Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Delinquent. Again.

Well, it's been ... ahem. A while.

A lot has happened. I hired a coach. The coach fired me. I quit my job. I got a new one. I had two 1/2 iron races. Both were exceptionally hot. I was undertrained for both. I have one more. I'm hoping it won't be so hot... but I'll still be undertrained. And I'm hoping to catch everyone up on a crazy busy (and fun) summer.

Hope yours has been as good as mine.


Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

From our family to yours...

Friday, April 22, 2011

Delinquent but pretty. And fun.

In a month and a half, SJV and I have our first race -- Grand Rapids 1/2 Iron Distance. And I'm soooo behind in the swim fitness it's not even funny. I'm horribly, horribly delinquent. *hang my head* Now, trying to look on the bright side of things, I'm doing great in the bike and the run. Honestly, I am. I'm pretty proud of the consistency, and the intensity. Bravo, self! But... when it comes to the swimming part, I have a tough time ... motivating.

I have a good gym, and it's walking distance. I should be there every other day to swim. Granted, it's a 20 yard pool, which means five laps is 100, which is somewhat annoying. But other than that, it's pretty great.

Still... when it comes right down to it, I'll opt for a trainer ride or a run. It's just ... more convenient, I suppose.

So, I shocked myself the other day when I got up the gumption -- after work, no less -- to go to the gym and get in a 1/2 hour of swimming before a 45 minute run. I thought I'd time myself and see the damage. After all, I don't have a whole heck of a lot of time to amp up distance, so speed will prolly suffer, and it's good to get some idea of where I am so that I can ... ahem ... "adjust" expectations (downward).

I slid into the pool, which was a delightful temperature, pushed off from the wall and thought "extend, slice, extend, slice..." (an old trick that keeps my form relatively good). I just continued on, and on, and on, sliding into the meditative long set mentality.

And I remembered that I actually like that.

I focused on my form; on my arm pulling, on my hand grabbing the water; on turning from the hips and pushing my chest down; on breathing properly... trying to glide through the water without forcing it. It was actually really ... pretty. (Thankfully, for me, "pretty" is *relatively* fast.)

Of course, then I realized that the woman next to me was 'lapping' me, and I got a bit competitive for a moment. But I am proud to say that I stopped myself from following her speed.

I actually ended up doing fairly consistent 200s, and they weren't that far off from where I would want to be on June 5. So, I'm kindof glad that I took that time off from the pool and waited to go back until my experience would be positive and a good reminder that it doesn't all have to be HARD and TOUGH and GUTWRENCHING.

Sometimes, it can be pretty. And fun. Whee!

Get out there and have a good time.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Lesson learned.

Well, it may not look like it from this photo, but spring has finally (FINALLY) sprung! SJV and I have a race (Grand Rapids 1/2 Iron Distance) in less than two months. *Gulp* So we've been trying to get in good, quality trainer workouts during the week, but have been anxiously awaiting a forecast that would let us get in some nice long miles outside.

As proof of what a dork I am (and how fantastic SJV is) I was ecstatic when SJV brought home booties for my bike shoes. Fantastic present, Sugar! So, armed with our booties, our footsies would be protected from the wind and we could go on rides in less than perfect weather. Game ON!

Last weekend the weather was supposed to get up to the mid-50s, so we waited to start out to the suburbs, hoping to get out on the road once it was a bit warmer. I had a bowl of cereal before we left, got all my gear together, and we headed out. This was the first ride of the season, so I was a bit out of practice - there's a lot to take, and a lot to remember, so we took our time. I was so excited! Our first outdoor ride of the season, as a married couple, with my new powermeter... I had ants in my pants and was literally jumping around as we got ready.

We got out to our starting point and began putting together nutrition, etc....

About that time, I began to feel ... hungry. Now, normally not a big deal. But I had my heart set on getting out on this ride, like, IMMEDIATELY -- so I dismissed it. I had already had some cereal (about two hours before) so that should be enough, I figured. I also didn't have a whole ton of nutrition with me. I had bottles and scoops of nutrition (EFS, in case anyone's wondering, because Belly *perspires* a lot and needs that extra sodium). But I had nothing solid. Anyhoo, I felt like this:

This, dear readers, is called foreshadowing. (Cue the dark music!)

We started out, and it was indeed cold. It was also amazingly windy. The wind seemed to come from one direction, and then swirl around and come from the other side.

I was glad to have a hood on, and dressed well, but ... my power wasn't even close to feeling *right.* I was also paying too much attention to my new powermeter. And I was Mrs. Cranky-Pants. For real. We planned on doing 30 miles, but about 10 in SJV looked at me and said ..."Maybe we should call it, Sugar." Although inside I was nodding my head, outside I had a bit of a temper tantrum. "No!" I said defiantly. "We can do this! And we said we were going to do 30..." But SJV -- as gently as he could -- suggested that riding in this wind was harder than a normal ride (which was true) and that we were beating ourselves up... and it was early in the season... this wasn't meant to be a "killer" workout...

Finally I relented, internally relieved that we were going back. But when we got back to the car (after 10 more miles of unrelenting wind) I got out my pity-pot and sat right down in it. I looked at my power data from the new powermeter and was totally, 100% dejected. "No!" I said, looking with disbelief. "I am so weak! What have I been doing? Oh my god!" My head started spinning...

SJV just sat, knowing by now what low blood sugar looks like and sounds like from little Belly. He said he wished I wouldn't be so hard on myself, and that we really did have a good ride. I listened in silence. So we went to Chipotle before heading back ot the city. After we had some Chipotle (which I said I "didn't deserve" before scarfing it down so fast I'm surprised I could even breathe between bites) I began to list off all of the good things from the ride. I felt better on the bike, my pedal stroke had improved, the hills felt much easier... I went off with a smile, and determination that this power meter reading couldn't have been a reflection of me at my best. In other words, I went through a TOTAL 180.

When, oh when, will I learn? Seriously. I know better than to go out on a ride hungry. (And yes, I know that knowledge is only part of it, but still. Sheesh!)

Fast forward to yesterday. Warmer day, and less wind. More importantly, I had a peanut butter sandwich before leaving the house. We got out on that ride, and I was Mrs. PermaSmile. I was smiling and waving at cars going by, pointing out cows and horses, laughing up hills, hooting and hollering down them. I was keeping up with SJV (mostly). And, even more tellingly, when we got to the turn where if we go right we do 30 and if we go left we do 40, we looked at each other and turned left. We felt great, and strong, the entire ride. (And, just in case anyone's wondering, 40 would actually have been the mileage for our "plan" and we are totally trained and ready for that distance.)

I got back to the car and stretched well, while laughing with SJV. And then I checked my power, which I thought would be better than last week.

My average was 25 watts higher. On a ride that was 1.5 hours longer. Average speed was just as high as the best ride last year.

Best of all, I had a great time.

Lesson learned.

Saturday, April 9, 2011


It's tough being a stepmom.

Being awoken two or three times per night with the cries of little ones... Dealing with the inevitable fights and territorial issues of blended families... Sometimes I feel like I can't even take a shower in peace anymore. With three little ones, we're pulled in three different directions sometimes. Plus, whenever I'm on the trainer I'm afraid one of them will get their tail stuck in my spokes...

Wait, a second, you say. Tails? Yes! Tails!

Idgy the Cat now has two 17-year od siamese brothers. Meet Romeo and Cosmo, the newest additions to our fuzzy version of the Brady Bunch.

We have Cosmo (aka Chocolate Coz, choco-taco, chocolate kitty, coco kitty) a gorgeous chocolate point baby who doesn't like being held but loves attention, and needs subcutaneous fluids three times per week. He has the cry of a newborn child, and doesn't hesitate to use it at about 3:00 a.m. if he's feeling lonely.

Romeo, (aka baby blue, peanut, blue point rome, rome, cricket, snaggle-tooth) is a blue-point baby with crazy flexibility,

only one incisor tooth (he lost the other in a tragic string toy incident), a constant stuffy nose (allergies?) and a perennial bit of breakfast or dinner stuck to his chin. Romeo takes blood pressure medicine and lists his favorite activities as walking underfoot, sneezing on your face, and nuzzling momma and pappa's chins as they sleep. He's what I would call a "starter cat" because he's just ... easy. He's a walking bit of love.

Who could resist that face?

And then we have Idgy the Cat (aka baby-girl, baby-baaaaby-girl, chub-chub, puffin, muffin, puff-n-stuff),
who is now on prozac to help her deal with the boys and the resultant decrease in her "personal space."
Gosh she's a cutie.

It's been hard on the babies.
(Having them all on the couch was such a momentous occasion that we had to document it. Note that Coz and Rome are watching Idgy with some trepidation here.)

Idgy grew up on the Mean Streets of Macon Georgia. She was a 6-month-old stray when I got her. She's got claws and she's not afraid to use them. Coz and Rome, on the other hand, grew up with a silver spoon and a constant supply of food and attention. They have no claws, and no need for them.

It's a clash of cultures. It's an adjustment. It takes time. We're trying to be patient.

But because it's been hard on the babies, it's been hard on us. Every day someone's coughed up a hairball, puked, had an "accident" or doesn't want to take their medicine... someone's fighting, or fussing, or crying. This week Cosmo has had issues sleeping, which means that SJV gets up in the middle of the night to soothe him; his training this week has suffered, as has mine. (Though his much more than mine.) I maintain that three cats should equate to one human newborn. Seriously. I'm left with befuddlement as to how new parents (of humans) can get anything -- let alone training -- done. Every day we have a different assessment of whether we want to have an actual baby of our own. The answer changes. Frequently.

So hats off to the training moms and dads of the world. You SO deserve it. Of course, even though these guys all try our patience daily, we wouldn't have it any other way. They're our babies, after all.

Off we go for a nice long ride... away from the kiddos for just a little bit. Everyone deserves a break, right?


Thursday, March 31, 2011

Weekend Away...

Last weekend, SJV and I went to St. Joseph, MI - which is also where we got married, and where we have raced Steelhead, and where we love to train. In general, we *heart* Michigan. We love the commercials, we love the lake, we love the woods... Love! So, because Saturday was our six month wedding anniversary (which falls conveniently close to our three year dating anniversary) we celebrated by going up north and by eating everything we never let ourselves eat. With WILD abandon. And true regret. We had veggie burgers and fries, pizza, ice cream, wine - you name it, we ate it! I, of course, am now paying the price.

But I digress.

We also went out and visited a few wineriesaround St. Joe. In the offseason, we've gotten interested in wine, so it seemed like the perfect little afternoon thing to do. We had a lovely time trying the wines...

And just generally hanging out.
On the way, SJV saw the vineyards and had an idea. "Photo shoot!" He said, already reaching back for the new fancy cam. I have created a monster...

Now, we were very respectful of the vines - I'm from Nebraska, after all. But we had a total blast "posing" like models and making funny faces. Here's me in eagle pose...

And here's SJV posing, very seriously, amongst the vines. What emotion! You can see the pain in those eyes...

And here's me posing per my photographer's suggestion, in the middle of the street. Don't I look tough? ;)

We got back to the hotel, and decided to go down to have pizza at Silver Beach Pizza (which has beer glasses called "Schooners" that are the size of your head). We had one of our rehearsal dinners there, and the Amtrak runs right past it. I was excited that the train was stopped right next to our table...

And SJV was hungry but adorable...

After dinner we went to South Bend Chocolate Company, where a father/daughter band was playing. I had totally forgettable ice cream (we think it might just be the off-season and they don't "circulate" the ice cream as often... We'll see) but we did enjoy the show.

Oddly, I have no photos of us on our 7 mile run along the Steelhead course the next day... But we stopped at the beach where we got married and had a very schmoopy conversation about our luck at finding one another and what we were thinking the last time we were in that same spot.

And then we continued our run, doing what it is that we do. Gosh I'm a lucky girl...

All in all, a fabulous weekend!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Happy Anniversary!

Three years ago today, SJV and I went to the packet pickup for the Shamrock Shuffle 8k. It was our first "date," although neither of us knew whether to call it a date or not at the time. I remember being nervous, and thinking that was silly - because this guy was just taking me to a packet pickup, right? Well, sortof... it was the longest and most wonderful packet pickup ever. We got our race bibs, then scoured the expo, talking and walking slowly to extend the time. We went to lunch. And ate slowly, and ordered too much to extend the time. And we talked. Then after lunch, we walked around. Slowly. And we talked some more. Then we had ice cream. More talking and moseying around. By then it was time for dinner. Off to a wine bar (the night before a race! UNHEARD OF!) for more talking, some wine-sipping.... All in all, it was 12 hours of first-date-bliss.

And now here we are. Three years later, still running side-by-side (but now also biking and swimming), still eating ice-cream too often, and still stretching out every delicious minute of time together. Happy three-year dating anniversary, Sugar!

Love, Belly.

Extremely Late Spectator's Report - IMAZ 2009

Yes, that's right. 2009. Eeegads I'm a procrastinator.

Spectating is a bit of a sport (and an art) as I learned while watching Ironman Arizona in 2009. Some thoughts, then a great story and some cool photos. The story is most excellent, if I do say so.

First: Arizona can be COLD in the pre-dawn hours. Really, really cold. Two shirts, two jackets, jeans and knee-high compression socks (I know, I know, I'm a dork), hat and gloves don't do enough to keep you toasty while waiting for your Sugar to start his (or her) race.

Second: Ironman racers are super cool people, full stop. I spent all day yelling and screaming for people that I didn't know -- and all day I heard their messages of thanks (sometimes spoken, other times not -- particularly late in the race). If you haven't gone to spectate and Ironman, you really should -- it was eye-opening for me, and I felt like I could really help people have a better moment by encouraging them.

Third: Ironman AZ is great for spectators on the bike and the run. I lost SJV before the swim (so I never got to see him get in) but I was able to see him go into T1, come out of T1, during each of the three loops on the bike both coming and going (total of 6), during each loop on the run both coming and going (total of 6) and the finish. Not bad! I had good positioning, but the key was to find a good spot and stay put.

And now, the story.

*Ahem.* As I mentioned above, I lost John before the sw
im. *Sigh* So there I was, all alone, freezing my tail end off, looking around in the dark, trying to figure out what to do with this time before the race. I saw a semi-celebrity (Tara from the Biggest Loser), so I sculked around "celebrity watching" for a bit until I decided that was boring (and a bit silly), and then shuffled off to see if I could get a good spot to watch the swim. Tempe Town Lake has a nice path that you can walk along, and I started walking in the direction the swim would go, thinking I would find a break in the wall of people (great spectating minds think alike, obviously) and stop there to watch. It was packed pretty tight, so even after the gun went off, I kept walking down the shore.

The sun was coming up now, and the crowds were thinning a bit. Right then I saw a floating dock with about 20 people on it. I'm not normally a pushy type. Really, I'm not. But I'm (relatively) small, and there was plenty of room, so I just jumped down there and sortof nosed my way to the edge. Very politely, of course. Only one elbow was used... (I kid! I kid!)

Just then the swarm of swimmers was starting to come up and pass the dock, and a fellow swam to the side of the dock and frantically started pulling off his three swimcaps and neoprene cap (did I say that the water was 61 degrees?). He was obivously overheating and panicking, and there was a flurry of activity on the dock. One guy crouches down next to Unfortunate Panicky And Hot Swimmer and tries to help him put his official swimcap back on, but then doesn't for some reason (I don't truly recognize until later that the crouching guy only has one arm) and asks for help. Another woman comes forward, puts on the swimcap, and Unfortunate Panicky And Hot Swimmer swims off. We all, having witnessed and taken part in said panic, stand together, shaking our heads and saying "oooh - he's panicking. Not good." "Yea. That water's awful cold. Super murky, too. Smell that stench when they swim through? Ugh." "Tough swim, yeah?" And that's when I hear it.

The telltale Aussie accent.

I turned to my right. And. Standing. Right. Next. To. Me. Was. MACCA! OHMYGOD!

"Macca!!" I blurted, hands now covering my mouth, eyes the size of dinner plates.

"Yeah!" Big grin from Macca. I fumbled for my camera and asked for a photo, which he kindly obliged.

I turned to see that none of the other people on the dock seemed to recognize that they were standing feet from an honest to goodness celebrity! (He had not yet made the Wheaties box, but he was still a champion!) Good grief.

As it turns out, I had an audience with not one - but TWO celebrities. The man with one arm goes by One Arm Willie (photo of Willie and I up top) - a paraolympian and amazing triathlete, who has bested Macca at Kona (which he told me in a hushed voice after saying "I should never say this out loud, but..."). He has a great gift for a story, and an infectious sense of fun. Plus, he's tough as nails, which I learned in our HALF HOUR of chatting! That's right! I got to chit chat with two triathlon greats for a good half hour. Amazing.

We talked about races, and places, and swim times, and Rudy, and prosthetic limbs, and challenged athletes, and Ironman and relationships (and how great my Sugar is at balancing the two) and One Arm Willie's wife (who is a doctor and was apparently in a bad mood for most of her residency), and about a med student friend of mine who hates med school, and about all the things you could imagine yourself talking about with a few cool people with similar interests and lifestyles. Soon after we started talking, Macca was recognized as Macca, and so he was pulled away to take photos and exchange pleasantries. But I continued chatting with One Arm Willie. And it was amazing. I wish I could have tape recorded it. Of course, the only thing that topped it was cheering SJV in that night.

Ultimately One Arm Willie and Macca had to leave and take their triathlon spectating somewhere else. So I was left on the floating dock by myself for a spell before heading out to find SJV at T1, basking in the fact that I had just hung out with some really amazing folks. It solidified my belief that the people that participate in this sport - present company entirely included - are pretty cool folks, and are just the kind of folks I want to surround myself with.

Saturday, March 26, 2011


It's easy to forget how hard it was to start being active. As an ... *ahem* ... "adult-onset-athlete" myself, I can relate... but I still forget.

I was reminded of this the other night when I attended a gala for the Chicago Center for Conflict Resolution -- cool mediators getting together and knocking back a few. Anyhoo... I was chatting with a few of the ladies about my "crazy" race schedule (which is decidedly normal for most endurance athletes) when two of them told me in fast-paced-high-pitched-oh-my-god-i-can't-wait-to-tell-you voices that they had just signed up for 8ks and they were getting ever faster -- which they said I had something to do with. See, they had started a running program a few months ago, and were running fairly consistent 12:30 miles. They were dejected, depressed, and totally convinced that they were somehow failing at running. Then I came along, and introduced them to the idea of "beginning" something.

As adults, we forget how to begin.

As kids, we were used to falling down, both literally and figuratively. We'd try stuff and stink at it. All the time. That's what beginners do. There are very few that start something and win right off the bat. Most beginners fall off, fall back, fall down... But at least beginners try.

As adults we kinda forget (or refuse) to try stuff that we think we'll suck at, just because it's painful for your heart and your head to fail at something. But running a 12:30 pace is not failing.

Not getting off the couch is failing.

I remember telling them about beginning, and how they should be patient, and have faith in themselves. That they should just get out there and enjoy, and move, and feel what it's like to let their bodies do what they're supposed to do -- and to feel what it's like to let their bodies (rather than their expectations and mental demands) tell them what is possible from day to day.

I remember that conversation, but was surprised that they remembered it, too. And I'm really flattered that they used that conversation as motivation over the past few months, taking heart in the fact that I, too, was a beginner not so very long ago.

I'm happy to report that these ladies are now running at 10:30 and faster pace. I'm sure they'll continue to get faster if that's what they want. But no matter how fast they end up going, they're winning.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

It's all in our heads

So, by this point in the season (in the midwest, at least), we've spent hours planning out our training schedules. There are base periods, builds, peaks and valleys. We've got hours blocked for bricks -- runs with swims, and bikes with runs. Our muscles are strengthened, and stretched, and built and broken down with training over the course of the season. So at this point, we're planning for that, and starting the "training" in earnest.

We've done our research over the long, dark, dreary winter. We've read about nutrition being the "fourth discipline" and have added protein, or more carbs, or more natural foods. We've decreased drag, increased efficiency, added a powermeter to track wattage, and have ditched the running shoes to have lighter feet and a shorter stride. We've got heart rate monitors and footpods, pace calculators and spedometers -- holiday gifts, or gifts to ourselves. Something to look at during icy runs to remind us that yes -- summer will come back and there is a purpose to the training.

But all too often there's something missing from our arsenal. Something essential to any racer's success that's far more important than most would admit, and often overlooked or dismissed.

Our brains.

It's strange to think of, but from what I can tell, most of us spend very little time training mentally for the races that we prepare our bodies so methodically for. I mean, how many of us log into Trainingpeaks to add in a "workout" for "Mental Visualization"? I don't think anyone discounts mental preparation, but it's just not given the same marquis treatment as tempo runs, or swim stroke training. And I think it should, because I think it matters just as much. Maybe more.

So, in a few blog posts, I'm going to advocate that we become better self-coaches (really, self-parents) and start prepping our mind as well as we prep our bodies, and talk about how we can make our minds as tough as our quads.


Monday, February 21, 2011

Goodness. And Grape Sorbet.

SJV and I went to Denver this past weekend to attend the wedding of some truly amazing people. Kirk (one of SJV's best friends from childhood) and Carrie tied the knot on Saturday, and we were psyched to be part of their weekend. And I was psyched to meet many of SJV's childhood friends. They are, without a doubt, a fantastic crew.

Truth be told, I was a little nervous about meeting them.

They played central roles in SJV's stories about his childhood and, frankly, I wanted them to like me as much as I knew I would like them. They're also a very tight group, and I wanted SJV to have his time to catch up with them. I figured they might not want a chick hanging with the guys, and I worried I might not really get to know them. I promised myself that if it looked like they were going to hang back with me there, I would retreat to the sidelines and make sure SJV got his time with his guys.

I guess I shouldn't have worried.

By the end of the weekend my stomach hurt from laughing so hard. My cheeks were sore from smiling so much. And my memory bank was gloriously full. There were so many stories. Houses and health code violations; Adam and Eve bars and odd fungal infections; pick up lines revolving around grape sorbet lip balm (that were strangely successful)...

It was as if I was part of a 48-hour standup routine.

And I loved every minute of it. Every gut-busting, giggle-inducing, guffaw-creating second. But I especially loved those moments (between jokes) when these tough guys would look at one another, or at Kirk, with a softness that made me melt.

During the ceremony, the officiant relayed the answers Kirk and Carrie gave to some questions he had asked them. Responding to one of those questions, Kirk -- a guy who has been to hell and back and lived to tell the tale -- said something that really stuck with me. He said that there is such a thing as goodness in this world, and it should be pursued.


Before we left Denver, we had breakfast with everyone -- a few short hours after we had left them when the bars closed down. And as I looked around the breakfast table, I had to smile. Yes, there is such a thing as goodness. And Kirk pursued it. He found it in his wonderful wife, who's love for him is blinding. And he found it in each of those guys. They have it in spades.

We can't wait to see them again.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Year of the Half (or why we aren't doing IMOO this year)

Sweet Johnny V (now "the hubster") and I have decided that this is the Year of the Half. We'll be doing three of them -- two independent races, and one Ironman brand. Why would we do this to ourselves, you ask?

Good question.

The answer? So we can eat more food!
(Well, that's partially true. We've already proven that newlyweds do, indeed, gain weight... particularly in the off-season.)

But the real answer is that we opted out of Ironman Wisconsin - at least for 2011. The plan had always been to have the Racing Year To End All Years in 2011, so that if we do decide to have little people, we (errr... "I") would feel like we were ... ready. Ready to give up training and racing for a little while, and ready to embark on that new adventure. We both figured that if we were going to do Ironman together, 2011 would be the best time. As a DINK couple, we'd have the resources and the time.

So, we signed up to volunteer with some of our friends at Ironman Wisconsin. The plan? Ride the course on Saturday, volunteer on Sunday, and sign up for the race on Monday. We drove up on Friday after work, bikes in tow. Saturday morning it rained quite a bit, and we thought our plans would be thwarted. But by the afternoon the weather broke, and it was a perfect fall day for a ride. We got the bikes ready and headed out to the course. We would do just one loop of two, so "just" a 40 miler. Piece of cake. Right?

Now, normally SJV and I are extremely prepared. We carry i.d.s, money, extra fluids and food. For some reason -- perhaps because we felt particularly "expert" at the end of the season and because we had already taken our Speedfills off of our bikes, we brought two water bottles for each of us and a gel. We thought we were being pretty conservative.

As we got out onto the course, we began to see why Ironman Wisconsin is considered a "hilly" course. There are the mythic "three sisters" hills, and I hadn't mapped out where they were. The first five minutes into the ride, we went up a fairly impressive hill and I thought: "Ahhh. This must be the first of the three sisters!" Ummmm... no. Not by a long shot. That was a bunny hill compared to some of the monsters we encountered. Every few minutes we were going up or coming down a hill.
Screaming descents, grunting uphills -- it's a good thing that I like climbing and I have a good bike setup for it.

It became clear, however, that we had miscalculated our nutrition needs. Massively. By the time we got about 20 miles in (so that we couldn't really turn around) we realized our mistake. But with no cash and no way to get back, we had to push onward. Hard. And at this point, we were trying to beat dusk.

I've never used EVERY gear available on a ride. Now I have. And I've never been so happy to be done with a ride. Considering the fact that we had no nutrition and not much by way of fluids, we didn't do too bad -- I think it took us about 3:30, and we weren't really dawdling. And we were in excellent shape. For us, at least. So rather than giving each other a high-five at the end of the ride and having visions of IMOO dancing in our heads, we spent a good ten minutes silently contemplating whether this was such a good idea. I was more concerned about bike handling skills and descending; John was just less enthused because although the course is gorgeous, it was just a lot more challenging. Would this be fun? We both pondered, and decided to sleep on it.

The next day we volunteered at a water stop that had a "Super Hero" theme.
I waited until the second loop before I unveiled my costume.

That went over pretty well with the tired men-folk, and with the ladies who appreciated a little comedic relief. Nothing like catwoman screaming "Water! Perform!" (They were serving Ironman Perform rather than Gatorade...)

We volunteered all day, and then spent the evening cheering friends in to their finishes, finishing our night as the last racer came in at midnight. And even though we were inspired by the racers we saw finish, we were still left with the conclusion that we just enjoyed ourselves so much training for and racing at the half distance, that maybe an intense year of racing that distance would be more ... Fun.

And isn't that what this is all about anyhow?

So, 2011 will be the Year of the Half. Maybe 2012 with be the Year of the Full. We'll see...

Whatever you do, have fun...

Saturday, February 12, 2011


I didn't have the heart to replace the post detailing my grand-mama's incredibly strong heart for a very, very long time. So much has happened since that post.

There was Ironman Arizona, where I met the 2010 Ironman World Champion (Macca)
...and "One Arm Willie" - a very accomplished paratriathlete.
(More on that in another post.) There was our trip to Sedona after Ironman.

There was Sweet Johnny V's proposal in February on the beach in St. Joseph.
There was Steelhead.

And there was our wedding in St. Joseph, on the beach where we raced.
But now I'm back.

We'll be training for three 1/2s this year - Grand Rapids (June), Door County (July) and Steelhead redux (August). It's going to be an awesome year.


Idgy the Cat

Idgy the Cat