Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Rev3 Runs Across America!

While I am wishing I could run, my team is running across the country. Really. The WHOLE country!

They are doing it as a relay, and I am really proud of them.

You can see the map of their progress here!


They are doing it to raise money for the Ulman Cancer Fund, which is awesome.

They are trying to raise $100,000, which is a lot of money.  If you are inclined to give, the form is here! It is an amazing cause, and an awesome event! They have a long way to go in the fundraising, but they also have a long way to go running! I believe they are going to make it in both!


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Ok--here goes--the aftermath.

So I have a stress fracture.

Well, really I have two, but only one is bad. The other one is really no big deal, so we are not worried about.

Basically, a few days after the race, all of the soreness went away, and I was just left with being tired and a sore spot on my shin. I slept and ate, and then slept some more. I slowly started doing some exercise, then and decided to rest. Then I would do a little more, and then rest.

But that spot on my shin was still there.

So I told my coach, and he told me to go to the Doctor.

So I figured initially that meant to check WebMd for a while, freak out, and hope that it went away.

Guess what? It didn't.

So, I called the Doctor, and he took and xray. Nothing, but from my webmd research, I know that doesn't mean much.

So then it was time for a bone scan.

In the hospital, the radiologist said, "do you are only having pain in your left leg." "Yes," was my response. He said, "well you have a stress fracture for sure in you left leg (tibia), but you also have a hot spot in your right leg (tibia)." Great.

Back to my doctor. After some discussion, he decided that the placement and the severity of the left one was the big deal, and needed to be treated more aggressively than the right one.

So here I am. 4 weeks in this awesome boot. Trying to make the best of it.

I know that plenty of people will have a variety of opinions about my stupid leg, but I mostly just need to try to look at the positives. I know that "it could be worse," and "you probably had it coming," and "good timing." I got all of that. Right now, I am just counting down the days.

Day 2:

Monday, March 19, 2012

Answers to Your Questions about the Double

Since I have had a couple of weeks to let the experience of the double iron simmer, I think I am ready to answer some questions. Some of them are similar questions, but I will answer all of them anyway!

What sort of cycling shorts, chamois cream/lube do you use?

I rode in my ti-suit (or unitard as my team likes to debate calling them) by Canari. I brought a LOT of changes, but never did change. I use a TON of TRISLIDE (who also sponsors my team). I also used bag balm, which is a classic, and really worked. I was really really worried about chaffing. I think that the worry paid off, because I had little to no chaffing, which is amazing.

Did you ever have times when "I don't think I can do this" crossed your mind? If so, how did you get past them?

George and I talked about this some. Before the race, YES. During the race, no. Before the race, I doubted myself a LOT. In fact, I think that this cycle of self doubt and accomplishment are part of the appeal of races for me. If I don't know if I can do it, it is more appealing to me. Twisted, I know. During the race, I have moments where I think, "this is dumb," "I could be comfortable right now doing ANYTHING else," "I'm not really sure why I do this," "uuuugggghhhhh," "I am STILL riding my bike?" In other words, I get tired of what I am doing. I never actually think about not being able to do it, but I do think about wishing I wasn't doing it. And then, I keep moving, the thoughts go away, and I move on to thinking about other things. Like Pop Tartss.

What kind of pop tarts did you eat? :)

Cherry! Yummmm. I didn't train with these. But George bought them "just in case." They ended up being what I wanted to eat. As long as it is mostly carbs, I can stomach it.

How did you feel the days following?

Sore! Swollen feet, but no blisters.

What's next?

Ok--I copied these in order that I got them. I didn't really want to answer this....not sure!

What made you want to do this race?

I like to know what I can and can't do. I like to figure out my own limits. I did 3 140.6's last year, and I knew that I was stronger at the end of the three than the start, so I wanted to see

 How many total participants were there?

32 in total

Are there more than one double IM in the US?

Yes, there is another on in Virginia in October.

How many avg hours a week did you train? Peak week hours?

Average at 25 hours/week of actual training. A couple weeks higher and a couple weeks lower.

How did you manage training and outside activities (aka job, friends, family)?

Friends? I didn't really have many in those two months who were not swim/bike/running with me! Job--I was tired from sleeping less. I had to run out of work as soon as I could to try to get everything done. Family--they were very understanding--particularly my husband. He was really good about stepping in and helping out around the house.

Did you monitor your heart rate at all during this event - if so what were target zones? 

No--I went on entirely perceived effort. Aerobic drift is SUCH a big deal in the long stuff, and I am pretty darn good at monitoring my effort.

Any specific nutrition tips in race (carbs/protein mixture)?

I don't really do protein. For me, I try lots of things in training, and keep it as carby as possible. The only thing my stomach doesn't really like is liquid calories. I don't like drinks--I prefer gels and water or bars or chews. I try to keep it between 200-300 calories/hour. Anne kept track of my intake so that I kept it even the whole race. I was closer to 300/hour on the bike and more like 200/hour on the run.

How many days did recovery take (i.e., able to walk "normally"?

Oh man, when I first stood up, I couldn't really walk. John and George carried me over to the massage table. I needed help walking to the car and into the hotel. After nap, I could walk again.

This may seem like a dumb question, because of course you did, but did you ever get tired? I mean, like super-tired, can't keep your eyes open, I'm going to fall over if I don't rest right now, tired?

I was really nervous about this, but it was never really a problem. I drank coke starting at midnight, and I also had these little coffee drinks from trader joes. They were perfect. Espressos and sugar. Done. It really wasn't that bad. Now, it totally messed up my sleep for the next week, but that night was fine! I think I was just SO focused on the goal at hand.

When did you first realize that temporary tattoos on your crew were essential to race success?

From the start.

Did George ever sit down?

I asked him, but he could not remember any sustained sitting periods.

Who choose Vanilla Ice for the dance mix?

Great question. I am not sure if it was George or Sparkles, but honestly, it's on both of their ipods.

Can we figure out a way to market and brand these "ultra crewing" bingo boards?

SHHHHH!!!! Don't say that in public. Patent Pending. ;-)

Do you have an iron stomach (did you get sick at all during the run from eating pop tarts etc.)? 

I've never thought of myself as having one, but I didn't have any problems, so I guess I do! I tried and ate a LOT of different things in training, because, when you train that much it is exhausting to eat the same things all of the times.

How did you come up with your nutrition plan?

I have worked with Ilana Katz here in Atlanta, and we developed a plan. The plan means nothing if you haven't practiced though!

 What was more difficult to accomplish: all the training or the race itself?

Easy. The training. It is WAY harder to rearrange your life, manage fatigue, deal with constant little physical issues, get your self mentally up for it every day than the race. The race was a blast compared to a January of 25+ hours of mostly indoor training mostly by myself!

 What motivated you to even attempt this?

Ummmmm.....I like the long races. When I finished Cedar Point 140.6, I told George that I still felt fine and could keep going. He said, "there's no award for who still feels good. You need to speed up or you need to go longer." I sped up some in Cozumel, and then I still felt good, so I decided to go longer.

And what motivated you to keep on "moving forward"?

The next lap. I was SO in the moment during this race. It was all about getting it done.

 How long was the recovery process?

Blech. It was different than a single. There is of course soreness. But this one left me with very frustrating sleeping problems. Three weeks post race, I am starting to feel like myself again. My motivation has needed a recovery too.

What was the course like? Flat as a pancake?

Pancakes are mountain ranges compared to this course. BUT--pancakes don't have wind, and the course did. 

Was there anything you did during training that clicnched your success, or was it a combination of things?

Consistent work. I really missed VERY few workouts. You just get up, get them done, and move on to the next one. I think that having 3 140.6's from just last year really helped. I went in with a strong base. 

What would you change in training or race if you did it again?

Hmmmm.....I'm sure there are little things, but this race went SO well for me. I was physically, mentally, and logistically prepared. I had the race I wanted to have, and now it's over. 

And.... will you do it again? ;)

I'm in no rush, but never say never. I have lots of other adventures I am thinking about right now.

How could you stay so calm throughout all of this? 

I think that's part of the training. There were plenty of not-calm moments before the race that probably balance it out!

When you were out there were you just exicuting your plan and was it that that gave you confidence? 

Yes, I really never thought about the whole picture while I was out there. I was just doing the worked that needed to get done!

How did you and Coach come up with your plan? 

I didn't come up with any of it! My coach did it all. We had limited time after Cozumel, and we just worked with what I had. Coach has gotten me to every finish line I wanted to get to, so I trust in the plan. 

So are you thinking about a triple?

Not really. I don't think I like the idea of not sleeping for two nights.

Ok, well, that's all I have! I you have any more, let me know, but otherwise--it's almost time to move on!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Quick Post Race and Your Questions?

I finished the Double Iron distance of 4.8 miles of swimming, 224 miles of cycling, and 52.4 miles of running in 28:48.

That put me in 5th place overall, and 3rd place female. That means that three of the top five finishers were women. Yeah we were!

After the race, I sat down.

And I got cold pretty fast on this warm Florida day.

After a few minutes, John and George basically carried me over the massage table. I couldn't quite walk yet. I told George to fill out the forms for me, and this is what he wrote:

Pretty accurate description if you ask me! It did all kind of hurt! After that, they carried me to the car. I was able to mostly hobble into the hotel to take a shower and a nap. I woke up so hungry I thought I might die. So I woke up poor George and told him that we HAD to go and get dinner RIGHT THEN. Even though we had dinner plans with the crew in an hour, I wanted to get first dinner before we met them for second dinner. Both dinners were delicious.

After a night of fitful sleep, I got up and started looking for food in the back of the van. Coach came outside and was laughing at the sight of me at 7am eating pretzels from the back of the car. 

We all packed up and headed to the awards ceremony at Wiskey Joes. It was fun to see everyone out of spandex and mostly cleaned up!

I had fun laughing with the French athlete Guy about getting lost together on the way to the park!

I received my finishing certificate, a very pretty bronze medal, a glass trophy, and a finishers shirt with flamingos swimming/biking/running.

After the awards ceremony, we gathered our things, said goodbye, and everyone got on the road to go home. 

It almost feels surreal that it even happened.

Now, I know that a lot of people have told me that you have questions. Questions about training/nutrition/the race. Ask me! I am going to do a blog post answering any/all questions that you have! So leave them here in the comments, or tweet them to me, or ask me in person, or any way that works best for you!

Double Iron Race Report: Run

I got off my bike, and headed into a tent to change. Sparkles and Anne helped me change into my running clothes, and adding a TON of TRISLIDE to keep me from chaffing on the run. I was wearing some really small shorts (that make me cringe a little in the pictures) to minimize chaffing. I might be able to do an entire post on chaffing prevention. I was pretty preoccupied with it, and I did a really good job with managing it!

Once I got on my feet, Laura headed out with me on the run. Mind you, it was pitch black out, so I had on a headlamp. The course was a 1.7 mile out and back. In other words, it was about 0.85 out and the same coming back. You could see everyone on the course, which was wonderful. You had to do the course 30 times. I had the same plan to take a 10 minute rest after 10 laps and after 20. In those breaks, I took my shoes off again. In the last break, I changed into a fresh pair of socks and shoes. I had bought a pair of shoes in wide (which is not my normal size) from West Stride before the race for this time exactly. I only had one tiny blister after the race. My feet got very tired, but they were fine. My plan was to take in something every single lap. Sometimes it was just water, sometimes it was food and water. I took in water, coke, canned coffee drinks, powerbar gels in Kona Punch flavor, poptarts. Again, I had a plan, and I stuck to it for 52.4 miles

You know that there was run bingo happening.

At some point in the middle off the night, I accidentally reset my watch. It read 0:00 from then on. It didn't really bother me though. I just kept running. I really had no idea what time it was for most of the run. I had no idea how fast or slow I was running. I had no idea what my lap times were. I just ran. And ran. And ran. 

Looking back on my data, I was extremely consistent. We have my run time recorded at 12:26, and without those two ten minute breaks, my actual running time was 12:06. Except for the laps when I needed to use the bathroom, my laps were almost exactly the same time. I had no idea. I just wanted to run.

It was really important to me that I ran the whole thing. When I finished a lap, I had run next to the computer and hear a *beep,* that told me my lap had been counted. My crew was set up right next to there. They would walk with me for about 50 feet while I would eat/drink. I learned long ago that I can't run and eat. I just choke. So, for 30 laps, the only time I walked was to get some food and liquid down. There was a traffic line painted on the road, and it was my signal to myself to start running again. So I ran, and ran, and ran. 

Eventually, I ran so much that the sun came up. It was beautiful. I was able to really enjoy and embrace the sunrise. It was great to see everything in the daylight. The morning felt so refreshing. Even though I still had a long time to run, I new that this would be the day I finished this race. 

My crew did more than just take care of my every need on these 52.4 miles. Some of them even accompanied me on the run. Now, mind you, I can be quite bossy. I wanted them to run off of my shoulder from the beginning to the end. I wanted to be running my pace, and I didn't want anyone to be running even a step ahead of me. So they ran "like birds in a V" behind me.  Laura has been training with me for so many of my long weekends. She flew me down to south Florida twice to train in the beautiful winter heat. 

Laura ran over 40 miles off my shoulder. She was amazing. She might kill me for this picture, but this is what she looked like after that awesome 40+ miles. Mind you, she was never sore in the days after the race. She will be signing up for something huge in a matter of days, I am sure. I am lucky to consider Laura my friend.

Because there was so much running at night, I don't have many pictures of my amazing friend Sparkles running with me. I do, however, have a picture of her in a wonder woman costume. She had not planned on running with me as much as she did, but we were having fun, and I kept telling her that she should consider running one more lap with me. And she did. Lap after lap we talked, she told me stories, and we laughed. Not only was she an incredible crew member who danced, changed costumes, blew up the giant dinosaur, and never lost energy, she also ran countless miles with me overnight. She deserves and award for her endless friendship and support. 

There came a time though, when I couldn't really talk or laugh back. Sparkles and Laura did an amazing job filling in this time with descriptions of vacations, food, prom dress colors, and stories from other races. And then came Scott Rigbsy. I am also lucky to be friends with Scott through Laura. We have trained together in Atlanta. I told Scott that I couldn't really talk anymore, and that was all it took. We went from "I'm glad you asked, because I LOVE 80's music. Let me explain to you exactly why I love it, and all of my favorite bands," to "Did I ever tell you about the time my dad brought home a pet bull named Henry?" to "I am one of seven kids, let me tell you about every single one of them." It was hilarious. I think that if I had been able to get back up, I would have fallen over laughing a few times.

When Scott and I ran the 29th lap together, he changed into his inspirational speaker self. You can TELL that this is what he does for a living. This lap was all about my accomplishment. He started reminding me that any time in life, when I wasn't sure if I could finish or get through something, I could call on this experience for strength. He told me to focus on the people who love me and support me. He told me how lucky I was to have a husband who loves me completely, and who will be there for me no matter what life throws our way. This is when I lost it. Now I was crying and running and running and crying. I thanked him, put my foot by the timing computer for the 29th time, drank some water, and George started running with me for the last lap. 

Before I venture into that last lap though, there were two other people (and their crews) on the course, who felt like they were on my team. Jason and Dani are also athletes from Atlanta. They are incredible athletes with amazing spirits and determination. Jason finished second overall. He was so encouraging to me through the night out on the course. 

Dani finished fourth overall, and second female. Her story here is all about perseverance. Pushing through injury before the race, and digging so incredibly deep during the race. She was more than a competitor during the race, she was inspiration. 

They are an awesome team, and we are so happy to have them as friends. We hope to be in many races with them in the years to come.

I was about half a lap or so behind Dani. On my last lap, my husband, George, came out to run with me. Because of Scott's personal inspiration speech, I was sobbing when he picked me up. But then we started talking, and I was just so happy to have him by my side.  We got to see Dani and I gave her my congratulations on her finishing stretch. George and I went back to the turn around. I said goodbye to the volunteers on that end. No more times out there! When we turned the corner, and I could see the finish, the tears started. George and I ran side by side with me crying.

As I approached the line, someone handed me a flag as the national anthem played. 

I love these picture with my friends on either side of me and my husband behind me. He is behind me in everything I do. 

I am so grateful for this opportunity. I am grateful for the strength of my body. I am grateful that my coach knows me so well, and was able to train me perfectly for this race. I am thankful for my friends who ran with me. I am grateful for my friends who weren't running, but were keeping me fed and encouraged. I am grateful for everyone who trained with me. I am grateful for everyone who had to deal with me and my exhaustion while I was training for this. I am grateful for my amazing Team Rev3. I am grateful for my family who believes in me and who raised me to truly know that I can do anything that I am willing to work hard to do. I am grateful for all of the love and encouragement I received on twitter, facebook, emails, phone calls, and texts. I am grateful that I married someone who embraces my goals and makes them his own.  

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Double Iron Race Report: Bike

The bike leg....224 miles of fun! 

We left the pool and had to ride through some ugly highway and construction to get to the park. Fortunately, it was over quickly, and we were in the park. Flatwoods park was beautiful. It was really nice to have a comfortable 6.8 mile loop to cozy up to for 31 laps.

The course was great. It was just around and around. I had 3 places that I let myself get out of the aero position to stretch in each loop, and I think that helped me stay loose and aero most of the time (except for the one picture of me on the bike above!).

I saw some cool animals while on the bike. I saw a huge rattlesnake, a ton of frogs, and a giant wild boar. Seriously. I was NOT hallucinating. I felt fine the whole time.

I had quite a game plan for the race that Anne was in charge of executing. I stopped every other lap for a quick bottle exchange and for her to give me food. I would give her wrappers and she would make sure that I was eating/drinking enough. I was trying to average 200-300 cal/hour, though the closer to 300, the better. In all, I think that I ended up averaging right at 250/hour in the actual race. I ate powerbars, powerbar gels, pop tarts, oreos, snickers, powerbar chews, and lots of water.

I took 10 minute breaks after laps 10 and 20. My crew literally timed it. I got off of my bike, sat down, and put my feet up. I took off my shoes, and my awesome husband squeezed my feet to slow down any swelling. I ate and drank.I talked to my mom on the phone. Anne showed me a video of all my middle school students cheering for me at the top of their lungs! I wanted to hear funny stories from the crew. They sprayed me with suncreen. I really looked forward to these breaks.

I also took a quick break when it got dark. My crew put on a front light, a back light, and I switched helmets. I had a headlamp on my regular helmet ready for dark. I have never ridden in the dark like that, so my first few laps were slow while I got used to it. Then I went back to my extremely even splits. The battery in my light went out on one dark lap, so that one was a slow one, and then I went back to even splits. Once I got used to it, I enjoyed the peacefulness of the night. The sounds were different, the animals were different, and there was no one else out on the road except the racers.

I only had a couple of issues. My aero bars kept moving, but George and Coach fixed them any time I needed it. It was really windy. There's nothing you can do about wind. Headwinds suck and tailwinds rock. That's about all there is to it. I tried not to loose too much energy in the headwinds, and I enjoyed the speed of the tailwinds.

Now for the fun part of the bike ride--my crew. Since I was stopping every other loop, the loops I did not stop were hilarious. They were in costume. They drew on the ground. They had props. They were singing and dancing! I think I missed out on the fun by racing here in Florida! I also got amazing cheers from Jason and Dani's crews every time. It was so uplifting to get a quick cheer after every loop!

This might be one of my favorite pictures from the race. I do have a picture of my coach in that tu tu, but I think I will spare him the blog embarrassment and leave that picture for Facebook :-)

I like dinos, and when this guy showed up, I was fired up about it. He is holding the animal tally of all of the animals people were seeing on the course. There was another turtle on the bike course. My crew thought they might be a relay team.

Just because it got dark, they didn't calm down. Oh no. They just put on lights, lit up the tent, and kept the support party going. At one point, they calmed down because other crew complained that they were too loud (there was no one in the park after 7 unless they were related to the race). Then another athlete (not me--they cheered for everyone) came by and said, "Where did the cheering go? We NEED you." That's all it took. They were back on it!

You can see that the entire tent had glow sticks and glow in the dark paint. There is also a disco ball in there. We came to have fun!

Now, these glasses might take the cake for over the top light up stuff!

An old friend from college, Leslie came! I haven't seen her in years, and she showed up to give me her support and cupcakes. What an awesome person!!

And of course there was bingo!

This is my favorite 10 second video from the crew. They are celebrating getting bike bingo. Anne is asking what time they got bingo (because she was getting obsessive about recording everything!).

The ride really didn't feel like it was that big of a deal. By 200 miles in, I was tired of the aero position, so I spent most of the last three laps out of it and up on the bullhorns. I was nervous that my feet would hurt because my bike shoes are really stiff and I don't use insoles. I even brought a second pair of shoes that are squishier, but I didn't need them.

My total bike time was 13:32. My ride time (my coach was keeping my ride time as well) was 13:07. The discrepancy accounts for my stops and rests. I was aiming for 13 flat, but considering the wind and the heat, I am totally fine with that! I can't quite say that I got off the bike feeling fresh, but I did feel fine!

I did extremely even splits the whole time. I had my garmin on my bike, but I wasn't really paying attention to anything but my effort. I have never ridden my bike this far. In fact, I have never ridden my bike farther than the Iron distance of 112 miles, which is half of this distance! I must have been trained for it though, because I felt fine throughout. This post feels far more low key than I mean for it to. I just executed my plan. I never had to dig too deep. I just rode and rode and rode my bike!

I was happy to get off the bike, but that happiness was also tempered with knowing what I still had left...a double marathon.