Monday, August 31, 2009

In the Meantime...

(I am slowly loading pictures from my last race, which was like, a long time ago. Hey, Procrastination is in the title - there's truth in my advertising....)

WOW!!! What a weekend!!

I don't know about you, but my weekend was filled with babies and triathlon.

I figured it was bound to be some sort of foreshadowing into my future.

Between my besty's baby shower on Sunday (and the fact that everyone in my life is either preggo or new mommies), and the Chicago triathlon (which I was unable to attend this year due to said baby shower, but the Tri For Life guys were town gettin' their triathlon on again!), and all the Ironmans this weekend (Mark Mason and Dennis from RunBubbaRun abd Michelle's husband earning their IM medals), there has been a lot going on.

I'll tell you what - its really hard to watch these IMs and not get teary-eyed. Even now, I get so overwhelmed with the enormity of it, and I can still feel all the emotions that ran through my body that day in 2008, now as I watch these athletes make their blaze their own way. I love it, I love it.

So congrats to all the finishers from yesterdays races, and with IMWI right around the corner, there are plenty of cheering to still be had!!

And if you stay tuned in, there might just be a little IM surprise in a day or two...


In other random news....

As if personal training didn’t destroy and humiliate me as it is, I was about halfway through my third blocks of moves and could see the finish in the near distance, and what do ya know?

My lady friend creeps out to say “Hi.”

I sensed she was acomin’, but I was hoping against hope she wouldn’t pull into town until maybe, say, once I got home and wasn’t caught…off guard.

Completely mortified (thank GAWD for my black running tights), I silently prayed that I wouldn’t have to do anything that required me to sit or lay on a bench.

Throw in some kick-in-the-gut cramps and sanity-destroying back pain, mix it all together and you get a sick-to-her-stomach 33-year-old just fighting to stand up and keep down the Kashi bar she ate about an hour previous.

But true to my form, I refuse to admit defeat or let my semi-pro basketball trainer see weakness, so I swallowed my vomit and did my plyos and lunges with a grin on my face.

It’s been an awesome morning, and it’s only 830.


At least I get to go to Ravina tonight.

Yes, again.

Carrie Underwood, bitches.

You heard me.

My hairbrush-turned-microphone is already packed in the picnic basket, ready to make it's big Ravinia debut.

What? You didn't think I actually used it to brush my hair, did you?

So silly.

So three cheers to getting my workout done for the day, and three more cheers for the Tylenol 3 I’m going to have to medicate with just to deal with these cramps.

And three cheers for Underwood! Ms. Carrie, if your nasty!

Big kisses and hugs, y’all.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Oooohhhh....So That's What They Mean By "Race"

Ever since I started participating in distance races that are geared more towards the endurance side, I have mostly considered myself to “do” these races, as opposed to “race” the races.


Because I am not really fast, so I don’t really feel like I am “racing” when I do the longer stuff – I do them, and get them done.

To me, “racing” means to have some speed, and it’s pretty clear speed has not been in my physical make-up.

You can’t even rearrange the letters in my name to get the word “speed.”

So yeah - that right there more or less proves it.

In fact, I feel that - with the exception of one race this season (Kenosha ½ marathon) - I have in fact become noticeably slower and more easily fatigued since the whole kidney thing – but that’s a post for another time.

I guess that’s also why I don’t usually post my race times – it’s not because I am embarrassed or anything – it’s just that the accomplishment of finishing is usually enough for me, especially this year, when nothing was really "planned" and my training has been...creative. I take pride in crossing that line, no matter what pain it brings.

That said - Today I raced my second ever (can you believe) International distance race.

Notice I said “raced?”

Raced – as in – intentionally tried to go fast.

Well, fast for me, which might be different than a regular person’s fast.

Mine’s more like Department of Motor Vehicles fast.

So I signed up last minute for the Pleasant Prairie triathlon in Wisconsin after I got the racing bug from Steelhead 70.3 two weekends ago.

And without putting you through a regular race report, I will simply say this:

It was FAR AND BEYOND the best race I have ever raced.

In every discipline, I felt strong – like I could swim/bike/run all day long.

And the best part –I never stopped – not even when I grabbed water – on the run.

Like, I kept running. And running. And running.

It never hurt, I never fatigued, I never got sore.

Having said that, though – there is one thing that I messed up and I don’t really have an explanation for which is - Despite feeling stronger than strong on the swim, I was nine minutes off my expected time.


The weird thing is that, even though the whole race was great, I actually felt the swim was the best (oh my gosh- did those words just get typed by my fingers? well now I've done it - Michael Phelps and his fish fins is probably going to strike me dead with his bong any second now for such blasphemy).

But seriously - I really felt powerful and smooth. No calf cramps, good rotation, strong stroke, lots of open space. I was swimming and thought to myself – “Oh, so this is what bloggers mean when they write about good, smooth, gliding swims!! I love it!!”

So imagine my surprise when I exited the water and saw 37 minutes on my watch.

Hold up.


*cue me trying to run up the sand hill while staring bug-eyed at my watch, snot smeared across my check and loudly belching a massive lake-water burp as I yank my goggles off*

I actually said out loud to no one in particular, "Bitch - WHAT?!"

37 minutes?!?

Dead people FLOAT faster than that.

I mean, I got off track a few times due to my own poor sighting, but nine minutes worth of zigzagging?

I don’t think so.

I mean, heck – that’s just about what I did the Steelhead swim in two weeks ago, and that was a half-Iron.

Hell, I was a floaty noodle and margarita away from a lazy river float.

I guess I should have known something was wrong when I was suddenly surrounded by waaaay different swim caps about halfway through – but I had somehow managed to convince myself that I was just swimming soooo fast, I was actually passing the group ahead of me.

HAHA! I mean, how narcissistic of me is that? I was literally being passed by not one, but TWO groups of people who started after me, and I was like, “Check ME out! How you like me now, Triathlon? Ain’t nothin’ gonna break-a my stride, ain’t nothin’ gonna slow me down – Oh No!”


Oh well.

So instead of coming in at my expected 2:45, I actually finished at 2:54.

That's not so say I am disappointed - I am soooo NOT disappointed because of how good I felt all morning. In fact, I am pretty ecstatic at my little milestones today - noticable strength, no walking, good mental positive thoughts, strong finish. I mean, sure - my swim stroke my be as efficient as my diaper changing skills (read: not so much and grosssssss), but it's workable with practice.

I know that, if I keep trying, training, and practicing the right way, the speed AND the strength will start to come together better *says Captian Obvious.* I am most impressed with how strong I felt across the board that, while not Speedy McFast Pants, I can securely say I don’t really care what my watch read.

Because today, I did not measure myself by my watch.

And any day that I don't begatively judge myself is an accomplishment in itself.

(pictures to follow in next post)

Monday, August 10, 2009

Hold On To Your Panties

Otherwise the sweetness you're about to witness might just blow them away!

Meet my new nephew (and godson!) Aiden Gregory Darnieder.

I was destined to be his godmother. Why? Because he looks just like me when I wake up and haven't had my coffee, eye boggies and all.

Could you NOT die at this?

I want to eat this picture up, it is so delicious. Seriously.

When Baby Nolan (Big Brother Nolan now) woke up from his nap, my mom (who was babysitting him while his mommy was at the hospital), said, "Okay, let's get our shoes on - we have to go meet Aiden!" and Nolan (in his little two-year-old voice) asked, "He came out?"

To make the transition a little easier, my sister bought Big Brother Nolan some presents with the intention of telling Nolan they were from Aiden. So when my mom was trying to get Nolan to hurry up and get dressed (I guess he was lollygagging a bit) so they could get to the hospital, she said, "And Baby Aiden brought you a present!" To which Nolan responded, "Get my shoes!"

I guess the present idea worked. Because let's be serious - presents can only improve relationships (well, unless they are of the "please forgive me for being as ass" vareity, then maybe not so much). But this one worked - and apparently, if its an erector set, complete with a crane, that relationship is pretty much destined to last a life time.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Steelhead Didn't Kill Me

Lemme preface this all by saying – there is some doody talk. Doody consumed my day – it must be referenced.

It demands to be referenced.

Soooooo... Steelhead 70.3.

I swam, rode and ran.

And let me say this – Ironman and his little brother, 70.3, are no dummies. They will BREAK.YOU. if you didn’t take the time to train properly. These are no races to go into without an appropriate level of fitness, or they will expose every last weakness you have.

Or at least with me they did.

In fact, all of my Missed Workouts called up all those other Times which I blew off training – like the Times when I chose to extend my sunbathing instead of get my butt in the pool and swim, or the Times I knew I should have run long, but I ran 5 miles – yeah, so all those Times got together this week, printed up a bunch of tee-shirts and posterboards that read, “Gotcha Sucka!” and then stood at the curb of every aid station mocking and jeering me, forcing me to pay attention to their Truths.

I am pretty sure I even heard one of the Times ask, “Now who’s the bitch?”

(Naw, but seriously – I went into the race knowing that my weakness would be my run fitness, because my training runs were almost always shortened due to my knee injury. And it was - the run exposed me. The run was physically the most difficulty for me, as I suspected going into it. I was at peace with that.)

But regardless of the necessary pain, it was actually fun. And most of all, I am SOOOO proud of myself for all my little victories over the course of the day.

My little victories:
1. Finishing (of course)
2. Not crapping my shorts (story shortly).
3. Running when I could, and walking when I couldn’t -Even with this disgusting blister (photo below), that made its appearance around the first FEW STEPS of the run.
4. Never getting down on myself – NOT EVER.
5. Discovering that little pretzel nuggets for the run were the best last-minute-packing decision I EVER made.
6. Ignoring my watch.
7. Tried to enjoy every single second – especially right before the swim, by taking in the unbelievable beautiful day and my fortune at being able to participate in this sport.
8. Saying positive things to myself over the day about what a badass I was
9. Never once letting myself get intimidated by the fancy bikes, the ripped muscles, the fancy tri-clothes – and instead telling myself – “Just run your own race.”

I stayed with Clyde and his friend on the camp ground in a tiny cabin – like, one bed and a bunk bed type cozy. I had the top bunk. It was AWESOME!!!

(and to my surprise, there were actually plastic mattress, per my last post….)

I didn’t see Clyde before the race because his wave (done by age groups) was much later, but we did exchange some texts beforehand.

Me: (something about not being able to make doody).
Clyde: Yeah, we checked that off our checklist already.
Me: Dang! I am squatting in the vacant bike spot next to my bike hoping for a doody miracle. I feel the Poo Baby kicking, but he’s not ready for delivery.

Phantom doody aside, I knew it was going to be a good (dare I say GREAT) day when I walked into transition at 445am (345 am for us Chicagoans), and Bruce Springsteen’s “Thunder Road” was playing. Why is this significant? Because that was the song I sang to myself on repeat to get me through the last ½ of the Ironman. Out loud. So other people could hear. And it worked. I finished that race too!

That song was then followed up with the Jack Johnson song from my one of my nephew’s favorite movies – Curious George. It made me think of him, and smile at what he would look like if he could see his aunt out here, in the midst of all these bikes – or on the course, running past him. So yeah, I considered those good omens.

I was so positive at the Start I hummed my whole walk down the shore to the start.

My positive attitude surprised even my stone cold heart.

Was that – gasp! – excitement?!?!

You betcha!

The Swim:
Two things happened:
The water – my greatest fear after last year’s Racine DNF in the swim – was remarkably warm at 68 degrees. I even walked in it in the mile to get to the Start. At the Start, I centered myself, silently appreciated the day, and then ran my ass into the water.

But here is where it got dicey – that darn wetsuit suffocated me again, and I had that brief flash of “Shit, I can’t breathe, I can’t do this” (flash to Racine image of me swimming to shore, and then stomping across the transition mat with my Kill Face).

So I breast stroke a few strokes (thanks Spie!), and then proceeded with the swim. I had a few more of these episodes until I calmed down enough to actually start to swim steadily.

And then I got punched – literally punched in the face. So I popped out of the water, looked at the girl (who was paying no attention to me whatsoever) and said, “You know how I am going to punish you? I will beat you.”

And I did – swam right by her and finished before her.

(Okay, in all fairness, she is likely the ONLY girl in my age-group I passed, as I would later discover when I was picking the rest of them off by bike)

My swim time also included the long run to transition, so it actually looks worse then it was (though it’s still pretty bad). And it was definitely slower than what I am capable, but those early moments of “I am going to die out here” and some zigzagging added some time on.

The Bike:
The bike was amazing with a good, moderate course. Although the wind tunnel that started around mile 40ish knocked my confidence down a few pegs, I was still kicking some bike-ass. The bike is also my strength, so I was tearing it up out there, trying to gain some ground. Very uncharacteristically of me, I slowly and steadily picked off almost every female I saw (about three kept getting away from me), especially those that finished before me in the swim in my age group – and got passed by very few (if I read the results correctly, I rode down around 30 girls from my AG). But I wasn’t so much concerned about my overall stats as I was about…..

My Poo Baby was crowning.

The whole ride.

And he was ready to come out like a Holy Terror the size of a grown 16-year-old.

But then he would crawl back up and hang out for a while – like a Braxton Hicks bowel movement. It went on like this for 56 miles.

I tell you – it was an exercise in sheer will just to choke down my Clif Shots with this level of bubble gut.

So you can imagine what the run was like.

The Run:
In addition to the aforementioned blister and a nagging right knee that progressively become more and more painful, I spent and INORDINATE amount of time in the port-o-potty trying to deliver. But nada – nothing, zip, zero, zilch.

And guess what happens when you have a Poo Baby, and then get a Race Food Baby?


It got so bad that there were moments I actually forced myself to walk because I was SURE I was going to be THAT girl who craps herself. You know - like those pictures you see of the guy running to the race finish with his “down” covered in brown?

Finally, at Mile 9, I had enough and took a stand. So I said, “Hey Butt, I’m sick of you playing this cat-and-mouse game with my poopies. So I am now going to ignore you, unless you have something to bring to the table besides farts and cramps.” And I did. Or tried too.

Tried reeeeeeaal hard.

At the 8-mile port-o-potty, I looked in the mirror and noticed a massive line of snot across my right cheek that no doubt happened at some point on the ride (because my face was COVERED in my own snot over the 56 miles). So…yeah. That was great. Eight miles of aid stations witnessing my snotty face.


But for as distressful as my belly made the run, the run was also my best part of the day. I mean, physically, it was the worst, but mentally, it was the best. I was pretty much reduced to a shuffle most of the time, but so very oddly of me, I never cared. I never cursed myself, I never got snippy – I just ran.

I had less then half a mile to go when I felt the first rain drop. As I crossed the finish line, the rain started to pound, and the winds picked up. I remember thinking, “My first tri of the season, my redemption over last year’s failure, and now it’s raining. There should be some sort of symbolism or metaphor here.”

But then I saw a man with a box of peaches.


I got my peaches, sat my ass on the wet ground, in the rain in transition, cried some happy tears, and called my sister. I told her I was okay, and asked to tell the family I was alive.

And that I finished.


So, I didn't have a crew out there this year - just me - so the actual race pictures will have to come from the race photgrapher and will take a few days. So here is some my awesomeness I snapped when I got home.

What I made to eat because I was really too lazy to get anything else out of the fridge- Recovery shake, cold grilled chicken and bbq sauce, and cottage cheese. Bon appitite!
The brownies Devin made me for finishing - 24 hours later, they are just about GONE.
The blister I ran with from Mile 1 though the finishers chute. Yeah, it hurt.
My Twins. The top part of the photo is my regular belly - the bottom part by my hand is my Twim bloat. Now can you see why I was struggling?