Wednesday, May 27, 2009


As I have stated before, I have been absolutely amazed and overwhelmed at the support that I have received in the past couple of months. Wow! Words cannot even begin to describe how great it feels to have so many cherished friends, dear family members, and even casual acquaintances cheering for you.

After a number of tries, I finally have a website up and running that will make the fundraising process a little easier. From this point forward, all monies raised will go directly to Doorways.

Please consider making a donation by clicking here. Any amount… $5, $10, $25, $50 or $200 is greatly appreciated. Not just by me, but also by the wonderful staff and clients of Doorways for Women & Families.

I recently remembered a moment in which I was reminded that what seems like an insignficant amount of money to us, to others can mean so much. Back in 2006 while I was training for my first marathon, I was volunteering with Jubilee Jobs and was mentoring a woman from Ethiopia who was working hard to advance herself in the workplace.

I remember sharing with her my excitement about my upcoming race. At some point, among her many questions for me, she inquired about how much it costs to run a marathon. I’m certain that her curiosity was only about the registration fee, and not to the many other miscellaneous expenses like running shoes, clothing, race nutrition, etc.

I realized immediately that while the $95 fee to enter the race was a drop in the bucket to me, to her that was a hefty sum. I admit that I was embarassed to say how much I had spent to do something as "frivolous" as run a race. At that moment I was so aware of how incredibly fortunate I am.

My mentee worked diligently at a job that required her to arrive in the wee hours of the morning. Since she didn’t own a car, she took the bus everywhere she went. Her small studio apartment, if you can call it that, lacked a kitchen and a bathroom. She shared a bathroom down the hall, and used a hot plate for cooking. This lovely woman was thriving and she was happy. She was supporting herself and she was looking ahead to the future and trying to improve her situation.

I don’t know about you, but I think that we sometimes lose our perspective and fail to appreciate our good fortune. Aside from all of my many, many other blessings, I know that I am so lucky to have the life I do. When called upon to donate my time or my money, I remember that there are so many people who are less fortunate than I, to whom a "small" donation means more than we can imagine.

I’ll just leave it at that….for now. Thank you again for your generous support. Click here for my fundraising page, or here for more information about Doorways for Women & Families.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Holiday Weekend

Ahhhh, it is almost the holiday weekend. Thank GOODNESS! If you haven't noticed, I've had some type of race each of the past four weekends. And before that was the Columbia Brick-nic. I'm beat. I mean, I am really in need of a weekend where I sleep late.

I am going to take it easy this weekend and take a stab at camping. Ms. Piggy is coming along. We'll see how it goes. Have a great Memorial Day weekend, everyone!
Here are some pics from Columbia in which I don't look like a character on SNL. [Thanks again, Jeanne!]

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

I love, love, love you guys!

Yes, I am still delighted over Sunday's triumph. But right now, the joy that I just have to share is my appreciation for having a wonderful network of friends, family, and teammates who are just so awesome.

Whether you're helping me celebrate good news, or giving me tips/encouragment, I can't tell you how much I appreciate your support. It means everything to me. I love the comments on my blog, the notes on my facebook page, the emails, the high-fives, and the donations to Doorways. THANK YOU!

I don't think I have ever felt so supported. It practically brings me to tears. It is the best feeling!

Thank you for being part of my life, and my journey to Ironman.

(So far no response to my email to the race director asking if I won most improved - if you know Robert Virorito, please give him a nudge.)

Sunday, May 17, 2009


Today was a day I have anticipated for one year. If you’ve read my blog, you know that I had a lot of expectations for Columbia ’09.  I am delighted to report that the day was a success beyond my imagination.

As most of you know, last year the Columbia Triathlon was my first ever tri. I vividly recall my trepidation. In fact, the week of the event I posted a request for advice on the DC Tri bulletin board. My question was whether I should withdraw from the event. Based on my swim times in the pool, and the practice bike/run I did on the course two weeks before the event, I was seriously concerned that I wouldn’t make the cutoff times and would be disqualified from the race.

I was not looking for assurances when I posted my question. I really just wanted to know if folks thought I should bother showing up. However, the supportive folks of the club convinced me to go for it, and told me not to worry about being prohibited from finishing. So I went for it. I finished, but with the medevac drama (resulting in a 10-15 minute holdup) my final time was 4:19:52.

After that, I decided last year that I would aim for Columbia’s “Most Improved” award. I have trained pretty solidly for a year. I am so happy to be able to say that all of the hard work and sacrifice seem to have paid off.

The Plan

Below I laid out my plan for the day. I wish I could say that I followed it to the letter, but it didn’t quite work out that way. Long story short, the one mile backup to get into the park put me way behind schedule. I thought I left enough time, but I didn’t. I got into transition 10 before minutes closing. Once it closed you were not allowed back in. I stayed calm, but it was stressful. I missed the opportunity to warm up in running shoes, and I was not permitted to swim because by the time I got to the swim start the race had already begun. Nevertheless, I set up my area and got out in time.

I was a little flustered, but I found a bench and sat to get into my wetsuit. I had heavily sprayed myself with  olive oil to avoid getting stuck in my wetsuit like I did at practice the other day. Weird, but it worked.

I saw a Team Z-er, and introduced myself. He helped me zip up, and we talked for a little while. I started to calm down.  I headed over to the DC Tri Club tent and saw a bunch of my friends. That was calming but I was still quite stressed. Then my friend Sandy appeared, and said she had read my post about my plan, and asked me to go though it with her. I am pretty sure she thought she was doing this for her own sake, but it was exactly what I needed at that time. Thanks, Sandy. It really calmed me down.

I hung out with the girls until my wave was ready to enter the water.  I don’t know if it was the higher water temperature, or just the benefit of experience, but getting into the lake wasn’t as traumatic as it was last year. Last year I actually stood there saying “I don’t want to get in the water…No, I’m not kidding, I really don’t want to get in there.” This year I just walked right in and treaded water until the start.


It wasn’t a fabulous swim, but it was heads and tails above last year. I swam straight (for the most part). The best comedic moment came when I decided to take a break and backstroke. After a few strokes I looked up and asked out loud “Where am I? Why is everyone swimming in the opposite direction?” Somehow I turned around 180 degrees. Glad I caught that quickly.

Overall, the swim was good. Although I did get somewhat trampled on by the subsequent wave (orange swim caps – I couldn’t come up with any good nicknames for them like I did for last year’s purple “people eaters” and “greenie meanies”), it was only one wave and it was okay because I expected it.

I made it out of the water in 41:13. Last year was 46:48. I shaved a full five and a half minutes of my time.  Still not fast, but I just don’t care. I improved. Yay.yay.yay me!

Time 41:13 (.9 mile swim)– 87/88 age group (what?) – 1477/1569 overall (Last year 46:48 – 1695/1730 overall)


I walked into transition and was very conscious of keeping my heart rate down.

Times are not yet posted for transition 1, but I can pretty much guarantee that I obliterated last year’s time of 9:14. [I could calculate it based on the times for everything else, but I’m too tired.] I joke that I have no idea what the heck I was doing for over 9 minutes last year, but today I was reminded that not only did I do the whole clothes changing thing, I also put gloves on my wet hands and had to run back for my helmet which I had forgotten.( Fortunately that was pointed out to me before I reached the mounting line or I would have been automatically disqualified.)

Thank goodness my wetsuit came off easily. Laugh all you want, but I think I’m sticking with the Trader Joe’s spray olive oil.


My sheer and utter joy at my improved swim time lasted me all the way through the bike course. Seriously. I was so happy with myself. Tons of people passed me on the bike. There were a few swim waves after mine. I didn’t care a bit. I was out there for myself, and I was just doing my best.  I was so happy I couldn’t believe it. I did pass some folks, but not many.

Not much more to tell about the bike course. It was hilly and brutal. I was pretty good about pedal stroke, but I need to practice not mashing so it isn’t so challenging. My heart rate was stayed in zones 3-4.

I was aiming to break 2 hours. Really, I wanted to do the bike course in 1:55. Last year’s time was 2:10 with the medevac delay (around 10 minutes). I realized around mile 18 that I was going to make my goal. Around 21 I realized I had a shot at 1:50. I entered the park at 1:45. The chip time is 1:51:07. I don’t think that is right. [It has been pointed out to me since posting that the bike time listed probably includes the transition time - I'll do that math tomorrow.] Still, I am elated. I shaved around 20 minutes off my time. Yay yay yay again.

Bike (25 miles) 1:51:07 – 69/88 age group; 1348/1569 overall. (Last year: 2:10 – 1677/1730 overall).


I’m not sure exactly what happened here. I ran in, I changed shoes, I grabbed my race number and I was out. Somehow this only took 2 minutes, which was 49/88 in my age group and 611/1569 overall. I am not questioning this.

Transition 2: 2:00 49/88 age group; 1477/1569 overall. (Lst year 4:37)


If I was happy before, now I was downright elated. So much so that I couldn’t wait to tell someone. And I did. I told the first person I could find how excited I was about my improvement. I didn’t mean to brag, but I was just so thrilled. She was really nice about it and seemed to appreciate my enthusiasm.

My legs felt heavy, but I was on top of the world. I just kept shuffling along. I had nothing on me (Garmin, footpod) to tell me how fast I was going. I felt slow. I hit the 1 mile mark under 10 minutes. Wow. I was quite surprised.

Last year’s time was 1:09:13. I hoped to shave 2 minutes off that. I had been thinking about my 10k times, and they were both around 1 hour so I didn’t think I could do much better on a hilly course after having swam and biked.

 Only afterwards did I realize that I’ve only done two official 10k’s before– one when it was 90 degrees and once when it was cold and rainy. I didn’t think about the 10-miler I did where I hit the 10k marker in under 55 minutes.

I kept moving and was shocked every time I hit a mile marker and realized I was still running 10-minute miles on that brutally hilly course. I was hurting, but it was just not an issue. I simply ignored the pain. I was so focused. I was happy to see a bunch of familiar faces on the run – some Z-ers, some DC Tri Clubbers. I made some new friends, too.

I incorporated one-minute walk breaks roughly every 9-11 minutes depending on where I was as far as hills and how I felt. It worked for me and I hope to do the same at Ironman if I can.

Run time:  10k (6.2 miles) 1:02:18. 61/88 age group, 1161/1569 overall. (Last year 1:09:13 – 1474/1730 overall).

Final time: 3:36:36. 71/88 age group; 1355/1569 overall. (Last year: 4:19:52 – 1654/1730 overall) 43 minutes faster.

Next time:

Did anyone notice that there was nothing about nutrition in my well thought out race plan? Me neither. I didn’t really give it much thought. Traditional wisdom is that someone my weight should take in 200-300 calories per hour for an event like this. When I run, I know exactly what I need. I have a routine that works for me. I haven’t gotten there with tri’s.

Before and during the race I consumed:


Half a bagel and a glass of juice pre-race

·        3 chomps (gummy things) and 1 gel and half a bottle of water on the bike

·       1 small cup of Gatorade and a cup of water on the run.

This is bad, bad, bad. It worked for me, but it will not work in the future as the distances increase. I didn’t even realize it until afterwards.

I am totally exhausted, but giddy. I feel ready to conquer to world, and more importantly, Ironman Florida. I am so incredibly satisfied that I have made such progress. My aforementioned training partner and friend kept telling me how improved I am, but I thought he was exaggerating. In fact, yesterday he said he couldn’t wait to see my face when I saw my times for Columbia because he said he knew I was going to be pleasantly surprised. I am glad he was right and appreciate his faith in me. (And by the way, he kicked butt himself today. It was his first Olympic distance tri. He beat me, just like I expected him to.)

I don't know if I won "Most Improved" but I will find out. 

Here a before race picture, the one picture I have so far (thanks, Casey.) I didn’t plan to match, but now I think I’ll have to have a wardrobe of wetsuits to match whatever color swim cap I’m assigned.


Friday, May 15, 2009

Packing List

The big race is in two short days. I’m as ready as I’m gonna be. I did an easy 25-minute swim this morning. It went very well and it made me realize how far I’ve come in a year. Who knows if I’ll be faster on Sunday. If nothing else, swimming seems easier now. I definitely feel like I’ve improved. Someone please remind me of this next week if my times aren’t what I hope for.

I’m in the process of putting together my packing list. Of course, this is done in my Excel spreadsheet aptly named “packinglist.xls.” Naturally, there is a new tab for each trip I’ve taken in the past few years. This is not shocking to those of you who know me. J

I decided to use last year’s “Columbia” sheet as a template, and copied it to the end and named it – you guessed it – Columbia ’09. (Will there be a “Columbia ’10”? Who knows…)

It is amazing to me how I am modifying my packing list. The changes are small, but to me they evince how much I’ve learned in a year. For example, I deleted “bike jersey” from the list. No wrestling on a dry shirt onto a wet body in transition this year. What I wear into the water (underneath my wetsuit) is what I will be wearing when I cross the finish line.

I have also decided to trust the course’s water stations and not wear my hydration belt on the course. My only concern there is that I’m not sure if my tri jersey has pockets (I am picking up my new DC Tri jersey tonight) so I haven’t figured out what to do with my gels. I might use my SPIbelt instead of a race belt, as I did for the recent 5ks. It has a cool little pocket that expands way bigger than you would imagine is possible. I can pin my race number to it.

I think I’m ready. Woot!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


I sent race pictures and a link to my blog to my team’s listserv. Mellowblonde commented on my “I need a hug post” with a great suggestion about using diaper cream for chafing. Thanks, woman! I checked out her great blog and discovered links to blogs of other team members. Awesome! I love reading what everyone else is up to.

[BTW, folks, if you don’t already use Google Reader, I highly recommend it. You can subscribe to all your favorite blogs, and when you log in it lists all of the new posts. It is the bomb! Email me if you want more info.]

So, one of the wonderful blogs gave me the idea to write out my plan for Columbia. I kind of have some vague ideas about what I’d like to accomplish (like kicking butt and not dying) but I decided to take this opportunity to write out how I hope the day will go. It should help me visualize the race. I’ve been having a little trouble with that lately. Even though I got through it last year, when I think of Columbia, frankly, I think of pain.

My nervousness makes me think of zig-zagging through the swim, struggling on the extremely hilly bike course, and pushing hard to get through the insanely hilly run.

Honestly, I don’t think it was quite that bad last year (except the swim part – that was ridiculous). I don’t know why I am stressing so much.

I remember smiling and cheering for myself as I finished the bike course (really, there are pictures!). And I remember as sick as I was and as exhausted as I was, having some fun interactions with the volunteers and other triathletes on the run course. I finished strong.

Here we go. This year’s plan:

1. Have a nice easy swim. Sight to swim straight.
2. Quick transitions in which I act like I am actually in a RACE. (Last year’s T1 was 9:14. Yes, really.)
3. Pace myself and take it easy enough on the bike course to save energy for the run (I am a tad nervous about this one).
4. Run strong and steady.
5. Try to stay in or below Zone 4 or below the entire race.


* Get to race site early enough to leisurely set up my transition area and lay out all of my gear. As a newbie I really stressed about this. Now that I am an experienced veteran (I have done a grand total 2 Olympic tris, one sprint tri that turned into a spritn duathlon, one true duathlon (Olympic), and one relay), I love transitions.

* Do an easy 5-10 minute jog to get the blood flowing and work off some pre-race jitters.
* Put on wetsuit (way easier said than done) and apply lubricant (spray olive oil is what I have in the house and I know it works) to make removal easier.
* Get in the freezing cold water for an easy swim warmup.
* Stand around and wait for around an hour for my swim wave to start. Sip water and munch on a clif bar or other race nutrition while I wait.

* Start towards the back to avoid being trampled on by the rest of my wave.
* Make the first 100 strokes the EASIEST of my life (I can hear Coach Ed’s voice in my head).
* Stay to the right to avoid being beaten down by the fast swimmers in subsequent waves.
* Sight often, and don’t add extra distance by swimming way off course.

* Transition smoothly and quickly.
* Get the wetsuit off while sitting on the ground.
* Put on socks, then cycling shoes. Stand up, put on sunglasses, then helmet. Grab piggy and run to the mounting line.

* Have fun on the bike course.
* Good pedal stroke and no mashing.
* Keep the cadence high and the heart rate in zone.
* Eat and drink enough (still experimenting with what this means).

* Get in, get out, and get going.
* Remove helmet. Change shoes. Grab race number belt to put on while running. Grab some sport beans or Gu to take during the run.

* Nice and easy start to the run.
* Negative splits.
* Finish strong and smiling.

There you have it. It will be a good day. I know I can do this. I did it last year with a heck of lot less experience and knowledge under my belt, and with a really bad chest cold. Plus this year I have the beloved Miss Piggy with me. We’re gonna rock!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Kinetic Weekend

I’m still here. Training and doing my thing.

Last weekend was the Kinetic weekend. Kinetic is the name of the race – I don’t know where it came from. It was at Lake Anna, which is about 2 hours away. Being the week before Columbia, I considered not participating. But it sounded like fun to be part of a team race where everyone goes down, camps or stays in group houses, and has big cookouts for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

I decided that I would take it easy and participate in a relay. So I chose the bike leg of the sprint distance (there was also a half Ironman distance).

What a fun weekend! For some reason I volunteered to help with meal prep all day on Saturday since I wasn’t racing the half. Somehow I missed the part about needing to be at the race site at 5 am for that. It was pitch black as three of us bumbled around with flashlights making breakfast for the team.

The highlight of the day was cheering on the racers on the bike course. About 7 of us headed out to the course with our folding chairs, cowbells, and horns. We were all dressed in team colors (various shades of green). There we sat for almost 3 hours, hooting and hollering at all of the cyclists. My teammates were hilarious and made the experience a lot of fun.

Sunday rolled around and it was my day. I felt good and ready to go. I met my teammates with whom I’d be relaying and we picked up our race numbers. The volunteer apologized as she handed us numbers 666. Yup, that’s right. 666. Fortunately, I am not superstitious. My teammates seemed okay with it, too. You would think they could have taken that number out of circulation. We got bodymarked (666 on both arms, both legs, and ages on our calves – oy!). The reactions we got from folks walking around with 666 tattooed on us was pretty amusing.

Pre-race pics:

The race went well. I definitely liked not having to swim. I just waited in the transition area and when our swimmer arrived I removed the chip from her ankle (it was on a Velcro band) and put in on myself. I ran the bike out, mounted and started on my way.

As I left the transition area and headed up the hill I saw a bunch of Team Zers cheering. A couple of them recognized me and started cheering for me by name. That was so great!

Another teammate called out “mashing.” That is what you’re *not* supposed to do. It means putting pressure on the pedal in the downstroke instead of using your energy to pull the pedals up and forward. That was helpful and was a good reminder for the entire ride.

As I was leaving the park a 45-year old woman dressed in all black passed me. And then I passed her. And she passed me. I decided to try to get ahead of her. It was a fun game of chase on the hills of Lake Anna. I would fall back and lose sight of her, and then catch up. Finally, as we were getting close to the end, I was about to catch her and potentially pass her and…. kaplunk. I heard something hit the ground.

There was no one around me. I looked and I still had my water bottle. I looked back and saw I had lost my seat bag, which I had removed and replaced [apparently not well] when I attached my race number to my bike. Dagamit!

I carefully slowed down, came to a stop, laid my bike on the side of the road, and jogged in my stupid, freakin’ bike shoes back to my bag. When I say jog, I mean I awkwardly hobbled along making a racket. Bike shoes have big metal cleats on the bottom that make the front part higher than the back. Miss Dressed-in-Black rode off, never to be seen again. Oh well.

I had a good race. I wanted to be faster than I was, but I just wasn’t. I had to remind myself a few times of how far I’ve come. I remember just 14 months ago taking 55 minutes to ride from Clarendon to the Washington Monument. That’s about a 6 mile trip. Now I can do it in about 32 minutes with rush hour traffic.

I did everything I was supposed to do. I focused on keeping my cadence between 90-110 rpm, and most of the time I was over 100. Excellent! I tried to pedal in a circle and not mash. I kept my heart rate steadily in Zone 4. I felt pretty good out there and had fun.

My final time was 1:09, around 15 mph average. I was hoping for closer to an hour. [I guess I would have been closer if I hadn’t had to stop to retrieve my bag.] It was great coming back into the park to the cheers of the team. I made my way back into transition and the runner removed my chip and took off for the 5k. Our team placed 11 out of 22 relay teams. Not too shabby.

The rematch, Cat versus Columbia, is in just 5 short days. I am ready! My hands are still numb, but improving a little each day. I have seen Dr. Keith, and talked to my friend the ER doctor. I just need to wait this out. Grrrr. It appears I really did a number on my median nerves.

I am ready to conquer Columbia. By conquer I mean improve my time from last year, and not feel like an elephant is standing on my chest after crossing the finish line. Shouldn’t be too hard. Stay tuned for that race report next week.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Still numb and tingly

It is Tuesday. My hands are still numb. It feels like they’re getting better, but I am getting really tired of this. Boooo.

It is a recovery week (hooray!) and next weekend I am taking it easy. The Team is doing the Kinetic races at Lake Anna. I'm going down for the weekend. I might join a relay team for the Kinetic Half and jog – not run – the run leg on Saturday.

I am also scheduled to do the bike leg of the sprint distance on Sunday (18 miles, I think). I will probably race that, but it should not wear me out. I mean, I hope not. I have never just done part of a triathlon before.

My hope is that next Monday I will have nothing to complain about – other than being back at work. ;) No pain, no numbness. Just rested and ready for another training week. Oh yeah, and ready for the following weekend which is the long-awaited Columbia Triathlon. Ooooooh.

Random additional thoughts to share:

1) The race results are up from Saturday’s 5k. I am delighted to share [brag] that my 26:28 time had me finishing 4/45 in my age group (F 30-34), 80/313 overall, and 29/206 females. Yay, me! [I get to brag now since the rest of the time I lament how slow I swim and bike.]

2) My feelings about Sunday’s awful rain ride have been echoed repeatedly by teammates on our listserv. It turns out that it was a tough day for everyone. At least 10 people, including a friend of mine, went down at the scary, slick railroad tracks.

3) I swam a mile this morning in about 45 minutes. This is slow for most, but great for me. That means that if all goes according to plan I will be able to shave at least a few minutes off of my (.9 mile) swim time (was 46:48 last year). Yes! Stay tuned.

4) I really appreciate all of your support. Comments, emails, calls, donations, it all keeps me going. I thought about this a lot during my tough ride. Thank you!!!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Hangin' Tough and I are no longer friends. The forecast for Sunday, according to them, was for temps in the 50’s all day, a 5-10% chance of rain from 7-10, and a roughly 25% chance from 10-1. Do you know what that means? Let me explain.

Less than a 40% chance means it will NOT rain. 40-60% means it might rain. 60% and over means it probably will rain. Is that so complicated?

So, that means you were wrong! Because from the time I left my house around 6:30 am, until the time I returned roughly 8 hours later, it rained. Constantly.

I figured I would be fine with my new, sporty rain jacket. It didn’t occur to me until the 5 mile mark when I went through a puddle that saturated my entire lower body that I could have done better. The plastic bags in the shoes trick would have been smart. Hindsight.

At that point I looked at my odometer and thought, “Great – only 55 miles left.”

Being part of the team made such a difference yesterday. For starters, I found a buddy to ride with at the beginning - a nice change from the last few rides. In addition, all team rides are supported. That means that yesterday there were 5 “sag” drivers out with us. They basically drive around the course and make sure everyone is doing okay. Sometimes they stop at the turning points to direct us. Our cue sheets provide their phone numbers and we can call them if we need any type of assistance.

On a previous cold and rainy ride, a sag helped me out when I mentioned that my head hurt. It turned out my pony tail was digging into my head and she helped me fix it. She also provided me a new cue sheet since mine had gotten so wet it tore in half. (Lesson learned: keep the cue sheet inside a Ziploc.) It is so valuable to have support out there. Just knowing they are around helps you keep going.

Mike was the one sagging for those of us on the 60-mile ride. He was wonderful. At around mile 45, my buddy and I stopped for a potty break and he was there waiting. She decided she’d had enough and accepted a ride back to her car. When he offered me a ride I told him that I was going to finish this ride if it killed me. He said it just might.

At that point, I was so cold and exhausted I could barely pull up my pants after using the porta potty. My hands were completely numb and I could barely shift. I had already given up shifting with my left hand because it was too difficult. Braking was no fun either.

But I kept going. I reminded myself over and over again that I want to be an Ironwoman. I had to hang in there and tough it out. It is the same mental toughness I contemplated during the 5k.

I rode along and began making up songs. Buy me a drink one day and maybe I’ll share with you the Ironwoman Cat theme song. There’s a line about numb genitals. I crack myself up.

Some 5 hours and change later I made it back to my car. A miracle! I thought I’d be elated, but I was just cold, wet, and tired. I heated up the car and hoped that the feeling in my fingers would come back after a few minutes in front of the warm vents. I needed to rack my bike. I also needed to remove my helmet and change my clothes – neither of which is easy to do when you can’t feel your fingers.

I came this close to wearing my helmet for the drive home, but after struggling for a few minutes I got it off. I also removed my wet socks and shirt, and barely got on dry versions.

The fruit punch Endurox I purchased this week to try as post-workout nutrition did not go down easily. I got drank about half of it and couldn’t take anymore. Yuck. So I snacked on some trail mix on the drive back. It has protein, carbs and fat, right?

I got home, took a hot bath, and felt much better except for my still numb fingers. So nothing got done last night except for the consumption of whatever calories I could force myself to eat. Stouffer’s Mac and Cheese, a Cadbury crème egg – excellent nutrition for an athlete… It did the trick though and I slept through the night.

Unfortunately, I woke up still without any feeling in my hands and with a very sore neck. Grrrr… It is really hard to function like this. At least I can type. I just can’t really feel the keys.

But I got it done. And I am elated to report that I have no real injuries to report. My popliteus and my foot are fine. I’m a little sore, but nothing unusual. I am really proud of my efforts this weekend. I am on my way… 6 months until Ironman Florida.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Bright Beginnings 5k

I have done very few 5k's. They're very different than the longer races, and it was time for me to test myself. I had four goals for today:

* Set a PR (under 27:15)

* Don’t walk

* Negative splits (run the first miles slower than the last)

* Stay in Zone 4 for the first 2 miles, then zone 5a/b


Back in April 2006, I ran the Bright Beginnings 5k . It was my second 5k ever. I was soooo nervous. I had never been to Hains Point before.  I clearly remember how foreign it all was and how uneasy I felt.

Today, as I waited for the race to start, I realized I was having a full-circle moment, as Oprah likes to call it.  Quite a contrast from 3 years ago.

30 or so races later, I now have a routine.  I still get a little nervous for races, but it is no big deal.  Now Hains Point is a regular training location for me.

This morning I was set to go. Temps were in the 60s, humid with a light breeze.

The race start was delayed, but it didn’t phase me. I was ready!

Hit mile 1 at 8:10, feeling good.

Took a couple of turns and a volunteer announced we’d already gone 2 miles. My watch said around 15:something. I didn’t have a GPS or footpod on me, but I knew that wasn’t right. About a minute and a half later, I hit the mile 2 marker at 17:05. Oops, slowing down, but still within reach of the goal. I was paying close attention to my heart rate.

I was starting to hurt. My heart and lungs were tired. Fortunately, my legs felt good.

As I ran I was thinking of many stories I have heard recently about mental toughness. I knew I had it in me.

Kept moving those feet. I focused on keeping the turnover rate (cadence) high. Step, step, step, step, propelling the body forward…..

I can see the mile 3 marker up ahead. Looking at my watch, it is unclear if I can make it there quickly enough. I arrive and the clock says 25:something.

Am I really going to make it?

Keep going. Tough it out. Step, step, step, step. I cross the finish line. Whew.


Goal:  Set a PR (under 27:15)

YES! 26:28. 47 seconds faster!

Goal:  Don’t walk

Yes! No Galloway method for Cat today.

Goal:  Negative splits (run the first miles slower than the last)

Not quite. Need to work on this.

Goal: Stay in Zone 4 for the first 2 miles, then zone 5

Yes! I’m beginning to think there is something to this heart rate training.


Tomorrow I ride 60 miles – 16 miles further than ever before. I made good use of the stick this after the race and hope that I am feeling good and ready tomorrow.