Happy. Healthy. Heathen.

Traveling, training, thinking, talking, typing


May 2009

So here’s the deal…

Wow, kinda weird to be back here…haven’t written since the day after the race.

I’ve had 2 weeks to recover, think, ponder, ruminate, chill, contemplate, and believe you me, that’s all I’ve BEEN doing…

I’m going to issue this disclaimer first and foremost:  I will make the Final Decision on this matter in the fall, after the kids are dispersed to their appropriate places for the next year, and I am more centered and stabilized myself.  Having said that, let me say that I think I have every intention of training for, and competing in, an Ironman Triathlon.  That may seem surprising after having read the Half-Iron blog, but in spite of everything that happened in that event, I’m still driven to attempt the Big One.

I’ve got to do a lot of soul-searching and web-surfing to find just the right race…New Zealand in Jan 2010?  Napa?  Vegas?  The year must be 2010 (the year I turn 50), and I’m seeking a non-ocean race (see Half-Iron blog, non-gill H20 aspiration), and I’m shooting for any possibility of one of the kids being able to be there.  (Again, see Half-Iron blog for Importance of Children Present). 

I will continue to minimally train through the summer, such as it is.  Daughter Amy is participating in her first triathlon a week from Saturday, the sprint Tri in Tullahoma, and I’ll do that one as well.  Then there’s the Olympic in Chattanooga in July, and I think I’ll do Tennessee’s Half-Iron in September (at Oak Ridge…maybe I’ll develop gills in the lake by the nuclear reactor before the swim’s end).  I’d like to Iron by May, since summer is busy with kids, etc., but that may not work…I’ve got all of 2010 to get it done.

I swam, ran, and biked with Amy this past week, as well as strength-trained with Sam (is there anything better than training with your kids?).  We’re headed to California for a week to see her school (Humboldt State University), and we’ll bring our running/swimming gear.  We’ll also swing through Napa and Sonoma counties on the way, and the Redwoods too.  Life is good.

Thanks for reading…I know this has been a long ordeal, and it looks to continue…let me know your own goals, dreams, aspirations, desires, hopes…you inspire me with your journey.   Life is an adventure, and every moment counts (brought to you by Trite Expressions and Accepted Dogma…I’ll do better next time).  Too much Blue Moon at the pizza place to think more deeply than that.

Looking forward breathlessly to the future…..


You’ll never know how grateful

Back in January, I decided to begin this blog purely to document my training, have a log to refer back to in order to assess the training, and to put down my thoughts about the process.  As time went on, clients and friends expressed such an interest in how it was going, I made the blog public to anyone who wanted to see what training for a Half-Ironman Triathlon involved.  It has become such a source of support and encourage to me when folks comment on, either online or in person, how the training was proceeding.  I feel absolutely compelled to write this post as my feeble attempt to thank those people who have been so enthusiastically supportive of this undertaking.  As any athlete knows, when it’s time for the event, it appears that it’s just you and the ocean, you and the bike, you and the mat, you and the road, you and the mountain, you and the hoop; but the reality of it is, it’s an accumulation of all of those people who have lifted you up, told you You Could Do It, told you how proud they were of you.  I contend that there is no way I would have or could have done this thing without the love and support of so many people.  Words are weak for expressing this, and when I see you in person, I’ll try to tell you again.

Clients:  thank to each of you for your interest in, and kind words about, this journey I’m on.  I know you come to me to have your kinks and knots worked out, and when you take the time to ask questions about my progress, and to offer words of encouragement, it makes me again realize what a special group of clients I have.  You inspire me with the stories of your own lives, your efforts to function at your optimal best in spite of aches, pains, injuries, surgeries, and setbacks.

My staff:  thank you to the best group of massage therapists EVER.  You girls lift my spirits every time I see you with your smiles and compassion and concern, for not only me, but for each of your clients and each other.  You make me and the business look so good, and you do it with such grace and patience, even when your boss FORGETS TO PAY YOU when she leaves town!

Posse from MBI:  You have no idea how often I think of you and our time together in Massage Therapy school.  You are my sisters and I love you so much.  You give me a place to gripe and complain, share concerns about work/clients/life and I miss our daily contact.  I’m never drinking too much with you again, because the last time I did, I made this silly vow about  “doing an Ironman the year I turn 50”.

Posse from MAC:  I work in an environment where, with the exception of the gym manager and a couple of the trainers, I could age-wise be the mother of every person on staff.  You are a joy to work with – the trials and lives of my twenty-somethings delight, inspire, frustrate, uplift, and tickle me.  I love your spirit and energy, I love your drive and drama, I love your egocentricity and generosity.  You make it a pleasure to come to work, and you keep me laughing and entertained.  Thank you for every smile and sweet gesture you send my way.

Friends:  To every person who ever posted a comment on the blog, posted on my Facebook wall, texted me, left me a voicemail, THANK YOU for your precious words of encouragement and support.  On the long 9.5 hours of this event, I reviewed in my mind every single word that I had read and heard, I remembered every hug and attagirl, I drew upon your faith in me and your confidence that I would do my best.  I am not trying to flatter you when I say that every single word meant something to me, and the cumulative effect of those words pushed me on to the finish line.

Parents:  Anyone who knows my parents knows that my dad is the force behind my Sense of Adventure.  He himself logged thousands of mile on his own bicycle over the years, and never once shut me down on any adventure I wanted to take of my own.  When I was nineteen and wanted to go to Europe for the summer with my backpack and Eurail pass, he bought the maps.  When I was sixteen and wanted to go on a cross-country bike ride, he helped me pack.  When I was sixteen and about to begin my senior year, he bought me a t-shirt that said “Go to hell, world, I’m a senior”.  My mom, on the other hand, worries if I don’t have enough cover to sleep under in my own bed in my own house.  She’s the sweetest, most compassionate, most gentle, caring, thoughtful soul I have ever met, and she has suffered because of my primal need for, and ensuing fulfillment of,  adventure and achievement.  I love these two people with all my heart, and I thank them both for everything they do for me, past, present, and future.

Brother:  Besides the very obvious gratitude to brother for my crew of 9 to have crashed in his beautiful condo on race weekend, and the additional use of it for vacation/recreation/training purposes the last two years, I owe my brother a huge thank you for being my go-to guy for guidance, comfort, and inspiration.  This man is everything a big brother should be, and then some.  When I was struggling in the water, I thought of brother doing his own triathlon without the use of legs.  When I was struggling on the bike, I thought of brother doing the Detroit Marathon in a wheelchair when his water bottles were frozen solid on the course.  When I was struggling on the run course, I thought of my brother maintaining his farm, his house, his business, his friends, and all of us, from his chair.  I love you bubba, and I am grateful every moment of every day you are my brother.

Kids:  This list has gotten more and more difficult as I’ve gone on, because there just aren’t enough words, even for an English major, to describe how I feel about each of you.  My precious children, each of you is the source of my greatest joy and pleasure.  I cannot get enough of you, and just being in your presence fulfills and sustains me.  I am so unbelievably proud of who each of you is becoming, and the gift of your presence at this significant event in my life is the best Mother’s Day present I have ever known.  I cannot possibly seek to be my own best self without reminding you to listen to your heart, know yourself, seek out your dreams and hopes and goals, and to seize the carp every single diem.  And to the special and significant people in YOUR lives, thank you for appreciating and loving my kids the way you do, and for putting up with everything you put up with to be connected to a Jordan.

Jesse:  For the millionth event in my life, I could not have done this without you.  You have been my biggest and best supporter, cheerleader, mechanic, driver, logistics captain, picture-taker, and cat herder.  Everyone knows how high-maintenance I am, and you have been patient and giving and accomodating at every turn.  Everyone may not know you walked the last 11 miles with me with a torn groin muscle and blisters on the bottoms of both feet.  Thank you for every mile you logged on the bikes with me in training, and every meal you ate alone because I was swimming or running or training in some fashion.

The title of this post is You’ll Never Know How Grateful, and you simply won’t.  I require my personal training clients to keep a journal of their progress, one page of which I ask them to title:  Gratitude Page.  I think when we live our lives with a sense of gratitude for every single day, every single person, every single moment we draw breath, we come closer to maximizing our health and happiness than through almost any other avenue.  I am so humbled and moved by the people surrounding me, and I am overwhelmed by the amount of support and love you have all shown.  Thank you. Thank you.  Thank you.

Not Last….

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls….I did it!  I am a mother-fuckin, chicken-chokin, steamrollin, Half-Iron Triathlete!!  (All respect to James Taylor).

Let me start with saying that I did finish, and it was an official time, and IT COUNTS.  Now here’s the story…

So we check-in, get our transition stuff together, go down to the beach, ready to rock and roll.  6:15 is the start time for the physically challenged, then the professionals, then a couple of age groups of women, then my group.  I am SO READY for this race  – remember that I had been freaked out about the water temperature and I got that resolved yesterday…temp was perfect. 

suiting up
suiting up

The air horn signals our start, and in I go.  The first 30 minutes went great…the seas were awfully high, but that was manageable for the most part.  I had hoped to do the swim in 60-70 minutes (in the pool I could get it done in 50).  We went straight out, turned left, swam 200 yards, turned left again all the way in.  At the first turn (waves are now parallel to my body alignment), I turned my head right for a big breath, and because of the swells, I intake 2 full lungs worth of water…I don’t mean swallowing, or getting a little in my windpipe… I mean full-on, ZERO OXYGEN EXCHANGE, pulmonary distress.  I’m already in oxygen deficit, and go into instant wind-knocked-out-of-me, cannot breathe in or out, I’m-going-to-die-out-here freakout.

DISCLAIMER:  I have promised those folks who follow my blog that I will be as honest and accurate as I can be, and the following paragraph is brutally honest and personal.  If you are queasy or don’t want to know what can happen when you breathe in a portion of the ocean, skip to the next paragraph.  I warned you.

So, back to me, in a turbulent ocean, unable to breathe, with no flotation device.  I instantly know I’m in trouble.  There are jetski triathlon officials, helpers in kayaks – I start waving my hands (the universal sign of distress) frantically, and everything is beginning to be a little sparkly in my vision…I’m goin down.  Kayakboy appears, I grab on (not a disqualification if he doesn’t provide forward motion or touch you), he coaches me to hoist my body across the bow, and apply pressure to my chest in some manner.  I start this, and the result I get is that I get a drinking straw’s worth of oxygen in my lungs  –  enough to begin breathing.  Of course that starts a violent coughing episode, which brings up mucus and salt water from nose and mouth.  But because I’m coughing so hard to get this out, it triggers a gag/vomit reflex, but wait, there’s more…as I am in total abdominal spasm, I also feel myself take a shit while I’m in the midst of this.  Now, my priorities are the following:  1) Breathe  2) Try to puke in the ocean, not in Kayakboy’s kayak  3)  worry about how I’m going to clean out my trisuit, with its spandex feature and elastic legs.  I addressed my priorities in that fashion.  You probably don’t really need the details…suffice it to say, it was quite an ordeal.  Which leads me to….

Next problem…I can now functionally breathe, but when I attempt to release the kayak, the exertion required just to stay afloat in those swells, puts me in to instant deep-breathing, which throws me into a coughing spasm/abdominal seizure.  I am half-way throught the swim at this point.  Long story short, I limp in piecing together kayak rests (not illegal in and of themselves, but the jetski patrol are hovering, waiting to yank my ass out of the race, like they are doing with dozens of other athletes experiencing the same thing) with little breast-stroking attempts on my own…it was not pretty.  I finished TWO hours after I started, which put me enormously behind on my projected times.

after the swim
after the swim

When I hop on the bike, after being stroked and loved by my posse/family all throughout transition, I am 7 miles in to the bike ride when I start seeing the leaders coming back.  From a 56 mile bike course.  Inspiring and defeating all at the same time.  Now I have yet another issue:  anytime I begin to surge up in my speed to my usually-comfortable 17mph, I get thrown into another coughing spasm…not good when you are counting on your lung capacity to be optimal.  So I back down to about 12-14mph which I can sustain with calm, shallow breathing.  About 20 miles into the race, I realize I have my own personal cop….I’m tail-end Charlie and the finish line is RIGHT BEHIND ME.  No pressure.  Brother and hubby find me at the turnaround (mile 26) and with hubby hanging out of bubba’s Corvette convertible, they shout words of encouragement, take pictures, and give me updates on how close I am to making the run course cutoff time.

My support group at Waffle House during the bike ride
My support group at Waffle House during the bike ride
me and my cop
me and my cop

When I get back to transition, Fam is there waiting, and, they tell me later, they are planning an intervention.  They saw me struggle getting out of the ocean, they are concerned for my health, and I love them so much for this.  My sons and daughters try to bribe me with foot massages, alcohol, Krispy Kreme donuts…you name it….they are shouting all this to me in transition.  A triathlon official approaches and asks if I am going to enter the run course, because….the run course entry closes in THREE minutes.  In an instant I’m off…I’ve already made the commitment to myself….they can throw me off, they can close the course, and I may collapse, but I AM NOT QUITTING.  If I can get on the course, I have a leisurely 3.5 hours to complete the 13.1 miles.

my lovelies worried
my lovelies worried

About 2 miles into it (I’m walking….same lung phenomena….any exertion that raises my heart rate sends me into fits of spasm), Eric and Jesse find me, and I talk Jesse into walking the course with me, completely forgetting he has a pulled groin muscle, and of course he doesn’t even mention it.  So off we go….

mile 1 of run course
mile 1 of run course

The blog is going forever….we cruise for 13.1 miles, the kids meet us with half a mile to go, we all hug and cry (more coughing spasms), and we walk to the finish line TOGETHER.  I cross the line with 9 minutes to spare, before the official closure of the race – medal and all.

crossing the line
crossing the linemy kids and me

I’m not as tired as I thought I would be, mostly because I didn’t exert like I trained to, so my quads, calves, hamstrings, glutes are not as sore…my back, chest and abdominals are utterly fatigued over the coughing fits…

I have more to say, especially my tribute post, to thank those folks who have made this happen, but I want to spend lots of delicious indulgent time in that, and it took me an hour to get this town, so that post is tomorrow…and if you are reading this, that will likely include you, so please read later.

Thankyouthankyouthankyou for reading….

trip to tri

Okay, about 11 hours to gun time…

I wanted to blog one more time before the event…here’s what has happened since last entry.

So Amy and I are planning on driving the motorhome from Murfreesboro on Wednesday, going as far as Atlanta, then travelling the rest of the way on Thursday.  Glenda, her boyfriend Sam, and his roommate Michael (also British) are driving to Atlanta from Knoxville in the minivan as well, so we’ll pick them up Thursday as we head south.  Son Sam and his girlfriend Laura are also going to Atlanta from her family’s home in Cleveland, Tennessee; he’s going to work for brother Eric for a couple of days, then come to Atlanta with son Ben for the race.  Kind of an intricate arrangement, but it’s how my family functions, so it suits me.  (Hubby Jesse is flying, and will join us SOMEWHERE when he finishes his trip).

Amy and I projected a noon departure, then revised it to a 2pm departure, then revised it yet again to a 4pm, which we missed by about half an hour.  (Something to do with Amy getting her passport renewed – ask her the details of THAT odyssey).  I go to start the motorhome – it cranks, which is superior.  However, with all the rain we’ve had in Middle Tennessee, where do you think said 35-foot motorhome was parked.  Yes.  See pic below for the rest of the story.

ruts where trailer tires were; jeep in 4-wheel drive low, pushing the camper....
ruts where trailer tires were; jeep in 4-wheel drive low, pushing the camper....

Ultimately, the hero of the moment was neighbor Ralph Wrather who came to the rescue with his John Deere tractor and a long, strong chain.  Many many thanks for his kindness.  That averted a potential freakout on my part.

About half-way through the trip, I got an unsettled feeling in my mind, stopped to check, confirmed it: FORGOT TO PAY MY EMPLOYEES.  Checked on that 3 times before I left and got it wrong 3 times.  Fortunately, I have the World’s Best Staff and they were sweet and patient about it because they are sweet and patient.  Trip to Atlanta otherwise went well…all kids were there, so I got to marinate in Jordan for the evening, which did more to calm my spirit than any Valium ever could.  Ben, Laura, and Eric and fixed us a delicious dinner of filets, salad, vegetables – perfect pre-pre-race food….

daughter Glenda, brother Eric, son Ben, son Sam, daughter Amy, boyfriend Sam, friend Mikey
daughter Glenda, brother Eric, son Ben, son Sam, daughter Amy, boyfriend Sam, friend Mikey
motorhome in front of Eric's house
motorhome in front of Eric's house
no bearing whatsoever on triathlon running; I just couldn't resist...
no bearing whatsoever on triathlon running; I just couldn't resist...
my boys fence-building for Uncle Eric
my boys fence-building for Uncle Eric

So the next morning (Thursday) we set off for Florida.  Know that I LOVE this motorhome and all its retro charm…Mom and Dad thoughtfully gifted us with this a while back and it’s all the RV cliches you can come up with…the open road, the independence, all that.  Weather was to have been clear, and motorhome has been parked (cross-reference ruts, above), so when the RAIN began, and I turned on the windscreen (British Sam’s word for windshield) wipers, see below.

yes, those are tattered pieces of rubber that were formerly wiper material
yes, those are tattered pieces of rubber that were formerly wiper materialtoys in the bike, Laura's kayak, Glenda's hoopsfrom the driver's seat looking backwardanother obligatory dog picture...oh, and Mikey tootoys in the camper: my bike, Laura's kayak, and Glenda's hoop (one of which she sets on fire...)from the driver's seat looking back: Sam and LauraAnother dog picture + Mikey

So I stopped at an AutoZone, but nooooo…this is a specialty vehicle which requires a motorhome store to find replacement wipers.  There is such a store in Dothan, Alabama, which was on my route…perfect.  Closing time:  5:00pm.  Arrival time:  5:10pm.  So I drove wiperless (again, my blog, my words).

Anyway, here we are.  I’ve taken my little swim, taken my little bike ride, taken my little jog, gotten registered (#299),  shopped at the expo, and am about to go turn my bike in to be put into transition area.  Water temperature is flawless, waves are manageable, I am so ready I wish I could start NOW.  

Next blog:  summary of race.

Can’t begin to thank everyone for words of support and encouragement.

Thanks for reading…

Last three workouts

With today’s 12 mile, 45 minute ride on the bike, I have finished training for this triathlon.

I took a short, 3 mile jog on Sunday, I went for a short, 1200 yard swim yesterday, and pedalled the short bike ride today.  At the conclusion of each of these, I’ve let myself absorb the magnitude of ths series of training.  I have been in official training since January, unofficially returning to a swim/bike/run regimen since October.  I haven’t done the calcuations of the miles logged doing all of this; that might be an interesting statistic. 

My reflections on that include knowing that this has been the most successful training I have ever done, for any race.  By successful, I mean that I have been more injury-free, more consistent with workouts, less encumbered by modifications to the training plan.  It has also been maybe the most enjoyable (with the caveat that most runner/swimmers/cyclists have about the love/hate nature of training).  The weather was not too cooperative – in reviewing the blog, I find that I was able to cycle without a headwind approximately…twice.  Most of the training took place in the winter/spring, so there was lots of Being Cold involved. 

Logistically, now, the plan is:  Leave tomorrow for my brother’s home in Atlanta, spend Wednesday with him, travel to Panama City Beach Thursday, attend the Expo/group swim/pasta meal Friday (no, I’m not wavering from my high protein/low carb lifestyle), 6am start Saturday.  Did I mention my whole family plus some are coming??  I think I’m driving our motor home with 2 daughters and 2 friends, my sons and husband are coming together at some point, and my brother as well….nothing like an audience.

I am so grateful for the support of friends and family throughout this whole adventure.  Thank you for your kind words, your confidence in me, your encouragement.  It means more than I could possibly begin to say.  It sustains me when I’m struggling, and I see your smiling faces in my mind.

waking up to this trisuit every morning for the last two weeks
waking up to this trisuit every morning for the last two weeks

I will try to blog again after getting settled Thursday or Friday, but no promises.  I am committed to blogging Saturday night (pre-tequila) and posting any pics.

Until Saturday…

Thanks for reading.

This week’s wimpy workouts

I just couldn’t bring myself to post on these workouts separately.  What a contrast to the workouts from the preceding weeks…

Monday was strength training as usual…my favorite.  Tuesday was running…a 30 minute jog around the farm…another favorite.  Uga went with me (Boo is with son Ben in Atlanta) and kept me company.  Wednesday was swimming – 30 puny minutes in the pool with my iPod.  Today was a bike ride…a little more challenging:  I joined the Murfreesboro Bicycle Club for their Thursday night ride – a 26 mile loop around the area.  Their pace was a smidge faster than mine (19-21 and I usually ride 17-18) AND there was a mother of a headwind.

I’ve been all over the map emotionally this week…spastic and jittery Monday and Tuesday, chill and lethargic Wednesday and today.  I remember this from other training cycles; anticipating what comes next…

Fave iPod songs over the last 4 days:  Steamrollin, James Taylor; Unforgettable, Nat King Cole; Get Me Bodied, Beyonce; The Cadillac Song, Johnny Cash

Thanks for reading…

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