Thursday, April 30, 2009

Makin' Nice with "The Beast" on Mark's B-day

After some long travel to St Croix, yet fairly smooth, I mean, I did I pick up my OWN bags this time, unlike the previous travel experience. There were some “oh crap” moments as you can see by the landing in this 9 seater, and “no” we did not move up front for this photo this is right from our1 st class seating. Mark’s face pretty much sums up the whole last leg of our trip.

(pre-flight...they put our bags in the "wing" of the jet)

(The Pera handbag is the best travel bag EVER!!)

(the landing-or swan dive)

("I need a shot...NOW)
Today is Mark;s 33rd birthday and with a three hour time change I had an agenda. Get up early and #1 climb the beast- I believe every hill/course is toughest the first time you do it, so I needed to get this out of the way. #2 swim the course. There is only one time a day you can swim each day leading up to the race so we needed to get there by 11am to swim. Then #3 celebrate Marks B-day. Somehow the low cost of alcohol is not on my agenda tonight or anytime in the near future. So my water on the rocks with a twist of lemon will be all this racer can enjoy tonight.

I took Mark 6 min 20 seconds to run the beast, it took me 7:22 to bike it…hmm…that may give a slight insight on how tough this climb is. Mark drove behind me and filmed the whole thing, of course, it started raining right when I started and poured to the top. I checked the heart rate monitor a few times of 181, 183, 183, 183, 184! (note: zone 4A is 161, the highest I have seen it on the bike is 172. (Dravus Hill in Magnolia was the best practice for this climb- thanks to everyone who ventured out there with me :)) Long (7:30ish) video clip below with some stellar commentating. Gets a bit more interesting at the top when the rain is pouring down.

What equated at the end was some nausea and a feeling of puking was going to be the only thing to make me feel better…for both of us! There was no upchuck and I am happy to know it can never be worse than the first time. Somewhat like my first ride in Kona a week before the race, after 40 miles out to Hawii and back we were spent with nausea. Glad we have a few more days to acclimatize.
We went and swam the practice course and the water is just as rough as the St Croix 70.3 video. Mark contemplated getting in until Sister Madonna jumped in right in front of him….then there was no holding back. We are going to go practice again today, Mark is swimming the whole 1.2 today. The temp is 80 degrees, unlike Mark and Thomas's green lake swim on Monday in 50 degrees!

(Mark at the transition area)

(Thank you Splish and Betty Designs for the great suits!)

Our friends Connie and Jeff have finally arrived, they got the luxury of flying in on a grown up plane with about 50 other triathletes from around the world. We went to a great dinner on the water with some live music where mark was serenaded with a “happy birthday” song. Nothing like the Marilyn Monroe version…but he still enjoyed it;)

(Connie and Jeff)
Driving on the LEFT side of the rode has only lead us to three close calls (one on my bike). By the time we leave we should have it down. We are cruising around in a white jeep…a little scary that the rental car comes with a club (and there is one in our condo too). Bike fits…but with only two passengers :)

(The sign on the window says "keep left"- just like those "bike up" signs we never read)

(And thanks Connie and Jeff for joining us on Mark's special day and vacation!!!)

Upcoming Agenda: 5K race tonight!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Griffey's BACK....Opening day!

Opening Day of Baseball and it was HOT out. Sold out crowd, Griffey in the house, a beautiful Seattle day, and the Mariners WIN.

Thanks mom for the post birthday game celebration and Mark thanks for sharing the licorice!

Monday, April 13, 2009


This past weekend has been eventful. With the week starting out with a surprise birthday party put on by Mark and many teammates. Yes, it was a surprise, but Yes, I knew something was up. When Mark mentions a week early that we have reservations on a Thursday night with his parents...and I ask "where" and he says "they are not sure yet"...hmm???

However, what a great surprise, always love hanging with friends outside of the workout clothes. And they know me well...thanks everyone for a great upcoming shopping spree at my favorite shop.

Mark did a fantastic job of not picking up just one cake, but TWO (chocolate and carrot cake...yes, I will get all my training in this week!) from an amazing local bakery here in West Seattle.

Then Friday I got to get in my next longest ride, again outdoors, but what an event. It started in the first 10 miles with Mark's old hip injury flaring up. It just took AWHILE to get through warm up, he motored through it though and felt great once the legs were ready. Then a huge lesson was learned....Never do anything other than bike, while biking. Our training partner got her hand caught in her wheel while adjusting her cat eye...of course we were half way through the ride and there was no turning back. She gets the major "trooper" award for hanging on the whole ride. Not wearing her glove in those last 30 miles was her way of "icing". Luckily the thumb and hand is still attached and she is all better. Then the final 14 miles the flat tires came on. Oh, the joys of getting cold in the rain while having your fingers go numb while fixing a flat...oh and blowing another 3 cartridges (Kona all over again!). Someday I will get it right. It wasn't actually my tire...I just assisted and did not assist well...obviously.

Then it was a quick brick run, then home for an ice bath. Us Magazine+ice bath=mess.

(latest edition soaked!)

I had to take an epsom bath following the COLD one before the wet words starting meshing together in the mag. Oops!

Saturday night was birthday dinner/early Easter dinner with Mark, Mom and her boyfriend at Purple Cafe. I got some fancy new shoes too, didn't match my dress, but I would take these any day over a pair of heels.

(Mom and I)

(new racing shoes)

Mark found me some great summer dresses for St Croix...assuming that would take care of all my shopping needs before the trip :) They are super cute...thank you...and VERY good job.

April showers did not want to turn off for Easter Sunday. I was on the trainer...watching the Masters, okay 15 minutes of it.

Mark: "Can you get the ride done by 11?" (as he has his ear phones plugged into the computer screen for the pre-funk)
Me: " yes, why?"
Mark: "That is when the Masters start."
Me: "Aren't the 70.3 World Championships on today?"
Mark: " Yes, but my mom is recording those on dvr, you can watch those later." :)
Me: "I guess I ain't the boss here"

Sunday had a great Easter dinner with Mark's family. Hamburgers, cupcakes and kids fighting over candy.

Monday is finally here, today is my real birthday. Slept in, worked out, shopped with Natalie for a new bikini, but the fun ends there-thanks to the doctors. Without giving too much info, there is no food in me and I get two cocktails ($50 worth) one at 6pm the other at 5am and I get to go get knocked out at 8am in the morning...the joys of ulcerative colitis. Someday I pray there is a cure.

Thanks everyone for all the birthday wishes, celebrations and good times (minus those guys in the white coats!)

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Last Place.

Last place.

I have noticed in years of coaching and racing that everyone has a fear of "last place". For some reason it continues to come up every year, over and over. From all abilities to all workouts and all races. Is it because winning is fun, the adrenaline of being in front, the excitement of doing well, the feeling we get when everything falls into place and just "clicks".

I wonder what is the fear. If you are last in a workout or last at a race or the last in your division, what does that mean? Does it define you? Does it matter?

As a coach it is important to me that my athletes show up and try and follow their plans. If you are last at a race it does not matter, you did more than the person that didn't show up or didn't finish the race. If you WON the race but posted the worst time of your life, did you really win? (possibly, depending on your plan). If you lost and PR'd did you LOSE? Just some thought to think about before the next race, activity or workout comes around and you don't want to go because you are afraid of "being last". Of course there are no right or wrong answers because you could easily answer yes and no to the above questions. It depends on where you are at, where you are headed and what your goals are.

Is it that we are afraid of being judged? I could understand that. With all the Internet results and Googling that happens, yes, it is not fun to be judged. We must remember that EVERYONE races for different reasons and everyone is at different places in their lives at different times. Yes, we all want to sign up with a random name and then change it if we are "happy" with our results...wouldn't that be nice...but why would we do such a thing? Because we are concerned about what others may say?

I had no idea what to expect last year training and racing for my first ironman. If I was healthy I could lay out a pretty good idea of where things could fall, but instead I was not healthy, I struggled daily with colitis and injuries. With amazing doctors and coaches and support team we were all fully prepared that I may have to drop out of the race. I feared doing this so much because I did not want to let anyone down, I didn't want to be judged, I figured I would fail if I didn't finish. I wanted to qualify for Kona and had trained so hard. I had to get reassurance from everyone that it would be okay if race day arrived and I didn't race. What I realized more and more is that I was more concerned about others opinions. I prepared for every case scenario, I prepared to know that I would go to the bathroom 10 plus times on the run, I was prepared to change my clothing if needed, I was prepared to "just finish". I prepared for people to judge me- by expecting me to race a certain time or place a certain number. My friends and family knew what I was going through and were there to support- no matter what case scenario unfolded. In some ways you could say this falls into being "fearful" of the last place or not reaching the goals outlined for myself, but I was prepared for it and it would be okay, because I was attempting to accomplish something I had never accomplished before.

If you raced one day or had a super tough workout one day and then felt super sluggish on your workout the next day, wouldn't that be expected? -you are tired. But is it the judgment of others that concerns you?

Or your friend is killing the workout and you are struggling, you automatically assume you are doing bad? Not necessarily! You both are on different training and work schedules, you have different lives and different plans.

If it truly matters 10 years from now, then YES, be concerned, but if it doesn't then is it worth all the worrying.

If being last is a main concern then I would rest up all week for my track workouts and only my track workouts because YES, I am typically the slowest one in the group of 30+ runners. Many of them are world class runners, they haven't swam or biked all week and then some, they run and run and run and have been doing it their entire lives. Possibly, if I ran 300+ miles a week for the next 10 years I may have run as many steps as them, but that is not where I am at, my body would completely give out on my too, but that is a whole other post.

What matters to me is that I show up, I make an honest effort for me on that given day and time, and three- I am improving.

I can't say I do not have my own struggles with performance, I am letting others know that I need to remind myself frequently, of what MY goals are, where I want to be and remembering that I could still be having the race or workout of my life even if someone else is ahead of me. In high school my 100 fly goal was always to win at the state championships and qualify for senior nationals. I raced the 100 fly a gazillion times in my life, but I always focused on the state meet, being rested there and qualifying there. I had never won the district meet, in fact, I was always about a full second out of first place, so how did I ever think I could win at the state meet, the thing is I did not let these small "losses" distract me because I understood it is all a process, I kept my focus on what needed to happen at the "A" race. I never missed a beat with my workouts, with visualizing, with my focus in order to achieve this goal. I could only control myself. The best thing my coach did was make me visualizing winning and also made me visualize not getting first but getting the senior national time standard (because truly that was winning to me).

You can not control others and you never know what will happen so take each workout, each race, each task and recognize what your goal is for it ahead of time and implement. This is part of the planning.

If you know YOUR plan, you will succeed. Last place means nothing, everything is a process to lead to that fantastic feeling of "winning".

Keep striving!

And HELLO 60 degrees of sunshine in Seattle (no skull cap and no booties on today) !!!