Monday, June 30, 2008

I am IT!

Okay Bree..... here it is!

10 years ago I was:

Graduating from college as a Registered Nurse

5 years ago I was:


The Mom of a 2 year old, preparing for my second Ironman.

1 year ago I was:

Preparing for my third Ironman.

5 things on my to do list today: (other than something to do with Ironman!)

Meditate
See Wall-E the movie
Go fishing with Luc
Check in with my athletes
Check in with my sister who lives in Paris.

5 snacks I enjoy:

Popcorn
yogurt
is coffee a snack? I think so.... coffee!
saltine crackers
peanut butter

If I were a billionaire I would:

Find a family who needed to be given a break. Buy them a nice house and help then get back on their feet, set up college education for the children and help the parents find their way.

6 people I want to have lunch with tomorrow:

Julia Butterfly Hill
Luc Van Lierde
Natasha Badmann
The President
Lug Eggers

My Dad.

5 places I have lived:


Orchard Park NY
Stony Brook NY
Laguna Beach California
Buffalo NY
Rochester NY

5 jobs I have had:

Lifeguard
Registered Nurse, Orthopedics, pediatric IMCU and now Pediatric Emergency
Career Spinning and Aerobics Instructor
Triathlon Coach
Fitness Director

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Victory at Home

Ever win something and feel like you didn't deserve it? That's how I felt today at the Quakerman Triathlon, which was a 600 yard swim / 22 mile bike and a 4 mile run staged in the town where I grew up, the beach where I lifeguard ed during high school and college and where my parents still live.

It was a bit of a homecoming for me in so many ways. But my performance was less than stellar. I honestly wanted to walk up to the second place woman and give it to her because she deserved it more than I did today!

It wasn't a complete disaster, I did have a pretty solid week of training this week as we trained and recovered. But today... less than amazing for sure.

I led my wave in the swim, felt pretty strong on the bike but as I see my power files I am not impressed.... but then again I won't be impressed with myself on the bike until I beat Lance Armstrong..... (in shape or out of shape). My TSS score had me in my tempo ranges. My run..... I wanted to take a nap. I really did! In my aim for T pace I barely held M pace.

My attitude..... just as poor. It was poor from the get go, which is not like me.

Now I know I am tired. I know I am pulling out of a hole, and I know today is not the prize.

Days like these are just as important as the days where the wheels come off because you are hitting the paces. And days like these are just as much a part of the plan as recovery days and long rides.

You can't feel amazing every day. And I know that.

This win didn't feel good and it didn't feel deserved. And I hope that does not sound arrogant or not grateful because believe me that I do realize how lucky I am to be where I am.

So I shall continue to sit tight because I know that in 21 days the day I have been waiting and training for will be upon us. And I will possibly feel worse than I did today. And I will know how to handle it. And I will get to that finish line and believe me I will me smiling.

As I think of it my smile was somewhat absent today. That's not how I race. That's not how I exist. So I will put myself in check..... go to sleep right now and await my last big week of training from my awesome Coach, who knows how to pull the very best out of me.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Math Help

Okay..... I have been waltzing around thinking I am all that boasting that Placid will be my third IM in 18 months..... but it was pointed out to me today that this will be the 3rd in a year.

Is this true? Is this math correct? Placid 07, Florida 07, Placid 08? I am not all that, trust me, I am just an idiot.

If so..... my goodness please have the men with the white coat meet me at the finish line.

Roll the Ball!

Stop squeezing me MOM!

We've got a new summer hobby aside from hanging at the beach. We are bona fide.... Bowlers. You see Luc's Elementary School was given cards for each student from Bowl A Rama, the local bowling alley. It was all part of their "Say no to drugs.... say yes to bowling" campaign.

I thought it was a terrific idea. Inspire our youth to be moving and be active. We don't own a Wii, we don't own an.... Atari or a Coleco Vision or even a Nintendo..... and see how far behind I am.... I don't even know what's come along next!

Our idea of fun is playing outside. I think every single home in America should come equipped with a basketball net. How many conversations do families have while shooting hoops together. If everyone had one (and used it) I am convinced therapists all over the country would go out of business.

The deal with bowling is that each student received a punch card good for one free game and a pair of shoes. Parents get a game and shoes for $1. Now $2 for a little fun? That's a deal!

We're pretty horrid bowlers. Heck I have only once broken 100 and that's with the bumpers. And until I told someone I bowled a 96, I didn't know that not breaking 100 was something to laugh at.

WHO KNEW!

What impressed em the most was this...... the other people.

At 9am the lanes are rather empty except for a few. Last week I noticed a guy in his 20's. iPod was on, he has his own shoes, his own ball, he was in his own little world. It made me smile.

A group came in a bit later with their fancy schmancy bowling bags and all their own gear.

What I noticed was people who love their sport, who are dedicated to it and who love the company of one another.

They were just like me. Just like me but different sport.

I was surprised by the young ages of so many of these people. I was glad about it. Just like I am glad when I see the youths at a kids race or better yet I see the youths grow older and complete a triathlon by the time they are 20.

Our goal for our son is that he lives an active lifestyle. Knowing how to swim was really important to us because too many people.... don't.

He can shoot hoops, play soccer, bowl. He's the jack of all traits and as he gets older he will have a variety of ways to be active and live healthy. If he picks triathlon that's wonderful. If he doesn't that's equally as wonderful. Finding what he loves is what is important.

For now he's excited about the kids races.... and I am excited that he's excited to be racing his third triathlon at the Quakerman tomorrow. Hometown with my homeboy..... it doesn't get better than that.

I am sure that over at Bowl A Rama there are equally important things happening. Tournaments, laughing, moving, and being healthy. To me it's all the same. You'd better believe that we will be back on Monday.... and we'll be aiming for 100!




Thursday, June 26, 2008

Breaking up with Iron

I am very proud to announce there was no dropping trou on the long run this week. We moved it to Thursday night this week due to my schedule, due to the heat (we want it hot), humidity and being later in the day.


When you are a morning person running at night is very strange. There were PEOPLE at the ice cream shop form which we begin. Real.... ice cream eating people. Which always is interesting when you are running.

We were soaked to the bone when we were done.

S-U-C-C-E-S-S!

Don't you hate when all of a sudden too much time magically becomes too little time? I must say that every day ... but that's okay.... with my short term memory it's new to me every single time. Like a goldfish seeing the little plastic castle. Wow! A castle! (Wait 30 seconds) Wow! A Castle! (rinse and repeat all day long).

Now my husband said something to me yesterday that rocked my entire world. He told me... sit down for this one.... that once you are an Ironman you are always an Ironman. He said that you don't' have to keep doing this over and over and over and over!

I know! I know! I said the same thing!

I wish someone had told me this four Ironmans ago!

It's actually gotten to the point where I don't want people to know. You've done HOW MANY? They look at you sideways, they squint their eyes, and many times they just begin backing up. How many miles is that????? OH MY GAWD! And god forbid they see the back of my car. Worse than a locker room. Trust me. Ask Curt.

Believe me I am well aware of this mental illness. Well aware. To the people I respond "Don't be impressed... I am sick."

It's to the point where I have actually instructed my husband that I am not to leave our Lake Placid home during registration on Saturday. And on Monday morning hide the keys because I am not signing up for 2009.

It's to the point where I have thought about the races I will do in 2009 to prevent me from returning to 140.6. (Actually we can consider my Ironman 140.8 because I will at some point not run straight). So right now I am planning Gulf Coast, Mooseman, Musselman. That takes me through July.

It's to the point where I feel like I have to break up with the Ironman. This is not an easy task. It's been a wonderful relationship. A long one. One that I will return to. The Ironman loves me and I love the Ironman.

I am afraid to break the news to the Ironman. I worry he will be upset with me. I worry he won't welcome me back. I worry he will find another love.

I envision my final run (for a while) along Mirror Lake drive during that second loop. I will be crying for a thousand reasons. Mostly I will be crying becasue whatever the day may bring I know I won't have this feeling again for a while. The feeling of being called an Ironman.

But Ironman isn't like that, I know. Ironman loves me and he knows. He knows that ours is a relationship that is deep and meaningful... so much so that every now and then we have to step away from one another.

Sniff. But once I am an Ironman.... I am always an Ironman!

In other exciting news Coach T surprised me in his decision that I should and will race the Quakerman. It's a shortie (it's a freaking warm up.) but in my hometown and best of all.... Luc will be racing.

So let's hope these distance legs have a little snap in them.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

My Secret Aspiration



I have a confession to make. I have a secret dream of being a Starbucks Barista.

I know... I know..... this great big college education and entrpreneuer and yoga teacher thing.... I would throw it all away in a second for the chance to work in the Mecca.

Yaddi, Yaddi, Yaddi..... big mean corporate America running small town coffee places, I agree, but I just can't help it. I love that I visit just about each one in town. I love that I know all the managers, I love that they know me and my family.

So why don't I just go and work there? I don't know. I could do it, I know I could! I mean I can start an IV on 2 day old babies and kids who are flailing and kids who don't even have arms. I can pump blood into someone while standing on their stretcher as they slide through a CT machine. My multitasking skills truly are top notch.

Sometimes when things get rough in the Peds ED I close my eyes and imagine....

What size would you like, tall grande or perhaps Venti?

Extra hot sir?

We have to make three shots anyways.... would you like an extra?

Iced or hot? (even though I believe it to be a SIN to put ice in coffee!)

The best part... if I make the wrong drink... no one dies... well unless they have some raging allergy but ah-ha! I would be right there to swoop into action.

Did I ever tell you that our Emergency Dept Pharmacist once handed me a 200mg vial of caffeine? (it was for a teenager with a migraine!) and I almost flat lined myself.

IT COMES IN A VIAL AND I CAN IN FACT ADMINISTER IT IV!

I told my 17 year old patient as I was giving it to her that I felt jealous. And heck I did.

If I worked at Starbucks I wouldn't have to put up with people waving guns and people losing limbs and people asking for prescriptions for Tylenol. Sure there would be smaller headaches like I asked for that in a Venti.... or I told you extra whip.... or this doesn't taste right.

The grass of course is greener on the other side.

If I worked at Starbucks I'd know everything there was to know about coffee, and I already know a lot. The other day however I did run into a big problem. The person in front of me ordered her drink extra wet.

I swear I turned red. Extra wet? What did that mean? I was torn between not knowing what that means and being pretty sure that was code for porn coffee.

If I worked at Starbucks I'd have at least one free drink a day which would help me save on my existing coffee bill. I would be able to identify beans by smell, have access to grinders and I am very sure I would have the inside scoop on the wonderful blend called Pike Place and I bet I'd be able to fill my bathtub with beans.......

But then again what if there were corporate world politics like there are hospital politics and like there is regular business people politics? What if I began a career as a Barista and realized that the place I have come to know and love as the Mecca.... really wasn't. My entire life would be shattered. My dreams, hopes, aspirations.... gone in the flash of a moment.

It would be like someone telling me there wasn't a Santa Claus. All my life I have believed! You say he is not real? Pick me up off the floor. Better yet I am a DNR don't bring me back.

So I think I am okay where I am at. I shall still dream of the Mecca, the green apron, the thousand ways in which I could make coffee taste great. Greater than great. My dream of being Barista of the Century for now will have to remain a dream.

Now I have to go find Dan the pharmacist and see where I can get me some of that straight up caffeine!

Listening to the Tree Girl


If I had one wish.... I think I'd pass.... I can't think of anything I need.

That's exactly how I felt this morning as I got into the pool. The outdoor 50 meter pool with my Masters Team. Scratch that, with the Homeboys. Masters is on break for a few weeks and swimming just never feels the same without the guys.

The air was warm, the water was perfect, the sun was shining and swimming for 90 minutes felt just awesome. I felt more than lucky, more than privileged and more than grateful. Love this life.... I kept thinking.... love this life.

Last evening I attended a lecture at my yoga studio. The lecture was given by Julia Butterfly Hill. To make it real simple she is the woman who sat eighteen stories high in a Redwood tree.... for 2 years. I expected the lecture to be a story about what it was like to sit in a tree for 2 years in order to save the Redwood Forrest.

But it wasn't. On the way out I bought her book because now I want to know. And now I realize that sitting in the tree wasn't as much about actually sitting in a tree as it was about believing in something, including herself, finding strength, courage and fighting from her heart.

The lecture was actually a conversation and if I had to title it, I would not be able to. It might have been about finding spirit, it might have been about understanding that as people the small things we can do can make big differences in the world..... but one point has resonated with me.

When we ask for strength life ... or the universe... or whatever... will often give us hardship. It is through hardship that strength is built. It is through hardship that grace arrives. It is through hardship that courage is found.... and we fight through with love.

That point right there can be applied to so many situations in my own life. Like she labeled everything to a T.... and I didn't know it was laying around unlabeled.

Now we can use the Ironman as a metaphor because it is an easy one to use. The Ironman is also easy because it is gigantic. But take out the word Ironman and insert your word. It's truly all the same. Ironman is a safe example to use.

It's really what Randy Pauch would call a "head Fake", meaning we are learning something really hard.... by thinking we are learning something fun. In our sick way IM is fun. But that's another study.

Many take the Ironman on because we want to be stronger or find out how strong we really are. We all have our own personal reason. We are faced with the difficulty of it, not necessarily the day itself but the year of preparation. Fatigue, soreness, self doubt, uncertainty, colds, scheduling, balancing..... etc.

So we find ways to balance it all. We get up at 5am so we don't miss our children's baseball games. We sometimes get up at 3am for the same reason. We run in the dark. We hang tough through days where our eyes don't stay open. We feel weak and wonder how this is all supposed to make us stronger.

Through this time we find our own courage. Self doubt starts to become self confidence. Uncertainty begins to become certainty.

I just have to insert here that Ironman is just an example, as we choose to do this, as it is not our right but our privilege, but any word can be replace the word Ironman.

The day of the race comes along and we are not the same people who we were a year ago, but there is still a bit to go. We travel through the day on all the courage, grace and strength we have built up through the past "X" months.

What kept us going was the love for what we were doing and the love of who we were becoming. Love is the biggest and strongest energy force there is an whether it is sport, life, nature it is all the same. It's the biggest.

So the love for what we believed in was the energy that brought us through. Through something hard we learned how to be strong. Through something hard we found courage and we found grace.

For me that's really what this is all about. I can apply that to many situations, many much more important than a 140.6 mile race, and I can see it very clearly.

When we ask for strength and we are given something hard...... it is to make us find that strength. Really.... all that we need is inside of us right here and right now. That one more thing really isn't true...... that when I finish the Ironman... when I get married..... when I get a house..... that when I mentality.

Because again, all we need is within us right now. Uncover it. Strip the bullshit away and look at you. Look what sustains you when everything else falls away.

What would I sit in a tree for? I began to wonder that on my way home. Not that I'd actually sit in a tree.... but what would be the thing that I'd "sit in a tree" for? I thought for a moment and then it came to me. It's what I have the opportunity to do this fall in Haiti. Defined... it doesn't matter except that it was very clear to me. That's a whole separate post. As I identified it though, my heart agreed. Yes, I know what I'd sit in a tree for,

I feel lucky this morning for so many things. Mostly for clarity and for Julia Butterfly Hill making it a lot less complicated and so crystal clear. While we think the changes we can make in this world are small.... they are actually very very big.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Graduation!

Eager

Proof that I really do sleep!

This morning I am back in action, it's four thirty am and I just can't wait. We took a little active recovery through the weekend, although I did do a bit of a long ride on Sunday. I slept a whole lot and I kept my feet up. I hung out and .... I did no housework. I haven't done any in ages so why begin now?


Here we are on Tuesday morning and I am eager to get back to the grind. It's the final 2 weeks before we take a good solid taper and head into my final Ironman. For at least 365 days.


I am glad I stepped over this edge a bit, it made me realize that a return to 70.3 and shorter for a year or two and the local scene are going to be good for me. I miss weekend racing and seeing the friends I have made around here.


But damn I will miss my Ironman. The beautiful thing about the Ironman is that.... it isn't going anywhere. My health and my longevity will depends on me being intelligent and getting out while the getting is good.


I may not race the Quakerman this weekend. In fact I am pretty sure I won't. The Quakerman will be the first triathlon staged in my hometown and I was pretty excited about it. I had to sit back through this need of recovery and be logical. Race or stay home and put in the homework?


We will decide by Wednesday but likely I shall stay home. Ironman Lake Placid is my #1 goal. Quakerman will hopefully be there next year.


In a strange way I feel so proud of myself for making that decision. I used to be so obsessive about racing it would really bother me to not race. I know I can't have it all and what is it I really want?


I want the chance to shine on July 20th. I just want the chance. That might mean holding tight just a little longer. I have 28 days. And I don't mind waiting. Not after all this work.


The Lake is waiting. I will let you know how it goes!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

CONGRATS Graduate!

CONGRATS LUC! First grade GRADUATION!!!!!!!!!!!! And yes, that's a mohawk, which is what you get to have when you are named student of the month!






Thursday, June 19, 2008

I *** heart*** Ironman


To those who understand why I do this, I thank you. I thank you so very much for taking the time to understand why I do what I do. I take that time for you and your passion. The fact that you do it for me makes me so happy.

The Ironman is one day. One small day that takes the better part of a year to create. Months of workouts, not necessarily hard workouts. Sure there are some, but most are long. You cycle through building volume and recovering. Speed here and there but mostly long.

The Ironman is made out of runs at 5am before the sun comes up. Runs where you are freezing your ass off, you look at each other and wonder what the hell you are doing. The Ironman is made of bike rides that begin at 5am in your garage. You look at yourself and see the drive in your own eyes. The Ironman is made in the pools at 5:45 am as you and Grimm trade looks and Ken gets in first.

The Ironman is made of the days that you do what others won't so that you can do what they can not. Or should I say might be afraid to try.

There are so many hours and miles that you will never see. But that I will never forget. It doesn't make me special. I chose this. This is my privilege.

In four weeks I will begin my fifth Ironman, with the intention that I will not do another one for 365 days. I am not retiring I am just retreating to shorter distances for a year or 2. I am working on my masters and I have to save my body. Let's face it, Ironman after Ironman after Ironman isn't good for you.

But let me tell you there's nothing like the Ironman and for me there is nothing like Ironman Lake Placid. As soon as I crest that hill and see Mirror Lake my heart jumps. My smile broadens and I feel the sense of passion fill me from head to toe.

I get unpacked in my house and I sit back and I smile. My family is always with me. This year we are sharing a house with Nathalie and her family and next door will be Sarah and Adam.

It just doesn’t get better than this.

All week long we will keep meeting the same eyes. The quiet, nervous excited eyes of the Ironfolk who have descended upon Lake Placid. Nervous glances to wrists to eye the shiny silver band. The band that means yes…… you are in the Ironman.

The smiles at Mirror Lake for the early morning Gatorade swims. The voice of Ironman…. Mike Reiley. When you hear him you know you have come home.

The days of pre race preparation. Registration and check in. The kid's races. Bike check in. Reviewing your plan over and over and over again.

Having coffee overlooking Mirror Lake and pinching myself to remind me that yes, this is real and yes, I am the most fortunate girl on earth.

Ironman Day will come. It will begin about 3am as we each rise and eat breakfast. We'll get into town and we'll stand on the blocks on Main Street. A volunteer will write out numbers on our arms and wish us luck. As we stand up there we will smile at each other.

We will wade into the water and we will wait the gun. The mountains will surround us and we will meet those same eyes.

I will tear up again as the National Anthem is sung by the same beautiful voice that sings it year after year. The gun will go off and the day will happen.

Ironman is one of the very few places within my life that I can be completely 110% present. For 140.6 miles I don't think ahead, I don't think behind. I am right where I am at that moment. It's magic.

Throughout the day we will pass one another and I hope you will all know how much I love you.

I will see the faces of my teammates on the sidelines. I will slap their hands and pull from their screaming. I hope they know how much I love them too.

Afterwards the eyes will be different. You will see a complete stranger the next day, you will walk the same. You will share a smile and a nod. You might talk, sometimes you just grab hands. While you never met you shared so much on the day.

I will laugh as I remember stories of the day. Stories of the year. I can already see us all in the hot tub laughing, aching, bloody and bruised. Proud and honored and grateful and so tired but at the same time so alive.

Eventually I will return home with the intention of returning next year to spectate. And to cheer. And to laugh and smile and remember the day that I love so very much.

We are changed after this finish line. Some deeper, some not so deep. Some appalled that they actually did it. It's something we shall share forever. No matter where we go or what we do or don't do…. we will always have this.

Knowing When

At first I protested. I felt like a failure, and then I thought about it for a moment, took a look at the revisions and decided I was being a baby. Coach T reeled me in a little bit this week, he saw the writing on the wall. And I can't believe I cried about it.

That's why many of us work with a coach. In many ways Coach T is there to not only push me when I need to be pushed but save me from myself. Left to my own devices I would and have just completely put myself into a hole.

The revisions were nothing horrible. I feared I'd be dropped down to a 10 hour week, because you know me... I like to see that big round 20 or better yet this week's 23!!! It's like seeing the number on the scale decrease.... you get a little high from that.

So we dropped to 19 and removed some of the intensity. Boo Hoo. Cry me a river princess, ain't life just so hard????

This is the last week of school, the next 2 weeks are tough in terms of time so I just wanted this big fat last week. I also want to be walking next week.

When you find the coach you trust, the one who knows you better than you know yourself, you have to trust that they can see what you can't. I am not supposed to crack ... well hatch... because that could cause me to fall into a hole I might not pull out of.

On July 20th I don't need to begin the day at the bottom looking up.

Right now I am the most prepared I have ever been. If the stars align it could be my day. Either way I walk to this starting line with the opportunity for the greatest day.

My husband asked me last week if I didn't hit my goal time ... then what?

I told him if I get to the finish and it's not between 10:45-11:30 then I have overcome something significant out there to get to the finish line. There's incredible victory in that. It's why I really believe it's impossible to fail in the Ironman. I won't ever get so married to a time that if I finish 2 minutes beyond it the whole effort is trashed.

Anything can happen on Ironman day and you have to take it as it comes to you. An Ironman finish is an Ironman finish,. We all get the same medal. It means nothing in the big picture if I do a 10:45 or a 13:45. It means I took the day as it came and I made things happen and most of all.... it means I didn't give up.

I can't predict the wind. I can't predict other people. I can't predict the temperature. I can't predict a flat. Worrying about those things is useless. I don't even know whose in my age group. I never do. What good would it do me? I won't worry about the things that are beyond my control.

I will however take the day as it comes to me. I will tread water with 2000 of my favorite people and I will smile as I look at the mountains. I will smile as i exit the water and run through the unbelievable crowds. I will smile as I take that descent without fear and as I spin through the last 11. I will smile as I run down Rich Clark Hill and hear the bullhorn.

I will smile when I see my teammates on that run. We'll exchange high fives and we will cheer each other on.

And while I will take aim for my best day, I will smile as I come around the Olympic Oval.... like so many did before me and so many will after me. I will relish in the finish line of my fifth Ironman.... because for at least 365 days I will not do another one.

All of this even happening hinges on me listening, remaining objective and understanding that when they place a medal around my neck and I cry AGAIN.... that no one, including me will give a rat's ass about whether I trained 19 or 23 hours the week of June 16th.


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Cracking the Egg

Today didn't get much better than yesterday and what happened to that week where "20 hours felt like nothing?" Who the hell said that.

All by design, I assure you. Or rather Coach T would assure me. He wouldn't tell me when I should crack until I did. And I haven't.... for the record.

Well there is a crack and the crack line might be slowly getting longer but I haven't cracked open, hatched or broken apart. Yet.

I awoke this morning and wondered who set the piano on top of me. Then I wondered what happened to the Africa weather and brought back the North Pole. I had to look at the calendar to confirm, yes it was June all right.

FIFTY TWO DEGREES?

Someone please take me to Hawaii so I can live next to Rachel and go to Starbucks. I am a nurse. I can work anywhere. i wrote it down on my life to do list. "Western New York must go."

At the Lake by 5:30 am things were a bit better. We had a bunch of athletes ready with smiling faces. The air was colder than the water and swimming felt good. I love this time of year that I can just swim and not bounce off walls for a few months.

Sarah and I drove home and I sipped on my beloved Timmy Ho's. I told her I thought I might die today. The weather was looking crappy and I had a bunch of hours to do.

I think she agreed that I might die.

Well the good thing was that my GI system seemed to have improved. And by the time I took Luc to school I was feeling peppy again. ready to take on the day.

The ride began innocently enough. It rained, blew wind..... I was wearing a fleece jersey on June 18th and nothing seemed right in the world. At 90 minutes I thought..... I need to go home and take a freaking nap.

I don't cut workouts short and if I am feeling this way on the bike..... then I need to listen. I have been putting in 250+ cycling miles per week the past few weeks. This was bound to happen.

I thought of calling Curt to save me..... but I knew he would laugh and hang up as he'd remind me that it was my own bright idea to take on 3 Ironmans in 18 months.

If only Ryan lived closer I could call him up and say "FTP, VDOT, Chart, Carbon Fiber, Aero and Disc wheel... knowing he'd come to the rescue. You know true friends when you meet them.

For the record i would not call Marit because she'd rhyme every single damn word with Ironman Cour D'Alene (I can't even spell it but she'd freaking rhyme it) and I am trying to avoid her as much as possible ;-)

So I rode home. Jumped into the shower and jumped into bed. It's not often I can do that. It's also not often I can move the long ride till tomorrow. A redo. Another chance. This week I am really lucky to be able to do that.

The day I look forward to most is Sunday. The Latte Ride. We did it last year and we are doing it again this year. It's nothing special.... lasts about 5 hours.... we start at the Park, ride to Naples and have some coffee at the Grainery before coming home. It'll be nice. It'll be easy. It'll be the second long ride of the week.

But like I said before it's all part of the plan.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Fertilizing the Lawn

I don't know what happened this morning. It started out innocently enough. I arrived at Papa Jack's 15 minutes late because I forgot where I put my keys.... how about on the key hook where you always put them honey..... and the morning was perfect. But it was cold. Last week it felt like Africa and this week.... Western New York! Imagine that!

Things started just fine, our typical 2:5 run that I have dragged her into. The first 75 minutes nice and easy and then we'd get to work.

10 minutes into it Sarah groaned about the same time I said "This might be an interesting day." She looked at me and I knew it. Today would get uglier before it got prettier.

We made our first loop and stopped back at the car. I had to hit my normal spot in the weeds and she ran into her apartment. I noticed my GI system feeling a little bit.... oh we could say sensitive today. No big deal.

We got running again.

30 minutes later we were dropping trou again. The pace picked up. The faster I ran the worse my colon felt. "I think I might shit myself!" I told her, of course this was funny when it was happening to someone else, and they were in a race, but here we were ... not in a race.... wondering where would be the best place for the next deposit.

We completely fell off pace somewhere around 1:40 after our third to last pit stop. And it wasn't all me. At one point in the midst of a snot rocket Sarah screamed out "This is the pissiest shittiest snottiest long run we have ever done!"

I almost collapsed right there. But I had to hit the woods again instead.

I don't know what it was. It was the day that my colon just wasn't. Things happen. Shit happens (hee heeee heee). I changed nothing, nothing new, nothing different... it just happens. We did the best with what we were dealt today.

At one point we were actually running our pace and I announced to Sarah "This is the edge." She pointed to the sky and the most magnificent cloud I had ever seen. It must have been 2 miles long and it looked.... like the edge..... almost like the wave of the ocean.

Last week one of my yoga students asked me "If you are to the point where you have to hold a street sign to stand up... don't you think you've gone too far?"

"Definitely." I told him. How would I know where that edge was unless I dared to step over it every now and then? I would always wonder, how far can I go? In doing that there are risks. Absolutely.

Today was the result of accumulation, not the actual run itself. The accumulation of where I am in training. I know when I start to dance on that edge what will happen. I am dancing on it now. I might hold up and I might not.

But you'd better believe I am along for the ride.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day



Happy Father's Day to Curt..... who in my book is absolutely Father of the year. Even though he is responsible for Luc breaking his leg.... twice. Once 8 days after Luc had open heart surgery at age 4.... they were wrestling. And the second time was August 12th 2007...... our anniversary! Luc was running away from Curt who was scolding him, when Luc slipped and fell! What an adventurous duo!
Thank you Curt for all you do and for who you are! And congrats to Curt on his 4th place overall finish in the Binbrook Triathlon today!

Privilege

Remember how I said last week that a 20 hour training week felt so easy... no soreness.... just darn awesome? I should be careful of things like that. This morning I kind of felt like Mic Jagger getting out of bed. Although nothing in particular hurt, I was moving slow and my head.... well that's moving even slower.

I have full blown Ironman brain. Oh Lord.

I also have full blown Ironman fever. For the next 6 weeks every other word that comes out of my mouth will be Ironman and you'd better believe in 2009 when I am not doing an Ironman I will say..... geez all these people do is talk about the stupid Ironman. Might as well call myself out on the carpet now.

I do have Ironman FEVER. The one where you mean to sleep in until 7am.... because for me 7am is considered a sleep in day, but you wake up at 4 and then 5 and then 6. Curt traveled up to Canada this morning for a little father's day race. So there's no reason to get up and get at it. My workouts come later on and well, I am supposed to be sleeping.

But the birds are chirping and the sun is shining (at 6:30 am no less) and the world is calling me. I opened the door and the air is still warm and still muggy and that's the way I love it. We wait all year for these few months. I won't waste it on air conditioning.

My bike is in the garage covered with grime and carbo pro and while he's begging for a bath he's begging for a ride.

However this morning I do have one person on my mind. Her name is Amy and she lives in Buffalo. She's a Neuropsychologist who is graduating from Law School. She's a single Mom and she's fierce. She's been busting her ass for the better part of a year as she prepares for Ironman Lake Placid.

She crashed her bike and broke her femur. Your femur... thigh bone... is the hardest bone in the body to break because it is actually flexible. Amy broke it. It's a 2 year recovery for her. Her Ironman dream came to a literal crashing halt and I am aching this morning.

There are lessons in these types of things and right now I can't see it. She can't see it but it is there. On July 20th I will be racing with her in my heart and her name on my hand.

Getting to the starting line of an Ironman is not something I take for granted. It's preparation + privilege + a lot of luck. A lot of luck. Luck is when you come home from a bike ride.... period. How many near misses have I had? How many near crashes have I had?

Perhaps that's why I am up so early with the morning., Because I am thinking of Amy. Thinking of a dream. Understanding my own privileges, and abilities.

It's a privilege and an honor to be moving slow and to have the brain of Iron. One that we must never take for granted.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Dance Like No One Is Watching

I finally found this poem that I adore......


Dance Like No One Is Watching

Author unknown.


We convince ourselves that life will be better after

we get married, have a baby, then another.

Then we are frustrated that the kids aren't old enough

and we'll be more content when they are.

After that, we're frustrated that we have teenagers to deal with.We will certainly be happy when they are out of that stage.

We tell ourselves that our life will be complete when ourspouse gets his or her act together, when we get a nicer car, are able to go on a nice vacation,

or when we retire.


The truth is, there's no better time to be happy than right now.

If not now, when? Your life will always be filled with challenges.

It's best to admit this to yourself and decide to be happy anyway.


Happiness is the way.


So, treasure every moment that you have and treasure it more

because you shared it with someone special, special enough to spend

your time with...and remember that time waits for no one.


So, stop waiting

--until your car or home is paid off

--until you get a new car or home

--until your kids leave the house

--until you go back to school

--until you lose ten pounds

--until you gain ten pounds

--until you finish school

--until you get a divorce

--until you get married

--until you have kids

--until you retire

--until summer

--until spring

--until winter

--until fall

--until you die


There is no better time than RIGHT NOW to be happy.

Happiness is a JOURNEY, not a destination.So

-- work like you don't need money,

Love like you've never been hurt,

And dance like no one's watching.

The Mouse Capers of 2007

By request here is a story from May of 2007..... and for the record we've never seen him again!

**********************************************************************************************

For days now we have been trying to catch a mouse. A mouse in my house? No. Worse. a mouse in my car. This four legged creature is believed to have jumped aboard my swimming bag in the garage, and was transported to my SUV. And ever since it has been a tour of madness and frustration for the ever growing "Team Mouse", who have tried to rid my vehicle of this small terrorist we have come to call Montramer.

It began on Saturday morning when we discovered mouse poop on my dashboard. That gave way to the entire stripping, bleaching, shampooing and sterilization of the car. Think an operating room is clean? You have seen nothing yet! My car…. cleaner!

Saturday night we placed a trap, bait and hold em trap in attempt to relocate the mouse to better places. Sunday morning there was no sign of a mouse which led us to believe that we were home free.

Montramer had left the Rav 4!!!!

Curt headed to Kansas City on Monday morning and I awaken to a car full of mouse poop. ARGH! ^%$#%%%%!!!!

The war had begun.

I was confident enough in my freak out control to drive to the store and buy some snap trap mouse traps. I was confident Montramer would not show his snarly little teeth to me behind the wheel. A snap trap isn't so easy to assemble. I had to even watch a video on the internet. So I laced it up, set it up, got it ready. I would kill Montramer and Curt would be so proud!!!!!!

Tuesday morning I bribed Luc to look in the car. We found the bait gone and an empty trap!!!!Have you ever seen the movie MOUSE TRAP with Nathan Lane? It suddenly became my entire existence. Catching a mouse is addictive! Especially when faced with the threat of it chewing your bike tires or cables! "I will get you mouse!' I cried throwing my fists in the air!

That's when the formation of "Team Mouse CSI" began to take shape. first inductee was Bill. Bill brought over some mouse poison, not really believing the mouse was in the car. Upon his arrival he was convinced….. we set three traps…… 2 snap traps, one block of poison, a catch and release trap…. and then the CSI idea. Bill surrounded the entire set up with baby powder. From this we could see the mouse's footprints, leading us like Hanzel and Gretel to his underground lair!!!!!Brilliant!

Three hours passed….. I peered into the car. NO NO NO! The traps had been fumbled with but I could look no more! I called Bill who brought over his girlfriend Sharon, who rumor has it would grab hold of the damn mouse herself!!!!!! Hence another member of "Team Mouse CSI" was inducted.

They show up with our next member, Hanna, Bill's daughter. So now we had Me, Luc, Bill, Sharon and now Hannah. Together over pizza we would get Montramer and rid the IRNCHICK mouse mobile of the mouse terror!!! No one would beat us! Curt would be so proud!!!

So they (note I said THEY) looked for the mouse. They prodded, poked, and could not find the mouse. Not in the seat. Not in the dashboard. Not in the engine. And not in a box with a fox wearing red striped socks, with chicken pox, a handful of rocks, and not even…… unbelievably…… not even on a block.

We set the traps, and we ate our pizza. Upon return to the car, the mouse had licked the traps clean. No mouse caught, we had been outsmarted again! The last member to join was Ken, who suggested heating out the mouse. By this point we determined the mouse was taking residence in the heating ducts underneath the passenger seat… as evidenced by the baby powder footprints. So we turned on the car and blasted the heat! Surely this would work!

He still, I admit….. did not come out.

So at last we set the traps a fourth time, loaded on the peanut butter, shut the doors and called it a night. Curt would be home at midnight and I would be hailed as a brave woman, conquering, defeating this terrorizing little mouse! I could see the pedestal he'd place me upon now!

Fast forward to 7am, upon my return from swim practice (and of course I was driving his car….). He stood in the driveway weary and worn from travels to the Midwest, and 2 days of meetings that likely filled his head with too much thought."Amateurs." He sneered, shaking his head and holding out the failed clean traps. "Amateurs."

I stood there in disbelief! What, how, how could it be????????

"No mouse?" I felt defeated once again. "You guys didn't even set the traps correctly!" He cried in disgust, "They need to be hair triggered! HAIR TRIGGERED!"

He was in obvious disappointment. "Look what you guys DID to these things, how can you not set a trap!!!"

"But I watched the internet video instructions from the website." I stupidly admitted. Curt looked at me. I could see the bubble over his head with his obvious thoughts. …… did she just say she watched the video instructions on the website????????...... what kind of idiot goes to a mousetrap website………….He stood there and sighed, knowing I was not driving the IRNCHICK Mouse Mobile.

"I will take your car…" He sighed, which by the way promoted him to instant superhero and CEO of Team Mouse CSI….. a title of which I am very certain he cares very much about and is very proud!

"You are to go get 2 new mouse traps, and do not touch them."One might assume the look on his face was pure annoyance, but I knew better. The man was just tired from traveling and now coming home to clean up the mouse mess of myself and my mouse posse. I knew he was secretly proud to be the knight in shining armor, to be secretly lacing up his superhero cape and sliding the black mask over his eyes. I mean, what else could he possibly have on his mind?

Off he drove in the IRNCHICK Mouse Mobile, stickered to the bone with signs of Iron and various items. And I was free again to get back behind the wheel. I could travel again. I got those mouse traps.

If 2 traps were in order then certainly four would work better.

So King Poombah National Champion Curt Eggers shall set the traps, and when he catches Montramer the horrible, antagonizing taunting mouse he will be once again hailed as the king that he is!

I quickly texted Bill to inform him of our failure, defeat not just by the mouse but by the King himself. I could almost feel the air let out of Bill, Sharon and Hannah's sails……. it slid out of mine as well.

I have faith. I have faith that my amazing husband will risk life and limb for me. He will catch that mouse, he will show me it's dead mouse body and then I will know that I am free from this terror. I will show the other mousse what will happen should they try to mouse ….. er….. mess with an Egg.

So mouses all around… listen up…… you stay on your side of the line, and I shall stay on mine. Don't bother me, I won't bother you. But dare, just dare to inhabit the vehicle of said Iron Girl Egg once again……And you will have to face your kryptonite, the King, the Knight, the terror of all mousse. And trust me it ain't gonna be pretty.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Not in 2009

I will not do an Ironman in 2009.

I will not do an Ironman in 2009.

I will write that 300 times on the chalkboard after school today. I just don't know if anyone in my life can handle anymore Ironman brain. Or lack thereof.

It took me 15 minutes yesterday to realize that 180 watts is not higher than 200 watts. Even though I had the wattage ranges (which have not really changed too much.....) on my hand with a sharpie and I had to keep looking at my hand.

We rented a house in Lake Placid and I sent my final payment into the woman we rented from..... last year, instead of our new one. That was slightly embarrassing.

I showed up at work today four hours too early.

On my ride yesterday I thought, Ironman CDA 2009 would be awesome..... then what if by some miracle I qualified for Kona 2008.... than that'd be 7 Ironmans in 3 years..... I had to begin slapping myself which caused me to then almost curb myself.

Back to 2008! ONE THING AT A TIME!

How about back to this ride. How about back to this moment.

Hello Mary, this is earth, remember me?

Oh God.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Cracking


Promise yourself to be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind. Look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true. Think only of the best, work only for the best and expect only the best. Forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future. Give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others. Live in the faith that the whole world is on your side so long as you are true to the best that is in you!

Thanks Sarah for the above quote. I love it!

"You are never supposed to crack." Coach T said to me, as I asked if there should be a point that I would. Okay, I thought, good, because I didn't. But I was close.

Yes that was me standing on Main Street on Tuesday morning. Sports bra and skirt, fuel belt on the ground. Drenched in sweat. Seeing stars. It was Equator hot. I held onto a street sign for a moment unsure of whether I would vomit or shit myself. But since shitting oneself has already been done in amazing style this week, I thought I would put a halt to all bodily functions.

It wasn't like I had never done a run like this before, but for some reason today I was on the edge of cracking. So I stood there a moment while the cars drove past me and I held on until I could walk the 20 feet to the car.

I was asked by a few people the other day how it is that I am not afraid to state my goals. It takes nothing special, I told them..... I think you just have to have the guts to succeed and fail.

In 2004 I won the inaugural Musselman 1/2 Ironman in a 4:48. I have struggled with the 70.3 distance ever since. I don't know why, I think I have just been in my own way.

Then I returned to Ironman and I achieved my lifelong goal of a sub eleven hour finish and I want to have at that chance one more time. I will return and go after that 70.3 distance once again. I have some demons with that distance that I need to conquer.

First things first however......

When I run these days I think of four numbers as I land each foot. One - zero- four- five. It's the number I have been dreaming of since December. Now whether that comes true or not depends on what the day brings, and I take the day as it comes. In moments of weakness or doubt chanting that number brings me back to what I am doing and where I am at.

I wear a bracelet that says FEARLESS. It's a word and a concept I have wrapped myself around. I will be fearless as I toe this starting line in 7 weeks. I will be fearless as I chase this goal. I will be fearless as I put myself on the edge and on the verge of cracking.

That in itself is freedom. Freedom to reach. Freedom to aim. Freedom to fail but also freedom to succeed.

It's nothing special... it's just being honest with myself.

On Tuesday morning I didn't crack but I was damn near it. And I was not afraid of it. In a sick and strange way I was disappointed that I didn't. I have never cracked like I thought I was about to. Would I have really shit myself? Would I have laid down on the sidewalk? In the sickest way I wonder what lies just beyond that edge. I have gotten close enough to look over but I have never seen it.

But since I am not supposed to crack.... I didn't. And Marit, for the record I am totally ignoring your taunts for IMCDA 2009! HA HA!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Should I do the Ironman?

Here is an article I wrote a few years ago for Tri Fuel.....

The 2007 Lake Placid Ironman sold out in 90 minutes last week, and I luckily got in, after waiting in line from 0630-0900. Our online friends and athletes recovering from the previous evening's finish were not so lucky. By the time that crowd rolled out of bed at 8am and got to a computer, 2007 had come and gone.

As I am assembling my third Ironman Lake Placid team, I have had the opportunity to speak with several athletes, with varying experience. They come back to the same question:

"How do you know when you are ready for the Ironman?"

I simply tell them "You don't."

I believe there are two horribly difficult times in the Ironman. The day you hand a $450 check over to THE MAN a year in advance...... and the walk to the starting line. Yet aside from those, there are many things that should be aligned within your life before you take on the 140.6 picnic that we like to call Ironman.

Be in a good emotional place. I have known and even worked with athletes who come to the Ironman looking to "fix" something in their life. Whether this is a weight problem, eating disorder or bad relationship, I believe this to be a red flag. The Ironman is like a big huge mirror, meaning it is highly exposing. It exposes you to yourself; it doesn't allow you to hide. Be in a good place emotionally; be ready to handle that kid of exposure.

Get the support of your family. The last thing your nonsuspecting spouse wants to hear on a Monday morning is "Honey I signed up for the Ironman" if they don't know what it will entail. I believe it takes a family to compete in an Ironman. The early months aren't so difficult when juggling family, work etc. There will come a time in the later months however where you will need the extra few hours. Schedule that time with your significant other, and then give them that time back. For example if you are a woman, send your hubby out for boy's night. If you are a man, schedule a day at the spa for your wife. Those are the little things that will make a difference.

Be in good physical shape. I have worked with a few athletes who take on Ironman as their first ever triathlon, and I don't do that anymore. It is physically dangerous but possible to go from couch potato to Ironman in 12 months. It is also very risky. The long endurance training that is required for this race can be dangerous if you don't come to the beginning of the program fit. What is fit? I recommend a training base of 6-8 hours a week for 6 months minimum.

Find a good program. There are literally thousands of resources our there to include websites, coaching, books, magazines etc. All the information you need to help you design your training program is out there. Hiring a coach is helpful to take the guesswork out for you. Whatever program you find or create, make sure it is realistic in terms of time, fitness level and has a good build and recovery flow. The thing to remember, especially for your first Ironman, is that consistency is the priority.

Expect things to go wrong. Injures, scheduling issues and missed workouts will happen. Allow yourself to be flexible to accommodate these things. Don't be so focused and so tunnel visional that a small bump in the road will cause you to fly off the handle. Roll with the punches.

Have good nutrition. Ironman training requires good smart eating. I have seen people gain weight training for this race, because they believe it is their license to eat. Good food in means good return out, in terms of training and performance. Now is a good time too hook up with a nutritionist or dietician.

Have fun. This should be fun, not the end all be all. It is a year of your life, so make it an enjoyable one. Make time to play, make fun a priority. We aren't professional athletes; we are common people who have a dream. Enjoy the ride.

The Ironman can be an incredibly journey, if you take the time to make sure things are in a place within your life, where you can take it on. Good luck, and enjoy the training!

Monday, June 9, 2008

My Affair With Iron

This is the view from the top of a ski jump in Lake Placid


It's not right, I know. It's 3:44 am and I am blogging, drinking coffee and just waiting... waiting fro the sun to come up. I feel like it is Christmas Eve.... come 5am I will be out on my bike for a little 90 minute spin before work. Active Recovery day.

For the record I was in bed by 9 I think. It was early. Now I am awake and I can't wait to get back out on my bike.

In 7 weeks I will toe the line of my third Ironman in 18 months and the fifth Ironman of my life. I keep saying fifth and final..... for a while. I will stick to the fact that a while has not been defined.

I never in a million years expected to feel so good. 19 hours of training last week and I have not one ounce of soreness, or fatigue. Granted last week was an endurance focused week but the volume..... feels great. I feel great.

I can't pinpoint it one one thing. My Coach.... he's a damn genius. There's no magic structure.... he just knows me and knows what I can handle. I guess that's why he's my coach. My nutrition is spot on. Leslie got me on Veema.... and I can say...... wow. My flexibility is good thanks to yoga.

It's the combination of everything that we do off the field that contributes to how we feel on the field.

Mentally I am excited. I thought that about now I would dread the long, dread the training, but it doesn't feel like the last 17 months has happened at all. I think about 7am on July 20th.... the day I will be surrounded by 2000 of my favorite people and my heart starts to flutter in excitement. My IQ continues to drop but it was never that high to begin with.


God I love Lake Placid. There's something magical about it for me and I can't pinpoint exactly what. But I will be the girl with the giant smile the whole day.


My decision not to race this weekend was the right one. Instead of traveling to New Hampshire with my team I stayed home with my family and I trained in the heat. Saturday I spent 5 hours on waterslides and on Sunday we hung out at the beach. Spending time with the guys who give me so much love and support felt right. And retreating to the AC felt right too ;-)

I didn't lose a week to taper and a week to recover. I gained 2 weeks in fact. 2 weeks of focus. 2 weeks of endurance. 2 weeks of preparation.


I am not shy in spouting my goals. I would love to break 11 hours in Placid. This will largely depend on the weather, a perfect day in Placid and I will be right there. A little addition of wind and you'll see it in the times. Anything below an 11:23 on this course is a PR for me, and ultimately that's my goal. Isn't it always a goal to PR? I am not afraid to say it, and I am not afraid to miss it. There are no secrets and there are no superstitions here.

I hit the goal or I don't. It's pretty simple.

Either way Ironman is a privilege to me. It's not a right. I meet a lot of people who feel it's their right. At this point in my life I am blessed to have the support to be able to reach for this dream. I am lucky to have Curt and Luc who put up with 3am awakenings and tales of pacing. It helps Curt is also in the sport because it's a blessing to be able to share it.

In a few weeks Luc and I will travel to my hometown and compete in the inaugural event where I grew up. He's pretty excited. So he's still on training wheels, we've all got training wheels at some point.

It will be pretty special. Not because I am forcing him to be a triathlete. At 7 if you ask to do a triathlon, I will let you. I will be happy about it and I will be darn proud of it. He did his first race last year and broke his leg the day after. Maybe he will embrace it like I have and maybe he won't. A healthy and active lifestyle is what we aim for around here.

So the road continues on. For me it's toward an Ironman finish line. Then what? We will see what comes up. The beauty of all of this is that there's so much still left to be done.


One more hour till the sun comes up. I'll be clipped in and smiling.