Shifting Gears. Or Not:-)

Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.
Theodore Roosevelt

Simple quote from Teddy.  But how this summed up my comical bike ride Saturday.

Saturday I gave myself a chance to see, for real, how hard I’m willing mentally to work for Ironman #6.

Essentially, I spent most of the ride without my big front chain ring, no problem I right? Just some high cadence times and no pushing downhills at all. Still kinda mentally draining but whatevs. Then it happened.  No shifting in the back.  It was stuck on my 11(smallest and hardest).  Eff! I may have said out loud, yeah I swear in times such as these:-)    I was still 25 miles from home. Uphill miles.  Many long climbs, general ups and stupid steep stuff that are always hard even with all systems go.

What to do?  I had the thought that was planted into my brain by the TedXBend talk last week… Ask, what is funny about this?! Everything!

So I now had a fixed gear bike.  As I said on Fb a very fancy fixed gear bike.  Hmm never really imagined riding this route under such a situation.  But I thought it IS funny, it has to be.  Certainly isn’t a REAL problem!

So here it is, I’m going to work hard on the way home, maybe I will even have to get off I don’t know, the other few hundred cyclists on the road on a bluebird Saturday may wonder why I am either spinning, not pedaling or grinding up a hill at 23cad, in sloooow motion…

Every hill I crested I felt both exhilarated and exhausted.  I focused on one at a time. One standing push at a time. Watched my power numbers for fun, watching the fatigue creep in and Max numbers drop lower.  But mile by mile I made it home.  Even after a family of 25, I mean 10, crossed the road at the bottom of the hill I was flying down to get free speed for a good start up the 2nd steepest climb of the day. They saw me, they crossed.  I had to almost stop. Ugh.  Felt a surge of wth at the clueless people who didn’t know or care about my one gear wonderful ride. Then I forgave em.  I pedaled up. It hurt, was slow and I felt victorious.  I was going to make it! Just a few more mildish miles.  I think I used all my happy brain power and way more of my body than normal for a bike ride.

I never called for help, wondered if I should for sure,  but just stayed focused on small tasks to see what I could do.  I did post a statement about my plight on Fb, a moment to vent while I prepared to just keep going lol.

I wonder if I will need to call on this experience again, this proof that I can manage surprise not ideal circumstances. I know I will. Actually thrilled it happened. It’s like a boost to what level I want to train at now.  And yes I learned to keep my shifters charged esp before long rides!

Pharoah the Phancy Phixie at my pondering point

 

Kinda behind on my days, so this is 16 of 50.  Maybe I can catch up with some short n sweet posts.  This week.

Song for ya,  Thistle and Weeds by Mumford, “…plant your hope with good seeds don’t cover yourself with thistle and weeds….I will hold on I will hold on hope”

There’s always hope-If you have taken care of that part of your soul everyday. It will take care of you when stuff gets tough!

Volcano and Bike love.

 

“When life brings you mountains, you don’t waste your time asking why; you spend your time climbing over them.”

AJ Darkholme

img_8599I tend to write more often about running.  Maybe because it is easier to take a photo during a run, and photos are often a moment I can turn into a feeling about running.  Not as easy with a bike though not impossible.  When you are really having a great ride and rolling along, kinda don’t want to lose momentum to stop for a photo or take one while riding.

I’ve been finally training consistently since I took a lot of time off swimming and was inconsistent for a year on the bike.  This spring the body finally feels mostly really good and my mind is recovered from doing 5 ironman races in 3 years.

I have a new bike, after retiring the Biscuit (cervelo p1) who was with me for every race I ever did.  It was bittersweet for sure, but I was ready for an upgrade.  Maybe I just needed an excuse to get excited about pushing the pedals and setting new goals, and a sleek black machine seeemed like just the thing.  Now I 110% know,  any lacking on the bike is 110% the pilot.  With that comes pressure.  I cannot be a slow person on a fast bike.  Nope.  Incentive.

Almost every ride now I feel the subtle weight of that pressure, to come back after a year of piddling, gaining weight, being injured,  to get faster and stronger and healthier than I was before.  But it’s ok, it’s a good feeling.  Early this year as the miles started creeping up on long rides, I was starting to have some worries, wow am I really THAT out of bike shape? ruh roh, my power was decent, but the speed numbers we blah and I could not for the life of me stay in aero without falling off the front of my seat.  Thought I was wimpy and I needed to get better.  Then it kept happening and my fitness was going up but the rides were still slow.  hmmmm.

Time for a bike fit, again…

TIP:  Don’t be a cheapskate and skimp on bike fitting.  I had mine fit when I first got it (affectionately my Pharoah, a Dimond)  Thought it was good really, it matched my other bike fit so… surely it was fine.

We knew I’d maybe need an adjustment as I got in shape, so it quickly became a no brainer to get it fixed if possible, not being able to be aero is kinda bad on a pricey tt bike.  Not sure why I waited 4 months after noticing problems, procrastination is often disguised as “making sure”.

Anywhoo. They (Bowen Sports Performance) overhauled my fit based on a guru fit machine and my recommendations on what felt better at same power output and some wise eyeballing.  Presto, new fit, BIG changes, and miracle of miracles.  I am aero stable again.  I can endure aero again.  I am so freaking happy about this!  because I love aero.  Aero equals feeling fast.  going fast. feeling anchored and focused.  Aero is good.  very good.  My perceived effort now matches my results, and my mental state has skyrocketed.

Thus, when I had to postpone my long bike to today, to let the body absorb extra soreness from the week,  I quickly had a clear plan.  Today I was ready to Climb Mt Bachelor, all the way to the parking lot yes.

I needed to have at least a decent base built over these first few months so I knew I could just ride up steady and happy and come down as fast as possible.  Today was the day.  I left at 6:30 am and had the road to myself mostly, quiet and cold, frost all the way up.  I have to say I love having a power meter.  I didn’t want to do a race effort at all so I kept it around 5-10% under my threshold,  I wanted to feel a hard effort that was sustainable and more than what I typically manage on rollers in the country.

I had such a good ride.  I have to admit it felt really good knowing I was the first up for the day.  The first little cyclist to have Mt Bachelor appear like a friendly giant, the first to pedal until South, Middle and North Sister were revealed over the summit with Broken Top in the morning light.  Every time I go up, it is for THIS.  That view, that coming into view.  Every single time it takes my breath away-  I simply cannot soak it up into my being enough.

img_8606

From my house to the head of the parking lot at the ski area is about 25 miles.  3050 climbing.  On the way down there is about 600 more climbing and some nice flat to hold onto tempo as long as possible.  Oh Oh, and in the early morning, no one is coming down the highway in a car with you… only going up to ski!  It is a beautiful time of day to enjoy the Cascade Lakes Hwy.  It’s always great with big wide smooth shoulders, but still, no one is better than some or many.   So get up and get out the door when you go!  Who needs warmth of midday sun? bundle and go and you won’t regret it.  Too many times we wait for perfect conditions.  I say MAKE them perfect.  Be cold, wet, hot, whatever, there is a way to prepare for most of it.   Once you are out there,  when others are not, that little extra something does something for your inner badassery belief level.  So I Highly recommend not only dealing with what ya got, but don’t even whine a lick about it.  Revel in it.

That’s my message for the day I reckon:)

So here we are Day 3 of my 50 day challenge.   And I have another song for ya inspired by the beloved volcanos we are drawn to daily.   Young Volcanoes by Fall Out Boy.  Get it, YOUNG (my last name) and volcanoes.. heehee.  ahh I’m a dork.

…it’s all over now before it has begun, we’ve already won, we are wild, we are like Young Volcanoes… 

To become a mountain goat, runner of Mountains, seeker of new Heights

“Mountains are not Stadiums where I satisfy my ambition to achieve, they are the cathedrals where I practice my religion.”
― Anatoli Boukreev“

11054790_10153382073778328_3180277645716758227_n

Broken Top as seen from Green Lakes, turnaround point of my run today

There has been a large lull in my writing.  As glorious of a year as it has been living and growing and learning and thriving in Bend, there have also been some challenges to work through that at at times consumed me, and even left me unable to do what I love, namely running and triathlon.  When your body doesn’t want to let you perform, along with the mental downward spiral that can go with that, well… I surely wasn’t in a place to write.  On a daily basis I found the lovliness in my life to hold onto, abandoned self pity and used all my tricks to get to the next step in getting back to me.  I’ve learned so much about other people struggling daily with real problems much more serious than any discomforts I was facing.  I learned compassion I don’t think I’ve had before, as I tried to talk to myself like I would to a friend, but that is easier said than done. Now I have a better understanding of how anyone else on any given day might not be able to just “snap out of it”.

I fill my day with gratitude for so many things, but even that at times isn’t quite enough to cover that feeling that you aren’t yourself, or at least not getting to do the things I defined my “self” as.  I learned to be patient with me, be patient with my energy, my goals, shoot, I even stopped making any goals whatsover, just do the day, look at my kids, as in really SEE them, enjoy the house, take pictures anywhere and everywhere I went, share beautiful things with people I’m only connected to anymore via this silly computer.  Open up to new friends.  I found a dear friend to share life with, our families with, one I can escape to the woods with and just be me, and our kids and husbands feel the same,  April, my Utah transplant who has my heart.  So thankful for the forced “break” that let me do that, gave me space and time to take time to share that part of me and us.  So It has to be a great thing, coming from years of so much focus on achieving big milestones, maybe it was just the thing I needed.  Maybe it was perfect timing, maybe it was the lack of frenzied focus I could use really tune into what was calling me again, not just do what I do because that’s what I do?

A friend told me also that this first year after a move was a BIG adjustment.  I don’t think I fully ever gave it credit…Shoot, Had we even given the year 2013 credit? 2014 was a delicious cake walk compared!   The list of things that happened in that one year alone… huh. I may need a post about that!   We just stepped right into an amazing new life, got going and haven’t looked back.  Not realizing maybe the actual drain that it had taken? Once I acknowledged that, and decided this entire spring, was perfect.  And now I feel free, and now somehow my body is cooperating again, coincidence? hmm:-)

One thing for sure that has awakened me, (not from enjoying this gift of Central Oregon, which is impossible to not be in awe that WE LIVE HERE!!!!)  but back into my nature as an athlete and teacher of sorts, is a friend literally jumping into triathlon, tackling a new challenge and piece of it each day, flying in the face of her comfort zone of running, learning what she can to do her first Olympic tri in less than a month from now!   Running is a lifelong gift for her, that she has most definitely embraced and shared and challenged herself with, and used it to parallel life and motherhood. She’s helped countless others with her stories and musings on life as a mom and wife and athlete. (If you don’t already, you need to follow her blog, Runninghood, always entertaining, always real, and from the heart and always gives me perspective with my own family and endeavors (and btw totally responsible for getting me to write again)

Watching Amanda abandon that comfort zone,  freely do the uncomfortable and humbly seek help, has really renewed my sense of passion for swim bike and run, and inspired me to do things I typically avoid. like RUN mountains ha. (camping and hiking is a different world, physical yes, but not the same) We share an understanding of wanting to openly share who we are whether or not anyone cares lol, at the same time as just wanting to live as much life as we can possibly squeeze in, and I can’t wait to see how we move forward in our new lives here, how our kids find themselves, and I’m assuming, will become great friends once they go on a few adventures together.

148746_10153382105208328_1966322517949578661_n

signs are everywhere

So today I ran a trail that I had only previously hiked and trudged and done short attempts in the snow.  It is a trail that is a moderately challenging hike, with great footing on the well worn trail, with many parts that are a tiring at a walk.  For a year I’ve seen photos and heard about runners running it routinely, even loops of it, so it has been on my list as a “run to do”. Still, with all of these trails around here, I’ve never run any of them that are a pretty much constant upward grind into alpine territory. So I’ve hesitated, certainly not wanting to run it with anyone who knows what they’re doing.  And I know, if I ever want to do any of the real mountain races or ultras, well, I need to become a mountain goat of sorts.  Shoot, I don’t care if I even race, I just want to be up there, where most people don’t want to go on their own feet.

11425243_10153382105098328_1032417777677611877_n

Creek flowing down from Green Lake beside an Obsidian lava flow. Yeah it’s not bad

So Cheesy but So in love with being out here

So Cheesy but So in love with being out here

When I looked at the Garmin results, and saw 1325 feet of climbing, not including about 10 it missed when i had shut off, I was happy, as I don’t think I’ve ever RUN that much climbing before.  Then I realized, some of my friends get in 10-20,000 on a training day lol.   Of course I don’t need that for what I want to do, but dang, and ouch.  Ok ok, I’ll stop comparing, I’m happy with that and it’s just the beginning!  And I did it with hacking chest congestion and allergy nose, so I am excited to see what I can do with full access to my lungs.

It’s just the beginning, because my piriformis/sciatica felt fine until about last 2 miles of 9, and then it was very subtle. Yesterday’s 5 mile run I didn’t feel it at all. After really bad week of self pity a bit ago,  I’ve really upped my game in self care/rehab with everything I can think to do mobility, smashing and strength and activation to combat the nagging pain I’ve had to run with for almost 2 years.  So hopefully it isn’t a fluke, hopefully it is a result of my diligence, if so I can keep at it.

One thing I do know, I’m going to STOP being jealous of people doing more than I can right now,  I’m going to focus on my cans,  I CAN BIKE, I CAN SWIM, I CAN RUN (some) and I CAN CLIMB and I CAN BREATHE, and I CAN SMILE and I CAN SHARE. and thanks to my mahvelous iphone6, I can document what I see along the way.

South Sister. I cannot explain how much this mountain stirs my soul!  Seriously.

South Sister. I cannot explain how much this mountain stirs my soul! Seriously.

Ironman is just Silly

“How ridiculous and how strange to be surprised at anything which happens in life”
Marcus Aurelius

Yes when I think about it, it kinda makes me chuckle, how serious we take it using words like determined, challenge, goals, focus, grit, guts, tough, pain, perseverence, and on and on.  How about silly?!

We train and train and set goals and plan as if setting off to a real war, of course this is not a war.   On this fine day in Arizona looking at a brilliant sunrise over the water with bridges lined with people and twinkle lights, people are serious, focused, worried, scared, many eager and emotional and happy thank goodness.  Then we go and thrash and mash, in fact I was more smashed and mashed so people could “beat” me or “beat” their best, than any IM I’ve done so far.  I too was getting frustrated and annoyed and didn’t let many giggles enter my heart for those 2.4 miles. My ambition for a best time let serious seep in and hide the silliness of the whole reality of the scene maybe if I had felt a little more goofy I would have found holes to swim through and swim the speed I wanted, but I didn’t and so I didn’t.

Climbing out of the never ending swim for our lives, I slipped and smashed my toe on the stairs, of course I did.  Why not, Ironman is a silly trickster after all right?!  I didn’t realize it was broken until the med tent later this fine day.  It hurt but it should when you do smash it and put bike shoes right on.  It is not life and death, it is a hurt toe. A hurt toe in a silly race I now get to ride 112 miles on my bike in.

Windward Fun I’ve been ‘determined’ to have an incredible bike, this year after training at some altitude and mountains, the bike course was going to be ‘dominated’ by me.  Again how silly of me to think this way.  The winds did not wait until mid morning. they started in earnest on lap one, headwind up to 30-40mph gusts all the way out to the turnaround.  We all hunkered down in our little lines and tried to pass people in our quest to be super fast lol… How funny I bet it looks from above, all this effort, discomfort. But boy what scary fun it was coming back with a tailwind and slight downhill!  In case you were starting to have too much fun here, the crosswind gusts would play with you, threaten to dump you on your rear and did completely topple and injure and end the day of many cyclists. I think you had to embrace the wind, play and dance with it or you totally did not have a fun silly Ironman experience. So as much as I was slower than on my previous less windy attempt, I came in off the bike in 10th place in my age group. A perfect spot for me with a marathon to go.

My transitions were WAY faster than last time with my serious focus on getting outta there… 6 min total  T1/T2 time improvement.  No way was I going to dilly dally in this silly Ironman sitting on a chair, NOT going towards the finish line!  I set about to run my run all day pace, one that would put me near or below 4 hr pace.  For some reason though I wasn’t as smiley as I usually am, I had a goal of doing well so I had to focus!  I did hi five a line of little kids, that was about the extent of exuberance I could muster.  Hamstring/sciatic was getting tighter by the step, of course I knew it would, silly of me to thing otherwise lol.

10171791_10152829781863328_964464734026447704_n

Mile 4 Running toward my friends Tunnel

I was NOT going to let it get the best of me though.  So I ran and ran. until I had to throw up.  Right as I was entering mile 15, and a mile long section of fans who were trying to support me with all the silliness they could manage, the lump in my throat and stomach knotted up.  All I could think was don’t throw up on the people. Not here, not now!  Then our fans, my friends and husband, ok REALLY not now!! I don’t think I even smiled? I just tried to keep it in, and run to an empty spot on the trail. Commence dry heaves.  This is where you really think how comical this all is.  I mean seriously.  Training is never like this.  Training is rainbows and butterflies for real for me. I LOVE TRAINING!  This race is just SILLY!

At that point I hear I am in 7th place- What?! so I have to try.  I cannot do my usual run/walk. That just wouldn’t do, to miss a kona spot because I got wimpy after all this ridiculousness.  So I only ran.  Unless I was stopped lol. I stopped for porta potty for the tummy, I stopped to gag, nothing in my stomach to release, just blech.  Surely some girls passed me then, if I had seen them would I have kept going?  They wear their totally ridiculous calf sleeves that cover their age group so I had no idea if I should catch em.  But silly me I should try anyway right?! My mouth is white with tums.. I probably ate 30 during the race… My lips parched and cracking, I even thought about Patrick’s trick of using ear wax, ew!!!  In Arizona, you run in the dark after 9-10 hr mark I think. So It was dark by now, goal of breaking 11 hrs gone.  I ran by the Go Mitch Go tent near the finish, and they yelled I could still PR.  NO I Can’t I yelled back.  I was already at the time, would be a few minutes over.  But I still didn’t know where I was overall so I ran and it hurt, I couldn’t run too hard because you just really don’t want to throw up in the finish chute.  Like REALLY don’t want to do that and I was very much there still.

Finish line is typical wonderful, no pain zone, a why didn’t I run like this all the way zone. But when I came across, boy was I DONE.  Like no other time before.  I was woozy dizzy and just not well.  I got to go to the med tent where my bp was 80/50, so happy day I got to get fluids!  This is the goal of every Ironman racer lol.  Fluids equal faster recovery!  Faster time to be able to eat mounds of food. and sleep well and on and on.  So I am grateful to the staff who took care of my pale low BP self. This is where I saw THE TOE.  I asked to take a peek, cuz it felt like I had a scrape or bad blister all day. Well it was bent and swollen and purple.  Thank goodness it wasn’t a more useful toe. Now patrick can make fun of my toes even more:-)  In the end I was 11th in my age group, Improved by 6 places over 2 years ago with much more drama to deal with. So I’ll take it, kinda have to:)

Silly thing is, we ALL were having silly ridiculous days out there. I had so many friends there who had spent an entire year training and fundraising for Go Mitch Go, most doing their first IM, having their own wonderfully awful days…The day of days they had waited for, I so wanted to chat with each one and see how it was compared to their visions, better worse, etc.  I could easily have picked a few and just stayed with em till the end, so magical is the first finish!

I was not the only one with gut issues, foot issues, hamstring issues and way way worse.  But for some reason we all keep going on as if we really have to. Really we don’t ha. Still not sure why I do these.  I love the training.  I love suffering race day and seeing if I can out suffer myself and some of my competitors.  I don’t have to prove anything, especially after the first one.  I know Ironman is something anyone can do. If you can tolerate all the silliness the day brings.  I guess I do it now to see if I can perfect it. Find that balance of happy and fun and focus and effort.  To show others there are things out there that look so hard that are so in your grasp, to not be afraid.

Go Mitch GO!!

The Go Mitch Go Team from Austin and OKC Raised $200,000!

So many brave tough adventurers out there.  I see people at the top of menacing mountains, because they climbed in the snow with their skis on their backs just to fly down and be done.  That amazes me, but not enough to want to do it.  I see people so strong and limber and brave they free climb cliffs and dangle, or ride mountain bikes at insane speeds down wild trails and obstacles.  They prove to me there is so much so so much to do if you want it. And all of it is silly,  these things we can do for a thrill, to enjoy and maximize our life experience.  All of us wee people on this magnificent earth seeking and pushing limits just fascinate me. How cool it is to have ANY opportunity we want to see what is possible. Ironman is not the pinnacle of that by any means, just one of the many options in our pretty humorous human experience.  I say we should all do something brave, silly, hard, fun, courageous, scary…  It is our job to give God a good show.

Ironman Readiness

“There are two things we should always be 1. raw and 2. ready. When you are raw, you are always ready and when you are ready you usually realize that you are raw. Waiting for perfection is not an answer, one cannot say “I will be ready when I am perfect” because then you will never be ready, rather one must say “I am raw and I am ready just like this right now, how and who I am.”
―C.JoyBell C.

I am 11 days from Ironman #5.

11 days from testing my readiness.

11 days from experiencing a true and complete exhaustion, exhileration and relief.

Every single Ironman I have trained for has had it’s own unique challenges, each I have felt a different level of readiness, and in fact come into them a different person than I come in now.

Number 1, the first, the only first you get, the magnificent glory of doing the work and following a plan with the total unknowing if it was going to work!  The mystery and awe of the day filled me with so much emotion for months, inspired me to start this blog.  The day was full of portapotty time and a wee bit o misery.  But it never crossed my mind I couldn’t/wouldn’t finished once I started that day.  Not losing my ability to hi-five volunteers and chuckle at what I had done to myself by even entering helped me cross the line.  Finishing it was the victory, as it should be for the first.

Number 2, was a year later on my home turf, with friends and familiar roads and paths, was a quiet preparation, the knowing was there, confidence and comfort and fun with dozens of friends along side was truly special.  It was a real struggle also, almost a full marathon walked after coming in off the bike in 2nd place… breathing and nausea issues would give me new lessons for future races.

Number 3 was 8 weeks later, big hopes because of the walkathon I had just experienced, and it was on familiar ground, familiar because it was Tempe AZ where I had gone to college.  Had a solid race, free of any significant issue and a PR, but still much more walking than I wanted.  It is definitely a course to do very well on if you get your act together:-)

Number 4 was 6 weeks after a dear friend and training partner in our group of 5 was killed on his bike on one of our training 100milers.  To say we were “ready” for this race… well, not sure any of us were ready… Mentally or physically. Things changed, our hearts changed.  We had a new reason to do this Ironman once we knew we were going ahead with it.   Gone were goals and worries about the perfect taper etc. Perspective shift big time.  Tahoe will always be special, an emotional roller coaster that I never wish on anyone, but one that is a huge part of my soul.

Number 5 is coming,  IMAZ again.  First time to do a course twice.  This time, after a major family life change, moving to a training mecca outdoor wonderland in Bend Oregon.  Once the settling in and rhythm was set this summer, training was the best I think I have ever had, overall at least.  Improvements mostly bike related, run has had issues with back and sciatic entire time but I believe has made me stronger. Calm and focused on having a breakthrough race.

I look back on all the races, mostly a blur, they are done and I’ve moved on, I think.  But I realize I carry little expectations for the next one with me each time.  Like NEXT time I will Look as fit as I feel. NEXT time I will lose that extra 10lbs that I didn’t have in my first one, NEXT time I will swim a ton more, NEXT time I will hit every interval and session with intent and dedication, do more this and that.  It annoys me that I get annoyed at the extra layer of “fuel” I have over my body lol. Especially now, we live in an amazing place for food and enjoying a fine glass of wine, and I should not regret the indulgences that don’t align with my picture of myself as an athlete.  They are in fact part of the rest of me, the family, friend, wife me.  Just wanted to share that, because I know many of us struggle with it on some level. And it is absurd that should ever cross my mind, but yep it does.

I am not perfect, but I am ready…. I am not perfect, but I am perfectly ready.  I am stronger than I have ever been, at times I feel like a machine, and I think for this phase of the game that means I am ready.  I am ready to be raw on race day… To be all that I have wanted to be in the 4 races before, to be all that I was in the 4 races before, and to be ME on race day.

Jumping Anyway.

“I have come to accept the feeling of not knowing where I am going. And I have trained myself to love it. Because it is only when we are suspended in mid-air with no landing in sight, that we force our wings to unravel and alas begin our flight. And as we fly, we still may not know where we are going to. But the miracle is in the unfolding of the wings. You may not know where you’re going, but you know that so long as you spread your wings, the winds will carry you.”
― C.JoyBell C

South Sister Climb

The view is worth it! Keep Climbing!

Now that we are here in Bend, there is a sense of accomplishment and comfort, knowing we have landed exactly where we were meant to be.  Of course, I have confirmational bias… I look for and see proof EVERYWHERE.  You do surely get what you expect and what you are looking for.  Ever notice a piece of litter, get annoyed and suddenly you might as well be living in a trashpit? (maybe that is just me lol) That is one reason I insist people STOP looking for the sad and bad stories in general, not to lose touch with the ability to be empathetic and offer support and ideas when needed, but because it seriously will expand into your world so that is ALL YOU SEE Believe and KNOW. 

Ok I digress, but it really is a hot topic with me to change peoples perspectives, from negativity or woe is me or victimhood or excuses, to one of gratitude, hope, seeing good and more good, and watching that flourish in their lives.

So my point was, that we have landed right where we wanted, but not where we ever imagined or planned even just a few years ago.  Now we are moving on to the Now What’s (cute little guys if I do say so myself)  Many things I’ve not been afraid to jump into, didn’t need proof for, things like Arbonne, triathlon, marathons, raising a family, starting our own vet business, fundraising and so on.  Ok well maybe in hindsight I can say that.  YES I had NO IDEA what would happen with any of those, but I/we did it anyway, no experience,  not knowing the outcome, but only through jumping off the ledge could we soar!  I believe we need to constantly find those ledges and jump off.  All summer I’ve been looking for a new ledge:-)  Think I have found it and I have no clue what I am doing.  But I do have proof that I never died from any previous jumps, they only led me to more wonderful, at least interesting things.  So I am taking that with me as I jump into a new world. Thinking podcasting and beyond…. So excited and scared and looking forward to the madness and fun that will come of it!  It will be called “BENDing Perspective”.  I will keep you posted:-) Are you on a ledge right now, just waiting? need a push?  a safety net? Let me know if there is anything I can do to get you off and soaring!

3 (Not Scientifically) Proven Ways to Get Faster

…”no matter – tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther. . .” F. Scott Fitzgerald

Will keep this brief, since my goal is to offer you brief nuggets you can take and use to improve speed of the most important kind.  Running and Cycling.

1. The Time Crunch:  DO NOT leave enough time to do your session, run or bike.  Schedule some appointment daily, can even be the daily pickup/kid drop off kind of schedule.  Get yourself ready, bike, shoes, whatever it is you may require, be ready to go.  Now, do not go yet.  Still not yet.  How long do you think it will take?  2 hours?  Need to be somewhere by 10am? Okie dok, do not leave until 8:15 or 8:20, run or ride the same exact distance you were planning.  At the halfway point you may realize you are going to be late. No worries, just go HARD all the way home. You can do it!  Boom, you have just set a PR from point a to b and are now faster.

2. The Weather Threat:  very similar to #1.   First, do not look at weather forecast.  This one works best by looking outside.  When you see dark clouds you can get ready to go.  When you smell rain and hear thunder go ahead and start. Now ride or run TOWARDS or minimum along the edge of the darkest part.  Have an hour run? You guessed it, run your 30 min towards the storm. DO NOT CHICKEN OUT!  for this to work you need to commit.  Successfully making it towards halfway point while other wimpies are high tailing it home makes you some sort of something special, sure some may say stupid? maybe, but on your way home, at full speed not knowing where or when the sky is about to open, you WILL BE FASTER.  one seriously good interval of intense focus. Repeat as often as mother nature allows.

3.  The Chase and Tag:  This works great when you spy a draft group on a bike, but can be equally useful on the run.  Chase them down, simple, take your aim, and go.  You can get creative and give yourself points for passes, based on type of participant you just passed.  Pass the kid on the single speed, ok you can have a point… but Pass a Pro? hmm that is a lot of points.  No one needs to know that they were at the end of a 4 hr mountain day and you were just starting, you passed em, points for you! DISCLAIMER: I am not admitting to anything.  Oh yes, an important tip for this one is to be especially cordial and calm when passing.  a simple Howdy, how are you, have a great run, etc.. are a nice way to distract them from your true intentions;-)

Hope this helps your training when intervals by the clock aren’t enough.  Any other fun ways you have”proven” work to make you faster?

the Great Shower debate

SwimBikeRunEatSleep

SwimBikeRunEatSleep&????

“Better keep yourself clean and bright; you are the window through which you must see the world.”  George Bernard Shaw

I’m sitting in the dentist office with my two girls, waiting for their appointment.  It is cold outside, so I get to wear a sweater, boots, jeans, big coat and ear warmers, aka my disguise.  All of this serves as great cover, almost might divert attention from the recent sweatfest on my bike in the warm house, and in a hurry to get out the door, just layered on new clothes, dabbed a little makeup on to hide the blotchy red sweatface and off I go.  No, that is not freshly washed wet hair, it is sweathair.  Hard to tell the difference eh?  Ok maybe not, maybe everyone knows by now after years of this stay and work and workout at home life I lead, that I am rarely put together in any sort of form that most “girls” would be proud of.   So, funny that I should read an article while waiting about working from home, and the pitfalls (in this guys’s case, not shaving, looking scraggly, not showering…thinking no one notices)  Got me thinking.

Not sure how I fell down this slippery slope.  I remember when I started Arbonne, it was great to get out of mom clothes and dress nice and style my hair and wear makeup that wouldn’t be smeared off in a minute and feel “normal”, and not like a milk cow.  I rarely would go anywhere without properly putting some effort into the shell the world sees.   I admit it felt good, and I did walk around with a certain extra confidence, even if the high heels I always wore weren’t so cozy, they were who I was, then.

I started doing more work only from home over the last several years, mainly to support my hours training for triathlon, only venturing to town for obligatory errands and kids activities.  Except now, I was almost always in workout clothes, or just changed, still sweaty, dried sweat, no makeup, hair in ponytail. Same ponytail. You know the one:-)  I tell myself I should go ahead and get on my horse now too, since I’m already not trying to put on any sort of airs of cleanliness anymore!

I do enjoy and promote the benefits of working at home, not having to decide what to wear and fix the hair and such, we stay at home/work at home moms surely have the freedom.  Just not sure that I shouldn’t put in a TAD more effort?!  I admire the moms who are put together, have some sense of style and obviously make an effort.  I think their husbands must appreciate it.  I know mine does when I try a little!  But why go through all that when in a few hours I’m going to be in the pool or running or biking again? WHY??!! It’s the daily question.  I promise though I do occasionally shower, whether I need it or not;-)  Sometimes a bath that is beneficial for training recovery.

So when you see me, you know I HAVE thought about it, and most likely have another sweat session coming, so I opted out of giving a darn, again.   When you see me with all my hairs did, and my “face” on, you know it is either a Recovery Day or I only had one workout and got done early enough to justify the effort.   I may try an experiment for the next week or so, see if I can get that Corie back, and the habit and expectation… I guess it’s not the worst thing if I don’t,  my confidence comes from somewhere else now, I’m just curious if I can blend the two Corie’s….

No Matter What it Takes- A Very Long Tahoe Ironman Recap

“You may not remember the time you let me go first.
Or the time you dropped back to tell me it wasn’t that far to go.
Or the time you waited at the crossroads for me to catch up.
You may not remember any of those, but I do and this is what I have to say to you:
Today, no matter what it takes,
we ride home together.”
― Brian Andreas

Ironman Lake Tahoe recap begins 15 months ago, mid July 2012.  Patrick and I had become Ironmen at Wisconsin and Arizona in 2011 &  I was signed up and training for 2 more, in Oklahoma and Arizona that fall.  The day the announcement was made that Lake Tahoe was to be the location for an Ironman, an immediate text and phone flurry commenced among our IronFamily triathlete friends.  Raynee Toles also became an Ironman that year in Texas, and would be supporting her husband Chance in his first full at Redman that fall.  Shelley Coleman was going to finish her first Full at Redman that fall and her husband Tommy was about to sign up for his first full with the rest of us, supported by Shelley, in the already iconic just in pictures alone, Lake Tahoe Ironman.  3 Families, 5 adults racing, 6 kids who are all triathletes on the same youth tri team ages 7-11, an Iron Nana sherpa, an IronMom sherpa, and the Toles’ sis and bro in law.   One giant dream house booked in Squaw valley, a mile from the finish line would hold all 15 of us for the dream vacation and supreme athletic event.   We commenced calling ourselves the Tahoe Dream Team, and kept each other inspired and laughing on our FB group page.

Image

Tahoe Dream Team, May 2013
Patrick, Chance, Raynee, Corie, Shelley, Tommy

I won’t go into details of the training, but pretty much 6 days a week at the start of the year, we were doing something to get us closer to the finish line.  A little racing, some casual bricks, and bike rides together, lots of swimming together at the Y, and monthly family bbq to discuss “the plans”… the altitude, the mountains, etc etc.

Spring Break in Bend, OR, I ruptured a ligament in my thumb doing something I am not good at, skiing.  Surgery and cast pretty much derailed much of the swimming progress I had made, and took me out of some spring races, though I did manage one sprint in a cast, a great weekend the Tahoe Dream team traveled to together, so our kids could race one day and us the next.

Summer was spent training in Oklahoma heat, though it was a welcome break from past years, more rain and cooler.  Patrick and I had our only test late June at a 72.3 in Bend, the climbs at some altitude foreshadowed how hard Tahoe was going to be for sure!   My family also traveled to Colorado and got to ride at altitude and some climbing, not enough to call it training, but good for the experience and to know it could be done.  During this time, our dear yellow lab Donut was hit by a car, and our family devastated, with a huge hole of sadness and loss, miss her sweet face.

The days move on and Everyone of us was ready for the peak of our long training, ready for August, biggie month.  Ready for the challenge of it but also to be on the other side of it.  I remember doing a LONG swim next to Chance August 9, comforted to be swimming and swimming for an hour plus beside a friend who was facing the exact same training and race I was.

Image

The Team at Spin Your Wheels, August 2013
Chance, Raynee, Corie, Patrick, (friend Janna), Shelley and Tommy

August 10, changed the plan.  We all entered a charity 100 mile bike ride, Spin Your Wheels, it was great timing to have a supported training day with the Team together.  During the first 50 miles we were together in pieces on and off, Chance and Raynee ahead of us at the turn around, but they waited.  There we all managed to hook up – facing a strong headwind home, we took turns pulling the line.  We all most benefited when Chance, as strong cyclist was in front, letting us grab his wheel, As we approached the final 10 miles, the group splintered and Raynee and I got ahead a few miles, assuming all would be ok behind us (but always in the back of your mind it may not be)  We finished at noon, heard the noon sirens and got a call from Shelley, to please call back NOW.  Instantly you know it is not good, they were all still riding behind us and should not be calling.  The next 2 hours, were the hours we lost Chance.  He had been hit by a truck and boat trailer in the final 2 miles of the ride, just ahead of Tommy and Shelley, and then Patrick.  They and first responders tried to save him, and he made it to the hospital with Raynee by his side.  Truly no words can express what had just happened, what we saw and felt and heard.  He was without pain and free of this world within the hour.   Our strong 36 yr old friend and partner was gone in an instant, and we had our other friend left with her world upside down.

No bike ride was the same, in fact, worry and fear that it could happen to us is probably forever in our minds.  Another good friend was also hit in a training ride with us the year before, and was beyond lucky to survive a 65mph impact from behind. So we all have had it in our minds, a reason to be cautious and aware, and start more actively promoting awareness to drivers and cyclists alike.

No run was the same.  It is easy for me to cry on a run.  I cry for Raynee, her pain is something we cannot fix, and there is never going to be the right thing to say.  Her strength is beyond comprehension, as through her grief, she encouraged and cheered us on – wanting us to continue our Tahoe training.  We all muddled through, at times felt great, we are doing the right thing, Chance would want us to, and at times just wanting to not try, to feel the overwhelming loss completely.

We launched a fundraiser to fund Pasley’s education, and were just amazed at the generosity of the community and strangers.  The messages were so heartfelt and really helpful to all of us.  We started a foundation in memory of Chance, based on Chance’s easy willing way to help anyone he knew without question or thanks needed. It is called The Grab My Wheel Foundation.  We want to promote awareness, safety, help families affected by accidents on the road, and share the mantra of Grab My Wheel, help those who need it to get through a rough patch, as he did for us.

Focusing on this new mission gave us some excitement and eagerness to get to Tahoe, and share the story, but also to go ahead and finish the job we started.  We knew we would need Chance along the 140.6 miles, and we also had Raynee in our corner every second from afar, our champion, our pillar of beauty and Ironmom, a friend for all time.

Image

Chance makes every bike with us.

Image

The Colemans finished most of their training rides on trainers inside their house, we continued on our relatively safe roads, but tried to stick together, not venturing out alone.  Every time saying goodbye to the kids wondered, did I say it enough?  My running was sidelined, perhaps to give me time to focus on the Grab My Wheel foundation more in the final weeks.  I had 18 days of no running in September, some strange tendonitis type injury outside calf.  Focus was on getting my entire right side healthy, and a week before the race, I could run again, no pain.  With the way this summer had gone, while I always want to have a good enough race to qualify for the elusive Kona slot, I could honestly say, the chances of it this race, this time were dropping, not impossible, but not the primary purpose at all anymore.

We rallied and friends new and old were wearing Chance’s bib number that Ironman assigned, in tattoos on our faces arms and hands.  We shared tears with strangers we told the story to in Ironman village and cried with Ironman Athlete services as we collected the gear for Chance and Raynee.  But it was not like we were all sad, the sad deep emotion part will always be part of us, but the happy living part was just made so much more important.  We wanted to live and experience and love and try, and hurt and suffer and enjoy and celebrate.  That realization we have all started to come to the week of Tahoe. Surrounded by perfect air, perfect mountains and enormous trees and a lake that defies description, Chance wasn’t missing anything, he was THERE. everywhere.

So I know you are wanting some race info soon, I just felt I had to give some back story.  I know everyone has one, that’s what is so great about coming together at a pinnacle event Iike Ironman, every face you see has a story, some that will break your heart, some that are hysterical, some that are awe inspiring but all unique and the same, no journey was simple or easy.  It seems cliche to say the victory in Ironman is getting to the start, but it really is true.  Finishing an Ironman is icing.

Image

Twas the day before Ironman….

Image

Martis Camp, gorgeous, before we REALLY climbed.

Image

Waves, huge rolling swells day before race

Image

Cold little race bags tucked in for the night

The day before the race was cold.  Like really cold. and Rainy, and really rainy.  and WINDY. Big waves on the water. We stalled taking the bikes and bags to the Swim start, knowing it would all be in the rain for awhile.  Still, as we dropped everything with the crowds, there was an amazing energy.  So much unknown to come, More

Really believing…

“Get away from what is realistic and consider the seemingly impossible possiblities.  Stop asking what a good goal would be and start asking God what your most magnificent goal should and could be.”

Tommy Newberry

Do I think God believes my most magnificent goal should be qualifying for Kona?  No, but I do think it is one of the goals I should accomplish on the way to seeing the bigger goals He has in store for me that I have yet to be totally clear on.  I don’t think we have just ONE ultimate goal. More

Previous Older Entries

%d bloggers like this: