Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Hawaiian Days

We have arrived, our third year at Hawaii 70.3.

Been looking forward to this start line for two years now, being this was the last “real” race I was able to do. As with most case scenarios, things have not gone down without a hitch since returning to full-time training. It has been a slow process and been bogged down with the flu was not what I had in mind.  However, by mid-week last week I was coming around. And I can never pass up the opportunity to do what I love.  So as Hawaii 70.3 approaches I am anxious and nervous at the same time to be at the start line once again.

The big talk of the town (besides Lance) is the wind, the heat, the wind and the heat. The uncontrollable. So each day we embrace what the Hawaiian gods grant us and “go with it”.

Day 1: A ride out to Hawi. Felt great, heart rate was 10 beats higher but this is normal upon arriving in hotter climates. Wind? No wind…..until I flipped around to head back to Mauna Lani.  The person singing out loud and screaming mantras at herself while walking her bike three times may or may not have been me.  Yikes!

Day 2: Perfect riding weather!!!! Until milepost 16.  Then it was side rain with low visibility. But it made for the most gorgeous rainbow.

Day 3: Somehow convinced my supportive mother to ride alongside me (just to feel like lance) while I ran. This kept the motivation factor up, as the run out was a little disturbing with the ferocious headwind.  But running 3’ per mile faster on the way home made up for it!

Day 4: Ride out was windy, but nothing like day 1.  Although my first interval came to a halt mid-way due to the dreaded flat tire.  Carry on, carry on!

Although sometimes frightened by the conditions here, arriving to the race early to train and get used to the weather tends to help me each year.  Also finding the moments that make me smile the most ease some of the anxiousness of race.  Swimming everyday (and with fab swim buddies!) creates calmness to my never-stop-thinking-mind. And finding heaven under the ocean has already made this trip a gazillion times over worthwhile.

Friday, May 25, 2012

UC and Triathlon

A few requests is all I need to put some UC (ulcerative colitis) information out there for those of you googling "UC and triathlon" over and over! I've been there trying to decide if I could or could not race and in search of people I could relate too.I am covering several topics briefly to outline what I have found works for me, in hopes that readers can find some hope in understanding that they are not alone. I am happy to answer any questions via my personal email listed at end of post.  Never hesitate to reach out!

I am not a medical professional on this topic. And I am only speak from my experience and how I have dealt and felt since the age of 24. Here are some blunt facts on my life.

On Flare-Ups:

*I have had 3 flare ups.  Each one gets worse and worse and worse. 
*Remissions tend to last 2-ish years.
*Stress is what ultimately will send me in a downward spiral to a flare.
*Daily there are minor issues but these can be dealt with, it is the flares that are beyond life changing.

On Food:
*The nutrition books are guidelines, but I have had no success with them.
*My findings are that during a flare vegetables, dairy, and fruit are the worst things I can give my body. 
*Chicken broth and jello are my foods of choice during a flare.
*Sometimes all my body needs is a big hamburger or a giant cookie and I feel much better (yep, against all nutrition books). My thoughts on this is that I haven't "eaten" for days and it does not make my gut worse at all, in fact, I feel better.
*Food does not cause a flare, no evidence, but when sick some foods can make it worse.  I find each flare up responds to different foods and studies find that this is the case with many. Ie: Oatmeal may effect you now, but not when in remission or during another flare

On Medicines:
*First flare up- Prednisone, Asacol, Canasa (hair loss, no weight gain)
*Second flare up- Prednisone, asacol and some liquid suppository, imuran (sorry, it grosses me out too!), anti-nausea medicine (hair loss, nausea, puffy face)
*Third flare up-Remicade (6 months), Humira (following Remicade), imuran, prednisone, anti-nausea medicine, vicodine, maxalt (vomiting, nausea, puffy face, hair loss, fatigue, headaches)
*Currently- Humira every 2 weeks, 200 mg imuran, maxalt as needed
*Even when feeling great you must take your medicines. I struggle with this because I do feel side effects of them. BUT, I am not sure I can handle a flare up worse than the previous one.

On training:
*Training is a huge stressor.
*I have to do as much as I can to limit it as a stressor by keeping a balance between sleep, work, and training.
*I sleep a min of 9 hours a night and typically take 1-2 hour naps three or more times a week.
*I train 12-16 hours a week now (far less than before)
*Hydration is a key component in my gut letting me train.  Make sure you are ALWAYS drinking. I get hydration IV's from my doc to help with this
*A missed workout is a missed makeups...your body is telling you something.
*Running....oh the anxiety!!!  I've found I can only do intervals and even tempo runs (z2+) no more than 1x/week.  I COULD do more but I spend more time looking for restrooms than I do actually running.

*You are the biggest advocate of your body.
*Find a coach that will listen to you and work "with" you.  If you know your body can not handle "x" then let them know.
*Never expect anyone to understand what you are truly dealing with.  Trust that you do know what is best for your body and listen to yourself. Being type-A I often find myslef thinking I am being lazy, or "talking" myself down from hard training. This is NOT the case.  Trust in YOU!
*The people that matter are the ones that you can talk with and who will not judge you or make you feel "less" because of your disease. Those are the people that matter....keep them close by!

Thursday, May 10, 2012


I know the rule "If you don't have anything nice to say, then don't say anything at all".  But I also have goals.  And gosh, I will post 5 times this month! And I don't have much "nice" to report this week.

I am Cranky-crankerson with the flu.  Sitting on the couch for a week now, was not what was in my plan leading up to *gulp* less than 4 weeks to Honu 70.3. 

Looking at the positives:
* I had some super GREAT training weeks/weekends leading up to my puke-fest.
*My cats and I are spending real quality time together
*I am rested.
*The less training the more I geek-out on training data. Just try to stump me on athletes' TrainingPeaks files and WKO+ numbers.
*Two of my most favorite races (ST Croix and Wildflower) took place last weekend so I was fully entertained for a few hours tracking all you speedy athletes! Congrats! Not to mention all you bad-arses that did St George....WOWZA!

As an athlete it can be such a challenge to take time off, especially in the middle of the season. But reminding ourselves that fitness is not gained, nor lost overnight. Fitness comes from consistent, days, years and  a lifetime of hard work. There are no short-cuts to regain any lost time in fitness either. Trust me this past year has been my most-challenging athletic year to-date. Any athlete taking 1, 2 or even more weeks off, it is key to take your time building back up in order to ensure you can be consistent leading into more important races. For me it has been  the little steps, the little peeks of minor fitness gains over and over that I am looking back on to keep my head on straight right now. Being an athlete is so much more than just showing up to races and being faster than the previous race. The more challenging component is how you deal with the curve balls and how you build yourself back up along the journey.

Less than 4 weeks to Honu. Which was my final big race before the Ulcerative Colitis took over a chunk of my time two years ago. I want to race there more than anything. Everything happens for a reason and the body can heal in amazing hurry it up flu!!!

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

April finalized!

I only had to post one more time in April, a total of two times to hit my resolution and I did not quite succeed.  Planning on making up for it this month with 2 additional pots.  Pressure is on now! I am a great procrastinator and a great excuse maker.  Really? I think everyone I know has a birthday in April, which means fun all day, everday, non stop plans.  I love it! 

To finish off April here are the highlights:
* I feel like I have climbed mountains....over and over again...

* My birthday!  Tiffany's box and a Disc wheel.  I think my husband knows me VERY well!

* Opening Day at Safeco Field with Mom and Chris and Webb. Along with pre-game mingle with Rebecca at Pink Door.

* Wenatchee training weekend.  Epic riding, epic climbing, epic FUN with great friends! And bread pudding to top it all off.

* Webb's birthday: Costa Rica monkey coffee mugs were in order, another 7 hour training day, and FOOD!

* Joined a new club: The leave your car running all day club.  2012 4-runner for anyone wanting it with a tank of gas, assuming you take a hold of it within the first 2 hours of it running in parking garage located one block north of the Pike Place Market. It turned off somewhere within the 8 hours I was at work. Not such a good-not-so-blonde moment....oops!

* Quarq.  It was reading me some really high numbers, good thing I have trained with HR so long.  Finally got the thing working again, but really it took a lot of time. Thanks to John for helping me out.

*Power training seminar with Joe Friel!  Loved it!

*Nails with Elizabeth continue to be a monthly ritual.

*House refinanced.

*Pinterest officially owns me.  Baked more in a month than total times in the 5 years Mark and I have been together. Considerngi this a "good" time-sucker. From cookies, to donut-muffins, easter bark and bars, to mexican lasagna, I am discovering how to utilize some cookware I didn't even know I owned!

*Next up. Duathlon this weekend, CDA training camp, Honu 70.3, Luna Chix Run Clinic, and our 2-year anniversary, and one of my best buds is pregnant. 
*Life is good!