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Instead of renting a movie last night, I watched Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves on cable TV all snuggled up on the couch. I tried to find a new release earlier in one of those dollar-a-day rental machines, but nothing jumped out at me. It ended up being the perfect movie to watch on a Sunday night, especially since I hadn’t seen it from beginning to end in over 10 years. I don’t remember it being as funny as it was… especially the scenes with the Sheriff of Nottingham. Click here to read some of the best quotes from the movie. Here is one of my favs: “That’s it then. Cancel the kitchen scraps for lepers and orphans, no more merciful beheadings, and call off Christmas.” - The Sheriff
I went off the exercise radar last week in the sense that I didn’t follow a normal schedule by any stretch. I still worked out, but instead of being so strict with myself I just did what I wanted when I wanted to do it. My knee was getting a tad sore the week before last so I knew I needed to cut back on my running just a little bit. Plus the extra sleep in the mornings has served me well. I only worked out four days last week but they were all high quality. I did a lot of time on the Arc Machine, my favorite go-to cardio when running isn’t on the menu. Click here to read about the benefits of this machine over the treadmill & elliptical. It doesn’t put any stress on my injury and I can go as long as my heart desires. And in all honesty, I should be taking full advantage of this flexible time before my Augusta Half Ironman training starts up next month!
I am feeling well rested & ready to go this morning! I actually even feel like I can start working out again this afternoon as my body isn’t really that sore from Sunday. While my knee was giving me trouble during the run portion, it doesn’t hurt a bit today… so I feel confident that I didn’t do any damage to it and can resume my normal activities. I think I will aim for a 4 mile run this weekend (up from 3) and just increase my mileage weekly from there. I’ve also noticed lately that I can go faster without it “clicking”… so all signs are pointing in the right direction.
So along with signing up for the Augusta Half Ironman in September, my other two goals this summer are to get a new bike (yay!) and possibly find some small sponsors in exchange for blog & advertising exposure. I’m already getting hooked up with the nationally recognized runner trainer that I will talk more about tomorrow which will bump my game up big time. It’s all exciting stuff!!! If you know of anyone who might want to see a sponsorship proposal, drop me a message on Facebook. Like I said yesterday, I am waiting until next year to take on the full Ironman… I just think it’s the smart thing to do. The race I’ve tentatively picked out for that is the Ford Ironman Florida, which I’ll have to sign up for ASAP after this year’s event in November b/c it sells out in a matter of days.
It’s so nice to have fun things to look forward to… I think that’s what life is all about. This week I’m also going to put a big focus on my book, as that’s been pushed to the back burner for the last little while. I feel like with each experience I have my story grows. I just need to put that same focus & energy into it as I have my athletic pursuits.
If you are interested, you can read last year’s experience at the New Orleans Half Ironman by clicking here.
Yesterday was such an important day for me. From the second I woke up that morning, I had no clue how it would all play out. When my alarm went off at 4:45 a.m., I could hear the wind howling outside the RV. My first thoughts were of the swim, and they weren’t pleasant. I pushed those fears aside and got ready with Girl Talk blasting over my iPhone. I was pumped, excited, and nervous. My mom eventually got up and took me over to the transition area around 6 a.m. There’s nothing more exciting than a race morning. I live for it.
As I was organizing my transition area in my own little world, a voice came over the speakers to make a few announcements. I don’t even remember what he said until… he announced that the swim was canceled. I remember popping my head up, looking around to see if anyone else was shocked, then asking my neighbor if I had heard correctly. It was confirmed – the swim wasn’t going to happen due to dangerous currents in the water. They couldn’t get the rescue teams out there in place to help us if we got into trouble. While I was extremely relieved, I surprisingly a little sad b/c I had worked so hard to be able to finish that portion this year. But honestly, if you had seen the conditions of the water that morning, I’m not sure even the best swimmers would have faired very well… much less me. The life they saved could have very well been my own. So, I took it all in stride and started to focus on the bike. Now the Half Ironman had officially turned into a duathlon.
I ended up having to wait around until 8:20 (race time was supposed to be 7 a.m.) to start my bike leg. I must have visited the port-o-potty a thousand times in anticipation. Once I got started though, I felt strong & confident. We fought strong headwinds and a slow incline for the first 30 miles or so, but the last 26 miles were fast & fun. I had so much more energy compared to last year’s experience… not sure if it had something to do with my weight-loss or the fact that it was about 10 degrees cooler than last year. Either way, when I got off of the bike after 56 miles I felt really good about the 13 mile run ahead, while last year I didn’t even know how I would take the first step. The first 2.7 miles were fabulous and I felt like I could do all 13 without having to stop. Then, I started to get pain in the outside of my injured knee. By mile 3, it was very obvious that I wasn’t going to be able to run the whole thing… and if I could walk it I would be very lucky. I got very upset really fast, and called my future brother-in-law David, a PT, for advice. He told me that I should just listen to my body and walk if I had to. He said walking wouldn’t reinjure my knee, but pushing through pain could set me back again. At that point I still had about 10 miles to go… a very daunting amount to have to walk. I would have much rather suffered through it with speed. I played with a little run-walk for a mile or two and I quickly realized that running was out of the question for me. If I was going to finish, then I was going to have to swallow my pride & my ego and just walk the whole damn thing. So, I did. I walked and walked and walked. And then, I finished! I did jog the last quarter mile through the French Quarter just for joy’s sake. My mom and dad were there to see me cross the finish line, and it was a very happy moment.
There is even better news behind all of this – my knee will continue to get better, and I can add about a mile a week from here on out to my run training program. I WILL build back up and be better than I’ve ever been before. Also- I’ve decided that I have unfinished business with the Half Ironman (70.3), so instead of pursuing a full Ironman later in the year I’m going to do another half. I have yet to have the opportunity or ability to finish all three events with success and I know it’s close within reach if I focus & try hard enough. I’m going to sign up for the Augusta 70.3 on September 25, so that gives me plenty of time to finish healing my leg and build up to an ideal physical strength. I could visualize so clearly on the bike yesterday my capabilities of doing this distance in a very success way… even on a competitive level. Nothing brings me more joy than racing!!!
I don’t care how much you love your family, riding with a 32′ long RV for 7 hours in questionable weather… with a little caffeine added to the mix… and you will test even the most solid of relationships. By the time we got into the French Quarter last night we were ready to scratch each other’s eyes out. I faintly recall yelling at my dad that I wasn’t 5 years old anymore in front of the restaurant we ate dinner at. Not to mention the mild hurricane we slept through last night… or I should say they slept through, b/c unfortunately I was in an area that sounded like a constant ice machine was firing off. My mom says around 2 a.m. I yelled, “I can’t take this anymore!!!” It’s good times in the Prowler. Today we’ve been able to laugh about it all, especially since we know we don’t have to spend much time together for the next few hours. My parents are heading off to the French Quarter here in a few minutes (about a 15 minute drive), and I am going to chill out and catch up on my rest. I am meeting a triathlon group from Columbus at 2:30 for a practice swim, then we are all taking our bikes to check them in to the transition area. After that, I’m going to catch a ride and have dinner with the group before coming home for an early bedtime. Should be a great day!!! The weather is fantastic, but the wind is still pretty heavy. It’s nice to know that by this time tomorrow, I will have a real hurricane in my hand!
Today is a big day… b/c I find out at noon EST (11 my time) whether or not I got a slot in the October Kona Ironman World Championships via their annual lottery. Between that and competing in New Orleans this weekend, there’s a lot of excitement and anticipation in the air. I realize that my chances of winning a slot in the lottery are very small, but it’s still a possibility. If I don’t get in, then I will fall back on Plan B and find a slot in another Ironman. Either way, I’ll cross that bridge after this weekend… one thing at a time!!
We will be heading out to New Orleans here in the next hour or so to brave the storms that are also heading this way. There will be some tornadic weather in Mississippi and Alabama around lunchtime/early afternoon, but hopefully we will get through it before it becomes too bad. I’m sure there aren’t too many things scarier than driving a 32′ RV through severe storms. What would normally be a 5 hour trip to NOLA is probably going to be more like 7 or 8. Good times!!!
Honestly, I don’t care how long it takes us to get there… I’m just excited to be going somewhere. Like my mom said last night, sometimes you just have to get about 100 miles away from home in any direction. True that, sista.
I have been sitting here for about 20 minutes trying to think of something to say… but I got nothin’. I’m speechless. Maybe it’s b/c I am pressed for time this morning since I am heading off to work a golf tournament all day. Or maybe it’s b/c all I can think about is the race on Sunday. I didn’t get much sleep last night because my head wouldn’t turn off. I keep having visualizations of myself in the water, on the bike and during the run. Mostly positive. All a little overwhelming. But most of all, very EXCITING. I promise to write more tomorrow when I have more time to sort through my thoughts. Today is my “Friday”, so that is something to be pumped about!!!
Weigh-In Wednesday #54 – 148.8
I had my last appointment yesterday with Dr. Fagan at Fagan Sports Medicine, and she was very pleased with my cartilage. She said it didn’t sound like Rice Krispies anymore. She literally had a smile on her face the whole time, I could tell that she really felt confident that I was going to do well on Sunday. I did have a tiny pocket of inflammation left right on my meniscus, so she recommended getting a small injection right on the site to get rid of the last of it. I asked her if it would affect my ability to feel pain, and therefore hurt myself without knowing. She said that it would not mask pain sensations, so I will be able to clearly tell when I am pushing too hard. That was a huge relief! The only purpose it serves is to get rid of unnecessary discomfort. Without going into too many details for the faint of heart, the shot itself was pretty intense. She poked around to find the exact spot (probably the most painful part of all), numbed it, treated it with freezing agent, then gave me the injection… which I still felt. All I have to say is – damn, that hurt. But it was worth it. I’m just a tad sore from the shot today, but I know it will go away in the next day or two.
Tonight I am doing my “last chance workout”, as they would say on The Biggest Loser. Since I didn’t have the luxury to taper off like most athletes, I’m taking advantage of every reasonable second to prep my body and confidence levels. I’m going to do a moderate swim/bike/run to practice my transitions. Tomorrow I will probably squeeze in one more solid strength session & light pool workout, then I’m officially done till Sunday morning. However, there is a tri group from Columbus, GA practicing in Lake Pontchartrain Saturday morning that I plan to join for mental purposes. While the swim portion is the shortest (1.2 miles of the 70.3), it is definitely the hardest psychologically for me. Once I step out of the water portion, I know that the rest of the race will be much easier.
Which makes me come back to a very simple point: this injury, despite all of the bad, has actually done one important thing for me – it’s made me a stronger swimmer. I’ve spent waaaaaaaaaaay more time in the pool than I would have otherwise. Who knows if I would have had the discipline to get where I am at this moment if I hadn’t of hurt my knee 9 weeks ago. Just something to think about.
OMG. So I’ve known for quite some time that we were going to a campgrounds in New Orleans this weekend… I just didn’t know much else about it. My parents are bringing their awesome 32′ RV and we are staying right on Lake Pontchartrain. Last night while halfway paying attention to Dancing with the Stars, I decided to look up this “RV park & campgrounds”. Low and behold, I found the most fantasticly bad photo on the front of Pontchartrain Landing’s homepage (see below or click on name to visit site). I laughed so hard I cried for about 20 minutes. Turns out… we are nowhere near the French Quarter (about 10-15 minutes away), but what we are right next to is The University of New Orleans, which just so happens to be the race start & transition area. Literally 3 blocks away!!! That my friends is crazy sh*t. I’m taking it as a positive sign for things to come.
If we look hard enough at the image below, we can see a reflection of people frolicking in the sunset (or sunrise) on the shore of Lake Pontchartrain. We also see a very fancy yacht and the city skyline of New Orleans in the background. Since I’ve actually been to this exact beach last year, I know good and well you can’t see squat off in the distance, and New Orleans is actually behind us. Which makes me love this photo even more. And believe me when I say that there is nothing blue in color about that lake. A more accurate depiction would be a nice poo-poo brown. While I am sure it’s a lovely campground in Gentilly Woods, there is definitely some false advertisement going on. In the middle of my laughing fit last night, my dad told me to “KMA at the KOA”… meaning, kiss my a** at the Kampgrounds of America. This will go down in the books as one of the most clever phrases he’s ever come up with.
As much as I make fun of our upcoming trip & unusual circumstances, I’m actually looking forward to it. I love spending time with my parents and we always end up having a really good time together. We’re able to find humor in almost anything… and believe me, there are lots of laughs in store.
If you or someone you know is doing/going to the New Orleans Half Ironman next weekend, will you please message me on Facebook? I am looking for friends to carb load and celebrate with! I only know of one other person from Columbus, GA going as well but would like to find several others. Let me know! I will be there Friday-Monday.
I am looking forward to being in town this weekend, even though it will still be pretty busy. Friday afternoon & night I will be working an event for the hospital (and will possibly meet Patrick Dempsey!!!), then Saturday morning through lunchtime I may attend a workshop called “Second Saturday” for women going through a divorce. It’s at the Crestline Mt. Brook library from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and costs $45. I’m not really sure if it’s “for me” since they seem to talk a lot about financial & family issues… but I might check it out anyway. Honestly, the only real difficulty for Mike & I is the changing of our relationship. We lived pretty independently from each other financially so none of that is going to be a problem to separate. I wanted to put the information out there regardless b/c it seems like a great workshop if it’s applicable to your own situation. I think they are offered all around the country.
Besides those two things, I plan to do lots of exercise outdoors since I will be cleared for all exercise after Friday. Theoretically you are supposed to start tapering for a big event two weeks beforehand, but since I’m behind the game I’m taking advantage of the nice weather and my ability to do normal training. I will start to taper off Tuesday or Wednesday depending on how I feel. Since I’m not going for time goal, I think it’s OK to extend my workouts a little longer. Can you tell that I’m getting really, really, really excited??? I LIVE for this. Get me out there!!
Also- please do a little voodoo dance for me until April 15th… I really want to win a lottery slot for Ironman Kona in October. Trying not to get my hopes up since the odds aren’t in my favor, but it is still a possibility…
I am feeling a huge rush of excitement for the New Orleans Half Ironman next weekend (the 17th)! While I am still holding back my expectations to just finish the swim & bike, my knee is really rocking it out these days. The run is very possible for me to finish. Like I’ve said before, I’m just going to get off the bike and see how I feel, and take it mile by mile from there. My cardio is tip-top, my strength is amazing and my swim is better than ever. I know I haven’t set foot on the pavement in a while, but I’ve conditioned my body to remember as best as I can. It’s OK if this race requires some muscle recovery after it is over, b/c there is plenty of time for me to prepare for my full Ironman later in the year (whichever one that will be…).
Speaking of which, I am absolutely dying to hear the results of the Ironman Kona lottery on April 15. I’m not getting my hopes up (really), but the thought of having a chance to go makes me want to scream for joy. In my heart, I know if I don’t make the cut this time around, I will one year soon. SO exciting & inspiring!!!!! It makes me want to be the best athlete I can be. I have a feeling in the next few years that I will surprise myself with how far I can go.
This summer is shaping up to be a really great one with lots of trips planned with friends. In the next few weeks I’ll post a schedule of all that’s going on. I know I’m definitely going to Bonnaroo in June, something I’ve been dying to do for years. Two of my favorite bands will be there – Arcade Fire & Girl Talk. Let me know if any of you plan to go as well!