Monday, December 15, 2008

Mele Kalikimaka!

This is probably what would happen if I ever asked dear Dave to hang up our Xmas lights. Assuming we have any Xmas lights.

So instead, we do ourselves (and others) a favor by going back to Kona for the holidays. And watching the NBC broadcast of the Ironman World Championship last Saturday was the perfect precursor. So fun to see some of the best triathletes in the world racing in my hood!

Hope all of you enjoy your holidays. I'll be back mid-January with a race report from the Zoom Yah Yah Indoor Marathon in Minnesota to kick off the new year. Then iron training begins in February. Aloha!

PS - If you want to see Dave and I doing some holiday cross-training, click on the image above to visit my sister Jade Lady's blog.

Monday, December 08, 2008

2008 in Review

17 Races Completed:
  • 7 marathons (3 sub-4 BQ race times!), a half marathon and a 5K
  • 3 half iron tris and a sprint tri
  • 4 bike time trials

    Two of Three 2008 Race Goals Met:
  • Run at least 5 marathons - Check!
  • Work on speed and do shorter distance races - Incomplete. Did some bike time trials but managed only one 5K and one sprint tri before I pulled a hammy and had to lay off speed work :-(
  • Sub-5:45 Half Iron tri - Check, 5:42:32 at Miami Man!

    First year I tracked my training (except for vacations). As of today:
  • Swam 196,906 yards. Will break 200K this year!
  • Biked 2540.30 miles.
  • Ran 723.95 miles.
  • Other workouts 34.58 hours.

    A Year of Patience:
  • Signs of plantar fasciitis at the start of the year. ARGH!!!
  • Bike crash in February (no upper body workouts for over a month due to bruised ribs and major loss of confidence on the bike!).
  • Stepped on glass while barefoot at the Gulf Coast half iron tri in May (foiled race goals).
  • Pulled hamstring end of July (greatly reduced running but an opportunity to improve my swimming).

    An INCREDIBLE Year for Blogging and Giving Back:
  • Made it to the finals of the second Evotri sponsorship contest. Thanks again to everyone who voted for me and got others to vote for me!
  • Logged over 100 hours helping out with local races. Thank you Track Shack for the wonderful opportunity to be a part of your staff!
  • Supported some awesome blogger friends by coaching and donating to their fundraising efforts. Congrats to Petra, Fe-lady, Iron Eric, Tammy, MarathonChris, Stef, CewTwo, Maddy, Planet3rry for challenging yourself to meet new goals and helping others!
  • Opened to have an additional outlet for inspiring/motivating others. Is one blog ever enough?

    Please help me give away four $25 gift certificates by voting for your favorite blogger in two polls currently at the Bar. Just click on the image below. (Voting ends Sunday, Dec. 14, at midnight Pacific Time) THANKS!!!

  • Sunday, November 30, 2008


    I'm not fat enough.

    I stared at B for a sec as if he'd called me the F-word then realized he meant he didn't have enough body fat to float.

    Poor guy, that was his excuse for not swimming. Two years ago, I was explaining to a friend/co-worker that I'd signed up for Ironman Florida 2006 in order to motivate myself to learn to swim. Seriously, nothing less would have gotten me to do it and had that year not seen some of the roughest water conditions ever at an Ironman race, I might have checked that box and moved on to something else. Instead, one person died and I finished the 2.4 mile swim leg ~6 minutes too late.

    You know the IM motto: Anything can happen.

    Still, I accomplished 90% of what I set out to do in training and had the most memorable swim of (for) my life. And, I came back with more than a medal. The DNF gave me the desire to be a real triathlete. Up to then, I was content to survive swim segments and ride centuries just so I could run more marathons. Silly, I know!

    But what B said got me thinking ... Many of the swimmers I saw at my pool did seem to have a lot of, let's say, built-in buoyancy. They made freestyle look so easy, gliding effortlessly down the lane while I splashed and struggled to go half as fast. How could it be that I could run for hours yet find swimming so difficult? What the heck am I missing? Maybe going on a bon-bon diet would help?

    Then last year I began working with Karlyn Pipes-Nielsen. Karlyn was the first elite swimmer I'd ever met. What impressed me immediately, though, was her physique. She could have passed for an elite marathoner. And, she had small feet too, like me.

    Hell, if she could float, most definitely, so could I. All body image issues I had went out the door.

    Now I could work on the real issue: good technique or rather, lack thereof. No more envying or being intimidated by barrel chests, big butts and size 10+ double E wide feet. No more excuses. Just focus on what it takes to get my body through the water and this year, finally, I became a swimmer.

    So now, after 3 years and 10 tris (6 half irons, 2 olys and 2 sprints), I feel poised to become the triathlete I've wanted to be. And to make things even sweeter, a wonderful blogging-for-coaching opportunity has come my way. Next year, I will tackle one of the most challenging iron races in the southeast, The Great Floridian. Then two weeks later, I'll head north to do Beach to Battleship, a cooler and much flatter course, just for grins.

    I may not be bright but Thank God I'm Fat enough :-)

    Sunday, November 23, 2008

    A New PR!

    No, not another race. 40 comments on my last post -- THANKXOXOX!!!

    Seriously, two years ago when I started blogging, I had no idea what I was getting into. It's so unlike me to write about myself and I didn't really even like taking pictures much. I think the number of photos of me from high school until my mid-thirties is probably less than 10!

    Too busy working and so self-critical all the time. It's a wonder I made it to my 40's ...

    Here's a couple things from the life of an older, much wiser woman :-)

    1. My photo tag (4th photo in my 4th folder). Sorry, it happens to be running related.

    Explanation: Photo that appeared in the May 2005 issue of Runner's World in reference to my 21 Run Salute. It was taken in downtown Orlando near Lake Eola. The photo shoot took 2-3 hours and the photographer and his assistant had brought all sorts of lighting equipment and props, including crumbs to get birds to fly around me. Who knew getting one good photo could take so long!

    2. My blog style (thanks to Spokane Al for pointing me to the Typealzer site):

    ESFP - The Performers

    The entertaining and friendly type. They are especially attuned to pleasure and beauty and like to fill their surroundings with soft fabrics, bright colors and sweet smells. They live in the present moment and don´t like to plan ahead - they are always in risk of exhausting themselves.

    They enjoy work that makes them able to help other people in a concrete and visible way. They tend to avoid conflicts and rarely initiate confrontation - qualities that can make it hard for them in management positions.

    I find this pretty funny because I once took a Myer-Briggs Type Indicator Test and got an INTJ result. So either I've really changed or am a schizo blogger.

    Added: My other blog,, came up as "ISTP - The Mechanics" so maybe I do have split personalities.

    3. More family time - After the Route 66 Marathon, I went to Austin for a couple days to meet up with Dave. He ended up arriving late and leaving early but I got to see Marathon Chris, who was attending the same conference as Dave, and visit my sis Jade Lady and her family, who live in the area.

    L to R: Dave, Me, my niece and brother-in-law. Sis, who took this photo and the one below, was added to the top left.

    And I got to swim in beautiful Barton Springs.

    Four birds with one stone!

    Now, time to catch up on what you all have been up to. My Google Reader says 30 new and exciting posts to read.

    Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!!

    Sunday, November 16, 2008

    Got My Kicks on Route 66

    Wicked Fun!!!

    The Route 66 Marathon in Tulsa, OK, was my 50th overall marathon (40th state in my 50 states quest) and my fastest one this year.

    I'll spare you another lengthy race report and make this one short & sweet. 3 marathons and 2 half iron tris the past two months is getting a bit ridiculous, isn't it?

    Great cold weather. A mostly flat out-and-back course on historic Route 66, along the Arkansas River and through Jenks America, home of the Oklahoma Aquarium. Nice entertainment at various spots along the way. Only real hills were miles 23-25. Evil!

    My plan: Just run and see what happens. No camera (during race). No marathon until January.

    3:51:20 (8:50 avg pace), 5/52 F45-49
    1st half 1:55:09, 2nd half 1:56:11
    Not bad!

    Wednesday, November 12, 2008

    Miami Man 2008

    This race really made me realize how much I love triathlons. Even with a lackluster swim and a frustrating bike issue, I had a blast. Here's a quick comparison of this year vs. last year (note that my age group doubled in size!):

    1.2 mi Swim (avg pace)48:07 (2:16/100y)48:17 (2:17/100y)
    56? mi Bike (avg pace)2:47:15 (20.1 mph)2:45:38 (20.4 mph)
    13.1 mi Run (avg pace)1:57:57 (9:00/mi)2:02:27 (9:21/mi)
    Total Time, F45-495:42:43, 8/345:46:20, 5/17

    So, basically, I did a little better on the swim & T1, which was offset by doing a little worse on the bike & T2, then a solid run got me a PR.

    But wearing no watch made it fun as did some zoo animals!

    1.2 mile Swim - 48:07 (2:16/100y, 20/34)

    The course was the same as last year, two loops in a small lake. Wetsuits were allowed and my wave went off at 7:17, again, just as the faster swimmers from the first wave were coming in for their second lap. Great... For the first time, though, I started sort of in the middle of my wave rather than in the back. I knew it was going to be a crowded swim the entire way but was much more comfortable handling contact with other swimmers this year so my strategy was to draft as much as possible.

    Good news: The 1.2 mile swim was really easy! Bad news: Not the big swim PR I was hoping for. But did I know at the time???

    NOPE! No clock at the swim exit and nothing on my wrist so I thought I'd had the best swim of my life. The shoes I'd left at the swim exit were waiting for me (last year someone stole my slippers!) and I was as happy as a clam coming into T1. I had my usual struggles taking off my wetsuit (really need to work on this!) but still shaved off nearly 2 minutes in transition. WOO-HOO!

    56? mile Bike - 2:47:15 (20.1 mph avg, 10/34)

    Now onto the flat and fast bike course. Like last year, it was fairly windy, 10-13mph from the north, and after doing the loop twice we'd have to work a lot harder to get back to the transition area. But I was better prepared this year with all rides I did out in Kona so bring on the wind!

    Coming out of the park, I was cruising at 22mph downwind easily and gaining speed when all of a sudden I'm pedaling and pedaling and going slower and slower! What the heck???

    So I pull over, get off my bike and check to see if my brakes are rubbing. Yep, looks like the front brakes need a little adjustment; back wheels are OK; no flats. I get back on my bike, wait for a little break in the riders and get back on my merry way again. WEEEEEE!

    Further down the same downwind stretch, I'm struggling to maintain 17mph. Not again!!!

    The fourth time it happens I try to realign the brakes with my hands while riding. No use, all I get is a little friction burn on my fingers from the wheel spinning. But I realize how close my Aqua Cell bottle is to the brakes. AHA! Could it be causing this problem? Not sure why it would since I used it at Gulf Coast Tri back in May with no problems. But I stop and see that the bottle is pretty much resting on the front brake housing so that perhaps every major bump I go over is causing it to push the brakes out of alignment. After adjusting the brakes, I also try to adjust the bottle position so it's riding higher.

    A turn later the brakes are dragging again. This time I decide to just flip the switch to open up my front brakes altogether and, what the heck, why not also try turning the bottle around backward. Now with the aerobar notch pointed away, it should ride further away from me and the brakes. Voila, I'm finally FREE of this #@$!&% problem!!!

    Of course, now I also have no front brakes but on a flat course like this, who cares? Just have to be a bit more careful approaching turns.

    So after ~7 miles and 5 stops (black asterisks on the bike course map), I'm finally racing! I shoot for 25-26 mph downwind, 20-21 mph crosswind, 18-19 mph into the wind and am passing lots of folks. Unfortunately, I see several riders drafting this year. Dave later tells me he heard that 24 drafting penalties were issued, the most they've ever had. Good, at least some of those cheaters got caught.

    Meanwhile, I'm seemingly riding and thinking of the elephants I would see later.

    I roll back into the transition area with my bike computer reading 54 miles (same as last year so I'm convinced this course is short) and 2:44-something. Wow, I ended up with a little faster bike split even with all the stops! Ummm, NO, I didn't because my bike computer time stopped every time I stopped. But did I remember that during my race?

    NO! Little Miss Happy Clam went about her way in T2 thinking she'd kicked @ss on the bike and pulled off a Chrissie Wellington or something. I stopped into the restroom before heading out onto the run course, which added a minute to my transition, but knew I'd be better for doing so.

    13.1 mile Run - 1:57:57 (9:00 avg pace, 4/34)

    The run was a bit cooler this year thanks to some added cloud cover but 80 degrees is still pretty warm and 13.1 miles is no walk in the park, even if much of it is in a park (click on map to enlarge). The flat bike course, however, allowed my running legs to return much sooner than at the FL Challenge Tri a couple weeks ago. By mile 2, I was feeling good and enjoying the zoo. Who's out today? What IS that thing? Who's making all that noise? What is that smell?

    Unintentionally, I probably ruined one woman's photos by passing her in front of the elephants where a race photographer is always located. Sorry!

    Starting the second lap, I saw Dave again who told me to negative split the run. Not sure I did since I didn't know how fast I ran either lap but I do know that during the second lap there was some added excitement in the Giant Tortoise pen. As I approached, I heard some really loud dinosaur-like noises and then saw one on top of another one.

    Mommy, what are they doing?, said one child.
    They're making baby turtles, her mom replied.

    HA, an X-rated show during a race! Of course, Dave had the camera so I didn't get any pictures ...

    The last couple miles were boring in comparison but I was slowly reeling in one of two women who had passed me earlier during the run, which kept me preoccupied. I caught her around mile 12 and a couple other guys just before the final stretch. Then I saw the Central FL Tri Club coach and many of its members cheering wildly. Go Shirley! You Look Great! Finish Strong! Go Girl! WOOOOO!!!

    What am I saving my energy for? I picked up my pace and ran as fast as I could. The finish line was just off to the right but I didn't see a clock when I crossed it. Where's the clock? What was my time?

    Well, there was no clock for some reason and now I wanted my watch REAL bad. Soon enough, though, I saw Dave heading over to meet me. He said that I'd finished at 1pm, which meant a sub-5:45 race time. OH YEAH!!!

    So even if everything didn't go quite as I'd hoped, I felt the strongest I've ever felt in all three sports and I'd managed to keep things together to race well. A great way to end my tri season and a nice birthday present to myself.

    Thoughts on the swim: I think I'm not an aggressive or fast enough swimmer to get around slower folks well and got boxed into going a slower pace. The swim course also had 8(!) major turns, making it one of the more technical half iron swim courses with a lot of slowing going around each of the buoy turns. Even my tri club coach swam 5 minutes slower at Miami last year than he did recently at FL Challenge tri so a 3 min difference for me is probably not bad. Regardless, I'm sure I can do better and will be continuing to work on my swimming. There's something brewing behind the scenes for next year that could involve a lot more swimming and a team uniform!

    Sunday, November 09, 2008

    A New PR at Miami Man!

    Thanks for the well wishes on my birthday and race! I finished Miami Man today in 5:42:32, nearly a 4 minute PR.

    It didn't come the way I had hoped and I had a frustrating bike issue early on that caused me to dismount my bike 4-5 times to try to figure out what was wrong with it. But, I cannot complain. At least I didn't get 5(!) flats like Stef did during her bike segment at Silverman half iron tri today. Holey Moly!

    I will take my carrot cake and eat it too. Details to follow once the sugar high has worn off.

    Saturday, November 08, 2008

    Don't Watch Me

    5 years ago I ran my first marathon, the 2003 Disney Marathon. Man, was I dumb!

    I loosely followed one of Hal Higdon's training programs, running 3 times a week while also training in karate and teaching some fitness classes. My longest sports-related event to date was a 4-hour black belt test. We were not allowed to consume anything but water and I'd assumed the same was true while running marathons. A marathon was surely even more a test of endurance and eating something would sort of be like cheating, wouldn't it?

    Before Disney, I'd run 2 other races, a half marathon and a 5-miler, but never paid attention to what other runners did. My sister, Jade Lady, who had run many more races and was also running Disney, mentioned that runners often used gels and sports drinks to keep going longer and stronger. They did???

    Well, I'd already done all my long runs with just water and only had enough time to be confident that my stomach could handle a 50/50 mix of water and Gatorade. To take the pressure off, I decided it was better for me not to wear a watch and run by feel as I did in training. I lined up in the corral they put me in based on my half marathon time (my first race), ran a pace I thought I could hold for 26.2 miles and crossed the finish line in 3:33:32. YOWZA!!

    11 months and 6 marathons later, I finally broke 3:30 after pretty much giving up on that goal and relaxing for my last race of the year.

    So what did I learn in my first year and a half of racing?

    For one thing, I often perform better when I least expect it. I can put so much pressure on myself sometimes that it backfires and makes me not want to race at all. I need to keep things fun and give myself lots of opportunities so no single event has too much weight. And since this weekend is my birthday, I'm going to give myself a present. I'm going to leave my watch behind at Miami Man. Maybe I'll surprise myself again. Either way, it's going to be a fun race!

    PS - I chopped off a pound of hair yesterday :-)

    Monday, November 03, 2008

    Babes & Beaches

    Congrats to everyone who raced last weekend!! While others were tapering and gearing up for their big day, Dave and I were out West checking out some babes and beaches. But the babes we saw were not at the beach.

    No, they were out in the desert at TriSports in Tucson, AZ.

    As soon as we opened the door, there they were, rows of sleek beauties oozing sexiness in assorted colors, sizes and shapes. Hey, baby, wanna go for a ride? In addition, there were all sorts of other goodies, cute clothes, shoes, wetsuits and even a big Endless Pool to try the wetsuit in. It was tri heaven!

    The purpose of our visit, however, was to get fit for new bikes that have not yet been built. They have a special custom bike fitting area with different seats and handle bars you can try with a Serotta Bike Fit System, which can be adjusted and used to fit people of different sizes. Good because Dave and I are pretty much at opposite ends of the size spectrum.

    Dave has actually decided to get both a new tri bike and a road bike and needed to get fit for two bikes. Believe me, anything to get him to not work and travel so much is a good thing!

    He tried three different seats and decided on the first one for his tri bike and the second one for his road bike, which is actually a woman's seat but his butt likes it. Both of us gave thumbs down on the third leather one. Oweee!

    Then it was my turn to get fit for a road bike. I had to have some body measurements taken since we didn't have them on paper with us. There was this one medieval-looking spring loaded inseam measuring device that was not at all pleasant.

    After fitting us, Mark, the bike guy (left in the photo), gave Dave (right) and I a no-photos-allowed behind-the-scenes tour of the store. He also gave us a nice goody bag to thank us for dropping a small fortune on the bikes. We'll be back in January for the final fitting and a test ride after our babies are built.


    Then we headed to San Diego or, more accurately, La Jolla. Dave had some meetings to attend and I tagged along too since I knew the area well having attended UCSD for grad school and would not be bored.

    We stayed at the Hilton Torrey Pines. Being a Double Black Diamond Super 007 Frequent Hilton Hotel Guest, they gave Dave a really nice suite and said nothing about a woman claiming to be his wife who wanted a second key and free breakfast buffet tickets too. Hmm, maybe I should accompany him on more of his business trips?

    We had a great view of Torrey Pines Golf Course with downtown San Diego off in the distance and an ocean view, too, in another direction.

    I did some open water swimming down at La Jolla Shores Beach, where I'm more comfortable swimming alone at than La Jolla Cove. I did some laps out and back to a buoy located about 250 yards off shore right in front of the lifeguard station (they use it for their swim test). The water temp was 62 degs but didn't feel cold with the 70-80 deg air temps. When I swam there October 2006 to prepare for Ironman Florida, air temps were in the 50's and I dreaded going in the water (Who am I kidding? I just hated swimming back then, period.)

    I also ran at Torrey Pines State Reserve, which was about a mile from the hotel. Having read the off-road adventures of RBR, Jane and Robin recently, I was inspired to give trail running a try. Of course, I tripped on something nearly right away and was promptly reminded to pick up my feet.

    I took Broken Hill trail which led to ... guess what?

    Down near the ocean, Broken Hill trail met up with Beach Trail and I followed that back up to the bluffs where I started. OK, so it was only a few miles but I didn't roll an ankle, fall (stumbles don't count), get lost, get stung by any bees or step in anything worse than soft sand. Note to self: Do this again soon!

    Of course, no trip to San Diego would be complete without a bike ride along the coast. Dave and I rode from the hotel up to Oceanside about 20 miles away a couple times later in the week. I was thrilled to see how much I'd improved as a cyclist since I rode here last back in January 2007 with my travel bike on its first trip. Dare I say I'm starting to like riding hills?

    Near the end of each ride, we enjoyed this magnificent view of the Torrey Pines State Beach. Then we had to climb a big hill back to our hotel, which was located behind the trees in the top left of the photo. Chalkings from a recent MS 150 ride were still on the ground to help motivate us. Great way to end a great ride!

    Tuesday, October 28, 2008

    Florida Challenge Triathlon

    First of all, thank you for all the comments on my last two posts!! Dave is definitely feeling the love but still says he doesn't want his own blog. But, he has done his best to get some "bad" photos of me so ya'll can see I don't always smile during a race. Here's what he got at the Florida Challenge Tri last Saturday.

    Well, even though I might not show it, I was very happy that the race organizers had declared that the swim was wetsuit-legal. Earlier in the week, we'd received an email saying the water temp was 80-81 degs, which didn't look good. But a storm the day before the race dumped some rain which probably helped. YAY! Above I'm applying some Body Glide to make my wetsuit easier to put on and take off. After much wriggling and pulling, I was all zipped in but having to stand real tall to breathe. I swear that thing seems to get tighter every time I put it on!

    No, actually, I was scanning the crowds looking for fellow blogger Sarah, who was there too doing her first half iron race. I found her near the water's edge along with her husband and some other folks from her tri club. We chatted for a while and she seemed to be as cool as a cucumber.

    I was also probably the most calm I'd ever been before a tri seeing no waves breaking, no white caps, no alligator warning signs and buoys that didn't look so far. I told Dave I hoped to finish the swim in ~45 minutes. Honestly, though, I have no clue of my swim pace when I'm swimming in open water. It all depends on the currents, waves, how well I sight, others around me (one time I drafted someone and ended up swimming slower!) and, of course, whether the course distance is accurate.

    So I started in the back as I usually do but found myself swimming past people early on. There did seem to be a current making it harder to stay on course on the first two legs of the triangle but what bothered me most was not seeing many purple caps in my wave around me on the last leg. Instead, I saw quite a few green caps from the wave behind me and I thought for sure I was in for another slow swim again. Then I stood up and looked at my watch. 45-something!!!

    My tri club coach was right behind me coming out of the water (his wave started 10 minutes later). He yelled at me to keep moving as the guy in front of me started walking. Thanks, Coach!

    1.2 mile swim time: 45:27 (2:09/100 yds), nearly a 3 minute PR for me!

    To my surprise, there were wetsuit strippers at this race. Had I known that, I would have gotten the arms of my wetsuit off before reaching them. Instead, these two poor young girls spent a minute or so struggling to get the sleeves around my watch and race wristband. Then they spent another minute or so trying to pull off the wetsuit over my big butt. I might have been quicker doing it myself!

    But, finally, I got to T1 and saw a most magnificent sight ... lots of bicycles still there around mine :-)

    T1 time: 4:15

    So now it was onto the hilly 58-mile bike course. Dave and I rode it the weekend before and I figured I'd be in for close to a four hour ride, that is, if I wanted to have any legs left to run on afterward. I didn't even bother wearing my aero helmet. I did get a lot of looks, however, because I was riding my little travel bike. No doubt if there'd been a cute bike division, it would definitely have won that from all the comments I heard the day before the race and during the race.

    But this little bike can keep up with its bigger cousins quite well, especially with no bike computer on it. Yes, the bike crash earlier this year still haunts me so I purposefully rode without a computer hoping I'd stop freaking out and hitting the brakes every time I saw 30+ mph on the downhills. The strategy worked well.

    However, midway up the biggest hill on the course, Sugarloaf, somehow my chain went off the cassette towards the wheel and got stuck. Uh-oh! Fortunately, I clipped out before falling over. It was easy to fix and I managed to get clipped back into my pedals on the hill and going up again pretty fast. Woo hoo!

    But then shortly after making it to the top of Sugarloaf, I felt the water bottle on my down tube resting against my right calf. WTF? I pulled over again and discovered that the top bolt to my bottle cage had gotten loose so that the cage was only being held by the bottom screw. Crap!

    Luckily, the bolt was still there as it was being held in place by the water bottle. I couldn't get it back on using my fingers and had to pull out my multi-tool to screw it back in. It took longer than I would have liked but being a low key race, I didn't get too frazzled. I halfway expected to get a flat too since I had one at the end of the ride last week. Nothing else would slow me down, though, except more hills and some wind.

    58 mile bike time: 3:27:27 (16.8 mph)

    Back in T2, however, I saw there weren't that many bikes back on the racks yet, which made me feel a whole lot better. I made a quick stop into a porta potty and headed out for the run.

    T2 time: 3:39

    The first couple miles were tough. My glutes and hamstrings were very tight (definitely not used to riding hills!) and it was getting kind of warm, maybe close to 80 degs. I slogged through to where Dave was located at around mile 2 and gave him "the look."

    About 2 hours?, he asked. At least, I replied.

    But in Hawaii after a 50+ mile bike ride, my legs felt similarly and they got better after a few miles. On the other hand, things could stay a slogfest the whole time as it did at Gulf Coast Tri back in May. Only time will tell ...

    At least we had some nice shade along parts of this run course, which made a huge difference, along with 10 degree cooler temps and much lower humidity than at Gulf Coast. The biggest hill was located where there was no shade, however, and, of course, we had to run up it, down it, turnaround and go back up and down it again. Bastards.

    But after that (~mile 4) is when my legs got their groove back! I began humming along at probably close to 9-minute miles and passing a fair amount of folks. Later, around miles 9 and 10, a couple guys and one woman passed me but they didn't bother me much since I'd already decided I didn't want to overdo things at this race. They were going way faster than me anyway.

    Near the finish, there was a cruel turn in the run course that added another half mile to what I thought I had left. I finally got to the final straightaway and picked up my pace a bit although there was no one in front to catch. Dave was nowhere in sight but I would find out later that he was actually there wearing a pink shirt rather than the orange one he'd had on earlier. Sneaky!

    So he caught me smiling at the finish after all. Even though the clock over the finish line was broken, I knew I'd finished in under 6:30 and had had a great race!

    Final Race time:
    6:23:28, 2/9 F45-49

    Swim: 45:27 (2:09/100yd), 5/9
    T1: 4:15, 6/9
    Bike: 3:27:27 (16.8 mph), 3/9
    T2: 3:39, 3/9
    Run: 2:02:43 (9:22 pace), 3/9

    Maybe I should treat all my races as training races?!

    Oh, and Sarah rocked her first half iron tri. Read about her race here!

    Saturday, October 25, 2008

    Quick Update: Great Training Race!

    I stuck to my plan to use the Florida Challenge half iron tri as a training race but nearly everything went better than I expected so I ended up finishing in 6:23:28 instead of the 7 or so hours I thought I would. I also got second place in my age group, unbelievably.

    There were only 9 of us, though, and the really fast ones that were there last year decided to do something else today. Am I the only one who looks up previous year's race results?

    More details to follow soon. Need to get some sleep before a flight tomorrow morning!

    Friday, October 24, 2008

    Dr. Humble Triathlete

    Many of you know me as a crazy woman who travels about the country training and racing incessantly. Even on my lazy days I can make the Energizer Bunny look like a sloth.

    Who in their right mind would put up with me and why?

    Well, here's a bit about my better half, or rather better two-thirds. I was nearly flabbergasted when Dave asked to write a post on my blog. He keeps saying he doesn't want to blog! It didn't have a title so I gave it one (he has a PhD in Computer Science) and I added a little of my own too. After all, it is still MY blog. But you'll see that he is at least partially to blame for my madness.

    Hi, this is Dave (Shirley’s husband) with a guest post.

    As some of you know, I’m very supportive of Shirley and her pursuit of running all of these races all over the country. It’s not because I’m such a nice guy, it’s because I have a vested interest in having her travel around the country with a goal that is gonna take a couple of years.

    For those of you who don’t know, I travel a lot for work. Like nearly every week except on weekends, usually. So much so that more than half of Shirley’s trips are at least partially covered by hotel, car, or airline points. Having her travel solves two problems: 1. it helps to use up the points so people don’t ask me for them and 2. it exposes her to some of the “fun” I have when I travel. So, her flying around the country sets up a common bond between us. She can curse TSA rules too, collect her own little shampoo bottles and laugh at my travel jokes. I grew up in the military, so I’ve been all over the country and no real desire to visit most of it again anyway. My idea of a vacation is staying home for a change.

    On the triathlon front, in the mid 1980’s I ran quite a few of what are now called the Olympic distances races. I've also done the Wildflower Triathlon long course and still have one of the original Scott aerobars used in the sport, which Shirley once thought was a lawn mower part in the garage. During that time, I got hooked on road bike riding. So, a couple of years ago when I was fitted with some knee braces by the VA, I decided to try riding again. This coincided with Shirley’s desire to try triathlons. So, now road biking is a shared hobby we can do together. As an aside, I also managed to lose 40 lbs.

    Ok, there is one restriction I did put on her. I told her that we would not move to Hawaii until she has finished the 50 states quest. Her desire to complete the quest by the time she is 50 (November 2011) coincides with my desire to keep working in my present capability until May 2011. Not sure what I’m going to do after that, but it’s going to involve less travel and allow me to follow a training plan. So, supporting her goal is also supporting mine of continued working or at least postponing me having to come up with “what's next”. The other thing is I’m too cheap to want her flying back and forth from Hawaii to run races all the country. Shirley has made it clear, though, that she's willing and able to knock out the remaining 11 marathons to finish her 50 States quest in a year if I figure out what to do next sooner.

    Finally, I’m supportive of her because I love her with all my heart, she means the world to me and I would do anything I could to help make her happy. Well, almost anything.

    Thanks for reading …

    Now please give him some nice comment love so he might do this again in the future :-)