Wednesday, September 26, 2007

I Am Not Alone

While I spend hours (yes hours) on the elliptical to train for the marathon, I can know now that I am not alone! I have made the decision to contonue pushing towards my goal...and there are more out there like me.

TG JH spotted a fellow marathoner in training. and how is he ellipticallizing!


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Going For It

After getting upset about the idea of not conquering the marathon I know I have to try for it. I just have to try. Or else I will always wonder and regret. I know I need to be kind to my knee so it works down the road, too! (haha literally i guess). So I am training via the elliptical. I know this sounds exciting, but try to nto be too jealous.

This morning was scheduled an 8 mile run. so let's say I ran a marathon pace of 10:00/miles (reality with this knee will be slower) - but just for trainign purposes. so 8 miles=80 minutes. That's how long I ellipticallize (my new jazzercise). but heck - if i am doing 80 minutes may as well round it up to the even 90 minutes. So I get to the gym at 5:30 this morning. Man it was dark out there. The view out the windows is the pool. I watched the sun ride over the pool - not too bad considering i was sweating on a stationary machine for long enough to drive one bonkers. Unfortunately, I was a little too late in getting started and that work thing made me get off the machine at 85 minutes - one episode of Full House, lots of mtv videos and some news in there too. Thank God each machine has its own tv. Who knew MTV still played videos!

I will be back Thursday for continued ellipicallizing sessions.

The question is - saturday's long i spend hours on the machine?! or do i sweat it out outside?! can i make that a poll...

Monday, September 24, 2007

Frustrated and Confused

the knee saga continues. what do i do?! i have been "running" on the elliptical like directed. but this keeps me from doing brick workouts.

then comes this marathon training. i have 27 days until the day i have been looking frowrd to. my first full marathon. the nike women's marathon in san francisco. i have my entry, the flight, the hotel, and friends coming together meeting there to run along side me (well they are doing the half). i can't wait to experience the atmosphere that surrounds an event such as this - the excitement, the nerves, the anxiety...the post race beer! i am getting excited as we all send emails around with new training highs and lows.

this weekend i hit a low. i was scheduled to run 20 miles - my furthest distance ever. i have never run more than 13.1 miles! i know endurance wise i might be slow, but i know i can do the distance. however, my knee disagrees. i was at a bachelorette party but still managaed to get up at 630 and eat my pre-run breakfast while everyone else was still sleeping. as i was gettign ready to leave the bachelorette got up and we ended up talking for at elast an hour! she wanted to go on a walk so we decided i would run up and back up and back as she walked. well...the beginning of the run didn't go so well. i thought the back of my knee was going to completely lock up. abotu 20 minutes in, though, i was able to run for 10 mintues straight and had we not been at the house i would have kept going. so another weekend passed and another run missed. i am so nto prepared for the race. and will my knee even let me. mentally i am not ready to say no to the mary. i want it too bad. i know i need to pay attention to my body, but i also know the pain and disappointment in my heart to not try. the whole idea of weighing this thought just upsets me and i am confused on what to do. i want it SOOOO bad. i know i will be slow and i am okay with that...this year. i just want to reach that finish line and know that I can do it. so this week i am increasing my elliptical sessions a little longer than the runs would take me. and this weekend i will do the distance. i was scheduled to do some bike shopping, but this is more a priority. so - say some happy knee thoughts and this weekend i WILL have a new distance PR...with a post-run ice pack. aahhhh so nice.

Friday, September 21, 2007


Last night was scheduled to do my last hard ride before Naylor's - my first olympic and last triahtlon of my first season! 15 miles hard and fast. (well actually this is saturday's workout, but i will be at ocean isle for a bachelorette, so i went ahead and did it ahead of time). since I was doing the workout earlier than scheduled, my girls were riding according to schedule...but! lucky for me, greg is on recovery week! Sweet! And well my fast pace is slower than his recovery pace anyways.

I knew I wanted to ride some hills in preperation of the Naylor's course and hills is what I got. the first few miles wan't so bad. kept a really good pace (for me). then we made the turn and the hills began. immediately the quads were burning! (does everyone else's burn early on, too?) i slowed down a bit. greg was pushing me to go harder. finally we hit the turnaround. let's do the hills all over again. this time we were picking up the pace. 30 seconds hard above 19 then a minute rest. i actually really enjoyed this (shhh). until we hit the intervals...going uphill. it's hard to go from recovery to hard in the middle of an uphill but i know it will only make me a stronger cyclist. the last few miles he switched it up to 30 on 30 off and faster. next thing i knew we were back at the car! A good workout (ok maybe i could have kept going). Overall the pace averaged 16.7 - sigh.

and boo on snells! she ditched the ride thinking we were going to be cutesy on the bike...heck no, sister! this is bisnass.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Everything Happens for a Reason

Just a little while ago, I had to run to Michael’s to grab something for a presentation tomorrow. On my way I went out of habit and hopped on 95 South – oops! Fortunately it is easy to loop around back to where Michael’s is located. Then afterwards, I took the correct way home. On the street Michael’s is on coming from the direction I would have been coming was a large accident blocking all but one lane of the 6 lane highway. An 18-wheeler ran into a mini-suv…the white sheet was there. It upset me to see this (and of course they had me stop right next to the car which made me get upset). If I did go the right way to Michael’s in the first place…who knows. Everything happens for a reason. Keep in your thoughts the person in that car and their family.

The words of Greg Mathe, guest blogger

As what has become a rite of passage or maybe more of a precedent with the completion of an endurance race, I feel the need to capitulate and write a race recap to fully round out my experience of the Duke Liver Center Half Ironman ( Don’t worry, it will be short…I will save the long winded soliloquy for when I complete the New Zealand Ironman in March.

Before I begin, I want to send a few thank yous and accolades to some important people.

First, to my coach, Thys Wind of Wind Speed Endurance Training ( I cannot say enough about his coaching style, philosophy, and overall support of his athletes. It works, whatever it is, it works!

To my swim coaches, John Pace and Karen Holloway, you masterfully tweaked my stroke and provided key words of wisdom that I carried throughout my training and on race day.

To all my friends, family and other supporters, thank you for your patience and encouragement along the way!

And a final accolade to Kenneth Schweighofer, a friend who also completed the race, who showed tremendous heart and strength. Starting the event with a bum IT band/knee knowing that you were about to run one of the most difficult run courses around - not liking to run to begin with - and being able to preserve and digging deep to finish was more of a victory than any time goal that you could have had. Congratulations!

Pre-Race, Sunday morning, 4:00am wake-up.

There is something about waking up well before sunrise and knowing that you are about to do something special that makes your hair stand on end. The preparation you go through, the focus your mind has, witnessing the pageantry of an event like this screams something of an 80’s theme song, I am thinking something from Rocky, Rudy or some coming of age John Hughes flick.

Anyway, it was cold. For September in North Carolina I was expecting 90 plus degree heat and some humidity, but who would have guessed it would be sub-60 degrees, you would be able to wear a wetsuit, and the wind would be more than just breezy. Needless to say, it was brisk outside and the warmest place was in the water.

I finished up the usually check-in, body marking, transition set-up, and warm-up. The only thing going through my head was—“What are you doing, leave now, don’t start. You are about to do what to your body?” Then the gun goes off.

Swim, 1.2 miles, 7:04am

The lake swim was a choppy out and back course with a floating start. Never did a floating start before but from what I remember people saying it is truly a floating start, don’t tread water, too much energy needed…just float. Ok, so I floated, for four minutes before we started. Then it was swim as hard as you could against the “current” up and over these massive waves -- note, they probably weren't massive, but they seemed like it. One thing that I didn’t plan for: orange colored goggles, with orange buoys and an orange sunrise…what to sight, what to sight…thank goodness that the waves were so big that sighting was a non-issue.

Came out of the water in 32 minutes and 57 seconds, pretty much on plan.

Bike, 56 miles

We drove the course the day before which was helpful…until I got on the course with the bike, then everything I thought I knew went out the window. What was once thought of as some nice downhills, some good uphills, but for the most part a fairly rolling course quickly turned into uphill and more uphill. The wind made for an interesting and cold start out of the water…my thought at this time was, “Brrrrrrr.”

It was a scenic course with mainly rolling to not-so-rolling hills and a wind that pushed you around like a big sister – mainly annoying, but sometimes hit you in just the right spot that made you want to cry a little. Felt good and strong, even passed a few elites…and then got passed by a few elites. For the most part, the course was manageable and was a fun ride, especially this one part where you rode pass the nuclear power plant to a turn-around point to come back up a hill and see all the folks behind you – kinda felt like the beginning of the Simpsons, but not really. My goal was to go hard but stay patient since I knew the run was coming.

Came off the bike in 2 hours 39 minutes and 50 seconds, pretty much on plan.

Run, 13.1 miles

So, the run course is a two loop, more than hilly epic that makes me think back to Rocky IV, the one where he fights the Russian, when he runs up the mountain at the end of his training and in the background you hear Hearts on Fire by John Cafferty. Well the run course was like the mountain, and I felt more like how Rocky looked at the end of the fight, only to have to turn around and do it again.

This was an amazing experience to go through. Being a two loop course, you got to see different people along the way dealing with the race however best they could. I liked this format because at this point you don’t know who is where on the course and you just concentrate on your legs and making it up that next hill rather than placement…well, ok, maybe not, but it instills a false sense of confidence that everyone needs at nearing the completion of 70.3 miles.

Came out of the run in 1 hour 55 minutes and 29 seconds, a few - or ten - minutes slower than I expected.

For a total finish time of 5 hours 10 minutes and 25 seconds. Here is how it broke down:

Swim, 1.2 miles - 32:57 (35 overall males, 3 in age)

T1 - 1:17

Bike, 56 miles - 2:39:50 (37 overall males, 4 in age)

T2 - :54

Run, 13.1 miles - 1:55:29 (100 overall males, 11 in age)

Total - 5:10:25 (48 overall males out of 286, 6 in age out of 27)

Overall, I am pretty happy with how I raced my first half ironman and it looks like my age group placement qualifies me for the Halfmax National Championship next September (

With the season at an end and my preparation for Ironman New Zealand yet to begin, I have to reflect on my accomplishments (in what is really my first year truly competing) by sharing them with those that understand that this is important to me and support me in more ways that I could ever describe.

Season Wrap-Up:

Competed in 6 triathlons – 1 half ironman, 1 olympic, and 4 sprints:

Age Group Results:

Finished top 10 in all races
Finished top 5 in 4 races
Placed in 3 races -- 1st in the olympic, 2nd and 3rd in two of the sprints


Finished top 50 in 5 races (my first sprint was a top 60 finish)
Finished top 25 in 3 races

Monday, September 17, 2007

Quick Little Recap

saturday...oh saturday...

i headed out with snellings before the sun came up to meet up with the naylor's girls (and florida girls!) to go for a pre-race swim and then ride the course and check it out. i was really looking forward to this since it was my first time really being active in the week since patriot's. snells picked me up and my bike had a flat tire - argh! well we need to get to the caravan on time, so i will fix it when we get there. put my bike ont he car and sssssssss there goes the air in margo's tire! seriously?! (this is when we should have clued in to go back to bed)

we got to the park and brrrrrr. daggone it's cold out! thank goodness for wetsuits! i was a little nervous at the idea of crabs and jellyfish in the rappahannock, but i put my big girl pants on and went for it. there was a storm coming in which made for some waves and current under the dark sky. I headed out to the first buoy (thank you to IM JW and his family for making us a course and snells for her kayak skills). and made the turn. i know this is just for fun now, so i had fun and didnt' even look at my watch or anything. and after the white caps of timberman, i am not worried abotu these waves. still gave me a few mouthfulls of the nice brackish water, but i was more comfortable int eh situation having experienced it before. i found myself going with the waves and not through the waves. as we made out way back on the sandy beach i scurried up out of the water. when asked why i simply said i wanted to keep my toes and the rappahannock does have crabs in it...then the mass exodus out of the shallow water and onto the land. your welcome for adding something else to think about! :)

time to go off for a windy and cold ride...especially with wet tri shorts on! brrrr! TG shelley and new training pal help me change my tube while i change my shoes and we all get ready. but hmph. we can't get the tube on. it's the right size and everything! coach blake and IM master coach som come to help. pop! there goes the tube. rats! luckily coach b had antoher tube. how many ironman finishers does it take to change a tube?! the question of the day. fianlyl the tube is on and the inflated. we head off to try to catch up with the group. (oh yeah here is when triboy JW gets a flat!) 1/2 mile in i notice i am bumping up adn down. i ask coach b and his day is done. thinking i could have done something to the wheel itself - well boo!

we hop back in the car headed back to richmond directly to 3sports. do not pass go. do not collect $200.00. (thank you snells for your patience). they think it's the tires and not the wheel so i walk out with 2 new tires, and wheels with new lining in them. sigh. i need a nap.

and nap is what i did. for 3 hours. :)

then i headed down to raleigh to meet up with greg and his coach and friends for his big day! i got there and greg and kenneth started preparing their bikes and bags for their first half iron! we enjoyed a carbo filled meal adn headed off to get a good night's rest.

race day...
everyone seemed to get up without a glitch and we were on the road only a few minutes after the scheduled departure time. prime parking! greg and kenneth got bodymarked, picked up their chips and set up transition. i shivered. thank goodness i threw in a pair of jeans at the last minute! and my fave TG hoodie sure did come in handy!

it was a brisk day. the air was chill. the wind was rough.

the swim went off and coming 35th out of the water was greg! looking strong after fighting the current. while the boys were on the bike, coach thys (greg's coach) and his buddy dom and i entertained ourselves with football and the chalk. we covered a good portion of the run course with pictures sayings and just being silly. we had a few people watching us jsu tlaughing at us. you would think i had two little boys with me - it was great, though! the guys perservered the bike course and headed off to the run...promptly to be inspired by the chalk.

Overall - greg finished his first half in record time - 5:10 and change. So happy for him! and Kenneth finished his first half that he trained so hard for! Way to go guys!

Back to richmond...celebratory maragarita with friends and then much needed beauty sleep.

and the week begins...

Thursday, September 13, 2007


It's recovery week. My first real recovery week. Now keep in mind I am doing my first olympic distance in 2 weeks!
Monday - rest day: ok i can handle this.
Tuesday - easy swim: interpret as rest day. I did have my bags packed to go but i didn;t get out of a meetign until 7:30 and the pool closes at 8:30. It's the thought that counts, right?!
Wednesday - 45 minute easy spin: (2) 6 mile loops at west creek - that's gotta take around 45 minutes. close enough.
Thursday - 45 minute easy run: well I had good intentions of running with the gang at the vita course this morning. my knee had other plans. i ran the 1/2 mile warm up and focused ont eh stretches. then listened to my body and went home :(
Friday is a rest day.
Saturday - game face back on! buckle down for Naylor's - my play time will be over. *sigh* it was nice while it lasted.

Monday, September 10, 2007

I'm a Half Ironman Finisher!

Where do I begin...

After my last open water swim, carbo loading festivities kick off. Dinner with Greg, my room mate Amy and her boyfriend Bill. We enjoyed a pasta filled dinner at Edo's Squid with lots of...water?! Yes, as much as pinot noir would normally come to mind here, I drank down as much water I possibly could.

All day at work I was anxious. Focus was just out the window. I felt the need to clean and re-organize something! Anything! Finally time to slide off the dinosaur and head home. I laid everything out in order as I would need it. Checklist a few times. Time to make more wheat pasta. After dinner Greg came over to lube up my chain and make sure I have my nutrition all calculated. He showed up and earned the boyfriend of the year award - my own "The Stick" and flowers. But not jsut flowers - thought out flowers. Sunflowers for happy positive thoughts and trigirl pink gerbera daisies! Well everythign is ready to go and the alarm clock is set. Time for bed. Princess disagreed and felt the ned to be up ALL night! crunch crunch on some food, splish splash of the water, arf arf I hear something outside.

Bzzz. Bzzz. Bzzz. It's 4:00am.
Put everything in the car and eat my breakfast. Becky comes over to follow us to the race.
After some minor parking lot confusion - no light, no signs, no volunteers yet...we found it though.
I picked up my packet, got bodymarked, and set up transition. I was the first person to my rack so I got to pick my location - perfect. The end with a litte more room. I am all set up as more of my girls start arriving. Kate O comes with earrings in Fave style for the girls to wear in my honor! I walk around transition talking to the girls getting helpful hints and calming my nerves. As I am talking to Susie Q I look up and what do I see. Is? that? my? brother?!?!?!?!?! I run out of transition and up behind him with a big hug! What an amazing surprise! Granted his first words were callign me out for unnecessarily using calories i need to save for the race - what a brother! He drove up 5 1/2 hours from Charlotte the night ebfore, stayed in a rinky dink motel for the night. "I wanted to see if she [me] would really do it and brought a camera to get it on film".

The swim:
catsuit on. wade into the water with my fellow pink caps.
I start out slow knowing I need to find my rhythm. Focus on the first buoy. I think about the helfpul hints Karen Holloway has taught me in masters class. Catch up. Slow is fast. Don't rotate too much. Recovery. I continue to pass the buoys. I know I am ebing passed by some of the swimmers from the wave behind me and am okay with that. I even pass a few from the wave ahead of me. As I make the last turn to start coming back in. I know I am almsot there and feeling good. The line of swim caps in front of me seem to disappear. I sto a few times to look around and I see head everywhere. No buoys to go towards. Where am I going?! None of the volunteers can hear me. I fianlly can hear the cheering and go towards it. Then I see people and just go there. Then I hear a "hey tirgirl" in teh water behind me - it's Kate O. We swim in together both completely lost on where we were supposed to be going. I get on the beach and see Greg, my brother, and my pile of pink! Love those girls.
Swim goal: 0:45:00
Swim time: 0:49:46 14/15
Kate and I run/walk the 1.2 mile to transition. It's rocky and difficult. As we turn onto the grass I hear my RTC friends - Deb, Joy, Emmie!
T1 time: 7:04 14/15

Hop on the bike and I'm off. I keep it a steady spin knowing about 15-20 miles in the hills begin. I know I ned to drink my entire aerobottle before mile 15ish where the first bottle hand off is. I eat my bar and drink my gatorade - but yick! we added extra powder to the bottles for more calories and thatjsut is not good. makes my stomach turn. I am passed my tons of people as if I am standing still thinking man we have some cyclists on our team. Those girls rock the bike! I keep my steady pace. This seemed a lot harder after swimming than I thought it would. I am definitely going slower than ideal, but its okay. I climb my hills, eat my food...oh drat! i left my shot blocks in transition. no need worry about them. I will just eat my bars slwoer than planned to make them last, but man I am huuuungry. well I said this race was going to be my learning experience and here is lesson two. Finally in the last 20 miles I pass 4 people. It felt good to know I didn't kill it too hard and am able to grind it out passed a few. 58 miles later I am at the dismount line.
Bike goal: 3:30:00
Bike time: 3:39:36 14/15

Legs? Where are you?
Change of shoes and hat and go on my merry way.
T2 time: 0:01:57 4/15

This is part I was dreading. With stitches in the foot and the bum knee I knew this would be difficult. My plan was to walk through each water stop. Immdiately my inner quad just above my bad right knee crams up. I am nto even a 1/4 mile in. I will get through this. Run and walk it out. Get to mile 1 and it fades. Sweet. Next goal - mile 2. As I am coming up to the water stop TG Molly runs up and we decide to push through the run together. I need to make a pit stop and she waits at teh water stop. I just can't bring myself to pee while running or time maybe. especially after that hot smelly port-o-jon. we continue on oue merry way, but my feet are killing me softly. I tell Molly to go on. I reach each mile with more walking than planned, but it's ok - I am not racing, I am learning. Fianlly at mile 4 I decide this blister on my toe needs a band-aid. I take off my shoe and can see the blood. Drat! I take off my sock to put on the band-aid. ewwwww. My heel and toe are just open and my middles toes and the ball of my foot are all cracked open...but those weren't bleeding at least. Sock and shoe back on - oh well. I reach mile 5 right at an hour. I figure I can keep up this run/walk and hit mile 10 at 2 hours and finish in 2 1/2 - my goal. I am right on time. Then it starts...aaaahhhhh!! (scream). calves cramping. Ok I can get through this too. I run until my calves seize up and then walk it out. I spent most of the run course liek this. Oddly enough, the run was my favorite part. Why?! It was hot, minimal shade, black asphalt. I mean when else can you stuff your sports bra with handfuls of ice?! the best part was the people. the fellow back of the packers. here is actually where I passed the most people. But not without words of inspiration, jokes, and smiles. As I was coming into mile 1 some guy must have seen some pain in my face as he gave me a high five and told me I want this and to go get it. This I saw in my head the whole time and passed those words as well as others to others. Badass TG LS ran passed me and waved the bling on her ears in my honor at me - team. (btw - she rocked it in first in her AG! woot! woot!) I ran/walked with one girl for about 2 minutes turns out her husband and my brother are friends from Charlotte waiting for both of us at the finish line together! Finally I was coming in and I heard it - the roar of pink. It's a blur - I ran as hard as my non-working legs would let me. Heard my name and the beep of the chip. I did it! I finished my first half ironman. Put my medal proudly around my neck and took pictures of that finish line.
Run goal: 2:30:00
Run time: 2:46:11 14/15
Finish goal: (1) to finish and (2) 7:00:00
Finish time: 7:24:33 15/15
Save the best for last baby!

Overall I learned about a long distance race.
But most importantly, I conquered a goal that a year ago I would never imagined even thinking about trying for.

Thank yous:
Grandison, Blake, Mark, Ed - for the training schedules, laughs and support.
John Pace and Karen Holloway - for kicking my butt in the pool.
TRIgirls - inspriation, support and friendship.
Friends and Family - I love you! my crankiness after a long workout, my absence from social gatherings, my annoyance on what I am going to eat! the words of support, encouragement, and faith from you was more t ome than you would ever know.

Next up - White Lake - bring it on baby!

and good luck to Greg on his first half ironman sunday at duke! you can do it!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Gearing Up

So I have been a stranger to my blog this week. And what an important week it is. My first real taper week. the tapering of training. the stomach knots and nausea of nerves. the increased carbohydrate and water intake. Sigh...where do I begin.

After a weekend in my college town of Raleigh. back with my old friends at the opening NC State football game. tailgate - burgers, chips and dip, and ...water?! but but but that beer looks soooo thirst quenching. what?! no airplane bottles for me?! i don't now how i feel about this hydration preperation.
Sunday - a trigirl swim practice. I sat on the side of the pool for a moment having some moments with TG MW as we head into our first 70.3. (wow 70.3 miles straight!)
Monday - rest. what?! no masters! ok ok twist my arm.
Tuesday - 4 mile negative split - for me that means 45 minutes ont he treadmill watching mtv's the hills. followed by pizza which topping si got to choose while viewing jeopardy and singing bee - perfect night.
Wednesday - bike fit with no adjustments to be made until after the race.
Thursday - morning spin with snells (oops i think i got us lost). evening open water swim. then dinner at edo's squid with greg and friends for some carbo loading goodness to be immediately followed by a food-induced coma.
Friday - rest. pack the bags. go over nutrition and hydration routine (thank you greg for your wisodm on this subject i am compeltely lost at)
Saturday - wake up before the rooster crows and head off to jamestown settlement. pick up my packet and get set up. (once again thank you to greg for the chauffeur service). go for a long 70.3 mile workout with 400 of my closest friends. then go into exercise induced coma.
Sunday - wake up and head back to the 'burg to cheer on my pinkies rocking the lady patriot - ooh ah ooh ah.

I look forward to sharing with you stories of "racing" (remember i am not racing this one due to injury), stories of triumphs and tribulations, stories of laughter, tears and bubbly.

until we meet again...