Monday, August 31, 2009

The Spirit of Columbus 1/2 Marathon

After my very eventful day and successful 100 mile bike ride for Pelotonia, I decided to go ahead and run a 1/2 marathon the next day.  I had originally signed up for the 1/2 prior to Pelotonia and at first I thought about blowing off the 1/2 because I thought that the Pelotonia ride was a much worthwhile cause.  After reviewing my IM training plan, I realized I was going to have to run long anyway, so I decided to try and do both.  I didn't think I would have any desire to go out and run an hour and half by myself.  So, the challenge of running a little further with friends sounded much more appealing.  And boy, I am glad that I did!  Here is how the day went:

6:45am - showed up at Tuttle Mall for the race start.  Found all of my MIT friends.  Quick conference with my fellow coach Kristen and we decided to go slow, as she had helped the MIT group on Saturday and put in 16 miles with them!  For us, slow is a 10-10:30 pace, no need to push too hard and risk injury!  Our fellow MIT member, Chris decided to join us as he had already run 5 miles earlier in the morning and at the end of the day, this would be his first 18 miler!  Kristen and I then decided to go through the long bathroom line twice, but still made it to the race start in time because it got delayed . . .

7:45am - We finally start the race with a bang and suddenly we are already running at a 9:20 pace!  Decide at that point that Chris is in charge, since he has a garmin and checks it regularly, need to slow down a bit so we can finish the race!

7:59am - We pass the first water stop, it is self serve.   There are two coolers sitting out on a table with some cups next to them, no people to help out at all, decided to pass on that one as Chris and I had brought our own fluids, at this point Kristen was already pulling ahead!

8:15am - Second water stop, Kristen has pulled off to the side and decided to wait for us.  I am hungry, so opt to do a gu a little earlier than usual.

8:17am - We spy our fellow MIT member, Becki, and have our photo taken.  Kristen weaves to the side to make sure she is front and center!

8:18am - We see our friend Matt, who also takes our picture, but I don't have copies from him yet.
8:38am - We come to the next water stop - they are out of water and Heed (the Gatorade substitute)! 
8:45am - Mile six, they are also out of fluids but do have banana flavored hammer gel available.  Yuck, good thing I have my own supply.  Kristen takes one, but I don't think she actually eats it. 
8:50am - We see Jen, aka, "Chuck" who yells loud enough for the whole park to hear her, fortunately she has a cooler with her and tosses Kristen a small bottle of water.
9:05am - We are around mile 8 going uphill and spot another water stop that appears to have fluids, I decide to do my second gu and grab some water.  Unfortunately all they have is the Heed and no water.  I take a sip and immediately spit it out - the stuff is terrible and really isn't what I want to wash down the gu.  Kristen then shares her water with me.  Thanks, Kristen!  Trying to speed back up the hill is murder on my legs, good thing it is the last one!
9:20am - I am starting to struggle a bit, my gluts and hammies are on fire!  Kristen and I realize that we are at a 9:30 pace and debate if we should yell at Chris for keeping the pace too fast or simply latch onto the back of his fuel belt and let him drag us along for a bit.  We do the prior and slow down to a 10:00 pace for about 30 seconds.
9:30am - At this point we have pulled in front of the 10:00 pace group and are leaving them in the dust. 
9:40am - I am pretty sure I am bonking or dehydrated.  I am getting chills despite the fact that we have full sun and I am drenched in sweat, the thought of running anymore doesn't seem possible, my legs feel like they have cement on the end of them and my breathing is starting to become labored.  Thankfully, I have 2 very good friends running on either side of me and they talk me to the finish!
9:55am - 2 hours and 10 minutes later we have crossed the finish line!  Avg pace 9:50 - so much for our slow race!  LOL!  Unfortunately they are out of water and we have to wait in line for our medals, t-shirts, and hats.  The only thing to drink is vitamin water and myoplex.  Kristen and I are both dehydrated and want nothing but water.  Fortunately our faster MIT friends had stashed a few bottles so we were able to split a bottle between us.

So, what did I learn from this experience?
1) I can do 100 miles on the bike one day and follow with a 1/2 marathon the next day.
2) It is always a good idea to have your own drink/beverage at a race because you never know what can happen on the course.
3) This is a race I will always remember as a good one, because I had 2 wonderful people to run with me to the finish!   I don't think every race is always about how fast you can do it or getting a PR.  Sometimes, I think a great race can be due to the people that are with you despite some of the obstacles that are thrown your way.   

My stats for the week:
Monday: hour ride
Tuesday: hour run with speed work for the middle 20 minutes, followed by 30 minutes of core work and stretching
Wed: 30 miles on the bike, no timing
Thursday: 2800 swim, hour run
Friday: rest
Saturday: 102 mile bike (6:48)
Sunday: Half Marathon (2:10)

Sunday, August 30, 2009


"Pelotonia is a grass roots bike tour with one goal: to end cancer. Pelotonia raises money for innovative and life saving cancer research at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center- James Cancer Hospital and Solve Research Institute. Driven by the passion of its cyclists and volunteers, and their family and friends, Pelotonia's annual cycling experience will be a place of hope, energy and determination. Leveraging Netjets' transformational gift, Pelotonia directs 100% of every dollar raised to research. It is a community of people coming together to chase down cancer and defeat it." - Annonymous

This phrase about sums up the experience.  I started the weekend (Friday night) by attending the Opening Ceremony and Registration for this event.  This included registration for the bike ride, dropping off my bike, cancer expo, food/beverage, live entertainment, and a kick-off "speech." Included in this speech were words of encouragement given by Mayor Coleman, Governor Strickland, Gordon Gee, and Lance Armstrong.  Also included was a very moving video including cancer survivors and family of those claimed by cancer, as to why this ride was so important.  My good friend and cancer survivor, Eileen Murphy, attended this event with me.  It was especially moving because she just recently had her first clear scan after fighting Lymphoma since October.  I am honored that she came with me and having her there made this ride so much more personal for me.  She has had such a great attitude and put up such an amazing fight against this cancer thing, that I felt humbled to be part of an event that celebrated the survivors, remember those that had passed away, and will continue to help those that fight cancer in the present and future.  Many thanks to Eileen for helping to inspire me to do this ride and to all of those that helped to support and make it possible!  Thanks to everyone that contributed, I was able to raise over $1,700 towards this cause!

Eileen and I at the expo.
Christopher Conn, my swim instructor.  Gearing up for his 180 mile ride!
Pre-speech entertainment, Matt Nathanson
Governor Strickland
Gordon Gee, giving his David Letterman "Top Ten" Cycling Questions List
Lance Armstrong, I will include a video of his speech at the end of this blog!
Michelle Branch, unfortunately her performance got cut short by the very wicked storm that came through shortly after she started playing! 
From the car, trying to leave the parking lot, as the storm rolled in . . .

Saturday started out bright and early.  The ride was scheduled to leave at 7:15am but got pushed back due to "mechanical problems."  I was supposed to meet my friend Christopher, but was unable to find him in the crowd of 2,000+ riders.  The bike corral was so crowded that I was unable to get in it once I found my bike, but luckily I found a gate that fed into the starting line.  As a result, I was able to meld in with the starting 50 riders!  Unfortunately I was on the wrong side of the corral and never did actually see Lance start the race, and due to his excellent riding abilities, I never caught him on the ride! 

The "starting line" for Pelotonia 2009.  I am actually outside of the corral at this point!
The route and elevation chart.  The highest elevation grade per the map said "4%"  I have to argue that it felt  more like 14%!! 
First rest stop around 25 miles.
Water stop at ClearCreek Park, this was about 1/2 way into the ride.  I felt pretty good at this time, as we had mostly rolling hills up to this point.  Very shortly after this stop the steepest hills started.  They were challenging for me, but I was able to tough it out and bike up all of the hills that were on the course.  Many people were walking, but I talked myself into keeping up my very slow pace (I recall seeing 5 mph at one point) and finish the hills!  It was tough physically and mentally, but I can't imagine it is anything like the battle that cancer patients are fighting everyday.  This is alot of what kept me going through the ride and why I decided to do it.  So many people that I know have been affected by cancer in some way.  This ride and fund raiser was the least I could do to show my support, love, and caring in this ongoing fight. 
Made it to the finish line in Athens!
102+ miles - I forgot to start my clock right away, so I think it was actually closer to 104!
Eileen was there at the finish!  I was so glad to see her!
My support crew;  my mom, Aunt Debbie, and Uncle David! 
I have to say that this was an amazing event.  It was awesome and humbling at the same time, to be part of this experience to help raise money and support cancer research.  As I said before, the ride was challanging, but I am sure it is nothing compared to what cancer victims and their loved ones face on an ongoing basis.  The organization of this bike tour  was unbelievable, the riders and spectators were fantastic, and the event was inspiring.  I would definately do this again in the coming years and challenge more people to do it in the future.  I also have to say I was in awe of all the riders that participated in this that had SURVIVOR written on the back of their bike jerseys.  Everytime I saw that on the ride, I gave an invisible fist pump into the air and I knew that I was participating in a great cause! 

The following is a video of Lance Armstrong's Speech, this isn't the exact video that I recorded - I was closer - unforunately I was unable to figure out how to load the video I took onto this blog!  LOL!  However, as I only recorded half of the speech, this is probably better anyway! 

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I am tired

I think all the training I have been doing has finally caught up with me. Over the weekend I didn't feel great.

Saturday, I was supposed to help the MIT group with a 16 mile run, but I knew 6 miles into it that I had no interest in doing that. I struggled with cramps - mostly abdominal, but some leg - within 3 miles of starting. Fortunately, there was a group that only wanted to go 12 or 13, so I quickly offered to guide them back at the correct turn around point. I started to feel a little better around mile 8, so was able to pick up the pace for a few miles, the group was really looking strong! Unfortunately, it was a little to much for me and by mile 10 I was dreading that we had done that, by mile 11 I let the rest of the group go ahead, and by mile 12.5 I was done. The cramping went away for a bit but the legs felt very heavy and I struggled with SOB that I haven't felt for awhile - despite using both of my inhalers religiously for the past few months! I really didn't feel quite right the rest of the day and was in bed by 9pm that night.

Sunday started out well enough, I went on an early morning ride with my swim instructor, Christopher Conn. We met at a half-way point between Dublin and UA (where he lives). The meeting time was 7am, so I left the house by 6:30am. This was the first time I have had to use a headlamp on my bike because it was still dark. I have to say that I really enjoyed watching the sun rise on the bike. The morning temps were a little cool, but felt good compared to the last few weeks. We enjoyed a very leisurely 33 mile ride out to West Jefferson and back. By the time I got back home I was able to get in 53 miles and felt pretty good. After quickly showering, CT and I headed up to Lima for his brother and sister-n-laws baby shower. I wasn't much company in the car, as I napped both on the trip up there and back. The shower and company was very nice and we headed back to Dublin at a decent time. Unfortunately, the cramping I experienced the day before when running returned on the trip home, along with nausea. So, Sunday night was another early night and I was able to put in a good 10 hours of sleep Sunday night.

Yesterday, I did a quick hour ride on the bike that felt pretty good, but again I was in bed early. This morning the alarm went off for my masters swim class. I wasn't happy with it, and eventually turned off the snooze and went back to sleep. I felt very guilty about skipping class, but the thought of 2 more hours of sleep quickly over-ruled any guilt that I had! I did get a hour run in and some core strength after this, but I already feel like I could take another nap.

CT told me that with all the training I should expect to be more tired - he is all the time when he is in the thick of his training. However, I guess I didn't expect to feel it so soon, as it feels like I just started ramping up my training. Of course there could be other factors involved, too. Maybe I am fighting a virus, maybe I am not eating enough or drinking enough. Maybe, it is the female hormone fluctuations that remind me that I am not pregnant that kicked in this weekend. I am hopeful it is that later, as I have a tough weekend of training coming up. All in all, I guess the best I can do is to listen to my body and try to adjust accordingly.

At least I am not acting like this guy (yet)!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Lance Armstrong

Lance, signing autographs prior to a stage in the Giro d'Italia
Getting directions to the start of the race stage for the day.

Hanging with the leaders of the Giro, during Blockhaus - a grueling climb!

Lance's special bike for the Giro.

I will admit it, Lance Armstrong facinates me. He fascinates me on many different levels.
1) As an athlete, he ranks up there as one of the all time greatest. Right now I am in awe of so many - Micheal Phelps for 8 gold medals, Bolt for 19.19 sec 200 world record, 9.58 100 sec WR, Lance Armstrong - 7 Tour de France titles. In time I am sure I will find new athletes to admire, as I am sure these records will change. But right now, I find it awesome and amazing that they are gifted with such talent - something I am not!
2) Not only is he a world class athelete, but he did it after he beat stage III testicular, brain, and lymph cancer.
3) No person right now is so known worldwide. He has been known for awhile in the cyling realm, but this year he has also put CANCER on the map with his Livestrong Foundation. By creating this:
This wristband has become a worldwide phenom. You see everyone wearing these, not just Americans, but also Italians, Spainards, Jamacians, etc. You see athletes, nonatheletes, children, parents, pretty much every different type of person out there wearing these bracelets. Nothing else in the world has come close to unifying people. The Livestrong Foundation had reached supporters and rasied awareness on a worldwide level. The battle against cancer has a long way to go, but Lance Armstrong is doing an awful lot to combat it now.

I have been very fortunate this year in that I got to see him race in Italy. I will also get a second opportunity to see him again this year. He is to be one of the speakers for the Pelotonia Ride taking place in Columbus this weekend (8/30/09 and 8/31/09). This is another fundraiser to raise money towards the battle with cancer that Lance Armstrong will be riding in and speaking at the opening ceremony. I have raised over $1,500 from friends and family toward this cause and will ride 100 miles from Columbus to Athens. To read more see this website:

My guess is that I won't see him on the bike - I think his pace is a little faster than mine! But, I am excited to hear him as a speaker and am interested to hear what he has to say.

Stats for the week:
Monday: 6 mile run (1:01)
Tuesday: 3000 swim, hour on the bike
Wed: rain forced me inside - hour on the trainer
Thursday: 3000 swim, hour run with last 10 minutes in zone 4 HR
Friday: rest
Saturday: 12.5 mile run, no timing

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Century Ride

I hit another milestone today! Thanks to the FIT group I was able to complete my first century ride. 100 miles, on a bike, hilly course, in 90 degree weather. Not ideal, but I did it! I even had enough energy left to finish with a 15 minute transition run. Followed up with a celebration at Vaquero. Fajitas Suprema and 2 beers later, I am now ready for bed. The time on the clock says 7:38pm. No pictures today because once again, I left my camera at home!

Stats for the rest of the week:
Friday: rest
Saturday: 2 hour run
Sunday: 100 mile bike, 15 minute run

Thursday, August 13, 2009


Kewpee Tri/Du 2009

Antrim Tri/Du 2009

Sprink 5k 2009

Cap City 1/2 Marathon 2009
Last Chance for Boston 1/2 and full marathon 2009

Columbus Marathon 2009

Columbus Marathon 2009

I couldn't do all of the training for these races without a buddy system. These groups/people are what help me to get out and do all the training that I need to do. I don't think that without them I would have been able to come as far as I have and will need them to continue my training through the year. These groups are as follows:

1) Running: MIT (marathon in training) see the website for specifics
2) Swimming: Masters Swim Group at the Dublin Rec Center
3) Biking: Several groups have been helpful, but mostly these 2; FIT (friends in training), Tri-Tech group

I also want to give a shout out to COTT which is the Central Ohio Triathlon Team. I think this is a great organization and although I am not an official member, I have gone on a few rides with them and hope to be able to do a few more.

All of the above pictures are of various MIT members. You can see the large of array of races that they have helped me or have participated in - and that is only a few! Unfortunately I don't have any pictures of the rest of my groups - no one wants to get there picture taken in their bathing suit and I keep forgetting to bring a camera with me on the rides! However, I hope to have a few more to post by the end of the year. Many thanks to all of my different training friends - I couldn't do all of this craziness without you!

STATS for the week:
Monday: 6 mile run
Tuesday: 3000 swim, hour bike
Wed: 30 mile bike
Thursday: Brutal 3000 swim, 60 minute tempo run

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Why Do I Tri?

Many people have asked me lately why I want to do a full Ironman. This is an interesting question, especially when I can recall saying "There is no way I would ever do one of those, that is crazy" just a few years ago. There are a few reasons that I think are behind my sudden change in direction and new found goal of trying to complete the Arizona Ironman this year:

  1. The more races I watch, the more confidence I have that I can do one of these. The first one I watched, I was in awe of all the athletes that were able to complete this race. They came in all shapes, sizes, ages. The oldest finisher was 80 and he finished 10 minutes prior to the youngest, who was 18. I was still amazed though that all these people were crazy enough to try this and finish - including my boyfriend, his brother, and one of their good friends. After spectating for more and more events, however, I really have come to recongnize all the different people and levels of people that do these races. And as I have done more races, I have gained confidence, that just maybe I can do this too.

  2. Because I can. Humanity, or mortality if you will, has been on my mind alot in the past year. It started when my boyfriend's mother was diagnosed with cancer last year. We watched her struggle with her humanity as she battled cancer with chemo and radiation. She put up a very good fight, but in time, cancer claimed her humanity and she passed away in June. Watching someone you love die, affects people in a lot of different ways, mourning is also very different in each individual. But, eventually you start to look at your life a little differently and really think about it and question if there is anything you can/should do differently. Last October one of my friends was diagnosed with Lymphoma. She started chemo shortly after that and has put up a phemoninal fight with her humanity. I just found out that last week she had her first clear scan and at this point in time is cancer free!! Last, I have watched my father go from a very large and healthy man to one that is frail and tires easily. He has Parkinson's, severe spinal stenosis, and seems to be losing weight at an alarming rate. Despite this all, he still makes it out to golf at least once a week, goes to exercise class 1 -2 times a week and will take time to talk with his daughters (if they take the effort to do so). Despite all the obstacles thrown his way, with my mother at his side, they are battling with his humanity.

So as I have watched friends and family alike battle different ailments, sleep for days, battle GI problems, struggle to walk up stairs or take a 10 minute walk, etc. I realized how healthy I am now, and that may not always be the case. So, while I have this healthy body, I really need to see what I can do! So why not try an Ironman?

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Map My Ride

Due to the majority of my cycling group being out of town for the Sylvania Triathlon today, I was on my own for my long ride this weekend. I opted to try a new website to help me figure out a route that I could ride that would be at least 40-50 miles. Very cool site: I was able to get a very nice route put together that gave me about 45 miles.

Unfotunately, I didn't check the weather prior to mapping my ride. It was hot, humid, and windy today. Although I didn't have an actual stat, I would have to guess there were 15-20mph winds with wind gusts greater than that. There were no relaxed flags today. At least this is what it felt like for most of my ride! And, unfortunately the route I chose only gave me tailwinds for what felt like 5 miles of a 45 mile ride. Needless to say, it was a very slow ride and I was whipped at the end. I am pretty sure I thought/said "this is ridiculous" and "why is there all this f***ing wind?"" at least a dozen times on my ride. In fact, my mantra by the end of the ride was "I hate wind." So, I try to tell myself that the wind will only make me stronger, help me train better, blah, blah, blah - I still hate it! I really hope that I don't have alot of headwind on either my Pelotonia ride or the Ironman . . .

As a reward to myself for doing this ride, I decided to try a new recipe inspired by the very large melon that my boyfriend has in the fridge. The recipe comes form a cookbook called Local Flavors by Deborah Madison.

Melon Salad with Thai Basil
1 large shallot, finely diced
juice and zest of 2 limes
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup cilantro leaves
1/3 cup thai basil
1/4 cup mint leaves
1 jalapeno chile, finely diced
1 tsp. minced ginger
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 TBS nut or olive oil
1 1/2 to 2 pounds melon, chilled
1 bunch arugula or watercrest

1. Put the shallot in a bowl with lime juice, zest, and 1/4 tsp. salt. Finely chop the herbs and add them to the bowl along with the chile, ginger, garlic, and oil. Stir and taste for salt.
2. Halve the melon, remove the seeds, and cut into wedges. Slice off the skins, then cut the melon into bite-sized pieces.
3. Pour the dressing over the melon and toss well. Season with pepper. Arrange the greens on small plates and spoon the melon into the center. If the melons are extra-sweet, add an extra lime wedge to each plate.

Stats for the rest of my week:
Wed: 60 min easy run
Thursday: 60 minute easy bike
Friday: 1:45 minutes on treadmill run (out of town for CEU)
Saturday: rest
Sunday: 45 mile bike (2:52) in the wind

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


Now that the excitment of the weekend and my big race have worn off, I am in the recovery phase. This is a new area for me because I need to figure out how to balance recovery, but also still be able to train. The Arizona IM is just a little under 4 months away and I have a big weekend coming up at the end of August. I will be doing my first century ride for Pelotonia followed by a 1/2 marathon the next day. See these two websites for more info on these events:

So, I have backed off on the miles this week and trying to do all "easy" workouts. It is frustrating though - how come "easy" always ends up being slow? Here is a summary of my week thus far:

Sunday: Rest day - consisted of sleeping in late, going to the beach and jumping waves for about 25 minutes, laying out for a bit, long lazy lunch, then a 5 hour car ride home.
Monday: Slept in, easy 45 minute bike ride, easy 35 minute swim, 60 minute massage, celebration meal - went to Whole Foods and had good salad, pasta dish, bread/dipping oil, and few glasses of good wine. Followed this with freshly baked cookies and peanutbutter choc. ice cream once I got home.
Tuesday: I started off the morning with an easy 2500 swim with the masters group followed by an easy 30 minute run. Legs still sore, so I didn't push it anymore today.

One other thing I am trying to balance with training is eating well. This is difficult because I love sweets! I have never met a cookie or brownie that I could turn down. Problem is that so many of these have simple carbs, bad-for-you fat, etc. So I have been trying to cut back and searching for recipes that are at least a little healthier. So I was very happy when I found these little gems. . .

Nutty for Oats Cookies:
2/3 cup smooth peanut butter
4 TBS unsalted butter
3/4 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 large eggs
1 cup oldfashioned rolled oats, ground for 30 sec. in food processor
1 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1-2 cups chocolate chips (giradelli brand 60% bittersweet make all the difference)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, lightly grease 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Cream together the peanut butter, butter, sugar, vanill, salt, and the baking soda in a medium bowl. Beat in the eggs, scraping the bowl once incorporated, then the ground oats, old-fashioned oats, and chocolate chips. Drop the dough by tablespoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake cookies, reversing the pans midway through, until they're barely set and beginning to brown around the edges, 11 to 13 minutes.
Last, but not least, enjoy with your favorite beverage!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Steelhead 70.3

I did it! I completed my first 1/2 Ironman! My stats are as follows:

Total time: 6:38:19
Swim: 40:07
Bike: 3:17:46
Run: 2:27:11
Transitions: t1=7:19, t2=5:56

It was a great race and it was awesome to see so many people out there racing - Mario, Greg, Jason, Dan, and Tasha. I saw everyone except Mario at least one time. I would also like to give a huge thanks to everyone that came out to cheer us on - their support meant so much more to me than they could ever know! So thanks to CT, Liz, Michelle, Scott, Jenny, Kim, Fred, Josie, and Henry.

The following pictures are of various points in the race - thanks Michelle for taking such great pics!

Liz, Michelle, and Jenny - our dedicated fans!
The swim start - wave 13 (Dan is in there somewhere)
Me on the bike course!
Dan starting the run course and looking strong

Here I come - almost to the finish line!

Just a few things I learned along the way:
1) I can get seasick on the swim. The waves in the water weren't bad, but the swells not only made it hard to see the buoys, but they also made me sick. I came out of the water gagging and praying that I would make it to a trash can to get sick (I did). Made for a much longer transition than I would have liked!
2) I hate wind. Especially a headwind, with gusts, the last 20 miles of the ride.
3) I did better on the run than expected. I thought it would take me at least 3 hours. So, I was pleasantly surprised when I finished in just over 2:27.
4) I thrive on the cheering and support from my friends and family. The smiles you see on my face - all because of the cheering I received as I was going by everyone. All very much appreciated! I also can't thank my bvoyfriend (CT), family, and friends for the support they give me during the training season. I definately couldn't do this without that