Sunday, August 24, 2014

Cobwebs and such

My partner in crime, Moose, and I signed up for the Muncie 70.3/Louisville package Friday. Several hours later, my Mama told me she'd put a deposit on a new apartment at her local assisted living facility. Talk about a one-two punch! The Universe is finally playing nice. 

I'd planned on getting up early to swim Saturday morning, but I shocked myself and the rest of my household by...wait for it...sleeping until almost noon. 


I'm not sick. I wasn't overly tired from work. I didn't randomly time machine back to being 15. God knows it's not from training.

Moose zeroed in on 'the why' fairy quickly. He's smart like that. He simply pointed out, "you've finally exhaled." Yes, I suppose I have. 

And, on that note, in typical Ironman fashion, we've told The World what we're up to, thus fulfilling unspoken (shouted from the rooftops) rule #11 of Ironman: thou shalt tell everyone and their brother you've signed up for an Ironman. And now that I'm learning the Twitter along with Instagram, I have no shortage of outlets and imagined followers to update with all of our shenanigans! drag this sucker out as long as possible, because LOU '15 is in October, we've got 59 weeks of chest beating, angst, drama, failures and successes to share. :-)

I dug out my dusty Camelbak this morning - it's been relegated to Mountain Biking duties of late, borrowed Moose's little blue nozzle from his since I bit off - and promptly lost - mine the last time we rode, and grabbed my running loot for a "long" run in my favorite spot this morning. 

Rule #33 of Ironman: thou shalt be accessorized to the hilt with as many gadgets and questionable aids as possible. In my case today, I felt like a Ghostbuster in my hat, sunglasses, Garmin (the orange beast of years past that looks like a parolee bracelet), HR monitor, Soas Tri shorts, motivational bracelet, iPod and the Camelbak. I did not wear anything compression! 

It's approximately two kageillion degrees today, with a heat index above 100, so the victory in this run was gathering all of that crap, hauling myself to my favorite trail and running (Er, that's what I'm calling it) and, I'll tell you, I enjoyed very damn minute of it! I really did. As awful as it was, I smiled like a lunatic the entire run. 

I came home to find Moose documenting the current state of his Tri bike. Looks like we're not the only ones rusty in our house. I guess it's been a while! 


My short term goals include: sanely begin moving again, eat like I mean it, work on body composition and drop the fat. 

Eats today:
Banana and La Croix water pre-run
6 mile run. Yes, sadly, this is long for me. 
Chipotle bowl: brown rice, pinto beans, chicken, mild salsa, guac
1 mug black coffee
1 celery stalk with natural almond butter
Salmon and steamed veggies
2 squares 90% cacao

Cobwebs are all gone! 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Comeback stories

I saw a really cool ad on the train this week. I think it was for insurance or financial blah blah, but it made me pause, then smile -- because it epitomizes where I'm at, both mentally and physically.

Scars are just great comeback stories waiting to be written. 

The scar. My scar:

Yikes! I'm not sure what's more appalling, the scar or my leg hair pores. Good lord! But I guess a blog about enormous leg hairs doesn't have the same pizazz, does it?! ;-)

The great comeback story about to unfold:

I know if you scroll through my blog, I said I was done with the Ironman and moving on. And, at the time, I was done and couldn't imagine doing another one. But that was a long time ago, and...I guess it's true what they say, "Never say never."  :-)  And, yes, I've signed up for my share of events since 2012 and not done them, but this is what's different this time:

I'm doing this for me. I have to do it. More importantly, I want to do it. I can hardly wait!

I quietly decided weeks ago that I'd be signing up for Ironman Louisville in 2015. I did not ask friends to do it, or Moose, for that matter. I didn't worry about work and work/life/training balance. This is important, I'll figure it out. I'm not worried about my Mom getting sick or the distance separating us. I'm not worried that I won't be as fast as I was or as thin as I was or as crazy as I was - that's all beside the point. I've accepted where I'm at and who I am and it will be a gift to be healthy enough to train and race in 2015.  And not just any race, Ironman Louisville, where it all began so long ago.

My brother mentioned to me a few months back that he's felt like someone pushed the pause button on his life since our Mom got sick, and he pretty much nailed it. That's exactly how I've felt, too, I just couldn't verbalize it. I no longer feel that way.

I have a lot of work ahead of me and it's not going to be easy, but I'm looking forward to the lifestyle and delighted by the prospect of what lies ahead. I think I read that in a greeting card somewhere, too, so I won't take credit for that one. Hee hee!

I know some people won't approve of this and, in the past, I would've cared what they thought. I guess that's another indication the time is right! People will still be my friends at the height of Ironman madness/training - or they won't. And that's OK!

This will be a juicy comeback story, I can feel it!

Up next: IronSnoopy and the Giant Peach Leg Hairs!

Monday, August 04, 2014

What'd I miss?

So, anything been happening while I've been...away?

I realize I'm talking to myself, but eventually someone will stumble across my message in a blog. Or not, and that's OK. I write as much for myself as anyone else.

I'll admit it: I've thought many, many times about deleting SnoopBlogg, and even went so far as to delete it (temporarily), but fortunately Blogger (Google?) has a "restore" function. After a night of regret, I frantically figured out how to get it back so I could stare at a blinking cursor for approximately 15 months. Longest writer's block ever? I doubt it. Snort. But longest for me.

But, it's still here and I'm still here and so, here we go again.

My Mom's near-fatal illness in 2012 (she's better, but will never be the same), followed by my compartment syndrome surgery really knocked my world of its axis. That's another post, though - much too long and sordid for this dusting off. If my absence is any indication, it's been quite a personal journey, but I'm not the first person to ever have an ill parent live 2,000 miles (3200km) away, and I'm also not the first triathlete to ever have surgery...but on the same hand, these were both firsts for me, and a one-two punch at that.

Anyhow, I'm done crying in my milk (ice cream), my coffee, my beer, to friends, to Moose, to sleep at night, and I'm ready to get back at it. Training. Living the life I love. The life I choose, not the life I feel has been dealt to me.

As usual, when faced with big issues, I tend to retreat into myself, shy away from friends, eat and drink a lot, stop working out and bury my head in the sand. Which means: I weigh more right this second than I have in my entire adult life. I'll publish that number when it starts to go down. I'm still in the 1's, but, damn, not by much...I.Am.FAT.

I'm working on accepting that this is temporary and the only way to fix it is to eat less and move more. I know myself well enough to know I don't handle entire food group restrictions: I enjoy carbs. I enjoy meat and animal products. I will not be vegan or paleo or whatever, but I have already started tracking calories and moving more.

I'm signed up for a 5K open water swim in five weeks. I was originally not going to wear a wetsuit (they made a joke while I was spectating last year that the only people who wear wetsuits at a swim race are triathletes. Everyone, including myself, laughed but - you know what? I AM a triathlete, so everyone else can, "suck it!" That, plus after the, ahem, Horrible and Devastating Polar Vortex of Last Winter, Lake Michigan is still spewing ice bergs. OK, not totally, but the last news report I saw was some ridiculous water temp of around 46 degrees (7.7 Celsius) out farther in the lake. No, thank you.)

I'm also signed up for a local half marathon in November. Really, my only goal is to 1. train for the distance and 2. finish the damn race. Given my track record the past three years, that in and of itself, will be a massive victory.

So, to new beginnings, lessons learned and new adventures!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

And now for something completely different!

This past weekend I participated in my first-ever swim meet. I’ve never even been to one before, so my expectations were a wee bit high –  visions of the Olympic torch and names like Phelps and Torres danced in my scared little head.

Needless to say, when I walked into the (extremely nice pool, especially for a high school) pool, I immediately turned to Moose and said, “Great practice pool. I wonder where the real pool is? And the NBC cameras?” as I looked around for Bob Costas.

Er, OK, so my nerves, which had been one nudge away from hysterics for days leading up to Friday, sorta dissipated a bit when I realized the pool I was staring at was indeed the meet pool. It looked, well, like any other pool. In fact, I kind of thought it looked (shh…) a little small and not very intimidating at all.

Cool, I can do this.
The pool DID NOT look like this much, except for the water part.
True story: I’m grounded enough to realize 1. I am not, and never will be, a swimmer, like, a real swimmer, and 2. I really had no business competing at this particular meet (Illinois Master’s State Swim Meet, LOL), but I’m all about having fun and trying new things these days, and this fit my agenda. I really don’t have anything else going on at the moment. #IronmanDone. Besides, when has any of that ever stopped me before?!

Every other year, they offer the 1650 (mile) as part of the meet, and since I've been told no one (i.e. real swimmers) ever wants to do that distance, it was fairly easy to register. I’d hoped to score 8th in my AG – and add one (yes, one) point to my team’s overall tally of just under twenty thousand or so points (these people can swim!).

There were 10 women in my AG.

I didn't have a plan, per se, other than to not go off the blocks (I didn't feel the need to lose my goggles on my first-ever event. See the part above about not being real), and just swim as hard as I could for as long as I could. I did a practice mile with my swim team a few months ago on our training trip to Florida, and had that time to beat in the back of my head.

The time my swim coach suggested as my seed time was several minutes faster than I swam in Florida. I totally thought she was, ahem, high as a kite when she suggested the time, but she's been to this rodeo before and I haven't, so there ya go. End of story.

As I was nervously standing around waiting for my heat to start, I met the other woman in my lane (we were swimming two per lane, staggered by 15 seconds or so, each staying on our respective sides). She told me this was her first swim meet and she had no idea what time she'd swim, and I thought, "great! We're newbies together!"

But I should've known better.

She was wearing a speed suit (hint #1).

She clarified...this was her first meet since high school, but she used to swim competitively. I decided then and there to just ignore her, and it was a wise choice, because she lapped me twice and was on her way to dinner by the time I finished. Newbie my ass.

Lane mate looked like this. No joke.
 First 1650 thoughts (and a bonus track, peeps!):
I found the numbers my counter stuck in the water for each lap amusing. I still suck off the wall. I still swim "short." I swim with my eyes closed a lot. The pool was hot. The time went by really fast. It was nice to have clean water and a black line to follow and no shopping carts, diesel fuel, trees or dead fish to swim through, and sharing a lane with one other person is a luxury compared to trying to cram 2200 of us into a tiny space.

I ended up swimming a 26:26:08! Over 2:30 minutes faster than I swam in Florida and faster than my seed time to boot! And while I ended up 9th and scoring a point by :13 seconds (damn it!), this is the fastest I've swam, so how can I be disappointed?!

AND to make it even better, I swam Saturday - 200m relay (free) - and my team was 4th (woo hoo!), and I successfully went off the blocks, which seriously feels Bad.Ass. if you do it right.

THEN, someone on my team didn't show up for the 500, so I subbed in for that, went off the blocks, didn't lose my goggles, swam my ass off and ended up scoring 7th in my AG (7:44).

At the end of the day, I scored two points for my team (plus 10 for the relay) and had a ridiculous amount of fun.

And, an  update of sorts:
Since the meet is over and I really am flying free, I'm determined to lose the self-pity 15 pounds I've gained since my last Ironman and get into good shape. I'm inspired by Michelle and loosely basing my workouts on what she does. It obviously works for her and seems really sensible and doable, so thanks, Michelle!

Today I ran 3 miles fairly hard - no watch or HR monitor, because I don't have to! :-) Then I went to our basement, "The Balboa Gym" to lift. As suggested by my swim coach, I'm mostly focusing on the muscles along the back side of my body, plus core and legs.

With stretching and my general pissing around shenanigans to get out the door, it took me about 1:15 total, which is perfect!

Here's an update picture of my leg, after today's run. As you can see, my left calf is not swollen at all, and it actually looks smaller to me than my right. It's been 6.5 months since surgery, and I'm finally (finally) mostly pain-free, numb free (from the cut saphenous nerve) and with the least amount of swelling in years. Years.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Life After Ironman

It looks like I'm a "3 and done" Ironman athlete. Two weeks ago I made the responsible decision to officially withdraw from Ironman Louisville. I'm still grappling a little bit with this, but instinctually I know it is the right choice.

Who am I, if not an Ironman?

I'm still me, and I'm so much more than 140.6. I'm a silly heart, a goof, a wife, a daughter, a lover of dogs, a writer, an inspiring swimmer, a foodie...the list is endless. But it was still a difficult decision.

Even if I could run (I'm still not running, five months post-op), I have to honestly answer the question, "just because you can, does that mean you should?" And the answer to that is a resounding no. I'd much rather cool my long distance jets and enjoy a lifetime of shorter, casual runs than push the envelope and blow myself up...and never be able to run.

Before marathons and triathlons, I was just a woman who ran for the love of running. I've loved it and benefitted from escapism in my runs for as long as I can remember. Like by seven years old I'd discovered its magical impact on my psyche. I haven't run since July of 2012, and I haven't run pain free in about two and a half years. I'm slightly depressed (it sounds cliche, but it really is my mental therapy) and out of sorts. I've begged the Universe or God or Karma to just give me the freedom to run regularly, a few times a week, and promised in return to treat my body with respect and not abuse it with 15 hour training weeks and 13 hour races.

And that's where I am. LOU is out. I see my surgeon tomorrow for another effort to get me back on my feet (orthotics, which I've never needed) and Hoka running shoes are the latest desperate attempt.

So, life after Ironman.

I'm figuring it out. I'm loving the pool more than ever, have plans for landscaping and maybe even a garden this summer, have a few cycling tours lined up...basically, I'll live. And hopefully happily and with a run or two peppered in there. :-)