the stats for this one. It might just be my own silly superstition. But why not mount some new tires during race week. Ride them a couple of times to ensure there aren’t any problems. Race day flat insurance.

Listening to Race Week Experts

It doesn’t matter what your expected finishing time is going to be. It will seem that everyone you to talk during race week is planning to finish several hours ahead of you. They’ll have great advice and opinions on pacing, nutrition and equipment. You will be tempted based on this advice to tweak your race day plan. The race plan that you have been perfecting (hopefully) for the better part of ever. Don’t do it! The fact of the matter is most people are winging it on race day. Don’t change your race strategy based on a conversation you had with a person while wading into Mirror Lake for your 2K swim.

Forgetting to Have Fun

The winners are only going to get $10K for 26 weeks of training. You can make that on unemployment. Relax.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Looking Forward

Cast A Shadow Snowshoe Race 2007

It's May. The sun is shining. The first race of the year is behind us, and that means one thing. It's camp time again. Weekend at Placid to be exact.

The Weekend at Placid originated way back in 2003 and we've been going every year since. The name comes from that movie … remember "Weekend at Bernie's?" that's where the name came from.

It was 2003 and my friends and I were doing the Tour of the Ohio Valley Southern River (TOSRV). It was a 200 mile ride. 100 miles from Columbus to Portsmouth Ohio…..sleep overnight on a gym floor and then ride 100 miles back. The weather was warm but hell it was rainy. And windy.

At one point Kara screamed out that there were tornadoes and we believed her. Until we realized they were smokestacks.

My dear friend Ellie Hershberg was in her residency at the time. At the same hospital I am a nurse at. In fact many nights we worked together, and rode long after 2 hours of sleep.

On this ride we reminisced about old movies. Weekend at Bernie's was a favorite of the group.

You know how when you are riding 200 miles, a little tired, depleted… you know how things are really, really funny? Things you'd snort at if you were in your normal life?

Well I had the brainchild idea to call the weekend we'd soon be spending in Lake Placid…. Weekend at Placid…… and we'd all be the dead guy. At the time… I swear…. every single person was rolling around on a gym floor laughing.

Uh…. yeah…. so that's how the name came about. We've been heading up to Placid ever since.

For me Lake Placid is a place that is all about wellness. Goodness and wellness. A town where not so many people are walking around on their Black Berries. Where people are spending time together. Where there are road signs that signify cyclists on the roads and please drivers… please respect them.

This is the place where the Olympic hopefuls train. The skiers. The Luger's. The skaters. Everyone. There are kids, there are teenagers and there are adults following their athletic hearts. Following their dreams.

And we are no different.

The mountains are beautiful; the course we ride is lined with rivers. The trees are greener than anywhere else. We get to spend three days with each other, training, laughing and learning a lot about ourselves.

The lessons that need to be learned are not in any training manual, or any piece of advice that I can give. Things happen when you go to a camp. Things come up when you ride long, pieces of you start to surface. Some that you like and some that you don't. Maybe patience or pack thereof starts to bubble up. In the middle of 112 miles when no one is around to pick you up.... you learn to deal with it. You learn to be patient.

If nutrition starts to fail than you learn how to fix it.

If your pedal comes loose and you have no tools.... you figure it out.

These are the lessons that as a coach I have to let my athletes learn. These are the lessons I can't necessarily teach. Walking through the fire, flying down the 10K hill.... I can talk until I am blue int he face about it. But when you experience it you learn it.

Then I get to see the excitement in your eyes, and the thrill in your voice when you tell me just exactly what you repaired with duct tape. And how during the Ironman you know what you will do if.....

I have the best job in the world. I know the ending of the story. I know this team has put in it's work. I know this team is close knit. I know this team is family.

So as we are traversing the mountains of Placid next weekend, learning all we can about ourselves..... our thoughts will be with one of our own. She's traveling to Brazil for her first Ironman. Tomorrow night I help her pack up her bike. Tuesday she's off on a long journey and the next time I will see her, I will call her an Ironman.

Now that's what this is about.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Looking Back

Rachel this picture is for you.......

One week ago today I was 30,000 feet above the ground flying to Panama City Beach. Isn't it funny how you wait for a trip to come and then suddenly you travel through the Star Wars warp speed tunnel and you are sitting here on the other side. Wondering ..... did I even go at all?

The sand in my hair confirms.... I was in fact at the beach and running through waves.

You must read Ashley's recap of the weekend. It might be the funniest thing ever in the world!

You must also read my new friend Ryan's report.... he might be the funniest person ever in the world. And by the way Ryan you are a member of HTFU! Ryan confirmed for me that I am not the only one who has thought God was speaking at the finish line of an Ironman, Some people think Morgan Friedman is the voice of God... but for triathletes it's Mike Reiley!

And Amy Kloner has no blog........ WTF??? What I can say about her is that each conversation I had with her.... she speaks in a voice that is highly excited and a step above talking and a step below screaming.... even when she's giving a post race interview from a wheelchair! I might be the same if I won the race to though..... and for the record remember that picture of her on the cover of USA Triathlon with "the helmet" .... it looks much better on her in person.

All weekend long people kept asking the three of us how we met. We'd look at each other and chuckle...... the Internet..... blogging..... I almost wanted to say on!!!!!

Does it really even matter how we meet? We find each other's blogs, we get to know each other through our writing, we become friends. We knew each other before we ever met. How lucky is that? So very lucky.

I am so very lucky that I could travel far from home to a race I went to completely alone last year. I came home this year with even more friends than I went with.

I learned that Marit is the all in one. from weather to fish to no there is not a second floor in Target..... you need to know something..... she's your woman. At one point from our balcony she spotted a stranded Manatees and she flew out the door of the wind tunnel (our hotel room) to save it. She got to the beach and it was already saved. But that's Marit for you. She'd do anything for anyone. That kind of Karma comes around.

I learned that Ashley really loves to be the queen of skank. I think it has always been her secret dream. Best part of the weekend was when we were practicing our open water starts and she looked at the ocean.... muttered fuck it..... and ran into the waves like she meant it. I learned that Ashley loves the life and the experience and it reminded me.... why did I travel here alone last year? Races are meant to be shared with friends and I swear I will always remember that.

My abs still hurt from all of the laughing I did this weekend.

We have decided that there will be a fall meeting of HTFU. Las Vegas Baby and 1/2 Max Nationals. I have absolutely no desire to go anywhere that does not involve ocean..... but if my sisters are going and I survive Ironman #5 .... you can count me in.

So look out Vegas..... the Hooters girls are on our way this October!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Gulf Coast..... Roast..... 1/2 Ironman

I was the girl smiling today. In the bathing suit with the sunshine on it. Seemed fitting this morning as Marit reminded me that my camp HTFU nickname was Miss Mary Sunshine.

So that was me. And ironically that's what I got called all day long on the course here at the Gulf Coast 1/2 Ironman. I had a ton of fun. I felt so lucky to even be on the starting line.

I rate this race as a B+ for me. Not my best time but we are getting there. This was a B priority race for me (some people wonder why people have B races…. why travel so far for a B race…. do you know my camp HTFU sisters? That's why). The goals were pacing pacing pacing. I am also not strong on flat hot courses. So putting myself right on the sun was the idea. Last year was not a great experience for me, and this year went a bit better!

The swim went fine. I felt great and it was fun. Knowing the physics of surfing helped me time my strokes and breathing with the great waves we were so lucky to have!

Onto the bike I was feeling very good. I had to stop in the beginning because I dropped my nutrition, a little bumpy road and a forgetful athlete, need to make sure those cages are secure. I met up with a fellow Splsih suit wearer and when I had to stop the second time, to secure my front cage…. she screamed at me "No Stopping EGGERS!". It was nice to make a friend out there. I rode pretty much alone; the only woman who passed me was Atlanta's Amy Kloner, eventual winner and pro duathlete!!! (might want to think of that triathlon pro card Amy!) We've emailed a lot but never met face to face. She introduced herself and for a minute I thought I would hang with her.

Pacing goals, I reminded myself, hung my head and stayed back. I rode a bit beneath my wattage goals, and I felt great. Nutrition was spot on. The wind was fair. The air was hot and for now the sun was hiding. The fog signaled to me humidity was present.
Onto the run things felt good and hot. I had to hold myself back the first 4 miles and then…. my Garmin battery died. Oh well, I thought, I will have to run this on feel. I didn't even have a watch with me.

I took so much salt during this whole race that I was feeling very confident in my electrolyte status. I hit coke at each aid station. I kept cool. I felt that I was on pace. After the race I realzied the pace I had found was my Ironman Pace. Good news for IMLP. I felt excited about that. If all fails me at IMLP I can find the pace.

I could have gone faster. Hooray for Mooseman! And I wont' forget to charge the Garmin or make the rookie mistake of not wearing a watch!

I didn't quite feel like I would be able to run harder at mile 10. I felt a bit foggy, which was strange. At eighty six degrees it may have been hotter than this New Yorker was ready for.

The entire time I was waiting for Ashley to pass me on the run. She's a much stronger runner than I am and I had calculated she would catch me at least by mile 10. When I didn't see her I felt worried. Little id I know she was pushing through some really tough nutritional issues. I have been there, it's not fun. Part of me wanted to turn around and wait for her. She'd have killed me if I did that. I prayed that she was okay and that I would see her soon.

Exactly at mile 10 someone turned on the sun. I walked 2 aid stations to get cool. I took more salt. My muscles felt fine, my head just felt foggy.

I crossed the line 10 minutes faster than 2006. But well off my PR. We knew that coming into this, Lake Placid is the prize. I will admit to initially being disappointed by that.

Then I remembered a few things. How lucky I am. To arrive at a staring line, to be healthy enough to compete, to have the people in my life that I have.

I thought about Marit. She stood on the sidelines all day long. She's been Sherpa-ing us around all weekend. Marit would take my "not a personal best time" in a heartbeat. She'd be doing anything right now to be on that race course.

A man drowned in the swim today. The story is not clear now but someone started this race who did not live to see the finish.

Puts things into perspective, eh?

So I will take it. I know my better times are coming later. I know my day is coming. I know I am getting closer. I know I just have to believe.

I felt happy all day long. I felt in control and I dealt with the heat as best I could. As a test of fitness I think we did pretty well. The coming month is going to be hard. I am ready, I am willing and I told Coach T to lay it on me!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Delta Delta Delta

Happy Mother's Day to me! In the Atlanta airport eating a parfait, and at least I have Starbucks.

This afternoon I paid two hundred and thirty dollars to fly my bike. TWO HUNDRED AND THIRTY DOLLARS.

The gate agent said the price and not only did I throw up in my mouth, but I shat myself as well.

"New regulations." She said.

"Since Thursday?" I asked. "I paid $80 to fly it down!" And was told that the gate agent in Rochester "did it wrong." I ask her to explain to me how on earth this costs $230 to fly. IS there a dollar amount per inch? Per pound? I know the rules, I am an athlete who flies with her bike quite a bit!

I politely ask to speak with the manager. He tells me the rules and the rules and that I need to take it up with customer service.... honey. I sigh and hand them my card. Of which they tell me they can not accept because they can't quite clearly read my name on the back. And my business name is on the front.

"We don't know it's yours." The manager tells me.

"I own the business." I laugh. "Founder.... President..... CEO...."

"Sorry." He says "My agent won't be accepting that!"

Am I on some show, where Marit will be running around the corner with a TV camera laughing? Now would be the time for that to happen.

"There's an ATM around the corner honey." He instructs me.

I walk around the corner ready to withdraw TWO HUNDRED AND THIRTY DOLLARS in AMERICAN money might I add.... to fly by bicycle. And then I see it.


I sigh. I walk back to the counter. I tell them it's out of order. All three gate agents shrug. They rudely tell me I can take a cab to the nearest ATM machine..... 3 miles away.

Oh my god. Marit... Ashley.... are you here with cameras???????

I dial my husband.... who doesn't answer.

I dial my parents.... who don't answer.

I start dialing friends..... finally one answers. God love him he gives the gate agent his credit card number over the phone..... because did I mention they would not accept the card from my non business account because they could not see my name clearly enough either? And when I asked if we could call the 1-800 number.... or I could pull up the account on my laptop..... no sorry honey, that just won't do.

My ever so amazing friend gives them his credit card number over the phone. They take it, and I am so grateful to him! I ask them why on earth they can accept a credit card over the phone (for a fee that is so up the ass it's not even funny!) and can't accept TWO cards I have in front of them.

"Policy honey." I am told. Did I acquire a new boyfriend? Am I going steady with this man? Is there a reason he seems to think my name is honey?

This is all code word for: we are gate agents who don't have a brain cell to think from, so we just blindly follow rules we don't understand.

Once in Atlanta... where I am now..... I walk to the customer service desk. They repeat the same schpeel. Hey gate agent in Rochester..... look out.... Delta keeps calling you an idiot!

But they ask me to put into writing what has happened. That in 30 days they will refund whatever they deem appropriate.

How about next time I buy the damn ticket for my bike and it gets to fly with me? because if I am going to pay more than my ticket to fly my bike then it gets to sit next to me instead of get manhandled by your baggage people who like to break my freaking bike box!!!!!!!

Hell I have been wearing the same clothes for four days so that the only thing I have to check is the bike box!

As I left my bike in the hands of the gate agents in Panama City Beach I warned them.... not only had my bike better arrive... it'd better arrive without any damage. (I imagine they were just shaking in their boots... uh... yeah).

I shall keep you updated. I will not be taken advantage of like this. This is robbery. Rules one day don't matter the next.... people who can't seem to agree on anything.... and people who follow policy to follow policy.... I don't think so!

Happy Mother's Day to ME!

Last Day on the Beach

Marit and I on the beach.....

Our Saturday night picnic sponsored by Cherry M&M's

Ashley is the queen of Jim Carey faces.......

It's our last day on the beach. I shall post a race report tomorrow, as I am still reviewing. The most significant thing that happened to me.... my Garmin battery died on the run. I was aiming for my "M pace". And I didn't wear a watch. I thought, oh good... an opportunity to see if I can find M pace by feel.

I didn't, I held E pace by feel. For the Ironman that's a good thing, and that's the ultimate goal.

Last year I came to this race alone. This year I got to share it with friends.

Last night we had a picnic on the beach and it was awesome. I feel so blessed and grateful to have made these friends. Which also makes me grateful that I have made friends with all of you. I just know that if all of you were here we'd be having the time of our lives.

It's neat how we found one another. People will ask the three of us how we met and we'll say "Blogging.". In one way it makes us feel like Internet stalkers and on the other hand I am really really happy.

Where else would I watch Ashley reuse a coffee mug that she barely rinsed to heat up water for oatmeal?

Who else would I take a half chewed NUUN tablet from and throw it in my own water bottle, but from Marit?

These moments are the moments that memories are made. And I am so very grateful to have shared them with Marit and Ashley!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Day in Pictures

First of all our two Sherpa's of the day........ Marit and Joanna!

My bike is all ready........

Race morning, myself and Ashley, I am encouraging her to finish choking down her oatmeal.....

Here we are getting ready for the swim!

I tried to pay Ashley $100 to wear and eye patch and run up to Spencer Smith... and jump around like an obsessed fan... cuz she does have her Planet X Wheels!. but she looked at me and said.... Hell NO!

Here is my wave of the swim! Look close, you will me swimming with JAWS!

Skank-o-meter diarrhea Ashley Long finishing the Gulf Coast 1/2 Ironman!


WE FINISHED...... we got IV's and we had pretty good days. They don't call this Gulf "ROAST for a reason. Full report is on the way....... know that we are pretty psyched and the next 24 hours I will be in the Cheetah Suit. More to come tonight! THANKS FOR THE KIND EMAILS!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Pictures from the BEACH!

These pictures are from the morning..... we have been resting all day long!!! We are ready to go!

Ashley with her game face on!

Some people on spring break do tequilla.... we do NUUN tablets!

Yes, that is me wearing PINK LEOPARD SKIN.
Yes, I am racing in it. No I am not doing it by choice.

Ashley and I tackling the waves!


Friday is for Foucs

Whew..... we've had the blowout day, the reunion day.... and yes it is true...... I was standing in front of the hotel waiting for Marit, in not much of anything before I realized Panama City Beach thought I was the new Hooters girl! Don't worry! Don't worry, we needed that day. The day to catch up, to laugh, to just get our heads onto the beach.

Today is a different day. Friday is for focus. We are here for a reason and that reason is to have a boatload of fun while racing the Gulf Coast 1/2 Ironman. Yeah...... that's the ticket.

But for the record I don't' think Ashley smelled yesterday. But I am nice like that.

This morning as Marit and I are sitting on the balcony we've got white caps below. The waves make me happy, they make other swimmers nervous. There is a lot and a little to do today. We'll get the workouts done early.... register..... clean bikes...... and rest.

Marit brought a French Press and actual coffee mugs, so I am in heaven. Waves and coffee!

Our balcony is the perfect place to rest. Outside, in front of the ocean and out of the sun. Saturday will be about sun.

I can't wait to get on that course. Whatever it may bring me. My main theme for this race is pacing pacing pacing. Coach set specific parameters for me for the bike and for the run and I shall stick to those. My typical fly on the bike die on the run days are over. I no longer wish to hear"Nice bike split Mary!"

To the goals I shall stick, including the ones for today. Feet up, not much sun, but we said nothing about laughing. I believe I have clearance to laugh my damn ass off!
The only thing that could make this better...... Jen, Liz and Leslie. We miss you!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Day ONE!

Marit and I made it to the beach!

Here is me, trying to surf and getting overtaken!

We have many more pictures and now that Ashley has arrived the uncontrollable giggling has begun, although she shall try to blame me for it.
We did decide however that after all, Ness was right when she described Camp HTFU..... the H did fall off and tonight we are just the plain old F*** Ups. There is some hope that we have found our H's however.... although how we did that shall be revealed tomorrow.
Ashley did text us as she was 10 miles out of town, wondering who was in the mood for a good sweaty hug. Marit and I had just returned form a swim at the Panama City beach Aquatic Center.... so we were definitely in the mood.
I tell you it's like being home with the girls here.
We've already planned out next HFTU adventure and all we can say right now is that it involves Vegas in the fall ;-)
The air is warm, the waves are rolling in on the shore.... and I swear I will be sleeping on the balcony tonight.
I can tell you what did not happen today. marit did not run, not once, not even a quick step. I did run away from her when she asked where the second floor of Target was. The waiter at Carabba's had his eyes on Ashley and there's much more..... much much more........


Waves are bigger in person than they appear here!

I am here! I am in front of the ocean! The waves are BIG and the ocean is BLUE! And I am heading in as soon as the girls arrive! I am resting on the balcony.... tonight I am buying an air mattress because this is where I shall be sleeping the next 3 nights. I want to hear the ocean all night long. It makes me so happy to be here, to be waiting for the girls and to be doing everything I love to be doing!

When I boarded the plane I missed the sign that said "WELCOME TO SIX FLAGS!" ..... holy camolie! Talk about ROUGH! Second flight I met Kathleen and John from Tennessee.... the three of us have tangoed around on all the same courses!

I am so happy right now and I need you all to know that! SO HAPPY! The only thing that could make this even better would be Curt and Luc.

Luc will blow bubbles into the air today and I will be here to catch them!!!

Much more to come!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Making Harrison's Day

We love you JAWS! We can't wait to see you!

Hey Rachel..... you won't believe it, but my bike did not, did not, pack itself. I actually had to do it. I know.... I know..... I could not believe it either. We will have to cope by hitting Starbucks... unless you are off the juice again.....

I had a cool new suit for Gulf Coast. It had my Coach's company on it, black with yellow flowers.... gosh I love Splish! But I left it in the locker room this morning. UGH!!!!

Now I am forced to make a decision. I know, this is life altering to those of you who know me. Somehow I own 2 pink suits. I have nothing against pink. I am just not the girl who runs around in pink.

But just for kicks, just for giggles, just because I know Jen Harrison will somewhere scream and clap and be really proud, I am considering wearing a pink suit this weekend.

Will you be wandering around Saturday morning just wondering? Wondering???????

My husband told me flatly that the world likely does not care. Imagine that!

But the world might care about this...... Five girls, 2 beds, five bikes, and bathing suits. What happens in PCB stays in PCB! NOT!

Until the beach.......

Almost Go!

Today's picture is of Curt in Germany this summer. Sharing a dinner with his beloved disc wheel.

The busyness of a final has been replaced with the busyness of getting ready. I have a few things to wrap up my semester.... a write up for my final and some teacher evaluations.

I wonder if my bike will pack itself today. Heck I wonder if it will clean itself too. Heck I can clean it on the beach.

I hope I remember my wetsuit. Oh, I do have that list of what to bring......

I am delighted by this kind of stress. The excitement of racing.

Luc took me out last night to see Speed Racer. It was a premiere and how he got free tickets to it..... is beyond me. He's SEVEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It got me psyched. It was a great movie!

Next report will be from the beach. Marit has let me know she will be bringing actual coffee mugs for the actual French Pressed coffee we shall be drinking!

Does it get any better than that?

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

A Litte Bitta Boom Boom!

This is what happens when you are in Berlin and waiting for the train back to Hamburg but have a little time on your hands....... you become even stupider!

Did you hear me exhale last night at 4:48? You might have, the rest of Rochester sure did. My professor sat me down outside of the classroom and commended me on a "Beautiful organized assessment." See, this was not an ordinary exam, it was part of my assessment class for my Masters, of which I am not sure I am still desiring to pursue anymore! HA HA!

As part of this class I had to complete a head to toe assessment on a patient. That patient was my husband and wow, was he a trooper. Nearly every night he sat and let me practice on him. Looking in his ears, palpating his liver and his spleen. So the exam involved me, my professor and Curt. Me assessing Curt. WHEW. ALL DONE!

So it felt like we were a team and quite honestly there isn't anyone else I would want to be on my team.

And that's the way I feel about my entire life to be honest. I can't imagine someone else being on this team... team Eggers..... except for Curt. For sport, for life, for everything.

So thanks Curt, not just for being my patient ;-).

And now I get to dream! I get to focus, I get to really embrace that in 2 days Marit and Ashley and I will be in Panama City Beach. We have so much to celebrate. I would like to declare this trip a celebration of life.

When my feet hit the ocean I am going to feel complete. When I see Marit and Ashley I am going to feel such joy. When Marit whips out her french press I am going to feel ecstatic!

So here we go my friends....... 48 hours until take off. So much to be done, so much fun to be had!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Home Stretch

Ashley gets to live near coffee street. I am so jealous!

Good morning. I have fourteen hours to go. Thank you for your kindest wishes. Thank you for the love you've sent.

Congrats to Bree and ELF down in St. Criox. I am really, really proud of them both!!!!!!

Thursday..... Marit and Ashley...... THURSDAY. When I go to sleep tonight I am going to be dreaming of it.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

The Sun

This morning's picture is the other half of the one from a few days ago.... this is Leslie, Jen and Ashley.... and I think that the picture speaks for itself!!!!

This morning I will be sending speed, strength and love to Bree and Elizabeth who are on a small island racing their hearts out! Go for it girls!
Day three of four is upon us. Last night was incredibly difficult at work. Sometimes things happen that are so heartbreaking that you wonder why you do what you do. Then you take a step back and you look at your team and you think..... if this was my child this is the team I would hope was doing everything they can to save the life at stake.

Please know that about the pediatric emergency nurses. Heck please know that about just about every nurse I know. Many times we have a 10 minute warning, and last night with that warning we were ready in 30 seconds. With skill and with speed we worked, and we worked and we worked. When it was all over please know that we cried. We cried hard and we cried for a long time. We held hands of one another and our patient.

I think the day where I could walk away from that situation and not have a fracture line in my heart..... would be the day that I should never come back.

We have to believe that all things happen for a reason. That there is a higher power among us and that higher power is watching and holding us all.

As I left last night I walked out into the warm and rainy evening. It seemed like the world was crying. Someone I didn't know walked past me, and realized I was crying.

He grabbed my hand and squeezed it, smiled at me and kept going.

I think people can be angels themselves.

And in the darkest moment, in the rainiest night, when you look to the sky and you wonder why.... something happens that reminds you that good does exist, that good still happens, and that you did everything within your power to save. Sometimes your power can only go so far..... but the power bigger than you is what will ultimately save. Your definition of the word save might not feel the same but it is a trust and a feeling you just have to have.

So as sad as I felt, I still felt hopeful. Hopeful because there is always a silver lining. That my four day stretch of insanity was really just a small blip on a big screen. That as hard as it seems it really isn't so hard.

And we will heal. We will heal no matter what. My final will come, and my final will go. I will still smile, I will still laugh. I will still board that plane on Thursday and I will fly directly to the sun (isn't that where Panama City Beach is located?). Marit, Ashley and I will swim in the ocean. And we will swim parallel to shore so we won't get eaten by Jaws. The salt water will feel soothing, the sun will feel healing.

And everything will be all right.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

The Mountain

Today's picture is ....... approaching Hamburg Germany via air......

Have you ever fallen off the mountain? This mountain we call life at least? We all fall off of it from time to time.

But we always seem to find our way back up.

It isn't always when you are standing at the top that you realize the true beauty of what is around you. Sometimes it is from the bottom.

Imagine this.... you are standing there in the sun, arms wide open, looking up to the sky and screaming "THIS IS IT!"

And all of a sudden a rock breaks beneath your feet. You start to fall. You hit every single thing on the way down. Slice open your back, hit your head. Bang into boulders, get bruised, cut open and you bleed. You come to what you think is the bottom for a moment, but you realize it's just a ledge. Just when you think you hope this thing doesn't break it breaks, sending you rolling downward again. Your hands are grasping but you are grabbing twigs that break. You fall faster. You grab hold of a tree branch and you stop. You look up, you look down and while you know you are in the middle you are not sure which way is closer. Before you take your next breath that breaks too. You keep grabbing but you keep falling.

You hit the bottom and there is a lot of dust. Pain you have never felt. You are tired and you are bleeding. You look up. The sun somehow is still shining. It looks different from here. Through the rocks you can actually see sunbeams. You never saw that on the top. You notice the shape and the color of the rocks above you. You realize that the mountain is far more beautiful from the bottom.

And you can't believe you just survived the fall. You still have faith.

As you start to pick yourself up you are in a great deal of pain. There is a lot of blood, but you don't mind. You are muddy and dirty. You brush yourself off. It's what you've always done.

You take a deep breath in as you look up and wonder if you have the strength to do it again. As you reach for the first rock you are uncertain, but it holds you. You put your foot up on another, and it is solid. You begin to believe that you can do this.

Then the next rock you grab breaks. You begin to fall again and it's worse this time. You realize what you thought was the bottom, was not. There was another 250 feet to go.

Again you lay at the bottom. Rock bottom. As you look up you say that's too high. I can't do it again. You lose faith.

A group of climbers comes by and offers you assistance. No thanks you tell them…. I am fine, I can do it, and I need no help. The fear of someone knowing you are weak, sick, broken…… it overwhelming. You watch as they walk away together and begin to climb. Part of you wishes you went with them.

To not be alone right now …. you would do anything…. except admit you are weak.

So once again you pick yourself up. You walk to the bottom of the mountain. You see the group climbing, laughing, ascending, together. Your heart aches and the pain is so great. You want to have faith.

Finally, finally you decide to ask them for help. But they are far away and your pain is so great. You begin to climb anyways because you know if you just make it to them…… they will help you. You begin to look for faith.

You call out to them but your voice is weak. You don’t' want to really admit you need help. You know you have to. You try to shout. You are at war with yourself. Part of you is begging for help and the other part is angry that you would need it.

You scream louder. One of them hears you. They climb back down and they extend their hand. You reach up and you take it. Just by holding onto them your pain eases. Tears begin to flow and you try not to let them see you cry.

They pull you up to a ledge where they have water and food. They tell you they have been waiting for you. They tell you they have been climbing this mountain too, and they have been watching you fall and climb and fall. They tell you they have wanted to help you but …. you were stubborn. So they just waited.

As you sit down they give you water, they begin to clean your wounds. They put their arms around you and hold you tight.

At first you fight it, but then……. you stop. You allow the tears to come. You allow the love to come within you. You realize you are not alone. You never were alone and you never have to be alone.

You feel their love. You feel them hold you. They pick up your bags and you for once do not protest. Faith has found you.

When they say we will carry you, you let go of the fear. You relax into them and you allow them to carry you back up the mountain, You trust they won't let you fall. You trust that they will not let go. Every now and then the old fear arises that they will let go…… you pick up your head, you look at them, and they tell you to trust them, to relax. You go on faith.

Step by step and foot by foot they carry you to the top of that mountain. They remind you that you were never meant to do it alone. But because your life required you to survive……. they understood why you felt that way.

You look up to the sun, and while you are still weak, you are now healing. You feel the sunbeams wash over your body. Someone takes your hand, and again you begin to cry. You let it all out. But finally not crying because you are sad. You are crying because you let go. You let go of the stuff and you let in the love.

You become faith and faith becomes you.

And you realized that love is what ultimately heals. That love is what erases pain. Takes away evil. Makes the world go around. You've been turned off of it for so long…… that you forgot that existed.

But you never will again.