Thursday, November 30, 2006

Question of the Week

Registration opens tomorrow Dec 1st.

Who's in?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Tattoo my butt and call me a triathlete!

My original post title was going to be "Taconite Boy wants a tattoo". But by the wonders of modern auto think, a former title popped up when I began to type. This was the title of my race report from the Liberty Half Iron. At that time I had no intention of inking my backside after Florida, I was going to do the ankle thing-damn auto think.

At any rate, Taconite Boy is enamoured with my tattoo. So much so that he showcased his tattoo video as post turkey dinner entertainment, FOR MY IN LAWS!!!!!! I love his mom and dad, and they love me, I'm just not so sure they needed to "know" me that well. For the record, I'm not so sure anyone needs to know me that well, but alas, we didn't get 'too'd in Vegas so the world gets an all access pass. Of course the video is a gift that keeps on giving, thanks to the almighty Iron Kahuna, I'm just glad we didn't video any of our kid's deliveries.

So, Taconite Boy wants a tattoo. I suggested perhaps he ought to wait until he actually had something to say. Which explains why he showed up in my dream last night, butt freshly shaved and inked with

"Minnesota Proud and I LOVE TO EAT!"

How nice.

T-boy begins his journey to Iron January 2, I'll be alongside every step of the way, and I can't wait.

For those of you interested, we are going to Wildflower in May and will follow the same training program that got us through a rockin T-Boy olympic, two halves and Florida in fine style.

We'd welcome more virtual training partners, with many of our training endevours being podcast worthy, no doubt.

Details to follow- You might even get a tattoo out of the deal

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Yes, Taconite Boy got his t.v.

and it's entirely possible it's been on too much this weekend. The doctors tell me they ought to go back to normal with a few hours of sunshine and a good book. As for me, I did the ultra early morning run on stores, but was slightly less amused, I think I went to the store visited by the most hung over, onry types. How can you start the most magnificent season of all in poor spirits? I generally do all of my Tribe shopping on Friday am, but this year only walked away with a new quilt for our bedroom. We have a few ideas for the Tribe, and are still waiting to see how they pan out. We cooked for 21 people on Thanksgiving day, Soapinator, who is "Sweet as sugar, like apple pie" made her annual classic. Uh, yea, it's good. Especially with vanilla ice cream.
We never actually made it to the Turkey Day 5k. I can't explain it exactly, it just seems like the more whole I become, the less I need to have all of those diversions away from reality past, it's quite refreshing actually. And it felt really good to just sleep in after a hectic start to the week. Holidays don't hurt nearly as much any more. How could they with a crew like this? Pretty tough to express in words how thankful I am for The Tribe and Taconite Boy. We had his family over for Turkey, in addition to a few friends, and much to my amazement,


17 pounds of turkey, 10 pounds of potatos, 3 pounds of oh-my-gosh-gingerbread-is-the-new-secret-ingredient-stuffing, rolls, broccoli casserole, apple and pumpkin pie etc...


I ended up cooking cornish game hens and a new dinner, mixing in the meager scraps from Thursday, for Saturday evening.

We did the annual run to the Christmas tree farm Friday afternoon.
You drive for an hour to the middle of mid america, and are met by a guy, heater in mouth, who shoves a map through your window, and directs you forward to his son who tosses a saw in your lap and advises you to watch the "one way" signs. Always polite and always slightly suspicious of anyone not adorned in camo or Polaris wear. We leave our spandex at home.
The fields are beautiful, and you wander along taking in the scent of fall and pine, looking for the perfect tree. Almost invariably we walk around for an hour only to return to the tree we parked the car by when we first pulled to the side of the lane. This year, however, the perfect tree was a quarter mile walk into the field, and the "old growth" forest. The Tribe always has to help cut the tree, and it's one of those annual pictures that really deserve a framed montage. Alongside the ones of dragging the tree through the door. The day we go artificial is the day Christmas ceases to exist.

This farm also has a petting zoo, and hay rides with Blu Blocker, gin soaked Santa. Fantastic. He's a riot. Of course, it was Taconite's year to bump along in the wagon with The Tribe, and imagine his dismay when there were no seats left and Hyphen Girl had to ride the round with Buck Naked. A 13 year olds dream date. :-) She weathers these things well, I think she gave in to our lunacy long ago. We capped off the night with Fuddruckers and the weekend with decorating the tree.

The latest Get Your Geek On broadcast is up, reminding me of one more thing for which I am thankful, the blog and tri family.

Have a good one!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

I am not 18 anymore

Or for that matter, 28. Two days of basketball practice have confirmed this. Ironmen get no sympathy, but, dang I'm sore. Tommorow is Thanksgiving and the annual Turkey Day 5K. This makes year 12 for me.

and while I love to show off my new 'too, I don't think I'll go this extreme. Last year it was 9 degrees race morning, these guys were a little cold. This year, we seem to be having our October in November. I think the high is going to be 102 or so. Maybe I will show off that tattoo. Our normal running contingent is out of town helping to rebuild Mississippi, so it will be a year to make new friends. I'm running with Iron Jenny and her busom (ahem) friend Iron Laura, so making new friends probably won't be an issue, although their tattoos are on their ankles (that's hardly fair). Taconite Boy isn't even running this year, he's saving his energy for Black Friday. Last I saw, he was rummaging in the shed for a tent mumbling something about "just freeze dry his turkey dinner" How big is the needle in Hyphen Girls hand? We pass TB's store everyday on the way home from school.

"Dad? What's the name of that store by the coat place?"

"TV land"

"Yea, I saw a guy putting up his tent there...."

TB was grabbing his keys and heading out the door to do surveillance. Until he saw HG rolling on the floor laughing.

TB is convinced that every saavy consumer in Minnesota is going to be waiting at TV land's door Thursday night waiting for his great TV deal, because of course we don't live in the land of Best Buy, Target, Walmart etc....

Confession. My alarm is set for 4 am. But that's because I'm a sadistic people watcher. It's better than Fight Club.

I have a list of 100 things I'm thankful for, but most likely won't get it posted until Friday, so in the meantime,

Have a very Safe and blessed Thanksgiving

Friday, November 17, 2006

Question of the Week

While my buddy Chris can gain weight with impunity in the off season, we all know that trimama's have to be more careful in their consumption, something about all that fun loving estrogen wanting to hold on to fat. Case in point, I dropped 25 pounds in my first 3 months of training, but lost a measly 10 over the next 12. My weight loss program is simple, watch what you eat, watch even closer what you drink, and train regularly.

However, someone has clicked on the hibernation button. Couple that with how recovering from Ironman makes you hungry and eating diligence becomes an endurance sport all it's own. My hats off to those of you who regard every bite you take, but here is a list of things I HAVEN"T consummed, in spite of myself.

One whole blueberry pie
A pitcher of margaritas
3 people tenting in line at the local target for a PS3 (although that might be helpful as there are 9 people in line and only 6 tickets available)
An entire Green Mill deep dish pizza
A fully loaded Chipotle Burrito with chips and salsa
A complete Thanksgiving dinner with 7 pounds of potatos (this is killing me, T-day could have been yesterday for my liking)
A dozen doughnuts
Hyphen Girls science fair project (ok, that's not so tough, it's about how quickly meat rots at room temperature-lovely)

This weeks question is short answer essay, tell me, what am I missing?


This is a tough one, I typically like the underdog, but this time it has to be

Go Buckeyes!

We have our year end tri banquet tonight, Iron Jenny is the MC, hopefully I'll have pics to post Monday
First Swim Meet for The Tribe on Saturday, Basketball starts for HG on Monday (yea I got the assistant coach position-can't wait!) and training has resummed

Have a great weekend

Trimama out!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Mom, I love her

And thus, Buck Naked Boy succumbs to the world of Le Femme Fatale. Poor guy. He met her during the first week of school, SHE was his seat mate, now SHE owns his heart. BNB was in a surly mood a few weeks back when he came home to report that SHE didn't want to be his friend any longer. The currency of friendship in primary school holds the value of a North Korean Won. Thankfully, moms are wiser, and regard friendships as dear, we'll be meeting at McDonalds playland soon. I didn't lose a son, I gained a soul mate.

SHE is the oldest of four kids, so her mom has her hands full, literally, at drop off time. I remember those days fondly, one in hand, three in tow, wouldn't want to go back there. A little secret, we're presently in the honeymoon years. There is nothing like the tweener stage of no diapers, and no hormones. Well, there are a few hormones, but life is fairly straightforward. I've been blessed with four kids who love life, and more importantly, love each other, so it makes for a generally sweet reunion at the end of a day. So, all of you moms with young kids, hang in there, as I was told numerous times, the busy time goes by fast, savor it while you can.

As I mentioned before, Standing Long Jump needs a new name. My kids named themselves over a year ago, when this whole blog thing began, and his was an impulsive response to the question. Actually, he named himself after the event that I manned at his track and field day. Following much deliberation, he will henceforth be named Urp, which rhymes with burp (an equally impulsive action) but that more aptly captures an eight year old boys persona. He's named after a famous cowboy of the old west, so it fits beautifully.

Hyphen Girl has busied herself lately with creating power point displays of her Thanksgiving and Christmas ensembles. Since Iron Bolder ran trembling and hid at the prospect of HG coming for a visit at High Altitude Shopping Camp, I've arranged for her to travel north and do things as only a hearty Canadian can, at some point in the future she will be meeting up with Wendy for Fashion Camp extrodianaire. Rumor has it that Wendy's Bro is taking on the amazing feat of two ironman races in the same year. He will be seeing all of you in Arizona and then again in Wisconsin. Details of IMmoo Fashion Camp '07 to follow soon. True to her multifaceted personality, I will be arranging "Surfing Camp" (Thanks Iron Kahuna, astonaut camp, tattoo camp, beer drinking camp (oh right, those are college), pottery camp, sewing camp........

"You know you can eat camel poop? It tastes like bubble gum."

I'm not so sure we'll find a volunteer for Soapinator's theory on animal dung, and perhaps we'll need to work on reading comprehension skills a little, even if the literature is "All About Poop". Nothing like weighting the Scholastic Book Fair with those age old classics. What did Shakespeare know anyhow.

I'm gradually easing back into work and working out. Wow, how quickly fatique sets in during that initial week or so following ironman. I'm completely psyched to have Wildflower to look forward to, it easily answers the question of "what are you going to do now". I need to work on strength and power this off season. Wildflower is a tough, hilly course and the rest of my season will be about speed. I'm surprisingly ready for the challenge, which is a stark contrast to how fried I was feeling about training just prior to Florida. It's either success breeding success, or that I'm eagerly anticpating a Trigeekdreams reunion tour. Probably both.

Being thankful in this time of Thanksgiving

Trimama out

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Sometimes the best way to see where you are going... to see how far you've come. When I switched into running shoes and made my way out of T2 I had travelled 114.4 miles along my ironman route, and yet was back at the beginning. That's the irony of transition. You labor and strive and progress and then you return to where you began. However, the beauty of it all is that each return to the start brings a marked change in your perception of where you began. Wetsuits in heaps, bikes askew with dramatically less shine, aero bottles empty, some hearts charging forward, some relenting to call it a day, all 2/3rds iron.

114.4 miles of iron, hundreds of miles of training and millions of miles away from the days of having my five year old virtue sold for Monopoly money. That's a lot of miles. Tiring at times, crushing at others, refreshing yes, and at times downright ecstasy producing. When someone sets your value at play money, it takes a fairly long journey to prove them wrong, and to find what is right. I spent a lot of years trying to persuade those people, and thereby hopefully myself, that I was worth more then what their currency allowed, but in an economy of hate, it is very difficult to find purchase to move forward.

Training for ironman resets the table. If you allow it to, ironman is a forge that will burn away even the most encrusted dross, it is fire and pressure that can crack the most stubborn chains, and for me it was a tool used by a masterful God to set me free.

I love C+

Hyphen Girl came home with her report card yesterday. A brilliant montage of A and A+, "she's wonderful" "an asset to our 7th grade class", "a pleasure to teach". all hidden between the back seats of the minivan. I found the report card this morning and brought it inside beaming with pride at my 13 year old daughter.

"Holy buckets of ice, HG, you smoked your report card!"

"But I got a C+ in math".

Here by a peculiar twist of fate my daughter was missing the awe of the forest due to the prescence of one struggling tree.

In my old economy of hate there was only my shortcoming of B+ in a montage of A's. That economy was miles ago, and that is why I could grab HG up in a bear hug and express to her how very proud I am of how hard she works, what a beautiful, kind young woman she has become and how much I love her.

I am not them. I spent years playing by their game, struggling against their poverty of value, and yet, thank god, never entirely selling out.

Perhaps this is why I could swim amongst the waves smiling and tossing with the seas. I had nothing to prove. Perhaps this is why I could cycle along, largely unimpacted by my diminished average speed. I had no contraints on time. Perhaps this is why I arrived at transition with a smile on my face and a little laughter with the volunteers. Life was beautiful and I felt at peace. Perhaps this is why, following that first peg leg mile of running I began to fly. Mile after mile clicked by with the gracious help of volunteers and spectators. I only allowed myself to contemplate the next mile, resisting the urge to look at the big picture until it had shrunk to one mile remaining. I ran each mile, pausing to power walk the aid stations.

Cola, chicken broth and sugar cookies are my new best friends.

Ok, that would be lame, but oh how those three things carried me along. In spite of Gatorade being a primary sponsor on the course, the aid stations served C-O-L-A, but a tired brain doesn't really care where the caffeine is coming from, only that the stimulant is there. At mile 4 I picked up with Collette, a massage therapist from Carolina. She asked me if this was my first Ironman and what I would do with a nauseous stomach. I told her that it was my first attempt, and I had no idea, but that cola was handy at helping you burp and as far as I know, there is nothing so satisfying as a nice burp when your stomach is queasy. (learned that with 160 weeks of morning sickness). She and I ran along together, up to the park and back toward the 13 mile turn around. At about mile 10 she expressed concern that the turn around was enough to make her want to quit, or at least that's what she feared. No chance, just get back to mile 14, then there is no turning back. Besides, we were dressed like twins with black shorts, blue singlets and pink running hats, my twin and new found friend couldn't quit. We lost each other at the turn when I stopped to chat with The Tribe, but she finished in 14:04. Yea!!

Understandably impossible, I felt as though I was running slightly down hill with the wind at my back through the entire marathon. Everytime I thought about stopping to walk, it just seemed easier to run. I planned to run until I couldn't run any longer, but that time never came. There was no wall, no fatigue, I ran as if the weight of the world had been pulled off my shoulders.

It had.

I ran across Iron Jenny and Robo Stu, then Kahuna and Tridaddy, how fun is that?! On the second lap I ran along with Triboomer, and Tridaddy, and Kahuna and I just kept running mile by mile. At mile 20 I called Taconitehubby to let him know I was at the turnaround and that I was feeling great. At mile 22 I ran across an oppossum, glad they were friendly. At mile 23 I watched a fellow athlete veer off into the road and oncoming traffic.

"Dude!" "Dude!" It was as if he had fallen asleep and was sleep running. My shouting jarred him and he jumped back onto the running route.

I called TH at 23 to let him know I was 3 miles out so he could deliver the kids to the Gatorade finish line.

At mile 24 I resisted the urge to reflect on the long journey to this place, knowing that I might break down crying hysterically and not be able to finish the course. Just one more mile. Just one more mile. I could now see the bright lights of the amusement park half a mile from the finish line.

Then, at mile 25 I could hear it. "Jane Doe, you are an Ironman"

I kept moving forward, but the emotion was starting to get to me. How is the world did I get here? The final mile closed quickly and I passed the turnaround point and headed up the finish chute. High fives and arms extended.

Go Trimama, Go! You made it! Go!

Then it hit me. Where are my kids? I have to find my kids. I was asking spectators, anyone, as I made my way up the finish helix. I didn't want to miss my kids. Then, at the top of the helix the finish line was finally visible. There was the huge inflated Gatorade. I glanced over my shoulder, no one was coming. I had the chute all to myself. Then I saw The Tribe! They came springing out to meet me and we grabbed hands and made for the tape. And all of that emotion hit at once. Every doubt, every don't quit, everything flooded like a Tsunami. I reached over to hug Hyphen Girl and SLJ, and I collapsed. Totally. The catchers ran to help. And I cried. The poor Tribe looked on dumbfounded, and Trihubby (who had volunteer access to the finish chute) ushered them aside, allowing the volunteers to take me through the finish area. With medal, and finisher bag collected, The Tribe rejoined me and Trihubby's hug allowed me to collapse and cry for a few moments more. I had done it! We had done it! I was an ironman!

I wish I could personally thank every one of you in the blogosphere for all of your help and encouragement. You made the training a wonderful experience and the finish line sweet.

To the Florida Tri Geek Alliance, you guys are just plain awesome. This week will go down as one of the sweetest ever! The only fault is that it was not nearly long enough. I love you guys! Wildflower makes parting do able, and may there be many reunions in the future.

To Kahuna, my music loving, tattoo buddy, life triumphing brother, thanks for bringing it all together and seeing us to the finish line. We got here on our own training, but how sweet it was to finish as a team. It's better than Everest, it's like the State High School championship.

To Trihubby, Taconite Boy. What can I say? None of this is possible without your love and support. Thanks for all the meals you cooked, the dishes you washed and the nights you gave up when I crashed way to early in the evening. Thanks for investing in all of my equipment, but far more for investing in me. You believed in me from that first "little" ten miler, and you believed in me in my first sprint last year. You encouraged me to sign up for Florida, never doubting I could make it. I couldn't ask for a better training partner, lover or friend. You are a great father and an incredible man. My life is richly blessed by you. And finally, thanks to my creator and God who allowed me these moments in time, who loved me enough to not leave me in an abyss but who graciously brings me daily through transition and into new life.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Random pics to share with the Geek family

Bolder, Iron Jenny, Taconite Hubby and I race morning

Triboomer, Iron Jenny and I ready to "Get our Geek On!"

Running to the turn around (full story to follow soon)


Soapinator and her new best friend

Walking our gear to transition

Iron Jenny and Soapinator surveying the ocean

The Cheering of The Tribe

Standing Long Jump (who really needs a new name) playing in the ocean

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Now, where was I?

Oh, that’s right, exiting the swim. One of the good things that comes of believing that there is a God and that He is more than just a fantasy in the sky is that you get an inside track on some good information. I’m just a scarred; partly broken down, stay at home mom with a great family. Because of the abuse of my past my brain doesn’t always work so well, and there are times when pain or other triggers just shut me down. Who am I to think I could take on one of the world’s toughest endurance events and succeed. I knew to train well and to cross that finish line I would need a lot of wisdom, and a lot of help.

“If you lack wisdom, ask God and he will give it to you generously, without finding fault.” It’s a good thing for me that being a total screw up, a lot of the time, doesn’t get in the way of being gifted wisdom.
“but when you ask, do not doubt that you will receive or you will be like a wave of the ocean blown and tossed by the wind”
This then is why I do what is right oftentimes in spite of myself. Reading some other blogs I’ve learned that I should have been concerned about getting sick on the swim, and that in fact many felt queasy and some no doubt got sick. I knew the ocean made people sick, so my chief concern was to not swim through vomit. Unbeknownst to me, earplugs are a great antidote to motion sickness. I just so happen to bring my plugs along; I wear them because I really hate the feeling of water in my ears. I didn’t wear them the day of our practice swim because I wanted to make certain I could hear my swimming partners, and I presumed I wouldn’t wear them race day for the same reason. The morning of the race, as I double -checked my gear I noticed the plugs and threw them in my pocket, a little voice in my head told me I might want them. I was glad for them when I saw the size of the surf, and stuck them in my ears because I didn’t want to be distracted by the discomfort of water flowing in and out of my ears. I had a few moments of queasy, but nothing overwhelming. Widsom.

I’m certain it was a cold run from the shore to the changing tent, but I think my delight at finishing the swim warmed me to the core. The volunteers in transition were awesome! I deliberately took my time in changing, making certain that I made the right choices in what to wear and what to leave behind. These choices began when I packed my gear at home and added my long sleeve biking jersey to my bag. I assumed it would be warm during the race, but that long sleeves would be nice to throw on post race. Was I glad for that wise impulse. I wore my jersey, a pair of grey leggings, my bike shorts, fingered gloves and a UA skullcap. I was toasty and didn’t have to think at all about staying warm, but was also aerodynamic, unlike some of the poor folks I saw on the bike course wearing windbreakers and garbage bags.

It didn’t take long on the flat course to be grateful for all the hours on the trainer and the circles on the flat bike path, my legs were used to spinning for hours at a time, and I had trained in a lot of wind so I knew what gearing I wanted in those circumstances to keep a steady pace without undue exertion.

Stick with your plan.

My plan involved a steady stream of nutrition, replenished at every aid station. Again, the volunteers were awesome. I did add bananas last minute to my intake, mostly because it was a riot trying to shove a banana in you mouth while pedaling, and I gave myself 2 points for each time I hit the trash can with the peel. Trimama 8, Cans 12. I don’t doubt that there is still banana residue in my nose.

I mentaled through the first tedious 28 miles, stopping for a break to eat, stretch and find a bush. I knew that this was a no complaint day. In ironman there is no room for whining, it takes too much energy and it’s a negative drain. The terrain was unique and beautiful and I spent that first couple hours just taking it all in. The wind was frustrating, but what are you going to do, quit? For every head wind, there is a tail wind when you ride a circuitous route, so I just reminded myself the ride home would be easier. I would chat briefly with each athlete I passed, trying like a dog to be mindful of the drafting and blocking rules.

This mindfulness was not universal. I’m not particularly bothered by people who cheat in the sense that they have to sleep in their own skin, and if they find cheating to be essential to success, well they get an asterisk by their success. It’s more important to me to just race with integrity. That was tough at times when the bikers stretched in a line as far as the eye could see, but I did my best to keep my draft zone clear. What makes me mad is when the cheaters jeopardize the safety of other athletes. On that note, chick with the ipod blasting, if your going to choose deaf, at least choose a straight line, you almost took us both down when you couldn’t hear my passing call. And to the chick with the disc wheel and tear drop helmet, you know better than to ride 3 and 4 abreast chatting leisurely, thereby forcing all the athletes passing to go far out into the line of traffic.

The best part of the bike, hands down, was that The Tribe would be waiting at mile 58. A hundred mile per hour wind couldn’t wipe the smile from my face knowing they were out there with me. I rolled into a stop and we had a little picnic together. Hyphen Girl wanted me to eat something other than the hot squashed sandwich from my special needs bag, so I explained the outside assistance rules to her. Soapinator wanted to give me her ipod, bless her heart-again, rules.

Trihubby had been keeping track of Paula Newby Frasier’s live race report and let me know that the first 70 miles were tough, and then things settled down.

He was wrong. This was the only tough part of the bike course. At mile 70 we turned not out of the wind, but straight back into it. It was only about 4 miles of the course, but I disgraced myself with a little tirade on the bike. It didn’t help that this was the bumpiest patch of road I have ever ridden. The good news, if you were going to flat it was going to happen here, I didn’t and on we rolled.

“You’d be real cute if you didn’t piss yourself.” came the southern drawl from behind me.

Well thank you for your insight Gizzy. But here’s the deal. I’m fueling with liquid, lots of liquid. At one point my rate of "dropping fuel" was about every 10 minutes. If I stopped and dismounted every time I would never finish this bike course, particularly because there was always a wait at the port a lets.

Stand and deliver became my motto. Remember those grey leggings? Yea. Oops.

I rolled through the century mark and into unknown territory. I’ve never ridden more than 100 miles at a time on my bike. That last 12 miles flew by, I had ridden an Ironman bike ride and no one could ever take that away from me. The ride took 7 hours with a 16 mph average. Obviously, everyone would have been faster on the bike sans the wind, but this day wasn't about time splits, it was finishing and when I left the bike I felt fresh and ready to run.

The Tribe was waiting and yelling at the bike transition, and I kissed them all- they are just plain awesome.

And dirty, so now it’s off to laundry.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Well, I guess you'd like a race report....

The Soapinator and I are home from the airport now, waiting to return to the airport to pick up the rest of The Tribe. Trihubby, who is just plain awesome, has all the AV equipment, so this post will be a little shy on pictures, yes that includes the oh-so-sweet-I-can't -believe- I- actually- did- that- tattoo, picture from my lower back.

Did you know your booty clevage and your spine don't line up?

You do now. No, really go check the mirror. I had to decide which landmark I wanted to accentuate. I went with spine. I'm not a plumber so it was a no brainer.

Robostu, Kahuna, Trihubby and I had a riot of a night last night, a fitting farewell to the whole Panama gig. Allow me to just say, I'm glad my wild friend Iron Jenny had gone home earlier in the day or there was a fighting chance we would have left Coyote Ugly having danced on the bar while leaving our bolder holders in the rafters. Ironman will do that to you. As it was, the savor merely continued and I left Panama feeling as though I'd gained two brothers. Although this was evident from night one, when Robo Stu, not even remembering my first name, (sigh), gazed longingly at my unfinished chicken burritos.

"Are you just going to take those home to your hotel refridgerator?"

How could Trimama deny a starving triathlete?

And so this man, a relative stranger, consummed the remainder of my meal. I'm not even certain he switched over to his own fork. But Ironman will do that to you.

To think, a year minus one week ago I'd never ridden a road bike in my life and had only accumulated 42 miles during 3 separate rides, on my brand new tri bike before winter shut down out door riding. I signed up to do a freakin ironman terrified of biking. I didn't know why I signed up for that race. I just knew had to take the plunge. The only way that works is if you don't tell your soul what your body can't do when you feel an irresistable tug on your heart.

That's why I didn't let my soul know, (or any of you for that matter), that my right arm was so screwed up from swimming that I couldn't raise it above my head right up until last Friday. Somehow my little header off of my bike, where I landed full force on my chin and left shoulder helped. Both arms were totally messed up. But I couldn't tell my soul that, because my heart had to carry me through a 2.4 mile ocean swim. Ironman will do that for you. I went to bed the night before ironman with two painful shoulders, but I hadn't travelled this far to quit, and frankly, I didn't care if I couldn't lift my arms for a week I was going to do that swim.

You know by now that we awoke to wind, waves and Minnesota morning. It was just cold. Everyone did what they could to keep warm, but there was a lot of shivering going on out there. Didn't lessen the intensity of anticipation a bit though, where nervous smiles and clusters of friends praying together and encouraging each other dotted the beach.

There are no atheist on Ironman beaches. Especially when 1100 iron newbies are staring at 3 to 6 foot seas, bombed the previous day to keep sharks away, (ok, it's good I didn't find that out until the day after the race) and we were about to lose one of our own in the water.

Jenny and I caught up with Trihubby in the lobby of the host hotel, surprisingly not so crowded, to warm up and do the final carbo unload. (my consistently good omen that it will be a great race day) There was no line for the nice indoor bathroom, and I warmed up to a place of no more chattering. Yea, I guess it takes a Minnesotan to figure out you come inside when windchill is a factor :-) We made our way to the beach a few minutes before the pro canon, warm and ready to race. One quick prayer with Triboomer, and it was time.

Other ironmen will get this. The time leading up the start of the race seems to just freeze. It's a moment when a room opens in your soul, and the persona that you have built with hours of physical and especially mental training walks out, ready to take on the day. All of the doubts, all of the the "I can't do this" are absent. It's just you and the task at hand. Any other day and I would have been freaked out by those waves. I would have been overwhelmed with doubt in swimming one, much less two laps out there. But on this day, no fear. Ironman will do that for you.

Jenny and I loosened up by dancing on the beach. What are you going to do? It was great music, and yes there is video.

Then it was time, and the canon fired. I took the inside line, behind the first wave of Kona heads, and set out to take down every guacamole dorito buoy in my line of sight. My only concern on the swim was the first turn buouy and what was going to happen when the pros caught us.

By now you know my mantra, just keep swimming, just keep swimming.

About 500 yards out is when I first noticed the sparkly lights. Initially I thought it was the sun glinting off of the divers face masks, but they didn't go away even as the yards moved passed. Thousands of sparkly lights.

"Dory, no!!!"

I'll be damned, those were jelly fish. Lots of jellyfish. In my mind the waves kept the jelly fish away. I'll take waves and frightened jelly fish anyday. They just hovered well below the surface. Thank god! (Although I did get stung 3 times on the second lap. It hurts like a bee sting but goes away much faster.)

The buoy was tight and chaotic, and ultimately I had to pass it on the left (hitting it as I went) because an older man was hanging on to it and everytime I tried to move around it I was hitting into a wave of people and the buoy was getting blown around by the waves. This is about the time the pros passed, and I got konked on the head hard.

More sparkly lights, but this time not from jelly fish. Just keep swimming. We had about a 200 yard swim across the waves to the next turn buoy, and damn that was fun. It was like body surfing fun. Wouldn't want to do the whole 4000 yards that way, but it was ok while it lasted.

Then, into shore, down the beach and back into the surf. I just kept tellling myself every dorito I pass was one less dorito, and I needed to savor the moments. Who knows when I'll ever get a chance to do this again. This is the ocean for goodness sakes. I was swimming in the ocean, on my ironman.

The second lap was easier in the sense that there were fewer bodies in the water, but more difficult because there were fewer fellow swimmers to site off of, and there was little to no sighting in the surf. You had to make an effort to sight on the strokes you happened to be at the top of a swell, otherwise it was just a wall of water in your face. The final run to shore was weird in that the current was going right to left and the waves were going left to right. I just kept rotating my arms and working my breathing and before I knew it I was seeing the bottom again, and then hitting the sandbar, and it was up and out of the water. I had just swam an ironman swim and no one could ever take that away from me.

I cheered and high fived up through the shoot, even pausing to five Mike Reilly, that swim was just fantastic. It took a few moments to find Trihubby in the stripping area, but then he caugt me up in a huge bearhug and we laughed and whooped a little. In no time his team had me out of my wet suit and on my way.

Trihubby later told me that he was really worried for me out on the swim. I guess from the shore it looked nasty out there, bodies and waves thrashing and trashing.

I finished the swim in 1:26:XX Four minutes faster than my outside goal time of 1:30 that I was hoping for, which was very cool for an old Trimama broad with bad shoulders. According to my watch, my swim splits were 36 minutes from the point of stroking to feet on sand for lap 1 and 45 minutes for lap 2. So, it took me about 4 minutes to putz on the beach and get back into the surf.

More on the shoulders, the bike and the holy cow I ran the entire marathon and of course the finish,

but for now I need to go get my Tribe at the airport.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Trimama, you are an Ironman

The only thing sweeter than hearing Mike Reilly say that at 8:42 pm was the sight of The Tribe waiting at the kids chute to run me through the tape. We had the chute to ourselves, we got to break the tape, and we had done it!

I am an Ironman. I couldn't have done it without their love, Trihubby's unfaltering support, the love of my friends and family and of course the overwhelming encouragement of all you in the blogosphere.

We had a awesome day at the pool yesterday, drinking tequila and beers, savoring...

So, more to report of course, but later.

Thanks for all of your cheering and encouragement

Friday, November 03, 2006


Bags are checked in, bikes are racked, prayers are said, now it's just a good night's sleep then

2.4, 112, and 26.2.

But what would an Ironman be without drama?

I exhausted my drama today.

I almost never flat-bike arrived with the stem poking through the tube. Change the tire. I stopped timing myself when the clock passed 20 minutes. I always forget how to do it until I've done it. No matter, tire changed and practice ride complete. I expect a full tube when I arrive in the morning.

Practice ride. Ugg. I have only crashed my bike once, and that was on my trainer in the basement. I always wondered what it would feel like. Be careful what you ask for.

Allow for a little IM narration:

I met up with Robostu, Bolder, and Iron Jenny to take a ride and drop our gear transition bags. As we rode down the busy little tourist road I balanced my bags slung on my shoulder,rolling rolling...

"hmm, I think I forgot to reclamp my rear brake when I changed the tire" check brake, yep, not tight.

"I'll have to fix that when we stop. We are rolling slow, so the front brake should suffice."

"I really shouldn't sling my bag on my shoulder like that. It might roll down my arm and bump my tire, I need to adjust that..."

No sooner had the thought left my little brain, than my bag slid down my shoulder, caught in my wheel and

see Trimama.

Seee Trimama fly.

See Trimama really happy that the car following her was paying attention and pulled the side to keep Trimama from being hit by the cars behind him.

See Trimama sit dazed for a minute, wondering what in the heck just happened.

See Trimama see stars.

By the time I stood back up, Iron Jenny and Stu had circled back.

Robo Stu, (one of the nicest guys I've ever met) offered to take my bags the remainder of the ride. We rode down to the Transition area with me checking my parts, rolling my neck and opening my jaw.

Everything is working. I have a nice round bruise on my chin when I hit the aero bar, my shoulder is stiff and my knee has a welt, but like they say, what doesn't kill you makes you an ironman.

Funnyy thing, no more nerves.

It took a jolt to the head, but now we're right as rain.

So much to say, but it's bed time. Ideal weather tomorrow, especially for us Minnesotoans for whom 45 in the am is cause for shorts.

The Tribe is here, t-shirted and ready to cheer.

Thanks to all for the well wishes, it's time to become an Ironman.

Taconite Boy will be updating for all throughout the day- hopefully might even post a few pics.

Trimama out!