Custom Countdowns & MySpace Layouts

Custom Countdowns & MySpace Layouts

Sunday, December 9, 2007


I'm sick - totally full-blown coughing, throat hurting, eyes & nose running sick:( Actually I've reached the stage that every breath I take feels like lung tissue is catching on fire - not so fun - and coughing - you can only imagine how that feels.

On Friday, I found out that a friend of mine (Brian) was sick & had to stay home from work - bummer for him - but I was glad it wasn't me. I swear, it wasn't 2 hours later that my throat started to feel like it was on fire. I was sure it was just the power of suggestion but now I know that it wasn't & although he was well enough to ride in a race today, I'm still stuck in the house feeling sorry for myself. I was supposed to ride 30 miles this afternoon but I totally bailed. I'm just hoping that I get better soon. This coming week was going to be a great workout week - I had no weird things going on with the kids to make me crazy trying to squeeze in all my various workouts.

Okay - enough whining for now...I think I'll go drink some hot tea.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Hanging with the guys...

I've been literally hanging out with guys most of my life. First a long, long time ago (around 1979) when I started on the cross-country team there were virtually no girls in the sport. There was one coach for the team which consisted of about 25 boys & 5 girls. All of our practices were together so whether we were running miles on the road or through the woods, we all hung out together. No one thought this was weird. The next year on the track team, same thing. Boys & girls together because it didn't make much sense to get a separate coach for the 10-12 of us.

Around the same time I joined the high school marching band. Even though I really wanted to be one of the cute flag girls in the short little skirts, I happened to play trombone. Although I made the flag squad, the band director prevailed upon my sense of loyalty for the better of the group. We needed more brass players he I gave up my coveted short skirt and joined the rest of the guys in the brass
section of the band. Out of our 50 some horns, I was one of a small handful of girls in the section. Again, no one thought this was weird.

In about 7th grade, I met the person who would be my absolute best friend all the way through junior high, high school & into college. GASP! It was a guy. There was never any romantic relationship between us (even though we tried a couple of times). We shared all manner of thoughts in our many long conversations and to this day he probably knows more about me & who I was/am than anyone else around.

Fast forward to late 2004. Even though I had been running off & on by myself for years, when I decided to sign up for the Twin Cities Marathon I realized that I might need some support, camaraderie, advice...anything. I signed up for the Lifetime Fitness Marathon Training Group which again - mostly guys. There were probably 15 of us total with about 3-4 women on any given training run. Again - we ran all over the place - roads, trails, forests, you name it, we ran it. It was a great group. Some people had already run a marathon & freely shared advice & stories with those of us who needed it. Also, on our long runs, the group tended to spread out & people would usually pair up with anyone who ran their pace. Given the ratios of the group - you can probably guess
that women & men usually ended up running together (by themselves) but not once did anything other than running ever come of it.

Same thing here in Louisville. The running group I belong to is made up of both men & women. We all seem to run with whoever is around (both men and women). In addition, (those runners among you will understand) we talk about absolutely everything while running (and in mixed company also). Nothing is off limits - clothes, hair, sex, babies, bikini waxes, tv, relationships, bodily functions, you name it. We talk about pretty much everything - but somehow, everyone is able to control themselves in an adult manner & not fall to the ground in a mass orgy.

So, you're probably wondering, what if the point of all this?

Well, I've recently discovered that although runners tend to be openly helpful about the
sport, welcoming all comers - fast, slow, fat, skinny, boy, girl, there are some of those in the biking community who are not the same.

Now, I'd like to preface this by saying that pretty much all multi-sport athletes I've met & most of the bikers are very helpful & welcoming - going out of their way to make newbies feel included. However, it seems that there's this sub-group of guys (pretty much bikers only) who seem to have some conflicted feelings about the increasing number of women flocking to the sport.

As a specific example, I'd like to mention a locale where lots of road bikers hang out. Usually when I walk in, it's pretty much all guys - but that's often the case at the running store too. However, this is the place I go to in order to buy stuff for the sport & get my bike fixed, upgraded, etc. (CHA-CHING!) Now, like visiting Fleet Feet for running, I look forward to my visits to this place. I don't know very many bikers and I'm still learning, so when I drop in I'm looking forward to talking with others about biking, discussing the merits of certain techniques, maybe deciding on a bike upgrade, possibly even just hanging out, absorbing what's going on - others do. People even drop in here to just share a cup of coffee or shoot the breeze. Pretty normal - if you're a guy.

Apparently in this little biker world, when a woman drops in to browse, hang out, shoot the breeze, she must have some other motive in mind because she couldn't possibly be serious about biking could she? The concept of friendship between the sexes also appears to be alien. Ride together? God forbid...something else must be going on because we all know how extremely attractive people are after riding, running swimming for hours on end with sweat dripping off their bodies, salt crusted on their face, bike grease on their hands and legs and helmet hair. I know I'm really attracted to that kind of look - hold me back. Maybe it's just the fact that since these guys ride around in skin-tight spandex with girly designs on them they have to act extra manly-like the rest of the time. I don't know, but whatever it is, they need to take a lesson from the runners, multi-sport athletes and other bikers out there. The rest of us have figured out that by being as welcoming, inclusive and helpful as possible we might be able to entice more people to our sport. The more people in the sport, the more events we get to have. The more events, the more fun for all of us. I'm pretty sure there's absolutely nothing to gain by making people feel stupid or uncomfortable.

Also, if people are making subtle (and not so subtle) jokes when women walk into the store, well women will quit walking in. I can buy pretty much everything I need on the internet (and sometimes for less) but I enjoy going into a "real" store to get my stuff. FYI - triathlon is currently one of the fastest growing sports in the United States with women leading the charge. Age Group triathletes boast the highest income average of any of the "average-people's" sports out there. By alienating a sizeable portion of those athletes you obviously reduce your future income potential. We work just as hard (if in a different way) than you way to full of yourselves bikers and just want to improve like you do. Grow up boys - we're not 14 anymore & your little jokes are just not that funny. It might be hard for you to believe but our goal in life is not to get into your pants!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

The State of the Union

Do you ever look around & wonder about the State of the Union? I know I do. Sometimes after reading an article, listening to the news, or just observing the goings-on around me I find myself wondering how we came to this? How did things get so screwed up? Well, let me tell you, all you have to do is take a trip to DC to understand. Between the actual travel & the city itself, it all begins to become clear.

When Kelly & I planned our Marine Corps trip to DC, we decided to fly into Baltimore & rent a car to drive to DC. Why? There
were better flight times & I was attempting to minimize the amount of time my husband would have to take off of work (for the 5 kiddos). When we arrived for our 6pm Southwest Airlines flight out of Louisville, I should have taken the almost full long-term parking and the security line as a sign of things to come. Our little Louisville Airport usually has a fairly manageable security line - 15-20 max minutes to get through. However, on this night, the line snaked through the main corrals, through the secondary corrals, through the meet & greet area and down the escalator. What's up with that? Turns out that a home & garden show had been in town for the week & had just let out. Apparently everyone decided to leave Louisville at the same time.

Kelly & I gamely got into line to wait (we were at the airport with plenty of time) and were immediately hemmed in by what looked to be every attendee at the garden show. In front, behind, both sides, we were completely surrounded by convention attendees who acted like they were still enjoying the party atmosphere of what appeared to be maybe their first time away from home (or at least from the wife). This one group standing behind us kept getting closer and closer until they were practically standing on top of us. If either of us were better endowed I'd think they were trying to get a look:) Then, when we got to the point where you actually have to take off shoes, belts, earrings, jackets & practically everything else you're wearing, they thought stripper jokes were very funny...hmmm - who knew that home & garden guys were such party animals?

We finally made it through the line & were actually lucky enough to arrive at the gate where we were still near the front of the line for the "A" group.
We wait, and wait, and wait some more. Finally the airline person announces that our plane should be landing soon. Wait some more - the plane arrives, the passengers get off, another announcement. There's a mechanical problem on our aircraft - something about the deicers. The mechanic is on the way. Wait some more - announcement that it should be 15 more minutes. Tick-tock. Finally, another announcement (as an aside, don't you hate it when they keep talking but only give you bad news. Each time you hear the PA come on you think - this is finally it! Time to board. But alas, it's always bad news.) We are going to switch aircraft and gates. Wow, I've never seen people move so fast. All of a sudden all those people at the back of the boarding groups see an opportunity to rectify what would probably have been an uncomfortable middle seat. People are jumping over seats, pushing around posts and each other. Something is just not right about this whole process. Good new, though. Kelly must have been a gymnast in a previous life because somehow, we end up near the front of the line again. Yeah Kelly!

Finally, we're on the plane. They give the usual Southwest spiel & we're airborne. They even offer free alcoholic beverages for all of our trouble. Unfortunately, the ride was so bumpy that they had to pick them right back up. That's okay, we made it to Baltimore in one piece & we were only 3 hours late.

Off to baggage claim, onto the rental car bus, out at the Hertz counter. We rent our gas guzzling Toyota SUV & are almost out the door. Wait - the rental car lady tells us we should take a different route than our handy dandy Mapquest directions because the highway is under construction. Who cares that it's
almost midnight & pouring down rain, she's convinced that we'll wait for hours if we follow our route so we make a few quick notes & switch to hers. It's all good she says, her route will merge into ours so if we just follow our directions after we get off the highway all will work out. Right? Wrong!

We did actually make it out of the building and into our car. However, that was the last time
we made it anywhere without getting lost! Who would have thought that following directions would be so hard? I've driven in Atlanta, San Francisco, Chicago, NYC, LA - never a problem. I just can't seem to drive in the Baltimore/DC area. Our first error (and really just a sign of things to come) was when we turned the wrong way out of the rental car garage. The rain was blinding but we actually thought we were following directions. Their version of left at the stop sign & ours was just different I guess. After getting turned around the right way we made it onto the highway headed towards DC. Making decent time in the storm, we dodged slow drivers, fast drivers, people without their lights on & still managed (I think) to actually take the right exit off the highway. After that, though, things went quickly wrong again. We kept going, and going, and going hoping to see some magic turnoff to our hotel in Arlington. We never did find it but almost managed to hit what I think might have been the Capital Building. At that point, Kelly called Ben (her husband). She woke him up or interrupted a video game or something but he was nice enough to play along. He somehow figured out where we were & how to get where we were going. As I was continuing to move forward while he was giving directions it was sometimes tricky for him to actually pinpoint things. Street names kept changing too. We'd be going forward on a letter street only to find out that we were suddenly on a number street. This happened several times and we never actually made a turn. Go figure. Ben got us out of DC and pointed in the right direction. Yeah for Ben!

10 minutes later we rolled into our hotel parking lot. We had chosen a hotel recommended by the race travel agency that was close to both the start & the finish line. Given the room rate, I was expecting it to be a nice hotel. NOT! The first tipoff was when the man at the front desk seemed upset by the fact that someone was actually checking in & bothering whatever it was that he was doing. He finally looked up at us took my name typed a few things on the computer & we thought he was checking us in. Minutes went by - boy he was slow - before another front desk guy just apparently wandered by. 1st front desk guy told 2nd front desk guy to check us in - huh? I'm not sure what 1st front desk guy was doing but it apparently didn't involve us. (Not sure I really want to know anyway). We start over again with 2nd front desk guy & somehow manage to obtain a room key. Finally! We grab our bags from the car, drag them to the very small, creaky elevator and make it to our room. Without elaborate explanations, I'll just say that it was the first time I ever stayed in a hotel where I considered actively checking for bedbugs! Yuck! (We don't recommend the Virginian Suites in Arlington.)

Next day, we head out to breakfast and get lost - but the chocolate pancakes at IHOP were worth it. We go to the race expo (and get lost). We go shopping (and get lost). You're probably getting the gist of things. I will say that Kelly was remarkably patient when I made her read the detailed Mapquest directions over & over again - even to the point of repeating distances, exit names, etc. In our defense, it really does seem that the directions were wrong. We'd head towards a street where we were to take a left turn and there would be none. Repeatedly we'd be following directions toward the Memorial Street Bridge & we'd miss it. Now, I'm not sure how hard it is to find a bridge that was apparently less that 1/2 mile from our hotel, but we never found it. The morning of the race we were able to find the train station that would get us to the start of the race but we somehow got on going the wrong way. (We did get turned around in time). I truly don't think I've ever been so turned around in my life. This city just doesn't make sense. We got lost so many times that we began to recognize alternate exits that we would take to get back to our starting place to begin again.

Finally, the race was over & it was time to go home on Monday morning. We were leaving extra early to get back to Baltimore for our 9 am flight because we heard the traffic could be brutal. All I can say is it was a good thing because......WE GOT LOST!

Thursday, November 8, 2007


So, I know that I'm a loser when it comes to posting on a timely basis but the last few weeks have been pretty busy. It all started about 4 weeks ago when my oldest decided to come home from college for fall break. He asked if we could throw in a 5k while he was here. What the hell - the Komen Race for the Cure was going on that weekend so I was game. Ross (my son), Caroline (my daughter), some of her friends and I all showed up bright and early to do the 5k along with about 10,000 other people. It was a great race and (for me) a great time of 26:40. I'm also pretty sure that this isn't my actual time since they used a new kind of chip embedded in our race bibs. There were no mats & they had to wand us when we crossed the finish line to record our finish time. According to my watch I was closer to 25:50! My fastest ever...

I had also decided (before signing up for the 5k) to participate in my first ever multi-sport event which was a duathlon scheduled for the day after the 5k. I figured it would be nice to try out this biking/running thing at least once before winter set in. The race was actually the third in a series of three and consisted of a 10k run, 40k bike, 5k run. Now, somehow I had gotten it into my head that all these other duathloners were really bikers in disguise and while they would probably blow me away on the bike, I would hold my own on the run...boy was I wrong. The gun when off and everyone took off like bats out of hell. People were easily running 7 & 8 minute miles while I was wondering what was going on. No way these people weren't runners. I think I ran my fastest 10k ever that day. Going into the bike I was pretty far back & was concerned that I would quickly become the last person out on the course. I'm happy to report that wasn't so. I gained on a few people during the painfully hilly ride and continued to hold my own through the last 5k run. Although I was 5th out of 6 in my age group & probably in the bottom 20% overall, I was really happy with my performance. I know what to expect for next time & am determined to improve.

After the duathlon, I got a couple weeks to taper before the Marine Corps Marathon a week and a half ago. I went into the race only hoping to beat the straggler bus (I think 6:30 cutoff) and am happy to report I ran a 4:39. Only 4 minutes faster than my Chicago race the year before but way more fun. I didn't spend more than half the race wishing it was over like last year & cursing everybody I ever knew:) Also, the course is way harder than Chicago with some significant hills along the way. All in all a pretty good showing.

FYI - the trip itself deserves some commentary but I'll save that for another day.

So - now that I've caught my breath, I decided to actually update people on what's been going on. Now I only have to make it through Turkey Day! Hopefully I'll get a post in before then!

Monday - Swam 1 mile, Rode 15 miles
Tuesday - Run 4 miles, Spinning Class 1 hour, Swim 30 minutes, Weights 30 minutes
Wednesday - Spinning Class 1 hour, Swim 45 minutes
Thursday - Run 5 1/4 miles, Weights 30 minutes
Friday - Swim lesson scheduled + 30 minutes extra swim practice (hopefully)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Life's Little Pleasures

I just got back from doing one of my favorite things! To me, there are few things in life more enjoyable than getting a pedicure after pounding my feet and legs for scores of miles. There's this little place right outside my neighborhood that offers these incredible "spa" pedicures where Kytha (my pedicurist?) has me soak my feet and legs in hot bubbling water before she gets rid of all the dead, yucky, dry skin on my feet and toes & then gives me this incredible foot & lower leg massage. Various oils & lotions are put into play to make this an incredibly relaxing experience (it's not as kinky as it sounds) which is topped off by the bonus of getting a fresh coat of polish on my toenails. I also get to sit in this really comfy chair that massages my back, butt & upper legs. Heaven!

Now, for you guys out there thinking this is such a girly thing, let me tell you that there are a number of men who frequent the salon as well. They try to act all manly, studly like when they come in but you can see them eagerly eying the chairs as they wait impatiently for their turns. It seems that no matter how harried someone is when they wander in the door, they walk out looking rejuvenated & relaxed.

So, the next time you're out there pounding the pavement (or really doing anything else for that matter), and are looking for a nice, relaxing break - head for your local nail salon. Your toes will thank you!

TODAY'S WORKOUT: Swim 1.2 miles
YESTERDAY'S WORKOUT: Swim 1/2 mile, Run 4 miles, Bike 15 miles (it was really windy & kind of cold!)

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

The Bike is Scary:(

So last year,when Kelly & I were slogging through all the hot miles preparing for Chicago, we fantasized about doing anything rather than running. I'd like to say that our fantasies involved anything interesting, but alas, they only involved exercises to replace running on hard roads - trail running, hot yoga, triathlons, etc (with maybe a few thoughts about food thrown in for fun). At Kelly's urging, triathlons sounded cool - anything had to be better than all this running - and I would get to buy cool new stuff! The excitement of getting new running shoes & those very high fashion running clothes had worn off - what better to replace it with than a bike! An endless supply of new things...Also, I had come across this great new training plan for marathons. It only involved running 3 days week - yes, 3 days. I only had to add cross-training in to replace the extra running days & I'd be set. Well, that was all I needed - I told Kelly I'd do it & mentally committed. Off to the store to look at bikes - cha-ching!

Fast forward a couple of months. After looking at bikes I began to w
affle. These didn't look anything like my old 10-speed Schwinn from junior high. The wheels were impossibly skinny & look - no tread. I was sure I'd go careening off the road on the first turn I took. Fear began to creep in. Then - I watched last year's Ironman coverage & fear took a firm hold. The coverage highlighted 2 different athletes both who were wheelchair division participants but had previously been non-wheelchair participants. Both had been paralyzed after being involved accidents on the bike. Uh oh - this sounded scary to me. All of a sudden riding hundreds of miles out on the roads with crazy drivers eating, talking on their cell-phones, yelling at their kids, etc. began to sound decidedly un-fun. No way - I wasn't doing this. Sorry Kelly - back to marathons for me. (Now you know how I got into Marine Corps after swearing to never do another after Chicago last year). If you've read my other posts, you probably think that I must have gotten over my fear - after all, I did sign up for Ironman next year. No - I'm still a big scaredy-cat, I just really want to do something other that run all the time. My joints just can't take it. Hobbling around the house for 2 days after a long run is really not that attractive.

Before actually signing up for Ironman, I went riding my old mountain bike to be sure that I could actually still do it. Yes - not so bad. I stayed in my neighborhood & my butt hurt like hell but I stayed upright; went forward & didn't totally freak over hills, bumps and curves. I got a little (okay a lot) tense every time a car went by & I was probably only going 10 mph but I made it. After several outings like this, I went out to get my new bike (I'll save that experience for another post) & brought it home to give it a whirl. Utter terror! All of a sudden I was way off the ground (apparently my saddle had been to low), all bent over and going much faster. The brakes & shifters were no longer in front of me on my nice upright handle bars but were way out on the bend of my new bars. I think I rode about 2 miles that first day and gripped the bike so hard the whole way that my hands hurt for hours after I got back. Needless to say, improvement was needed!

I've kept at it since then & have definitely gotten better. I now regularly ride 15-20 miles 3 times a week & usually try to throw in a longer ride (42 miles to date) once a week. I've moved out onto the real road (instead of my somewhat safe neighborhood) & actually go kind of fast on the down-hills & flats (I think I've hit about 39 mph once going down). However, I have a really long way to go. I still grip the handlebars way too hard. I tend to ride the brake
s down hills. I'm absolutely terrified of my aero bars & won't ride in them around curves, over bumps or anywhere where I think a car might be. Also, yesterday, I'm embarrassed to admit that I actually walked down a hill - yes, down a hill.

Kelly & I were riding a partially new route that took us on this really hilly, curvy, bumpy back road. I was actually doing great until we came to this cross street that was supposed to bridge a creek and connect us with another road we wanted to be on. Wellllll...we got to the road and it was straight downhill with a big curve halfway down so we couldn't see the bottom. OMG - this brought that feeling in the pit of my stomach kind of like a roller coaster does. You must be kidding me! I unclipped and stood at the top while Kelly took off like a bat out of hell. You could kind of hear her scream floating up to the top as she flew down th
e road. Of course I couldn't really be sure she made it to the bottom since I couldn't see it. Being the good friend that I am, I knew I was at least going to have to go down to make sure she was still alive. I backed away from the grade, clipped back in and headed for the down-hill. NO WAY! I just couldn't do it. I slammed on the brakes, unclipped again & felt like throwing up - I guess I was going to have to walk down. I still hadn't heard from Kelly so in trepidation I started down. Quite honestly, it was probably more hazardous walking down this gravelly road in my cleats but I never said I wasn't crazy. I was about half way down I heard Kelly hollering up at me. At least she was alive. I finally made it to the bottom to find her in one piece. Yeah! I wouldn't have to carry her home. However, the road didn't pass through so we had to go back up. Boo! Needless to say, it was a long walk back up.

By now, I'm sure you can't believe that I'm going to actually attempt to ride 1
12 miles next October. What a wuss I am. However, it's not all bad. I've actually fallen off of my bike 4 times now & haven't died yet (knock on wood). Weirdly this actually boosts my confidence a little. Although not bad accidents, each one has gotten progressively more embarrassing & a little more painful. All of them involved being clipped into my pedals. The first three all happened when I was at intersections, started to go, had to stop & fell over when I tried to catch myself with my right foot. I always unclip my left foot when I stop. You'd think I'd have this figured out by now. The embarrassing part is that my audience has gotten larger each time. The 3rd time I fell I think there was a line of about 20 cars waiting with me at the intersection. I just wanted to sink into the ground.

My last fall was a little more serious. I wasn't going very fast as I was trying to figure out why my bike computer wasn't working. I was kind of looking down when I hit a bump & ov
er I went. If my feet hadn't been clipped into those damn pedals, I would have caught myself. However, this time I really went over - both feet were clipped in & I fell hard on my hip & then somehow bounced over & scraped up my knee, hand & shoulder. I'm sure the 3 cars that stopped to witness my embarrassment were amazed that someone can maneuver that way going only about 8 mph! The bruise on my hip is extra cool - about the size of my palm & lots of pretty colors! I was even lucky enough to bruise the same hip that I'm having ITB problems with. You can imagine how much fun my 20 mile run this past Saturday was!

Anyway, again, in that weird way, I feel better knowing that I actually fell off & didn't do more damage to myself. I must be a total psycho. However, maybe if I'm lucky, I won't have to experience any more falls anytime soon. In the meantime, I'm going to continue to work on my fear management & try to relax on the bike. I'm not worried about the distance, just making it in one piece! Now, I'm going for a ride.

WORKOUT TODAY: Biked 14 miles & pulled out all my flowers for fall (really there were a lot!)

Monday, October 8, 2007

She's In!!!

Now playing:
Matchbox Twenty - How Far We've Come
via FoxyTunes

So, I have this super, great training buddy, Kelly who I've been training with for 2 seasons (she's the one on the right, I'm on the left & our cohort Donna is in the middle). A lot of you know the kind of partner I'm talking about - she meets me at pre-dawn hours to get our long runs in, doesn't hesitate to change days for me when I have to accommodate a family conflict, listens to endless tales of my oldest child's college application process (and all those other unmentionables too) & she basically gets me through those long, hot summer runs when all I want to do is go home. She even ran my first 20 miler with me last year on my 40th birthday just because I needed to affirm that I could. I could go on & on but, in short, Kelly is the partner who just gets me through.

Her husband, Ben, has called me an enabler since I seem to be the one always trying to talk Kelly into doing events that she might not otherwise do - (Marine Corps Marathon '07 among others). However, I'm convinced that deep down inside she really loves doing them & just wants to see how hard I'll push before she says yes :) I enable the sign-up. She enables the summer of training because once committed, she makes sure we make it to the starting line.

Anyway, earlier this year, we started talking about maybe switching to trail running or triathlons after Marine Corps this fall. Kelly has done some tris & really likes them. Now, as you probably know by now, I always like to go for the hardest, most difficult task possible so this discussion quickly went from Sprint tris to the Steelhead Half IM then it made the big leap up to the full Ironman distance. As usual, I was the one pushing Kelly to come along for the ride because, quite honestly, I wasn't sure I wanted or could tackle it without my super, great training partner!

Committed to register for the race, we spent all of the last weekend in August volunteering in various capacities for the Louisville Ironman. We were both having a great time & things were going great until the end of the night. Our final jobs on Sunday were to be "catchers" at the finish line. Very exciting since we actually got to congratulate the finishers, give them their medals & blankets, walk them through the finish line & help them in any way they needed. However, we only got to do this for a handful of athletes before we got pulled off to man the Convention Center. This is where the athletes were to go after they left the finish area. They could get their dry clothes bags, eat, get a massage or, if necessary, visit Medical. Apparently, athletes & family were wandering over there without any real idea where to go or what was offered. We were there to take care of them.

Well, turns out that we spent most of our night escorting exhausted athletes to medical. While there were certainly many that came into the building that only needed to be pointed to food or massage, there were still lots that had reached the point of utter exhaustion, dehydration & injury, often requiring rest, medication & IV fluids to speed the recovery process along. Some even required emergency trips to the hospital.

Needless to say, watching several hours of a constant stream of athletes in all forms of medical distress can begin to wear on a person. It might even make one begin to question the sanity of attempting a race like the Ironman. Kelly is obviously way more sane than me because she ended the night with the decision to not register for the race in 2008. I, however, am apparently not sane because I was one of the first in line Monday morning to fork over the ridiculous sum required to be allowed to participate in next year's event.

Now, I have to say, I was a little bummed out. Instead of blasting through 100 mile bike rides, 20 mile runs & hours in the pool with my fave buddy, I was going to have to trudge through by myself - even in the heat of summer. This was definitely going to be dicey (am I showing my age with that word?)

So, on a daily basis I asked her if she wanted to sign up. NO!! was always the resounding answer. "Come on," I wheedled. No go, she wasn't to be moved.

Then, all of a sudden, I get this email, totally out of the blue, that she was in. Yeah, yeah, yeah! I was jumping around the kitchen like a total idiot while my flabbergasted children (and in-laws) looked on. I tried to explain my excitement but really only got blank stares. Who cares, I was excited enough for all of us. MY TRAINING PARTNER WAS IN!!! Now, all of a sudden, the thought of all the training to come didn't seem so bad. I knew I could make it through with her at my side. One way or the other, together, we'll make it to that starting line next August.

Thanks Kelly! I'm actually looking forward to participating in the torture with you:)

ps - you can click on the link above if you want to read about what swayed her decision

TODAY'S WORKOUT - Rode Bike 23 miles (with Kelly) then ran (kind of) 2 miles

Monday, September 3, 2007

Labor Day

Had family over today for a grill out. Am working on getting as many people as possible to come to the race next August. I am using the Ironman video on Utube as propaganda. We'll see:) Even with family over still managed to squeeze in a bike & swim!

TODAY'S WORKOUT: 1800 yard swim (lots more breast stroke than freestyle) - it took about an hour & a 16.1 mile bike. Can't wait till fall since the trees will be so pretty!

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Sunday's Workout

22.25 mile bike ride (over the hills & through the woods)

Saturday, September 1, 2007

A Little Backstory

So, you're probably thinking, "This lady is totally off her rocker!" Tri newbie signs up for Ironman - what is she thinking? I know my family and friends secretly think it. There's probably even some who think I can't do it. Well, the bad news is that I probably am a little crazy. The good news is that, although new to triathlon, I'm not totally new to sports. I am a runner.

Since junior high, I have been an on-again, off-again runner. I started with cross-country but only stuck with it for a year. I thought the Galloway method of training was cool way before it was even invented. In the late 70's people were still running as fast & far as possible - way too intense for me. I would make up injuries so I wouldn't have to go out for that 5 mile run!

After cross-country I tried track. I ran the mile, which I liked a lot. However, at about the 5th meet, the coach decided, on the spot, that each of us should compete in another event of his choosing. He signed me up for the high jump. While I nervously stood in line to compete in an event I'd never even tried, I just knew that I'd hit the bar face on & hopelessly embarrass myself in front of the crowd. I said no way & walked off the field - never to return. For me, my running career was over for quite a while.

Fast forward ...we were living in Singapore at the time & I was somewhat overweight, pregnant with my fourth child & had braces on my teeth - hot! It was then & there that I decided that when those braces came off my soon to be perfect teeth, I'd be skinny (and maybe healthier too)! As soon as Grey (my 10 year old) was born, I was off. We were lucky enough to live less that a mile from the botanical gardens in one of the safest places in the world. Almost every night when I got off of work I would take a turn through the gardens. By the time we moved back to the States in 1998 I was easily running 5-6 miles 5+ times a week. Those braces came off right before we moved home & I was looked & felt better than I ever had before.

From that point on I tried to stay committed to running. However, over time, I would begin to lose my motivation & take extended breaks for months at a time. It never failed, though, the weight would inevitably start to creep back and I'd be out on the road again. I continued this way, quasi-managing my weight & health, until about 2004. It was right after the birth of my 5th child, when I hit upon the bright idea of signing up for a race.

Now, as previously referenced, I'm not one to go the easy route. At the time, I was lucky to be running 5-10 miles a week but decided that I'd sign up for a marathon. We were living in Minneapolis so I signed up for the 2005 Twin City Marathon. I had about 10 months before the race & I was committed. I searched around & joined the Lifetime Fitness Running Club & began to train with them. Through the the cold fall & winter, the unusually hot spring, battling mosquitoes all the way, on I trudged. It was easier because I knew that I'd be letting the group down if I didn't keep up my training. In May before the October marathon I ran my first race since high school - a half marathon. I ran a 2:10 so I was happy. I immediately followed that up with 3 more halfs & saw it as a badge of honor when I lost 2 toenails on my left foot - yuck!

Unfortunately, as sometimes happens, life got in the way. My husband got a new job in Louisville & the family moved about 2 months before the race. All 7 of us plus 2 dogs & 2 cats moved into temporary housing while we waited for our house to be finished. Although I had committed to keep training & go back for the race, that went quickly by the wayside. It was hot here (way hotter than MN) & hilly. The grade of my driveway here is bigger that the hills in Minneapolis. It was just too tough for me to make the change while trying to settle the kids & get the house finished at the same time. I was out of the race. It didn't take long for me to quit running altogether.

About 4 months went by & I fell into quite a funk. I didn't know anyone here, the house was finished so my biggest time consumer was gone & although I didn't want to admit it, I missed running - especially my running buddies. I started to nose around on the internet & joyous, I found a new group. The local Fleet Feet opens the store early on Saturdays & Sundays for runners to meet up before training runs. Right after Christmas 2005 I hooked up with the group that I still run with today. They had all just completed the 2005 Chicago Marathon (for some it was their first) & had great things to say about it so, of course, I had to sign up. Being the fantastic, supportive people that they are, they signed up too. We spent the year training. I got in a couple of halves & actually ran my first 5k & 10k in 2006 too. In October we ran Chicago. (I'll save that story for another day!)

After the race, in typical Debi fashion, I took another break from running but was back at it a couple of months later (surprise - the weight was creeping back). And guess what - I signed up for another marathon. I'm doing Marine Corps this October. As much as I resist it, I'm just the kind of person that needs a large, almost unattainable, goal to get my lazy ass out the door. I don't think that exercise of any sort will ever be my favorite past-time but it is the necessary evil that enables me to live & eat the way I want without becoming a fat, lazy slob. And if I'm completely honest, I miss it when I'm not doing it. I like the way it makes me feel & look, I like the camaraderie of the other runners & I love the sense of satisfaction I get from completing events that a few short years ago would have been impossible. (The look of awe on others people's faces doesn't hurt either!)

So here I am - almost ready for marathon #2 but this time I go into the race with the next big event already scheduled. This should be the required push I need to get me through that after-race lull & keep me heading out the door.

TODAY'S WORKOUT: 17.6 mile run - the weather is finally fantastic!

Friday, August 31, 2007

A Quickie

Couldn't bring myself to get out of bed at 4:45 this morning. I can't wait until next Wednesday. My littlest guy is going to school so I can work out while he's gone. I also found out that 3 glorious days a week I can leave him for an "extended" day lasting until 2pm. Just think of how much working out I can get done in the time? Maybe I can add in some hot yoga.

When I finally did get up (6am) I had to get the kids out the door before working out. Since by then, I was confined to cartoon watching with the 4 year old, I drug the trainer back upstairs to give it a 2nd try.

I still found that it took some getting used to - it's boring & I'm constantly watching the clock - but I was able to get a solid 45 minutes of high cadence cycling in while watching the Today Show. I noticed that I get much hotter & sweatier sitting in the house. Hard to believe with as hot as it's been outside. The new saddle looks like it might be a keeper & I love, love, love the aero bars. I still need a place to put the clicker as down the back of my riding shorts isn't going to work long-term but overall, I'm happy with the results.

When I was done with my ride I had a brief moment of panic when it looked like my bike might be stuck in the trainer again but 5 seconds of careful pulling popped it out!

TODAY'S WORKOUT: 45 minute ride on trainer (+ cleaned the kitchen & did 2 loads of laundry!)

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Shout Out!

Yeah! I got my bike back - a big shout out to Brian over at Cycler's Cafe. He didn't even laugh too much when I tried to explain to him how I broke my bike getting it out of the trainer! He very patiently showed me how to put the chain & back wheel back on & he put on my aero bars & is letting me try out a new saddle. Apparently it's not completely normal to feel crippled after getting off the bike or to have it hurt to pee for a week after... He's ordering a new stem so I can sit more comfortably & a new part to my computer so it can be attached to my back wheel. I hate being on the trainer & not knowing how fast & far I'm going.

The new aeros are super cool. Very comfy. I'm hoping I can use them lots as they're way more comfy than keeping my hands on the bars. I'm certain it's going to make me so much faster ;)

Anyway - I'm off to a school meeting - my youngest is getting ready to start Pre-K. He's been the only one home for a couple of weeks & it's been tough to get workouts in. Starting next week I hope to have 3 luxurious hours every morning to squeeze my workouts into.

Till next time...

TODAY'S WORKOUT: 6.25 mile run followed by a nap to recover from getting up at 4:45 every morning.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Did you ever want to boot kick your bike out the door?

As a mom of 5 children ranging from 4 to 18 with a husband who works all the time, it's sometimes hard to find the time to get my workouts in. To solve the running problem I've been getting up at 4:45 to run outside before I get the kiddos up for school. However, for the bike, I decided an indoor trainer would be necessary for those days that I just can't get outside.

After researching the options, I decided to get a Kinetic Road Machine fluid resistance trainer and promptly ordered one from As I waited impatiently for it to arrive, I decided that more equipment was necessary to make my Felt F75 into that magical machine that would have me zooming at pro speeds around Louisville. I settled on a set of Profile Carbon Stryke aero bars and ran out to the local bike shop to grab them. Although they offered to install them at the shop, I declined, saying that I was pretty mechanical.

Imagine how excited I was when I got home from the bike shop with my aero bars to find the trainer sitting on my doorstep. My evening was set - after I got the kids to bed I would assemble the trainer, install the aero bars & surely have time for a ride while I watched some tv.

9:00 - I was ready. Assembling the trainer was actually pretty easy. Not too many parts, decent instructions. I think I only put one part on wrong through the whole process. Next, I brought in the mat & wheel block, set everything up, wrestled my bike into the house, changed out the skewer on the rear wheel and set the bike into the trainer. Now it was about 10:00. How long could aero bars possibly take? I was well on my way to my first indoor ride.

10:00 - I opened up the parts box for the bars, laid everything out on the kitchen counter & read through the instructions for the 1st, 2nd & then 3rd times. Torque wrench? I don't think I have one of those. Shims? This is starting to sound complicated. I read through the instructions one more time, and then, failing to make any more sense of them, packed everything back into the box & promised myself I'd figure it out tomorrow. By then, it was 11:00 & I was too tired to ride. I set my alarm for 4:45 again and was off to bed.

Morning - no snooze for me today. I was excited - about to take my first indoor training ride. I quickly dress in my riding shorts & top, pull on my shoes, turn on the tv & hop on the bike. I start pedaling - hmmm - this is hard. I shift some gears around & then hop off the bike to adjust the tension. That's better. Now - starting to get into a groove I start flipping through channels to find something to watch. Settling on a program, I look around for someplace to put the clicker. Nothing - I decide to stick it in the top of my shorts - definitely not comfortable. Wow - I can't believe I've only been riding 5 minutes. My butt is starting to hurt. Then my hands. Then my arms. Back to my butt (and other parts). For the next 45 minutes, I dwell on what hurts. I wiggle & stretch. Arms up, down on the drops, sit upright - I could sure use those aeros. No good. Outside I never feel this way. Maybe this is why I hate the treadmill so much. Nothing but time to think about how miserable you are. And hot...5:45 - off the bike. I have 15 minutes to get the whole setup taken down & put away before I have to wake up the kids.

I open the quick release lever, slide back the thingie holding the right skewer in but can't get the left side out. Struggling, I try to slide the bike every which way but it's not budging. Then I notice that the back wheel is coming off the bike. I reach down to try to fix it & the chain drops off. What is going on? I spent about 20 mins like this trying not to damage my bike before I was finally able to pop it out of the trainer. In the meantime, the chain is off on the front & back & I can't get the tire back on. In disgust, I decide that I'll have to humbly take my bike into the shop to have them show me how to fix it. I might as well have them do the stupid aero bars too - and a new saddle - and an adjustment - anything to make it more comfie.

I take the bike out to the garage to put it in the car so I can drop it by the shop after I take the kids to school & realize that my SUV is gone (my husband is taking my oldest to college) & I'm left with his medium size sedan. Bummer. This is becoming comical. Not willing to give up at this point, I take off the front tire too, put both tires in the back seat & somehow wrangle the frame into the trunk without banging anything up. Kids up, out the door - off to the bike shop I go. I try to explain to them what happened but finally just give up. "Take it," I tell them. "I'll be by tomorrow at 4:00 to pick it up". So much for my mechanical abilities. I'm certainly going to have to work on that before next August. If I'd gotten a flat back tire today I think I'd still be sitting on the course...

TODAY'S WORKOUT: 45 minutes on trainer & 30 minute swim

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

And so it begins...

Each year, I'm always the one at my house watching Ironman Hawaii, crying as all the age group athletes triumphantly cross the finish. I think the pros are incredible, but I really get my inspiration from all the others. Stories like Sister Madonna Buder, Team Hoyt, Major David Rozelle (just to name a brief few) who can resist? Of course the one that consistently brings me to tears (I own the DVD) is Jon "Blazeman" Blais. Ever since watching him complete the race in 2005, I've remembered him saying:

“Live. More than your neighbors. Unleash yourself upon the world and go places. Go now. Giggle. No. Laugh. And bark at the moon like the wild dog that you are. Understand that this is not a dress rehearsal. This is it. Your life. Face your fears and live your dreams and take it all in. Yes, every chance you get. Come close. And by all means, whatever you do, get it on film.” John Blais - 2005 Ironman with ALS (Time: 16:28:58)

Well, now that Louisville has an Ironman (it's inaugural was this past Sunday), what excuse do I have? Here's this great event, practically in my own backyard, that secretly I've always wanted to do. Combine that with the incredible call to action from Jon Blais & I can't resist. Never mind that I've never completed a triathlon. As my friends will tell you - if I'm going to go for it - I'm going big!

So - come along for the ride. Hopefully it won't be too bumpy along the way. I signed up, I'm in & I'm committed....(and maybe a little nuts!)

TODAY'S WORKOUT: 6.25 mile run & 45 minutes swim (plus lots of packing for teenager off to college)