Thursday, May 19, 2011

Knoxville Rev3

On Sunday May 15 many IronTeam members participated in the Rev3 Knoxville Olympic distance triathlon. We were not alone - the Georgia chapter for TNT spring team was there, as well as many other TNT teams.

Let me start by saying that Rev3 put on a quality event. It was well run, easy to navigate, and many volunteers to really make it a success. Although Rev3 had no say in it, the weather was also perfect - overcast and cool.

Many IronTeam members drove up on Saturday - carpooling. My car was full - Pam Wiener and Cameron Thomas joined Carlos and me in our car. Gear for three triathletes, including three bikes, overnight luggage for four and four adults all fit easily in to my buggy. Well, the bikes were on a rack on the back! We left at 6:30 a.m. and the mood was laidback and easy going. No one slept much. Pam shared her "Knox Knox" joke (as in "knox knox; who's there? A triathlon!") and it went downhill from there :)

We arrived in Knoxville about 10:15. We were after the official swim, but were still able to get in the water. It was COLD! We swam some and got out. Went back to the car, threw our wetsuits on the car, started to hop on our bikes when a fellow participant (a pro) returned from her ride dinged up - she had hit railroad tracks wrong and crashed. Plus she and her mom had accidently locked the keys in their car. It was not their day. We patched her up with the first aid kit in my car. We weren't sure if she would race the next day. She did (and came in third overall! Imagine if she hadn't of crashed). She and her mom were both very nice and approachable. They even recognized Carlos the next day.

So, we went on our recon ride - taking in a little of the run for the next day. It started to rain. Our shoes got drenched. Newspaper dried them out. Then off to register where we saw some of our teammates.

Dinner was with most of the team at Rev3, and very relaxed. I slept well...until 3:20. Then I woke up, heart racing and knew I was awake. Carlos put his arm around me which calmed me down, but I never really slept again that morning.

We met in the lobby at 5 a.m. Amy Dyer and I walked down together, leaving a little before other teammates. She looked calm, but had butterflies just like me, and wanted to get down to transition to set up.

At transition there were many familiar and friendly faces. We started getting things ready for the day. So much equipment with a tri. Rev3 uses temporary tattoos so you don't have to use sharpie markers for your age and number. I messed up on my age, and luckily Mike Gaw had a sharpie in him bag. Otherwise my age was 3 on my calf!

Amy and I headed to the swim start about 7, making our way slowly - talking, stopping for a last porta potty, and then walking to see teammates where we put our wetsuits on. Time flew as we chatted and joked. We started to line up. Mary asked if I wanted her to stay with me at the start of the swim. She knew I was concerned about it - last year in Augusta I freaked in the water, couldn't breathe, and did the first 700 meters on my back. It had been a rough swim. I was concerned it would happen again. Back to Mary - I thanked her but Joanna and I were going to start together. She could know I was close by at the start, and I could focus on her and not me. That's the amazing thing about this team - no need to ask. People just do help. All the women started in a single wave. It was huge (150 - 200 women).


We jump in and the water is warm! Not close to the water we jumped in to yesterday. Hooray! Joanna and I find each other, and stay near the back. The horn blows and we are off. I had a rough start, but stayed mostly on my stomach. I flipped on my back a couple of times for a total of less than 20 yards the entire swim. Within the first couple hundred yards I had it. I looked back, and saw Joanna. I saw her face. I don't know what I saw exactly - I am wondering what she was thinking, but I turn forward. Next time I look back I don't see her. I am on my own...and I feel good. As the swim continues I take is slow and steady, and keep my form. I run in to people, swim around people, and sight, and I feel fine! I could have gone forever. I kept Rachel Mudd and our swim in Lake Lanier where I took it slow and felt good in mind the entire swim I was alone. It worked.

Are you getting the image that I was not alone on the swim? I wasn't. I had my team with me, and it was a terrific feeling.

I exit the water and see Mary Liebman cheering loudly, smile and keep heading on.

T1: 4:21

Looking at my time, I need to shorten my transition when I compared it to others. But, there is a lot to do including removing my wetsuit.

I got to see Sally and Lindsay as I ran to transition. To say I loved seeing them there is an understatement. I was surprised at the number of spectators I knew along the way, and just loved getting to see them.

Bike: 1:19:13

The bike was hilly, but I decided to push it. I figured this was the time to learn what I can do. It was a fantastic ride. There were cars on the road with us. At times it was annoying as they were unable to pass riders, and I was caught behind the car. At one point I was upset at a rider riding 2 abreast, keeping a car behind him. But, things cleared up after a short slow down, and I rode on. I nailed the hills - thinking of Chris Hartley's advice - going up hill I popped out of aero and was passing people on the hills (up and down). It is an out-and-back course so I got to see teammates along the way, and cheered them on.

I also saw Carlos about 1 mile out, and in the same place coming in. On the way out I called to him - and he cheered me on. He saw me first on the way back and kept telling me to push I did!

T2: 2:57

This one was shorter, but still long compared to others I looked at. Maybe I need to practice transitions at home? Maybe that is a little bit too much :)

Lindsay caught me in T2 with the camera getting one last drink from my bike. I also got to see Nancy as I ran out of transition. Like I said - I had a team with me the entire way. It's a great way to do a race.

Run: 53:30

I got out to run and was pleasantly surprised that I felt good, and ran with it. It is an out and back run so I got to see teammates ahead of me on the way out and behind me on the way in. It was terrific. I smiled the entire way. I felt great and comfortable with my run.

As I came back and passed Lee he was sweet and said "You're back already?!"

Beth said that I was smiling WAY to much for that part of the race. I passed Cristen and Mellisa heading walking along the course and they said they would see me at the finish!

I came in towards the finish to see Carlos, Lindsay, Chris and others which were a bit of a blur. I decided to sprint out the end.

Total time: 2:52:26

I never expected a sub-three hour finish. I was very proud and excited by what I had done. I saw Mike at the finish line and he gave me a hug and congratulated me on my accomplishment (it was for me). I started spotting teammates and Carlos. I joined in the crew cheering teammates in.

I called my dad - and I stopped talking twice to cheer teammates in! It was a wonderful feeling to be there with my teammates and seeing other teammates finish strong.

Kathryn and I went over to grab food, and then went to go look at our results. I had finished third in my age group! Holy cow! First time ever. I was proud and a little confused...not sure what to say. I guess I learned that I can push myself, and I can compete. I can be fast. I am not near pro level (they finished about an hour faster than me) so I am not getting delusions grandeur...just having fun. As long as I can have fun and love what I do, I will continue to push my limits and see what I can do.

Whether pushing myself means I end up in the top 10%, or the last one in, or realizing that this isn't my race doesn't matter (even if that last one causes temporary disappointment - and I will admit, hoping my DNF doesn't happen 11/20 but who knows). What matters is being comfortable with what I can do, and having fun: living joyfully. Obviously I have been thinking!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

My swimming world defined

I have many wonderful friends that comment on my swins in Daily mile - and often say "I don't understand what you are posting but great job!" They are right. It looks like a big math equation sometimes, with strange terms thrown in.

So, I thought I would help them by defining my swimming world.

Let's jump in.

Short Course (SC): in competition swimming this is a pool that is 25 meters. In the US it usually means a pool that is 25 yards. Many lap pools, such as LA FItness, are 25 yards short course.

Long Course (LC): Olpmpic Distance 50 meters. The pool at Dynamo is 50 meters. But they change the lane dividers to the short direction during the winter and have a 25 yard SC pool.

So, 2 our of 3 of my weekly swims are SC.

Lap: This term is up for debate. I consider a lap one trip down a lane. If I am in a SC pool that means 25 yards. If I am in a LC pool it means 50 m. You speak with some people (no dig on Chris Baker!) and a lap means there and back. He's more right - what I consider a lap is really a length (1 length of the pool), but it makes for easier counting for me, and that's what counts.

Length: 25 yards in a SC, 50 meters in a LC pool

T-pace: Threshold pace. Equivalent to your lactic acid threshold pace in running or biking. You are swimming hard at a semi-sustainable pace for medium distances. Equivalent to your 5 or 10k pace on a run, depending on your fitness. My T-pace (right now) is 1:39 for 100 yards.

The pull buoy is pictured. Basically you put it between your legs and it keeps you from kicking. So you are working your upper body.

Kick (K): use a kick board and fins

Paddle (P): swim paddles

Next I will put up a swim and pull it apart. Here we go!

W/U: 10 x 50 (:15RI)300 PULL
400@ T-PACE + :03(:20RI)
4 x 100@ T-PACE(:20RI)
300@ T-PACE +:03(:20RI)
3 x 100@ T-PACE(:20RI)
200@ T-PACE +:03(:20RI)
2 x 100 UNDER T-PACE (:20RI)
CD 300

That's it. Got it? Don't worry if you don't. There is no test. Now for a (partial) Line by line

W/U: 10 x 50 (:15RI)300 PULL

W/U: Warm up
10 x 50: 10 intervals of 50 yds/m apiece
(:15RI): with a 15 second rest interval between each interval

So, if I am in LA Fitness (25 yd SC)I swim 2 pool lengths and then rest 15 seconds. Repeat 9 more times. Exciting, huh?

300 pull: Swim 300 yds/m continuously using a pull buoy.

400@ T-PACE + :03(:20RI) : This is a long one. 400 yd/m continuous swim at your 100 yard T-pace plus 3 seconds followed by a 20 second rest interval. So I would aim to swim each 100 yard interval at 1:42. I swim the 400 yards continuously for a total of 6 minutes and 48 seconds. Then rest 20 seconds and go on to the next set.

4 x 100@ T-PACE(:20RI): 4 sets of 100 y/m at my threshold pace. So I would swim 100 yards aiming for 1:39, rest 20 seconds and repeat three more times.

The rest is a repeat of the above, but at 300 and 200 yd/m intervals.

CD 300: Cool down 300 yards continuous swim

There have been other workout where it gets more complicated. For example:

200 as 50 Drill / 50 Swim / 50 Drill / 50 Swim
2 x 400, Negative Split (0:30 RI)
3 x 200, descend 1-3 (0:20 RI)

200 as 50 Drill / 50 Swim / 50 Drill / 50 Swim: 200 y/m continuous swim broken down in to 50 yd/m doing your choice of a swim drill, 50 yd/m as straight swim, 50 yd/m doing a swim drill, and 50 yd/m as straight swim

2 x 400, Negative Split (0:30 RI): 2 sets of 400 yd/m continuous swim with a 30 second rest interval between each 400 yd/m.

Negative split is just like running where the second half is faster than the first half. I take it to mean the second 400 is faster than the first. I am sure others would say the second half of the 400 (so the last 200 yards) is faster than the first 200 yards. But that gets really hard to time. I keep it simple.

3 x 200, descend 1-3 (0:20 RI): 3 sets of 200 yd/m swim with a 20 second rest interval between each 200 yd/m swim.

Descend means each set gets progressively faster. So if my first set of 200 yards was done in 4 minutes, my second should be less than 4 minutes (say 3:55) and my final set the fastest (say 3:50).

That's it. That's my primer. If you made it through - I hope you enjoyed.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

GA half marathon

Last Sunday was the Georgia Marathon and half marathon. I ran the half. It is my one event I am doing thsi year that is not on my official taining calendar while training for Ironman Arizona. I ran this one because it is a local event and I had a lot of friends running it as well. I trained right through this race. This race was not about a PR. This race was about being with friends and having a fun day.

It came on the last day of our rest week. Perfect timing.

The day before, my team went to the Silver Comet trail for a flat 30 -35 mile bike ride. It was a gorgeous day. I rode almost 35, getting a terrific pace for stretches at a time. Our coach recommended that, if we were running the half the next day, to skip the brick run after, and just chill. I listened. About 12-15 of us from IronTeam were running the half the next day. That's a pretty good group from one team.

Race day came. I woke up and thought "I wanna sleep in. What am I doing?". But, I met my friend Andy and we went to MARTA to ride the train down to the start.

We get to the TNT tent and I see friends start to arrive. All of a sudden I was very glad I was there. So many hugs, so many hellos: IronTeam friends, marathon team seemed like they were all there. Friends I had trained with for marathons, and friends whom I have just met by being a part of a group.

Soon we were off to the starting line. I went between a couple of groups, and ended up starting the race with Matt Winn and Kimberly Williams. Last time I started a half with Kimberly I PR'ed. She stayed with me until about mile 8 at Kiawah in 2009, and then she took off.

Soon we were off. I had a pain in the side of my back (left). It was focused. A week ago I had had a cramp there, so I wasn't worried. But, it made for an uncomfortable run. I had no limited range of movment, no pain when I tried to move around. Eventually it loosened up, to tighten up again about mile 10. I knew it wasn't anything but a literal pain in the side. Besides that I was having a fantastic time, and focused on the fun side.

About mile 3 I started to feel the previous days 35 mile ride. My legs felt a little like jell-o. My thoughts "Crap - it's too early to feel like this. It feels like bonking. This will be a long race." Matt, Kimberly and I got in to a comfortable stride and went. I had my Garmin on, but didn't listen to it and didn't try to pace myself. I was there for fun. We had a good time and a great run.

About mile 8 they picked up the pace a little and I dropped off a little, so we separated. De ja vu, right? I kept going along: cheering and smiling at people as I went along and having fun.

At about mile 10 I looked at my watch, did some fast math and realized I was on a possible PR pace. Wow? My side was sore and my legs like jell-o. I kept thinking "I have no idea what race day will bring, this is good to learn to push through what surprises my body may bring." So I kept pushing.

At the last water stop at Tech I was thinking my friend Pepe may be there as she has done that water stop in the past. Lo and behold she was one of the first people I saw holding out cups. I hollered her name and waved. She held out water. Then she realized who I was and the smile and look on her face! That was just what I needed to finish the race out. I kept going.

Soon Ryan Watton passed me. He was hauling (compared to me)...and was close to a PR. I told him to go for it and cheered him on.

As I rounded the corner I started my short but intense sprint. I truly did come across the finish line in a full out sprint. That felt terrific: stabbing in my side, legs of bonked led, but I pulled it out.

I came in at less than two hours. I wasn't sure if I had PR'ed but I felt good. I wasn't going to race this event, and to know I had the strength to finish strong when my legs were not feeling it made me realize how far I have come. I did not feel as good or as strong as the race over a year and few months ago in Kiawah when I PR'ed, but I did about as well. It was a good measure for me to know how far I have come.

I walked back to the TNT tent and saw friends - some were there, others wandered in. My friend Tricia came in and she was beaming and crying. She had just PR'ed. She never ran until two years ago when we were on Marine Corps team together. She has been 6 years cancer free, and an inspiration every step of the way. We hugged and I told her congratulations with the understanding and excitement of a runner to another runner.

I got home and looked, and I had PR'ed. By about a minute and a half. It surprised me. It humbled me. I am slowly learning what I can do when I try. That I am the one who sets the boundaries, and I am the one who can work to push them. I am having a terrific time realizing how lucky I am to be able to run at any pace, and having fun learning the thrills of learning to push my boundaries be it distance, speed, or going through interval drills. It's all fun right now.

This race wasn't supposed to mean much. But it did. I realized how much I love running, how lucky I am to have so many people I call friends and that we share a love, and I realized that I am strong. I know that I am strong, but this was a measure for me: a tangible measure. My previous PR was on a flat course. GA is hilly and a challenge. My previous PR came when I was on a decent rest. This one I trained straight through - although I had a rest week the previous week. However, I had just biked 35 miles the day before, and I felt those bike miles the next day. I was proud.

It also showed me that not running as much means It took me a little while to recover from my efforts - my legs were sore. This was new. I have never been sore after a half. As a coach and friend on the course said as Kimberly, Matt and I ran by - we eat those for breakfast! Oh well - I am training for three disciplines now. I was embarrassed at this really. I hate to admit it even here. The good news is it didn't take long to feel normal again.

The picture is Kimberly and me before the race.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Rest and the Tundra Time Trial

This past week was a rest week. That doesn't mean I sat on the couch. It meant our workouts were reduced in effort and time, and we got a day off (today in fact). The beginning of this week was a lot like the first week of tapering: I felt tired and blah. This is typical for tapering, and I didn't expect the rest week to feel much different. Around about Thursday I turned a corner...and didn't feel like I needed to nap for 15 minutes in the middle of the day!

Hopefully, come tomorrow, I am ready to jump back in to training full speed. We start off with a dozy of a swim workout.

Yesterday was my first bike time trial. The IronTeam participated to run a lactic acid threshold test. Basically to see how far we can go pushing ourselves.

I got there early enough, but had forgotten all my purse/wallet and had no ID or money. Luckily they didn't ask for ID and my coach lent me the $10. She actually saw me drive by (it was crowded) and made room for me to park. Thank goodness! I was pretty grateful for that. I could have parked far away fine, but I didn't want to have to drive back through everything to get to a parking spot. I looked at Mary and said - "I am not as organized as people think I am. Thank you."

My lack or organizational skills was pointed out to me not only with leaving my wallet at home, but because I had gotten out the door and down the road before I realized I had forgotten the directions. So, I had to turn around. I got ther elater then I wanted, and had a shorter warm up then I wanted, but I got it all in. No complaints.

I finished with mixed results. I had a pretty good time and did push myself. But, I was in too low of a gear, so I didn't push myself as much as I could have. My quads did not burn at the end as they should have. I could have changed gears at the turnaround, but didn't think of it (a teammate and friend said he had done that...which was when I realized I could have done it). Sigh - lesson learned for next time. However, with the high cadence I had I still got my heart rate way up there, so I still accomplished the goal of the test.

With the time trial each person starts alone. There is a 30 second interval between riders. The picture below of me was taken by a teammate. It's me at the start. I felt like I was going to fall off the ramp on my way down...but I made it!

My team did great. There are many times you love being part of a big team, and this was one of them. I was calm until I went up to the start. I was glad to have teammates around me to keep me calm - talking and gabbing. I think it was how others kept themselves calm too! Once I started my heart rate skyrocketed. And it remained high for the entire ride.

So, our first set of workouts are done. We are moving on to the next block.

I have a good start with my fundraising - over $1000. But I have a long way to go to get to $10,000. Lots of fundraisers coming up including a Mardi Gras party and Oozeball tournament (volleyball in the mud). Details will be coming up.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Believe it or not I am still here. Although our work outs are not intense, they are taking time. Tonight I am swimming at Dynamo. The water is warm, but the building is a bubble. Think no insulation. Not very motivating to strip down and jump in the water. But I have!

Running and biking in the cold seem much easier. Two weeks ago we were still recovering from snow and ice, so we met in Alpharetta for a group spin and brick. What I liked about it: I got to know that I am doing it right in the intervals I was setting for myself all along! Yea! Plus I got to meet a few more of my teammates.

And finally last Saturday we got to ride...on open a team. It was cold, but great. As long as you dress appropriately you are OK. Carlos was thrilled as he finally got to join us. He was ready! Ready to ride or rob a bank...most of us were.

I love the team.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Birthday Card

My parents sent me two cards this year from my birthday. Well - my dad found one in New Zealand and mailed it off. It wasn't a birthday card per say, but it meant a lot when I received it. It is, as is often rare with cards, a keeper. It is sentimental and personal, which is not often openly expressed within my family. More on that later. First, the second card.

My mom send a second birthday card with a penguin on front.
in it she stated that the look on the penguin reminded her "of the look of triumph as I completed [my] challenges and runs."

If you compare it to my facebook profile picture

Yeah - I can see the comparison. I have no problem being compared to a penguin! They are pretty cute and capable animals.

Dad's card made me think. Mom's card made me think. I put the two together, and came up with something I wanted to say. Loudly.

I know that my parents do not always understand me. But the fact that, even though they do not really understand why I love endurance sports, they see and know that participating in them makes me very happy. And that also in turn, makes them happy and proud.

And that made me think about something I know, and have always known, but rarely verbalize. I know that my parents' love for me and my brother and my sister is unquestionable, undeniable, and never ending.

I know that they truly want all three of us to be happy in life in the manner that is best for us. So, even if they do not love endurance sports, they know it makes me happy. And they support me. They know that I have found a terrific group of people that have brought a lot of joy, understanding and appreciation of life with Team in Training, and they support me and LLS because of it.

My parents never really gave much instruction I would say. They pretty much let us make our own decisions, and we had to accept the results of the decision.

But they were always there to help. They would help us such that we could focus on the tasks at hand.

And so I am grateful. And here today I say thank you to my parents. Thank you for the birthday cards (this year and so many others). And thank you for all the love you have selflessly given to me. Thank you for the support in the so many countless ways you have shown it over my 35 years: early mornings, long drives, staying home so I could go out with the car, worrying, celebrating and letting me move on and so many more that I can not list. Thank you.

A few last thoughts for 2010

I have been quiet on the blog lately. Chalk that up to changing jobs and no longer having a computer with me at all times. I have to use our home computer, and it just isn't as convenient. But - that's just the beginning of the changes at the end of this year.

Last Monday I started a new job. So far it is slow - but it takes awhile to learn the basics of a large organization. However, I can say that so far I love the people I have been fortunate to work with - even though I am working from home and do not have much face time. I can sense, though, that the job will pick up fast. So, this was a good week to start as most places take a bit of a breather the week between New Year's and Christmas.

Working from home has its challenges. I am very grateful to have IronTeam starting next week as I can already tell if I didn't have something to force me out of the home I could easily rarely leave the house for long periods of time. That would be very bad!

Another challenge is that my office is the dinner table. This is adjacent to the living room and the TV. Not a problem except when Carlos comes home from work he likes to watch ESPN and soccer for a bit before heading to the gym. I think we can handle it. is now an extra incentive to get our current home sold and find a place that is a bit bigger. That and needing a place to store books (Carlos), bikes (both of us) and tri-gear (me). I try to keep my stuff to a minimum but tri gear has a life of its own.

I got to spend Christmas in Guatemala. To say it was amazing is selling it short. It was not just the fireworks let off all over the city at midnight, it was also celebrating with a part of Carlos' family. Christmas Eve we were with his brothers at their home. It was quiet but very good: we played board games (we may not speak the same language, but we can play board games), ate tamales (different from Mexican tamales), opened gifts and watched the fireworks.

Christmas Day we spent with a part of Carlos' extended family. That was a treat. It was the first time I have ever really been a part of a large family gathering where there are three generations and people of many age groups/ranges who all have a history together. My family is small, and we do not really do large family gatherings. I know those of you who do have large family gatherings may not see my point of view, but it was something to me.

It was something to watch the children play. Santa and Mama Clause came for a visit too. I will tell you right now - I love getting to go to Guatemala.

2010 was a wonderful year for me. I grew in ways I never envisioned, and formed deeper friendships than I thought possible for me. I also made many more acqaintances which thrills me. These are the seeds of a future. The basic roadwork to not isolating myself. Yes, cyber friendships are also "safe" in that most often you can reply and chat on your own time (i.e. you are not asking someone to stop doing something else to listen to you - something I loathe to do).'s a start. And, as the saying goes, the longest journey starts with a single step.

2011 is off to a bang up start. I feel like I started the year behind. All I can do is take deep breaths and do the best I can. Let's hope I keep up on-line a little better then I ended 2010.