What the Frick?

...wherein our heroine encounters a roadblock.

It goes to show you just never know what's about to happen. You'll be cruising along with your training, everything going pretty well, progress being made and then BAM! some unknown force will throw something your way just to see how well you handle it. And make no mistake, you won't see it coming. I've been waiting for that out-of-nowhere flat tire to come at me. I've been expecting the sore knee to show up. Old rotator cuff injury even popped it's head up once or twice to see if anyone was watching for it. You know; usual stuff for someone who's been putting their body through pretty rigorous physical demands. But sometimes the universe gets bored and needs entertainment.

This mornings episode involved me getting out of bed and stumbling to the bathroom to begin my morning regimen. Shower, hair, makeup, dressed and out the door. My brain was just awake enough as I stepped over the threshold to the bathroom to think..."My face feels funny." Not funny ha-ha; funny odd. I turned to the mirror and was horrified to see my left eye swollen mostly shut and my cheek also pretty puffy. Aaackk! I scared me. Then I noticed some tingling in my face. I thought to myself, "Self. This is not good" But maybe I just slept on my face or something. I'll give it some time. I don't get sick.

Halfway through the shower, my tongue is tingling, too. Hmmm. The situation does not seem to be reversing itself. But what could it be? I don't get sick.

Thank goodness, a rational part of me realized that I was trying to deny a very large, puffy problem and pushed through to the forefront and suggested that maybe I should call the doctor. Good idea! I rang up the doctor's office and the nice automated female voice told me that they opened at 8:30. I finished getting ready for work, sans eye makeup (yikes!) and headed to the see Dr. Hammond.

The receptionist didn't even flinch when she saw me. She calmly took my name and asked me what I needed to be seen for. "Uhm. My face is schwollen. Shee my eye". The cheek was getting puffier. She "Hmmmed" at me and took my co-pay. I thought that maybe I was over-reacting due to the fact that receptionist didn't seem to see my issue. Did the swelling go away on the ride over and I'm just being neurotic? A dash to the lobby restroom revealed that I still slightly resembled Sloth from The Goonies.

It wasn't crowded so I was called back very quickly. The doctor's assistant didn't appear to see my problem either. "So what are we seeing you for today?" she asks as she takes my weight and blood pressure. Uhm, hello? My face is either having a reaction to something, I've been bitten by the biggest spider on the planet or my body is, after 34 years and 9 months, finally trying to expel my previously unknown twin. "Ok! The doctor will be in in a minute!"

Sure enough, a minute goes by and the door opens. Dr. Hammond walks in, says hi, looks me in the face and says. "So what...oh wow."

Thank you! I felt a huge amount of relief. Now we're getting somewhere. I hopped up on the table and she poked around a bit. No ear infection, no eye infection, no fever, nothing to indicate there is a problem other than the extra bit of face I was sporting. No drooping which indicates no Bell's Palsy or stroke, thank goodness, and after calling a colleague of hers to get a 2nd opinion on treatment options, I'm told I am probably having an allergic reaction to something I ate and sent on my way with an antibiotic and steroid prescription and directions to get my butt back there immediately if the swelling gets worse.

Then something makes me say, "Thanks! Glad I'm getting this cleared up. I have a big run and swim tonight."
She replies, "Oh no you don't. Not until this is gone" and heads off to heal another patient.

Uh-oh. The tri-borg in my head calmly asserts "Can't miss workout. Workout is vital." But I know that you just can't risk your health. Much. So ok. Fine. I can take a day off. But that's it. One day. I'm 5 weeks away from my race. One day is all I can spare and that's pushing it.

Then I get my prescription filled. It's not one dose of steroids, it's 6 days! There are a billion little pills stair-stepped on this card! I called the office back and find out that Dr. doesn't want me doing any strenuous activity for 3 or 4 days. "But, but, but I'm training for this race. I really need to.."

"Sorry. You just don't need to risk it." She says.

And over the course of the day I admit that she's right. Fine, I'll do what I'm told. I'll be graceful about it. I've heard enough horror stories of people disregarding advice and pushing on anyway and then being out of commission for weeks or even months.

Deep inside though, I'm freaking out about what these 3 days off will do to my training and momentum and goal of finishing in under 2 hours.

sigh...is it Friday yet?

Week 7 Training Plan and Comeuppance from a Wager Lost

Week 6 was an interesting week. I had some great cycling moments. Amie and I went on a 22 mile bike ride through Sellersburg/Utica with the LBC on Tuesday night. The ride on the club site was listed as a #2, which is up to 1/3 hills and the words "mostly flat" were included in the description. Hah. Mostly flat my patootie. A few of those hills were killers and there were many more hills than there were flat spots. It also didn't help that I was running late and completely frustrated with a wrong mapquest turn and some belligerent drivers en route to the ride. So I started out the ride with a crappy attitude. I swear to you this isn't a theme! I am usually pretty good natured when starting out on a course. Promise. With sugar on top.

It took until about halfway through the course to start feeling warmed up and just more like myself. Then it started flowing more smoothly. At one point I did take a slight detour off-road through some thistles but managed to stay in saddle by incorporating my, to quote from Amie, "mad recovery skillz". I got a teeny bit scratched up, but each new bump and bruise is starting to feel more like a battle scar than they are a negative thing. Want to see where I jammed my pedal cleat into my shin on Sunday?

I made it through to the end of the ride. Honestly, if Amie hadn't been there riding with me, I might have chucked it all 2 miles in and begged a ride back to starting point. She's pushing me more than she knows. Thanks Amie!

Thank you also to "mostly flat" Sellersburg/Utica ride. Those hills are what is advancing me in my cycle training. We then rode the race course on Sunday and two hills that tried their best to kill me a month ago were attacked and conquered with breath left to spare and a victorious war whoop at the top. Ride of the Valkyries could be heard faintly in the distance. It was awesome. Also, after doing a few 20 milers, the 14 mile race course felt over before it should have been. I heard Amie tell Ben that she could have done another several miles and I concur. I briefly thought of suggesting going around for another loop, but that would have just sounded crazy!

The runs and swims for the week were pretty normal with the only oddity being an orange road traffic cone at the bottom of the pool on Sunday. I dunno.

Here is this week's schedule:
Tonight - Run/Swim
Tues - Run/Swim/Kickball
Wed - Strength/Early am spin class
Thurs - Off/Drum lessons for kiddo
Fri - Bike
Sat - Morning Run/4th of July!!! Happy Independence Day Everyone!
Sat - Bike/Yoga

Now on to the lost wager.
My friend Joanna lost a bet and had to kiss a gnome. Joanna has Gnome-a-phobia. She is scared to death of these happy bearded little fellas. No idea why. We don't ask; we just exploit. Here she is in a little piece entitled 'Oh gnome - how I love thee!"


Week 6 Training

It just hit me that I haven't posted this week's training plan.

Monday - Run/Swim
Tuesday - Bike
Wed - Off
Thurs - Run
Fri - Swim
Sat - Run/Swim
Sun - Bike/Swim

There is a 5K run that I'm thinking about entering on Saturday. I haven't decided yet. I know I could do it, it's just do I want to put $35 toward a 5K that wasn't on my radar or do I spend that same $35 crossing some stuff off of my want/need for the triathlon. Hmmmmm. It would be nice to have a race number on my wall.

It's a conundrum...

A lesson learned and a great first event!

A good friday night can absolutely kill a Saturday. At least for me. I'm learning this as I inch toward race day. Priorities are shifting toward what's good for my training plan and I'm making choices that will affect the next several hours or days of workouts. Case in point: friday night - two weeks ago. I went out with some friends, stayed up too late and consumed a bit of alcohol. I knew full well, as I was imbibing, that I was expected in the parking lot of my workplace at 7:30am the next morning to travel to Shelbyville to watch our friends, Ben and Tammy compete in an Oly distance triathlon. I still had a couple of drinks, thinking I would be fine and that I could catch a nap after the race.

Next morning, I made it to the parking lot on time. I slouched in the back seat of Amie's car all the way to the race. At the race, I was fine. I got caught up in the race atmosphere and cheered on each and every competitor. Later that day, when I got back home, I showered, after that, my energy was spent. The open lap swim time at UofL came and went as I slugged through the afternoon. Ugh. That's all it took for me to decide that alcohol was off limits until after the race. I also know that I need to be better about getting 7-8 hours of sleep per night. I'm still working on that one.

This past Friday night, I attended the 1st ever night racing session at Churchill Downs. I'm surprised they haven't thought of this before. It was a complete success. The track at night takes on a very cool quality and I had a great time. Did not get in bed until after midnight. And yes, I was expected at yet another parking lot the next morning at 7:30.

Today's event was the Girlfriend's Ride in Columbus, Indiana. An all-women's 10k, 25k, or 50k ride to benefit Turning Point Domestic Violence Services. And at 7:30am after again not getting another full-night's sleep, I was not feeling very girlfriendly. I am still not quite a morning person and when I decided to start training for a tri in earnest, I had not considered the negative effect that all the training would have on my weekend sleeping-in time.

The alarm bleated at me at 6:30. I needed to make a quick shopping trip to pick up an extra cargo bag. I planned on taking a few extra things along with me as this would be the furthest I had ever ridden. I wanted my camera with me as well as some granola bars and a few extra tools in case of any technical trouble. I was in and out of the store in record time. I hopped in the car and was tooling down the road toward our designated meeting spot and whoops, I need gas! Another quick stop, and I was on my way, a little stressed out and crabby. I did not want to be the last one to show. I hate having a group of people waiting on me.

But, I arrived right on time and we all loaded up. I drove and my friend Holly rode shotgun with me. The ride up, a tall frosty Diet Coke and the conversation turned my mood completely around and by the time we pulled into the parking lot adjacent to the starting point of the ride, I was peppy and ready to ride.

For my first organized event, this one will give the others a whole lot to live up to. The bar was set high. The volunteers welcomed us, a smile on each and every pink t-shirted person. We were happily ushered over to a photographer and had our picture snapped, then on to packet pick up, a little carb loading of bananas, strawberries and homemade snacks and onto the bikes. We were off!

I was nervous about following a marked route. It was something I had never done before and I like to have my directions before hand. There was a map in the packet, but I couldn't memorize it first and I didn't think I could ride and read, so I decided to trust in the road markers and give it a whack. Before this, every ride I had been on so far was led by a ride captain from the local bike club. I didn't need to know the route, I just followed the crowd. I need not to have worried! The route for this ride was perfectly marked. Each turn was clearly marked with a hot pink heart and direction lines. If you were paying even a little bit of attention, you couldn't get lost.

The weather was beautiful. While a little warm, the beginning and final few miles of the route was liberally dotted with trees. Columbus has a spectacular park system with frequent lakes and nicely kept landscaping. Also, hats off to the residents of Columbus, there were as many if not more gorgeously kept gardens in yards to smile at as there were lovely spots out amongst the vineyard and farms.

While we were riding against some wind, it provided a cooling breeze when I needed it. The route was very conducive to a fun ride with girlfriends. The difficultly could be upped by doing one of the higher distances, but I thought the 25k was perfect for me to work on some gear change strategies and challenge myself with a longer distance than I had ever ridden before. There were a few moderate hills, but as I climbed them, I used what I had learned about my gears and advice I had either read or been given. I shifted early and powered through. And thanks to Shannon who had a speedometer on her bike and every so often would call out how fast we were riding! That was a big help. I have to get one of those.

At about mid point, we pulled in to rest at a pretty little winery. Again, amazing volunteers! We were treated to shoulder massages, live music, clean nice restrooms (very important!) along with another smorgasbord of fresh fruit, water, gatorade and other carb laden treats. 10-15 minute rest and off we went! Half way there!

The majority of the 2nd half of the ride took us through Indiana farmland. Vibrant fields of corn and other crops sped by us on both sides underneath a crisp blue sky interrupted every so often by farmhouses that had very likely watched over their farms for generations. How perfectly charming.

A few miles later, we took a detour through a park and get a 45 second deviation into off road biking! A ride steward directed us where to turn off and also took some pictures of us. I cheekily struck a pose; I was having a great time! Then I struck off through some gravel and grass to a tree lined shady bike path back in to the tidy neighborhoods of Columbus, one of which had a lake with houses surrounding; explosions of flowers and bright colors all around us.

Another stop! Yay! This time at a school and there were more gracious and cheerful volunteers, water and lemonade. And yep, more carbs to keep us going the rest of the way. Back on our bikes a few minutes later, through town proper past a festival sporting bagpipers (we pretended they were for us) and to the finish line. There, covered in sun, smiles and sucking down free smoothies, we celebrated our finish rested a few, then headed home.

A good day! I will definitely be on board next year.
If I could change anything?
Next year...I may do the 50.

I want my bike I want my bike I want my...

If you are anywhere near my age, the title of this post should bring back fond memories of a little girl in a coat screaming and stomping because Josh Brolin just ganked her bike and is racing off down the street after the rest of the Goonies.

Well, little girl, I feel ya. My bike has been in the shop now for a week just waiting for me to pick it up after a tune-up and a replacement rim being installed. I miss it. I had to do all my cycling training this week inside. In the gym. On a stationary bike for the love of Pete. I couldn't get the bike adjusted as I needed and there were no WHEEEEEEEEE!!!! moments as I tucked my elbows, leveled my feet at 3 and 9 o'clock and glided downhill wind whistling though my helmet. Sigh...

I'll be going to get it tomorrow just in time for the Girlfriend's Ride in Columbus, IN. on Saturday. You have no plans for Saturday? You have a bike, you say? You like massages and chocolate and would love to support a domestic abuse shelter? Well then, come along! You can sign up on site or here!

Boys Allowed

I've tried to make my blog sound as gender neutral as possible, I am, nonetheless, a girl and so I'd like to introduce you to a guy friend I've made along the path to the finish line. Meet Jason, a Web-Producer for NBC Universal Sports. I'd snitch his picture from the nbc site, but they might actually come and get me. Jason is in training for his first triathlon, just like yours truly. He started blogging about his training plans and adventures and if you want a male perspective of the whole thing, be sure and check out the links below.

What I like about Jason is that you can really feel his enthusiasm for what he is doing in his writing. When he went bike shopping recently and posted about it, you couldn't help but share in his Christmas-morning-like excitement. He's been an unexpected and fun part of my continued enthusiasm for my training.

One Man's Plan - An introduction to Jason, his training plan and his dream of ping-pong prowess.
Triathlon Training - His blog along his 16-week journey

Also being half-way through his training and I asked him yesterday how he was feeling,

"Feeling great in the water and loving my new bike. Running is getting there. In week 8 of 16! Seen a huge improvement in my recovery time."
There's no doubt in my mind that he will cross that finish line flying!

You can follow Jason and Dawn (that's me) on Twitter.
Come along for our rides and share your own adventures.

Is the pool half empty or half full?

I asked Amie yesterday how she felt at being almost halfway to race day. She had this to say:

"My mental conditioning got a big boost on Saturday morning during Ben's Oly tri. It made me realize that something, anything can set you back in a race. After a very difficult swim start, he cranked out an amazing bike and run. It lessened my nerves to see the transitions and to know things may not go perfectly, but I will finish. And if I put everything I have in each effort, I will make my under 2hr. mark.

As for the physical conditioning, I really need to strengthen my thigh muscles for uphill battles and get my keester in the pool!"

As for me, here's what I think. I've been working out judiciously for a few days over 8 weeks, and training for the triathlon for just over 6 and I feel amazing! Bigger picture, i'm down almost 70 pounds since last year and it's being nice to say that then, I was in poor physical and mental condition. As of this week, I'm belting out a minimum of 3.5 miles per workout on the treadmill. I am up in the teens on bike mileage per workout and I am swimming 600 meters per swim workout. Some days, like today, I do double workouts without giving it a second thought. Tonight is a Run/Swim night. All in 8 weeks! And I am developing nice muscle definition in my arms, legs and butt. And my sister thinks that the women in our family just can't have fab arms. Well, suck it genetics!

Swim/Run update at 8:50 pm.
Full length run and swim tonight!
Here are my current times.

Run - 3.1 miles - 38 minutes.
Swim 800 meters - 26 minutes.

Not too shabby huh?

Week 5 Training Plan - Closing in on the halfway point!

6 weeks, 4 days and counting....

The race bike route was finalized today and the forms are being faxed to me as I type! Huzzah! Registration has been delayed as the city of Anchorage kindly decided to install speed humps over the winter (because those golf carts were just getting out of control) and the park was trying to find another suitable route. Alas, no route could be found and we will just have to deal with speed humps. I'm thinking out-of-seat full-on Evel Knievel style is called for here.

And speaking of bikes, my baby is in the shop. Boo! I took it in for a tune-up because one of the bike club guys said it looked like my rear derailer was bent. Lucky me, it wasn't my derailer, my rear axle was in pieces. I needed a whole new rim, etc. I'll be picking her up later this week.

Meanwhile, it looks like I'll be indoor biking for the next few days. It's ok though, the gym is playing the Bourne movie series. I'll just pretend like I am chasing bad guys through Paris and every so often I'll look confused and ask the person on the bike next to me if they have any idea who I am.

Here's the plan:
Monday - Cycling (Indoor)
Tuesday - Run/Swim/Kickball
Wednesday - Arms/Run
Thursday - Lunch Run
Friday - Lunch Cycling
Saturday - Girlfriend's Bike Trip!!!
Sunday - Swim/Run

*Possible off day on Friday as all of my Fridays so far have gone straight to heck.

A Breakthrough! This is awesome.

After a week of challenging workouts, I dipped into the pool last night for the first time in a week. My last two bike sessions had sucked. I fully expected to be constantly out of breath and fighting to achieve and maintain my form.

But then I hit the water. (Icy cold water. What up with that UofL?) Anyway...I hit the water and flew! A lot of the tips that I had been given clicked. My flutter kick was on, my arm blade strike was on, and I was whipping up and down those lanes like Aquawoman. I had good rotation, too. It was awesome. Don't know how it looked to the other swimmers and I don't care too much. This was the first time I have genuinely thought, "I'm going to finish this race!" It was amazing. I wanted to swim forever. That is a far cry from my first swim training session where I made it across 25 meters huffing and puffing, "I (puff) have to (gasp) do that (wheeze) how many (haaaahhhh) times?"

Toward the end, Amie mentioned that she had started breathing on alternate sides and that it was making a huge difference for her. I tried it and for a couple of lengths, it did work. On the next lap, though, I lost my kick. So, that's on the agenda tonight. Nice and easy swim, focusing on technique.

Here's a blog entry that Amie found and I have read and watched over and over again. This is how it should go...http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/2008/08/13/total-immersion-how-i-learned-to-swim-effortlessly-in-10-days-and-you-can-too/

Week 4 Training

It's only week 4???? AAAHHHH! How much longer?
Wait. I only have 8 weeks left to train? AAAAAHHHHH. Am I going to be strong enough for this???

As you can see, my lovely readers, I am of two minds right now regarding this race. The past couple of sessions have been rough for me. Not impossible, but definitely challenging. I'm tired. All the time. I believe it's how I'm eating. My appetite has vanished. That's not good because I'm pretty sure that I'm not fueling properly. This week. I'm going to eat something every 3 hours whether I want to or not. I'm going to start with snacks of almonds and protein shakes until I get back into the groove. If I go for a week or so and am still dragging butt, I'm going to hop over to my doc's office and make sure I'm not anemic or something.

I did miss a couple of workouts this past week due to life. End of school, graduation and all of that. I can only go into this upcoming week with a militant attitude of not missing a single session! Here's what's on the plate:

Monday: Bike (w/LBC)
Tuesday: Run/Swim/Kickball
Wednesday: Run/Swim
Thursday: Strength/Drum Lessons
Friday: Run/Strength
Saturday: Bike/Swim
Sunday: Swim/Softball
The orange events are early am. Before work. Before civilization awakens. Ugh.

See Bill Run

My brother Bill ran a 5K this weekend! Go BILL! I know he's ramping up for other races, too. He's mentioned a sprint triathlon coming up out in Sonoma, where he lives.

I'd love to take a little credit for this sudden interest in racing, but Bill's always been more active than me. He's been a non-competitive runner and cyclist for years. He plays softball and in college we tore up the Frolf course. Holla! (Don't play raquetball with him though; he cheats.) Maybe I nudged him a bit in the race department. It would be kind of neat if big brother followed lil sis for a change.

Here's a pic I snitched from my sis-in-law's blog. Permission granting in process.
Side note: I used bahaus for the font on the pic. He used to love that crazy font.

Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda

I should be in the pool.

Tonight was a swim workout night. I should be doing laps working on my stroke technique and burning some calories. But I'm not. I'm sitting here posting on my blog because my kids plans didn't work out tonight and I didn't get to drop him off at the movies for 30 minutes after he thought he was supposed to be there and the pool closed at 8. Now I'm cranky. Exploring that cranky, I assumed at first that it's just because I've had a long day. Up at 6, getting ready for Kiddo's graduation, and also maniacally filling out a last minute application (which actually is quite a blessing) to the high school that he wants to attend. (WOOOT Gail Taylor!), then lunch with friends and relatives, more work on application and succumbing to the pleading of my child to see his friend probably for the LAST TIME EVER MOM!

But that's not it at all. I'm cranky because I missed my workout. I love to swim. I love how I feel after being in the water. I feel all warm and loose. My skin and hair smells like chlorine and I am pleasantly tired. I sleep like a baby on swim nights. It makes me happy. And, like after all my other workouts, it is very satisfying knowing that I am one day closer to the race and the choices I made that day made me a little faster or a little stronger. So right now I just have to shake off the bad attitude and start fresh tomorrow. No beating myself up about it. Ahftah awl. Tomarah is anotha day!

Good night everyone! I feel better now. Thanks for listening.

Pfit Update

We're two weeks into Pfit and I'm down 2.5 lbs. Yay!

It's not as much as I would like; I love the thrill of a big number dump on the scale. I love making the top 10 list. I want to see my name in pixels! But it IS definitely going in the right direction AND, while I'm lifting weights too, not just ripping through cardio workouts. Sing it with me..."muscle weighs more than fat". How is that fair? Anyhoo, clothing is still growing on me and every week I'm finding more and more items in my closet that just won't fit anymore no matter how many binder clips I use. It's time to stop trying to convince myself that the baggy-hip-hop-business-casual look is attractive.

Things I need to tweak?
The mindset that I can eat more recklessly because I'm working out like a madwoman. You know, they should put that on the treadmill scrolly sign...Ooooh girl...another half mile and you can snarf down one of those Godiva truffles that you hid from the kid. go GO GO!!!

Other than that...onward and downward!!!

Week 3 Training Plan

This week's going to be nutty! It's the last week of school, so lots going on. Kiddo's graduation is tomorrow. We had a band audition last night, so I worked through lunch, hit the gym early and got Monday's strength training out. It was ok, but I rushed through the rest period between sets and also, I apparently was there at the same time as all the high school kids, so I had to wait several times for dumbells that I needed. Amie thinks that they need 2 sets upstairs and I heartily agree.

I was very surprised at the difference in the amount of weight I used on different muscle sets. My shoulder muscles are alot weaker than I thought that they would be and I had to back way down off of my planned weight. The only set that I thought I got to a "10" on the effort scale was my triceps work. I was really shaking at the end of those sets.

After that, I took my kiddo to his high school band audition where I found out that I would be shelling out around $300 and I would need to be something called "involved". Wha? Don't they know I'm in training? sigh. I don't mind to be involved, I just always feel like I come up short in that department. I would really really like to be a good band mom for my kid, I just don't know how that's going to work. It's just me to get him around town. I mean I can't be the only working parent here, right? So why on earth does it seem that all the summer programs for kids are scheduled for 9am dropoffs and 3 pm pickups? His dad lives 2hrs away so just by factor of distance alone he's of pretty much no help with these kind of things. Not whining. Just fact.

Anyway, this week is packed!
Monday - Upper Body Strength
Tuesday - Run (Strides)
Wed - Graduation/Swim
Thurs - Run/Strength Upper Body
Fri - Bike/Swim
Sat - Bike/Swim
Sun - Run (distance)/Lower Body Strength/Softball?/Visit my mother

How's your training going?