Monday, December 28, 2009

Working On It

When I was in high school it seemed I had such great potential for my life. I had offers to play basketball in college and good grades to boot. It seemed almost certain I would go on to college and make something of myself. I would somehow then stumble along the right guy and voila` the "American Dream" would begin. I would know my place in this world.

I didn't and I haven't. I got my first degree in exercise physiology and really enjoyed it, but learned a job in that field would require a master's degree. Another two years was doable, but then the economy crashed and I had no experience and could only say that I graduated magna cum laude. Desperate to find a career in the science field I started my third degree in nursing. I wasn't certain this was exactly what I wanted to do, but after sixteen weeks of grueling work I really, really loved it. It seems the career thing might actually be possible in a year.

As for the "right guy," I thought I was really close ten years ago, but it went awry and hurt me pretty bad for more time than I should have let it. When I finally realized it was time to "let go" the hurt had stayed with me so long it was a part of me. I feel like I have left that part of my life behind, but any relationship I have had since then, I have pulled away from. I don't mean in the sense where I broke-up (well sometimes), but the other times I would distance myself and close my heart off (please don't ask why, because I have no idea). I have tried to buckle down and "love" someone, but I can't. It is a terrible feeling when you want to care about someone and you know they're a great person, but you can't love them. I always feel like I am alone. No one will pick me up, but me. I don't feel comfortable sharing myself with anyone (even typing this is uncomfortable). I believe in love and soul mates. I just don't believe in them for me!

So here I am more determined than ever to keep going after "my american dream." I am not certain if I will ever attain it. I have a lot to learn about myself.

Here is what I do know about myself though... I am that motherf*cker that can run 200 miles in less than a month!! I found that out yesterday. I had a little less than 12 miles to run to hit 50 miles for the week and 14 to break 200 miles for December. I had finally broken the 8-minute barrier on a training run the day before when I averaged 7:55/mile for 7.5. It wasn't easy, but I definitely, did not have to kill myself. I didn't have much hope for 12 good miles, let alone 14, but the first 4 miles with Bailey went by at 8:30/mile and I felt great. I dropped him off and started again hoping for 8 more good ones. I covered 3 more and that was when I knew I was going to go for it. I started getting excited and thought "this is mile 193 for the month, this is mile 194" and so on. When I hit my mile 12 it was like a pinball machine lighting up. I was in the "BONUS" round!! I really got excited then and I started laughing and "whoo hoo-ing" on and off. I ran my 200th mile yesterday at 7:40 pace and averaged 8:11 for my entire run. After my miserable start to running or lack thereof this year, I morphed into a runner, I never thought I could be. I was consistent and strong, but most importantly I was uninjured and proud of myself. Yahoo!!!!!

It is seems like small potatos next to my "American Dream" but keeps my determination at the forefront.

Some things just work out differently for people, but until I know otherwise, I will keep working on it.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


I was really excited to take one month off from TCON (The College of Nursing), but they found me yesterday, emailing me that I needed to have a federal background check into Akron Children's by Friday...hahaha, go "F" yourself. It just isn't going to happen the week of Christmas. Escape is apparently impossible.

As, for the USAT National Club Challenge. I am really going to miss the swim miles for the month. It was too hard to get to the pool during school and now I have no vehicle...bugger!! It really doesn't matter anyway, I guess. I emailed my mileage almost two weeks ago and it is not updated. One commitment off my back.

In other news, I have been zooming and zooming around for a few months now, racking up all the miles I missed in the beginnning of the year. I managaed to crack the 50 mpw in November and got really, really close to 200 miles in October, so this month I got it in my head that I HAD to break 200 miles for month. Right now, I am sitting pretty at a little over 150 miles. I have never done this before and my legs are feeling pretty tired, no matter how many days I rest. My "comfortable" pace is hanging between 8:20-8:40/mile. I did notice however, that it used to take me 3-4 miles to warm-up, but now it is taking me nearly 6!! I even dropped an 18-miler in at 8:30/mile 2 weeks ago. I was shell shocked! I didn't run faster than 8:55/mile when I was doing my long runs for the Philadelphia Marathon. I feel like I am a superhero! I mean really, how many turtles can run as fast as this turtle?

Oh man, is Christmas really only two days away? I haven't done any shopping. Sometimes, I really think these holidays are more stressful than they are about love and family and a that mushy stuff, course I don't like stress or mushy stuff. Cripes!! I really wish Santa did stop at our house.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Within Reach

It's almost done, my first semester of nursing school that is and I am so relieved. Definitely felt like a marathon. Sixteen long hard weeks of training. I hit the 20 mile marker around week twelve and tried to pep talk myself that I only had 10k to go. I just had to hold on for 6.2 miles (four weeks), but I struggled. There was the incident at clinicals, the make-up work and 3 weeks of back to back exams. This was on top of my regular school work and the two days of my life I lost having to completely rest as per the doctor orders. These unfavorable events hurt me pretty bad like the thrashing my quads always take in a marathon. I struggled and fought to get back on pace and made a few adjustments to not blow-up and become overwhelmed. I was just hanging in there with exams, case studies, research papers, clinicals, all of which seemed to be at a pace that would indicate a blow-up was inevitable. Somehow though, I made it and now I am just passed the 25 mile marker, where I can feel the emotions coming to the surface because I know the end is near and I did it. Those emotions that you get when your favorite song comes on and you slowly build up in anticipation for your favorite part when you can bust a move and do the running man with a little bit of the cabbage patch mixed in.

Well, in this case my finish line looks like a very tall beer and a shot of tequila. It looks like I am going to end with 3 A's and 1 B. While the B is disappointing, it is completely acceptable. I spent a lot more time running and not studying. My stress level didn't per se change, but I managed it a little better. I just have to accept that too much studying and fretting about school may be more harmful to my health than good for my GPA. Who really gives a sh*t if I had a B or an A anyway when I am looking for a job right?

So with 2 exams and one skills test tomorrow (God, please let me pick the sterile gloves and not the wet-to-dry dressing or the mixing and administration of insulin) the end is near and my one month vacation is just 4 days away.



I got the indwelling catheter in a female. Uuuggghhh, not really the one I wanted, but I PASSED!!! Just got my cumulative exam on Wednesday and my "pretend" NCLEX exam, immediately after. I am 160 questions away from my winter break...YAHOO!!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Fall Classic 1/2 Marathon

The last time I ran a half marathon was October 2008 and I felt I could eek out a PR at that distance before this year was over. I had run the most consistent and highest mileage EVER, IN MY LIFE for the past 8 weeks. The totals went like this starting the week of 9/28-10/04.

Week 1 - 43.53
Week 2 - 42.20
Week 3 - 47.43
Week 4 - 35.69
Week 5 - 52.46
Week 6 - 46.49 (2 hour trainer ride at 5 Seasons)
Week 7 - 30.54
Race Week 38.25

I had debated running until this Wednesday after the fiasco last Friday. I had definitely felt out of sorts for a few days after that, but after dropping a 7:16 mile and feeling it had taken a lot less effort than I would have imagined, I bit the bullet and signed myself up.

I got home from work last night a little after 11:00pm, popped a melatonin (they work like a charm for anyone who has an alternating sleep schedule like myself)and was out a little before 1:00am.

The weather seemed to be perfect for me. High 40's, low 50's, no wind. There was a record number of runners this year, so parking was diverted up a hill to the RTA. I wasn't sure if I could get back to my truck before start time, so I threw my gear in my bag and headed out prepared to temporarily abandon during the race hoping that no one wanted my Asics or sweaty warm-up clothes. I, of course, forgot my gels in the truck, but thankfully IDUTRI was there with a stand selling some.

I saw my friend MF right before the start. I hadn't seen her in almost a year because she had moved to Columbus. She was putting up some really great times in the half marathon going sub-1:30:00.

The race started a few minutes late, but before I knew it I was racing. It felt strange. I had not done any speedwork and the only time I ran sub-8:00/miles was on the four 3 mile tempo runs I had done. I was definitely aware that pacing would be difficult at a sub-8 pace today, so starting out I tried really, really hard to run easy and not push it like I was in a 5k, but even with the first mile being short I think I still ripped the first couple miles off way too fast.

I never checked my splits on my watch, but I did try to listen to anyone calling out times at the mile markers. There wasn't a lot of jockeying and the runners spread out quickly and it seemed I was more toward the front than the back. The pack was definitely behind me. I felt as relaxed as a person racing can be. I heard the 5 mile timer call out 36:30 and I had an "UH OH!!" moment. My fastest 5 mile time by itself was 36:59. I think I psyched myself out a little when I heard that. No way could I run faster than my 5 mile PR for 13.1! Stupid Brain!!!

I just kept on trucking knowing, I had definitely put time in the bank for my PR. My stomach felt heavy today and I had a slight pain on my left side in my ribs, so I waited to take a gel until mile 8, usually I take 2 gels in a half, but today I stuck to the sport drink for my sugar. I was hoping to go as close to 1:37:00 as possible but as I hit mile 8 on the second loop my legs were starting to poop out. The wind had picked up a tad, but there was no one to run with, except the guy behind me, who ran off me. I slowed, but he didn't pass, so I slowed some more...he passed me then. It was a great excuse to try to conserve some energy. I kept thinking I will pick it up at the 10 mile marker right after the turnaround, but I knew deep down I would not be able to pick it up and hammer it today. No matter what I did now, I would be struggling the last 3 miles and it was going to hurt, so I picked the pace back up and just tried to hold on. I did note though that I PR'd at the 5 mile, 10k, 9 mile and 10 mile distance as I heard my times called out. I felt a huge boost of confidence that I would certainly PR, but when they called out 1:15:xx at the 10 mile mark I knew I was gonna be fighting like hell the last 5k for that 1:37:00. I forced myself to run harder and refused to look at my watch! My watch was not going to dictate my effort today. I was going to run the best I could all the way to the finish even if I missed my goal. I was sucking wind and honking and wheezing like a goose!! I was actually kind of embarassed. The noise was annoying me so it had to be annoying people around me.

I finally made it into the parking lot area where the finsih is less than a half mile away when some guy shouted 1:36:00...BOOM!!! He burst my bubble. I couldn't make it to the finish in 1:00 min. Why that SOB?!?! Nobody asked him to call out time there. He wasn't even at a mile marker. He was like that guy at the NERC 5k series races that stands about .1 mile ahead of the 2 mile marker. He calls out the time you want to hear at the 2 mile marker, and then you go " oh sh&t" when you realize you're already behind your goal with over a mile to go.

My quads hurt, my lungs hurt, I was a hot crabby mess!! I ran for the finish, finally closing in on a ton of runners. I heard someone yell my name as I saw the clock at 1:38:xx. F*CK!!!! I refused to let it hit 1:39:00. I hauled ass and clipped off a 1:38:46 on my watch. I had PR'd . Hell YAY!! That was 2 races in a row and with 2 PR's. I am really pumped I PR'd and as much pain as I was in I had really missed racing. I am very amazed (and proud) of how some of my girlfriends can move their skinny little asses, so much faster. More power to them!! My ass is the only thing that didn't hurt below the waist when I was done! Ouchie :( But I really did enjoy myself today.

My Watch Splits
Mile 1 7:22
Mile 2 7:15
Mile 3 7:21
Mile 4 7:32
Mile 5 7:15
Mile 6 and 7 15:06
Mile 8 7:47
Mile 9 7:35
Mile 10 and 11 15:35
Mile 12 7:30
Mile 13 7:41
Last .1 :46

Official Time: 1:38:44 (2 seconds faster than my watch, always nice when that happens)

Friday, November 13, 2009

And the Nurse Becomes the Patient

Finishing up my clincical rotation this morning would have closed out my 12th and busiest week of the accelerated nursing program thus far, but something went undeniably wrong.

I had planned to take an extra day off this week from running as I needed some recovery, so with my exam yesterday, dinner plans with my cohort and clinicals calling for me to rise at 5:30 am on Friday I figured Thursday would be a good day to take it easy on the running. I finished up my exam not feeling I had done well enough for an A, but passing. I was excited that the hardest part of the week was over, having only clinicals, a few medication sheets and a care plan of action for the H1N1 virus to do before the end of the week.

I laid down at 1:00am going over in my mind all the things I needed to get done in the next 3 days for school and work. It was going to be tight, but doable. I kept thinking and thinking about my care plan of action and debated whether I should just get up and start working on it or at least "lay" in bed for a few hours and let my body rest with the possibility of a few moments of restful sleep. It didn't happen. I tossed and turned and could not shut my mind off. I watched the time tick away until 5:30am when I rose and prepped for clinicals. I knew the day would be rough with no sleep, but hey I have functioned and even run a marathon on little to no sleep.

I arrived a little before 7:00am and was standing at the nurses station taking report when I felt weird. I started to lose my hearing and my throat closed a little, I closed my eyes and tried swallowing a few times. I felt dizzy and debated whether I should sit for a moment, but having had this happen a few times in the past I figured it would pass, so I continued to stand and take report.

I believe in that moment, I closed my eyes one final time before the details became fuzzy and I had a blank spot in my memory. I kind of remeber hearing someone say my name a few times and feeling arms around my torso and then I felt myself moving into a seated position and my hearing started to return a little and I opened my eyes to find every freakin' nurse on the floor surrounding me, talking, throwing a BP cuff and a pulseox on me. I heard someone ask if I was diabetic another nurse grabbed my finger and lanceted my finger for a glucose test. I was so disoriented as I heard abnormal BP and pulse numbers being called out. "Oh F*ck!! What the hell had just happened to me? I kept swallowing and my hearing slowly got better, but a wave of heat washed over me and I felt shaky and sweaty. I didn't know what the hell was going on. Piece by piece I had discovered I had passed out.

I was so embarassed and disoriented. I couldn't get my bearings and nurses were surronding me. I heard they had paged an emergency doctor and within a few minutes there he was hustling down to me. I tried to tell everyone I was fine. Yes, I had eaten breakfast, no I was not diabetic. Yes, I knew my name and my date of birth. I was alert for cripes sake!!! It was determined, I had to go to the ER for testing. A few nurses said they had seen my eyes roll back in my head and my lids flutter. It was crazy. Those were signs of seizures and mini-strokes. I insisted it was because I was tired and had not been able to sleep the night before. My clinical instructor believed me, but gave me a bunch of sh*t about how she couldn't believe I would come into clinicals on no sleep and that I should have called said I wasn't coming in. Ahhh, yeah right!!! This is mandatory state board required hours, I can't miss!! I was so mad and upset. I hadn't purposefully passed out! I really wasn't looking forward to the trip to the ER either. F*ck!!

One of my classmates took me down in a wheelchair after I had been pumped with 600mL of flud. We didn't have to wait and I was wheeled into a private room, but before that they had me go in the bathroom and give them a sample. Fine I had to pee anyway from all those fluids. Once in the room I had to change out of my scrubs into a patient gown. The nurses came in and began monitoring my vitals. They stripped my gown and hooked my up to a 12-lead EKG to monitor my heart and took a few vials of blood. I was really not happy now!! After they got my blood they hooked up an IV with about 1000 mL of normal saline. My urine test had come back showing I was slightly dehydrated, key word slightly. They pumped me full of fluid anyway. It was only a matter of minutes before I started shaking from the IV fluids, so my friend covered me with a blanket. To top it off I had to pee again, but hooked up to all this equipment it was going to be hard to go anywhere. I had an IV in my right arm, 10 electrodes with wires coming off my chest, a pulse oximeter on my left index finger and a blood pressure cuff on my left arm. Damn!! I asked the nurse to unhook me, but she refused because I was at risk for falling and I would have to use a bed pan until my blood work came back. What?!?! I was NOT using a f*cking bedpan. I asked how long it would take and she said about an hour and a half. I refused the bed pan and told her this was ridiculous and I was done with this. I wanted all the testing stopped. I was going to leave AMA (against medical advisement).

The doctor came in and I explained to him my very limited health insurance would not pay for all these tests and I had to pee and I was fine!!! He told me I would not be able to get back into clinicals without a doctor's approval and he would only do the bare minimum testing. They were fairly certain I had had a vasovagal response, but they wanted to confirm I did not have a heart attack, so along with the EKG, they were checking my tropinin and creatine kinase levels in my heart and they wanted to do an x-ray of my chest for calcium deposits. CK should be < 4, Troponin < .01. I agreed to those tests as I really needed the clearance for clinicals.

The doctor left, but I still had to pee. My friend unhooked the IV bag from the stand and then I unhooked the EKG wires from my chest while she paused the monitor and removed the BP cuff and the pulseox. We made a break for the bathroom across the hall and I was never so happy to sit on a toilet and pee!!

We went back to the room and hooked me back up until I was taken for x-ray and then brought back. I was so impatient. I figured, I am 32 heatlhy as can be. I couldn't have had a heart attack, but then I started thinking, one day I may enter the hospital and my chances wont be this good that nothing is wrong. Man I hate getting old. I hated being the patient. I felt so helpless waiting for results so I could get on with my life.

My friend had decided to stay with me through it all as I could wipe my ass and her other patient upstairs could not, at least until or clinical instructor came down and popped her head in. She wanted to check on me and tell me to take it easy and not stress out and then reprimand me a little bit too. Arrggghhhh!!!

Finally, the doctor came in! No calcium in my heart, EKG was normal, troponin <.01 and Creatine Kinase inn my heart was 4.7!!! WTF!!!!!!!

The doctor said he thought it was a fluke and I was a healthy runner. Creatine levels increase when muscle breaks down. My creatine in the skeletal muscle was a little off, so maybe it is the same for my cardiac muscle too. Needless to say, I remember having no chest pain, just being very aware of my heart rate feeling high that morning.

I know myself and I know my body. I did not have a heart attack. I have low blood pressure and when it remains the same while my heart rate increases blood is pumped out of my heart too fast! When the left ventricle has no blood to pump a person will pass out if blood pressure does not increase to bring it back to the heart resulting in a person passing out. I passed out.

It was somewhere around 1:00pm when they finally released me with strict instructions to go home and rest for 24 hours. I felt confident I would make it home. I knew if it happened again I would have less than 2 minutes to stop my truck and pull over before I would completely passout. I also called a friend and talked to her on the phone just in case.

Home and in my bed I began rehashing the events of the day, instead of shutting off my mind and resting as prescribe. It seemed so unreal. I have never been admitted to the ER for an uncertain and uncontrolled condition. It was definitely eye opening for me. I hated the feeling of helplessness. I hated the idea that something really bad might have happened. I hated the fact that I couldn't control it!!

I have spent everyday since running and being very thankful I have my health.

Monday, November 2, 2009

LII.XLVI and "She's a little bit dangerous...ooooooo"

That's how many miles I ran last week! I am thrilled. I have never run that many miles in a week before. I even managed to round out the month with a little over 195 miles. I suppose if I had known how close I was to 200 miles I would have gone for it, but my focus is not on training. It is on escaping the monotony of studying and working. I started with about 45-60 minutes of running 5-6 days a week for a study break and as the intensity of the school work increased so did my urge to run just a little longer to avoid getting back to the books, so now it's up to 60-90 minutes on average.

I am not getting ready for any marathons, but I am running higher mileage than ever before. I thought it would be difficult to just run, but it's such a relief to get away from the books and I look forward to my run each day. I am doing tempos and pace runs if I am "feeling frisky," but for the most part I am just playing the role of Forrest Gump and running from here to there at a pace that feels comfortable. My SI joint in my spine is bothering me on and off, but I am continuing to manage the pain with the rehab exercises I have learned. I refuse to believe my marathoning days are over because of a little dysfuntion in my f*ck#ing back!! Most days it has been manageable and I am not giving up.

I finally broke down and utilized the ipod store to make a playlist which resulted in my diagnosing myself with multiple personality disorders as the selection is random, well except for the fact that I can run to it.

Shake That - Eminem
Dancing on the Ceiling - Lionel Ritchie
Blood is Pumpin - Voodoo and Serano
Head Like a Hole - NIN
Click Click Boom - Saliva
Jump Around - House of Pain
Bodies - Drowning Pool
Invincible - Pat Benatar
We Built This City - Starship
True Nature - Janes Addiction
More Human than Human - White Zombie
Runaround Sue - Dion
Check Up On it - Beyonce
Rythm Nation - Janet Jackson
Krazy - Pitbull and Lil John
Come On Feel the Noise - Quiet Riot
Under Pressure - David Bowie
I Wanna Dance with Somebody - Whitney Houston
Wake Me Up Before You Go - Wham
Footloose - Kenny Loggins
Scream - Michael and Janet Jackson
That's Not My Name - Ting Tings
Dangerous - Roxette

Thursday, October 15, 2009

3-2-1 Bowman Cup!

No, that is not my student identificaiton number or the steps for some type of nursing process or assessment. That was my BIB number, because I did indeed get to run a race!

The semester is at the halfway mark and I am already ready for a break. I think I have about 3 brain cells and they are constantly arguing about whose turn it is to memorize the new information I am trying to learn, each claiming they are overworked and underpaid. Saturday, I decided they needed a break.

My partner at class is an athletic trainer from NCST and he mentioned that KSU was having their annual 5k on the October 10th and it was only $8 for students! Short and cheap and right across the street from the building I have all my classes in. Sweet! I told him I was in and after the race I would bring my regular clothes to shower and study assessments after, if needed.

I got to the race and the sun was actually out for the first time in weeks. It was a nice sign. The race normally had 100-200 participants. This year there was 300-400 and it wasn't chipped, so after a 2.5 mile warm-up I found my partner and wished him luck. He was way in the back, so I told him I was going to move up a little bit, so I didn't lose too much time getting to the start line. Too late, the horn sounded and I started behind, like usual. It never fails, Philly, Lighthouse Tri need I go on?

I weaved my way around people and started up the incline that cover the first quarter mile of the course. I felt pretty relaxed, which is how I normally feel and then at about 1.5 miles in a 5k my body goes "hey, you, what are you doing? this hurts, you went out too fast, slow the f^ck down!!!" I could see quite a sea of people in front of me. Runners were in the right lane, so I ran as close to the center line to give myself a better vantage point of what was to come and to give me clearance so I didn't have to run around anybody. I was in a pack with about 5 girls for the first mile, 3 a little ahead and 2 right next to me. I was very cognizant of their breathing and form and felt confident that I would eventually shake all but one of them. When we got to the first timer she called out 6:35. I had run out to the 2000 meter mark and back, so I knew she was short. I split my watch at 1 mile and it was actually 6:45. I felt this time was indicative of some lung burning-stomach cramping-I might sh*t my pants any second if I don't stop kind of pain yet to come.

There was a lot of flat and downhill after the first quarter mile and at just a little over the 2000 meter mark I had managed to shake all but one girl. My goal had been to finish top 10 for the women, but not having any real speed or power like so many of my friends, it seemed I was going to have to settle for a time that wouldn't completely bum me out. I had run just barely under 23 in my triathlons for 5k's so I assumed sub-23, without having to swim or bike beforehand was completely do-able.

The aid station was supposedly at the 1.55 mile marker, but there was only one person working it, so I skipped it. Other than slowing me down and diverting my focus from the race how was the water really going to benefit me in 50 degree weather for a 5k?

Found the second timer, assumed he was the "2 mile timer" until he called out 12:37. No way in hell I ran a 6:02 second mile. This one was apparently off too. I had not run this far out though and was uncertain of my second mile or where the actual mile marker was.

I made a hard right and all of a sudden the course became ten times harder. It was a nasty false flat. My legs instantly became dead weight. Oh boy, there's that feeling I was waiting for. The incline slowed me, but not as much as those around me and I was able to pass a few people. We ran across 2 wooden bridges that were wet and a tad slippery. There was one guy that I noticed running next to me and I was losing ground on him. I tried to stay with him, but it was difficult. My stomach began to hurt and I felt like I was about 2 minutes from doing "Hiroshima" in my shorts!! Less than 1000 meters to go and more uphill. MOTHERTRUCKER!!!!!!!!!!

I knew if I didn't fall or mess my shorts it was decidedly so that I would PR in the 5k that day. As I reflect now, like so many do, I am disappointed that at that time when I should have been digging deep, I chose to let up and slowed. I took it easy on myself. I knew it and I didn't the time. My stomach hurt. There was a girl in pink shorts I may have gotten, definitely would have been closer to had I not waited until I crested the last uphill before the quarter mile downhill to start pushing again. The mental lapse probably didn't cost me more than a few seconds, but it happened none the less. I saw the clock ticking closer and closer to the 22:00 marker and vowed I would not be +22. I hammered it in at 21:48 and I got a nice little blue pint glass to boot for winning my age group. Oh and I finished 6th for the women ... BOO YAH!!!

Anyway, back to school work, but before I go.....

My aunt just turned... well let's just say a if a doctor restricts a person's fluid intake to 1500mL/day and you convert that to ounces, then that's her age. Anyway, she ran her first marathon at Steamtown this weekend. I wasn't able to go because of school, but my parents went and my aunt said I was with her, especially during the really crappy miles. I am so proud of her! Her young bones seem to be recovering quite well and she should be back on the road in no time.

Congrats to Salty and T2T, two runners from the Speed Bumps Akron Relay (2008) for completing their first marathons postpartum.

And to anyone out there, you are never too old, too fat, too dumb, too slow or too busy to run!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

One Race I Am Not Gonna Win

I am just rounding out my fifth week of school and I am already ready for winter break. The novelty has worn off as I am more and more sluggish to wake up at 6am or 7am to go to class. I am hoping to hold it together for 10 more weeks before I can reboot and prepare for the next segment.

I only have 3 classes, but they are intense. Every time I get one assignment off my plate I get two more and of course all of it is research and critical thinking.

I have this class called Informatics that is taught on-line and I feel completely lost in. I am not understanding how this pertains to nursing. It seems like busy work and no one in my cohort is in this class. They are all in the general nursing program. It doesn't seem to use any crittical thinking. It requires to post your work and then respond to (2) other people's work with comments. I try to post something of value, but I receive feedback such as "ohhh, I really like the background you chose for your powerpoint" or "I thought including a link for the websites and citing your work was a good idea." Come on people!!! How about some in depth feedback????

Into to Accelerated nursing is busy work. Write papers utilizing APA citation. I am not really sure why I have to know how to write research papers when I am going to be dealing with patients hands on.

Nursing Assessment is by far the most intense class I have. It is 10 hours of class time with a test every 2 weeks. I just finished my 2nd test. I studied and fretted over the first and scored a 93 (it is 100 multiple choice, bubble in your favorite freaking letter). I can usually get through 70 quesitons before my brain is fried and an acute case of ADD kicks in. Yesterday I had the same situation, 70 questions done and ADD hits. Our grades were posted today range of 96-71. I scored a 93 again. I am not sure if the test was harder as I only studied for 4 hours the night before and completely neglected to review the section on skin assessment.

I have learned a lot about the type of person I am and that I do not necessarily agree with everything being taught. For example you are not suppose to give false reassurance to a patient and say "everything will be okay." You cannot guarantee it will, therefore do not say it. Also, if a person smokes you can only tell them the facts about smoking. You cannot criticize them or tell them they should quit. That is just Bullshit!! I will never be mean or condescending to a patient, but you can bet your ass I am going to try to very nicely convince them to quit.

Oh, and people "WASH YOUR FREAKIN' HANDS!!!" The most common way to prevent the spread of infection is by washing your hands. Scrub those bad boys for 15-30 seconds and when I say scrub, I mean use some friction for cripes sake!! Getting them wet does nothing. The key is FRICTION!!! Oh and if you meet somebody with a PhD do not shake their hands. Studies show the higher the education level the less likely a person is to wash their hands...GROSSS!

Temperature is usually taken in one of the following ways, tympanic, temporal, oral, axillary or rectally. I am sure most know this, but do you know on the new oral thermometers they have red and blue thermometers? The blue is for oral and the red is for rectal, so if a nurse ever says open wide and goes to stick the red one in your mouth....RUN!!!!

Euthanasia is not legal in the United States anywhere, but in Oregon and some other state Physicians Assisted Suicide is. I guess the process takes 17 days from start to end. The patient must meet certain qualifications, meet with the physicians and a therapist and if all checks out they are given pills (not sure of what...maybe arsenic) that they themselves must take to end their life. Creepy.

I was hoping to be near perfect, but all the work is taking away from my running and really making me cranky. I started this program hoping to graduate as an overachieving nurse with damn near perfect scores, but now I just want to pass and be done with it. I did not choose this profession because I wanted perfect scores on tests. I chose this because I want to provide people with the best quality of life they can have, even if it means they will die prematurely.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

North Shore Border War Recap

Before I end my play time for the day and get back on the study stick for school, which by the way has completely destroyed my ability to train I wanted to get this up. I will have to edit and report times and splits when the site has them up, but here goes maybe my last race report for quite awhile (sniffle).

Going into this race I was stressed. I was only completing my thrid week of school and I had skipped out on workouts with friends and forgone racing my favorite road race the week before due to an excessive need to study and do research. I felt completely unprepared for this race to say the least.

This week I had managed a really weak training block of 3 runs (6M, 10M and 4M) with one quick 25 minutes swim. I tried to justify it as a taper, but I knew I had fallen off the f*cking wagon. I had a huge test on Tuesday and other than worrying about whether I should do the race or not, I really had no time to stress about the race itself or mentally prepare, except for last night when I thought I would mostly just find my mental game at the bottom of a porto-john tomorrow if I raced.

I made the decision however, at 5:13am this morning to race one last time, to lay it all on the line, to race at least one time as a 32 year old (ick!). I was 32 today and I was going to ask myself 32 times if need be "are you going hard enough?" "is that all you got?" Then I was going to hunker down...I hoped and go harder.

It was chilly, in the low 50's near the start. I had my hoodie on and was cold. Other people were wearing gloves and winter hats. Boy, this was going to be a cold one!

I managed a warm-up of about 15 minutes of running with AH before donning my wetsuit and hoping to stay warm. The race started about 15 minutes late though, so my warm-up was becoming useless...Brrrr!!! Have I said how cold it is? Anyway, the men started 10 minutes ahead of us and although the swim was supposed to be a 1/2 mile, it looked to be a short 1/2 mile as I saw the leaders coming out in less than 10 minutes. I also noted going out it looked like you could touch for the most part. I didn't really pay much attention though as I started swimming with about 7 minutes to go and it was like taking a cold bath. It was a little shocking. Whoo!!! I felt the difference in my stroke and body immediately. I needed to relax, but was chilled and my body was rebelling. Oh, this swim was going to be unique if nothing else.

Swim: There were about 20-30 women in this race. I stood in the water in the second row. The horn sounded and there was water flying everywhere. I have learned to bilaterally breathe and debated trying it, but there was too much going on so the decision was made for me. I needed to see and breathe. The swim out was into the sun and completely sucked and should totally be negated from the swim time! I was swimming, but when I looked over I saw so many girls running I was shocked. This is a swim, not deep water running!!! I was even more frustrated to see girls runnning next to me and keeping pace! WTF!! I thought about running myself, but this is a triathlon and my pride won out, I kept swimming. It seemed there were 2 groups, of swimmers, the girls way ahead of me and then the rest of us. At the final buoy we made the turn to come back and that's when the race took a turn for the better for me. The water apparently deepened and I began passing girls on both sides of me. I was elated. I might have also been swimming a little technically less sound on the way out too as I noticed I had been dropping my shoulders and my hips were not up. I could also feel the slight twinges of cramps in my toes. My body was as acclimated as it was going to get to that freakin' ice bath. I needed to get out of that lake as soon as possible. I could easily see the last green buoy down the beach and I swam right for that bad boy. I jumped out of the water and as I ran up the beach I heard a friend yell I was 6th woman out of the water. No way!!! Sweet!!! I knew "Amanda Freak'n F****" and KK were 2 of the girls ahead of me and possibly this girl from the ETC who is a extremely fast swimmer, but not as fast on the run as me. I want to say 12:00 minutes but who the "F" knows. Definitely a short swim.

T1: I found my bike and noticed Daisy's hubby standing next to my rack and gave a nod as he was on the phone, so I didn't say hi and interuppt his conversation (still have to be polite in a triathlon). I stripped my suit and transitioned without any mishaps, but it felt like it took me forever for some reason and I don't know why. I don't have a split, but I am going to say 2:00ish (it may be more like +2:00ish)

Bike: Hopped on my sweetass tribike that I love so dearly and headed out. I didn't wear any gloves, arm warmers, vests or anything with the cooler temps. I figured I would suffer through and if it got that bad I would tell myself "aww, is the little baby cold, well pedal harder Motherf*cker!!" My left foot went numb in my shoe almost immediately and it was weird. AH had told me the course was more than likely going to be a flat 13.5 miles and it was. There were some headwinds and some gravelly sections. There was a tiny incline going up to the lake and then a right through Geneva-on-the-Lake. There was something going on and there were cars and people out and about so I hoped nobody planned on popping out into the road from in front of a parked car! About 3/4 of the way through the first lap BS caught me on his second loop and yelled "hey nice bike." I laughed. He had race insanely well at HalfMax Nationals the day before in Oklahoma and was just doing this to seal the deal on the Tri Series championship. About the same time he passed me there was a group of 5 guys that rolled by. I was really disappointed as they were all on tri bikes and had this been a USAT race they would have been sited for "blocking" or "drafting." Someone had called out my name from the group and said way to go or something like that. I found out after the race it was AH. I would never get mad at AH on purpose, but I hate cheating, even if it means losing to a cheater. I was definitely not happy with that group of riders. This is "MY" race by "MY" choice and I will never let anyone change that. Back to the race. My legs were burning from the get-go. I was living on the edge. Every time I felt I was slipping I would re-focus ask my question and hunker down or I would repeat "Amanda Freakin' F****" in my head. I had a secret goal to not let her beat me by more than 5 minutes. The second lap was a tad faster, I think, but my legs were so tight and my foot was so numb, I questioned whether I would be able to run. I dismissed the thought as my legs have not failed me in the last 3 triathlons. They would be there today too, at least I hoped. Rolled into the park and did my very cool flying dismount (best one in a race so far, since I got the new ride). I was up to gut-checking myself about 7 times by the time the bike had ended and I had only caught one girl. Where the "F" were those other 4 girls? Time I will say 35:00-45:00 minutes, no computer, no clue and I actually like racing without one way better than having one.

T2: When I got into transition I saw Daisy's hubby still hangout by my rack, but this time he was off the phone, so as I was "transitioning" I managed a quick conversation.

Joey: Looks like the new bike is working for you.
Me: Yeah, it wouldn't be because I was ACTUALLY training (wink, wink)

See short and with that I was out, except I hear this noise as something hit the ground. Hmmm, don't know what it is, so worry later. Just after the mats I noticed the world looked different in some way. "OH MY GOD!" My lens on my right Oakley had fallen out. Shit!! Those sunglasses were over a hundred bucks. I debated going back, but decided not to. I would finish the race and worry about it later. I did lift my glasses off my face and over my head though, so I didn't look stupid. The guys were teasing me after making stupid pirate jokes...hahaha funny...NOT! Time was maybe a little over a minute because of the run down and around into transition after crossing mat. This one felt slow too, but I am sure it will be normal. I just don't know why I feel slow.

Run: I am not gonna lie. This hurt a bit. I left transition and felt the tightness in my quads and groin with every step. My left foot was still completely numb and I was just slapping that bad boy on the pavement hoping it would wake up. I finally saw "Amanda Freakin' F****" coming back as I was going out to and then I saw KK, but no other girls. I was confused. Had the cold weather frozen my brain. What happened to the other 2 girls? My breathing was really labored from the start of the run and as pained as my legs felt they were holding and moving me just like I had hoped. I figured KK was about a minute ahead of me and I would close that gap a tad as I am the faster runner...for now. I had plenty of guys in front of me to pass initially, but then even they disappeared and I was running alone. I was only able to focus on 100-200 meters at a time before I would notice myself slowing and getting sloppy, so I checked myself at those intervals and ran for made up landmarkers, telephone poles, stop signs, intersections, turns. One guy passed me with a little over a mile to go. He got about 10 yards on me before I picked up my speed to match his and stop the gap from getting bigger. As we ran up the last straight-away before turning right into the parking lot for the finsih, I made my only really disappointing move of the day. I had not done anything but focused on the task at hand and chasing the leaders down, but when I made the turn I looked over my right shoulder to see who was coming. Answer: Nobody! I would not have to sprint for the line. I did not necessarily slow, but I sure as hell did not put the hammer down to the mat. Run time was I think, right under 23:00. I hit the line by my new watch in 1:15:30. I was done. I had gut-checked myself about 14 times and my legs quads were heavy as all heck, but I knew I could close the book on my season knowing I had raced my ass off :)

And to top it off our local tri club took home the winning trophies for the border war!! Go OHIO!!!!! We easily beat PA.


Times are up...

1/2 Mile Swim: 11:22 (it was more like 550-600 meters)
T1: 1:13
13.5 Mile Bike 39:09
T2: :44
3.1 Mile Run: 22:59
Total: 1:15:29

And I did not meet my sub-5:00 goal on Amanda Freakin' F****!! Damn that one is fast!! Grrrrrr!!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Never Forgotten

"In a 2,000-degree inferno, the tower crumples and crashes to the ground at 9:55 am. Minutes later, at 10:29 am, the north tower collapses."

"As the heat from the inferno became intolerable, trapped workers were forced to jump from the towers to escape the flames."

Alisa Schindler, searching for friend Charles. "We go around to different places, but you run out of places to go. So we always end up back here at Bellevue."

It's hard to believe it has already been eight years since the 9/11 tragedy. I remember it still so clearly. It was sunny out. I was working in the cash office at my old job when I heard the news on the TV's. Surreal wasn't the word. It was unimaginable and then when the second tower was hit, along with the Pentagon and United Flight 93 I was sick. I felt completely helpless and pissed off! I cried so many tears that day and the many days after.

I remeber watching interviews with family members of loved ones who died and my heart broke for them. One lady received a call from her husband from UF-93 telling her he and some others had to stop the hi-jackers and that he loved her and to tell the kid's he loved them too (and as I type this I am cying) before saying goodbye one last time to his wife. In her interview, she was crying as she was telling her story and she said after he hung up with her she held phone for hours after the battery died unable to let go. It was unthinkable.

I also found this site a few years later after I started running. His name was Stephen Siller.

Stephen Siller, beloved husband and father of five, was a firefighter from Squad 1, Park Slope Brooklyn. On 9/11, he was off-duty, and on his way to golf with his 3 older brothers.

When Stephen heard on his scanner that the World Trade Center had been hit, he turned his vehicle around and headed towards the site. When his truck was prohibited from entering the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, typically of him, he raced on foot towards the site with his gear strapped to his back.

He was last seen alive on West and Liberty Streets where he, more than likely, went looking for his Squad, all of whom perished. The Tunnel to Towers Run retraces Stephen's footsteps on that fateful day.

In running along his path, we honor the memory of all the Firefighters, Police, and EMS workers who performed their duty that day. In running this race, we are reclaiming still another part of the city for all our heroes and for all of those who died on 9/11.

They will never be forgotten!

Watch the video!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Meat and Potatoes of the Pine Line Marathon

I wrote this months ago :( But of course, just now adding one of the greatest days of my life to my blog

It seemed like just a few months ago that I had broached the idea of a family marathon to my mom, but it had already been over a year. Everyone had trained through the winter months and made the trip home to Medford Wisconsin.

The race was to start at 8:00am and we had instructed everyone to arrive no later than 7:30am!! We were staying in my godparents camper, which was sweet! It was definitely an experience. My roommates were so excited to be in the near north woods of Wisconsin they were tempted to “camp” outside, but due to the horrific rains and woodticks they felt it best to sleep inside with us :) Anyway, the camper was less than 2 miles from the start, but we had to run into town for coffee…mmmmmmmmmmmm and more bathroom breaks. The rain was coming down and it was only in the 40’s (what happened to the sunshine? It was beautiful the day before!)

This was a very small marathon. There were only 11 relay teams, about 20-30 marathoners and another 20-30 half marathon runners. Heck, they had packet pick-up on race day if that tells you anything. Everyone managed to arrive on time and we snagged a few group photos before the race. My aunt who has some sort of OCD, organizational disease I can’t quite put my finger on yet, had managed to make color-coded index cards with one side listing each person’s team members and on the other side what rival “Ray’s runner” was running the same leg as them. We had four teams of six runners each. The marathon was an out and back with legs as follows (4.3, 5.8, 3.0, 3.0, 5.8, 4.3)

Our team went Meagan (cousin), Adam (need I say more?), Michelle (cousin), Ben (cousin), me and mom. It was an out and back. I was to drive my rivals Eric (cousin), Kimo (friend from California) and Brandon (roommate) out to our leg. We hung around to watch the start and of course scream for the first four “Ray’s Runners.” We then piled into the car and headed out to the first exchange zone to cheer as we had a bit of time. We were anxiously waiting to see who the first “Ray’s Runner” team would be and then it happened!! Barb Klinner, a friend of the family who had gone to school with AD came through. She was an ultra-runner after completing her leg would continue on to run the entire marathon that day. She handed the exchange equipment (a scrunchy) off to my oldest cousin David and he was off!! Shortly, after my Aunt Nancy and another friend of the family came through and my roommate Mel was out and on her way, followed by my cousin Josh. Adam was getting antsy waiting for Meagan and I couldn’t help, but laugh. He was doing his leg and then continuing on to the finish to get in a long run of 22+ miles that day in preparation for the Cleveland Marathon. Meagan had strict instructions from me to strong arm her mother (Nancy) if it looked like she was going to get ahead, but unfortunately she had taken a misstep in a hole, but kept on going (YAY MEAGAN!!). When we saw her coming in the distance we started to chant meagaN – meagAN – meaGAN – meAGAN – mEAGAN – MEAGAN, each louder than the last. She picked it up as best she could and passed the scrunchy to Adam. Adam took off at sub-marathon training pace (oh brother – I knew it!!!) Adam hates to lose. Adam cannot run easy. Adam was on a mission….

and so were we. Like I said the race was small and there were only a few port-o-johns. I knew one was at the turn-a-round, so we hopped in the car and headed out. I was getting more and more excited. I put on some “Eye of the Tiger” as we drove, but as soon as we arrived I sprinted ahead to the bathroom. Ahhhhh, sweet relief!! We saw a few 3.0 mile Ray’s Runners warming up and stretching while we were there, but we couldn’t stick around too long, so we headed back to our relay point.

Upon arrival, we learned Adam had “been flying,” which only told me he couldn’t take it and had laid it on…hahahahaha!!! He had managed to move our team into first for the Ray’s Runners teams and slapped my 2 cousins on the butt for encouragement as he passed by. They got a good laugh, I think? Mel, my roommate had been on a mission and successfully held him off for over 5 miles. Go MEL!!! (I know he’s on my team, but she is a girl and that wins every time ) My cousin Josh, who has a nagging knee injury, but has a lot of potential as a runner, cyclist and triathlete came in next (sigh of relief) and then my cousin David, who was new to this running thing, but became one of the biggest supporters of this idea (thanks Dave) came through with his mom, AD and his son Kaylob. It was quite a site to see three generations of our family running together, side-by-side.

Beyond all that I only got the news from the rumor mill. We had mixed the teams with new and seasoned runners hoping the teams would finish some what close. I know my Uncle Chuck RAN. Yea, he RAN after stating he would probably walk his leg…he RAN (Go Chuck!!) Rusty, my Aunt Barbie’s beau also successfully, completed his leg running. My cousin, Melissa and her husband, Cody hung tough and ran well on their legs. My dad’s leg was also a 3.0. He is so lovable, but he can get himself into trouble and he ALWAYS needs to be supervised, so we had put him on my roommates’ team so they could watch him. Mel was handing off to him, so she gave him the scrunchy and a nice little slap on the ass to let him know it was his turn and then she ran with him for a little to make sure he didn’t go out too hard. He has been plagued on and off with shin splints over the months and thankfully today they did not bother him.

Meanwhile, I was jogging around to warm-up and jumping off the trail to pee behind a pine tree four times after the port-o-potty stop. Ahhh, I love race day, I am like a water balloon with a hole in it. I felt better when Brandon ran off into the woods too. I was running up and down the path, when I saw my cousin’s wife Amy head out for her leg. Man, if ever there was a woman on a mission!! You could just feel the determination as she went flying by me. I shouted “Go Amy!!” She gave a smile, but she was focused. I saw Adam come through around mile 16 and he was moving at his training pace again. He told me everybody looked good. I kept on doing out and backs on the path, but then I headed out on the road for one. I had stripped all my warm-up clothes except a sweatshirt and my ipod. I was jamming. I turned around about 100-150 meters from the path. I could see my cousin, Josh waving his arms for some reason. “Hmmm, what the hell is he waving to me for? OH NO! Ben must be through!!” I started ripping off my sweatshirt and ipod and sure enough there he was standing there waiting for me. My first thought was “nice job dumbass!!” My next thought “Ben is a sandbagger!!” What I didn’t know is my cousin, Ben had run cross country in high school and dropped some sick pace and to make matters better his sister, Michelle also dropped a fast time to our delight, but they are sandbaggers nonetheless 

I took the scrunchy and headed out for my first race since Philadelphia, after all the injuries that had plagued me the last four months. I, immediately tried to settle into a rhythm as I had no idea what pace I could run after only being cleared to run one week ago. The terrain was also soft, so I ran by effort fearing the pace my watch said I was running would just plain piss me off. I had worn my capri’s, a dri-fit t-shirt, arm warms, and my Wisconsin Badgers baseball cap (which I wear in Ohio DAD!!!). I love running in 40-50 degree weather, so I should have been happy as a clam, but for some reason my breathing seemed a little too labored. The path was mostly flat with only a few slight inclines, no hills. The plan was to run a good pace for 4.0 miles and then drop it like I always do. I caught a few runners, but they were all marathoners. I felt bad every time I ran one down and spent a few minutes encouraging them to keep going before taking off. It was a very quite marathon let me tell you. I was surrounded by trees and farms and trees and farms. There were aid stations about every 2 miles or so. I thanked the people at each one for coming out and every time I crossed over a road I thanked the police officer who was directing traffic.

I could tell my pace was all over the place and I just couldn’t settle into a rhythm. I didn’t berate myself too much as it was my first race back. I kept counting down the miles until I could push the button and then the time came. I pushed the button and nothing, nada, zilch. I had no get-up and go. The run had been too hard. Now, I was pissed. This is not the runner I know. The runner I know digs deep and unlocks her mind and MOVES!! I just didn’t have it to GO, so I stayed. I suppose in retrospect I guess it was better than slowing down, but I was disappointed.

I started thinking about my mom waiting up ahead for me and thought “I am coming mom!” I had thought the same thing the first time I ran the Cleveland Half Marathon and she waited for me at the finish. I had wanted to break two hours so badly that day and she had been my motivation to get in. I had told her that was my goal and I knew she was going to be looking for me, so I had pushed so hard to get to the finish – to my mom. Today, I was running to my mom again, and with a mile to go I found a little bit of pick-up in me. I was able to surge and push my way through that last mile. It was not pretty. I had a hard time focusing and when it became uncomfortable, I couldn’t push through. The goal had been 8:00/miles. I had run 8:04/miles. Grrrrr!!! It would have happened except my mental focus (what’s that technical term) SUCKED. I suppose the road would have been sub-8:00, but still the lack of focus is very disappointing.

My mom, who had been suffering some awful chest cold for the last 2 weeks headed out for the last leg. I grabbed some water and hung out with my family at the relay point for a bit talking and catching my breath before continuing on to the finish for a cool down. It was 4.3 miles to the finish, but what the heck, I needed a cool down and I wanted to make sure my mom was okay. I left but not before threatening to tackle AD and hold her down if she tried to pass mom before the finish. My cool down pace got progressively slower each mile as my longest run back had only been 6 miles and I already run 5.8 – hard.

I spent a large part of the time thinking about how much this meant to me, about how everyone had pulled together, about how they had sacrificed their time to do this, about how grandpa had beaten cancer, about how my mom had quit smoking after all those years, about how my dad had dropped 20 lbs and his blood pressure was lower, about how my aunt and I had done Philly last year and then I started to get emotional. I could feel the tears on the brink and I let a few ago, before regrouping and pushing those emotions back down. I got to an aid station and asked if they had seen a “Ray’s Runner” go by? They said she had just passed and she looked good. I thanked them and ran on. Finally, I saw her up in the distance. I yelled at her “GO MOM!! DON’T YOU QUIT!!! She stopped and turned around. I yelled “GO!” and she turned back to her running. About a half mile from the finish, I caught her. She was wheezing from her chest cold and her face was pretty red. Her arms were tight and she looked tense. I tried to help her by telling her to relax her arms and control her breathing. It worked a little. I asked her if she wanted me to run with her or let her go. She was okay with me running with her. I was worried she was going to have to stop for a minute her breathing a.k.a wheezing was so labored and told her all she had to do was finish. She looked at me like I was crazy. Even sick, she wasn’t going to down without a fight. She always tells me she doesn’t care about time and she isn’t competitive, but I have now seen her race two times and both times she has pushed herself and run faster than in training. All those months of training and I was going to be witness to it’s ending. I heard a car honking repetitively behind us as we ran to the 26th mile marker. It was my Grandpa. He and my grandma had driven around to the relay points to watch and cheer for everyone. I waved and then turned to my mom and told her she had to finish this alone before running off the course. She knew what I meant and as she ran for the finish her dad was waiting to welcome her, watching his eldest daughter run across that finish line of the Pine Line Marathon. There was something in that moment that I will never forget. I know this was for my grandpa, but I feel like in some way this was for her too, for all of us. I felt so proud of my mom, of everyone I just stood there trying to take it all in.

My other roommate B-bop (Brandon) had been out at my leg and I knew he might run me down as he is fast, but he had decided to run with my cousin, Eric. Apparently, they had nice little chat and enjoyed nature. C’mon people this is a race not a sight seeing event!!! (Just kidding!) I was really glad B-bop had kept Eric company. Kimo however, a seasoned runner had been left to his own devices and had easily completed his 5.8 miles like it was a walk in the park. I did wonder if any of it had been due to that sport drink he was using yesterday called “Rolling Rock.” Perhaps, I should look into this more??

AD came in shortly after that putting up a blazing fast time. My grandpa welcomed her with a big hug too. My aunt Valerie came in next, followed by my aunt Barbie. My aunt Valerie, and Aunt, Barb had run together for a bit encouraging each other. My aunt, Valerie finished just ahead of my aunt, Barb. However, when Barb came up the last stretch, Rusty, my mom, her sisters and her kids ran down to finish with her, but right before crossing the mat she stopped and then took one HUGE step to finalize the completion of the Pine Line Marathon and our perseverance as a family.

I believe that day I witnessed a miracle and was part of something so great I can never completely understand the magnitude of what my family has done. Thank you all.


Oh, oh, wait Adam, I forgot about Adam. Well, he managed to run every single person in the race down, but when he got to the finish none of us were there and he had no warm clothes to put on. He went into the pavilion to try to keep warm and then when he thought my cousin’s Avalanche had made it back to the finish he ran down and jumped inside, only to discover it was some other guy’s car. The guy gave him a really strange look, but thankfully, most small town people are nice and after Adam explained to him how he had mistaken the car for my cousin’s the guy was very accommodating. Of course, we eventually made it back to the finish and found him.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Pirate Triathlon formerly known as the Lighthouse Triathlon

My life parallels my racing. I don't always run ahead or behind. It seems it's always a mixture of both, sometimes I am ahead, sometimes I am behind.

This race report is only about a month behind.

Saturday night (that is a month ago :) I was way ahead regarding arrival to the race, but this morning (again a month ago) for the triathlon I started behind and that is where I stayed.

I arrived with a little over an hour to set-up and complete my day of registration malarcky. I always, always rack my bike as soon as possible to get the most optimal spot I can find. I worry about packet pick-up and body marking later. Today was no different, but after switching out my wheels and airing the tires and racking my bike, and getting in line to pay my $25 it was already 7:30am!! I only had thrity minutes to the first wave.

I was feeling exhausted from racing the night before and racking up the training hours that week. I had not planned on doing this race until about 10:00pm the night before, but I really enjoy this course and it was KP's birthday, so I had to see him crush the field (me included). The coffee was not working and I haphazardly dropped the remainder of my gear in transition.

I only ran for about 8:00 minutes before I hit the bathroom only to discover on top of everything else (let's call it the other red menace) had struck again. It was like the 4th race this season...really, can I get a break? I have come to realize if there is a race, you know what time it is....grrrrr!!! No wonder I was feeling rundown :(

Donned my wetsuit and prepped for my first 2009 swim in Lake Erie. I was not excited. One of the Mentor CC parents was nearby and I asked which of the two men's waves was going off. Somehow there was a miscommunication and I was under the impression that they had added a 3rd wave and this was numero uno. I waded into the water and strarted swimming as I watched the second men's wave go off. I was doing some easy pulling hoping to loosen up my back and when the third wave went off. I heard a girl say something like "man there are a lot of women in that wave!" WHAT?!?!? My head snapped up and I asked what she was talking about. She replied that the 34 and under women's field that had just gone off was really large this year. NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That was my wave. What had I been thinking? Where was my head? I thought about waiting for the next wave, but that is a DQ in a USAT race and they might not fix my time an extra 5 minutes. I better just start swimming now and take the time delay.

My hope had been to go out easy and swim comfortably as I had not swam since the Milton Man triathlon, or biked for that matter. Obviously, that plan was now shot to hell. The swim started into the sun so I couldn't see too far in front of me and when you come from the back of the pack, holy man there are body parts everywhere! Every line I took, I encountered feet or arms it seemed. I was squeezing between other swimmers and literally rubbing elbows. If there was ever a day I was to have my goggles knocked off or get a foot to the face, it would be today. My lats were burning within the first few minutes and fatigue was already setting in. The water is shallow enough to stand up and run, but my pride kept my feet up and my face down. I was tired, but I didn't feel panicked by all the surrounding swimmers, so that was a plus. The transition area had been moved farther away from the water this year, so the run was longer and they don't use chips so I am not certain of my actual swim time. Nor did they take transition times. They are added into my swim, bike and run times, which ones on which event...I don't know.

Transition 1 was crazy. It was like some little maze. When I entered my bike was right in front of me, but the exit was at the back and then you had to do a u-turn and run it back, then turn to the left, then to the right and follow the streamers out to the road, where you could then finally mount. I came out of transition with 3 guys and jumped on my bike like it was a horse. I had a bit of difficulty getting into my pedals (I think I had some sand in them from the race I had never cleaned out) and I weaved to the left to buy more time before hitting the one and only hill on the bike course. I jammed my feet onto my Speedplays and heard the CLICK!! Alright, time to go.

Bike - The race officials were trying to direct people up the hill one at a time, but that was ridiculous!! When I hit a hill in a race I climb it as quick and efficiently as I can. Plus, I had no idea how many girls were up ahead of me due to the little head start I had given them, or how many were coming from behind in the next wave. My only thought was to catch as many as I could and redeem myself as best I could. I figured 20 or so were ahead of me???

This year when I got out on Fairport-Nursery road where the tailwind/headwind occurs I felt really weird. I was tired, but not dying and my stomach felt weird. I was pumping away in my cadence zone (95-105) when I hurled!! I never did that on the bike before. It just happened. It was so unexpected it came out my nose too! I was kind of stunned. I grabbed my water bottle, not so much because I was thirsty, but because, I had to rinse that nasty taste out of my mouth for God's Sake!! Oh what a morning!! After that the bike went smoothly. I was not passed by any girls on the bike, I did managed to get a few and although there were once again relayers and kayakers in the race it seemed I was somewhere in the top 10 by the time I came off the bike.

I have to add there was a girl last year that I refer to in my 2008 report that I caught at the end of the bike and as we exited T2 I lost her on the run, who this year actually killed the course. I met her earlier in the season this year and we have become friendly competitors. She was out on the run as I was finishing my bike. I yelled "Go KK!" I was excited for her, but bummed I had let myself get so far behind her. She was a swimmer at John Carrol University, so I will never be ahead of her until the bike or the run, if ever. She however, has worked on her running and is making it harder and harder to catch her :) I have yet to do it this year. I will have one more shot on my birthday.

Transition 2 was a no brainer and I before I knew it I was out and heading up the hill again.

Run - I definitely, liked biking it way better than running it. My hip flexors were rebelling every step of the way! Once I ended that crap though I hit the straight away and ran a girl down almost immediately. I also saw fellow CTC member CM running. We chatted for a minute before I went ahead to try and find the next girl up ahead (Lord knows there were enough that day!!. Somewher in the first mile I caught another girl. She was only 19! I was very impressed. I realized at that moment I was not a young newbie. I was the oldie. When did I become the dinosaur? I hate being 31, no I despise it, because hate is such a strong word I am going to save it for next month when I have to turn 32 (F*&K!!!). I was at least feeling strong on the run for once and moving well. It would have been a great run had it not been for the course not having mile markers and it being short at only 2.8ish miles. Just as we were passing the halfway point and I was having a great run, KD, who can certainly run passed me. Damn!!! I tried to go with her, but although I had picked up my pace the gap was widening ever so slightly with each passing step. I made the turn to head down the straightaway that leads you back to the park when my right shoe came untied. It wasn't too loose that I couldn't run with it untied, but it did that really annoying slapping thing that lose laces do. It was nearly intolerable, but I managed to NOT stop and tie that bad boy. AH got to me a little after that and immediately asked "how are you?" which really meant "what the hell happened and why are you back here?" I told him, I found out some bad news in the ladies room, I missed my swim wave and my shoe was untied, so I was doing good. I passed 2 more girls. I could hear people to my right cheering for a girl behind me. I wasn't sure if it was the girls I had just passed or if it was going to be another KD episode. AH told me if I was going to go I had to go now, I was going to run out of road. I poured it on and tried my best to run harder. I made the right turn and could see the finish banner. I hit some rolling grass and immediately felt my hamstrings and quads screech!! Wow!! This was kind of treturous for me. I actually thought I might fall, so I slowed, but just a tad. I did not want to twist an ankle. I crossed the finsih in 1:14:07.

I had survived. I had PR'd from last year too if you want to call it that. The swim was longer this year, both T1 and T2 were longer too and the bike course was harder as per a general consensus of many that had done it this year and last. The run was the only thing that was faster, because it was shorter. I think last year it was 3.2 miles. I guess they will never get it...hahaha. I really enjoyed myself and not having anywhere to go, but up from the late start helped me relax, knowing I was so far out of contention to be in an overall spot. KK had a monster PR and just happened to win it this year beating last year's winner, KD by about 5 minutes. Someday, it will all come together for me. Practice, practice, practice, errr train, train, train.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Greater Cleveland Triathlon

Wow!! I have been so swamped with getting prepped for this accelerated nursing's like school has already begun, run here do this, do that, emails for readings and homeworks that are due on the first day of class (so much for 3 weeks without school...grrrr!!) I did manage to get in 3 days of solid fun last weekend though.

Friday afternoon I frantically ran around the Cleveland suburbs trying to get all my gear packed for the GCT, pick up my new Blackberry phone (had to have a PDA or a smartphone for school - what a crock and a waste of money!!), and get up to Mentor to drop off my gear and help out some of the USAT guys with registration and paperwork before hurrying back to Solon to work until well after midnight.

I spent about 2-3 hours getting pre-registered race packets ready before heading into work. There had been a delay on the paperwork side and the truck with the equipment had broken down about 30 miles from Headlands, so we were under the gun to get sh$t done.

Finally, about 2:00am early Saturday morning I drifted off to sleep, only to hear my alarm go off way to darned early at 7:00am!! I rushed out the door and stopped at AH's to pick up the 2 bags worth of aluminum cans I had saved up for the Burned Children Foundation. I arrived at Headlands in the middle of the first kid's race and saw many familiar faces not only cheering, but offering their services as a volunteer for the race. I saw AH leading the kid's on the bike course with a big smile on his face...he loves to be in the lead :)

I parked and hurried out on the bike course to help with traffic control until all the kid's had successfully completed their 3 or 6 mile bikes, depending on their age. Then I settled in for the long haul.

The sun had managed to take the early lead out in the morning, but as the afternoon approached the rain inevitably took over. The expo for the GCT went from 10:00-6:00pm that day and it was outside, so we did the best we could to keep ourselves and the paperwork as dry as possible. Packet pick-up was a lot of fun joking with many familiar faces and wishing everyone good luck tomorrow. There were of course a few confused about GCT registration and USAT registration as is always the case. AH was nice enough to provide us with some delicious pizza and I managed to hold out until a little after 4:00pm at which point Mary and Joe, who were working the USAT tble with me sent me packing and told me to get some rest.

When I got to AH's I was so tired from the last 2 days I fell asleep on the couch until he woke me up to take a shower at 7:00pm. I was still groggy after the shower, but I did notice AH had thankfully prepped all my race gear for me. I trudged down to bed and prepared for another early morning.

It was 4:45am when we woke up. It was storming. It was wet!!! We were out the door around 5:30 and when I arrived at Headlands it was still raining and there was lightening. Hmmmm, looked like there wasn't going to be a swim again.

I jumped out of the car and wheeled my bike to transition before heading back over to the USAT/registration table where I met Mary and Joe and started working on day of check-in's. Around 6:30am, I got word from the RD that the swim was canceled and everbody would do the du. Sprint would be doing 2M run - 12M bike - 2M run. Olympic would be doing 5K run - 40k bike - 5k run. The storming had stopped, but the current and the waves made setting the buoys impossible and the coast guard had had no other choice.

I didn't really have time to dread all the running like I normally would as I was too busy trying to get panicked last minute racer's through registration. Finally after 7:00am Mary and Joe again kicked me out and told me to get ready for my race. I raced over to get my gear out of my car and set it by my bike in transition as it was nearly closing time. AH was pouring Powerade in my new aerodrink, when the bracket came loose and the bottle refused to stay in place. Oh Crap!! He tried to fix it, but it was too late. One of the USAT guys yelled over we had to go. I would just have to race without fluid on the bike and remember to hit the aid stations on the run.

We managed a 10 minute warm-up as the olympic distance was to go off first. I hit the bathroom to pee and to put cold water on my arms, face and jersey. It was humid and my muffin top was feeling a bit charred on the ends. I was not looking forward to this. My one and only other du had been so painfully awful and I had finished 2nd to last for the women. I beat the last place girl by 1 second. The one good thing I could do before the race though was spread the Assos cream on my crotch, so the bike would hurt less...YAHOOO!!! AH, decided to do the same too.

I lined myself up somewhere just ahead of the middle of the field. There were no mats at the front, so I started on the far left to give me some leeway to pass.

Run 1 - the run went out really fast. I tried to settle in easy, but with it only being 2 miles I seemed to be starting slower than the entire field. We got out about a quarter mile and then I began overtaking people. I had no idea where I was in the women's field so I just kept running at my pace. When I saw the people coming back from the turnaround I was somewhere near the top 10 for women. As I made the turnaround myself, I grabbed some gatorade to drink and water to dump on myself. I had opted not to wear a visor as it was only 2 miles and messing with a visor would be a waste of time. There was a girl from the Erie Tri Club I had been focused on as we entered back into the park and with less than a quarter mile to go I passed her. I saw both my roommates with JP standing to my left cheering for me and I managed a smile. TR was yelling at me to hurry it up and get up there a I was 6th or 7th female going into T1. Time was 14:33.

T1 - got to my rack and for some reason I missed my bike for about 5 seconds. I was looking for a Trek, not a Felt...doh!!!! Pulled my shoes and helmet and was off running for the exit. However, Slow Poke Rodriguez (SPR) decided to run hard to T1 and then take a nice leisurely spin out on his bike. Time 1:20 (Eeee Gad...gotta work on that).

Bike - I mounted at the "PINK LINE" (not yellow Durno). I got on my bike and clipped in quickly, which I was really worried about because I have Speedplays on my Trek and these new Looks are trickier. Unfortunately, it didn't really help me. Like I said I had this poker in front of me and I couldn't go any faster, so I did the only thing I could. I stayed behind him as passing in the park is a no-no. I did pull out to the left and try to block other riders from trying to pass me though. I had about 5 sitting behind me, but this one guy made it through and I yelled at him. He replied with an "Oh, I didn't know" and I yelled really, really loudly in hopes the SPR would pick it up, with a "dude do you really think I would not have passed this guy already?" Needless to say, it didn't work. I could only sit there and wait. The park exit couldn't come fast enough. I was getting itchy. The women ahead were getting farther and farther away and the slower runners were catching up!! I saw volunteers at the exit and I asked for the okay to pass and as soon as I got it I put stood up and cranked on my new bike. There were 2 others just ahead of SPR, so when I pulled out so did one of them and I was blocked in, so I veered to the outside lane and rolled around all of them. I had lost some time and had my work cut out for me.

I am realizing that my tri bike has no comfortable position, so I was going to ride those aerobars the entire time, except on the turns and tracks. I began passing people, but most were men. I saw a few girls here and there, but didn't know if they were in the sprint, oly, or relay. I rode the section comfortably hard on Heisley not letting the headwind exhaust me as it can if you don't realize it's there. I have no computer on my bike either which in some ways is a blessing as I don't have to be frustrated by speeds or times. I can tell when my effort is too high or too low and I also know about what cadence I am at. The Erie Tri Club chick passed me about a mile into Heisley, but I passed her about a mile or 2 later. She had pushed hard into the headwind and had to recover. She too was riding a very nice Felt. As I passed her I asked if she new the course and she said she had ridden it before. I told her to get through this section, hammer it from Jackson to Blackburn, get through that headwind and then hammer it back up Heisely. She thanked me and off I went. The roads were still wet from the morning rain and as I approached the first set of tracks I saw a rider down. Oh God!! He was laying on the tracks and volunteers were there. I slowed and asked if he was okay, ready to stop and help. The volunteers told me they had called EMS and I could go. Turns out there were quite a few wrecks that day. Two people had to be taken to the hospital. Every time I think about them being hurt I feel sick and wish there had been a way to prevent it. I cautiously made it over the tracks and picked up my speed. As I neared the second set of tracks I said a silent payer.."God, please get me over these tracks." I have never been scared on my bike like I was that day. I saw PL and other Spin Team members screaming and motioning at riders to slow and take the tracks cautiously. I managed a "hey Paul!!" He yelled back "2nd Female, she is right up there Beth, go get her!!!" Now when he said right up there I didn't know when I crossed the tracks one of the 2 riders less than 50 feet was her!! They were riding side by side and I yelled "Either coming down the middle or on your left...MAKE A DECISION!!" The guy on the right moved to the left and then quickly veered to the right nearly crashing all 3 of us! I pulled hard to the left and scooted around him. I yelled "Dude, come on, you gotta make up your mind!!!" Then feeling bad for yelling at the guy, I said "sorry for yelling." I did feel bad, but damn he nearly got us all hurt. This is where I also took the lead in the in the lead..that never happens.

Made the turn onto Blackburn, which is always has a shitty headwind and just cranked away. I looked over my shoulder to see the former first place girl and the girl from the Erie Tri Club hanging back there. Hmmmm, I only had a mile or two to go and the one girl is certainly faster than me on the run and the other is about the same as me. Damn, I need more time on the bike to get away from these girls if I wanted to hold the lead.

I turned onto Heisely to head back to the park and was cranking, but as when I looked back they were still there. I decided I had to backoff on the bike, so as not to blow-up on the run. I was not going to be able to beat them solely on a fast bike split. We entered the park together. I began prepping for the my first "flying dismount." I made the U-turnish, turn in the park to head down the last straight-away to transition and immediately began pulling my feet out. I did it so much faster than I thought I could I had to soft pedal for a few hundred feet. The crowd was so big I couldn't see the drive way to turn into transition until I was almost on top of it. I made the turn and saw the pink line for dismounting. Looking back, I was probably a little anxious, as I swung my leg over and dismounted way before then...haha :) I crossed the line runnning, no shoes, running in only my socks. I was thrilled to have done it!!! I had only been able to practice 4 times earlier in the week...Whooo Hooo!! Time 37:59.

T2 - Racked my bike next to the Erie Tri Club chick and told her she was doing great. She told me this was for her dad, who died of cancer. I told her "I was sorry to hear that, and her dad would be proud" and then I waved my arm and added "well come on girly, lets do this!!!" It seemed like I was in T2 forever, but I guess when you are already half done before getting in there you have lots of extra time. I headed about 5 feet from my bike before turning back and grabbing a gel quick. All that and I still managed a time of :47. Yep, you are reading that right :47 seconds!!!

Run 2 - I passed the aid station and again grabbed water to dump on myself and Gatorade to drink with my gel, huh? Wait!! I don't like gels with sport drinks. Man!!! I did it anyway. Yuck!! Sugar shock!! The run was awful. My legs were tight and pooped. I felt like poo. TR was still there yelling at me to hurry it up...hahaha. I figured I would get run down by both those girls as my race would be over in 1 mile, but I had to run 2. Hmmm, that's a problem. Made it to the turnaround and took some more water, but have I mentioned how yucky I felt. My stomach had gone to hell and vomitting sounded like a possibility. I just trudgining along, knowing I was slowing every step and then it happened. The girl that had been the leader passed me with less than a half mile to go. I really wasn't too bummed. I knew from that moment on the bike on Blackburn holding those girls off would be nearly impossible. I was now on the last straight away down balcktop path in the park, trying to maintain my pace and hold off the girl from the Erie Tri Club. I didn't know how far back she was and I wasn't about to look. AH, got to me and tried to encourage me to pick it up, but I "Shooshed" him and told him "not today." I was content to just hold my position, no that's a lie. I wanted to stop and puke, but thank goodness for pride. Made the final turn to the finish and was so happy to be done with that miserable mothertruckin' run. I took off my chip and threw up a few times, only to feel much better. I think it was the heat and humidity mixed with the fact that I was taking gels and Gatorade on the run. Time - 16:06 (TURTLE Power).

I grabbed some few and quickly headed back to the car to change out of my race clothes and into some less sweaty attire I really wanted to hit the water for a quick swim, but I needed to help with results, so my swim would have to wait. The race was pretty much finished by noon, but I didn't have time to get my quick dip then because clean-up took us about 3 hours. I ended up with a tad bit of a headache from all the sun and heat, but TS found some beer and tempted me into self-medicating. Finally, around 3:00pm a group of us hit Pickle Bill's where I managed to drink way to much before jumping into Lake Erie at 8:30pm to watch the sunset and finally get in that darned swim!!!

I was to say the least completely exhausted by the time I got to AH's, but I learned this...

1) I love my new bike
2) Working an event is way harder than racing
3) Working and racing an event is the BEST way to go :)

Monday, July 27, 2009

Milton Man Olympic

I had just completed my second olympic triathlon ever only 2 weeks earlier, with a new PR on a harder course, but I knew my PR could be and should be faster.

Daisy and I had been swimming on and off for the last couple weeks together and she suggested I do the Milton Man oly. It was rumored to be very fast. It was not part of my race schedule and I was very apprehensive to do it as last minute races just are not my thing. Of course, this course was so much easier I could have done nothing for the 2 weeks prior to the race and PR'd. Finally after some playful teasing from Daisy and my mom I signed up on the Thursday before the race.

We arrived with plenty of time to set-up and get organized as usual. I did not like the transition set-up for this race at all from the get go. Fences were attached to trees, in's and out's were the same and it showed in my transitions.

I only managed less than a 10 minute warm-up of running before donning my wetsuit and heading to the lake. The swim was 2 loops parallel to the shore. The swim started by swimming between 2 green triangles and then down a few pink/orange colored buoys on your left. You then turn around a final buoy and swim back keeping the pink/orange buoys on your left, passed the green triangles and to a final green buoy where you turn and start your second lap before exiting.

Swim - I was treading water, feeling really calm when the horn went off and all of a sudden my body tightened up and it hit me: You have a race today...wake-up!!! I started swimming for the triangles and headed out for my first loop. It wasn't long before I felt utterly and completely alone!! There were only 17 girls in the race and we spread out pretty fast. I had no idea how many were way in front and how many were right behind me. I had a hard time seeing the buoys, so I swam straight at them and tried to take the tightest line. I made the turn to come back on my first loop and thought I could see some caps way in the distance. As I made my way back to the green triangles I realized I was unsure if I was to swim between them or around them to my far right, so just to be certain I took the long way and went around them and headed for the green buoy that marked the start line where I had thought I had seen other swimmers headed. I wasn't sure if they were in my wave or if they were people in other ways warming-up, but better safe than sorry I swam back and went around that buoy and headed back to the 2 green triangles for my second lap. I was still swimming as tight to the buoys and as I passed the first pink/orange buoy, keeping it on my left I somehow ended up to the right of the next buoy and in on-coming traffic!! The men's wave had gone off and I saw a 15+ yellow caps coming straight at me! "Oh, God!! Oh NO!!" I tried to swim back to the right as quickly as I could but, too late. Men were swimming straight into me. I was brushed and smacked by flailing arms. One guy even managed to punch me in the boob... OUCH!!! I struggled to get out of the way and back into the man-free water. Safely, back on my side I tried to settle back into a rhythm. I made the final turn and looked up to see if there was anybody at all ahead of me. I didn't see anybody, anywhere coming or going! What the heck had I done? I looked at my watch and it showed 22:xx. I was so angry. Had I swam too far to the green buoys and messed up my swim? Was every girl out of the water and on the bike already? I was so frustrated I let out a roar underwater so nobody would hear full of anger and disappointed with myself. I had wanted to swim under 30:00, just once time and I knew I couldn't make it back in less than 8 minutes...FUCK!!! I proceeded to go around the outside of the green triangles and the far green one again as my sense of honesty is greater than my urgency to PR. Then I wondered if I should not have swam passed that last green buoy before cutting in because when I stood up people were screaming at me from the shore to come back and go through this tiny-ass chute. I struggled to run through the water back down the beach and even managed to find a hole and fell in the water face-first. Between swimming extra and the embarassing fall I had, by the time I got up to T1 I had forgottent to unzip my wetsuit and pull off my cap and goggles. Lo' and behold my swim time was 28:45. Humppphhhh! I had still hit my goal even with all my antics.

T1 - I had my chip on the outside of my suit and ony body glided my legs, usually I use Pam, so I struggled to get it off for the first time in a long time. Grabbed my arm warmers, just in case it was cold and headed out on the bike. Time: 2:19.

Bike - starts by leaving the park and going to the right for .75 mile and then a U-turn and back passed the start. The road seems to climb only slightly for about 3 miles before making a left and starting the first loop. I looked down to check my speed and it was 0! I looked at my time. I had cycled for 0:00:00. My magnet on my back wheel had come loose and flipped. My computer was not picking up anything. What had I done to anger the triathlon Gods today???? I just shook my head and kept riding. Completed the first loop and only the course was fairly flat with only 2 climbs that were barely even worth mentioning, before starting my 2nd loop. Got about 1 or miles into the 2nd loop when AH went flying by. He was moving so fast, I thought it felt like I was standing still. I was worried I wasn't pushing hard enough on the bike because of how fast he went by, but was relieved to find out later he had killed himself on the bike, so I that meant I was somewhere in the ballpark for my riding. My effort felt like I was right about where it should be. My cadence was higher than normal at 105-110 since it was the only thing working. Normally, I race between 95-105, but without my computer I was worried I would kill my quads, so I opted for the easier gear with the higher cadence. On the back side of the loop the wind caught the front of the Rev-x and pushed me onto some gravel and the bike did a nice little shimmy that added a few extra beats to my heartrate. Pulled it back out of the gravel with no wrecking..whooo!!! I know if I ever wreck on my bicycle I will lose a few teeth...i just know it. Today, however, was not that day. Completed my 2nd loop and headed back down to the park. Took my last endurolytes, and drank some Heed, which I hate!! I usually use diluted Powerade, but we only had Heed with us today...YUCK!! Pulled off my gloves and stuffed them in the back of my jersey with my arm warmers making a mental note to remember to pull all that stuff out in T2. Entered the park and saw arrow pointing in the opposite direction I was going, so I asked which way to be certain and I was indeed directed to go against the arrow, but not before I heard a spectator yell "follow the arrow." I replied with "the arrow points the other way jackass!!" I saw a lady motioning and yelling "come to me, ride to me." I rode up to her and dismounted. She then yelled "No, no, no...keep going to that lady up ahead." Dammit!! What was it gonna take today. I hopped back on my bike and rolled down a bit farther before re-dismounting. I have no bike split because my computer wasn't working and Champs chip-timing was all fucked up after the swim. The bike course was also clocked at about 25.5 instead of the advertised 24.7.

T2 - I threw off my helmet and racked my bike donned my running attire and took a gel with me just in case. I exited T2 for the run and immediately dropped my gel. Stopped to grab it and continue on my way. There was no one in front of me to follow so after I exited transition I turned right to run up to the road. As I was turning right someone shouted "No wait, come this way!" I turned around and ran back to the path that went through the wood. Wow! I really pissed somebody off at swim, bike, run central today....haha :)

Run - Made it out of the woods and did the switchback incline up to the road for the first loop. That's when I realized I had forgotten to take my arm warmers and my gloves out of the back of my jersey. I felt the little hump bouncing around on my back and though "nice dumbass, now you get to carry that for 6 miles." I then saw Daisy for the first time since the start blazing out of the woods only a bit behind me and she was hauling ass. In the few seconds that I saw her I watched her easily pass 5+ people. I tried to pick it up a little, but for the first time all year I felt the nagging sensation of cramps in my cavs. I was confused. The course was completely flat and I had taken my endurolytes. Hmmm, the only think I could think of was the Heed. It did not carry as many electrolytes as the Powerade and I know I sweat a lot during these events, so maybe that was it. Well, I was just going to continue doing my best at the pace my body allowed. I saw AH a little after the first mile marker on his way back thinking it was his second loop, but it was only his first. Managed to get to the water stop and grab some to cool myself off as I had started to really heat up. The course was shaded on and off and everytime I hit the shade I was able to pick it up for a few seconds. Just as I hit the 3 mile mark Daisy came flying by, looking really strong and holding her form well. I knew I was running faster than I have ever ran in a triathlon, but I am just not as fast as her, so she passed by and continued on her way. As I approached the end of the first loop I saw Daisy's hubby sitting on a picnic bench yelling some words of encouragement "C'mon you can run faster than that!!!" I knew he was totally joking and teasing me, but a small part of me was thinking he was crazy and I was half tempted to tackle him and tell him that!!! Started my 2nd loop and could tell I was getting tired after completing the section through the woods and the incline to the road. I maintained my effort through mile 4 and then I started pushing. It felt like the intensity had jumped exponentially, but I knew I was only moving a few seconds a mile faster, if anything at all. With a little over a mile to go AH saw me and began running with me. He urged me to pick it up some more, but my body was pooped. My breathing was labored and had a bit of a wheeze to it. I could do nothing, but maintain and hope the finish was coming soon. I was tired physically and mentally. I didn't have a big kick, no wait I had no kick. I just finsihed the race.

Total time was 2:36:12 and I have no time after T1 because the chips were not working appropriately, my bike computer was haywire and the run course was short at only 6.08 miles. I had a monster PR by over 14 minutes, but the taste in my mouth was a little sour. My motivation and excitement I used to get from racing is MIA.