Monday, December 20, 2010

My Favorite Christmas Carol

I was reading over some friends' blogs and posts and have been enjoying some Christmas songs that they've shared, and I thought I'd share my favorite! Martina McBride's version of "O Holy Night" is so soulful and has me in tears and covered in goosey bumps every time I hear it.

What's your favorite song of the holidays?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

I've Come A Long Way, Baby!

Since I finally have a Saturday where I'm not being pulled in a 1,000 different directions, I decided to take this opportunity to be completely selfish and work on some "me" things that I've really been putting off for lack of time. Planning my 2011 race schedule, printing out some pictures and actually getting them in the frames, working on Christmas gifts, etc.... all stuff that makes me feel good and like I have accomplished something! And as I'm sitting here in the total quiet except for the snoring sounds from the dog curled up next to me on the couch, and Kurt curled up in the bed in the next room (yes folks - he can be heard through layers of drywall), I had some interesting revelations that made me realize how far I've come since I've started this whole journey into the multisport arena.

For example, although I did not have a goal of weight loss in mind when I started almost a year and a half ago, I was hoping that my fluffiness would be an incidental casualty. A long time ago I learned that the number on the scale is not as important as the overall health and fitness, but still.... a girl loves to see that number go down, ya know! Anyway, I have not lost any weight... as a matter of fact, I gained about 10 pounds. Lots of speculation about why - maybe some of it's muscle, maybe going from eating absolutely no sugar and no white flour to incorporating some of those things back into my diet (gels, fuels, recovery foods, etc), maybe all the stinkin' pills for this-that-and-the-other... any one of those things (or all of them) can do a number on a person's weight. Feeling a little discouraged, I decided to break out the tape measure and compare to the measurements from 10 months ago just to see if anything had changed. As of this morning:

Bust - unchanged (Kurt's thrilled! .... what a pig!)
Waist - 38" @ belly button... that's 3" down! WOOO HOOOOO!!!!!!
Hips - unchanged
Thighs - 25 1/2... 1/4" down! I'll take it!
Biceps - 12"... 1/4" up
Calves - 14 1/2"... 1/8" up... I'll take those too!

All of that means muscle baby! WOOT WOOT! Although those changes are not Biggest Loser huge, it is definitely clear that my body is getting healthier and is responding to all the hours and miles I'm putting into training.

Speaking of training, I was reading back through some of my old blog posts this morning, and I was amazed at the difference in my training. As Coach Andy keeps telling me, it's never going to get easier, you just get faster! Of course, I had my doubts about that, as I keep waiting for the day when it's not so hard... cause let me tell you, training has not gotten one bit easier! It's always hard! But some things I realized are:

  1. I swim more now in 2/3 of one training session that I used to in a whole week.
  2. I can ride more in one training session that I used to in a whole week
  3. I run more before walking in one training session than I used to in a whole week.

I'm anxious to see how that translates on the clock come race day - I want to do some of the same races as last year to see if I've gotten any faster. Personal records are soemthing I desperately want to say I have... I mean the proof is in the numbers! Not to mention, there's dudes I want to chick and a couple of chicks I want to catch. Nothing like spite and competition to get one motivated, LOL!!! But races will be selected much more carefully and deliberately this coming year to keep in line with training for my big race of the 1/2 IM in Augusta. And I think, after taking this little trip down memory lane, I think I might maybe just maybe actually come in before the cutoff time in Augusta! 2012 is going to be BRUTAL, as that's the year of the full Ironman distance race.... I try not to think of that too much right now, as it makes my insides start quivering with fear at the thought of 17 straight hours of cardio and sheer exhaustion. But it's all something that must be done if I want to earn my IM tattoo!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Overhaulin' My Bloggin'

Well hello there, everyone! No, contrary to what some of you might think, I have not fallen off the face of the earth, but life has been sorta pedal-to-the-metal since the end of summer. I can't believe we're in December already - just seems like last week I was doing my first Olympic distance tri (which was back in August, LOL)! Since then, I've done another sprint tri and a whole crap ton of off-season training to get ready for the main event of next season... my first Half Ironman. Crazy huh? Well, if that's crazy, then 2012 will be COMPLETE insanity since that's the year of "I'm Freaking Fabulous at 40 and I'm NUTS Enough to Tri a Full Distance Ironman"! But that's another story for another blog post, LOL!

Between writing checks for Andria's college applications, getting my heartrate back to normal after seeing the Sheriff's radar that clocked Bailey going 67 in a 45, and trying to understand how Tyler can still breathe in a bedroom that reeks of butts and feet, I haven't had much brainpower left to devote to proper blogging. But, as you can probably tell by sloppy looks of my little plot of cyber-realty, I'm trying to overhaul my blog! My graphics are so outdated, and it is just time to give the old page a facelift. However, I've run into a snag! There are no really cool blog graphics out there for triathlon, so I thought... Hey, I'm a Crafty Mama... (I know this because my blog header says so, LOL) I can create my own! Only one problem... I have changed laptops since I bought my Photoshop Elements, and I cannot find my disk to save my life! I can't remember if I actually bought a hardcopy or purchased it online, but either way, I can't find it. Really hacks me off, too... GRRRR!!! I hate to think I'm going to have to buy the stupid software again.... that'd hack me off even more. It sure wasn't cheap! I'm hoping that it miraculously appears out of nowhere and just falls into my lap, cause I really want to get some graphics for a new blog header. And since I'm going to a Scrapgrlz retreat in February and will actually have some time to SCRAP (egads - I know it's shocking!), I think I might want to design some triathlon/multisport graphics, papers, and other scrapbooking doo-dads to play with.

Anyhooooooooo.... I better get back to wrapping up the day! Tomorrow's going to be jammed packed: full day of work, kickoff weigh in at Hub Endurance for the Littlest Winner, deep-cleaning chores, and an epic "I-BROUGHT-YOU-INTO-THIS-WORLD-I'LL-TAKE-YOUR-BUTT-RIGHT-BACK-OUT" meeting with all the kids... Anyone wanna trade me? LOL!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Fall Creek Falls Race Report - I'm an Olympic Distance Triathlete!!!

Man, I know I am WAYYYYY late on getting this race report blogged, and I really have no one single excuse other than life has SOOO gotten in the way lately, especially now that the kids are back in school. Matter of fact, in 45 minutes I have to leave to go on a camping trip with the SDHS Raider team (JROTC) for a competition.. GO TROJANS! But I thought I'd make use of a little time and see about getting a blog post done.

**UPDATE** I started this blog post last week. Didn't finish before going out of town, and so here I am making myself late for work trying to get it finished. Blogspot is on the fritz and it won't autosave or regular save, so I'm trying to finish and publish wo I don't have to start over.... or you guys will NEVER get this race report, LOL!!!

So anyway, race day came on August 15th, and it was just BEAUTIFUL!!! We did not go up the night before to spend the night, since Fall Creek Falls is on central time, which means I got an extra hour of sleep anyway, lol... so it was just like going to a local race for my biological clock. Gotta love that! Of course, when we got up there and got stuff in trasition, Andria did my body marking and Kurt was the perfect spectator-slash-photographer.
Normally Kurt's not the greatest photographer, but he actually did a fantastic job this time! I mean, he was able to spot me in the sea of swimmers and get some pretty good action shots! Thanks Kurty Wurty!

I felt super strong in the swim. the .9 mile seemed to pass fairly quickly, as I just kept reaching and passing buouy after buouy - and a couple of other blue caps too,, LOL. When I reached the exit, I really felt like I could have swam alot more.

Instead I did my best to walk that terrible rocky bottom and get to the shoe staging area. Yep they had a shoe staging area with numbered spots and everything because there was about a 300 yard run back UPHILL to transition. But I was still pretty pumped from the swim that I jogged the whole thing! WOOT WOOT!

However, it seemed that the residual fire quickly faded as I mounted my trusty red steed to pedal off into the sunshine.

The course was really nice, not too many little rolling hills, but I must have used way more energy on that swim than I thought. I just couldn't seem to get my legs working - they felt like I had been dipped in cement! And to top it off, about a mile or so into the bike course, I freakign DROPPED my Powerade bottle, and I couldn't stop for it, since there was a car and another cyclist on my heels. So I had to ride the entire course without any calories.... BIG BUMMER! The course was well marked with lots of marshalls along the way, and I promise you I propositioned every single one with the distinct priveledge of giving me a piggy back ride through the course. The closest I got to acceptance was a little old man who said he would if he could LOL! I was so stinking tired, and due to the mental frustration, I did get off and walk for about 20 feet. But I quickly put my big girl panties back on and got back in the saddle. I truly am so grateful for some of my Tri Club pals (like Ed Rusk, although he doesn't read my blog and won't know I mentioned him, lol) who saw me along the course and gave me just the right words that got me through. Thanks Ed... you're really the best!

Anyway, I was never so glad to get off a bike as I was that day. 25 miles really took it out of me, and at that moment, I really didn't care to sit on it.... ever.... again. LOL!

I limped and whimpered all the way through to my spot in transition, racked my bike, and was so thankful to reach in my little insulated lunch bag to find another bottle of powerade. Normally I make it a point to jog out of transition and not walk until I'm out of sight of the spectators... I mean it's not like anyone can see my fluid graceful gazelle-ish gait turn into that of a wounded water buffalo that's just had a leg gnawed off by an alligator... right?? LOL Anyway, that's not the way it worked this time.... I was SO exhausted and SOOOOO miserable, that I made no bones about it and just blantantly walked right out of transition and right through all the spectators... that's right, the wounded water buffalo is on the move! I walked past this guy, who was clearly one of the early finishers, sitting under the shade tree, saying, hey go for it girl! Walk if you have to! It was somewhat uplifting, but a split second later, when that guy was out of sight and I was headed down the hill on the main part of the run course, I really started getting depressed. I saw all of those people already heading back in to the finish line - I mean dozens and dozens of them, some sprinting up the hill and some walking up, and I had some tearful moments of "what the heck am I doing here?" and started to cry a little. I think it was mostly just the exhaustion talking but, it was a really hard few minutes. Once I got some electrolytes and calories in, I started to feel a little better, and decided that there is no room for crying out on the race course. I mean after all, I worked really hard to get out there, and no matter what, come hell or high water, I was going to finish that dang race! So I wiped my face, took another swig of Powerade, and just kept walking.

I decided to try to find the humor in it all - I mean it's the small things that crack me up and keep me going :) Again I propositioned everyone at every water stop and tried to solicit a piggy back ride, but again no takers. The closest I came was a lady who offered to pimp out her husband for the job, lol, and some little kids who offered to run the rest of the distance to keep me company. Really sweet, but I couldn't bear to look at those little pip-squeaks, even as sweet and thoguhtful as they were, running effortlessly beside me not even breaking a sweat. Would have hated to have "accidentally" hip-checked them into the lake, LOL!

Even though I was passed at mile 5 on the run by a 69 year old lady, I still felt a great sense of resolve that I was going to finish. I did jog a few times for a few minutes, but decided that I was going to save whatever tiny little ounce of gusto I had left in me for the finish chute. So I just kept saying "only 4 more miles between me and a chair, only 3 more miles between me and the chair" and so on. My legs were kind of numb, and I was pretty much on auto pilot throughout the remainder of the course, but slowly and surely, I kept rounding curves and passing landmarks until that last turn was in sight. As I walked up that final incline and rounded the corner to head into the chute, it was like someone flipped the NOS switch! I'm telling you I took off like my butt was on FIRE, and I ran down the chute and through the arch faster than I have ever ran before in my life!!! I have no clue where it came from, but as soon as I crossed the threshhold of the big blue arch, Kurt was there with an ice cold water bottle and towels soaked in ice water, and Andria was there snapping pictures.
My official finish time was 4:35:29. My swim time was 32:26, T1 7:51 (including the 300m jog), bike was 1:59:01, T2 - 3:35, and I finished the run in 1:52:18. I finished 302/310, and all in all surpassed my overall goal of finishing in under 5 hours. It was a fantastic race course, lots of volunteer support and soothing shade, and I'm really glad I made Fall Creek Falls my first Olympic experience!
I'll be finishing out the race season this coming weekend with a Sprint, which will bring me to a grand total of 5 triathlons in my first year! I'm really excited, and really proud of myself... I mean who the heck would have thought that I, me of ALL FREAKING PEOPLE, could ever be able to do anythign like that??? I'm telling you - I'm living proof that ANYONE can do ANYTHING they set their minds to!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Tellico Sprint Race Report - July 18th 2010

Ok, so I'm almost caught up on race reports, LOL! To date I've done three triathlons, all sprint distance. For the record, a sprint distance is anything less than an Olympic distance (which incidentally is .9 mile swim, 25 mile bike, and 6.2 mile run). The Tellico Sprint was the longest sprint of my career, as it was 800m swim (about 1/2 a mile) then 16 miles on the bike, and a 5K run. So I was pretty nervous - mainly about the bike since me and hills.... well, let's just say we have a love hate relationship. I hate them, and they love to mock me, which makes me hate them some more! Coach Andy asked me to set three goals for this race, 1 goal that I was 90% sure I would achieve, 1 goal I hoped to achieve, and 1 goal that "AHHHH would make the angels sing from Heaven above" if I could achieve. Goal #1 = finish under 2:28. Goal #2 = Run the whole 5K without walking, and Goal #3 = Ride all of the entire bike course without having to walk any of the hills.

Anyway, Andria and I went up the day before, since it's a 2 hour drive from here, and we just got a hotel room to just stay up there after packet pickup. We got my packet and got the arrangements made for Andria to volunteer, and then we drove the bike course to get an idea of what I was in for. I wanted to preview the run course too, but they didn't have it marked yet when we were there. We thought about driving back out there after dinner, but by the time we ate, that was all she wrote, and we just went back to the hotel and crashed, LOL! On race morning, of course we were up and at the race site bright and early... or should I say, dark and early, cause y'all know how I hate to be late, LOL!!! I got all my stuff set up at my spot on the rack, and then went down and got my body marked.

The awesome girl at the body marking station was sweet enough to Sharpie my uncle's and great aunt's names on the back of my calf, as they both are cancer patients and very dear to me. I wanted to race with them and in honor of them, and I think they would have liked that! Just a week after the race, my uncle passed away from his cancer, so I'm really glad I had the opportunity to do that beforehand.

Anyway, I was really hoping for nice cool water, but knew it would be like swimming in a hot tub since it has been so freaking hot here this summer! However, I was pleasantly surprized to find it right in the middle, and the swim went pretty well for me. Andria tried to take pictures of the swim start, but she took them of the wrong lady, HAHAHA! Anyway, I felt pretty strong in the swim... well, at least not 100% zapped by the finish, and I finished the leg quite a few seconds ahead of Sarah, who is my rabbit! She always is just ahead of me, and (here's a real southern expression fer ya) by cracky, I'm a'gonna ketch me a rabbit one of these days :) However, I digress.... Once the swim was done, I managed to jog all the way to T1, and felt pretty strong as I headed out on the bike.

Since we had previewed the course, it really helped me to pick milestones and carve up the course to make it seem like it was passing faster... ok, just gotta make it to this point, just gotta make it to that point, etc. And I was feeling pretty strong! Right up until I got about half way through the bike course, and I was getting tired. The hills weren't as steep as some I've walked, but I was really getting worn out. And I was sooo close to just caving and getting off the dang bike to walk the hills... just to stop the suffering. But I really really wanted to reach that goal and bust through the wicked mental block I'd created for myself. So I came up with a new race mantra on the fly and was screaming it out loud! "Damn you, Hills... You can't frigging BEAT ME!!!" And just kept telling the hills off over and over out loud, and getting mad and just "screw you, hills!!!"... I sure was glad no one was around to hear me, LOL!!!! And somehow, I was getting up those hills... on my bike! And then it happened... I saw a dude just up ahead, pedalling away on his carbon steed. According to USAT rules, you have to stay 3 bike lengths apart, unless you're going to pass, cause they consider that the draft zone, which means you can cheat and not have to work as hard agains the wind resistance. Anyway, when you pass, you have 15 seconds to do it. I toyed with the idea for a few seconds, and thought - what the heck, I'm a hill-destroyer, I'll give it a shot. I pumped the pedals a few times and there I was right on his heel! So with a valiant, in-your-face, loud-n-proud "ON YOUR LEFT", I zoomed right by him! I freaking CHICKED that dude! WOOT WOOT, go me! I'm a dude chicker :) Apparently, guys hang their heads in shame when girls pass them, and Coach Andy says they call it getting chicked. :) He tried to regain his manhood by passing me, which was ok, because it was short lived. A few moments later I promptly revoked his man card once again, and chicked him a second time! It was simply glorious. Before I knew it, I was back at Transition, having successfully ridden the entire bike course .... YEHAWWW!

The run course ended up being quite a nice layout. There were alot of loops and such, but it was a really nice setup, with plenty of water-bearing volunteers who were full of encouragement and smiles. There was even one cheesy guy who said "oh I see they saved the best looking for last" hahaha, that made me laugh and almost pee my pants, but it was the push I needed to kick it into gear and keep jogging a little farther before walking. I did have to walk, unfortunately, but I am pretty sure it's because my legs were just spent after working so hard to ride the entire bike course. Plus, my knee and hip started giving me a few fits, so I was ok with walking when I had to. Did I mention that Sarah got ahead of me on the bike? So I spent the run a few minutes behind her, once again, but it was nice to see her doing well.
When I rounded the corner to the finish, I see Andria holding this sign! Apparently it was one of the cool little extras that the race organizers made available to spectators... they provided poster board and markers for anyone who wanted to make signs to cheer on their racers! Isn't that the coolest thing you've ever seen????
All finishers got really nice medals, so it was cool to walk away with some bling! Especially since I finished at the back of the pack :) Here's the final breakdown of my performance: 800 meter swim - 22:23. T1 - 3:41. 16 mile bike - 1:15:15. T2 - 3:41. 5K Run - 48:16. Overall time was 2:33:14, and I came in 7th of 7 in my division, and 198/200 overall. As far as the goals go, I was 5:14 over my time goal, and I certainly didn't run the whole 5K, but I freaking made the biggest goal of the three with riding the entire bike course. And as I looked at the overall standings, the chick right above me in 6th place only had me by 32 seconds! 32 freaking seconds!! That waskully wabbit, however, took 5th place by finishing 5 minutes ahead of me. LOL! Good thing I like her :) All in all, it was an awesome success, and I was really thrilled with my performance! I'll leave you with a few random post-race shots :) I'm off to fret about the Olympic Distance race I have coming in 4 days!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Race Report #2 - Cysco Cycles Sprint June 13, 2010

After my first race experience, and the shock of completing it without the aid of an ambulance, I knew I wanted to see what else I could do... how much farther I could ride the Tri Train. After all anything can be done once. But to only do it once doesn't rule out the possibility that the success was just a fluke. I mean even scientists know (ha - I say "EVEN" scientists, like they're the last people that would know, LOL! Shame on me!) anyway, even they know that any good experiment must be repeated more than once to be considered credible. SO I set my sights on the Cysco Cycles sprint triathlon - it's local, and small, and run by the same organization that directed my first race. And bonus - it was a teensy bit shorter :). (the first one I did was 600m swim, 14 mile bike, and 5K run... this one was 400m swim, 11 miles on the bike, and 5k run) I took about a week or so off of training after my first race and didn't do a dadgum thing! For all you non-southerners, dadgum means cotton-pickin', or gosh darned, or *&%* for those of you who want to insert a swear word, LOL! And once I got back to training, I kind of felt a little lost, because my focus had changed a little from just surviving the experience to improving a little. So I made the decision to hire a training coach. Crazy huh? I decided to go with Gaia Fitness, and I'm so glad I did! It has been the most helpful to learn more about the why's behind things and learning how to train smarter, not harder! Anyway, I digress.....

With Andy's help (my coach), I trained and worked, and got ready for Race #2.... THe extra exciting part about this race is that Bailey decided to tri, and she chose this race to make her triathlon debut. Unfortunately we don't have as many pictures this time, but I'll share what I have.

Here we are, me and Bailey, after body markings and check-in, and here is all our gear in transition. I have an obsession with getting to everything early since I'm still so new at this - I don't want to be late and risk missing a crucial detail or update, LOL! So Transition was pretty well a ghost town when we got there, but it filled up a bit, even though this was still a pretty small race.

Another difference in this race is that it was a mass start at the swim, which means everyone starts at the same time, and it can turn into a frenzy which looks remarkably similar (and feels that way for us slower swimmers) to a school of pirhanas chowing down on some poor unsuspecting mammal that drifted into the Amazon. But again, this is where the small numbers make it easier, as does staying to the outside and letting the crazy folks get on out front :). Did I mention yet that Bailey's #1 goal was to come in ahead of me? LOL, big surprise, huh? She couldn't stand the thought of her old lumpy mama being faster than her - so she was determined to give it her all. Anyway, you can see us all here waiting on the swim start - Bailey and I are in the middle, although you can't really see me.

Once we got in the water and the horn sounded, of course we fell to the back of the pack and just did our thang. Much to Bailey's relief, she came out of the water about 30 seconds or so ahead of me and was able to run it back up the steep hill to T1 and she was off an gone on the bike before I even got there. Naturally I had to walk - that hill looked like Mount Everest when I got out of the water, and for the record - that water was SOOO WARM! For me, it's so much harder to swim in warm water - your body already heats up from the activity, and then the high temps just make it feel like you're swimming in a hot tub. Not fun. Plus wetsuits are not legal above a certian temp, so no help there either. But, I did manage to make it out of the water and get to transition to head out on the bike. Similar to the last race I did, there was a nice hill (and I do say nice with sarcasm, LOL) only this time it was UPHILL out of transition. But I figured I'd been training more with a coach and hoped that hills should be easier on this race, especially since I'd previewed all but about 1 mile or so of this course and did just fine. I was so freaking tired from the warm swim and that hill right out of the gate... well, it was a toughie. But I managed to get to the top of it, and after that the ride got a little easier, especially when ..what? What is that??? What do I see ahead of me... Could it be.. BAILEY??? MUAAHAHAHHAHAHHA I saw her and it was like somebody hit the NOS on my bike, LOL!!! I was determined to get ahead of her and show her the old lady CAN out do her, LOL... Aww cmon, now, I wouldn't have rubbed her nose in it.... much, LOL! I passed her and man - that was the best, LOL! My goal for the rest of the ride was just to STAY ahead of her, LOL. I was doing so well, riding comfortably, except for when I had to grab water. I meant to bring my CamelBak, but figured I'd look like a geek. See, the problem is that I'm still unsteady and have a problem tring to take a hand off the handlebars to grab the water. Couple that with having to look at my hand grabbing the bottle... well you can imagine what a one-armed blind man might look like trying to ride a bike - that's me! And remember that 1 single solitary mile that I didn't preview? Well, guess what was hiding on that mile... a freaking MONDO hill!!! Well, it's not really mondo, but still - sure felt like it to me in that heat, and I had to walk it. Was awful. But it is what it is, and ain't no way back to the finish line but to get over it :) Besides... Ain't no way I could let Bailey catch me, lol. So I took the walking times as opportunities to drink water, and I did actually manage to grab my water bottle and drink and put it back once without wrecking or dropping the bottle. WOOT WOOT! Once I got back into the park, I headed down that big hill right into transition, although I had a moment or two where I didn't think I was going to get slowed down enough before making the turn in. It all worked out though, as I got my bike racked and number on and headed off on the run.... all before Bailey was anywhere in sight hee hee hee. The first half off the run was on a trail, and I have to admit, it was a nice change of scenery and a break from the sun beating down. But it was still BLAZING hot, and I had run out of water on the bike. The first waterstop was said to be 1.25 miles into the run, but it felt like 10 miles when you're overheated and dehydrated - it didn't seem like I'd ever see it. About half way to the water stop, I glanced back and saw Bailey ... she was gaining ground on me, dangit! I tried to dig in, but finally I just succumbed and let her pass me, LOL... As if I wasn't suffering enough from the heat and exhaustion, the unsavory gifts of childbirth started rearing it's uglyhead again... Cmon now - I thought being this dehydrated would save me, but nope! Apparently I still had some moisture in my body, cause I could feel the leaking with every pound of my feet, LOL! GROAN - how embarassing! Luckily I was in black this time, and sweating like a hog, so it wasn't as noticeable. And then, like an OASIS in the desert, there is the water stop, and all I could see were the giant coolers full of Powerade and ice cold water. So I drank a few, and poured what felt like gallons over my head. It felt SOOOOO good to cool off, and, with the effects of motherhood nicely camoflauged now, I was re-energized to go a little bit farther. Of course, my shoes and socks were soaked, but whatever! We got through the race, and Bailey came in about 5 minutes ahead of me, so she was THRILLED about that! And I was not last - I came in second to last ahead of a man! WOOT! Nevermind the fact that he was only a few months post back surgery... so what? Why do you want to rob me of this little shallow victory? LOL! Here are a few pictures of us coming up on the finish line, and then us getting our awards. Bailey won her division, and I took 4th in mine. How do ya like my muscles?

Saturday, July 31, 2010

My First Race Report - Better Late Than Never, Right?

I am a bad bad blogger! In fact, I should probably be shamed from the blogger community - I am sure Shell would agree. She's even given up on nagging me to post something to my blog - she hasn't done that in MONTHS... is that like when you keep turning down invitations to freinds' activities and then they just stop inviting you? Oh well... even if my blogger friends give up on me, I'm going to try to keep blogging stuff cause I am going to make a scrapbook of all of it one of these days and I guarantee I won't remember all the juicey details without having it documented somewhere. :)

Anyway, after all the months of training and working so hard, race day finally came and I was up and at 'em EARLY in the am. After packing and repacking my bag a bazillion times the night before to make sure i had everything, we headed out to Chester Frost.

This is me and Kurt after picking up my timing chip and hitting the body marking station. After all those years as a kid of being told not to write on yourself, who knew it would become cool to let people use Sharpies on you?!

And here is all my stuff set up in transition. I didn't have hardly anything on my towel, lol, cause I didn't have much to change since I am not into all the fancy schmancy gear at this point. Most of the other athletes have way more stuff out there, and it's set up in specific order that you're planning to use it so it'll be that much faster to just grab and go each time you're in transition.

Once all my stuff was set up, I sat around wondering what the heck to do next. Some people didn't put their wetsuits on until the last minute, but with at least 30 minutes before my wave start, I decided to go ahead and slide into mine just so that I'd have something to focus on besides my nerves! That took all of about 3 minutes, so then I just stared off at the water, LOL, and finally decided to go down and get acclimated in the water a bit before the horn went off. I was SO NERVOUS, but amazingly enough, as soon as I heard the sound and started swimming, I felt calm and focused and just put my head down and went.

These are not the most flattering pictures, I know, LOL, but what can I say! It's like saying "Dang she looks rough" about a picture of a woman who just gave birth, lol. It is what it is, folks - there I am in all that black neoprene chubby glory :) Anyway, I came out of the swim with several people still behind me - and I was so freaking excited! It was shortlived however, because there was quite a hike up a big hill to get back to transition, and since I was in no shape to run it, they all quickly overtook me. My wetsuit is a littel too big, since I have to go with a man's suit, so it was easy to peel off and toss on the ground by my bag. I put on my socks and shoes, quickly grabbed my hemet & sunglasses and took off with my bike. My husband and oldest daughter Andria were there right outside transition shearing me on and taking some pictures and it was so awesome to see them there!

The bike was a little scary for me, as right out of transition is a big hill, and man you can really pick up some speed going down it! I get all paranoid of going to fast and wrecking, considering I'm still fairly new at cycling. But I just decided to ride the best I could, including if that meant riding the brakes, LOL! As I crossed out over the main road, I look up and see a silver Honda CRV, and I thought - haha wouldn't that be funny if that was my bff Rena - and then I looked up and it WAS HER! She was headed into the park to cheer for me for a little while. I was so excited I took one hand off the handlebars to wave to her and almost wrecked! LOL! I rode over the rolling hills ok, but the course has a couple of mean wicked hills... and I had to walk those. The comforting thing was that I wasn't the only one. There was a chick in front of me, my rabbit if you will, that I could almost pass on the rolling hills and flat parts, but when we'd both have to walk up the hills, she'd be off again on the downhill... I bet she didn't ride her brakes! Everytime I'd get real close enough to catch her, BAM there's another hill, lol... Just wasn't meant to be. Anyway, I was really excited because I did manage to ride the hill back up to T2, and not everyone did that. I reracked by trusty steed, grabbed my visor, and off I went for the run, feeling on top of the world, because I managed to actually jog out of transition like a rock star! Only to realize that I went out the wrong way, dang it! So I had to go back in, which turned out to be a good thing cause I forgot to grab my race number belt. Got my head screwed back on right and headed out on the run. I jogged for a little while until I was out of sight of most of the onlookers, and had to walk. There were no delusions about being able to run that 5K, and actually there was alot of walking involved. I tried to save the running for when there was a crowd of people, LOL!!!! Ya ain't got nothin' if ya ain't got pride, LOL!!! I was doing ok until a little over half' way through, and I was hurting so bad! I've never been so exhausted and just 100% completely physically and emotionally spent! My 16 year old Bailey was manning the last water stop, and she was ready to run the last mile in with me and keep me going... "Get it moving Mom, C'Mon Mom you can do it, Let's GO Mom!" etc... and I was just in tears from the exhaustion - back was hurting and I just had nothing left. But the sound of her voice convinced me I couldn't stop... had to keep going to get to the finish line just so I could shut her up, LOL!!!! Just Kidding... sort of.... she really saved
So here we are rounding the last curve before the finish line, and there I am jogging across the mat. WOOT WOOOT I finished! I did it I did it!!! My official time was 2:18:02 and I was SO THRILLED! I even won the Athena division... although I have to confess that it's because I had no competition, LOL! But that's ok - it sure was great for the ego boost! Here is my moment of podium pride!
Anyway, I can't even describe to you what an impact this race had on me... I did something I never ever thought I could do, and I learned that I could push through anything with God leading me!
Stay tuned, cause I've done two more races since then, although I'll give your eyeballs a rest before posting aout those, LOL!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Duathlon = Near Death Experience

Ok, I know it's been awhile since I've made a blog entry, but really, honestly, I do have a good excuse. I mean, once I catch you up on the last few weeks, you'll wonder how I even manage to stay vertical!

So I think I've mentioned before that I joined the Chattanooga Triathlon Club to learn about the sport and to be able to train with experienced triathletes in preparation for my first race, which, incidentally is only two weeks from tomorrow. They do alot of mock races, which is great because it helps to ease some of the fears of the unknown. And a few weeks ago, one of the training events was a bike/run/bike duathlon. The course was 10 mile bike loop, 3.7 mile run loop, and then the 10 mile bike loop again, and I have to say it was a beautiful day! Nice, sunny, and greenery starting to bloom everywhere... Perfect day to be inaugurated into the world of multisport. And let me just say that Ken, the president of the CTriC, stayed back and ran the entire race course with me to help put me at ease... I was really impressed by that! So anyway, we start out on the first bike loop, and Ken stopped to talk to someone but told me to go on ahead that he would catch up. So I do. And I must admit, I was feeling pretty proud of myself, because even though I was riding a less-than-ideal mountain bike, I was RIDING it, and the breeze was blowing across my face, and I was really pedaling at a steady decent pace. It was so freaking peaceful and awesome! Right up... until... I hear "Hey - Shelleyyyyyyy!!!!!!!!!!" Apparently I made a wrong turn, and Ken had to chase me down to get me back on track. LOL! Yeah, it was great. So we get back on course, and we ride up and down the little baby hills, and I'm feeling pretty good, even though all of the experienced athletes were leaving us in the dust, but that was ok, because at least I wasn't alone. And I was learning about how to shift the gears on my bike, which is a must here in TN - there isn't a flat spot in this entire state. Here a hill, there a hill, everywhere a hill hill... Anyway, we get about a half a mile from the turn around point on the first bike loop, which is up this rotten big old hill, and my head started spinning, mouth started watering, guts started wrenching, and I had to stop for a minute before I dropped. Sat down on the ground, drank some water, and slowly I started coming back to reality. Apparently I got too hot and heart rate too high too fast, but quickly recovered. So we decided to turn around instead of trying to push me the last 1/2 mile up the steepest part of the hill, which made it a 9 mile loop for me instead of 10. But that's ok. So we get back to the transition point, and rack our bikes (yeah like I know what I'm doing at this point, LOL) and we take off on the "run". Just can't tell you how absolutely GORGEOUS it was - there I was feeling all accomplished with just having completed my very first road ride, and now I'm headed out on a run with real athletes! Woo Hoo I am just livin' large for sure, because it was even ok to walk run walk run as needed, and Ken was totally encouraging the whole time... right up until the reality of having children comes crashing down on me... or should I say leaking out of me. UG can you imagine how embarassing it is to see a little dark wet spot growing in the front of my grey shorts, expanding each time my foot pounds down on the pavement? Then I suddenly realized that it would have been better to be raining, LOL... at least there would be camoflauge! Instead, I'd run a few seconds to get a short-but-decent distance ahead of Ken, with the evidence ever expanding, and then walk to stave off the all-out flood until Ken got close, end then off I'd go again. This was the vicious cycle for at least half the run. Finally, the hot sun started proving beneficial after all, as the heat helped to evaporate all the moisture, sweat or otherwise LOL! And while I walked at least half the total distance, we pulled back into transition, mounted the bikes, and headed back out for the second installment of the cycling loop. All in all, I did 18 miles on the bike, and 3.7 miles on foot, and even though I came in nearly an hour behind of everyone else, I felt pretty dang accomplished! In the picture below, Ken is the big guy second from the left, standing in between the little short blonde lady and me.

I must say, for several days after the duathlon, I really felt like I'd been hit by a train! Physically exhausted and hurt in places I didn't even know I had, LOL! And as the clock counts down till raceday, I ponder all the things I'm thankful for. Like a great group of people to train with and learn from, the physical ability to be able to even attempt this stuff, and for my race suit to have black bottoms to camoflauge any leakage that may sneak up on me during the race :)

Friday, March 12, 2010

It pays to Blog!

It's good to blog, to share your stories and have a place to archive your moments.... and whoever said blogging was "wasting time" on the internet just doesn't know what the heck they're talking about! It definitely pays to spend a little time on the net visiting your friends' blogs! THis is what I won by visiting and commenting on my friend Shell's blog, and I was randomly picked to win stuff she got from Plaid paints!

Here's a list of the stuff I got:

7 acrylic paints
2 balsa wood shapes and boxes
14 fabric paints
1 screen print paint
1 screen print stencil
4 glass paints
1 glass bottle
1 glass bowl
1 pack foam tape
2 iron on transfers
1 green card kit
1 journal square notebook
1 spiral notebook with pen and post-it notes
1 journal
1 craft magazine
2 idea books
beads and rhinestones
1 "Slice" Making Memories apron
1 "Plaid" drawstring tote

I don't know how she got it all in that box, LOL!!!! But Shell, thank you so much for the goodies!!! I'm going to have the most fun EVER playing with these new toys!

Monday, March 8, 2010

I've Been Derailed!

Ug - I think I am drowning in mucus! Yeah that's right, I just jumped right out front with the TMI, didn't I? Well, there is just no nice way to describe what I've been through this last week. Training was going so well - I was up to running 27 out of 35 minutes, and I got the bike tuned up, and I was just feeling fantastic! Well, naturally, as it always does just when you think you are about to crank it up and get ahead, I got punched right in the face by the Snot Monster. I've had a sinus infection for the last week, which finally landed me at the urgent care clinic on Sunday, because my lymph nodes went haywire and my neck looked like that of a very beefy Olympic wrestler. Soooo not pretty! So I got a steroid shot in the bootay, some antibiotics, Mucinex D, and cough syrup with Codeine, and am hoping to high heaven that some part of that cocktail will be able to slay the Snot Monster! I have missed a week of training, which is bad news since there is only just over 6 weeks before Race Day!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Fear the She-Beest!

So I went today to the bike shop to take Bailey's bike to get a tune-up and cleaned up to make it work for the race, cause I just want to be sure I live through this first triathlon before I plunk downa bunch of money for a new road bike. And I thought - well, I better buy my helmet, cause I'm going to need one of those, LOL! First, let me just back up a second and say that the guys down at Owen Cyclery in Hixson, TN, are just top notch! They didn't try to talk me into the $190 helmet - they were very straight forward and honest, and came right out and told me that the $49 helmet passes the same safety ratings as those high-dollar ones, and the differences come in just that tad bit improved aerodynamics and teensy bit lighter weight. So since, at this point I am more concerned with avoiding a skull fracture than I am with shaving 1/2 an ounce off the weight of my head (which according to the little blonde kid in Jerry Macguire weighs 8 pounds), I got this way cool pink one! AND... Kurt thought I should get some bike gloves, and the guy did say that the padding in the gloves would make it easier to grip the handle bars and be more comfy on the paws... so we were looking at different ones, and there were foam pads and gel pads and no pads nad all these different things... and I looked and tried on and just couldn't decide... until I saw these puppies... I just KNEW I had to have them because they had "SHE-BEEST" on them, LOL!!! They weren't the cheapest pair, but I absolutely was not leaving the store with out my BEEST gear :) Cause I am SHE-BEEST hear me ROAR!!! :)

And the even most bodaciously exciting news of all is that I think I am actually going to be able to afford a real bike in the very near future! Thought for sure I'd have to spend thousands of dollars, but I can really get one for under $700!!!! I am so freaking excited I can't hardly stand myself, cause... guess what?! They even have LAYAWAY!!!!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Letting It All Hang Out

Well, hello my blog readers... all three of you, LOL! It's been a couple of weeks since I've updated you guys about my training, and it's really too bad too, cause I really had some hilariously witty posts mulling around in my mind, but unfortunately those moments will be forever lost in the cobwebs of my memory, LOL! So instead, you get to enjoy a post full of the nitty gritty, unglamorous, low down reality of my journey.

In honor of my birthday, I took my measurements so I could at least start tracking some progress since the dangblasted scale hasn't budged! I swear that ridiculous hunk of digital technology has it out for me... otherwise, with all this running, swimming, and biking I've been doing, you'd think the numbers would be going down. But I digress... Anyway, whilest these may not be 100% accurate since I did it myself, here are my measurements such as they are... Oh, I was in my swimsuit, for the record, LOL!

Bust - 40", Waist - 41" at the belly button, Hips - 46 3/4", Thighs - 25 3/4", Calves - 14 1/8", and Biceps - 11 3/4".

In all honestly, I don't care so much about the number on the scale, as I do about changing my shape a little. Weight loss was not a part of my decision to take on this triathlon, but I'd sure like to go from looking so much like a cylindrical baby rhino on it's hind legs and a little more like a shapely gazelle, LOL. I would really honestly just like to midsection to diminish some -you know, for my waist measurement to be LESS than my boob measurement. I mean cmon, folks! The front on view isn't so bad, but the profile is a killer, LOL!

The disappointing part is I didn't have the presence of mind to take measurements when I started. But the good news is, I think something is happening! Not sure quite what it is, but some of the blubbery junk is nomadically moving out of the trunk and settling somewhere else, leaving no return address I hope! To test it out, I went to Old Navy yesterday to spend a Christmas gift card. Convinced I was just going to go in and get another pair of the size 16 Sweetheart jeans, I was surprized to find my hands grabbing differend pairs to try one. I went into the dressing room, and much to my shock, both pairs fit! I tried on size 14 Sweethearts and size 14 Dreamers, and they fit!!! And I didn't even have to pack & cram the chubby glory into the jeans - I just pulled them up and zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzipped them up! YEEEHAAAAAAAW! Even took the following picture to commemorate the moment:

Doesn't this just scream "KISS MY BADONKADONK?"

Anyway, now my sights are set on those elusive size 12's... really I'd settle for for some muscular definition, cause right now the only definition I seem to have is the lumpy cottage cheesey fatness :)

Oh, I did have to decrease my training just a little. Going so hard-core 6 days a week was really a bit much... I mean, I was doing it, but it was all I could do to get through the training. Since I've scaled back to 4-5 days a week, I have noticed a big difference. I am actually making more progress and feeling stronger than when I was killing myself and barely able to get through. Maybe there is something to the old notion that rest time is necessary. Can't help wanting to go full bore though, because time is running out. Race Day is fast approaching - only 62 days, 15 hours, 25 minutes and 5 seconds to go... I just hope I'm ready!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Ok ladies 'n' gents, I know you have been following some of my training ups and downs and crazy adventures, but I'm about to give you a visual treat to go right along with all the mental pictures. The triathlon I'm doing is wetsuit legal, and all of the reasearch I've done has told me that wetsuits are definitely beneficial to give you extra bouyancy (sp??) and warmth. And I need all the help I can get - my back end sinks like a freaking ANCHOR in the pool, LOL! So I searched and searched online for a wetsuit, since there is no place in Chattanooga that has them in person that I could find. I went to a bunch of manufacturer websites, and apparently, we are right in between seasons. All of the 2009 suits are sold out, and the 2010 haven't come out yet, so all that's available is a stray clearance suit here and there. Oh did I mention that I have turned into a cross dresser? Yeah - get this! They only make womens suits to fit up to about 170lbs - that's the largest I could find. So I had to go with a men's suit. But the good news is, I got a FANTASTIC deal online at Ebay, from the seller "ediscountbikes", and they have STELLAR customer service! I highly recommend shopping with them if, after seeing the photos below, you get the sudden urge to follow in my smokin' hot trend-setting style footsteps!
Anyway.... without further ado, I would like to introduce you to Orca :)

Now, mind you, I was not going commando under that wetsuit... you can probably see the lines from my underpants :) On race day, I'll have my race suit on under this - I ordered that one online too, and it should be here this week too. Don't worry - I'll post pics of that too, LOL! And really, I am hoping that, by posting these pics online, I get all the shame and embarassment out of the way, so that I could give a RIP what people think of my smokin' hot blubber butt on Race Day, LOL!
Anyway, that's the latest, folks! Now I'm off to watch Biggest Loser! How appropriate, huh?!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Antarctica ...Errr I mean Chattanooga!

Wow, folks... Who ever thought that I would ever experience this once I left Colorado:

Of course, having all of that white stuff falling from the sky meant we could enjoy making some snow ice cream last night! It was so much fun, and pretty dang tasty too! Although, it was more like a vanilla snow cone in a bowl, cause y'all know me - skim milk all the way... just couldn't bring myself to use regular white sugar or motor oil sweetened condensed milk!

Of course, now that means the whole world shuts down here - everything is closed! People here just don't know how to drive in it, so it's safer to stay inside. Naturally though, that means we all get cabin fever, LOL!