Thursday, December 30, 2010

Something Funny

They say humor is based on truth. Sadly, I am familiar with everything listed below.






This is what Jeff Foxworthy has to say about Cleveland:

If your Dairy Queen is closed from September through May,you live in Cleveland.

If someone in a Home Depot store offers you assistance and they don't work there,you live in Cleveland.

If you've worn shorts and a parka at the same time,you live in Cleveland.

If you've had a lengthy telephone conversation with someone who dialed a wrong number, you live in Cleveland.

If "Vacation" means going anywhere south of I-90 for the weekend,you live in Cleveland.

If you measure distance in hours, you live in Cleveland.

If you have switched from "heat" to "A/C" in the same day and back again, you live in Cleveland.

If you can drive 75 mph through 2 feet of snow during a raging blizzard without flinching, you live in Cleveland.

If you carry jumpers in your car and your wife knows how to use them, you live in Cleveland.

If you design your kid's Halloween costume to fit over a snowsuit, you live in Cleveland.

If the speed limit on the highway is 55 mph -- you're going 80 and everybody is passing you, you live in Cleveland.

If driving is better in the winter because the potholes are filled with snow, you live in Cleveland.

If you know all 4 seasons: almost winter, winter, still winter and road construction, you live in Cleveland.

If you have more miles on your snow blower than your car, you live in Cleveland.

If you find 10 degrees "a little chilly", you live in Cleveland.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Look Back and a Look Ahead

Given that all the networks and cable channels are rolling out their countdown lists and ‘year in review’ shows, now seems like a good time to knock out my ‘year in review/year ahead’ post.

2010: The Year In Review

I started the year off with serious pain in my neck. I discovered I don’t like taking medicine that just masks the pain. I’d rather solve the problem. My search led me from my medical doctor to the physical therapist to my final solution – the chiropractor. Dr. Christian is awesome and without her I don’t think I could have made it to the beginning of any triathlon let alone the end.

I worked on swimming most during my training because I did not learn to swim until I was 40 and my greatest fear was not making the cutoff of the Rev3 half iron triathlon. I felt it would be the best investment of my time. I learned to breathe bilaterally and got rid of my goofy frog leg kick and replaced it with the more efficient flutter kick. The payoff: I made the cutoff time in every triathlon I did.

I learned how to use clipless pedals. However this did not come easily or without the spilling of blood. This was probably the hardest thing I had to learn because it seemed so unnatural at first. I realized the pedals that came with my bike were not well suited for me so I bought new ones – Look Keo pedals. After that – smooth sailing. (well mostly)

I learned that training steadily and harder will yield results. I shaved almost half an hour off my finish time of the Pirate Triathlon from 2009 to 2010. It thrilled me to no end.

I learned that I can set what seems like an impossible goal and by having just a few people believe in you I can achieve that goal. I’ve said it a million times – my athletic skills are less than average. But I never let a silly thing like that get in my way. I still improved the skills that I have by training diligently. I did what I set out to do: I finished the REV3 half iron distance triathlon. Not only that – I did not finish last. Wow. I could not believe that one.

I discovered a support network both locally and virtually. That network runs much deeper and wider than I could ever have imagined. Thank you to everyone who helped me.

2011: A Look Ahead

What do you do once you’ve achieved your goals? Make new ones of course. I’ve outlined a few goals for next year and I’m sharing them with you, as always, to help hold myself accountable.

1) Take swimming lessons and improve my form. I’m assuming that simple act will shave time off my swim.

2) Do more hill training on my bike. My training course was pretty flat but many races I did in 2010 had some challenging hills. Question: How does one get better climbing hills on a bike? Answer: Do more hill training. DUH – ya think?

3) Focus more on running. I did not do that in 2010. Mostly because if I didn’t make it past the swim – I would not be running. Now that my mind is in the right place about swimming (meaning I now know I can do it in the allotted time) I can spend more time improving my running. My husband’s analogy – it is like a golfer who spends all his time practicing driving and chipping and no time putting. It does not make for a well rounded athlete.

4) I’m sort of afraid to put this one out there – mostly because I haven’t decided yet if I’m going to do this one again – but here goes: Improve my time at the Rev3 half iron triathlon. Whew.

So get ready for another year of triathlon hijinks. Enjoy and Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Triathlon wish list to Santa

I’m now officially signed up for the Philadelphia Insurance Triathlon in June. I’ve also signed up for the Cleveland Half Marathon in May. But other than that, I’m still at a loss as to what I will be doing next season. This wreaks havoc on my training – especially this time of year when all I’ve been doing lately is baking cookies.

One thing I do plan on doing is taking swimming lessons. I know I’ve been saying that since last year – but honestly I did try last year but it never worked out. Every time I set something up with someone, they cancelled on me. Bummer. I’m sure once my technique improves, I will be able to knock some time off my swim.

Now that I’m on vacation, I can spend a little extra time at the gym when I’m there to swim. I’m hoping to add two days a week of strength training. I’m sure that will help everything – all around. Good news is I just renewed my Bally’s membership for $99/year for 3 years. Awesome. I knew my mad negotiating skills would come in handy!

My triathlon wish list to Santa:

1. swimming lessons
2. Sportcount lap counter – since I can only count to 4 when I swim
3. A cheap rear tire for my bike so I can ride on the trainer and not ruin an expensive tire

That is about it. I pretty much have everything else I need or want.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Been Too Busy...

I know, I know – it is not an excuse but I have been slammed at work for the last 7 weeks or so. In my tiny little world of insurance, January 1st is the busiest day of the year, so I have to have all my surveys and reports done by then. I’ve been working like a mad woman to get it done. I’m glad to say I’ve made it. After today, I’m on vacation for the rest of the year. Woo Hoo!



Anyway, I have a few race reports to write. They will be short – I think. On Thanksgiving Day, my son Sam and I did the Turkey Trot in Erie, PA. This is my third one and his second. We mostly do it for the cool hoodies and the free caricature artist at the after party. It was tempting to not do it this year because it was freezing – about 31F – and pouring down rain. But we went anyway – to justify the pumpkin pie later. The rain slowed down a bit but it had rained so much the course had huge puddles the whole width of the road. Also the sides of the road were mud. At one point, I had to jump over two split rail fences to keep moving forward. After the race I felt I did more of a steeplechase than a road race. It was fun anyway and as expected, Sam crushed me. The boy has talent.

The next week I did a Reindeer Run. Again, it is more of a fun run 5K with people dressed as Buddy the elf, Santa, and even reindeers. It is right on Lake Erie and it is typically windy so close to the lake, but that day way spectacular. It was about 25F but sunny and no wind. I felt like I could run forever. I was dressed just right.

Last weekend I did another 5K fun run. However, I did not have as much luck with the weather. It was really, really cold and pouring down rain – again. It was about 25F out and starting to turn to snow and ice. Not exactly ideal running weather. However, it was for a great charity. Sam and I did this one too. Last year he won in his age group and he wanted to defend his title. As a warm up he ran the ½ mile kid run – in about 3 ½ min. He wasn’t even pushing it. However after that he started complaining of not feeling good. His brother was just diagnosed with Strep Throat and I was praying he wasn’t going to come down with it too. At the start of the race he said he felt up to running so off we went. Usually, he takes off and I don’t see him until I cross the finish line a good 10 min after him. But today he stuck with me. About a mile in he asked if we could walk. I said ok because I didn’t want to push it with him. We walked hard and were not last but unfortunately, he was unable to defend his title. Next year…

It has been snowing like crazy here in Cleveland the last couple weeks. I’m including a picture of a walk I took thru the woods lately. I walked about two miles in at least 2-3 ft. snow. It was a great workout. The picture is not of me, but I took it.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

TeamPHLY Needs Some Love

Have I ever mentioned how much I love working at my company? Well, if you missed it from my blog, let me reiterate – I love working at my company.

In the October 2010 issue of Triathlete, there was an article describing the best companies to work for if you are a triathlete. I did not see my company on that list. I was surprised but didn’t think to do or say anything about it. Skip ahead two months to the December 2010 issue that just came out. I’m reading my mag – cover to cover – and I get to the Letters section. On page 22 I see there is a letter to the editor titled ‘TeamPHLY Needs Some Love’ and it described in perfect detail why I feel I’m one of the luckiest triathletes I know. I have no idea how I got so fortunate – it was more serendipity than anything else. My luck is usually more like Bad Luck Schleprock than that of the Irish. But here I am – and thankful for what I know I have.


Friday, October 22, 2010

Things about Me

Since I have no race reports and am between goals right now, I thought I’d write a few things about me you may not know.

1. I nuke plain M&M for about a minute on high before I eat them. The chocolate melts but the shell doesn’t. They taste great. I highly recommend everyone try it at least once before you judge.

2. I may not be very fast at triathlons, but I’m very good at my job. Better than good. I’d go so far as to say I’m great at what I do. I’m in a male dominated field and ‘chick’ the guys in my department on a daily basis. They’d probably agree with me too.

3. I’ve never had a cigarette in my entire life. Not even once.

4. As much as I love a good steak, I could live the rest of my life without red meat.

5. The 10 months I was unemployed in 2008 were some of the happiest and stress free months of my life. I was well rested and got to play everyday with my boys – three of those months were in the summer. Then I ended up at a great company that supports my desire to do triathlons.

6. My husband and I were married in Las Vegas. The wedding cost $200 and that included the ceremony, flowers, photographer, videographer, marriage license, a limo ride to the court house to get the license and champagne. We were trying to elope but 40 people followed us out there anyway! It was the best 4 day party ever!

7. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday: The menu is pretty much set, it includes all of my favorite foods, I get to see family I don’t see very often, and it doesn’t include gift giving. I also got engaged on Thanksgiving and my youngest son was born on Thanksgiving. Oddly enough, we named him Tom. We didn’t realize the implication at the time.

8. I truly enjoy driving long distances in my car – especially by myself. I usually listen to a book on tape or XM radio or catch up with family and friends on my cell phone – using my Bluetooth of course. At one point, I was averaging 5,000 miles a month in my car for work. Good thing I enjoy it.

9. I am a total geek. As I always say – you can’t spell geek without the ‘double e’s.’ That is a really bad joke for electrical engineers (My college degree is a BS in EE). I’m completely into sci-fi and can talk Star Trek and Star Wars as well as any guy. On the 20th anniversary of Star Wars I went to see all three movies in one night by myself so as not to be disturbed by anyone else talking.

10. I love the way I feel after I have run or done a triathlon. This is why I’m not bothered by how slow I am. I hope I stay healthy enough to do this a long, long time.

11. The F-word is one of my favorite words. I find it cathartic. However, it is probably not a good example for my boys to hear their mom saying it repeatedly. Oops – sorry guys.

12. I know many mean people, many bad people and many evil people. I can deal with the mean and bad people but cannot deal with the evil people. Luckily, I also believe in karma. So the evil people will be dealt with at a later time.

13. The best advice I was ever given was: Always live east of where you work. My dad told me this when I graduated college. He drove for 40+ years into the sun to and from work because our house was west of where he worked.

14. The next best advice I was ever given was: In a social situation where you know no one, start a conversation with someone by asking them about them self. My husband told me to do this because I’m in this situation frequently. He said everyone’s favorite topic of conversation is them self. It has never failed me.

15. The third best advice I was ever given was: Invest the maximum company matching percentage in your 401K the second you are eligible. I was 22 when I stared my career and was told by a manager that if I saved money only from the age of 22 to 30, I have more than him if he saved the maximum amount from the age of 30 to 65. He showed me the math – its true.

16. I have difficulty doing addition, subtraction, multiplication and division in my head but can do integrals and derivatives in my head no problem. This is why my husband has already volunteered me to be the calculus, chemistry and physics tutor for our sons when they get to high school. It is also why I’m never allowed to figure out the tip at a restaurant.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

It Took a Village


Sorry I have been such a bum the last few weeks. I have been taking some time off to catch up on the many things I ignored while I was training. Although I can’t say that I’m caught up, I can say I’m making a dent. My house must have had at least an inch of dust everywhere. Thank goodness no one in the family has allergies.

I also haven’t been doing much training either. The blisters on my feet have really affected that. It took over a week to wear shoes other than my Crocs because the blisters caused me so much pain. Then I did something kinda not smart. I ran in the Akron Marathon 5-man relay on Sept. 25th. I had already signed up months ago and didn’t want to let my team down because it is hard to find a replacement person on short notice. I thought I’d be ok because it had been 2 weeks and I wore more moleskin to cover the blisters. I seriously aggravated them and just decided to let them heal more before I ran any more.

Right now I’m kind of floundering. I had been focused on the Rev3 triathlon for so long, that now that it is over, I don’t know what to do. I need to set another race goal, but I need to figure out what I want. I just don’t know. My niece Tracy lives in New York. She ran the New York Marathon last November and is now asking me to join her at the New York Half Marathon in March 2011. I’m thinking about it.

I have received some amazing feed back for completing the half Rev. It truly took a village…. I needed a lot of support and am happy to report that many of my family, friends and neighbors pitched in to watch my boys or provide some advice or fix my bike or just provide words of encouragement. I thank each and every one of you.

Tonight, my friend Aimee (who encouraged me the most throughout this past year) and I are going out to dinner. We are meeting at Michael Symon’s newest restaurant in the Cleveland area – The B Spot Burgers. Yummy! Can’t wait.

The above picture is of me and a fellow team mate. He completed the Full Rev.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

PWNED


The short story:

Well, I did it. I finished the Rev3 half rev. I still am finding the entire event surreal. I know I crossed the finish line but I don’t really remember what happened as I did. All I know is I had a huge smile on my face. Thank you to all the people who helped me throughout this process.

The long story: (feel free to stop at this point – it is a bit long winded)

Friday I picked up my bike from my friend Eric’s ( http://trierictri.blogspot.com/ ). He fixed the problem I was having dropping my chain when I went from the big chain ring to the small chain ring. Thanks Eric.

Saturday, my boys and I drove to Cedar Point early in the day because I had to check in and put my bike in transition overnight. We only had until 4pm to do this and Lou golfed on Sat. I wasn’t sure he’d be back in time to get us all there before 4pm. He said to just go ahead and he’d come later. He said the last thing he wanted me doing was worrying about something that I did not need to worry about.

We made it out there around 1:30 and I got my stuff, they took my picture and checked in my bike. I walked around the expo a little bit and listened to the athlete information. Then the sky just opened up and the rain started pouring. I just kept thinking – this had better pass. It let up some and Sam and I went down to the beach to check out the swim course. Tom stayed in the car because he didn’t want to get wet. Sam took a couple pix of me at the beach near the swim exit. At that time there were 6 ft. waves and lots of white water. Again, I just kept thinking – this had better pass.

After that we went to the host hotel – Hotel Breakers. It is in Cedar Point and about 50 ft. from the swim start. Can’t get any more convenient than that. There were a couple restaurants in the hotel and I let the boys pick where they wanted to go. They picked the Japanese steak house. Not surprising, it is fun to watch. We were going to wait for Lou but he was doing some laundry and was waiting for it to dry so he hadn’t left yet. I didn’t want to eat too late because I wanted to get to bed early. We went to dinner at 5pm. Thank goodness we did. It was already getting crowded with the other triathletes and their families. We were lucky enough to be at the first table. I got the chicken, Sam got the shrimp and Tom got the steak. The chef threw some veggies in the air for everyone to catch with their mouths. We were the only three to do it at our table of 9! I had some left-overs and saved them for Lou. As we were leaving Sam made me rub the Budda belly for good luck. Then he and Tom rubbed it for me too!

Lou got to the hotel around 8pm and we all went down to the pool so the boys could swim a while. We left when Sam hit his chin on the bottom of the pool and it was bleeding. Good times! We stopped at the gift store to see if they had Neosporin. They did and were peddling it for $10 a tube. We told Sam he was just going to have to live with the germs for the night because we weren’t shelling out $10 for Neosporin. His dinner didn’t cost that much! Luckily, back at the room, Lou found some in his bag. No more germs for Sam.

I went to bed around 9:30pm and woke up around 5:30am. I left Lou and the boys sleeping. We would catch up later. The pros went off at 7am and I was in one of the last groups to go off at 8:40am. I had plenty of time. I got to transition around 6:45. As I was waiting in line to get marked, I looked over to see a guy I went to high school with. I hadn’t seen him in 25 years. I called out his name and he looked over. He looked at me funny like he recognized me but couldn’t place me. I told him my name and then I told him the other name I went by in high school “Luke’s sister.” Then he remembered me. He came over and hugged me and wanted to know if I remembered his wife, Carol. I said yeah and we instantly caught up. He took a picture of me and Carol.




After I set up at transition, I went down to the beach. I was looking for my friend Aimee. She was my true inspiration and the one who convinced me I was capable of doing a half ironman. I actually had a true need to see her. I felt she could help calm my nerves. After a little while I heard her call my name. Thank God! She was at another race in Michigan the previous day and wasn’t even sure if she would be there at the start. We hugged and then I cursed her for getting me into this. What was I thinking?!?!? What was she thinking?!?!? She said I’d do fine and to just keep moving forward. That is all it takes.

SWIM

All of us red caps lined up about 8:35. At 8:40, the horn went off. Lou said he and the boys were watching from the balcony of our hotel room as I started. I got into the water and I notices one thing right away – the water was very cold. I had been open water swimming in Lake Erie at least weekly since July and the water was in the 70’s. Several times I did not use a wetsuit. This water was definitely way colder than that and I had no idea why. It was in the 90’s as recently as last week and it would not have dropped that fast I didn’t think. Anyway, this shock of cold made me hyperventilate a bit and my heart was racing. I couldn’t calm down enough to swim. Luckily, the water was extremely shallow and everyone was walking anyways. It took me about 15 minutes before I had my heart rate and breathing under control enough to put my head in the water fore more than 1-2 strokes. After that I was ok. Also, further out in the lake the water was much warmer. Go figure! I got into my grove and finished the swim in a little over an hour. Aimee was at the swim exit cheering me on.

T1

Nothing exciting here except I planned on wearing bike shorts to bike in and not my TEAM PHLY tri shorts. I had forgotten to take my tri shorts off before I put on my wetsuit and by the time I remembered, transition was closed. So I had to take off my wetsuit, my tri shorts (I wear Under Armour compression shorts to allow for costume changes) and put on my bike shorts. It took a little extra time. I also slathered on the body glide, especially on my feet. And I was off. Aimee walked up to the transition area and was there as I started the bike. I was done in 6:12 min

BIKE
The weather was beautiful and I could not have asked for a better day – except for the wind. It was out of the west. I tried to use the tail wind to my advantage and went hard on the way out because I knew it would slow me down on the way back. My nutrition was good and I was using salt tabs to replenish. I am a salty sweater. I finished the first 33 miles in under 2 hours. I was hoping for 4 hours on the bike. I figured I could finish the last 23 in 2 hours no problem. Right? Wrong! The head wind kicked my butt. It took me 2 ½ hours to finish the bike but I made the bike cutoff too.

T2

Again nothing exciting here except I changed from my bike shorts back into my TEAM PHLY tri shorts. They were still wet but it actually felt good. I was done in 3:56 min.

RUN

I started out slow (even slower than my normal slow). I knew the hardest part of the run was going to be the causeway because of the wind and there is not a stitch of shade. However, around mile 2, the bottoms of my feet were feeling kind of hot. There was no place to sit down on the causeway to take a look so as soon as I hit regular road I sat on the curb to take a look. Yikes. I had the start of blisters on the bottom of both feet. Thank goodness for Onehourironman ( http://ironbob-ironbob.blogspot.com/ ) and his blisters. I can assure you – you did not get those blisters in vein. I was well prepared in case the same happened to me. And it did. The weird part is I have never had blisters on the bottom of my feet before. Anyway, I had moleskin with me and I put it on over the blisters. This helped tremendously. I doubt I would have been able to finish without the moleskin. The blisters got bigger but it would have been way worse without them.

I was in pain and couldn’t run, so I walked most of the way and ran when I felt up to it. I knew I wouldn’t make the run cutoff, but I was hoping they would let me finish anyway. I was counting on the fact they had the course open for the full Rev until midnight. Everyone was so nice on the course and the water stops were fully stocked with everything I needed. At some point my fingers started to hurt too. I looked at them and they looked like gorilla fingers. I would hold some ice in my hands to make them feel better and it helped. It took me just under 4 hours.

As I was nearing the finish, one guy off to the side said – come on you have to run it in, they are taking your picture. So I ran it in. I wasn’t expecting the finish to be as amazing as it was. They called my name and had my picture ( the one they took the day before) on the jumbo-tron. It was awesome and surreal at the same time. I got a finishers medal but they ran out of finisher’s t shirts. They will send it later. No worries, I’m used to not getting stuff because they ran out.

AFTER

I met up with Lou and the boys, had my blisters taken care of (they were huge and nasty at this point), got a bite to eat and I got my stuff from transition. The boys kept asking me to ride the Top Thrill Dragster or another roller coaster with them. I don’t think I could have ridden the merry-go-round at this point. I told them next time.
We drove home after the park closed at 8pm.

Overall, a good day!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Random Stuff

I was in Memphis, TN last week. It was hot there. Way hotter than here in northeast Ohio. Actually it was only a few degrees hotter but the humidity was about 98%. It was hard to breathe. However, I did eat the best barbeque I’ve ever had in my life.

I did my swimming in a lap pool at the YMCA closest to the hotel I was staying. The lap pool was gorgeous. It was 8 dedicated lanes adjacent to the regular pool. The most amazing thing about it was that it was outside – year round. No such thing as a year round outdoor pool here in Cleveland.

About a week and a half ago I went running at lunch in a pair of shoes I’ve had since May and socks I’ve had for about 9 months on a day that was about 70 degrees. I got a huge blister on my big toe. I cannot explain that. I will be using lots of body glide and packing mole skin in my bag for the triathlon so this won’t happen again.

I just leased a new Toyota Rav4 for all my work travels. It had 2 miles on it when I got it. I did keep my Honda Pilot. The new car will help extend my Honda’s life and now my husband has a “truck” he can use again. Anyway, the second day I had it a rock flew up and cracked my windshield. It is about the size of my palm. Can’t say I was happy about that and can assure you that I MF’ed that rock the remainder of my commute to work.

Tell me if this happens to you. I get motion sickness when I’m swimming in the water for long periods of time – especially if the water is choppy. I don’t know what to do about it.

The weather forecast for Sunday in Sandusky, OH keeps changing. First it was calling for rain, then thunderstorms, then partly cloudy, then sunny, then there is the potential for remnants of tropical storm Hermine… it is driving me crazy because I’m glued to “Weather on the 8’s”

I just want to thank everyone for all the support and advise I’ve received over the last several month. I am very grateful for this forum.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

You are at an Impasse

On Sunday Aug. 8th I completed my first true Olympic distance triathlon. I registered for another earlier in the season but it was changed to an Olympic duathlon. I was mostly concerned with the swimming leg, then with the distance of the race overall – especially since I am planning to do the HalfRev in September.

I will get to my brief race report in a moment.

My horoscope two days later read:

“You are at an impasse. An opinion that you unconsciously cling to is the thing holding you back. Lose your own point of view and really listen to another person. That is when the breakthrough comes.”

Later that morning, I received an email from a friend and fellow triathlete. It read:

Rachael,

I was looking at the results for the Cleveland Tri and saw your name. Is everything okay? I know it was hot in Mentor so I can just imagine what conditions were like downtown.

Just wanted to let you know I was thinking of you.

I responded:

Hey ****,

Thanks for asking. I actually did OK for me on the swim. Keep in mind I'm slow at everything. It was 1500m and my goal on Sunday was to gauge how I would be at the REV3 doing 1.2mi. I've always been scared of not making the cutoff time on the swim. Barring very bad weather, I should make it in 1:10.

The bike was awful. Yeah it was hot. Yeah it was windy. Both seem to suck everything out of me. But that was not my biggest problem on Sunday. Every time I went from the big chain ring to the small chain ring, my chain fell off. Naturally, it was just before a big hill so I had no momentum going up any hills. I'm not sure what I was doing wrong. Lou told me I was changing gears too late and the torque was making the chain fall off. He told me to make sure I switch chain rings on flat ground and no slope. Anyway I could never get into a grove on the bike. I know I'm capable of faster than 12.4 mph. I was very disappointed in the bike.

By the time I got to the run I was tired and it was hot. Again I'm pretty slow anyways, so on my best day I would only have been a little faster.

I'm glad I finished but part of my problem too was I didn't want to be at this tri. I wanted to be at the Greater Cleveland Tri. I signed up for this one last January not knowing they would be on the same day. If I would have known that I'd have done the other. They ran out of shirts so I didn't get one and they ran out of finishers medals too. It was weird. I doubt I'll ever do this one again. It was also way more expensive - even signing up last January!!!

My friend responded:

You had one heck of a day. Without seeing what is going on I think Lou is right about the chain dropping. There could also be some adjusting that could happen with the front derailleur.

I understand the confusion with the races. I have heard many comments about the downtown race in prior years that I am not a big supporter of it. The race in Mentor is nicer, the race director is local and it's closer to your home.

Your tenacity of finishing the race is very admirable.

One of my teammates has pulled out of the HalfRev due to injury. She is able to transfer her entry to the race in 2011. Just something to think about as you evaluate your progress from Sundays' race and your workout results.

Let ***** and I know if there is anything you want to talk about. We are here to help you out and support you.



When I read that, I went into a tailspin of fear, doubt, and every negative thought you could possible imagine. What did he mean by what he said????


So I asked:

Thanks. I know your both are here to help.

I really don't want to quit. I want to finish what I started. I have always been slow and near or at the bottom of the list, so I'm not expecting miracles with this one. My goal is to finish. I'm not overly concerned with my time.

Should I be more concerned? Now I'm wondering????


His response was:
Your attitude has been great through all of this. I am only making sure you know your options. You are the only one who can make the final decision. DO NOT let me plant any doubts in your mind. That is not what I am trying to do.

You are confident in your swim to be able to finish the 1.2 miles in the time you need to.

You have ridden the bike course and know what to expect.

The run course is flat so you should feel good about that. I know I am because I have done NO hill training this summer.

Don't wonder.........Know.

If you came out of the race Sunday knowing you are ready to toe the start line and cross the finish line in September....that's a good place to be. The only thing that has changed from then to now is my e-mail making sure you are okay. I'm on the outside looking in.

You are the only one who can make this decision....and I think you already knew your decision on Sunday.


I just want to say - THANK YOU MY FRIEND. I am not an athletically gifted person. I am just someone who enjoys triathlon. I do my best. Unfortunately, my best is much, much slower than most if not all of those around me. I guarantee I will be worried about the cutoff times for all three disciplines.


At this moment, as September 12th is looming, I can assure you I am scared. Scared to start. Scared to fail. Scared to DNF. Scared to look like an idiot. However, I am not scared to be DFL – because if I’m DFL, that will mean that I finished. That is and will be (at least for this year) my one and only goal. I hope I make it.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A triathlete's seven deadly sins

I saw this article and liked it ant thought everyone else would too. I agree with everything except Greed. Even before I got into triathlon, I had a weird obsession with bikes. I owned 5 at one point but have sold two in garage sales. I now have my road bike, a mountain bike and a tandem bike. The boys and I love the tandem. My husband - not so much. It is huge and takes up tons of space in the garage. But then again so do his snow blowers...don't ask...

A triathlete's seven deadly sins

by Steve Stenzel

Wrath
"Yeah, that guy was drafting you around mile 19 on the bike. I totally saw it too! It was so blatant. What a jerk!" This has happened to all of us. It's infuriating.
Don't go overboard and let it ruin your race. There will always be those people willing to break the rules in order to gain 10 seconds. Do not let them ruin your day. There's nothing you can do about it. Catch them on the run and take slight joy in beating the cheater.

Greed
You only really need 1 good bike. Maybe a spare (or 2). But you don't need a bike for racing, a bike for training, a bike for rainy days, a bike for short rides, a bike for long rides, a bike for time trials, a bike for solo rides, a bike for group rides, etc, etc. Don't be greedy.
Don't go overboard and break the bank just so you'll have the best set of bikes on the block. Or in town. Or in the state. Sure, you'll have the perfect bike for any possible situation or race, but is it worth that second mortgage?

Pride
You're a triathlete, damn it. You should be proud of your hard work and how it's paying off. You have a great body. In a foot race, you'd smoke all of your coworkers, and you know it. You deserve to have a sense of pride. And in the company of the right people in the right conversation, you can brag about your sub-XX:00 10K at the end of your last olympic triathlon or your great average on the bike.
Don't go overboard and tell everyone you meet about how fast you are. They probably don't care. And sooner or later, you'll run into some who's faster. Then, ouch - bruised ego. Don't be a constant bragger. Nobody likes that.

Sloth
You need to rest your body now and then. It is NOT sloth. It is downtime to help your body heal up before testing it again during the next season. Force yourself to do this at times.
Don't go overboard and say "I did a triathlon once. Now I can stop all physical activity, live off McDonalds, and never think about racing again. That is, unless I'm reliving the 'glory days' in my head." Triathlon is a way of life. Unfortunately, so is sloth. Stick with the first one for the long term

Lust
We've all done this: we're getting ready to pass someone of the opposite sex on the run during a triathlon. We notice his/her toned, tanned legs. We might be turned on for a moment. Then we notice the age written his/her calf. "Wow... 57?!... Impressive!"
Don't go overboard: keep your tongue in your mouth. Don't ask for his/her phone number during the race. Be sensible - wait until you've both finished.

Envy
You will never have the best bike in transition. Someone will always have a nicer / faster / sleeker / sexier / better one. It's just the way it is. Drool a little, but then be happy riding your "clunker."
Don't go overboard and think that anyone with a nicer bike than you is a jerk. I know some very nice people who just so happen to own $5,000 bikes. Don't judge them by their bike alone.

Gluttony
When we workout as much as we do in order to be ready for the next event, it's OK to pig-out now and then. Heck, that's the main reason why some of us train (not me, of course...).
Don't go overboard and eat anything immediately after getting home from a long workout. Sure, it "feels so right" at the moment to head for the Oreos, Cheetos, or Junior Mints, but it's better to eat some quality food right away to help replace what's been lost during that workout. Try some Recoverite, Nuun, or even some chocolate milk (a proven recovery drink - really). Save the "shameless pig-out" for later that day...

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Pirate Triathlon

Fairport Harbor, OH hosts an annual sprint triathlon and they call it the Pirate Triathlon. This year it was on July 25th. It is the deal of the century. If you preregister for the race it is only $20. Let me tell you it falls under the category of “The Best $20 I Have Spent.” I can hardly believe they do so much for so little.

The field is limited to around 350 people and for those who do not like to swim, they can kayak 3K. Many people choose that option. They provide a T-shirt, some good coupons from local sponsors, a clear and safe course, and good food at the end. It is very low key and fun that it is perfect for first timers and beginners. It is a 500m swim, 20K bike and 5K run.

Last year, it was only the second triathlon I had ever completed. My goal was to improve over last years time of 2 hrs and 9 min.. I figured it would not be too hard since I learned how swim better (last year was mostly breast and back strokes) and purchased a road bike instead of using my trusty mountain bike.

It was thunder storming pretty hard right after I arrived to the transition area that morning. Later I heard there were water spouts on Lake Erie visible on shore (for those not familiar – they are a water tornado). Yikes. I didn’t know that and am glad I didn’t. In this case…ignorance truly was bliss. The race was supposed to begin for the kayakers at 8am and my wave was at 8:20. They kept delaying it because of the storm. Finally, the lightening and thunder stopped, but it was still raining. For a while there the race director said they may postpone until the following week. Ultimately they modified the swim portion of the race to just go in one direction with the waves.

I’m not sure what time we actually started but it was around 8:45-ish. At some point while the 35+ women were waiting for the race to begin, it started to hail. It was a water start so the best thing to do was crouch as far down in the water as possible. The water was actually way warmer than the air so it was very comfortable.

Since we were swimming with the waves in the direction of the wind, it gave an amazing boost to everyone’s swim. Once I found the rhythm of the waves, I was able to breath without any issues. I only breathed to my right because if I would breathe to my left I’d catch a mouthful of Lake Erie water. I finished the swim in about 9 minutes but had to run all the way back to transition which took me about 2 min. My swim time was:

2010: 11:22 min
2009: 28:38 min

Holy tail wind! I must have had my wheaties or learned how to swim or something. Once I got back into transition, I changed into my bike gear. No real reason to dry off because it was still pouring down rain and all my gear was soaked.

The bike was pretty good. Last year I averaged about 12.9 mph. This year I averaged 17 mph and it was pouring down rain so I took it a bit easier. What a difference a road bike to a mountain bike makes. The course is relatively flat but with a few railroad track crossings and an ‘S’ turn twice since it is an out and back. Unfortunately, they do not back out the transition times so I’m not exactly sure what it was in T1 – about 4 minutes. My bike time was:

2010: 50:52 including transition 1
2009: 1:00:56 including transition 1

Transitioning into T2 was a bit difficult because the transition area is at the bottom of the largest hill of the course. You cannot fly down the hill because you have to stop and dismount immediately at the bottom. It was especially dangerous because of the rain. I made it OK and quickly changed into my soaking wet running shoes. Again, I’m not exactly sure of my transition time but it is about 2:30 min.

I really like the run on this course. All elevation gained and lost is on two hills. I went up the hill out of the transition area and was at the same elevation until about the half way mark where I went down another hill to finish the last half.

At that halfway mark I ran into the mother of my oldest son Sam’s friend. She was a volunteer and I don’t know her all that well and I was surprised to see her and she was surprised I was doing the race. We managed to have a 10 second conversation and actually planned a play date for the kids for later that week. See… as a mom – I’m always multi-tasking – even in a triathlon!

My run time was:

2010: 39:30 including transition 2
2009: 40:21 including transition 2

Overall:
2010: 1:41:44
2009: 2:09:55

That is an overall improvement of 28:11 min. To say I was happy with my performance would be an understatement. I was ecstatic to see that my hard work over the winter was paying off.

After the race I packed up my stuff and went home to shower and change. I was off to Waldamere Park in Presque Isle, PA with my husband Lou and two boys Sam and Tom. Woo Hoo. The perfect icing to the perfect day. Of course it stopped raining immediately following the race – which was good for going to the park!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

REV3 Training Day

On Saturday July 21st, I met up with the Cleveland Triathlon Club for a training day at Sawmill Creek near Sandusky, OH. It was a day of swimming and biking and running the Rev3 course. It was free to anyone who wanted to participate. There were about 120 people there.

The day started off with either a swim clinic with Leah Nyikes at
www.liquidlifestyles.com or just a practice swim in the lake. It was perfect in the morning too and the water again was like glass. The clinic started around 7:45 am and lasted until around 9 am. Everyone who was biking went back to their vehicles, grabbed their stuff and changed. Since this was pre-arranged with Sawmill Creek Resort, they catered to our needs and provided a place to change, and later a place to shower if we wanted. They were very accommodating.

There was an A group, 2 B groups and a C group. I went with what we coined as the ‘rebel C’ group. Since we could not ride on the Cedar Point Causeway or Chausee due to traffic, the bike ride was modified for the training. The groups were riding on the REV3 full course. My friend Aimee took me on the actual REV3 half course. This was better for me since that is the race I’m doing. We went up and down the biggest hill on the course in Milan and she gave me some tips about what to do. She was very good to me. I know I slowed her down but she didn’t complain.

The first half was good, then it started to get extremely hot and windy. The temp reached 90+ that day. I was getting exhausted. I really hope it is not that windy on the day of the race. It could possibly do me in. I guess all this training in heat will prepare me for better weather in Sept. It took a while to finish. We took breaks and I was just riding it not racing it. I was glad to be done. NE Ohio just doesn’t get heat like that on a regular basis. I’m not used to it. I’m more comfortable running on a day that is only 30 degrees.

Afterwards, Aimee’s husband Eric ( http://trierictri.blogspot.com/) replaced my pedals. I have been having issues with my pedals. I could not get out of them quickly. They are older and have no tension adjustment. I kept on wrecking – more than normal – like every time I got on my bike. I purchased the Look Keo pedals at the recommendation of my cousin Stu, who does Ironman races and 100 mile bike rides on a regular basis. So far so good.

I went home after that and skipped the run portion. I was pretty much spent for that day. Overall it was awesome and I look forward to the next training day on August 21st.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Lorain Triathlon

So at the last minute, I signed up for the sprint triathlon in Lorain, OH on July 11th. I really needed to gauge my swimming in a race situation since I did not have that opportunity at the Philadelphia Insurance Triathlon.

I got out to the park that morning around 7am and the weather was spectacular! The water for Lake Erie was like glass. There was even a nice cool breeze. It was as close to perfection I can imagine. I pray for similar conditions for the REV3 triathlon in September.

The lake water temp was up to about 75 so I decided against a wet suit. The swim course was so short, the gain in buoyancy would be lost removing the suit. My group was the last wave so I had to wait around a little while – but not too long because it is not a huge race. My race started at 8:30am. I had learned dolphin dives in a swim clinic I’m currently taking from Leah Nyikes at
www.liquidlifestyles.com. She is excellent. Anyway, they really do work. I always hang back a bit after the race starts before I go out. Those 2-3 extra seconds aren’t going to make or break anything for me. I ran out into the water using the goofy run Leah taught us then began to dolphin dive. Before you know it, I was nearly to the Lorain break walls.

After that I relaxed and began swimming. At first it was: Stroke. Breathe. Stroke. Breathe. Then when I really got into the rhythm, I was breathing bilaterally. Yeah. This was great because I could easily sight, because the break walls were on my left side. Last year when I did the same race, I could not breathe to the left and almost ran into the break walls several times. Very dangerous. Last year I also had to do the breast stroke and back stroke to get thru. This year - no worries. Freestyle all the way. Not only did I pass a couple of people in my group, I passed a couple of the swimmers in the wave ahead of me. Talk about a confidence booster! I went around the corner of the break wall and swam as far up to the shore as possible – until I was grabbing sand. It was much faster that way. Much. I looked at my watch and it said 9 min. That is 3 minutes faster than last year (12 min). However, percentage wise that is a 25% improvement. Woo Hoo!!!!

I still had to run up a big hill to get to the transition, and that time is added to your swim time, but oh well. They do it for everyone. Transition was good. Dry off, sock, shoe, sock, shoe, helmet, sunglasses, bike, go.

The bike was good too. Last year I averaged about 15.5 mph. This year I averaged 16.9 mph. A big improvement. I was very pleased.

T2 was a lot slower than last year. I didn’t realize until later that it was because last year I biked in my running shoes because I didn’t have clip on pedals yet. It added almost 2 minutes to my transition. :-(

The run portion was not as pleasing. I was too slow. I’m slow normally but that day I was even slower. I believe part of the reason is because I didn’t grab a bite during the bike ride. I ate nothing. Bad idea. It was also very hot at this point. I finished the run slower than last year. However, overall, it was an improvement over last year and I’m happy with that.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Break Wall Swim and Breakfast

Every Tuesday morning, the Cleveland Metroparks offers a class at Fairport Harbor called the Break Wall Swim and Breakfast. It is awesome because it gives swimmers an opportunity to do something they normally cannot do. That is swim to the break wall at Fairport Harbor and back. It is about ½ mile in each direction. Normally this area is inundated with boats and wave runners. I have done it twice so far this year. The third time I didn’t go because it was pouring down rain.

Anyway, last year it took me all season to build up to swimming ½ mile (one way). I’d kayak out with another kayaker, hop out and swim back. Most of the time I’d swim as far as I could then one of the lifeguards on a wave runner would bring me back in the rest of the way. This was no big deal because I never had to swim more than 750m in a triathlon last year. I was good with my endurance at the time. But as I said, the last swim of the year I made it the full ½ mile. It took me nearly ½ hour.

This past winter I worked on my speed and endurance in the pool. The first time out on July 6th this year I did the same thing. I kayaked out and swam back. However, I made it the full distance without exhausting myself. I’m still slow but I managed to pick up my pace and did it in about 25 min. My second time out I managed to take off another minute. The next time out I plan on working on swimming the full distance. The only problem is the swimmers swim out to the wall, break as they wait on the slow swimmers then swim back to shore. I’m so slow I worry about holding up the process. I will do my best though.

After everyone is done swimming, one of the awesome ladies who swims makes everyone breakfast – and I’m not talking just cereal and milk. I mean a full blown breakfast. There is always some sort of eggs, some sort of carb (pancakes, French toast), bacon or sausage, coffee, OJ, tea, fruit, breakfast breads, etc. It is amazing and a lot of fun. I t only costs $5 for the entire 8 week series. An unbelievable bargain!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Medina Twin Sizzler

On July 4th I did the Medina Twin Sizzler. It is a unique race in the area because it is actually 3 separate races that you can mix and match. it is a 5K, a 10 K and 27 mile bike ride. It is a lot of fun and I have my 5K PR on this course. I had never done the bike ride and wanted to get some training in before the picnicking began. So I entered both the 5K and the 27 mi bike ride. Do not be fooled. It is not a biathlon. It is two separate races.

So first I ran the 5K, then about ½ an hour after I finished, I did the bike ride. Now, like I said I PR’d on this run course in 2008, so it is a fast course. However, as my results show, I am apparently faster than I remember. My results show a 25:04. I can assure you I am not that fast. Obviously there was an error of some sort. I remember after the race they kept announcing something like “We cannot do anything about the final results. We are reporting to you the information we were given.” There must have been a lot of mix ups. My finish time was about 11 minutes slower. (I know – lightening).

The bike ride was much better. I managed to average 16.5 mph on the bike and it was somewhat hilly. I really enjoyed it. I would do it again in a heartbeat.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Philadelphia Insurance Triathlon




This year I signed up to do the Olympic distance triathlon for the Philadelphia Insurance Triathlon. I felt it would be a good indicator of where I was at in my training for the REV3 half iron triathlon. I especially was looking forward to the swim because it was a point to point swim in the Schuylkill River – and we were swimming with the current. I have been feeling stronger lately with my swimming so I knew this would be a good gauge.

I woke up that day around 4am and went into the bathroom so as not to disturb my son and nephew. I got ready in there and ate my bagel and banana breakfast. Around 5 am I woke my nephew Mike up and he drove me to the transition drop off area. Amazing thing about being this far east is how early the sun rises. It was full light outside by the time we got there. I grabbed by back pack and headed down the hill. He drove back to the hotel for a couple more hours of snooze time.

When I got to the transition area I began to set up. I could hear over the PA the race director giving directions. I didn’t pay attention at first but then I heard it. The swim portion was cancelled. At first I thought it may have been because of the water itself. The river temp was 86 and wet suit illegal at that temp. It had rained a bit and I though it may have stirred up contaminants so they cancelled the swim.

But that was not the case. As I listened I could not believe the tragedy that unfolded as I listened. A triathlete from the sprint tri the day before went missing during the swim portion of the race. The police and search and rescue teams could not locate his body and they were still in the process of looking. Oh My God. How tragic. How unfortunate. It was horrible and so sad. It immediately put me into a funk. The mood of the transition area and the race in general was so somber. It was very surreal. I have not been able to shake it.

They changed the race to a duathlon – 5K run, 40 K bike and 10K run. I was not happy about it but definitely understood and agreed with the decision. To make matters worse, it was 87 at 7am that morning. By around 10am, the temp had gotten to 97 with a heat index way over 100. People were passing out left and right. Ultimately they shortened the race, shut down the timers and those still out on the course could still cross the finish line. So basically I did not do the full distance but I did most. I had no choice, but I am marked as a finisher. I really feel like a fraud but this could not be helped and I had no control of the weather. I believe the race officials were being very cautious because of so many people passing out from heat exhaustion and heat stroke and due to the tragedy of the day before.

I was very dehydrated at the end of the race and could honestly not think straight or put a thought together. I’m sure I lost about 10 lbs of water weight despite the volume I was trying to drink and dump on my head. One of the best things I have to say about the race is the awesome volunteers had plenty of cold water and Gatorade the entire race.

The police eventually found the body of the missing triathlete. I have no words for the sadness of the situation.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Trip to Philadelphia


I left for Philadelphia for the Philadelphia Insurance Triathlon on Thursday afternoon on June 24th with my 12 year old Sam. Unfortunately, my husband Lou and younger son Tom could not make it this year. Lou had to work – he only gets paid when he works and with a 10 week gig, you take what you can get when you can get it. Sadly, they were missed.

Sam and I did make a stop in Altoona, PA so I could do a survey at a facility there. Once I was done with that, Sam and I made a quick stop at the Boyer Chocolate Factory Outlet Store. For those of you not from the PA area, let me tell you what they make. They are known for Mallo Cups. A Mallo Cup is like a Reeses cup but instead of peanut butter in the middle, there is marshmallow in the middle. Yum. We picked up some goodies for ourselves and I got some for the people in my home office in Philadelphia and we took off.

I made it to my office just before 4pm on Friday to drip off the chocolate, meet with my manager and pick up my tri packet before he left for the weekend. After that, we went to check in to the hotel and then out for a ride to preview the bike course. Now I did the sprint distance last year and the swim and run are similar, but the bike course is very different. To say it is hilly is an understatement. I would classify it as mountainous. It is two loops with 4 very technically challenging hills. Two loops means 8 hills. Yikes. Oh well, in for a penny…

After we did that, we went to a very nice party sponsored by my company. The party was at a private boathouse on famous Boathouse Row in Fairmount Park in Philadelphia. It is gorgeous. There were many of my fellow employees and many of the pros that were racing that weekend at the party. It was very nice.

Saturday was very low key. Sam I took in a couple of local museums (Mutter Museum and The Touch Museum) we also saw the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. I went to dinner with Sam and my nephew Mike. He lives in Philly and works as an engineer at Lockheed Martin. He was staying with us to help me in the morning.

As part of my packet, I received temporary tattoos that were my race number. They were made by Tritats at
www.tritats.com and were very cool. I put those on before I went to bed.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Willoughby Lions Duathlon


Sorry I have been such a bum lately about postings. I have been in a bit of a funk this last month and haven’t been able to shake it. Bear with me it will probably take a couple of posts to catch up then explain why. There is a lot I need to post so I will take it one post at a time.

On June 13th, I did a duathlon that consisted of a 5K run, 20 mile bike and a 5K run. I was using it as a ‘C’ race to see where I would be for the Olympic distance triathlon I had coming up in Philadelphia on June 25th. It was essentially the same distance without the swim and a break for the run.

This is a small local race and very low key. I like it a lot because it is good for beginners. However, most of the people participate in the biathlon that is a 5K and 13 miles on a bike. I did that one last year.

I got my TEAMPHLY tri suit and wore it to this race. It feels nice to be a part of such a great thing.

It was very muggy that day and by the end of the race, fog had rolled in off Lake Erie.

I did come in second place in my age group for the duathlon. But to be fair, there were only two people racing in my age group. There were only about 30 people who competed in the race and only 6 were women. Essentially, all I had to do was cross the finish line and I would win, place or show in my age group.

Now, in general, I have never professed to be good or fast at swimming, biking or running. I only profess to enjoy doing it. If being fast was a prerequisite, I would have quit a long time ago. I did come in last place in this race but I finished. I am glad for that. I do not worry that I’m last. I believe I’m making last ‘cool’ – as a new running mate of mine – Lisa – said recently.

The only problem I had was when the municipal guys came by in their truck picking up the race cones when I was still running the last 5K. I was thinking – Nice. How will I know where to turn? There is this weird part of the course where you go thru someone’s backyard. If they removed the cones I could be going thru the wrong back yard. Luckily, another course volunteer came out to direct me in.

I was happy with my slow result. I figured I would add about 35-40 minutes to my finishing time if I added a swim for an olympic distance tri.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Recent Training Update

Some updates about my progress in training. I finally hit a huge personal milestone in swimming. I have been swimming 2000 yards or 1.11 miles for the last week during my pool training days. I have been doing it in about 54 minutes. Now that I’m nearly at my max training swim distance I will work on speed more. I know swimming is my weakest of the three sports. I also know I will spend the least amount of time doing it as compared to biking and running. At the Rev3, I only need to know that I will finish by the cutoff time, which I believe is 1 hr and 10 min.

I also made it out into Lake Erie last weekend. It was my first time in open water since last September. It was not pretty. The waves were choppy and 1-2 ft. They were also relentless. I couldn’t get into any sort of rhythm. I normally have decent form but it all goes to pot when I’m in open water like that. I revert to every bad habit and poor form I spent all winter working on improving. When I did get moving I did well for several yards, then a wave would catch me and I’d take in a huge gulp of Lake Erie water.

A couple times I had to stop because I took in so much water I had to hurl it back up. See what I mean by not pretty. To make matters worse, there were about 20 kids playing in the lake while I was swimming and most were focused on me as I was gulping and hurling. I love being judged by a bunch of 9-12 year olds! One even told me that I’m not supposed to do that. Really? You think?

I also later found out that the lake water had 4x’s the e-coli bacteria allowable for swimming. I did not see a red flag at the beach which is surprising because they usually put one out if bacteria is at dangerous levels. Yum. I’m actually glad I managed to get rid of most of it.

My bike is currently at the LBS. I need to pick it up today. I just had some minor tweaking to the rear tire – it needed to be trued. My first race is this weekend and I wanted it to be ready. It is a duathlon – 5K-20 mi -5K in my hometown. I can even ride my bike to get there. I have no excuses – my bike training route is the exact course of this race. I have ridden this route so many times I know where every bump in the road is located. I only have the weather to worry about. There are thunderstorms in the forecast.

I also recently had to get new cleats for my shoes. One of them broke during a training ride about a week ago. I have Time Impact pedals. They came on my bike that I bought on eBay. I’m learning they are an older style pedal. They work just fine but the history of the cleats is poor. From what I was told at the LBS, the cleats were originally made of metal and near indestructible. However, in a future model year, the cleats were made of a resin that was not as durable as the metal and they broke – a lot. That is what made them fall out of favor. I bought a used set of cleats on eBay. However, if another cleat breaks, I’m going to buy a new set of pedals and cleats. Hopefully that won’t be for awhile though. I’m open to anyone’s reviews of the pedals they are using.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Random Stuff


I officially logged 100,000 miles on my Honda Pilot this morning. I bought it new in December 2005, so I am averaging about 22,650 miles a year. In Honda years it is just middle aged. My oldest son Sam was with me at the time and he watched the odometer turn over with the same enthusiasm as watching the winning run of a baseball game in the bottom of the 9th!

I loved the LOST series finale. I love how they brought all the characters back together at the end. My favorite was Sawyer and Juliet.

I’m glad Michael won on the Biggest Loser. I originally thought he was a knucklehead but he seemed to get it more and more as time went on. I just hope he continues to lose weight because he is not done yet. The past winners that were in the audience that night seemed to have gained a lot of their weight back. Koli seemed cranky but I think he just plays everything close to the vest. I did vote for Daris.

There is a rust stain on the bottom of the pool at the Bally’s in Willoughby that is in the shape of the United States.

My youngest son Tom broke his wrist – just in time for summer.

Sam, who will be in 7th grade in the fall, wants to play football for his school. He has never played this sport before and he weighs about 80 lbs soaking wet. He is strong and very athletically gifted, but this is a whole different animal.

I drove the run and bike course of the Rev 3 70.3 a couple weeks ago. Boy did it seem long…and I was in my car. I cannot let that psychology seep into my head.

I bought a SPI belt to hold my phone, ipod, key and some cash, while I run or bike, at the recommendation of two fellow runners. I hope I like it.

I changed the burned out headlight and the windshield wipers on my Pilot all by myself. I was very proud – especially for the headlight.

Gasoline – heading into Memorial Day Weekend – is $2.51. Yikes! I can hardly believe it.

I listen to my ipod when I’m running. Only I’m not listening to music. I listen to books. I’m currently listening to ‘World Without End’ by Ken Follett. It is about a 1000 page book so it will do for a long while.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Things I learned from my bike ride to work:


1. I clearly work at a higher elevation than I live. Didn’t seem like it at the time, but my commute to work on my bike yesterday was totally up hill. My commute home was a breeze. Literally. At one point I was going so fast down hill I felt as if I was going to go headfirst over my handlebars.

2. The break-in period for my bike shoes is officially over. They felt a little pinchy at first – probably because of their stiffness. So either I’m used to that feeling or they have stretched enough to conform to my foot.

3. I’m a klutz. I knew this before, but it was extremely evident yesterday. It is so bad, my boys now say my theme song is ‘Clumsy’ by Fergie - because I’m always trippin and stumblin and fallin. It is also partly why I have the Bumble on the top of this blog. (Bumbles bounce!). They think it is hilarious.

I fell twice yesterday on my way home. Both times I was at a complete standstill – foot off the pedal and all. Just lost my balance. The first time, no one was around. The second time I was at a red light with several other stopped vehicles. I probably scared the crap out of the car drivers. Luckily, as I said, everyone was stopped. However, my elbow and knee took the brunt of the fall.

4. I am capable of riding 40+ miles on my bike without pain in my neck or back side. Just not in a row.

5. My bike is the right size for me and it is fitted correctly.

6. The people at work think I’m crazy. The best response I got was ‘I don’t even like to drive 20 miles let alone bike that far!’

~o

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Guess what I did today?

For the first time ever, I rode my bike to work today. It is about 20 miles and in theory, not a bad distance. However, in practical application, not so much. It took me about 25 minutes longer to get there than I expected.

I packed my work clothes and stuff to take a shower when I arrived in a small backpack. I figured it was small and light enough that it would not matter. Right? Wrong. I chose poorly. The backpack kept sliding from one side to the other while riding. I was very annoying and I kept on having to readjust it. I think I’m just going to leave a clean change of clothes and my shower stuff at work.

Another thing I had to deal with is the construction. Here in northeast Ohio, we only have two seasons – winter and construction. I knew I would have to deal with the construction projects but I didn’t realize how dangerous and scary they were to navigate through during morning rush hour. Most of the people in cars were kind and courteous but the few who were not truly scared me. Granted, the lanes are narrower in the construction zones but that doesn’t mean they have to run me off the road into the gravel. I was trying not to take up too much space.

I also found it scary to cross major intersections. Everyone was in such a rush I felt very pressured to get up to speed in a very short period of time. Next time I might take a longer route just to avoid the above issues. I am happy to report that I am getting much better at getting in and out of my clipless pedals.

Next thing that happened that I did not expect was … I got lost. OK - not lost so much as confused. The roads look so different when you are in a car vs. on a bike. Plus I’m not extremely familiar with the area. However, I did have my GPS, but that didn’t help as much as I had hoped. I finally had to call my husband to help me out of my jam. Thank God for cell phones and map quest (and my husband too-who picked up the phone after only one ring). I was right back on track, but that episode took about 15 minutes.

I made it to work none the worse for the wear. Now I only have to get back home tonight. At least the forecast is not calling for rain.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Random Stuff


This is the caricature an artist drew of me and my oldest son Sam after the Turkey Trot in Erie, PA last year. Isn't it awesome? It was free. The Erie Running Club has some of the best schwag at any race I've been.


After 2+ years of unemployment, Lou got a 8-10 week gig. Yea!!! We hope it becomes permanent but won’t know for a while. So now my problem is finding daycare in the summer for the kids. Now that’s the problem I want to have.

My company is awesome. Can’t fully elaborate but they really encourage their employees to do triathlons.

My blackberry decided to wipe itself on Monday. Total dump. Thankfully, the information is backed up and I only had to wait 15 min as the help desk at my company reset it. It would have made for a lousy Monday had it not been backed up.

The Biggest Loser is my favorite show, but I really like Lost too and will miss it when it is gone.

My friend and running partner, Jean, turns 74 today. She is awesome and kicks my butt on a regular basis. She will be running in her 50th marathon next week at the Cleveland Marathon.

My friend and triathlon inspiration, Aimee, just completed her first Ironman – St. George. I am very proud of her.

I don’t know why I’m having such a hard time finding a swimming coach. I have had 4 bag on me already – meaning a first appointment was set and they canceled and never rescheduled. Two are from the local YMCA. Aren’t they supposed to help everyone? I’m am working on a 5th but can’t get a hold of her.

Lou can’t make it to the PHLYTri this year because of his new job so I will be relying on my 12 year old son for help.

The heater at the Bally’s where I swim has been broken for 2 weeks. The water has been hovering around 74. A little nippy for my taste, but it does keep the crowd down. They say it will be fixed this week.

At the age of 72 and 70, my parents are finally connected to the internet and have email addresses.


I just cashed in 190,000 Speedway points for a $200 Speedway gas card. Took me about 8 months to earn those points.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Injury report

Well it was bound to happen some time. I fell on my bike while I was riding last Saturday.

As I was riding what I call my 'training loop' last Saturday - the 6 1/2 mile loop that is pretty close to my house - I was approaching that same damned intersection at Reeves and Lakeshore. There is a traffic light there and it always seems to be red. I slowed down as I approached it hoping it would turn green before I got there, but that didn't work. It was still red.

It wouldn't be so bad except for the steep incline of the hill. I was slowed down, praying the light would change and when it didn't I had no choice but to stop. However, I didn't exactly stop the way I would have liked. Basically I just fell over trying to unclip my shoes from the pedals. But because I felt my bike was more important not to injure rather than myself, I bore the entire brunt of the fall on my right wrist. The injury report for my bike is good - no scratches. Not so good for my wrist. I think it is sprained because it still hurts - but after a little ice and an ace bandage, I'm good as new.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Nutrition – The 4th Discipline


Anyone who knows me knows that I am very disciplined when it comes to things like my work or training. It is one of the reasons that make me a good engineer. Logic. Order. Discipline. Deductive reasoning. It is also why, although I’m not a very skilled athlete, I will make it to the finish line at the REV3 triathlon. I have the stick-to-a tive-ness (as my dad says) it take to get things done.

However, anyone who also knows me knows my weakness for sugar – chocolate in particular – Peanut M&M’s to be the most specific. I love peanut M&M’s. They are the perfect blend of dairy, caffeine and protein – right? I am truly addicted to them. I am convinced if I could cut them out of my diet I would drop 10 lbs in no time.

Right now it is what I struggle with the most – nutrition. I am eating a balanced breakfast, lunch and dinner and healthy snacks. But then I add the unhealthy snacks like peanut M&M’s. I must admit I buy them in the Sams’s Club size – I don’t mess around with the small bags. I am truly a work in progress and I still need so much work.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

First time using clipless pedals...Yikes

Yesterday I rode my bike outside for the first time this year. I know. I know. It has been a spectacular spring. You are probably wonder what was the hold up. Actually, I’m a big chicken. I was afraid to ride my new bike with the clipless pedals. Didn’t want to wreck and not be able to get my foot unclipped.

I finally got up the nerve yesterday because I had really just run out of excuses. I made my oldest son stand next to me while I got on the bike and started to pedal. I went around the cul-de-sac a few times and clipped and unclipped my shoes several times. So far so good.

I felt confident enough to take my bike out for a real spin. I grabbed my cell phone, just in case, then told my husband and kids to send help if I’m not home in an hour. That would mean I was spralled out on the highway somewhere. I did two loops of 6.5 miles each on a course used for the annual Willoughby Lions Club Biathlon. It is about a 10th of a mile from my house. It is a nice loop and many bikers use it to train.

However, there is one spot at the intersection of Reeves Road and Lakeshore Blvd where it is a very steep incline. It is also a very busy intersection – especially with the construction rerouting traffic to those roads. I was stopped at the red light and unclipped my right foot (I’m better with that foot). OK. When the light turned green is where my troubles began. I could not for the life of me get my shoe clipped back in. I tried 4 times before it worked. I almost gave up and just walked my bike up the hill. Finally – success.

So I didn’t go all out because I just wanted to get familiar with the feel of everything, but I was averaging about 16mph and I did get up to speeds of 24 mph. That is so much better than on my mountain bike where I averaged about 13mph in the two sprint tri’s I did last summer. I know I will improve as my confidence with my equipment grows.


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Pool Nazi

Friday was yet another crazy day. I hope this doesn’t keep up. It was my swim day and I find swimming the hardest workout to get in because it is the only one I have to go to a gym to complete. The others I can do at home. However, I had to go to Pittsburgh for the day for some surveys. I also had to pick up my Clif Bars at Whole Foods because they had a fabulous sale on them – buy one box for $10 get one free. Sadly, I also had to attend the wake of my next door neighbor, a 52 year old man who had been battling cancer for the last year.

I left my house around 6am and did not have one second to waste. I managed to drive to Pittsburgh, complete 3 surveys, stop off for the Clif Bars, and attend a wake. By this time it was 7pm and I still needed to get my swim workout done. Bally’s closes at 9pm on Friday nights so I had to get over there before then. Immediately following the wake, I dragged my poor children to the gym with me because Lou had a meeting with a potential client (can’t cancel on a potential client). I’m sure sitting in the lobby of Bally’s was exactly what they wanted to be doing on a Friday night (NOT). My planned workout was for 1,200 yards.

I went to the locker room, changed into my swimsuit and quickly rinsed off before going to the pool area. Now this is where it gets interesting. I walk into the pool room and it was downright crowded. Every lane was filled with 3-4 seniors, some had even more. And yet amazingly, none of them were swimming. OK. But none of them were doing any form of exercise either (water aerobics, running in the water, etc.). Every single one of them were doing nothing except standing around talking to one another. It was like a senior night club only in a pool. I asked the lady standing in the pool with only two people in it if I could share the lane. She glared at me and asked in a thick German accent “Did you zhower before you came in here?” I said yes. She then said “You are not clean enough to get in the pool. Is zis your first time here? You must be clean to enter!” My jaw was on the floor. Did I stink? I didn’t think so. I looked around and saw people going from the steam room getting all sweaty and then getting into the pool and/or hot tub. I could not believe she had no problem with that. I had no other choice but to go back into the locker room for a full shower before I came back. Whatever.

After I got into the pool, a guy in the lane next to me said “You look fast. Are you fast?” I told him it was an optical illusion, that I was slow. I started my warm up and after two laps he asked “Do you want to race?” As polite as possible I said “No thanks, I just want to get my work out done.” He said OK. Except as soon as I started each lap, he would swim a lap too. At the end he said “You beat me.” or “I won.” or “You are fast.” or some other remark. I found this to be very strange and annoying. Is it just me? I don’t think so. I don’t mind saying hello of being friendly but I thought this was a bit overboard.

By the way, I now have a working theory as to why there were men’s swim trunks on the bottom of the pool.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

They really do go with everything...


It has been a crazy week. At least it seemed so. I have been doing my workouts as prescribed. Swim. Bike. Run. Swim. Bike. Run. You know the drill. But this week seemed like I was going here, then there, then here again, then back there. I was pulled in so many different directions. I found my workouts to be the most peaceful part of the day.

One day I had to change the time of my workout and do it on my way home from work. Not so unusual I suppose but normally, when I workout at lunch, I will take off my jewelry before I go and lock it in my drawer. I do this because I don’t like to work out in my jewelry and I don’t like to leave it in my car or in a locker. Well, when I revised my plan, I still wasn’t comfortable leaving it in the car or locker so I wore it to work out. I usually only wear my wedding rings and another ring. But that day I had worn my favorite necklace - my string of pearls left to me by my maternal grandmother.

Now some of you might wonder why I was wearing them – was I at a wedding? funeral? dance? Nope. I wear those pearls as often as I can. They are beautiful. When I first got them I would only pull them out a couple times a year for special occasions wishing I had a reason to wear them more often. Then one day as I was making that same wish, I answered myself with ‘Well, why can’t I wear the pearl necklace every day?’ So I did. Ever since, I have been wearing them several times a week. That was about 5 years ago and I think about my grandmother every time I do.

Needless to say, when I worked out that day, I wore my pearls. It is true what they say – they really do go with everything. I have never felt so pretty and feminine as I did that day working out wearing my grandmothers pearls.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Even Steven


Yesterday was my bike day. However, I was in the field away from my office. Like I said before, that usually throws me off schedule. However, yesterday was my lucky day – and I’m not even Irish. I was in Mansfield, OH doing a survey of a YMCA. Jackpot!

I always have my workout clothes in my car just in case an opportunity presents itself to get a workout in when otherwise I wouldn’t normally. As a card carrying member of the Lake County YMCA, I was able to do my bike work on a really nice life cycle at the Mansfield YMCA after I was done with my survey. I tell you what, that place is gorgeous! It is brand new and way better than the YMCA in Lake County. Their pool area looks like the Great Wolf Lodge. I'm not kidding.

Today was my run day. I went out at lunch and ran about 3 miles. I forgot to pack my socks in my bag but went out anyways. I figured – a lot of people do it and it is only 3 miles. Big mistake :-( My feet are like those of a newborn baby (well mostly). I have no calluses, no dry patches, no funky black toenails, nothing. About halfway thru, I felt my shoe rubbing the top of my left foot. Another ½ mile later, I felt the other shoe rubbing the top of my right foot. Ouch. I believe I’ll live but I think I’ll be throwing a few spare pairs of socks in my car so it will never happen again. I will never take socks for granted again.


I guess today offsets my luck from yesterday.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

I Can See Clearly Now

OK. Today it really begins. Today it is my swim day. 1100 yards with lots of drills. Nothing crazy. I get to wear my new goggles I got last week. I just love them. They are Aqua Sphere Seal. I have used them twice so far and have noticed a significant difference. First is the fit. They are a little larger than most goggles and look more like a ski mask than swimming goggles. They sit below the eye on the bone so it doesn’t hurt me the way my old goggles did. Second is the seal. It is fantastic and I have yet to get any water in the goggles. They also don’t leave funny marks on my face when I’m done swimming. And third, they are so clear and easy to see thru with their 180°wide angle view. I could not believe how well I could see thru them.

However, because of my clear vision, I discovered a few things about the pool I swim in. The bottom and sides are very rusty. I find this odd, especially since it is made of concrete. I’m guessing it is rebar rusting thru the cracks. Next, the water was a little on the green side. And last, but most disturbing of all – there were two pairs of men’s swimming trunks on the bottom of the pool. Not one but two. Yeah - I got nothin.

Luckily, the next day both pairs of trunks were gone and the water was no longer green.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Beware the Ides of March

Well, today is the official start to my 26 week training plan that will take me to the finish line at the Rev 3 triathlon. And just like the first day of school and the first day of a new job, there is not a lot going on. In reality – nothing is going on. I thought I’d start the first day of the next six months of my life with a day off from working out.

Well – sort of. It just worked out that my scheduled day of rest every week is Monday. I’ll see how that goes and switch it if I have to. Should be ok. I am just following the training schedule out of my training book. I happen to be one of those people who thrive on routine. I would even go so far as to say that I excel at routine. If my training plan says to take Monday’s off – I take Monday’s off. It throws me out of whack if I have to think about taking Tuesday’s off, even though it really doesn’t matter. If my training plan said to jump on one foot, I’d jump on one foot without question. If my training plan said to juggle bean bags, Id juggle bean bags without question. I probably should ask questions or at least find out why I am doing a certain something, but I don’t. I believe the training book when it says if I follow the plan I will get to the finish line. Sounds good to me.

By the way, there is no meaning to my title. I just liked it. Et tu?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

How Lucky Can You Get?

I have the good fortune to work for a company that not only wants their employees to be health and fit but truly supports my triathlon endeavors. They actually want us to participate in running and triathlons and they do nearly everything to make that possible. They pay for a portion of my annual membership to a gym and if we work out at lunch we get an extra 15 min. This is fantastic, especially since I do my swim training during lunch. I can get my yardage in, take a shower and be back at my desk in less than 1 hr. 15 minutes. I will run and swim every other day. I try to get outside to run, but thru the winter – especially this one - I have been using the treadmill at the Bally’s near my office.

My training plan consists of 6-9 workouts per week. That usually digs into family time for most triathletes. I know I’m fortunate to get the majority of my workouts done during the workday. If I do as many of the others early in the morning, I won’t be cutting into my evenings with my family hardly at all. I’m sure this will change when I get into the longer runs or bike rides, but relatively speaking, I know I’m luckier than most.

Now you know why going out of town throws such a monkey wrench into my schedule. I’m usually on the road working during lunch when I’m out of town. Last week was especially trying. I spent a week in Indianapolis at a hotel that was in the process of renovating their banquet rooms. The rooms were directly across from the glass walled pool and workout room. Believe me when I tell you the ick factor was very high as I was trying to workout directly across from all the contractors working on the remodel. I think guys just can’t help themselves regardless of the freak show in front of them. Sorry guys.

I did get out one evening for a run in Indi. It was so nice out there and the sun sets a little later than here because it is further west. I was running in shorts and a shirt and jacket. It was about 48F but once I got going I was very warm. When I got back to the hotel, I was in the elevator with an elderly gentleman. He looked at me like I was crazy and asked if I was just outside in my outfit. I said ‘Yeah – it is so warm outside’. His jaw dropped and said ‘Its freezing.’ I asked where he was from he said Florida. He asked where I was from and I said Cleveland and it was 15 degrees cooler there this week than in Indi. I guess it truly is just relative.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Out of Town

This week I have been out of town for work. Part of my job requires I go out of town to visit with the insured clients in my region. My region covers Ohio, Indiana, West Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee. I also service western PA and New York because I’m only a couple hours from each. Needless to say, the potential for me to be out of town is high.

This is not as exciting as it seems. One of the hardest parts about it for me is living for a week without my DVR. I cannot believe how my DVR has completely changed the way I watch TV. The beauty of recording something and skipping through the commercials is something to behold. It is way more efficient than a VCR because the remote control allows you to move fluidly through the program with ease and pause and rewind if there are any interruptions. And there are always interruptions. Being forced to watch the commercials and stupid parts of American Idol this week is driving me crazy. I only like to watch the singers singing and Simon’s comments. The rest I blow through in no time at all. I can watch 2 hours of TV in about 45 minutes.

The other part I’m struggling with this week is finding time to work out – especially swimming. The hotel has a decent workout room and I have been using their treadmill and the recumbent bike. But they only have one of each and I have only been able to use it very late in the evening (at least late for me) around 9pm at night. The hotel is booked solid this week so the equipment has been in use nearly every time I went to check. I was hoping working out this late would tire me out. It didn’t. It pretty much had the opposite effect. I was up much later than I wanted to be every night. However, I have to admit, part of that is probably because I’m not sleeping in my own bed. It kinda sucks. I wake up tired, not feeling rested and when I get back to the hotel room all I want to do is take a nap. I don’t, so I grab a bit to eat and then try to work out. After I work out I get a second wind at 10pm when I’m usually asleep and am awake until after midnight. I haven’t been able to work out in the mornings either because the workout room has been packed at that time too.

I really have to figure it out.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Back in the saddle again

This week I got back on my bike for the first time in a while. It felt good. Biking is my favorite of the three sports for so many different reasons. It is the only one of the three that I would actually consider a legitimate mode of transportation. Realistically, I could and will ride my bike to work. It is about 18 miles each way and there is a bike path almost the entire way. I would never consider walking, running, or swimming (?!?) to work. It is also the only one of the three that you could still be moving forward if you stopped to take a breather for a second.

I have always wanted to just hop on my bike with nothing but water, a bit of food, and my credit card and ride the entire loop of the Emerald Necklace. For those of you not from Cleveland, the Emerald Necklace is the series of metroparks and bike trails that loop about 80 miles around the city and suburbs. It is very beautiful and I have ridden several miles of it when I was in training for another bike race I did years ago with a friend of mine called Pedal to the Point. That is a 2 day 160 mile bike ride from Cleveland to Cedar Point in Sandusky, OH. Ironically, that is where the Rev3 triathlon is taking place. I guess all roads lead to Cedar Point.

Getting back to my original point, my work out consisted of warming up, I started in an low gear working my way up and down the cogset. I spent 2 minutes on each gear with no rest between gears, then did a cool down. I was on the bike about 45 minutes. I hope to build this drill so I am doing 5 minutes on each gear. This was a good drill to literally and figuratively get back in the saddle. The only drawback is my bum is sore from not riding in so long. I wish there was an easier way to ease back into that.