Friday, November 21, 2008

Secret wish, not so secret anymore

At work today, my friend Sara and I were discussing races and triathlons- she did the Longhorn Half Ironman two years ago. She was looking forward to graduating and thinking about her long term goal of completing an Ironman. I said that was my long term goal too and that secretly, I've been planning on doing Ironman Arizona in November 2010. She immediately said let's do it together- which sounds like a blast. All except for the actual training and finishing the Ironman itself. But really, now that I've told another person, I guess it's not a secret. And so now I'm telling everyone else too. I don't think I need a countdown timer- 720 some odd days until Ironman AZ 2010! And if I wasn't going to be working on Sunday, I would be glued to the computer to watch this year's IMAZ. Anyway, maybe it will help my motivation to at least state my intention. My intention is to complete Ironman Arizona 2010. There, it's official.

Of course, there are a couple of details that are in the way. First of course, is the the extra 100 lbs I'm carrying around. I can't do an Ironman with this much extra weight. Second, I've never done a marathon, or even a half Iron triathlon. Third, my run pace is 15 min per mile. Fourth, my bike pace is 12 mph. Fifth, my swim pace is 2:30/100m. Damn- I am slow. And at those paces I wouldn't make it past the swim cutoff- well maybe I could get through the swim, but I would probably get swept off the bike course.

But who am I not to try? The Marianne Williamson quote has been rattling around my brain lately:
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

So, see you in Tempe in 2010.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I miss my dog

In preparation for the Mexico trip next week, I left my dog at my parents' house to look after for the next two weeks. I'm okay if I'm on a trip and he's not with me, but being at home without him is weird. I don't like it. There is an empty space. And it reminds me that he will not live forever, and that some day that empty space will be permanent. And I really don't like that.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Rock and Roll San Antonio Half Marathon Race Report- part 2

So the morning of the race, we got up at 5:45, having budgeted what we thought would be plenty of time to get dressed, drive to the parking area, and get a bus to the start line before the race started at 7:30, even though our corrals were towards the back and would most likely not start until 8-8:15.

That was a great plan until we got in line for the buses. Moving 30,000 runners (not including their spectators at this point) takes a lot of work and they were woefully under prepared. We stood in line for an hour and got to the start line at 8:00. The had started the race 15 minutes late, and they were announcing that corral 14 was just under way. Ceci was in corral 16, and I was in 26, out of a total of 32. We split up to drop the bag at gear check and go to the bathroom, with a plan to meet up at the V (for veterinarian) family reunion sign afterwards.

So after the bathroom break and some quick stretching, I get into the mass of people. At this point, they are not separating by corrals really, they are just starting a bunch of people and then making the next bunch wait. So the whole point of getting people to run at around the same pace is out the window. I finally get to cross the start line at 8:30, with the supposed corral 31 people. And they are mostly walkers. I have to dodge walkers the entire 13 miles! And even though I am a super slow runner, it affected my pace. Though there were people around me the entire time- I never ran alone- which I thought I would like. I don't. Even at the finishing line, there were strings of 3-4 walkers blocking the path. I think 30,000 is just TOO MANY PEOPLE!

So the post race area was a huge crowd, got snacks and water in the participant area, and then found the V sign. Found Ceci shortly thereafter- she had a great first half marathon, making her goal time, and finishing strong. But now we were in the general area and couldn't go back for more water or to get a picture together. We exchanged our race shirts and then found the line for the shuttle back to the parking area.

And an hour of standing in line in the sun later, we finally get on the buses. REALLY? You would think the Rock and Roll organization would be prepared, but they were not- and now you had all the spectators coming back as well as the runners. It was a long time and I got sunburned and hungry. We stopped at the first restaurant we found, which was Cracker Barrel, and had a great lunch with lots of biscuits. Yum. The shower afterwards was heavenly- I realized my skin was so grimy it would stick together. Gross.

So overall, it was a good race- I felt stronger than I have previously, and the next day and able to walk more easily. But the difficulty at packet pickup, the disorganization with the parking shuttles, and just the overwhelming mass of people- I'm not sure I want to do this one again next year.

But it does get me excited for the Austin Half- I would love to get under 3:00 for that race, and I have 3 months to shave about one minute per mile off my time. Is it possible? I want to try!

Rock and Roll San Antonio Half Marathon Race Report- part 1

Overall it went well. I finished strong, and though not my fastest half, it was decent and I could still walk afterwards, which was important, because there was a lot of walking left to do, as I'll tell you about later.

The first problem was with packet pickup. It was only open from 11-7 on Friday and 9-5 on Saturday. Having to work both days in Austin, the plan was to go to Ceci's house Saturday night after work. Well, with the crazy Saturdays we've been having and not getting done until 3-4 pm, that may be a problem. And of course, only you can pick up your packet. I understand the reasoning- they want a captive audience for the vendors and 30,000 people is a lot of money to them. But I emailed and called, and got no response. My dad offered to write a power of attorney letter so Ceci could pick it up for me, but that seemed like overkill. They would help me out and let me pick it up on race day, right?

Wrong, so I got to drive to San Antonio in Friday night traffic, and barely made it to the expo by 6:30 and there were tons of people just coming in. The announcers kept saying the expo was closing and everyone had to leave, but I'm sure the vendors would have liked a little more time to sell running paraphrenalia. And then I got to drive back to Austin for work on Saturday.

And of course, this Saturday wound up going quickly and I was done at 1 pm. Figures. But it did give me time to run some errands and get organized, which put me in Saturday night traffic and in a minor accident where I rear ended a truck in front of me. Really it was a license plate bender, because that was the only damage- his trailer hitch bent my front license plate. But it did shake me up and get my adrenaline going! But thank God- it could have been a lot worse!

We go out for some carbo loading, but of course now it is 7:30 on a Friday night and everywhere is packed. We find EZ's which is only half full and have a nice meal and then go to bed early. About 3:30 I get woken up by an alarm, but it takes me a little while to realize it's not my alarm clock. It is the low battery chirp alarm of the smoke detector in Ceci's spare bedroom. It chirps about once per minute for about 10 minutes, and then quits. Then it starts up again. I try the emergency ear plugs I have from camping with the kayaking guys. I try the pillow over the head. The chirp penetrates everything.

Finally about 30 minutes later I give up and try to dismantle the smoke detector- I know from experience that if you take out the battery it gets really loud and angry, so I just wanted to unhook it from the ceiling and hide it under the couch cushions downstairs. But it is wired into the ceiling- like it's connected to the alarm system. So I don't really want to mess with that at 4 am, so I just take the blanket downstairs to sleep on the couch.

I can still hear the chirping, but is much further away, and I'm able to sleep a little bit before my real alarm goes off at 5:45. And of course, at that point, it has stopped chirping completely! So why did it have to go off tonight, of all nights, and at 3:30? When there was a guest actually using the spare room, and on the night before the race! Argh!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

El Sueno

Take a peek at my new bike- a Quintana Roo Tequilo. And because there is some Mexican history in his construction, his name is El Sueno. Of course, there's also a nice sticker saying made in Taiwan, but still. My boyfriends at Jack's and Adam's helped me, and we swapped out shorter aerobars, a compact chain ring, and smaller cassette. Plus the bombproof 32 spoke hand built Mavic wheels. I am in love.

And the crazy thing is, just going up that little hill at the veloway after the flat part (about 3.1 miles in), I would huff and puff up it on the orange bike and this one, the position is just better and I can sit and climb easily. Of course, I would love it if this bike would automatically make me a 20 mph rider, but it won't. It will make it easier for me to train and get faster, and hopefully stay on it instead of on the side of the road with a broken spoke (for the fourth time!

Though looking in my garage, it's a little embarrassing. I may have a problem. But I did give my mountain bike to my sister for her birthday, so that's one less bike. But is five kayaks and two bikes a few too many? Not if I use them!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Two run workouts in one week!

It's a first! No really, I've been bad about going to the T3 run workouts since they are at 6 pm on an unshaded track. In July it was 100 degrees on the track and I melted the one time I tried. I would rather just run by myself than have my proteins denature in the heat. Of course, that defeats the purpose of the track workouts which is to go faster by having a coach design speed workouts for you.

So, now that it is fall and much nicer to run at 6pm, I have been making it to the Monday workouts which are usually hill runs and they move locations monthly. I did that for a month, and am now trying to add the Wed night speed workouts on the track. Of course, it all kicks my ass. I am the slowest runner by far. And it's so much easier to deal with that when I am running on my own. When I am constantly being lapped, it is nearly impossible to maintain a positive attitude.

I did try a mental exercise where I would imagine the people passing me as suddenly 100 lbs overweight. Would I be able to keep up with them then? And then imagining what they would look like. I've seen the fat suits The Biggest Loser has used in challenges, but that's nothing like the real thing. But of course, the trick is not for everyone else to gain weight, but for me to lose weight.

I will definitely be faster if I lose weight- there's a calculator for this that estimates that for every 2 lbs lost you will go 0:25 seconds faster per 10k. According to that, my half marathon would be 45 minutes faster if I was at goal weight. That would be sweet! And that's not including any increased training, just moving faster by not carrying the extra weight. More info at

Monday, November 10, 2008

Public Service Announcement

This is the uterus of a 3 year old 43# pitbull. She presented for vaccinations, but on exam, had an enlarged abdomen and poor body condition. Heartworm test was negative. No fever. And then she produced some foul smelling yellow-brown vulvar discharge. Diagnosis of a pyometra was presumed. Emergency surgery revealed a grossly distended but intact uterus that was removed en bloc. It weighed 7.9 lbs. That would be 18% of her body weight was pus filled uterus! Her history showed that she had one normal litter of puppies previously. Most likely her following heat cycle allowed bacteria into the uterus that the body was unable to clear and that the pus had been building up for weeks to months. The reason she was still alive was that the cervix was open just a little to allow a small amount of drainage. Otherwise it would have continued to accumulate pus until it ruptured and she would have had a fatal peritonitis.

Moral of the story: get your dog spayed!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Horario nuevo

So I'm already planning next year's schedule and so far, my A races are:
Feb 15 Austin Half Marathon
Apr 5 Lonestar tri- Olympic distance
Oct 18 Longhorn Half Ironman

So I think for this year, the goal is going to be improve speed. I've been all about increasing distance and endurance, and I think I need to work on going faster before I can go any further. Next year will be about endurance, with possibly an IM in there, but I think that might be tempting fate to even think that out loud at this point.

To that end, I'm going to go to Mon night track/hill runs and Tues/Thurs spin classes. And the new bike (more on that later) I'm sure will help, but I think just consistency and improved technique will help too.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Happy Birthday

Well, this was a pretty crappy birthday to start with- 33 is just not that exciting. And it is a marker for the goals I set for myself last year, none of which I actually achieved. And that sucks. I didn't lose weight. I didn't find the boyfriend of my dreams. I didn't run a marathon.

But I did do some new and interesting things and I should focus on the positive instead of the negative. I did my first triathlon this year, and followed that up with four more. I completed the Longhorn Aquabike. I did a horrible Hottest Half in Dallas. I have transitioned into a niche in my work that I really like. I have met some new and interesting people. I am taking the spanish class I have been talking about taking for years. I ran the New River and had a good time at ASCI.

So even though I have unresolved goals, it just means that I am not done. I guess if I had achieved all my goals, I would be finished and could go lay down and die.