Monday, June 28, 2010

Training for an Iron Man is a lot like being Pregnant

No Really-- bear with me for a minute.

We are 30 weeks into my 42 week training season and I've got a few observations.
For those of you who haven't had the pleasure of either training for an Iron Man or being pregnant, I will explain.

So, as some of you may not know, the human pregnancy period is 40 weeks (we all say 9 months, but when you're pregnant, it is more like 10 months because you have to wait 40 weeks). Many pregnancies go at least one, if not 2 weeks over the 40 weeks--- this leads us to the 42 weeks of Iron Man training.

At the beginning of both-- actually for the first few months; you are thinking, "This isn't so bad. I can handle this." If you've got morning sickness (or you are super sore from some workouts) you know that this too will pass and you will be rewarded for your efforts. Your body doesn't change much-- in fact, most people can't tell you are pregnant-- or training for an iron man.

Then, in the second trimester (the second 3 months); your body starts to change for good and for ill: you notice your growing round belly, your full shiny hair, your glowing face (pregnancy) and your new muscles, your lack of soreness, your endurance going up (iron man). Near the end, you start thinking about how this child is a lot easier to take care of now than it is going to be when it gets out. . . (or this ironman thing isn't so bad).
You start to prepare: You take classes (both), you visit the hospital (both for some people, like my teammates who've had falls); you do longer workouts and practice triathlons. You create a plan (a birth plan, which, in my years of med mal defense, my OB clients were quick to point out that the longer and more detailed the birth plan, the sooner everything went to hell during delivery or a nutrition plan (which I'm hoping doesn't create the same results)).

Finally you start to reach the third trimester: all bets are off. Your body is changing: "Wow! are those really my thighs that don't fit in my jeans anymore" (both); "Seriously? That is MY ass?" You start to get sick and darned tired of the whole thing. You are hungry all the time. You are TIRED. Your body feels heavy. You JUST WANT IT TO END. YOU count the days-- at least with pregnancy you have the hope that the baby could come early. You re-count the days. You are READY READY READY to be done with this whole thing. And then you realize:

No matter how much you've prepared, no matter how ready you are: it is still going to hurt.

Double Brick Weekend:
Sunday we headed out for our double/triple brick weekend. Those of us participating at Canada or Louisville were only to do a double brick while our friends competing in Vineman had a triple brick--their race is 4 weeks earlier-- those lucky bastards.

A brick, in triathlon language is not what it sounds like-- its not how you feel doing it; it is actually a bike workout followed by a run and is named for the guy who first started doing it.
Our bricks were to be 2 hour (30 mile) bike rides followed by 1 hour (5) mile runs. Doesn't sound so bad does it? A total of 60 miles on the bike and 10 miles of running (doesn't sound as good does it?).

I pulled up to Yountville in Napa County at 7:30 to be ready to ride by 8. I'd already discovered that I'd forgotten my Garmin (the one for my wrist) and would be computer-less on both the bike and the run. As usual, I was apprehensive-- I'd not been feeling the workouts lately-- been feeling slow and heavy-- I've been trying my best to get them all in, but with my kids out of school and my aunt here (and insert excuse here) I'd fallen off for a week or so. But here I was: ready as I was going to be.

After a quick trip to the potty to apply my Chamois Butter (use your imagination) it was time to get directions from the coaches. "Turn around a 1 hour on the bike a 30 minutes on the run. It is supposed to be hot hot hot out here today so be sure you are adjusting your nutrition plan accordingly." We were rolling. We were off. I started out riding with Liz: our honoree captain. She lost her brother to Leukemia years ago and has been a TNT member ever since. This was her second consecutive TNT season and is approaching exhaustion. That being said: she is always a pleasure to ride with. After the first 9 miles, I picked it up a bit and pulled forward. I'd borrowed a watch from one of my coaches and was surprised to see that I was at the hour mark and still hadn't it the turn around; but, since I was supposed to turn around (and was afraid not to) around I went.

Heading back into town was fun: we had all turned around at the one hour interval and we had the pleasure of following each other back into town. We rolled in with a pack of about 10--all decked out in our fancy "flames" (purple and lime green flames that say IRONTEAM on the back). As we rolled past one couple, the woman asked how far we were going. "90 mile bike and 15 mile run" responded Coach Mike. Seriously, the woman started to gag. (I actually felt guilty since I was only biking 60 and running 10.

Off on the first run. OK, so I admit I didn't pay enough attention when the coaches were giving instructions in the morning. In fact, I didn't pay any attention. This would come to bite me in the ass about 4 miles into this run. I headed out without any water, thinking there would be a water stop at 1.2 miles (there was) AND at 2.5 (the turn around). Arriving at the turn around-- there was NO WATER. Yikes. It was getting hot and while this Georgia Girl LOVES hot weather, its been a while since I've run in 90 degree temps. It was also about mile 2.4 that I realized something pretty important: I'd forgotten to change out of my bike shorts. (you know you're iron when it takes 2.4 miles of a run to realize that you haven't changed out of your bike shorts). Back at the only water stop on the course I guzzled a few cups and headed home. I was pretty happy with this run: I was supposed to hold my Iron Man Marathon Pace (11:39/mile) and held about 10:50's. It is just hard to run that slow on a normal run.

Sucking down some water and electrolytes and switching shoes, I was back on the bike. This time I rolled out with Susie and Coach Sedonia. We started a bit of the pregnancy analogy above and then settled in for a nice discussion of the season. There was a bit of discussion about motivation and how different people are motivated in different ways. As an offhand comment, I mentioned that I thought that Coach Dave didn't know what to do when he saw me crying after finishing the 100 miles at Clearlake (all 45 seconds of waterworks). Sedonia laughed and agreed with me. In fact, she mentioned that he must have told her about it 3 times and even said "that's the first emotion we've seen out of Paula all season." Completely amused, I mentioned that it just wasn't my style to emote-- bitch and complain-- yes, cry and emote-- no. Sedonia agreed with me and said it was actually one of the reasons why the coaches don't really worry about me: I may get the workout Turrets (pretty often) but I get the job done. It made me feel pretty good.

Sedonia turned off to help Rocky with a flat and I was on my own. I was hoping to get all the way to the turn around this time: I wanted to go faster and I wanted to get there. Apparently it was not to be. At the 1 hour mark I was exactly at the same spot I was the first time. Frustrating Yes; but also kind of heartening since I hadn't lost pace the second 30 miles.

Can't say the same for the run: This run was UGLY. I was smart, and brought water and I made the turn around and I stuck to my readily improvised 1 minute walk 1 minute run strategy so, it could have been worse: but pace wise? This time I did the 5 miles in 70 minutes (please don't calculate the pace per mile-- and if you do, don't tell me. I don't want to know.).

It was a great day. I sort of wish I'd tried the 3x brick (don't worry, I'll get my chance in a few weeks) but also realized that some salt tabs would be WONDERFUL to have if I need them (when the mercury hits 101 like it did yesterday some salt to go with all that water would have been great). Do I still think I can do this?
Of course, with all of you, my donors and loyal readers, to help.

Speaking of which-- I'm 500 dollars short of my fundraising minimum. 500 by JULY 1. If you can help (from small to large) please do: I need your help, those with cancer need your help.
Thanks so much for reading and donating.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

3/4 Iron Weekend, Part 2

So, what I didn't tell you in the last installment, and haven't really talked about enough, concerns the people of Iron Team. I may have mentioned in the last installment that the folk who own the compound up at Clear Lake are TNT alums from a while back who have chosen this way to show their commitment to the cause. But, I've probably not talked nearly enough about everyone else.

On the team there are the Coaches, Mentors and Captains. These people are working out with us and providing support-- they get volunteers to come out to the course; they mark the courses; they spend countless hours away from their families; they listen to us complain ("do I need to call the WAHmbulance?"); they make sure we have food and beverages out there and basically the team wouldn't be able to function without them.

There are our Honorees. These folks are living with blood cancer. They train with us; they staff water stations; they tell us about their struggles with the disease. Basically, they give us the inspiration to keep going when we want to stop.

There are the volunteers that come out for the heck of it to drive SAG on the bike course; to man water stations, to throw those water balloons down out back (see the last entry), to keep out spirits up and help us change our tires in an emergency.

Then there are our teammates. Given my family situation, I don't ever feel like I get to know all my teammates. However, the ones I've had the pleasure of getting to know well this season have been amazing. I just couldn't ask for more. BK who jumped behind the wheel of the Tahoe (he drives one as his primary vehicle) to back it down the 60 yard driveway; Shep-- who I've ridden with in the past (and now I think is too fast for me to keep up with) Iron Mel, M-dot Afan, these people struggle with me and keep me smiling and laughing when the pre, during, and post workout Turrets sets in.

Back to the weekend. After the 2 mile swim and 100 mile bike ride it was time for a BBQ. Dinner and stories about survivors and connections to the cause completed, it was time for BED. And I mean BED. We were pooped. That being said, there was still time for some laughs with my hotel mates Margaret and Mel. (think-- who would be on your "list"? And what does it say about us that we could come up with a woman on the list before we could come up with a man?) To bed we went.

At 2am the phone rang-- it was John. Will's ear was hurting and he needed advice. Advice given, I tried to get back to sleep. Tried being the operative word. About 2 hours later-- I was asleep.

The lack of sleep, however, was the least of my problems. 9 hours of Carbo-Pro followed by a turkey burger washed down with regular Coke was my problem. To say I was having trouble, eh hum, getting things moving, was an understatement. I just couldn't get my system going. That and I was tired. Dog tired. But not sore.

We woke up at 5 and packed up our room to head back to the compound for our 16 mile or 3 hour which ever comes first run. Reaching the compound (and parking in a spot it would be easy to get out of), it was time to run before I was ready. Off we went at 7am. It was already getting HOT out there. Now, I'm a girl who LOVES hot. That being said, after 2 years living in freezing cold Mill Valley, HOT was a surprise-- a not all together unwelcome surprise, but it definitely made it hard to get moving.

I started out the run feeling pretty strong. Simon, our run coach, had asked us to go out slow, super slow, at our IM marathon pace. So I was supposed to run the first 1 1/2 hours at 11:39 pace. I was also supposed to take walk breaks. Needless to say, I couldn't do it. While I was able to take the walk breaks, I wasn't able to hold the slow pace. I found myself drifting upwards towards 9:30 or 10:00 minute pace. But On I Went.

Passing the second water stop, I again wished I'd been able to use the potty. I started cramping in my belly. But On I Went. I think I started slowing down but it was hard to tell since Garmin (the one I wear on my wrist) went dead--effectively leaving me without a pacer and without a chime to tell me when to take my walk breaks.

I saw Coach Simon at the top of the hill-- he commented that we were about an hour and 10 minutes into the run and I should hit the water stop "about a 1/4 mile down the hill and turn around." Well, I have to tell you, Coach Simon LIES. That water stop was about 2 miles from where he was standing. I kept going, and going, and going, always saying that I'd stop when I hit that damn water stop but it never showed up. At this point I was crampy and THIRSTY so I knew I had to find it before I could turn around and head up the hill back towards home.

When I was finally approaching the water stop, I saw that our coaches had moved the motivational signs: they were now down there at the bottom of the hill leading into the water stop. I must admit, however, that this water stop was 1/4 mile away from the turn around spot on the course. . . and, despite Coach Sedonia's parents telling me that they'd let me continue on to the actual turn around, I turned around at that water stop. I just wasn't feeling it that day. And I figured that I could add the additional 1 mile that we biked yesterday for the 1/2 mile I didn't run today.

The way home was excruciating. It just was. I was crampy (still couldn't get things moving); I was tired; I was hot; and I just wanted to get back to the compound and get home (to fix Will's ear). At one point Coach Dave came by on his bike--- I'm embarrassed to admit that I didn't even recognize him. . . in fact, as he said "how you doing" I thought "Jesus, just what I need right now, an annoying dude." Anyway, after he laughed at me for my "eh hum-- difficulties" he reminded me I was on the flats and on my way home.

I made it. Even passing a few of my teammates on the way back. I have no idea how long it took me to get back. It felt long but I think I was home in the allotted 3 hours. Then it was down to the lake to ice the legs (again). The nice thing was I was done with the weekend: 2 miles of swimming, 101 miles on the bike and 15.5 miles running. For those of you keeping score that is 118.5 miles-- or, in english, a really f-ing long way. What is even cooler about that: it leaves with 42 miles to add (.4 on the swim; 12 on the bike; and 10.7 on the run) to finish a full Iron Man. For the first time, I feel like I'm actually going to be able to do it!

Now for the drive home. Iron Mel (who had had a good run) and I were on our way home by 11. She had a fundraiser the next day and I needed to hurry home because Will's ear was still bothering him. I still needed to use the potty. We listened to the Garmin this time and, timewise, it was better. BUT we had to drive over this Mountain that twisted and turned and scared the crap out of me--ok, that was wishful thinking at that point-- as we went up and down the mountain. As we twisted, we kept up a constant pace eating our Pringles (read: salt delivery system) and washing them down with regular Coke. You know you are are Iron when the only pace you were able to hold all day was your post race Pringle consumption. We finally met up with Route 101 where we pulled into the gas station to use the potty and get gas.

We were followed into the one bathroom station by some of our teammates and, unfortunately, it was NOT the cleanest or nicest potty I've ever seen. That being said, both Mel and I had never been so happy to see a potty and I must admit, after my tribulations of that morning; that potty was worth its weight in gold.

On the road again, still hungry for lunch and making an appointment for a doctor's appointment for Will's ear, I caved into the pressure and stopped at In-n-Out Burger. Now, my teammates, including Iron Mel, rave about this place-- as do most Californians (or Westerners, not sure which it is). They say it has the best hamburgers and fries EVER. I've been here 2 years and still hadn't been (who needs fast food burgers anyway?) That being said, having finally eaten at an In-n-Out, and being famished when I was doing so, I don't have a clue what they are talking about. The burgers are no better than McDonald's, Burger King's or any other fast food burgers. Yet again, the Californians have no idea what they are talking about.

Finally we were home. I dropped of Mel and ran home to take Will to the doctor. He did have an ear infection and we were able to get him some antibiotics. Both he and I were feeling great by Monday-- I was surprised. All that mileage and I wasn't even sore. In fact, I felt great. For the first time, I felt like I was going to be Iron.

So what is (was) next? I had Dipsea coming up in 6 days. . . 7.4 miles of quad and hammy busting trial running from Mill Valley over Mt. Tamalpais to Stinson Beach. Did I make it? You will have to wait for the next installment.

In addition, I'm still fundraising: I need about 700 dollars to reach my goal. If you can help me out by helping out those who are suffering from blood cancer, please do so now. I only have 15 days to get the fundraising done.

Monday, June 7, 2010

PACKING FOR A TRIATHLON is not anything like getting ready to do a marathon. Or a Swim. Or a Bike Ride. I imagine it as more like packing for an ascent on Mt. Everest. You've got your gear: Swim Gear (wetsuit, swim caps plural, goggles plural, baby shampoo--keeps your goggles from fogging up, body glide--keeps your neck and arms from chaffing, conditioner--helps get your wetsuit over your body, towel, oh, and yeah- your bathing suit); Bike Gear (bra, bike shorts, biking shirt, helmet, sunglasses, Garmin--to keep track of mileage and time, socks, bike shoes, bike); Run Gear (run shorts--some people don't change shorts, run top--same deal some people don't change, running shoes, socks, hat). Oh yeah- -and that part that they don't tell you about in the TV commercials-- NUTRITION GEAR (7 water bottles, 10 packages of GU-type substances, 6 Gatoraids, 3 power bars, 2 packages of Gu Chomps, and 1 big container of Carbo Pro). This time, however, the coaches were throwing the concept of our "special needs bag" at us. Your special needs bag is something that you will get during the middle miles of the bike ride. In it you are to put any "special needs" you may have. With such great advice from my coaches (Simon-- a pillow and a pizza), mentor (a Starbucks double expresso), and friends (beer, porn), I had no idea what to put in my special needs bag. I perused the grocery store and decided on: a coke (in case I got a headache), some NutterButters, Advil, and, at the encouragement of my teammates, Pringles. I also added replacement water bottles, with my carbo pro Gatoraid mixture, and some electrolite tablets.
AND WE'RE OFF (part 1)
Packing done, babysitter in place, I was off to pick up Iron Mel to head out to Clear Lake for our training weekend. We added her stuff to John's Tahoe and put her brand new bike on the bike rack behind Bayou (my bike). Iron Mel had had a rough day man wise and as we headed out of town, she started telling me the story. While I listened to her story, I started noticing that The Garmin (the one that tells us how to get places in the car) was telling us to go a different way. Per our directions, we were headed out over the Richmond Bridge, through the East Bay and up 80. Garmin kept trying to get us to go another way. Thinking she was crazy, Mel and I turned her down and kept going. . . and going. . . and going. . . for about 3 hours.
Finally, out side of Oakland, Garmin gave up and got with the program. The population got thinner and thinner (at least one town had a "population 56" sign marking the town limits) and the terrain got more and more beautiful. It also started to remind me more and more of home. The closer we got to the lake, the more and more it looked like Lake Oconee-- or at least our side of Lake Oconee).
We were a bit worried about what the hotel was going to be like. Mentor Margaret had described it as "a dive", and she had informed us that there was a carp fishing tournament going on and the parking lot was full of Budweiser drinking guys driving pick up trucks. We were there. It was time to get serious.
What were we up against? Well, the course was a 2 mile swim, followed by a 100 mile bike ride on Saturday. Then we were to eat, sleep and get up on Sunday for a 16 mile run. I'd been told the course was "challenging".
I was pretty nervous-- not about the swim but, as usual, about the bike. I'd never done a century ride before. In fact, I'd really never contemplated doing a century ride before. But the biggest demon I was facing was myself. I've been in a funk lately. Not really in the mood to train (although I have been), not really in the mood to race (although I have been), getting really sick of all this fundraising (although I have been), and really wondering why on earth this matters to me anyway. Who really wants to be Iron. As John says, isn't it enough to be fit and healthy without actually doing a 140.6 mile Iron Man? So, anyway, I've been down.

We got up EARLY and headed out to the Shaw Compound. The Shaws are TNT Alums who open their compound on Clear Lake up to Iron Team every year. So, about 60 of us descended upon them at 5:45 in the morning to set up our mini-transition areas and get our swim waves.

I was to be in the second swim wave-- and I was NOT happy about it. If you remember the Louis Tri, where, due to my swimming ability, I was held until the fastest group to start, and then, due to my terrible biking ability, I was one of the last people to cross the finish line. Not fun. Not confidence inspiring. NOT WHAT I NEEDED FROM THIS WEEKEND.
AND WE'RE OFF (part 2)
The first group went off and our second group entered the water. Pleasant surprise: it was fairly comfortable. Unpleasant surprise: it was filled with tree like vegetation rising up from the depths of the lake to tickle (and tangle) our arms and legs. I was in a group with Sandy, Mel, Margaret, myself, and some other folk. We were off.
It was a smooth swim through the water, but it was not an easy swim. I couldn't see. I couldn't see the course markers. I couldn't see the buoys. The sun was coming up and every time I breathed to my left, I was blinded by the light (cue Jackson Browne song now).
Reaching the final buoy and turning around, I was supposed to look for a dock. No Dock. So, I started swimming. Still no dock. One of the support kayaks said to swim for the trees sticking out into the water and when I got there, I'd see the dock. I got there. Still no dock in site. I caught a vague glimpse of another support kayak out there and headed that way. They were sitting close to the dock!!! I turned around and headed back for the stand of trees that marked the edge of the Shaw compound. At this point, I'd passed a couple of wave 1 swimmers and was headed for the (dreaded) bike.
How Long Would it Take to Ride 100 Miles in a Car? 2 hours? 2 1/2?
100 miles. Wow. What a long way. In anticipation of this ride, I'd packed actual bike shorts (something I usually don't do) and worn a bathing suit under my wetsuit so that I had to change before heading out. I usually just stay in tri shorts throughout the entire race. The difference between the 2? About 2 inches of padding between your butt and the bike seat. For once in triathlon, more IS more. I stripped down and pulled on my shorts and flames bike shirt. (For those of you who haven't seen our flames, lets just say that lime green and purple are VERY noticeable on a bike). After a quick stop at the potty and to apply some Chamois butter, I was off.
About 3 miles in, my arms started to hurt in the areo position. I was in a panic. A few weeks ago, after our 80 mile ride, I'd been to the bike fitter. Rand had adjusted the stem on my bike, we'd gotten a new saddle, we'd upgraded my crankset, and I was expecting (as advertised) a pain free ride. 3 miles in, my arms were in agony. OH MY GOD. How was I ever going to be able to stay on this torture contraption for 100 miles. There were pins and needles running down my arms as I passed Marvelous Mentor Margaret (and one of my teammates) changing a flat-- turned out to be her second flat of the day). Fortunately, by the time I got to the first water station, which I blew by, the pins and needles in my arms had stopped and I was getting comfortable.

What was amazing was my new crankset. OH MY GOD. I'd been riding on a standard and had just upgraded to a compact. This was supposed to give me more gears. Not sure whether it did or not, but I will say that I didn't really feel like my legs were working at all. Just smoothly turning round and round easily on the pedals. My new saddle was a bonus as well. On the old one, 15 miles in I'd already be feeling it-- here, I was comfortable.
So, I settled in for a long day in the saddle. I wasn't really sure how long this was going to take; but I figured it could take up to 10 hours. This was a really hilly course, with some 9 % grades on it, and it was LONG-- encircling Clear Lake-- AKA, the largest lake in California. To check out the bike course (it wouldn't
About mile 30 Margaret passed me again and I started to see some of my teammates. Some passed me, some I passed out there. I generally ride alone, since about 2/3 of my teammates are significantly faster than I am and 1/3 is significantly slower than I am. Thus, I find myself alone on the course a lot. BUT today, coach Dave's wife had joined us. She is training for her second Iron Man and, despite tackling a beast of a 70.3 the weekend before, was joining us on our training weekend. Norma and I rode together for about 60 miles. I must say, having someone to ride with was wonderful. We alternated breaking the headwind (no where but in Northern California is there is head wind in both directions), despite USAT's prohibition on drafting. We talked about the course, nutrition (every time my buzzer would go off to remind me to drink, Norma would shout "hydrate" from where ever she was), Iron Man training, sharing your spouse with TNT, and, basically, having Norma there made everything easier and more fun. Even that stretch of pavement where the road was covered in dirt and holes.
Speaking of holes-- I've never ridden a course with more holes and crappy pavement. At least 30 miles of the 100 were on bad roads. They were a mess. My food sources rattled, my arms rattled, my tires bounced. For some of the ride, it was like riding on 2 flat tires. . . for some of the ride it was like riding on 2 flat tires while pulling a couch. I almost met my maker during one stretch. I'd veered pretty far to the left of the road (think uphill almost dirt single lane) trying to find some decent pavement-- it was about mile 72, I was OVER being on the bike and OVER being on crappy pavement, what do you want? Well, around a bend I went and there was the green SUV. I pulled hard to the right and got on my side of the road, but it was a close call. Its hard to say who was more scared, me or the driver.
Anyway, life altering part of the course done, we proceeded up the final real hill of the ride. Sedonia, our swim coach, had placed signs with our names on them urging us to "Go" and "Ride" As usual, this show of love and support brought on the water works. . .. Memo to all TNT coaches and managers: making people cry while they are trying to ascent 5% grades is NOT HELPFUL. Its really nice. . . its just not helpful.
Finally we were headed back into town. We'd passed the 80 mile mark (my previous longest ever ride) and were headed back to the park when we saw our leading teammate. . . What? We had to do this freaking road again? What? We had to go over this same stretch of HORRIBLE pavement AGAIN? NO FREAKING WAY! The workout Turrets started pretty hard and serious at that point. We started singing. . . we started signing the Oompa Loompa song from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. . . Words like "what do you get when you spend 100 miles on a bike? A sore bottom and hatred for coach Mike (our lovable bike coach)."
Needless to say, when we got back into the park and saw coach Mike there. . . (and Marina told on us). . . we were not loving him. BUT we were wrong. I took back all my nasty lyrics when I found out that we were not to head back up the 2 flat tire couch stretch of the course. In fact, I jumped off my bike and hugged coach Mike when I realized that we didn't have to do it again.
12 miles left-- on the way home at last.
I can't begin to tell you how amazing it is to spend 100 miles on a bike. There really are no words to describe it to you. It is long. It takes a really, really long time (7 hours 41 minutes including potty breaks and water stops). It is hard. It hurts your girl parts. That being said, it is amazing. I started to cry off and on as I approached the last 5 miles. I just couldn't believe that I was actually going to make it through a 100 miles. At mile 97, one of my teammates, Katherine, drove by and asked me if I wanted a water balloon down my back. OH MY GOD YES. She tried, and, given that I had no idea what I was doing, I flew by her and we didn't make it work. Then, around she drove again and tried again. Success. A purple balloon filled with ice cold water down the back of my shirt and "pop" a cold splash of water. You know you are Iron when. . . . .
Anyway, I finally pulled into the driveway to the compound to Coach Dave, Mel (who had done 80 miles on her new bike with new aerobars), and M3 (Marvelous Mentor Margaret). I completely lost it. I just couldn't believe I'd done it! I couldn't believe I'd actually ridden 100 miles. I couldn't believe I'd done it in under 10 hours (which I wasn't sure I was capable of). I just couldn't believe that I had gotten that far. . .
But we weren't done. . . . we still had Sunday. A 16 mile run.
To be continued. . . . .

Sorry to have gone away for a while

Somebody asked me the other day whether I'd stopped blogging (in the wake of some controversy over my previous post about Alcatraz). I thought about it for a while. I certainly had no intention of abandoning my blog (and am getting ready for a LONG entry about 3/4 iron weekend), but I'm sorry if anyone was feeling left in the dark.

I think I haven't posted for a while because I tend to write up only the "big" stuff-- and at this point, even the "big" stuff (until 3/4 weekend) has become pretty routine. 50 mile bike ride? No big deal. 4200 yard swim. Been there, done that. Double spin class (2 hours) followed by 4200 yard swim. Done it-- no biggie. It is sort of surprising, but none of it seems that out of the ordinary to me at this point. Guess that is why USAT calls it the multi-sport lifestyle.

Or maybe I've just not posted in a while because doing all that stuff takes time. Lots of time. Add to that coaching a soccer team, gearing up to throw soccerfest again this year (think 4000 person festival with beer and soccer), AND co-chairing Will's school's on-line auction, and being the room parent in Jack's room. . . and, and, and. . . Well, I've been pretty busy. ANY WAY on to the action. . . . 3/4 Iron Weekend. (will start working on this post after dinner-- it was a long weekend (2 days, 118.5 miles) so it may take a while. )