Thursday, December 31, 2009

Reflecting on 2009

As I begin to think about the past year, the first word that comes to mind is “wow!” If you’d told me a year ago that this year I would have completed a full and two half ironmans I probably wouldn’t have believed you.

I’d like to say that 2009 was about much more than Ironman, but that wouldn’t really be true. For the most part, it is what consumed me this year. While I generally try to be a little more balanced, that just wasn’t realistic for me this year. But it was my choice and I am really glad that it turned out the way it did.

So, how do I feel about 2009? Very happy and so proud of myself for what I accomplished. Honestly, I vacillate between being very matter-of-fact about things [whatever, it is just an Ironman, anybody can do it], and being completely in awe of myself that I actually did it [I swam/biked/ran how far!?!).

Everyone keeps asking me if I will do it again. My response is that while the race itself was hard, it was only one day and I think I could do it again. However, the training was tough, and while I am so glad I dedicated myself to it this year, I don’t know that I would do it again.

Nevertheless, I am so glad I did it. It is a great feeling to know there is nothing that I cannot do if I put my mind to it.

At the end of the day, one Ironman or lots, fast or slow, I am Ironcat, and I’ve got the schwag to prove it. Hehe, check out what I got:

Happy New Year, everyone! I hope you have a wonderful, healthy, and rewarding 2010!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Do You Hash?

Monday night I had the pleasure of joining my team-Zmates for the newest team activity…hashing. I’d heard of it before, and there have been rave reviews of the latest addition to the team calendar, so I decided to check it out.

Not being much of a drinker (okay, I don’t really drink at all) I have shied away from hashing before. From what I heard, you drink beer during and after the run, and there are all kinds of esoteric traiditions and vocabulary involved. Yet, I kept seeing all of these messages saying how much fun the first few hashes were, and how it is fun even if you don’t drink, so “what the heck, why not?” I thought.

I showed up to PRR on this very cold past Monday night dressed in five layers on top (well six: sports bra, long sleeves shirt, short sleeved shirt, two more long sleeved tops, fleece vest) for which I was called out later.  It was a chilly and windy 31 degrees.

Then we learned to deal. Basically, you run around with the group and attempt to find the trail (which is just the route, mostly on paved streets/sidewalks and occassionally over grass). Someone has gone out ahead of time and marked the trail with dollops of flour and chalk. Without going into detail, you run along and try to figure out the correct course, which can sometimes be tricky. Along the way, there are marking that indicate beer is near (BN) or shot check (SC).

It was really fun! The best part is that during the hash, you’re not really thinking about how much further you have to run or how long you’ve been going. You’re looking for trail signs and trying to figure out if that mound is flour or snow. It was a great change of pace from the usual boring run. I might be hooked.

Afterwards, everyone gather for beverages, “orange food” (i.e., cheezits, Doritos, and other such yumminess) and revelry. This includes some drinking games and the calling out of strange or inappropriate behavior such as wearing race paraphenalia or new shoes (from which you are forced to drink).

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, chips and juicy-bevies which may or may not contain alcohol, whatever the quantity, are not sufficient post-run nutrition. This I learned when I woke up hungry at 1 am. Doh! Maybe I need more chips next time.

For more about hashing, check out this Wikipedia article.

Saturday, December 19, 2009


Thanks to everyone who reached out to me after reading my post about my post-Ironman blues. I am happy to report that I am steadily getting better.

Earlier this week, I went ahead and booked the trip to Disney. I find it kind of interesting that it was like a switch was flipped in me, and I instantaneously felt like myself again. I felt  happy and I had something to plan. Funny how that works.

To prepare for the Goofy Challenge, I was supposed to walk 11-12 miles today and run 26 tomorrow. I decided that since I am an ironman, I don't need to do the walk. (ou know, because I am so tough...hmmmm.)

Three weeks ago when I walked 8 miles the day before the long run and it left me achy. Strange. My butt and back hurt. Although I usually don't do 8 miles straight, I walk miles at a time pretty often so I don't know why. So yeah, I'm skipping it and I don't feel bad about it.

Of course, Snowpocalypse is interfereing with the planned 26-miler today. A couple of years ago I ran 20 in the snow and ice and while I got it done, I think it was foolish. Yaktrax worked great, but I just don't need to do that again. I'm thinking that I will take a morning off from work this week to make it up. I am definitely not going to do any more than an hour or so on the dreadmill. [Headed there soon, I promise.]

I hope you all are enjoying the snow.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

I got the blues…

No, not Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. I’ve got the Post-Ironman blues. I’ve been keeping this pretty much to myself, but IronHolly’s post has made me feel a little less embarrassed, so I thought I would pay that favor forward and share what I’m going though.

Week 1 was pretty exciting still. I was sore, tired and hungry, but I had the joy of all of the wonderful messages and calls [and flowers...thanks, Mom] pouring in. I returned to work that Thursday (with my medal, of course) and eagerly anticipated the weekend plan of doing nothing and/or whatever the heck I wanted.

Well, the weekend didn’t turn out how I planned. I wound up overcommitted with team events and errands. By the end of the weekend I was in a serious funk and was really sad.

I admit that I thought I was immune to this post-race depression thing. I’ve done 6 marathons and countless other races and frankly, didn’t understand why people would get depressed after a race unless something went wrong.

I've always subscribed to the theory that I choose to be happy. That hasn't changed.

I also didn’t think I’d have a problem since before I signed up for Ironman, I had signed up for the Goofy Challenge in January 2010. I figured the goal of racing a half marathon followed by a full marathon the next day – at Disney, no less – would keep me motivated and focused during the two months following Ironman.

But…..I don’t know.

I have stayed active. I began getting back into light workouts just 4 days after IM. Thanksgiving day I even raced a turkey trot (5k) and did really well (sub 28-minutes on a hilly course) despite going in with no plan and no goals.

Yeah, I am taking it easy with the workouts (read: working out just once/day – haha). [No, I have not been near a pool since the week of IM.]

This past weekend I did my Galloway-recommended 8-mile walk on Saturday and 23-mile run on Sunday. It all went perfectly.

But I’m still blah. And it feels like the training ate up my entire weekend. Boo :(

Apparently, the “goofy” goal isn’t enough for me. I need something. Something to look forward to. Something to work and/or plan for.

So, I got the crazy idea of taking a vacation that didn’t involve a race, training event, or work event. Ooooh.

Not to shift blame, but to make a long story short, the Knight’s schedule is NOT cooperating. At all. Grrrrr. I feel downright thwarted. I could go alone, or with friends… Anyone want to go away with me?

So I tried to focus on making a vacation out of the Disney trip but at this point I am not sure if I feel like racing -- or training for that matter.

Thus, add to everything else the stress of a) not knowing whether I want to race Disney; b) not having travel arrangements less than 6 weeks from the race (verrry stressful for this type-A girl); c) feeling completely powerless to make any decisions or arrangements given my indecision and the Knight's demanding work schedule.

I did a little googling and the consensus is to be that you need to give yourself time to recover. It also seems that taking on a new, non-tri related project or goal is recommended.

So, what now?

I’ve always had goals. Whether it was to get through school, pass the bar, get a clerkship, get a job, run a marathon, do 8 pullups, find a house, plan a vacation... I always have something to work on.

Right now, I am kind of lost.

My body is telling me to “stop the insanity!!” My recovery from Sunday’s 23-miler was seriously tough.  The next day I hurt everywhere and was sooooo tired. I could barely walk because everything hurt. I am better now but I am still not inclined to continue pushing myself like this.

I mean, I am keeping busy with work, moderate workouts, and occasional social activities, but to be honest I am just not happy. :(

I keep reminding myself of how fortunate I am. I am healthy, I have a good job, I have wonderful friends.You know...

I’m enjoying not waking up at the crack of dawn for workouts. I am enjoying the flexibility to stay up later and meet friends for lunch or dinner. But I need more.

And I need to relax and maybe even pamper myself. But I can’t seem to do that when there are meals to prepare, a litter box to clean, and a closet to reorganize.

Okay, I’m done whining for now. I am off to continue working on being happy. Tonight I’m going to some of the wonderful free holiday concerts in DC tonight.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Race Day Pictures

Everyone took such great pictures on race day. I've narrowed it down here but look on facebook for the full collection this weekend.

Cool sign! It made it seem so real.

This is the shower we ran under to get to transition.
I still had sand all over me the entire day

Cool, calm and collected (right!)

I added a few extras

Tent setup at sunrise

Transition bags

I think Dr. Keith planned his outfit to match my wetsuit

One by one the BOPer girls arrived. How could I not smile and feel loved?

Glass, my a$$


Do I not look thrilled to be out of the water? I think this is the second best post-swim pic ever
(the first is Sheriece's picture from NJ)

Out for a leisurely little 112 mile ride (with a time limit)

No, Nicolas, I didn't stop to lead a cheer. I was getting my race halos.
I will not point out the nice leg muscle action in the second shot.

I was sprinting so fast at the end the camera couldn't catch me

The BEST part: my cheering family!!!!

The BOPers (Janet, Jacquie, Sally, Tracey and Priscilla)

Team Z out in force

BOPers and Jackie (who is way to fast to be a BOPer but we love her anyhow)

The Clown Car

The Best IronSherpa

Melody and Mary

One horn was not enough for Jenn

The wonderful madness that was the Team Z finish line tent

The calmness that was the remote cheering station on the run course

Looking okay for almost 16 hours of racing (and cheering)

Spectator's Report

I mentioned my friend Becky in my race report. She posted her spectator report on the DC Tri board and I like it so much (see how complimentary she is of me?) I asked if I could post it here. She agreed so here it is:

As many of you know, I spent the last few days in Panama City Beach with DC Tri Club friends(Tuan, Doug, Mark, Adriana, and Cat) racing Ironman Florida. I came to volunteer with the intention of getting in line to get a spot for next year's race. The event was unbelievable. The number of people racing, working, cheering was outstanding. The great attitudes and sportsmanship exhibited by the racers was commendable. It's been awesome and inspirational to say the least.

Watching the swim start was incredible and overwhelming. Almost 3,000 people jumping into the ocean at the same time was nuts. Friday the water was smooth as glass. The racers did not have that good fortune on race day. There were white caps and a pretty good chop. After swimming 2.4 miles, not an easy task even if in a pool, the racers had to hop on their bikes for 112 miles. Wow. The course is flat - but it's known for the headwind, so it's by no stretch easy... besides, a flat course means you're pedaling nonstop. I've been told  the winds were pretty bad until about mile 80 and that the pavement wasn't particularly smooth.

After watching the swim I had some down time when I ate and walked around the expo... after a short nap I positioned myself to watch folks come out of transition and start the run. I'm happy to say I saw all of my friends finish the bike - even one I didn't know was riding (Doug missed the swim cutoff of 2 hours 20 minutes by maybe 2 minutes. It was heart breaking to watch... but a kind volunteer walked him to transition and convinced an official to let him ride - he didn't have a chip... he's so glad to have gotten the opportunity and the practice). I stayed in my spot until my last friend made it off the bike. She had 7 or 8 minutes to spare before the bike cutoff time (5:15pm). I was definitely nervous for her. But she was all smiles, elated to have made the cut off and gave me a huge hug before she went into the tent to change and thanked me for being there, waiting. I wouldn't have missed it for the world!

At that point I went to grab dinner with Doug. We had a few hours of downtime before the runners would be done with their marathons. I still have trouble fathoming running a full marathon after being on my feet for 8 or 9 hours already. Insane. Sadly we missed Mark and Adriana's big finish, but we got back in time to see Cat finish her first lap and Tuan finish... despite fracturing his clavicle in 3 places 7 weeks ago he not only finished the event, but he finished with the time I hope for next year in perfect health, about 13:15! Unbelievable. The last of my DC Tri friends in was Cat - who also had an awesome day. Every time I saw her she had a huge smile on her face. She is really what this is all about, taking it all in, happy to be participating, and doing a great job. Inspirational in and of herself. A powerhouse of a lady!

It's amazing how tired I was just standing and cheering (granted I was body marking athletes before the start). But I enjoyed it all so much and learned a lot about what this race is all about.

Despite the awe I feel for what I witnessed, I was so impressed... people of every shape, size, and age participated in and completed the race. With, I think, the appropriate level of excitement and respect, I am happy to report that I got up and got in line to race next year. I did what I set out to do... and hope to become and Ironman next year.

Please join me in congratulating Tuan, Mark, Doug, Cat, and Adriana... and all the athletes. It is simply amazing to line up at the start... AMAZING!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Pre-race day pictures

Pam and I getting ready for our pre-race brick

Anna and me

Victoria and Cris get the spirit award

Anna and I are making our plan

Dr. Keith giving me a little pre-race physical and mental therapy
(he told me to have some wine and breathe deep)

Janus had a sign making station and they put your signs out on the run course for you.
I made this sign for my team.

Ready to drop off my transition bags and head to the team dinner

Anna and her family

Becky from DC Tri came down from to volunteer and sign up for next year.
It was great having her support!

Maggie, Robin and Kimberley

The dessert table at our dinner at the Boatyard

There was real food, too.

DC Tri Clubbers (incl. Tuan and his sister, Doug, and Becky)

 Jenn gave me some good racing advice

Paul looks ready despite dislocating his shoulder on our rainy ride the week before.
He still swam about an hour faster than me!

"My" BOPers

Tuan, me and Angela

Group Pictures

Kevin and Angela

Ryan, Hamid and Tuan