Sunday, September 23, 2012

Imagine for a minute

So ... imagine for a minute that you got on a plane headed for Boston, and instead you landed in Bermuda.

In Bermuda? Ok, no worries, the language is still english... or... is it?

Nah, it's not really. Anyone who's spent time on the other side of the pond will tell you that. British English is definitely close, but not quite the same. The words are similar, but they mean different things.  Or, they mean the same things, but they're spelled with extra letters. And Bermudians drive cars that look like American cars, but on the 'wrong' side of the road. And the food looks much the same, but the seasonings make the flavors distinct.

Well, this is what Nursing school is like for me.
The language is ~almost~ the same as the one I speak... only, it's not.

Why didn't anyone tell me that Nursing School is a language immersion program? Probably someone did, and I didn't understand what they were saying. And I thought the language I was going to learn was "science", but it turns out the language I am learning is actually the language of "semantics".

semantics -n
1. the branch of linguistics that deals with the study of meaning, changes in meaning, and the principles that govern the relationship between sentences or words and their meanings.
2.  the study of the relationships between signs and symbols and what they represent.
3. logic 
      a. the study of interpretations of a formal theory
      b. the study of the relationship between the structure of a theory and it's subject matter
      c. (of a formal theory) the principles that determine the truth of falsehood of sentences within a
         theory, and the references of its term.

There... that's what Nursing School feels like to me.

It's a giant run around while I try to figure out what exactly I'm doing here. There are days that this is the BEST EVER. And days where I scratch my head (I guess that's a story of it's own) in confusion and wonder exactly what the heckfireandshoot I'm trying to accomplish at the moment.

Also, I might be an injured runner right now. And injured runners have WAY wicked too much time to think about sh*t like this. ~gah~ I think I better go for a bike ride.

Monday, September 17, 2012

"Put me in, Coach!"

In the underdog movies it's always the same.

The underdog team is losing, and a kid on the team says:

Put me in, Coach!

Depending on the movie, the coach puts him in and he saves the day, or he doesn't, and some other kid saves the day. It's all about which movie, true?

Well, this is me. This is my "movie". I want into the game. I want to play. I want to go out every single time and make the difference between winning and losing...

only, I'm benched. 

Again. And this time, I was the coach who put me on the bench. I did consult a friend, and ran my "bench" plan past him, but I asked him as a friend.  So, since this is my movie, here's the response I gave myself: 

Sit yo' a** down and chill.

My foot is causing issue again. The symptoms are much worse this time. I don't know what it means, or how long I'm here, but for the moment, I'm a non-running runner.

God have mercy on us all.....

Speaking of things that make you blanch in the moment and chuckle later, today I told a friend I was injured and non-running, and the response I got was:  

"OMG!!!" followed by a look of chagrin, "Oh I'm sorry, I hope you're okay soon." 

I'm not sure, but I think the OMG was selfishly motivated by the responders immediate thought that may have been, "how in the heckfireandshoot are any of us supposed to deal with her now?" 

And to that I say:

Sit yo' a** down and chill. This is no time to panic.

Everything is going to be fine. I'm going to find ways to occupy myself. They include homework, nursing school, good grades, an Orange Trek, and a blue stripe on the bottom of a swimming pool. And a rowing machine. And I recently discovered that there's this room at the gym that is filled with free weights. And hot guys... the room, at the gym, filled with.... 

But they would also serve as ways to occupy myself now that I think about it.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Riding on Past

How long does one get to ride their Half Ironman "success" before they have to start training again?

Because today while I was suffering through a sprint interval swim workout, I honestly thought to myself, "Why am I fecking doing THIS? I did a half ironman a week ago today."

But I rocked the swim, because that's how I roll.  I didn't WANT to swim though.  I really just wanted an excuse to wear my new swimsuit...  it's freaking AWESOME.  Or, is it SUPER?

"Honey, Where is my Super Suit?"

And then, a few minutes later when I was "doing legs" and ready to cry (seriously, holy mother of god I was REALLY ready to cry, not kidding) the same thought went through my head again... "I feel like I DID A HALF IRONMAN a week ago WHY AM I DOING THIS?!"

But I did it.  And then when that was over, I stood there and thought, huh. Plank off?

And you know what a plank off with another triathlete leads to...?

WHOA WHOA WHOA, cool your jets people.  We were at the YMCA, hell oh!  Jeez.  But there was gasping.

It leads to an ab workout that makes you lay on the floor and weep a little.  With pleasure or pain, it's hard to say.

I definitely feel like I did a half ironman a week ago today.  And the bike, and the run, and the swim are not appealing to me right now.  And neither is the rower.  And forget it, I'm not going to spin class.  Elliptical's are for sissies with 2 feet.... and the stairs of doom look like the opposite of fun right now.

BUT, the thing is, I like my Triathlete Barbie Figure.

I think I look pretty good these days. So I can't just quit doing the things that keep me in short skirts and cute tops.  I need to do SOMETHING.  But...  I just did a Half Ironman a week ago, and I'm not ready to enjoy it yet.

I know, I know, I'm an AWOL SportsBackers Marathon Training Team Member, and there are reasons, and I'll get to those later... they have to do with my Right Foot.  It's an election year... Right and Left are definitely not on the same page.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Patriots Half Distance Triathlon 2012

Patriots Half Iron Recap:

I did a 72.3 mile race this weekend.  Not a typo, there's an extra 2 miles in the bike. 

It was... whew.  I could even go with The Good, The Bad, The Ugly recap because it definitely had all those aspects.  But instead, I feel that I must focus on The Experience, because it was a once in a lifetime experience. 

Traditional pre-game photo in the dark!
Oh, sure, sure, I can do Half Iron distance tri’s again and again, but there will only ever be one FIRST time Half Iron Distance Tri.

I had received some great advice from many, but the thing that most stayed in my brain was “Don’t Drown, Ride for Fun, Run to Live”.  It could really apply to life in general, yes?

This year has been an emotional beating. I guess I didn’t know how much that would impact me on race day.  I guess maybe I should have thought about that going in...  No worries now though.  Here’s a quick recap.

The morning of Patriots Half Distance Tri DeNiece and I drove to the race site and connected with our other RVA HIM friends like J1, Massimo and a whole lotta other folks.  I was nervous about the open water swim, and some logistics about setting up transition were awkward, but I wasn’t really as nervous as I had been before my first Marathon.

Me & DeNiece
Catalyst J held my phone for me, so I connected with him and IronPotter.  She is so cute, I have a girl crush, I admit. As we were talking I looked at her swim cap and realized we were in the same swim wave. We did a celebratory dance and attached ourselves to each other. This way I would be sure we would be in the start. Maverick & Dale were there as well, and we all walked down to the swim where Potter’s family was waiting.
Me & Mass

Oh the water was a wall of CHOP and there was a stiff breeze.  The current was moving, the tide was moving, and Potter and I both looked at the water for a minute.
“Wanna go get wet?” she asked.
“Sure.” I said.
We splashed about, swam a few strokes out to where we could see all the markers, and swam back.  I smiled at IronPotter, “Oh good. I didn’t forget how to swim yesterday.”

Me & Potter
At the start it was a bit violent but I settled in and swam my race. I pull a little to the right, so I had to manage that with sighting.  I was “alone” for the most part.  I thought I’d been left by my wave.  Turns out, I was ahead of a good number of them. A guy in a white cap suddenly appeared out of nowhere and hit me so hard with his elbow that he knocked my goggles off.  I saw stars and pulled myself upright in the water to put my goggles back on (thank god they didn’t get completely away!).  I swam the rest of the swim thinking, “I’m going to have a black eye tomorrow”, “First Rule of Fight Club....”, and “Dude probably left a mark on me and I didn’t even get his phone number”.

I did the swim in 44 minutes and change.  Lady Jersey girl was spectating with Catalyst J at the swim finish.  It was nice to see them, Catalyst J is ALWAYS good for a smile.

The run to transition felt like a half mile.  

Arrived covered in grass and got my bike, AND forgot to pull my goggles over my head (ha ha, so I rode part of the way with my goggles around my neck!).

Shortly into the ride I pulled my goggles hard and the strap released, so I stuffed them in my pocket.

I spent a minute getting settled in... got passed by a lot of familiar faces.  At a point early in the ride, maybe 15-20 minutes in, I moved my arms to adjust into aero, and felt my watch-band release.  I looked down as my Garmin flew into the road.  
My watch was now on the road behind me. 
I stopped, laid the bike down, and jogged back to get my garmin hoping that it was ok.... oh.... it wasn’t ok.  I’m now 20ish minutes into my 3+ hour ride, and I have no watch.  I don’t know if you all realize, I did my first marathon with no watch.  

I rode what I rode. 
I stretched out in aero. 
I got spooked by cars. 
I passed 1 or 2 people. 
I got passed about oooooh...208 times.  Maybe more actually. 
I cheered for my friends when they passed me, and I generally just survived the ride.  No watch, no idea how fast or slow I was going, or where I was on the course, or anything about my effort.  My chest felt tight, which isn’t my usual M.O., but I haven’t used my inhaler in a long time, since March or April, so I ignored it.  Bike took around 3 ½ hours.

I got off my bike at dismount, hit a potty, jogged into transition, racked, changed shoes, took a G.U., looked at my inhaler and thought, “nah, I’ll be ok”. 

So why didn’t I pick it up again?

Leaving for the run I saw Lady Biolabud & Lady Jersey Girl cheering for me on the first turn.  I was feeling pretty badass.

My run was fine.  If you like a 90 degree running.  I don’t, but it was still a fine run given my 59.2 mile warm up.  The run was shady at least.  I felt solid for the first 10 miles.  I saw Potter, Dale, Maverick, J1, a bunch of Richmond Tri Folks, Endorphin BikeShop Andy (and HE was FREAKING AWESOME), DeNiece and tons of people I almost know by name.  

DeNiece passed me in the last mile of the run.  

I ran past Lady Biolabud, and then I saw Catalyst J on the corner.  

And then I was there. 

Finishing a Half Ironman Distance Tri. 
How did THAT happen? 
I don’t know, it just did. 

My official time was 6:42:35

I wasn't exactly mentally together immediately after the race.  I remember kissing Mike on the cheek (RTCguy), and rubbing myself with an ice towel, and not wanting to sit down, and then a Lady friend made me get into an icebath.

It was a good idea, it made my legs feel good, and it cleared my head, but I screamed because it was freaking painful.

AND, because I'm crazy, after I saw Potter finish and got a little back rub from Catalyst J, I packed up my day, drove back to the RVA with DeNiece, and then... Illusive Dave & I went to my cousin's bowling alley wedding reception (best wedding reception I've ever been to in my life.  Seriously)

I'm already making plans for next year's Half Iron Distance event.... Not sure which one I'll aim for, but...  Yeah.  True story.  

also, Catalyst J changed the wall paper on my phone to this. -->

I'm not 100% sure, but I might not let him hold my phone for me next year.  Or, then again, I might.  It was worth a good laugh when I realized what he'd done.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Individual SPORT my A**

They say TRIATHLON is an individual sport.

I'm going to have to call BullSh*t on that...

I couldn't have made it to here without my TRIwife, DeNiece.
Or my TrainingWife, TMB.
How about let's not forget my favorite Jersey Girl, who dragged my a** out to a RABA ride and changed my life forever...
My BiolaBud...

But when I was reflecting on what made the most impact on my training.  I kept coming back to one unit:  The Gentlemen of the Roads & The Ladies of The Lanes.

If I'd never met The Gentlemen, I'm just not sure that I would have evolved into the cyclist I have become.  And I am going to brag a minute.  From my first RABA ride in June to today, I have come a LONG a** way.

So before the race actually happens tomorrow, I just wanted to give a quick shout out to The Ladies of the Lanes (seen below), and to The Gentlemen of the Roads.  All of you helped mold me into the cyclist I am.  On every ride.

Special Thanks to The Gentlemen Leader, for his tough love and love of tough hills.  He didn't baby me, but he didn't leave me, and I appreciated that.  Because of him, I now understand exactly what a real hill is like, and that BEER is an appropriate mid-ride fuel.  Belief....  If I just showed up and worked as hard as he made me work (and he did make me work) I would become a better cyclist.
And I did.

Very much appreciate all the time I spent on the roads this summer with Gentleman British.  GB was there at my first RABA ride, and nearly every mile between June & today.  I fully recognize his mentoring and guidance was instrumental in getting me here.  Faith...  that if GB said it was so, it was so, even if it didn't feel that way in the minute.

And last, but never least, Gentleman 3R... Red Right Return.  I know that any ride where I hung onto the tire of the Red Bike would Return me safe, even if the cyclist leading me is of a Right Mind.  Trust... that even if I didn't know where my mojo was hiding, IF I could see 3R, I was in the right place at the right time and I would get right where I needed to go.

Thanks all of you.

Today, in just a few minutes I'm getting in the car to drive to Williamsburg with DeNiece.  We're going to race, we're going to have fun, and we're going have one of those "we did it" cries at the end.
I believe it....
I have faith in myself...
And I trust that I can do this....

Those fools out there training for Triathlons alone need to move to VA... cos we've got this down.  (well, the training part, the fun part, and the giggling part... the racing triathlons is undetermined)

Thursday, September 6, 2012

RePost: A Letter.

It's the Thursday before my race.  I'm doing a HALF DISTANCE TRIATHLON ON SATURDAY.  Holy crap. I have lost my mind.

I mean, AWESOME, I AM AWESOME....  I started to FREAK OUT, and then... I thought about those letters I write during the Taper.
Jess says I need to write myself a letter..... she's pretty wise.  She's probably right.  My letters are freaktastic...

Ok.  So what do I know about me... because that's usually how I start a letter.  I think about what I know about the runner I'm writing for...  and so knowing me, what would I tell me?

Dear Galactically BadA** gf,

“At every moment of our lives, we all have one foot in a fairy tale and the other in the abyss.”
― Paulo Coelho

Paulo is my favorite.  Probably because he's pretty much a genius.  And he rocks.  And ~ yeah ~ he gets it.

GBA_gf....  You freaking rock.   You rock like Paulo.

You'd rather epically fail trying for excellence than fully succeed at mediocrity.  No. Problem.  Mediocrity is so not your thing anyway.

And you KNOW that about you.  So capitalize on that knowledge.  Set the bar high and FREAKING reach for it.  

It's time to do this like a NIKE ad.

...but still, it's always a plan to review a few key points... no time for a power point presentation here...  We're just going to have to wing it.

Galactically Bada** is not just a catch phrase. It's a state of being.
You did not train for twenty weeks not to bring it on race day.
The only thing you have to fear, is fear itself... and chaffing.
Don't tackle the Red Shirts, chick them like you mean it.
Believe in yourself under all circumstances.
Run the race you've trained to run.
Make that bridge your bitch.
You do this cos it's hard.
Respect the distance.
This is your season.
Be in the moment.
Try not to suck.
Savor the run.
Always epic.

gba gf

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Taper Madness ~ rinse and repeat

Taper Madness (Triathlete Edition)

As the support team for a Marathoner Triathlete you are entering a very tricky period.  Your Marathoner Athlete has been training hard through the summer and into the fall in preparation for the big day.  The hard work is done and TAPER MADNESS is ahead.

Half Ironman training is a stair-step type process where muscles are broken down for several weeks and then an easier week is thrown in for recovery.  Finally two weeks before the race, one last long workout is completed and it’s time for recovery.  The last weeks are a period of descending mileage.  This period allows the body to fully recover from the training and rest in preparation for the Big Day, this period is called the Taper.

This all sounds well and good, however, the Taper is a period of great anxiety for many Athletes (first-timers and veterans alike).  Over the course of training for a 70.3, an athlete becomes accustomed to running and riding many miles each week and constantly feeling the rush of endorphin driven highs and the persistent fatigue and soreness of effort.  The athlete becomes addicted to these emotions and craves both the highs and lows.

The Tapering Triathlete will be irritable, anxious, nervous, overly emotional, short-tempered, restless, tired, cranky, and depressed (even more than normal).  Sounds like a great three weeks doesn’t it?  It is not unlike the heroin addict going cold turkey.  This is a span of time where most Athletes go a bit crazy.  For most it passes after race day.  Of course there are the post-race blues, but that’s the subject for another day.

The first week is not too bad.  It’s really like most “easy weeks” following a twenty mile run.  Recovery is critical and the mileage is not dropping by a large amount.  They are so tired from the 50 mile week that the rest and recovery is welcomed.  Do yourself a favor, block  HYPERLINK "" and  HYPERLINK "" from your internet service, unless you enjoy continuous updates of the weather forecast for 18 days in the future.  Nerves may begin to fray but the best is yet to come – trust me!

During the first part of Taper Madness you will hear about every small ache and pain and how it may be a broken leg or torn ligament or some other traumatic injury.  Every twinge becomes a reason to think about postponing the 70.3 effort.  Every sneeze, sniffle, cough or pimple becomes a life-threatening virus or infection.  Tight hammies, inflamed ITB, tweaked Achilles, plantar fascitis, black toenails, bloody nipples, chafing, and this is just during breakfast. 

The second week starts the deep depression.  The tapering athlete starts to really miss running.  There are no more double-digit runs before the marathon.  The longest run for the next two weeks will be 8 miles.  Just 8 miles, how many used “just” and “8 miles” in the same sentence prior to training for the race?  The body is really starting to recover and therefore has more energy than needed.  Therefore, the Athlete becomes restless.  No “extra” running is allowed.  The tapering Athlete can feel the fitness draining out of their body.  Ask them, they will tell you, they are getting slower every day!  This is not happening but the feelings are real.  Physiologically, there is nothing but positives from a 3 week taper prior to racing a 70.3, however, it feels quite the opposite.  This restlessness often becomes frustration and a very short-tempered athlete.  Understand that this frustration will be projected at anyone and everyone within reach.  It’s nothing personal; it’s the lack of mileage talking.

So it’s now six or seven days before the Half Ironman.  The last 8 mile run is done and all that’s left is 3 easy short workouts and the BIG EVENT.  For the first time 70.3 Triathlete and some experienced folk, this week is nothing but self-doubt and worry.  “I’ll never make it.  My foot hurts.  My nose is running.  I’m not ready.  My last 20 miler sucked, I’ll die out there.  I’m getting fat and slow.  My shoes are dead, my shoes are too small, my shoes are too big, My legs are different lengths, my head hurts, I have a splinter, I have a hang nail, I hate running.” These are some of the things going through the mind of a Marathoner in their last few days before the Marathon.  Not to mention the nervous energy that is overflowing.  Not to mention that there may be a couple of extra pounds after cutting back on the running for 3 weeks.  Not to mention that the trips to the bathroom are increasing geometrically as the hydration dance starts in earnest.  Many find concentrating on anything other than the upcoming race difficult.  By the way, Athletes in the final days before a race often make poor babysitters.

Two nights before the event are critical to the triathlete.  This night is probably the last chance for a good nights sleep.  The night before is typically restless and worrisome (what if the alarm doesn’t go off).  A sleepless night preceding an event will not have a dramatic impact on chances for success.  Adrenaline will offset missing that night’s sleep and get the athlete through the race.  The morning of the race is all about getting some food, using the bathroom and getting to the race.  My suggestion, don’t get in the way.

I am sure your (athlete) appreciates all the support they have received during the training program.  The last few weeks are critical to a successful marathon effort.  Please understand that the emotional wreck will disappear after the marathon 70.3.  The Taper can be especially difficult and frustrating for everyone.  The good news, it ends with the race.

I hope this sheds some light on TAPER MADNESS.  Sometimes insight makes things a bit easier to understand.  Of course, your experience may differ greatly but I’ll bet it doesn’t.
(Coach Q)