Wednesday, July 30, 2008

"I just digested the bad guy"

You got your TomKat, you got your Bradjolina and now, Tacmama. Thanks to Steve in a bowl full of sunshine for the pic.

It's midseason for most in Triworld, however, for us racing in November the year is just getting started. Especially for me, who spent the early season with Tac in training and the family vacation etc. So life went flying along to the end of July and my first significant race in 20 months. And I trained how? Sporadically at best. Some weeks focused, others working like a dog and racing kids all over town. For six months I've been rehabbing my knee, every little workout a new discovery in how I could push those tendons and muscles. I looked at Chisago Half as a marker for where my training was at. I'd won the entry at a banquet last fall, which was providential- I needed to do this race and I wouldn't have done it on my own volition. Tac sensing how totally jacked I was racing this distance signed up to be my rabbit. We raced side by side pretty much through the entire day. Cool. My plan was to apply constant pressure like an accelerator on a road trip (you see, I have that down) watch my nutrition (why does every race burp make me think of that line from Innerspace?) and secretly hope to secure a pr on the bike.

Check, check and check.

Swim 40 ish minutes including my waterside wetsuit strip and run up the grassy knoll. Pretty much the usual here-2000 yards, fairly straight and to course. Chatted with some HIM newby's including a friends hubby from work. The water was beautiful and the race vibe was there. When I hit the turn around my mind had still not settled into racing, so I spent the final 1000 yards counting up and down to 100. You do what you gotta do.

Transition I had a great run up from the water- that always makes me feel like I'm racing even on days when I am just finishing. A couple minutes- more clothes then a shorter race. Swigged some nutrition and we were off.


Bike 3:02 18:49 avs PR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I broke 18 for the first time ever and that just plain rocks. Nutritioned well, geared well, not much else to say. The course is flatter then anything around her, and therefore fast. Oh, yea, except anyone who happens to find themselves in Arizona in November, feel free to come up and say "Chamois Butter" if five or so hundred people remind me, I might actually remember. There were several moments I was certain I would never enjoy marital bliss again, so Chamois Butter is the key word here. Especially on hot and humid days. Blah. I did groan at mile 40 with the thought we still had 16 miles to go. My bike computer wasn't working and I thought we were closer. Then it occurred to me that I would still have 72 miles to go in an Ironman and I sighed (darn I have a lot of training to go).

In MInnesota we repair our roads by A) tear the whole thing up and start over thus creating a season entirely unto itself (fall, winter, spring and road construction) B) repeatedly fill in the cracks with tar goo C) let the road go to hell until A is necessary thus securing the state of the unions for decades to come.

The final five miles of the bike road were "C" and really made me wish I'd gotten that cracked tooth/filling fixed before the race. Although it was handy that it had shook completely loose-made the dentist job easier on Monday.

I've always wondered (and feared) what would happen if the fatigue and stress of racing threw me into a PTSD state. I've come close many times racing and training, but always regained control, it's not great. Had I respected the distance and nature of this race, if I had thought longer about mental training, if I'd seen the warning signs of a week of intense nightmares and subtle daytime detachment I might have had a better run and avoided the total meltdown that ensued.

I didn't

Run 2:33 (mind you a 2:10 would have PR'd my HIM time-was that asking too much?)

Block 1: Ok, let's go, yea! Let's PR

Block 2: I feel like crap. I want to puke, my calves are cramped and my legs feel like lead and I'm tired of racing.

Mile 2: I don't want to do this run Tac

Mile 3: I'm ready to quit. Ok, let's get to mile 6

Mile 4: Pretty much no nutrition is getting to my brain, and my race focus is shot. (not that it was there all along) We had gone out in the last wave of the HIM'ers so there weren't a whole lot of folks out on the run with us. That stunk, especially as I am a race talked. I need stimulation and Tac didn't feel like talking-the entire time. Too much quiet and too much brain activity is not a good idea.

I told Tac I was definitely entering a zone where this is no longer profitable. I don't think he understood me. He was busy scooping his jaw off the ground. It never occurred to him that I would bail. I had a sense mentally things were getting a little dicey.

Miles 5-7 not so bad- we picked up speed and we'd made the all important turn around point of no return. I mean, you're standing in the middle of a cornfield six miles from town, there's not a lot you can do but move forward. Unless of course you have to "go" in which case you dive into a ditch and water the weeds.

PSA brought to you by me.

There is a lovely roadside grass that looks not unlike the stuff that grows in your yard, only longer and taller. Handy cover when you need to "go". It's called "sawgrass" That name was not by mistake. It's not particularly helpful if you carry a few blades in your spandex either. Mary Kay Extra Emollient Night Cream in my new best friend.

And now back to this weeks Lifetime Drama (damn I wish my life didn't read like a chick flick sometimes)

I was fueling as best I could, but the brain needs carbs and the muscles need carbs and since moving forward as fast as you can is the goal when you really suck as a runner the muscles got priority. So the brain says, all right, fine you want to roll that way, how about a nice movie? And that is PTSD in a nutshell.

I started crying at mile 7- cried to mile 8

Got mad. Sucked it up, ate some jelly beans, stopped crying.

Mile 9 started crying again. Couldn't stop. It sucked.

Miles 10-11 must have got some sugar to my brain- the gatorade, jelly beans, and Quench gum must have worked.

Miles 12-13 Good side- we are almost there-finally. Bad news, my brain wasn't finished. Blah. I was getting angry now. I didn't want to be crying at the finish line, hell I didn't want to be crying at all. Tac was doing his best keeping me moving. I just needed to get food. Solid food.

Saw Jumper again (he just plained rocked the day cheering all over the course) He could tell I wasn't doing so good. He thought it was my knee.

Very Bright moment-my body felt awesome. No knee pain, no hip pain, no nothing. Yea!!!!!!!!!!!!! I love my massage therapist, she is a miracle worker.

Finally finished

6:2XX something. Not my best HIM, not my worst. Could have been better. I'm sure I learned something- like bring your own buffet, bring your ipod and above all else, get in some mental training before November.

Ate PB & J, talked with Training and Bloggie friends like IronJenny (second AG hardware woo hoo) Erin and Mark (their first HIM-Awesome) and I met Ironmom who flattened the course with a 45 minute PR enroute to IM Louisville next month.

I apologize to my friends who thought it was my knee. I needed to focus on something other then what was going on in my head, so the knee was an easy default. You all helped immensely, being out there, cheering and I refocused quickly. I love you guys.

So, that's my race report. I'm feeling pretty good about what I can get done between now and Novemeber. I feel great about the first 2/3rds of the race, especially sustaining a rocking good speed on the bike for 56 miles.

The run is the run and it will get better. Now I know what PTSD racing looks like it, and I got through it. I supposed the imagery of sawgrass kept me from going all fetal in the weeds :-)

Monday, July 21, 2008

A little parenting help, please

I realize I begin most posts with "wow, I can't believe how long it's been since I posted" Realizing that I have a lot to say and not very much time to say it. Since I started this blog in 2005, there is clearly a correlation with the aging of my kids and my decline of writing time. And they aren't even that busy, compared to the month to come.

That being said, here are some insights into the Tribe household this summer, in no particular order. By all means, comment and help as necessary.

Would someone please, for the love of god, tell me that when you were 10 and purchased your first "nut cup" you used it to tell yourself "knock, knock" jokes. And for that matter, your 11 year old sister went screaming around the neighborhood on her bike yelling, "NUT CUP! NUT CUP! Urp got a NUT CUP ewwwww......"

I had no idea.

and that your 8 year old brother categorically denied any future involvement in a sport which includes said "nut cup" He will be sticking to golf and soccer. I think we need to have a little conversation about male protection.

So, yes, the older boy has a new set of cleats, a mouth guard and a nut cup, pursuant to playing football. Yea!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ok, I didn't say that. He is built for football, but had consistently insisted on not playing a team sport. It took a lot of convincing for him to embrace my philosophy that most team sports are nothing like the recess scrums involving one player dominating the game as a ball hog; The LA Lakers notwithstanding. He cleated up and went to the combine and came away with a huge smile.

"Mom, you were right, I love football" whew. His league has some great coaches, including Bigun's brother, only with
"this huge roll of muscle on his shoulders"

I can't think of many things more enjoyable then the crisp smell of fall in the air, the kaleidoscope of color in the foliage and the boys suited up to throw around the pigskin. Substitute the girls with a soccer ball and Trimama will be fully competitorized this fall.

But Trimama, aren't you training for an Ironman?

Why yes. Yes I am. And the training is going slow but sure. We race a 70.3 this Sunday in Chisago. It feels to get back in the saddle, the asphalt and the lake again. We have been exclusively swimming in lakes so far, no pool = a happy Trimama.

Speaking of lakes. If your absolutely beautiful swimming hole occasionally yields a looming dark shadow below follow these handy tri tips.

1) Repeat the Tac Boy mantra: My foot is larger then most predatory fish in this lake, they should swim the other way. It works and extra bonus: you swim faster.

2) Paint your toenails. Don't just paint them, paint them black or dark blue, bearing in mind that most lures include colors such as red, bright pink and orange for a reason.

3) Swim in a larger person's wake-you end up looking like the freaking Loch Ness Monster to the poisson below.

4) As you navigate the trail around the local nature center and you are startled by one of these, and he flairs up and hisses at you, and you jump and scream, calm yourself with thoughts of this which is currently available in "all you care to eat" style at IKEA. I care to eat exactly "0". I can hardly imagine a food which takes so much effort and yields so little reward. Sunflower seeds have more meat.


The Tribe minus HG is at camp this week. The result of too much work for me which equals too much time alone together for them. They start picking on each other when they go unsupervised by an adult for too long. Returning home today they were peacefully wiped out. I don't recall so tranquil a night here since last Christmas night.

August is a month of birthdays and it's hard to say who frets more over their "list" HG or Chopper. Chopper is in the 5th edition of his list, so I think he wins this year.

It's also the month we celebrate the big 18. That's not so bad, 18 years is pleasantly close to 20 years of marriage; a milestone.

I'm currently rounding out my training plan for the rest of the season. Much to my surprise, I added a marathon Oct 10th. It's not just flat, it's downhill, so I figure I will run with friends and use it as a final long training. I'll walk if I feel like I'm going to blow up my legs. I have a few century rides and just keep swimming in mind. All the parts are staying in tact thanks to my phenom of a massage therapist and my chiropractor.

Happy Trails

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Tac's Two timing me!

I've heard a mid life crisis can vex a typically faithful man, lure him away to a younger mistress; I never thought he would fall to an Ironmaiden. But alas, it has happened.

"Do you know I did an Ironman? Twice?" I've taken to asking him if he works for Ford. That didn't go over so well. But he is helping me train, pushing me on the bike, joining me for my swims across Bush Lake.

"So, by coaching you, I'm actually defeating myself?" Oops he's figured it out. I think there is an ulterior motive though. Seems like the cheering section at IMAZ is growing with soon to be '09 ers. I'm never sure if Race Intentions should be treated like expectant pregnancies, where you let the bearer bring the news in their time, but let's just say, Tac's goading his Pod Partner as well so I feel a bit of a throw down coming on. Tac is already angling for a Morning After Slip.

"I just want to finish" has hit the back burner. November 23rd is locked into the iphone.

Start 7:00 am- canon fires and the wake wash down the gutter commences.

8:13 pm Tac Boy will be de throned!

Of course, I have my virtual training partner She Ra (or is it Fe Ra) pulling me out of bed most mornings-I'm actually following my BT Training plan, so far. I've ramped up the massage therapy in hopes I can figure out the swelling of my knee and ankles and I plan to do a whole lot of back of the pack biking to push my speed.

I'm training for 8:13 (which I just figured out is 13:13-am I tempting some kind of fate?-good thing I'm not superstitious)

We had a rockin' good Somewhat Annual 4th of July Party, great fun with pictures and report to follow.

Happy Weekend, now go celebrate your Freedom!