Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

Quick post to usher in the new year! Wow. The last week has been BUSY! 
Work has been busy, and will get REALLY busy after 1/1. I think the older adults get all excited  ( or the activity directors do) and we get going into the new years with some speed!
Lots of friends: Marit my MN gal at heart, Angela a FLA girl at heart, and I had a great coffee date earlier this week. 

 Then today we got in an outdoor ride. I am not going to impress you with the numbers because I believe firmly that nobody needs a champion in january, and riding 25 miles outside sure beats 25 miles on the trainer. Even if it isnt EPIC, WE ROCK and RODE 5 hour, type ride.
When you live in MN and your roads look like this on DEC 31, you just take what you can get.
 I admit i look a bit pained, but even when there is no snow, the wind is biting and it's still below 32 degrees. But taking my gloves off to play photo-op didnt leave my paws lifeless. So it wasnt too bad. And Yes i was 5 feet from home just in case.

Rich has been having a rougher go of it this round of chemo. So lets hope its the holiday hype and excitement that has him fatigued. I sure think that is what it is. So many things to do, and so little sleep to be had. As for new years resolutions?? Well if you are posting all over FB about all the self improvement things you are going to do, then just know i will block you. Think about what you can do to help someone, or to help yourself without deprivation. It's pretty amazing how clear I seem to see things when  all that is important to you is suddenly hanging in the balance. I wish going Gluten Free or losing 5 lbs would make my husbands cancer go away, but it wont.
Be healthy and count your blessings and lets have a great 2012!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

On a Personal Note...

Ok boys get over it, but I need my girl peeps to chime in on something.
I have Fibrocystic Breasts. I have always had dense tissue and have had a few times with pain/swelling around my cycle. They always told me to be careful with caffeine, and I dont abuse or USE it but do drink green tea each day and sometimes a 1/2 caff latte or cappucino. But never more than one and not everyday.

The last few months ( Well since October) I have been suffereing BIG. TIME. I have been to the MD twice, and now she is sending me to get an Ultrasound and LIKELY cyst aspiration.
This summer i was fine, and i was ABUSING caffeine in the form of POWERGELS:) LOL.

I am 99% confident these are just that. Benign Cysts. And I am 99% confident that I am fine, other than i will step away when you try to hug me and lying prone makes me weep. I feel like i have a DD cup when it is more like an A. I had a breast MRI and it was clear...

So any thoughts? All the actual research i read says the caffeine thing is not proven. Even my MD said she would rather have a cyst than give up her coffee:) LOL.

She also told me this HURTS. I have had ALOT of needles put in my body ( acupuncture to prolo to cortisone) and this one freaks me out the most bc i cant even IMAGINE a needle going in there.

Rich is good, by the way:)
thanks for your ideas!!!
PS not pregnant, but that DID cross my mind!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Winter 2011

Winter has been a mixed bag. In one sense the true northerner in me misses the white stuff. It's just plain weird to have rain all day in mid december and to hear that golf courses are open. Lest you think its warm its not. It's this eery windchill with wet conditions, that seems to be what I think the Pac. NW is like. Having never been there i am not sure! Here is our yard today:

Golf Anyone?
 Here is our yard last year, this was even after the snow had melted a bit. I guess technically its our driveway but i just couldnt find the snow rake for the roof pics ( i must have burned them)
 What has me going strong?
Not Swimming. I am not sure why but i have been hating swimming. That isnt true. I dont hate it but its just plain drudgery to get me there, and if i dont go at dark o thirty i dont want to go. Part of it is the pool issues with the poop, that wasnt so fun, then there is the chlorinated " I smell " issue. And of course the pool temp. I cant say i have been swimming slow, I mean i went to the cold pool monday and i swam FAST. We had a faster wrkout ( T pace) and i swear i wonder if i was on another planet when i swam that test, bc I think " I cant swim that pace unless its 10x100!" SO i try. And monday i blew a gasket. My delts and my pecs and my Lats screamed and actually I didnt swim again till today.
What gets me swimming:
Latte Art at Nina's coffee cafe!
 What else is going on? I am actually liking this view. Granted i havent had any really long trainer rides but as the weather has been so nice I should be out on my Cross bike, but that will come, timing is everything and right now Rich isnt able to ride outside with me so its nice to be home and sweating, and watching the Tennis Channel. I mix it up actually, i usually listen to great music and have the TV on mute or low. I have tried some reality shows like Housewives of __________, but usually that just starts to annoy me. Tennis seems to always be it. Or any sporting event that i sorta "Get" and can follow. The Aussie Open is coming up and in January I expect the rides to get a bit longer so I am excited to have some TV to go with that.
what do you watch when you ride indoors?

While I am on a winding no purpose post, what did you all think of the NBC IM coverage? I havent seen it all, but each year, of the past 2-3 years when i have known more of you that have gone, and you are people like me, AG'ers not pros, not 17 hour racers, i am struck with the question of WHY they dont showcase or at least mention the bulk of the racers that are working/family people/AG qualifiers that are the PACK. They arent winning, nor are they falling into Road signs and looking like they have absolutely NO CORE support left, nada, scary, nothing, blinded or about to have a stroke. Ok that was my view of those last guys. Seriously? Not healthy, but of course "Its not the falling down its the getting back up that matters." Um yeah but maybe i just am jaded by my work in health care, but what is healthy about that? Nothing, maybe that is the point. It gets viewers.
But what about the pack, the normal people? I didnt see any of you! Boo!

So the weekend is here, tonight is martini night where i have orders to drink martinis. The first is fun, the 2nd is a mistake. Lets see if i make a mistake tonight:) And Yes i have a driver! happy weekend!

Friday, December 09, 2011


I wish i had some riveting news to post. But in a way I am glad i dont. I have been wanting to blog the last week but really, there is not much going on in MN in December. We are finally in winter, and must i say I am feeling about 10% of the winter blues, and though that may sound sad, it's really not nearly as bad as it was last year at this time. I still have some patches of sidewalk and road that are visible, I have had few delays from weather related traffic snafus, and today was the first day i really had to cover my face for parts of my run. Not so bad.

I must add that when i went out to run last week after a swim and had not dried my hair, enough...I knew it was time to add another BAG to the bag lady routine when i leave the house at dark o'thirty. The bag this morning contained:

Boure winter wool socks
Shoes ( gotta check twice on this one)
Heavy Winter Gear West windproof Sugoi jacket
Under Armour stretchy winter top
Sleeveless base layer ( Craft)
Lobster gloves
two hats one tight that covers my ears and another looser one on top
neck gaiter that can be pulled up and down prn ( as needed)
Road ID ( eeks i forgot this today, sorta freaked me out) but i had my Y membership card
Compression shorts/capris ( today i wore capris), I like CWX the others dont squish me enough.
Addidas running tights with reflective stripes, even tho today it was sunny, with all the icey roads and cars parked our drivers dont see runners OR bikers, even in broad daylight.
**These tights are not super tight nor are they alladin pants, and they are OLD. VERY Old. Like so old i am fearful they may not make it thru the winter. If you have ideas, let me know. I dont need lulu tights, got those, these need to be functional and kinda thick. I have some CRAFT winter riding pants, but those are for SUB zero.

So today's temp was 8 and windchill of about 0. Running into the wind my HR shot up, mouth into gaiter for sure for the into the wind part, then when i turned around i was good! Pace came up, and i could breathe. I was SO GLAD i went outside. IT takes days like today to realize what your limits are. and i havent found it yet. usually its lack of sun and windchill below 0, and when in doubt i run loops close to home or to my starting point.

So. That means i am running! This is fun, this is good. I am so thrilled to be feeling healthy, feeling good, and at the same time telling myself that nobody needs a champion in January. ( But i do hope to run a half marathon in Naples in January, so that is something to look forward to)
The Drudgery of going to the pool is made easier by my swimming pal Steve ( not in a speedo) another Steve, and without him i think i would pull my eyes out and roll over in bed. I do that anyways as Steve usually wants to swim at like 5 am and i somehow coax him into the LATEST possible swim time before we are overtaken with classes and turds. By the way, the turd caper is solved? or is it?
There have been no incidents in a week, but i am suspcicious. Many of you asked how they knew it was an adult? Well i guess they know bc no kids are in the pool from 8-10 am...and it wasnt there before that. Rumor has it someone was taking some diet supplement and it makes one...well...loose. Ok then, that is about all i need to tell you. But the chemical count is high and you can smell me from the next room, or so my husband says.

Speaking of Rich, he is doing great. We head into another chemo round next week but thankfully we have the week before Xmas off so he can enjoy that time and not be bogged down too much. He still never complains and lives his life to the fullest each day. Lots to be thankful for!

Ok that is it from Sunny and cold MN! Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Swim Test...And.....

I knew that would grab some attention when really what I will talk about is my day AFTER the swim test. It's funny how TESTING in the off season has so much power over our psyche. If you really think about it its 15-20 minutes. That isnt THAT much time, in my opinion.

Of course its 15-20 minutes of Pain and Suffering but its hardly an hour:) So try not to let those tests get your undies in a bundle. I know i am not letting them get me down or up. They are what they are!

So the swim test went fine. Pretty much the exact same T time as last year. ** Cheryl you are right i should have just told coach Jen a time and not done the test, hee hee. The excitement of the pool was that after i got out ( early) my mom comes to an aqua class around 8 am. I was well on my way home to pick up Rich to take him to his chemo cocktail day, but she emailed me to say they had found an ADULT feces in the pool and it was closed. Seriously nasty. I mean WHO does that? I told my mom she needed to do a complete investigation of her class and figure out who it was. They had already had some fun saying they were going to require immodium before the class and of course i had to add that if the pool was colder there would be less relaxation of the "sphincters" that allow this Shit to happen. ha, sorry i had to say it.

Anyways. Thanks for Chlorine i seem to be doing just fine other than i may need to start doing some Walk abouts before i get into that pool anytime soon.

So off to Chemo we went. And....a long day it was.

We had suspected this but after chemo we went across the streeet to United to get an ultrasound to see if Rich had a blood clot. Winner winner chicken dinner. He does. So, other than being fascinated with the ultrasound itself ( pretty cool if you ask me) we headed back to the oncology clinic and got to close that place down. Rich is now the proud owner of a subclavian clot ( where his port is) and a bit of clotting in the innominate veins. It's pretty common for chemo patients to get clots, so we are just thankful we "pretty much knew" that was it. Otherwise we were going to be much more worried. Ive seen DVT s in the legs but not the arm, and his distal veins were fine so we are lucky we caught it as the subclavian goes right into the Superior Vena Cava then the Heart ( anatomy review) and that's not where you want an emboli. ( or anywhere for that matter)

Oh and the swim test? what swim test? It was the same as last year. Just as hard, just as hot in that dang pool area. So jealous of you peeps that swim outside year round, even if your air is 40 degrees!

We are hanging in there~~  We are uplifted by the love and strength we have from our friends both near and far, blogland and real. Keep it coming!

Monday, November 21, 2011


I am not usually a bullet point blogger but since there is no calm and normalcy to my world right now this seems about right. If I didnt have ADD before now I think i have a good case of it:) Still sleeping well, and other than the "Forces of Evil," that have reappeared in our lives ( and no this isnt the cancer) we are doing just fine.

So here we go:

I have been loving making all sorts of squash and root veggie dishes. This is a ginger curry squash soup. I used Butternut squash and its divine. Just enough ginger to give it some tang and some zing.

I added some of this to the soup. Ever since we were in Aspen and i had this on some eggs I have been loving it. Just a touch goes a LONG way. But we have been eating tons of eggs and I love adding in a bit of heat. So good. I saw they have one with lime in it, may have to go searching for that one too.

When at Sam's this weekend buying Lamb I came upon this. Congrats to my fabulous coach (and of course Jerome), and friend Jen . I am proud of her that she HTFU'd, as she deserved a dream race and she got it yesterday. Now I am not sure it was her dream race but on paper to those of us in the snowy tundra, it looked dreamy:)

Ruby looks quite interested in me. I think this was taken when i asked her if she missed Uncle Rich.
She did.

Still figuring this out, but here is the latest cockpit. I have yet to ride a CT wko and not have to get off for some mechanical or likely "user error" issue. I suspect that in 15 years i will figure this out but in the mean time i dont trust this thing and cant figure out how to get the HR alarm to stop beeping. Hence i am using the Power tap. Andtill i have tested that PT wheel is staying on. I used to have to test every other week when i was just riding my bike. So i guess doing 1 test a year isnt that bad. But testing 2 x month broke me.
And what do i swim for?
I swim for Nina's coffee cafe. I am going to put them back on my Race Kit in 2012. They are too good to me and i am really realizing that i may not have a Powerbar/insert fancy big name here/Cyclops/Saucony etc etc...sponsorship but i want to keep giving back to the local people that have supported me, even with great foam, or with just a pat on the back. So for 2012 NINAs and Folske Spine and Rehab are getting a place on my kit.

Other than this stuff you know, its business as usual. Work, snow, hoping snow melts, looking forward to thanksgiving with family, being grateful for all I have, and especially being grateful that no matter what, Rich and I are blessed with friends and family, some of you who we dont even "know," who are pulling for us. No matter what others are thinking we can only control our own attitude, and so during thanksgiving keep your good graces on the front quadrant and remember that even if you think your life isnt ideal you have so much to be thankful for! 
Happy Thanksgiving :)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

A Race Report...and an offseason comment!

How Clean Should Your Colon be?

Did that get your attention? I will get to that in a minute. First of all lets talk about a race report.
I did a little ( well it wasnt little) almost 6k 5k saturday morning. It's called the Diva Dash. I had it on the radar last year but that day it snowed about 8 inches and since its about a 40 min drive from home i knew this year i would pre register and pray for no snow or rain. The day couldnt have been better. ( well it could have been 70 but i dont live in Florida)

Long story short i had hopes of using this as my run test. Usually my run test ends up being on the TM of sweat bc our roads are slippery and its too cold to get my HR above 155 and my HRM freezes anyways. So i was praying the Garmin would not go wacky in the cold. When i was warming up it was jumping around doing its usual "I am cold and cant get a good connection" telling me i was running my warm up at 180bpm. Lovely. "dear coach, my HR max was 220. I am in an ambulance now with tachycardia." Can we use this data?

I knew the course was long, but i didnt care. I would rather run a long 5k than one where i run 17 minutes and know i didnt get that time. When the gun went off ( we were following the 10k) I was towards the front and pretty much held that position. I was next to two girls i know, one a runner and one a fellow triathlete. By mile 1 they had dropped back and i was running in 5th, behind runner people. Around mile 2 I caught the #4 woman and i really felt good. I sorta was watching my Garmin but i really dont think its good (for me) to be focused in that. I would glance to be sure i didnt go out too fast or take a corner too fast, but since the course had a few turns and some paths, gave some time to watch your footing and not get too carried away. I knew it was long bc at around 3 miles i was starting to feel like i had run HARD. And I knew we had almost a half mile to go. I was right on the heels of the teeniebopper younger gal in front of me, but she heard me and gosh darn it if that last 25 yards she was able to outsprint me. I still got 4th OA, and won my 40-49 AG so i was pretty happy.

Mostly i was happy bc I can use the data for my Run Testing for this year and I actually RAN FAST! I really had doubts having done NO speed work. I did some pick ups in Aspen but that felt like i was running at 8000 feet, Oh I was. Not exactly a confidence booster. I won a cool mug and i won a $20 Gift Cert at a running store. And I won some confidence as well. That is priceless. ( and yes I know that isnt as good as the commercials you hear on TV)

Then it was so nice out ( and so windy) that i went for a ride with my buddy Kyle. Kyle is 6 foot 6 and super draft-off-able. He has been a valuable friend as we go thru this cancer stuff, and I cant thank he and his wife, Shelley, enough for their love and support. Not to mention that he will usually go ride anytime and do whatever wko i suggest:) Gotta love people that will just do MY wko, no matter what.
And come to think of that i usually have that with my guy friends. Hmm...

After the first "Double" in a long long time was done i was pooped. It's super dry here so i had a wicked sore throat and since i am not a a puker when i run, i tend to think i didnt run hard enough:) Sorry Coach. But i do breathe hard and i usually get a good GI upset. I sure had the "Asthma, i ran hard" going but no GI issues. I have a new pre race nutrition deal i have been trying so sometime i will share that with you. And while we are on that subject, lets get back to my lead in link....

If this turns into a RANT style paragraph i am sorry. But what is up with the Off Season "lets do a cleanse" thing? I cant say i know all about Colo-Rectal stuff but i know enough about it to know that unless you have any of the noted "diagnoses" and i do know that some people have Crohn's or Celiac Disease, then yes by all means listen to your MD and do what you need to do. The rest of us that are bored, feeling heavy, feeling depressed bc the Vit D isnt cutting it and you are used to being outside 5 hours a day, read up on what your AMAZING BODY does for itself! I am always giggling and then feeling a bit disgusted, that people actually think that the walls of your small intestine get lined with "Crud" ( to be a bit more PG here) and that somehow its like you need to clean em off by doing some sort of "Cleanse," natural or not!

Ask any MD that does colonoscopies for a living, they have you do some prep work of course, but its not like there is grafitti all over the inside of your small intestine. And as for the Liver Cleanse...unless you are really drinking up a storm, or as i said, you have some diagnosed situation, your liver isnt like the ohio river.

To be honest i nearly didnt write this, bc I dont really care. I thought to myself "why do i care if people are doing this?" and the reason i did write it is that even if I dont care I know how easy it is to be "swayed" into thinking that someone has some great idea and i dont want to miss out on it. Here is my idea: If you want to be obsessed with food, go on some restricitve cleanse. Spend alot of time shopping and worrying when you "cheat," as defined by ?? you or your source, and then in the mean time, be tired, and cranky, and your loved ones will thank you for that since they felt they had just gotten you back after all the summer months spent training. Or on the other hand you can just enjoy the off season, move your body some, suck wind big time when you have to do a test on the run swim or bike, eat well, but not so well that you miss out on the things you love, love your family and enjoy them, and wake up knowing that you are not in as good of shape as you were but you can get back there when the time is right.

And now that sounded a bit like we should be sitting in a bath tub overlooking a mountain view, doesnt it.

If that offends anyone, sorry. But I walk a fine line somedays with wanting to tell every one of my readers, that if one day out of nowhere you were told you had 12 mos to live, would you worry about how pure your diet is?

Thanks for reading the ups and downs of my journey:) and my rants.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Two Years:)

Wow, when rich and I were in Aspen this past weekend we laughed bc we realized that our two years of marriage, felt like WAY more than that. But not in the "ball and chain" way you may think:)
I had known rich for about 2 years, gosh maybe more, before we got married. We actually got engaged on Nov 7, 2008 and were married a year later, on Nov 7, 2009. The same day my parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.  This makes life MUCH easier for my siblings, bc they only need to remember one date. You are welcome:)

Here we all are that great weekend in Georgetown ( D.C.) as we were at my cousin Christina Ritchie's wedding. What a great weekend, getting engaged at her wedding, but wanting to stay quiet till the next day so i didnt steal the show. ( not that there werent like 200 people there, but you get my point)

 My mom looks happy:) And just a note, she got new sporty glasses and has the best wardrobe in the world. I need a few lessons.

This weekend was great in Aspen. We had some major weather issues getting into Aspen, but once we were there ( circa Planes Trains and Automobiles) we were good. It was blowing snow and COLD when we arrived. Welcome to winter. So that wasnt too exciting for me, but we had a lovely hotel to stay in, with a fireplace, lots of nice people waiting on us, and a lovely comfy bed.

Going to Aspen in the off season has its perks. We got a great deal, had the hotel to ourselves ( so it seemed) and never a wait at a restaurant. Thanks to Jen Cunane we ate at some wonderful restaurants, and were I a true foodie, i would have taken pictures. But i didnt. But we were wowed a few times, oece with Lupe De Mer ( Rabbit of the Sea...really, never heard of that before and i thought i knew my french) which is Sea bass, the BEST brussel sprouts i have ever eaten ( and i like em even mushy), wonderful Lamb, and some to die for homemade mushroom ravioli. Then another day we were just wowed by the best, sweetest espresso i have tasted in a long time. Those of you that know me, know i cannot stand a bad Capp, and the Caribou's here continue to underwelm me. So this was fun. Then a homemade greek yogurt ( full fat) with lemon verbena flavoring and fresh fruit. Youmay also know i do not like oversweetend yogurt, greek or not. So this was a total leap of faith. IT was worth it. Subtle and wonderful:

Last on my non food blog, but attempt to tell you we ate well...a visit to the best sushi place i have eaten at since...well Philly, well Chicago..hahaha i like Sushi. matsuhisa
It was monday night football, so you have to get there early, and they have some specials and 1$ bud and bud lights. I really think there were not too many people watching football:) And the food was great. I had never had a hand roll before, and it was divine:) ( I never knew what it was, as i thought all rolls were hand rolled:)LOL

So that ends my attempt to write like those of you that food blog, which maynot be any of you. needs pictures i think:)

Oh and this place was good too..Peaches

I love good BF burritos that arent all tortilla, and this one didnt disappoint, more eggs and veggies than wrap. Nice:)

Ok so pictures of the outdoors took precedent to the food, here ya go:

Kevin O'C owns GWB and Tri.

ICEY SLIPPERY ROADS, glad its not MN:)

I ran up this trail, the RIO GRANDE, the day prior, it was a lung buster!

Roaring Fork River

So, we got outdoors, i refused to bring my boots. I am glad i didnt, but i wish i had:) ha!
Thanks for all the Anniversary wishes on FB. We have had a wild ride, our first 2 years, but the great thing is that we loved every minute of it. The beauty of our love is that though from the outside looking in it seems like we have had very little time that hasnt been dealing with cancer. Pre wedding and into our first year, Rich had alot of physical challenges. And now, here we go again. But to us, while it isnt fun, what stands out for me in these two years isnt cancer. It isnt sickness. It's health! And all the fun stuff we have done, on and off our bikes. So we are so blessed to have this time, and so appreciate all of you that are helping us and praying and pulling for Rich! Thank you!!

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Lets talk training!

Not Cancer!
So training is going along pretty well. Fall has been good here. Meaning we dont have snow yet. That is pretty much all i need to have in order to keep me on the roads biking. I did get a CompuTrainer and it has not been used. I sure should get on it and figure it out, I have it set up, but i am not in ANY hurry AT ALL to get on that thing. Like many winters of past my goal is to get outside as much as i can to ride, and even if you think riding a trainer is harder than riding outside, I will beg to differ when you are riding a heavy cross bike with full fenders into a headwind up a hill:) Luckily the winter ride is still rusting in the garage and my road bike has been getting lots of action.

Running has been great. I have a bit of a sore butt, and since i had to see my MD ( non surgical ortho) for something else she suggested i get a trigger point shot into my piriformis. Btwn my schedule and the injection specialist i wasnt able to schedule till mid November. Sorta frustrating but at the same time its getting better with the non invasive therapy I am doing ( ie stretch, some strength, some heat, massage, etc..) so i am hoping i wont even need the injection. At the same time it goes into this weird spasm so i may get it anyways. No radicular symptoms so i know that the nerve is fine, so its mostly just literally a pain in the A$$ when i run!

I am going to do a 5k in about a week. I am super excited. I wanted to do the 10k but then i realized that i havent done a 5k since last fall and with all the IM training I really felt SO STRONG running but not FAST at all. Since IM legs have come and gone i do feel i am gettting some speed back. Not expecting a PR since my 5k PR was when i was in my 20's and was something silly like 19 minutes. But ya never know, I hope to come in 20:xx but i will take what the day brings. Last year at this race they had 9 inches of snow, no PR's that day.

Swims are awesome. As long as i am in the pool that is cold. I have a few pools I use, the one that is my membership is HOT HOT HOT. the air is hot. the water is hot. I did a set yesterday with 4 x 300's w/ the first 100 FAST and i nearly PASSED out in that last 200 of the piece. I wear a 2 piece suit to that pool. That stinks getting into it when i am cold and its 6 am but then when i enter the pool deck it feels like mexico, so i am relieved. The other pool , the cold pool, I pay $5 for but at this point i would rather pay $5 and not feel like i was going to die in the water. This begins my winter of swimming:) And why do i stay at the hot pool? Its my Y and its a nice community to belong to. And its across the street from the best coffee house/breakfast joint/ they know how to make a cappucino post swim reward EVER.

So ...I have had a few people ask me my plans for next year.

I have one race for sure and that is IM Wisconsin. I have lots of thoughts and lots of "maybes" but it all depends on how Rich is doing, and even Madison is a maybe. I cant be planning races right now and the good thing is that no matter how he is doing, or how I AM doing, there are so many short run races at home that i really am not worried or stressed about it. If it's a year of short and trying to be fast for 46 yo fast then that is just fine. In the last month doing runs of 45-60 minutes and rides under 2hours has felt downright EASY. I know the efforts themselves arent easy but when its 30 minutes into a 50 min run and you realize you are more than half way done, its sure alot less "UGH" than being in hour 1 of a 6 hour ride.

So that's all i have for ya right now:)
We are off to CO for our 2nd wedding anniversary. I am pumped. Yet not pumped for snow. I just cant get my self ready to even step foot in that stuff, even if its not on my doorstep.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Moving right along...

Reminds me of the muppets song. Moving Right along. That is pretty much what is happening up here this fall. I cant tell you the RELIEF and GRATITUDE i feel towards mother nature for NOT dusting DUMPING snow on us this weekend. I am sorry all you peeps in PA and north but wow, glad that wasnt me. Instead on saturday afternoon Rich and I got out for a wonderful ride and even tho it was 50 it sure didnt feel that warm.  My parents were stuck in PA and barely got home late saturday night. Nothing like some time on the tarmac in Allentown, and then at O'hare. At least when they got to Chicago they new they could get back home.

Rich put on a retreat at his church this weekend. Sounds pretty boring and scarey doesnt it?:) I am not Catholic, he is. It's pretty awesome that the retreat is non denominational. It really doesnt matter what your religious beliefs are, as long as you have some sort of belief. In a God, or in a higher power or you name it.
Centering Prayer is a method designed to facilitate the development of a Contemplative Prayer by preparing us to receive the gift of a relationship with God. Centering Prayer is a meditative practice that in a nutshell, allows us to get out of the way and listen to God. Not really to TALK TO HIM, I personally think that as in so many things in our lives, we are in the way of our own progress and growth. It's called " I want control..." And really, again, in my opinion, we dont have control over what is going to happen. We do have free will, so as much as one can say "There isnt a God, bc why do bad things happen to good people then?" ( ahem, dont you think i may be prone to this thought?) With free will and with things like natural disaster or even illness that is not from exercising our own free will to smoke, drink and live an unhealthy lifestyle, well...things do happen for a reason. And its up to us to not hate and blame and use the victim card, but to be ever so thankful for what you have today, right now, today.

So you may think i have gone all "church lady" on y'all. Not really. I dont talk about spirituality much, but i do come from a line or Lutheran ministers and even a Bishop on my mom's side. So its never too far from my core, and even tho I dont talk alot about it, its with me. My faith.

I loved this retreat bc it gave me some more tools to feel like i could find some meaning to Rich's diagnosis, and also bc Rich worked SO DANG hard on this. And since this is sort of a Tri blog at times I couldnt help but relate to Elf's blog about Stillness. One quote that really hit me with I read her blog is "Be Still and Know that I am God" Psalm 46:10. Or for some of you it may just be a plain " Stop thinking so much," just let the race unfold. You may not want to lay it all into God's hands, that is ok, but stop judging yourself, others, blaming yourself, others, the weather etc...just get out of your own way! Or as someone i know tells me " Get over your bad self."

So other than riding my bike a few times, freezing my fingers a bit ( but not too much heck it was still 40!) I had a great weekend. We also watched Step Brothers, and if you need help with that "Pan, Pand thing," let me know.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Every two years....

I get a Breast MRI. It all started when my mother was diagnosed at 78 years young wiht a weird kind of breast cancer. She found the tumor herself, despite having annual mammograms, and following all the protocols for those. When the tumor and her breast were removed ( within about 3 days) the surgeon said the mass had been growing for 5-6 years. To which we wondered what that mammogram had been looking at? Sorta makes you wonder. Her tissue, like mine, is dense. Many of you may also have heard the term that you have FCB, Fibrocystic Breasts. Sorta makes ya think they are all ripped and tight, eh? Well i think they are but it also makes it hard to really see the tissue when they are all dense like that.

So enter mom's oncologist. We never had a need to test for the BC gene. But we were told that we had a strong risk for breast cancer and  she strongly encouraged us to get breast mri's annualy. So of course fear hit me hard and i went for my first in 2007. I wont forget that.

I had had many MRIs...shoulder, hip, ITB, not sure what else, but anyways it was fine, you roll in, dont move, get a headset bc its so loud and listen to some radio and its over before you know it. 20 minutes tops.

When i went to the hosptial and they checked me in like an Inpatient i knew this was going to be different. I got a wrist band. I got all the gowns. I Was led back to the IV area.

WAIT A MINUTE....IV? nobody said i had to have an IV? I never had an IV when you looked at my knee or my hamstring? And then was told they do a contrast dye, to compare scans. Gulp. so now you have just increased my anxiety two fold. I Get that all set and then i get into the MRI room and realize i am going to be FACE planted in that puppy, with my girls in their own little comfy pouches. How nice. Arms at side and your eyes? Well they are looking at a white cotton face cradle. No ground, just the glmpse of the sides of the Can. Ok then. Here we go.

I am pretty sure that one took some STRONG meditative powers to get thru it. To not FREAK. OUT. and everytime they said DO NOT MOVE or we have to re do it. I moved. I am a deep breather. How can you not move your thorax when you are trying to relax and breathe deeply.

Ok jump to today...I had another one in 2009 that had to be redone bc I freaked out and before they shot the dye in (luckily) had a panic attack bc i had a head cold and i could not breathe. nice. Sorta was like an open water panic attack, no joke. But i learned from that the key to my future MRI's....

Ativan....bring it on!

Now I am no drug store, and If my hubby or I take so much as an aleve its serious. So the 4 Ativans i got from 2009 were now down to 3.5 since i cut it in half. I took 1/2 today ( i had a driver, my mom) and so i was good to go. Everything went as planned. Funny comment from Rich " I am glad you and your mom are Breast Buddies, you can hang with each other on this stuff." :) Yes we are!

Gown on. Jewelry off. IV in. ouch. Saline flush ( salty taste) lie prone ( face flat) dont move, headphones on...and BAM we are off. But after the first scan I had to tell them i needed earplugs. It was the loudest clatter i have ever heard. I really knew i would not last 40 minutes in there, so she came in and told me " DO NOT MOVE A MUSCLE. " and put earplugs in my ears for me, the headphones were useless anyways i could only hear music when the clatter stopped. I had a bit of anxiety at first. I started thinking about my breathing and trying to not move my chest but i breathe deep so i figured that if they are going to say my thorax is moving too much i will have to say " see ya" since shallow breathing to me = hyperventilate. So i kept my breathing deep and i closed my eyes and i think the ativan sorta kicked in a bit as i was just thinking about....


I know? Weird? no not really bc what skills did i use to not FREAK OUT in Madison? well the same skills i used to NOT FREAK OUT in a can face down not moving with clatter in my ears and with all the sudden COLD dye being shot into my forearm. That is enough to make you freak out too.

So why do you care about this? Maybe you dont, but I thought it would be a good learning experience for any of you that may have to get a breast MRI, or who are avoiding getting one, or who are just interested in stuff like this. All in all it takes about 45 to an hour, and then you get a ride home since even tho the meds say "use caution driving heavy machinery" i think i wanted a ride home.

I do have one area that is always sore and tender with my period, and i know that since everyone says "cancer tumors dont hurt" that this is likely a duct that is inflamed or something. But the way my life is going these days I needed this for piece of mind. I fully expect to hear " Come back in 2 years," in which case i will have my 1/2 Ativan and my earplugs ready.

Tonight I am taking my most awesome PT out for wine. She is a great person, has been so good to me, and still lets me come work out at their clinic. Yes wine. Dont worry i think the ativan has worn off....
And its a 1/2mile drive anyways!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Living in Limbo

Thanks for all the nice comments and support. Both of us are overwelmed with the love and friendships we have both here and from afar. The truth is that we have no idea what each day will bring. I mean that. I have heard so many uplifting stories of cancer with a grave prognosis, go into remission for at least a time being. I have also heard of stories where a cancer such as this progressed rapidly within 3-6 mos. So who knows. I just know i dont think it is his time. Maybe this is my form of denial, but as i said earlier i dont thinki have a choice but to be relentlessly optimistic.

I am sorry for me that i cant share more. I know it sounds like i have some Anonymous commenter when in reality its not an Anonymous commenter at all, its just a person who has chosen to use us in her pitiful life. And with that I will say no more.

Rich had his first chemo last week and seems to have gotten thru that with minimal side effects. Yes some nausea and yes some neuropathy and some foggy headedness but all in all he was pretty happy with how it went. It's hard being down there getting the chemo with him. He looks quite healthy compared to some others that are there, and really its hard to now stare and wonder, what the others are there for. To want to ask them.."So, what are you in for? What is your SENTENCE?" And at the same time we tried to have fn with it, I got him the good snacks, we had fun with the fabulous oncology nurses, they truly are the best. One of them remembered my mom from 5 years ago when i would go down there and sit with her for her Chemo after breast cancer.

As for me, I am doing ok. Sleeping better even sans drugs, but at night sometimes things pop up and my MD advised me to "take a nibble" of an Ambien. I love that. I love her orders:) I dont think i have ever taken a full Ambien ( and i have never really taken it before) so if i did i may not wake up for 24 hours.
Training is fine. Meh...whatever. Just getting out to breathe, feel my legs, ride my road bike ( Poor Gretta was washed but she hasnt seen the light of day since IM, she still appears to have sticky sugar on her poor girl), and of course a bit of chlorine that i didnt miss this summer swimming outdoors and in the lake.

WE enjoyed a fabulous Vegan Meal that my friend KJ brought us saturday. Lentil Curry and twice baked potatoes and some rice krsipy treats, all vegan. Of course i messed it up by adding Chicken broth to the soup/curry bc it was SO thick. Oops. Sorry i hope i didnt lose the Vegan Super Powers. ( you wont get that unless you saw that movie about the kid who had super powers and they made him drink a latte and he lost his powers,  cant remember the name, it was pretty weird) I digress....but we are doing pretty well at eating a good clean diet for him, and despite many offers for meals from people the truth is that i love to cook. ITs good therapy for me, and he likes what i cook him. So if i turn down a lasagna, and white garlic bread dont be offended. We love that you want to share with us but flowers will do, or just a plain old hug:)

Till next time.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Real Life

It's been a wild ride the last two weeks. And I am going to cut to the chase. Some of you know this and I really appreciate the privacy you have given me. Rich was diagnosed with Metastatic Cancer.  It is asymptomatic which is a blessing, but also made it that much more shocking. I SOOOOO want to tell you more and talk more about this but the same people that used my blog against us, shamefully, in the pas,t can and will do that again and so since i dont want to make this blog private you are getting few details. Please refrain from FB ing about this, its just not something i feel is recent news - worthy.

I decided to blog about this bc I need to for me. I need to for us, and again, for me. I also want to blog bc I know many of you praying, thinking, sending good healing vibes will help us as we start yet another journey into fighting Cancer.

My feelings have been pretty raw this last week. I have been thru the denial, the acceptance and the shock that comes with this. It's not as cut and dry as it was 2 years ago, and for that i am so sad. But at the same time miracles happen everyday. We have to believe in them, and we have to keep positive. I have thought alot about how my IM training is helping me deal with this. I do mean that. I think we have to be relentlessly positive, otherwise you have no hope. When you have no hope, you just give up.

And at the same time as many of you, my friends, were in Kona racing and spectating, I had some pretty strong feelings about what that all meant to me. I wanted to yell at the top of my lungs that KONA is AWESOME, but its not real life. I am not angry...I wanted to be there, trust me!!  I was acutely aware that if your bike was hard and windy, that you were biking, not talking to your Oncologist. I wanted you all to SOAK IT UP, and to really really have a blast. Stuff like this doesnt make me say "WHY ME?" but more so " WHY NOT ME?" I mean why dont I have cancer?

And then you realize it's just another reason to be so damn thankful for what you have today. And to take life day by day and to love, laugh do what makes you happy, and not sweat the small stuff. If you think you dont have enough money, think about why you think you need so much money to make you happy. If you think you arent fast enough, figure out how being faster is really going to help you or make you happier. If you arent happy, figure out why and dont just blame everyone else. Do something for yourself.

Ok over and out, sorry for the trip to Cancerland. But I will be here for awhile, hope to be able to share more, but for now its all i feel SAFE sharing.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

And 2 weeks later we are back to normal life...

I dont want to continue to dwell only on IM Wisconsin, but i do have to say it was a pretty big deal for me. Not in how i finished or in how or how i placed or even what  my time was but in the fact that it's been awhile since i did something I DIDNT THINK I COULD DO. Now granted. I " thought" i could cover the distance. But partly bc of my profession and partly bc of the work needed I did at times DOUBT question my body and its ability to do this.

This snowy awful freezing cold too much snow from october to april winter I had my doubts. I had the wonderful support of not only my husband but some blog friends ( ER!) and of course this crazy lady:

Yes I know she is going to love me for posting this:
She put this on her blog and i taped it to my mirror. The date is in March, right about when i was feeling pretty overwelmed with winter ( or whatever you want to call it when you have snow on the ground for 6 + months) and some injuries. I also had struggled all fall with glute med tendon issues from the end of a great summer ( again this is all 2010) and didnt run until january. and at that point i was running on the TM or on snowy icey yuk. It did a number on my head even tho my body seemed to be healing but at its own pace.

I love this poem/saying. I have had it up on my mirror before, during tennis seasons and what not, but it came at a great time and it really helped me DAILY to remember that what is happening today...Isnt going to be what is happening in a week if I was smart. There were, as there always seem to be, some days and some weeks where Coach had to tell me " nope, do nothing the TP is a plan, we change it if we need to." I sometimes had to go and delete the " fun!" that was written in there bc It killed me to not do some of the wko's bc my body wasnt ready. I never run tested last winter ( hehehe) but secretly that was hard too. I would take a run test over a bike test TODAY!

So my point is that getting to that start line was huge. I can attribute it to a few things:
*CORE STRENGTH and ALOT MORE GLUTE work than i have ever done..I saw my PT every 3-4 weeks as needed. Sometimes it was for mobs and sometimes it was just to tweek my HEP and catch up on things ( my PT is awesome and i LOVE HER!)

*SLEEP, yes I got at least 8 hours.

*PATIENCE, yup...patience.

* DIET.....And sorry but i cant say it was bc I had this puritan and clean diet. I mean i ate well. But i also decided that for IM training and even half iron or ANY training i need to eat. I have had my issues with eating disorders and someday maybe i will share all that, but i do know that what got me healthy thru that was knowing i had to fuel my body and if i wanted to play tennis competitively ever again i had to eat. So taking this forward to this summer, I ate. Yah i didnt eat nearly enough Dairy Queen for Cheryl's liking but i did, i ate pretty much everything. Heavy on the Almond Butter and i also really upped my protein intake but not at the expense of eating grains and oats and bagels and rice and sweet potatoes. Not a huge pasta fan but you get the point. Not the time to try to slim down or get ripped.

*COACH and Friends and family that supported me...So much fun to do this training. I seriously cant see doing IM training alone. Yea i did my long runs alone, for the most part but my sister and some friends often  met me along the route, and of course i had my hubby to ride with and friends /co-inmates of JHC to banter and see at Dairyland Dare and the Verona ride. Its easy to get withdrawn and think only about your sore __________( fill in the blank) so training and haveing those people to bounce ideas off of or compare Estim with was amazing.

Ok this is getting way too long and my initial intention of writing about my 2 weeks off has gotten lost. So anyways i did nothing for 2 weeks. I took a walk, I let some niggles heal up ( my arch hurt, thought maybe i had a 1st or 2nd Met stress fx but i have no terrible triad going so i knew it would heal) and it did,,,I went to the lake and froze ( and realized you peeps that did CDA and swan in 58 deg water? wow, no go for me) and then i rode my road bike sunday and my glute is sore! Go figure. I did a super easy jog today, 45 minutes, no idea how far bc i just ran. Lets just say I think a 5k is going to hurt a ton this fall bc my legs are pretty happy in the slow mo mode!

So here a few more pics from race day: Still makes me laugh and smile...
this is my friend, i have no idea who he is but CY took this and it cracked me up.
 Here is my sore toe, i may need to get those little guys into the actually doesnt hurt! And no its not gangrene.
 This swim start still makes me cringe. I think i may rethink my start position for next year.
Yes I said next year.
 These tu-tu'd guys made me laugh.
 Here are my true sherpas. They are awesome and i am so thankful for their support.
 Here is Rich hanging in the street, after he decorated it with Good luck Toots and with my sacred word: TRUST. Sadly i didnt see it:) oops. And usually i havent been putting Rich on the blog, but he deserves it this time. Last year we had some bad people use my blog to hurt him and i just decided not to put him in here, but this time he deserves it. I am the luckiest girl around:)

And after the weekend in Madison? We went to Philly for some work and some play. Here i am with my pet dog? Cool sculpture. My cousin is the president of the College of Natural History so we saw some cool things, ate some amazing sushi and then topped it off with awesome ice cream. It was a great addition to my weeks off!

And in closing ( sigh, finally i know) I have made more apple crisp, cleaned out closets and even started to look at 2012 races. Despite being on a hiatus from TP and from training its fun to think about next spring and how to escape winter. It's not here yet but its never far from my mind ( insert JAW's theme song) its coming.....
PS and all you skiers, i have the utmost respect for you. Go for it. I hate being cold.. end of story.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Bike and Run

Ok I started the ride super conservative. I had been told i would get passed right and left, and yes, that is what happened. Coming out of the water i felt good, i started my fueling plan right away and even added in a banana from aid station one. Things were fine, i felt good, if not a bit too slow but i hoped that all i had been told was right. The crowds were awesome. The ride felt good, and as i started to feel more confident i started to push a bit harder, but all within my boundaries. The first loop of Verona I took SUPER conservative. I couldnt remember for sure some of the sweeping turns, and it appears from the road rash that others didnt remember them either. So it wasnt til the 2nd loop that i bombed down the Garfoot road and a few others. My Garmin read 54.5 mph for my max speed. That is a record if its true. Then again my Garmin sometimes says i ran a 4 min mile so I am not sure i am buying it.

I did pass a ton of people on the back half and felt SO strong. All seemed to be going just fine. My Left calf felt a bit tight, even during the swim i was trying to plantar flex and dorsi flex it but everytime i stood ot try to stretch it it felt fine. so i just sorta shrugged it off. My Left upper trap felt like it was on fire, and i am sure it was, it felt like a sunburn, but i had a jersey on so it wasnt that. Just muscle burn. The balls of my feet hurt. But heck this was all just random stuff. The only "issue" i had was the tops to the PERFORM bottles kept poppingoff, leaving Gretta getting a wet shower of sugar, so i got a bit bummed at that, and of course i would hit a railroad tracks and then it would go everywhere.

Got back into town, road up the helix ( that is evil) and was reminded to not get out of my shoes til the top. I did a flying dismount VERY CAREFULLY since my feet seemed to want to maybe not remember how to hit the ground but it was fine. Handed Gretta off and went to change!

T2 was speedy, i think the extra minute for sunscreen and a long pee were well worth it. I was happy with what i chose to wear and my legs seemed to be spinning along fine. I made sure to not run too fast, even if the first few miles seem downhill i was totally being careful. miles 1-4 are easy no matter what so lets make them easier. I took a gel at around mile 3 and another salt stick and...

WHAM. Door slams.

I started to immediately get nauseated. I figured i just needed to run it off. But it just got worse. I cant even tell you much more about that run. I dont remember when the walking started but i know i ran with a 2nd gel klutched in my hand until about mile 13 when i knew i couldnt take it.

I tried clif shot blox, ugh, bad...then i tried a few powergel blasts, ugh again. I choked them down and felt worse. I kept taking water at the aid stations and ice bc i started to feel really really hot. It was a dry heat, so i didnt feel like i couldnt breathe it just felt hot. ice was going in my hat my top my shorts and around mile 14 i had the first feeling that the shoes were wet and my big toe calluses were slipping around and it felt like i had a needle in there. I sorta just blocked that out.

I ran by Jen on State Street and said DAMAGE CONTROL, and she said "that is fine!" so i felt ok about this even if i didnt really feel OK:) Some good things are that i kept moving forward, i really didnt feel l had to walkuntil i started really getting GI cramps and also knew i needed to TRY to get something in me. So coke it was. Coke and ice chips. But it was hot bubbly Pepsi. How disappointed:) At one point a kid handed me a cup and i said " what is it ?" realizing it was a cup of potatoe chips. yuk!

The fans were amazing, my stomach was starting to gurgle, i could hear it like it was sloshy and i didnt feel bloated if anything i felt like my abdomen under my sternum near my diaphragm was tender and hard. And of course then my Left arm started to hurt so i had to really keep that thought out of my head. Its funny how you go to places like that. It wasnt dark, per se, but it wasnt positive either. Then when i started telling myself that this race goes against EVERYTHING i preach as a Physical Therapist who works in wellness and preventive exercise i knew i needed to do a 180 on the mind talk:) I felt good in my legs and all my strength and core work from the summer was paying off, i had no reason to walk other than to get my stomach ok and to try to take in Kcals, my legs were slowly feelign the effects of no fuel but overall I did not have any musculoskeletal issues so i just kept plugging along. When i was running i felt pretty ok. So hey, I will take what i can get.

Running down that finishing chute was the best thing EVER. Kate told me to make sure to raise my hands over my head, and so i did, and i high fived people! I had convinced myself to smile that entire last 13 miles, and to tell myself i was fine and good, so i wanted a picture that showed that. Ooops. I took my hands down too soon and my finisher pic looks like a robot with rigor mortis in the upper body:)

The Post race was a blur. You dont need to know nor do you want to know, but lets just say I went down pretty fast and Rich got my head downd, medical came over and rich said my pulse was strong and we were good. I have to thank my sister who helped me clean up afterwards ( TMI) and I think there may be some new lulu shorts in my future. My good friend STeve who got me drinks and laughed at me, even tho i was appalled at my post race condition, and Rich's daughter Emily who came all the way up from Chicago for the day with her cowbell. I am sorry i didnt get a massage from her! Anyone of you who lives in Chicago, drop me a note, she is a great LMT!!! You need to see her!

Overall I cant ask for a bettter day. The swim was scary, the ride was great, the run i had legs for but i think i had too much sodium. Live and learn.

And as of today I can walk stairs, i finally was able to eat again tuesday ( yea it was bad) and now i am happily eating anything in sight.

So that is all i have for ya. I need to let Triathlon take a rest for a few weeks here, but looking forward to some more fun in 2012.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Pre race and Swim

Ok sorry to make this into a long drawn out post, and i am not trying to hook you in, but i have so much stuff to do ( funny how that built up all summer, wonder why?) i am going to break this up. I have scattered pics, and many have been on FB so you may not get as many fun pics.

Pre race: I would certainly say I was exhausted pre race! I didnt have a great taper. Everyone kept saying i would feel like a million bucks, but i didnt. I felt cranky and tired and struggled to get to the pool to swim a 2500 M set.  Since i swim LCM in the summer i wanted to suddenly trade that in for a short pool. And a warm pool! We lost summer pretty quick the first week of september. The one good thing about taper was the US OPEN tennis. I had dreams of being done with my IM and sitting in the stands ( not walking, of course, having someone carry me) watching tennis. I had a little VMO flare up. My medial quad decided that the short and fast efforts were really not appropriate after doing 100+ rides on hilly courses, this flat and fast stuff was just not right. So that put a bit of a red flag up till it calmed down. I have had that before so i knew that a few days of no riding and the right treatment would be fine. None the less it made for some anxiety. People told me that if i didnt have some " pseudo " injury in taper i wasnt normal:) so true.

We drove to Madison friday AM, stood in a way too long line to register ( over 90 minutes) and then by the time i got to the hotel friday night i could barely move i was so tired. IT was raining at flushing meadow so my plans for a tv night were dashed. So we hit State Street for some Pizza and hung out watching one of my faves, with Sandra Bullock...the Proposal. Sleep was not good that night, i had the pre race " lets go thru the entire race plan in my head..." going and the replay button just kept going and going.
I had so much anxiety about the swim i knew i just had to get in that water and swim, no matter where i started i was going to get some beatings. So finally saturday night i sorta slept, at least i wasnt playing the race in my head:)

So race morning came and i was ready! I did all the stuff i need to do, and I was so lucky to meet Michelle ( Rural Girl, no rolldown girl)and hang out pre race. We had met up to swim saturday and then we had bumped into each other race morning. It was meant to be. It was her 6th? IM?I think. so she talked me thru alot and helped me time my dressing, and all that. I just followed her around like a new kid at school.

As it got closer to the race we walked down to the lake and saw Jenny and Jerome. That was a nice break and a nice way to start my first IM. Then we went to the lake and procrastinated till it looked like the inevitable was about to happen. I had to get in and find a spot.

I decided to start a bit Right, and in the front. I mean it. FRONT. As the people got in the water it was amazing to me, i didnt want to look back, but the space was getting very tight. More and more men, many many green caps, and so few pink caps. I wanted the women to come around me and unite! I asked a woman next to me her expected time and said "If you are going under 60, get ahead of me."
She said " no i think 1:15." I was thinking...??? why are you in the front row?

Suddenly after some dude was groping me, the cannon fired and we were off. It was just as i expected.
I cant explain it, but there was nowhere to go, I had been in the front or close to it about 2 min before the cannon and now i was suddenly in a sea of green caps. How did i get back so far? Even if i had wanted to hammer there was no hammering to be done, it was suddenly a total doggy paddle, breathe and try not to panic race. I got into "Just get thru this" mode. If i was able to put my head down for 1-2 strokes i could breathe but after what felt like 15 minutes of head out doggy paddle i was drinking water and just trying to not get kicked. Suddenly some open water appeared and i would go there. Then it would get congested with green caps.AGAIN. The first turn buoy was madness. I didnt go Vertical but i did take a few head pounds from a big green capped arm till i seriously yelled at the top of my lungs " DUDE, STOP, YOU ARE HURTING ME." it stopped:)

I know nobody means to hurt anyone, and other than that one outburst i really tried my hardest to know that the swim was like this for everyone. Its not a personal assault against me. As we turned to come back the other side i had some water, and I had gotten inside the buoys, this was awesome. I still had some navigation but overall i was swimming:) When i was nearing the end of the 1st lap i heard the flyover for 9/11. I was amazed that it was 7:30 am, so my time was not that bad. I had given up hope that i would go under 1:10. But i guess taking a beating meant i was also getting a draft.

I rounded the turn buoy for the 2nd lap and actually felt hot. I was comfortable and really swimming in my zone. I dont know what my split was and it doesnt matter, i found feet that seemed to be going straight and then they would stall and i would motor on. I was able to do some pick ups to get thru tight spaces of green caps, and was able to get on some good feet ( with neoprene booties, really? it was hot in there!) for most of the back side of the last lap. Coming into the final turn i was so happy. I had survived.
I hadnt intended to look at the clock, but it is RIGHT there so when i saw 1:06:xx I was so happy!
I got stripped then did the calf workout up the helix to T1.
Lots of great pictures from Terry Lee and Yndecam, here is one i found which cracks me up. At least i look like i am doing a crunch:)

T1 was dresssed, out the door, and to my bike. It's a LONG transition, so lotsa running in barefeet. But i was off on the bike and down the helix and started my ride knowing i had done a great swim.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

IM Wisconsin, the short version

So wow. I will update this more when i have time, its been a crazy return to home since the race. I now realize why people go to an IM earlier than they think they need to, bc its nuts. I thought 70.3's were crazy, this was insane. But I am so happy with how it went overall, and in true Julia fashion I have had to step back and enjoy the good of the day and not focus on the "what I can do better next times." 

The volunteers, the weather, the venue, my friends and family, all of it was just amazing. I couldnt have asked for anything more ..other than not having major stomach issues after about mile 6. But I digress, and learned that IM is not about one mile, or one gel or one bottle or one stomach ache. It's about putting it all together and figuring out how to make it work. 

I will do my best to write a good blog on this soon, as of today i can finally eat again:) YAY. And my energy is coming back. Nothing is planned officially for 2012, but i will say this. When i finished, and as I was "resting" as my sister told my parents ( ha) I told Rich this was miserable and I was never doing it again. 

This morning I called him at work to ask him if he would divorce me if i signed up again.


Sunday, August 28, 2011

Birthday Weekend

It's Rich's birthday tommorrow so we started celebrating friday with his brothers ( 3 of them have birthdays in the same week, good timing mom!) and that carried over to a great ride saturday. We explored a new loop and since i had a taper brick on the schedule it was fun to actually feel like i was TTing again. I havent TTed since mid July, so when i saw some 12 min efforts I got all giddy inside. The 100+ stuff is fun, but i really like to rev up Gretta and see if she can go fast and with a good high cadence as well.
Then i had a harder than usual run afterwards. Yay!
All I can say is that i think i blew a gasket! I was wiped to the max this morning when i woke up and so after some thought and a sturdy " opinion " from my coach we called it a full rest day. Nada. Nothing. I left the house to go get food for tonight, and that was about it. I havent done that in???? not sure. I Wasnt sick I wasnt tired ( hahaha, um really?) so like a small child i fought the nap. I decided that at 7 am the best thing to do was to clean the fridge and then try to sleep.
I mean clean it out and eat all that i can out of it. Silly.
I am not up for cleaning the fridge right now.
So Eggs, Bacon, fruit, some greek yogurt with that fruit, a bagel, i lost track after that. Jasmine tea, and slowly the food coma helped me to go upstairs and fall back asleep.
The party continued with more family over tonight, the pool is cooler, two days ago in full sun it was 76 now its 71. Amazing power that lightbulb in the sky has, and to my delight my youngest nephew Will has learned to go into the deep end. He motored around, and would not stop. My brother said the other night he swam at the lake, then got on his bike with no shoes and just his suit, and then got off and ran to the car.
His first multisport effort he claimed.
So tonight he tried my pull buoy and a star was born. Now dont get me wrong, he isnt a young Phelps, but that Pull Buoy kept that littel fanny from dragging down and he was just thrilled. Little does he know i packed it away with my brother so he can have it for HIS birthday in 2 days.
Lots a family time this weekend, which is how it should be! and yes lotsa cake with lotsa frosting. I heard that is the key to a good 1st IM.

That's it from Taperville.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Too bad i didnt see Phil and Bobke too

So this past weekend i hit the Dairyland Dare. Figured why not, get some more hills, drive back to Madison area AGAIN...and sleep in a bad hotel bed. Why not? Our hotel did have one thing that was good. Location, Location, Location. .7 miles from Lands End and the start of the Wisconsin Gran Fondo.

Of course i wasnt Fondo-ing, so the timing chip was sorta silly, but it was still fun to go "BEEEEEEP" over all the timing mats.

Highlights: Waking up at 4 am .  ha kidding. that goes into the lowlights.
Ok lets start over:
Closing my eyes at 5:30 am in the parking lot of Lands End ( start of the event) and realizing that little dude with the brown hair who was lifting up my bike and giving it some love was none other than:
Robbie! Too funny, had i known it was him i would have had a sweet remark about not having a team car when he said all the bottles made the bike SO HEAVY!

Riding with my honey and Scott, not quite the Triple Bypass but still pretty darn fun.

No flats, for me. Scott had one.

Eating the best chex mix and 1/2 banana mid ride, i know i know, that isnt my IM nutrition but it was better than a slim jim. I was fine. Yay I can do that during IM and not puke.

The volunteers! Can you say WOW. They were at MOST corners flagging you to turn.

Riding with Ben!

Running with Ben!

Never Bonking

Eating good food after. I dont know if it was good, but it was food.

Beer. Yup. I had a great Belgian, then ran into some Dartmouth 99's who gave me their beer coupons. This made Rich And Scott very happy. ( remember the location location location of the hotel? close by)
And yes it never hurts to be a Dartmouth Alum.

All the people telling me i had a nice rack. Yup, i havent heard that much:) so i had some fun with that!

PS i got this from a gumball machine, you turned it and when i got a green one all the ladies OOOHED and AHHED. "GREEN,that is very rare, the prizes are great!" I bound inside to see tables of pumps and water bottles and shirts. and....antlers. Yup. Lucky me:) Antlers are for the green gumballs. Oh well. I guess i dont need another bike pump!

Seeing Michelle roll in all beat up, glad she is ok.

Riding in the pouring rain, that stinks. But i know i can do it.

No brakes on descents for about 20 miles after that. Or at least realizing if i rode my front brakes I had an  ENDO waiting to happen. So was smart about that.

Seeing Rich roll in after the pulled the riders for bad weather. Too bad he couldnt meet his goal of 300K but i was glad he was safe.

Getting ANOTHER pansy massage from the students. Wont complain, but i am, i know. I had the same thing at Chisago. Just bad luck. I was gractious dont worry but come on people, if you are at a race you may want to not tell me you have joint problems and cant give any pressure. Laughing that Scott and Rich had the best massages ever, their massage therapists were hammering on them!

The beds, the pillows, the flies in the room, did i say location?

The continental breakfast = CARB BOOM. NOt a fruit or protein to be seen. So what do we do? hit the land of the EGG mcMuffin. You gotta do what you gotta do. At that point sunday morning we had no interest in a simple sugar.

Getting home sunday and going to swim, at 1500 i needed a nap. Game over. I got out.

So that is about it. I dont get to go to Wisconsin again ( well other than for a swim race next weekend!) until the big dance. Getting closer......

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa all in 3 days!

Hi people. Pretty deep into training and travelling so i will be brief! It's too much work to get my phone out of my way packed back pockets so there is no evindence of all the roads we covered on friday, and there is no evidence I was in Iowa soon after ( via car) for a Family Reunion.

IM training is tough. I am starting to see how little things like having to get in the car and drive 3 hours after a long ride and T run, then sleep in dorms on crappy beds is more irritating to me now than if i werent in the thick of it.

So Friday went like this:

Bike farther and faster than i have since the Triple Bypass last year. And on my Tri bike none the less. I still think climbing is meant for my road bike, but that is another matter. We rode from home to Hastings, across to Wisconsin, Prescott down the river ( and the hilly parts!) back home to Red Wing, to Cannonfalls on a lovely trail that we pretty much had to ourselves, then back on country roads into Farmington, Rosemount and then home. I had a low moment around 100, we were short on water and we were both just getting fatiqued. We had a nice cloud cover but it was sticky out.
Got home to do a T run and felt a bit jittery. Not bonking Jittery but like i was still riding my bike, despite standing in my kitchen. Perhaps 10 gels, 2 waffles, and powerblasts and lotsa Perform just had me a bit hyperglycemic. But the run was fine so i think I was fine! Just tired.

ICe bath, subway, out the door for a three hour drive to Luther College! Woohoo!
Late night pizza ( of course we made it for the ice cream social, so eat dessert first right?) and in bed by 10 pm.

My Preus family cousins came from all over ( Norway, duh) but also Germany ( Johan Christian Hermann Linka...) there is some Deutsch in there, and it was lovely to see and meet many of them. I am sad to say i missed the entire saturday morning education bc i was...running:) I did get going by 7 am, but 2 1/2 hours later i was done. I made my run to get ice ( we are in a dorm no ice, no fridge) and i was just trying to cool off. It sure is Humid down there i love it, but when the trail i am on says tehre are two potty stops with water and they are no where to be seen....well....I fogot Iowa has these NON MODERN REST STOPs. That means there is a hole in the ground. OK. The trail supposedly went thru, according to a gal i asked in the route, but when i ended up on a corn field i was so lucky to find "Jared" with his camelbak and we ran back into Decorah on a road. I had no clue where i was, and am sure the little pink flags on the proposed trail would have gotten me into town eventually, but i was so short on water i was ready to fall over. Only in Iowa do i end up in a corn field, ask a random farmer/person in a truck, and find a Luther native to chaperone me home. It was my lucky day.

Since i also was blessed with my monthly visitor i had a few GI issues that luckily waited till i was home ( my dorm home!) and food that day was sparse and sorta icky. Dinner was Nordic buffet. yup, we got a bit of it all. No Lutefisk thankfully, but beets, pickled herring, pureed rutabaga ( which is actually kinda good) and some pork and swedish meatballs. Needless to say my tummy is sorta not happy. Its all good, but not what i would normally eat for good recovery.

We stopped on the way home and got Corn ( Yes! finally roadside corn) and some tomatoes. Our's are taking their time coming in. I had a rest day and my body thanks Jen for that. I can see how the cumulative stress wears on you but mentally i am doing good, just trying to stay positive and keep the physical body parts working. So far so good, a few spots i keep my eye on, but one day at a time.

Happy Weekend. Keep this great humidity coming. I cant stand the thought of a frigid lake start on Sept 11!

Thursday, July 28, 2011


As many of you know I am racing for the Gear West Bike and Triathlon Team, not only is this a really awesome group of people, but its a store that supports its triathletes as people first, and racers second.

I have always had great respect for the folks racing on the development team, and especially bc David Thompson races locally when he can and isnt too busy to change out my cassette or give advice in a course.  He may be a super fast pro, but after the race, or sitting at his kitchen counter,  walking Henry, or hanging with his wife and my good friend, Hannah, David is a super triathlete but also an equally super person.

I am sure you all have your favorite pro's, but I hope you will consider voting for DKT in the Janus Charity Challenge:

Click here to vote for DAVID for the Janus Charity Challenge

P.S. Ruby and Henry say "VOTE FOR DAVID!"

Monday, July 25, 2011

So that is what sub 5 feels like!

Yay, I finally broke 5 hours in a half irondistance race. I cant tell you it has changed my life, if anything it will make my life a bit more painful in the next week, but I am happy to say I think i worked hard for that soreness and inability to go down stairs:)

Yesterday I raced the Lake Chisago Half Iron Distance Triathlon. It's about 45 min from my house and early in the season when i got shut out of Door County I figured Racine was it. But then that weekend was my mom's 82nd birthday ( and mom now i know how it feels go down stairs like you do:((
And in hindsight that weekend was brutally hot for all of you to race. So this worked out ok, you can never complain about sleeping in your own bed, thou getting up at 3:30 am in your own bed seems more wrong than in a hotel!

I dont have much to report stats wise yet and have no ACTION photos, but i will give you a quick recap.

Weather looked to be good, actually COOOL!!! I know, weird. My good friend ( and partner in crime) Renee came from Wisc to stay and since she got in friday we had all saturday to bum around, do our pre race stuff, eat, nap, shop andOF COURSE watch the TDF. Tangent. I am so sore today ( monday) and SO SAD there is no more TDF to watch. ( insert pouty lip)

Ok back to the race.

I heard this course was EASY and FLAT and 2 years ago i know it was short, and EVERYONE broke 5 hours. Ok that isnt true but it was surely a PR course. In the mean time i know the roads were changed and the course is now true. And after yesterday I think we all thought "this is deceptive!" It wasnt Hilly but it sure wasnt flat on either the bike or run.

The swim. Oh the swim.
When you see the line of buoys and wonder where the rest of the rectangular course is you have to take pause and figure that they had to put in more buoys. nope. Fog rolled in and so you couldnt even see the line of buoys. Being in wave 2 we had a good shot out and the canoes were at the end to stop us from swimming further to the other side of the lake ( nearly there anyways) but on the way back in it was a total cluster. Imagine sighting to see masses of green caps coming AT YOU. I was pretty sure i was on the right course and others had drifted over to us, but who knows i didnt spend time hanging around i just swam RIGHT RIGHT RIGHT. it was a total Cluster. and I know a few people that knocked heads. Not a fun swim at all. Oh and the water temp? Well over 78, very hot, we were little lobsters. But this RD always says wetsuit legal. So go with the masses i guess.

I felt good, other than the sheer panic of getting wopped a few time. and i thought "ok this is good practice for IM!"

Not sure my time, but i used the strippers who looked bored and came into T1 with a girl who hadnt used them and watched her sit down and thought "hmm, i made a good choice." I think my swim time was 32:xx so happy with that for now.

Bike: The first 5 miles are tough for me, my VMO's ( medial quads) are usually tight. I popped a Salt Stick and voila, all good. I started my feeding plan immediately. No matter what the clock said i was practicing for IM. I had it in my head that the bike sets up a good run, so i forced fluids when it was not hot at all, reminding myself that the fluids i had were Kcals, and i saved the water for post gel. I took 5 gels on that bike, and 2 bottles of perform. It may not seem like alot but i am not a big drinker, i just dont drink that much when i ride. But i had great energy, into the wind, when the packs went by  I just knew i had to work the wind and not cheat. So i rode clean. And other than one pair that i yelled " you may as well be on a tandem" I just shut up and rode my race. And no marshalls.
time? not sure.

Run: Goal was sub 1:40 and my plan was to take it out easier and then see what i had left at mile 6-7.
It was getting hot, sun came out at the end of the ride, and i was ok with that. IT wasnt hot, just around mid to upper 70;s but still the sun made it worse. Water and Gatorade stations were pretty randomly placed and we were sharing the stations with incoming and outgoing runners so i again had a few collisions with runners. I dont think i had too much of an issue with anything till around mile 6 my Left Hip started to really bug me. I have had some issues with that glute so i was praying i could get thru this. I ran with Suzie for a few miles and i could hear her behind me. I knew there were some really fast women right on my tail but i also knew they werent in my AG:) But i still wanted to do well OA if i could. I didnt look back until i entered the park and i saw nobody so i just kept it together, hoping to not have a finish like in Kansas, and got thru the chute with nobody right on my tail. And I did go sub 1:40! I think i was 1:38:xx which is a huge run PR for me in that distance.

Hung around for awards, i didnt get a cool DALA horse but we got a Trivet with lots of swedish colors and Rich even got one! The stud got 3rd out of 21 in his AG. That is huge for him, so proud of him! He took it to work to show all his staff what a stud he is. And after the race i said to him " you got the same award as i did, but i had to do more than twice your distance!" I was kidding. But he had a great reply:
"Yes, i know. All the glory and i did half the work, you will learn." ha, too funny.

Renee had to drive back to Wisc but before we left we had to snap a picture. As you may recall when we were in KS in 2010 we got this pic:

 Now Chrissie was not in Chisago City, MN but the next best thing to Chrissie?
Well DKT! What a fantastic champion, and so he filled in for CW:

 David's blog is some fun and honest reporting on the real life of a real pro that doesnt spend his life trying to win Kona. A working man pro with a fantastic wife, my good friend Hannah, and a super shop that he works very hard for, Gear West Bike and Tri.

All in all this race was a good test for me. I am not sure i would go back unless they got it cleaned up a bit, but hats off to the RD who really did her best to accomodate 1800 athletes in a small space!

Next up? 5 days to recover and then we hit the course in Madison next weekend. Woohoo.
Send me some recovery tricks! ( oh besides the obvious, rest, compress, ice, massage, protein, eat well, etc..!)