You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘ironman’ tag.
Good news: We found out on Monday that Crush was accepted into the Portland Oregon Woman’s Film Festival in March! That makes nine acceptances for our short film. We are nearing the end of our festival run, so Rebecca and I are both very proud of the success it’s had. I wish we had the means to attend them all, but we were fortunate enough to at least go to most.
Today will be a snow day for some of us in the Southeast, a rare occurrence indeed. It’s only a matter of time before my Instagram feed is covered in white…which will be really fun to see.
As of yesterday at my two-week weigh-in, I’ve lost 5.5 pounds! It is a reminder of how much work it takes to lose, but I’m well on my way to my goal. James has also lost close to 7, thanks to our calorie counting efforts on LiveStrong’s MyPlate. We have a few food events to navigate in the near future, but I feel very confident that my overall health goal will remain the most important focus.
Speaking of team efforts, it’s been really nice to have other friends preparing for the Florida Half Ironman in May. I get regular check-ins from my friend Lauren, which I greatly appreciate. She and I will probably put our names in the hat for the October Ironman Lottery in Kona…I might as well since I’ve built up the momentum with prior year submissions. With each passing year, your likelihood of being chosen grows by your number of annual entries. Scary and awesome thought all at the same time. One of these days they are going to draw my name from the hat, and I am sure I will freak out accordingly on every level.
My writing has been going good as well. It is a definite challenge on a daily basis, as it takes a lot of willpower to move forward. I can clearly see myself with a finish book in my hands… so I know it is going to happen for me. Once it’s finished, I predict that I will say it was the hardest thing I’ve ever tried to do. I’m sure tackling a feature film will be just as hard, but I am very familiar with the production world. Writing a book has been like being dropped off in the middle of Antarctica with only a pair of shorts and a tank top. But even the smallest successes are hugely rewarding, so I can only imagine the feeling I will have once it is complete.
I slept well last night!! Wooohoo!!! I think I am almost back to a regular schedule, thank goodness. I didn’t wake up at 3 a.m. twiddling my thumbs and was out until at least 6:30 a.m. Happy dance!
Even though it is only spring, summer is very much in the air. There are so many things to do outside and festivals are popping up everywhere you turn. I’ve also noticed some traveling fairs taking up station around town and I’ve been dying to attend one. Ferris wheels have especially become an obsession of mine. When I was a child, even as a teenager and young adult, I was absolutely terrified of them. Just looking at one made me break out in a cold sweat. I have a memory of when I was about 9 or 10 and I was talked into riding a kiddie version at the state fair…I screamed so loud that they had to stop it to let me off. And it was only like 20 feet high. There was something about dangling in the air by a wire that really freaked me out. I have another terrible/funny memory of riding the sky buckets at Six Flags over Georgia as a teenager with a boy who thought it’d be funny to rock it back and forth. I am pretty sure I broke out into hysterics and had a major panic attack. But something has happened over the last year or two – I’m not afraid of ferris wheels anymore. Well, at least not too afraid to ride one. In fact I did my first ever solo ferris wheel ride last year at Bonnaroo and it has turned into one of my favorite life moments. I remember standing in line waiting for my turn thinking – I can do this, I can do this. I hopped on and rode it all the way up… and didn’t breathe for one second. When I reached the top I could see the extent of Bonnaroo in almost every direction, tents as far as the eye could see. The sun was setting as Mumford and Sons played in the distance. I did capture one of my rotations on video, which you can watch here. Such a perfect moment. I can’t wait to be at Bonnaroo again this year!
There aren’t too many things that scare me like that anymore, which made me want to write a list of the things that I’m still petrified of doing. Sky diving makes that list, as well as deep sea diving. I was careful to not include things that would also make me sad…just things that would scare the living daylights out of me. Adrenaline is an awesome thing. There is nothing like catching a natural high from taking a risk. Races give me that feeling as well, especially concurring a distance that I’ve never done before, or beating an old best time. Doing a full Ironman actually scares the living daylights out of me, which is why I’m hell-bent on doing one one day. It is hard to wrap your brain around doing such crazy distances for long periods of time. It is a test of physical and mental strength on every level. Just thinking about it makes me excited. This is not the year for that though, but I have a feeling in the next two to three years I will be giving it a shot. 2012 feels more like a year for relaxation for me….which I have no complaints about.
Outside of all our office doors at work we have something called a “frame of mind,” which is basically a 10×8 black frame that we put pictures/images in to describe how we are feeling or to show something that’s on our mind. Every now and then we get a group assignment that we all have to participate in, then we discuss our images in the weekly staff meeting. It sounds like something straight from “The Office,” but it’s actually pretty fun. Yesterday we had an assignment to put someone who we didn’t know into our frames who inspires us. It was really hard not to put Lance Armstrong in mine, because I ALWAYS do that, so instead I chose someone very similar – Chrissie Wellington. I thought a female was more appropriate, especially one that I admire so much (even though she has yet to confirm my friend request on Facebook… ha!!). Chrisse was the Hawaii Ironman Championship female winner in 2008 and 2009. She was an underdog that came out of nowhere to blow all her competition away (and a lot of the professional men as well). She laughs a lot, is always smiling and works really hard. I love her so much. Looking at her makes me feel good.
While writing this post, I learned that we reached our fundraising goal for CRUSH!! I did a happy dance with my coworker Misty since she was in here when I found out. HOORAY!!!!!!!!!!!!! Tomorrow I will write about our production schedule and the process of making this specific short film. It’s going to be fun…
One of the positive aspects that Mike and I look forward to the most when being single again is to able to devote more time & energy to our personal creative projects. I remember when I met Mike in 2006, one of the first things I confessed to him was that sometimes I lose focus on my creative drive when entering a relationship. We’ve both pushed some of our ambition to the wayside while putting that energy into making “us” work. Maybe that isn’t the way it has to be, but for our case, it was.
While on the way out-of-town yesterday to a baby shower with some of my coworkers, one of them asked a very interesting question – What would you do/be in life if you had to do it all over again? We all went around and gave our answers… but my immediate thought was that my life isn’t over, and I can still be whatever I want to be. My answer in the car was to be a professional athlete, but that’s not the only one. I want to write a book, I want to make a feature film, I want to compete in Ironmans around the world, I want to learn Italian, I want to experience everything I possibly can before the day I leave this earth. I want to live in a bigger city. I want to have a taste of the good life. I want to help the less fortunate. My interests are very broad and overwhelming to most, but for me they are exciting and the reasons for living.
While trying to sleep in this morning, which wasn’t happening, I felt this tremendous urge to write about my future creative projects today as my blog entry. So, I got my tired a** out of bed to do just that (despite the fact that I babysat my niece until the wee hours of the morning last night).
I’m just going to name a list off that I’d like to do in the near future, then talk about each one individually.
1. My book – The Jen West Quest
2. Writing a feature film
3. Sponsorship for my Ironman races (I’ll explain why this is “creative” later)
4. Ghost Ghirls
#1. – My book – The Jen West Quest. This is first and foremost on my list of things to do. While I am not an expert in the process, my goal is to have something strong on paper to be able to sell by early/mid summer. I don’t expect to be finished, but I hope to have something that I can present to people in the industry by then.
#2. – Writing a feature film. You know I used to be so passionate about filmmaking, but it’s something that has faded with time. No matter what happens with this interest, I have three strong story ideas waiting for me if I ever want to pursue one of them. The first one is about Louise Wooster, a prostitute/madam Birmingham native who was the self-proclaimed lover of John Wilkes Booth when he shot Lincoln. Her story is amazingly dramatic & sad, and it deserves to be told. My second concept is to tell the story of Nellie Bly, a female journalist in the mid/late 1800′s who faked insanity in order to study a mental institution from within. I’m surprised no one has done anything with her story yet because it’s so courageous & inspiring. The third idea is to do a modern-day Helen Keller story about a deaf & blind child who learns how to communicate. While doing so, the beauty of a world with no sight & sound is expressed in a whole new way. Honestly, this would be the easiest film to make since it isn’t a period piece and funding could be secured to help raise awareness for this type of condition. But no matter what happens, making a film is a full-time commitment and one that I would take very seriously if I ever decided to jump in.
#3. – Sponsorship for my Ironman races. I’ve already decided that if I am lucky enough to get a slot through the Ironman Kona lottery, then I am going to pursue sponsorships. I listed this as a creative project because I would have to market myself in an attractive way and think outside of the box since I’m not a professional athlete. I would become a product in a sense, which is a whole new way to look at myself in the Ironman world. It would be every exciting and fun to take this on!
#4. – Last but not least, Ghost Ghirls. It’s important to remember that this isn’t meant to be a career or major time suck in any way… it’s primarily just a hobby and something I’d like to do. We are pushing back our webisodes until this summer when we all have a little more time to dedicate to it. It’s turned out to be a little more complicated and time-consuming than we originally planned, but it will be worth it in the end. First and foremost, it needs to be FUN!!
So that’s that for my creative project standings. I am really looking forward to what the future has in store, and my dreams are bigger than ever!
Yesterday was a mixed bag of highs and lows, and I haven’t quite decided yet which note it ended on. I’ll just go through it in order:
1. Knocked out some serious work in the morning. HIGH
2. Figured out that it wasn’t in-fact peanuts in my throat, but instead that I was getting tonsillitis again. LOW
2. Had lunch with coworkers. HIGH
3. Did a drum circle team building exercise with coworkers. HIGH
4. Went to physical therapy. HIGH
5. PT ran over schedule and had to go straight to my shift watching my grandmother in the hospital. LOW
6. Watched as my grandmother had a very difficult night battling with severe pain. LOW
7. Ended up having to cancel my late CrossFit session to stay at the hospital. LOW
8. Came home around 8:30 to read on Facebook that the Lousiville Ironman had sold out. LOW LOW LOW
9. Realized that I can still buy a Foundation slot for the Louisville Ironman if I pay double the money. HIGH/LOW
10. Out of desperation, I immediately entered to win a lottery slot in Ironman Kona, the World Championships on October 8, 2011. HIGH
The Ironman Lottery is actually pretty cool, and I entered just in time before the 2011 cut-offs on February 28. There will be 200 people just like myself randomly drawn to win entry into the World Championships in Kona, Hawaii. The only other way to participate is to win a slot in a qualifying Ironman. While 200 lottery winners sounds like a lot, I’m sure they get thousands of people rolling the dice. It only cost $40 to put my name in the hat, and luckily you can’t purchase more than one entry (unless you take part in a special offer to get your name in there twice). So my chances are as good as anyone else’s in winning a place. They will announce the winners on April 15, the same weekend I compete in the New Orleans Half Ironman.
Which leads me to this… how the HELL did I miss out on Louisville??? I should have done better research to see how quickly it’s sold out in the past. I can’t beat myself up too much over it, b/c honestly I haven’t had the money to register yet and was anticipating the ability to do so next month. The entry fee was around $575 if I’m not mistaken, not pocket change in my book. My heart broke when I saw the little newsfeed pop up on my Facebook wall saying it had sold out. Big sad face. This was only my biggest goal of the whole year!!! I do find comfort in knowing that I WILL find a way to compete in an Ironman this year… whether it’s in Kona or another race. I’m going to keep my eyes and ears open until the lottery winners are drawn on April 15 and make a decision from there. It’s going to happen for me, I know it.
In what appears to be cruel irony, I am actually going to Louisville this weekend to spend time with some of my best friends. Whether or not I will be there again in August remains to be seen… but somehow I know it will all work out in the end because there is no one willing to work harder for it than ME.
Weigh-In Wednesday #47 – 146.2
I am so excited about my trip to Louisville this weekend!! I will be heading out-of-town with two of my best friends – Susan & Jenny, to go and visit another best friend – Lee Ann. We used to be a tight group until a few years ago when all three of them moved away, with Jenny moving back to Birmingham in the last year or so. What makes someone qualify as a “best friend”? I think it’s simple – it is a person that you’ve deeply bonded with, and with whom you have developed a connection that surpasses the amount of time you may or may not have seen each other. That is how I feel about these ladies. Even though I haven’t gotten to see them as much as I’d like over the past few years, they are still a part of my soul.
While in Louisville this weekend, I am going to check-out the Ironman course that I’ll be doing this August. I want to take a good look at the river I’ll be swimming in to start becoming comfortable. Sometimes when going to sleep at night, I wonder if it is something that I will actually be able to do. I think that the uncertainty is part of the excitement for me… and deep down I know I am capable of doing it, and doing it well.
My sister Christy is in town with my niece Anna Banana, so I am going to cut this entry short today so I can say good-bye to them on my way to work this morning. Happy Wednesday!!!
HAPPY VALENTINES DAY!!!
The deeper I get into the sports world, the more complex it gets… and the more I LOVE it. While yesterday was a pretty big disappointment in my book, it was a huge lesson in patience. Honestly, I would have been more upset if I had gotten even farther to only have the same problem at mile 15 or 20. I’m lucky that it happened quick and it appears that I didn’t do any further injury to myself. Don’t get me wrong… I’m sure it wasn’t the best thing to run on my knee to begin with, but honestly I had no idea if it had healed or not at that point. Since I had a relatively pain-free two weeks since hurting it, I was hoping whatever it was had already fixed itself. But I was very wrong.
Today I have an appointment with Dr. Kim Fagan at Fagan Sports Medicine here in Birmingham. She came highly recommended by some running friends and she is even an accomplished runner herself. I hope she can help me identify my knee problem today so I can be on the road to recovery. I will keep you guys posted on what she says!
Over the past few months I’ve become aware & familiar with the many facets of sports health. Here are just a few: sports medicine, sports nutrition, sports massage, conditioning & strength, physical therapy, training, and professional coaching. That’s a pretty intimidating list if you’re not accustomed to hearing about those types of things. But what’s cool is that each of these areas is attainable, either by yourself or through the help of a professional. Sure, you can run a marathon without most of these if you have a healthy body & mind. But to make it to the next level you will need access to the knowledge bank. My goal is to qualify for Boston in 2011 & finish my Ironman in August like a champ. So I’m going to need allll the help I can get.
Here is a breakdown for the help I’m receiving so far:
Sports Nutrition: Spectrum Nutrition (Alison & Stephanie)
Sports Medicine: Fagan Sports Medicine
Conditioning & Strength: Crossfit Scars (Justin Scarsella)
Sports Massage: I haven’t done this yet, but Hal Richardson comes highly recommended and he is on my list.
Physical Therapy: I have multiple sources for this since my sister & brother-in-law both practice. Also, I’m sure that Fagan Sports Medicine has their own team of specialists as well.
Professional Running Coach: I can’t disclose this source yet, but the plan is to start receiving help in March or April in preparation for my Ironman in August.
As for my day off of work, I am going to edit our pics from the Ghost Ghirls photo shoot on Saturday. I am also hoping that Justin can fit me in last-minute for a Crossfit session, but if he can’t then I’ll hit the gym for a swim session focusing on my upper body (or who knows… maybe I’ll do both!). I am staying far, far away from my knee until I get permission & instructions on how to use it again. On a different note, when I woke up this morning Mike gave me my Valentine’s gift (pictured below). I have the best husband ever!!! We will probably eat mexican tonight in celebration of the holiday.
Last Friday night I met up with Alison & Stephanie (Spectrum Nutrition), the two awesome ladies helping me with my sports nutrition since I’m about to be in full Ironman mode. My assignment for the next 7 days is to write down everything I eat (& when), all my workout details, and finally sleep. We will meet up again the Monday or Tuesday before my marathon (on the 13th) to evaluate & move forward with our partnership. There are no words to express the gratitude I feel towards them! Also, Alison has paired me up with a nationally recognized running coach that I hope to start working with as early as March or April for my Ironman this August. More on that very soon!!
Alison has already started to give me pieces of very valuable information for race day (can you believe it is only 2 weeks away??). On marathon morning she likes to eat oatmeal, a banana and a spoon full of peanut butter. From her experience oatmeal “sticks to her bones” longer, as her dad used to say. However, she stressed that everyone is different and you should stick with what works for you on race morning. I plan to experiment with breakfast over the next two weeks to see what is best for my body. I also bought some new race nutrition based on her advice. The first is Nuun, which are little tablets that you put into your water to help with hydration. They taste really good and even make your water mildly carbonated. Click here to learn more about Nuun. For actual calories I tried out Clif Shot Bloks, which are soft 33 calorie cubes (six in a pack I believe) that are really easy to eat. Since I have a problem swallowing gels, this is a great solution for me. Alison said the key to long distance race nutrition is to eat often (Rule of Thumb: 30-60 grams of carbs every 30-40 minutes, which equals 3 Bloks or 1 gel packet) and avoid becoming depleted before it actually happens. She also avoids having to pee by waking up extra early on race day to drink plenty of water, but stopping about an hour before the race actually starts. For my own body I’ve had pretty good luck with stopping about 30-40 minutes in advance. Another thing that has come in super-handy is caffeine. I don’t touch the stuff on a day-to-day basis, but it really helps out my endurance on long runs. Something else it speeds up is my digestive system… which hasn’t been well-timed lately if you know what I mean. Maybe I should be taking in the caffeine earlier, too.
I realize a lot of you probably know about the types of road races out there for all ranges of fitness. But for those of you who don’t… here is what I can share. (But please, please get advice from your doctor before you do any activity… especially if you have any sort of injury.)
5k (or 3.1 miles) – This is a great distance for walkers and runners alike. It is an attainable distance, and one that you can easily train to become faster and faster at. You don’t need to take in nutrition for this short of a race. As a matter of a fact, you don’t need to take in any nutrition until you’ve gone well over an hour of moderate to intense exercise.
8K (4.97 miles) – I’ve actually never done this distance but seems like a lot of fun. Great step-up if you are working towards a 10k!
10k (or 6.2 miles) - This is also an attainable distance for walkers and runners. It’s just long enough to be really difficult, so you should follow some sort of training schedule (like Couch to 10K) if you’ve never done this distance before. I normally don’t drink while doing 6 miles or less, but that is something you should decide for yourself with experience.
15k (or 9.3 miles) – I know of at least one “15k” race that is actually rounded up to 10, but I’m sure the majority are 9.3 miles. If you’ve never done this distance before, then I would recommend finding a 8-12 week training schedule online to help build up your fitness & endurance. You will probably need to take in nutrition for this one.
Half Marathon (13.1 miles) – My favorite!!! I’ve done a handful of these (not always well…) and love the distance. It’s super challenging and just long enough to make you feel like you’ve accomplished something really important. If you are blessed with the ability to run this distance, then I hope you take it on one day! You will be hooked for life.
Marathon (26.2 miles) - Like I said above, I will be doing my very first marathon in just under two weeks!! AHH!!! I am more than excited. Which gets me to the title of today’s blog post – Breaking Boston. While my realistic goal is to finish in under 4 hours… there is the very likely chance that I could also break Boston. When you “break Boston” you qualify for the Boston Marathon (in a qualifying race)… which is the only way you can enter. For my age group & gender, I have to run the Mercedes Marathon in under 3:40 in order to qualify (UPDATED – 8:23 minute miles). I would say that it’s not likely for me… but still in the realm of possibility. If I don’t make it this time, then that will definitely be my goal for my next marathon! Alison actually delivered some very strong words to me regarding this… she looked me square in the eye on Friday night and said that if I was breaking Boston, that I better not stop to put on that bikini at mile 20.
Speaking of which… I am over halfway to my fundraising goal for the Greater Birmingham Humane Society! Woohoo!!! If I raise the full $1,000, then I will run the last 6 miles of Mercedes in my bikini. I have solid plans in place in case of cold weather, and shouldn’t lose more than 20 seconds in the transition. How’s that for a first marathon experience? Click here to see my giving page.
Some pretty cool things have been happening behind-the-scenes over the past few days in regards to my sports goals for 2011! I will share the details in the next few weeks once everything is set in stone, but looks like I am going to have some major training & sports nutrition support for my Ironman this August. Ahhhhh!!!! My goal of becoming an age grouper might not be totally out of grasp after all. Seriously… if I reach that kind of level in triathlon, I may have reached the peak of happiness!! It’s pretty amazing to know that it’s a real possibility.
Speaking of goals & dreams, I have another one I’d like to share that’s been under wraps for a year or two now. I am pretty obsessed with Triathlete Magazine’s annual swimsuit issue that comes out in June (I believe). Well, each year they have an online contest where athletes can compete to be a model in this very issue! They always do the shoot in some exotic location and the models also participate in a local triathlon while there. You can view the Miss Triathlete for 2010 by clicking here. Maybe 2011 or 2012 is calling my name??? It will be fun to try if nothing else!
I have some Ghost Ghirls & book updates to share with you guys for tomorrow’s post. As for right now, I need to scram… about to head out for my 21 mile long run! Wish me luck!
Weigh-In Wednesday #42 – 144.8
No, I haven’t read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. But since it is my husband Mike’s favorite book, I thought I would quote it in today’s title since it is in fact week 42.
While I was sick last week, I took a total of 5 days off from exercise (Wednesday – Sunday). It was a very hard thing to do mentally, especially with my marathon only 4 weeks away. I just couldn’t do it… moving felt like the last thing my body needed to do. On the fifth day, I even tried to go on a run with my running buddy Vero but didn’t make it half a mile before I turned around to go home. Monday was the turning point – that night I went to the gym and knocked out 5 miles with no sweat. And last night, I kicked some serious a** on my bike trainer for about 60 minutes! Baby, I’m back!!! The real test will be my 21 mile long run this weekend. I just hope that I haven’t lost any of my endurance while being out. If all goes well, then my last long run before the marathon will be next weekend for a total of 22 miles. Since this is my first race at this distance, I don’t think it’s necessary for me to go the full 26.2 prerace. My only real goal is to finish in under 4 hours, but once again, I will be happy to just finish strong.
I’ve asked Sonthe Burge for help with my exercise/fitness nutrition since I’m going for my first full Ironman this August. Sonthe was our amazing dietician while on CarbLovers, and she offered to help awhile back if I needed any advice transitioning into sports mode. Now that I’m in full swing, it’s probably about time for a refresher course just to be sure I’m fueling my body properly. I will keep you posted on when we finally get together!
To round off week 42, I will leave with the like titled Coldplay song… which happens to be one of my favorites by them. Happy Wednesday! See you tomorrow for Rachael Ray Day! Ahhhhhh!!!!!! (And for those of you who are local, I will be on the FOX6 Midday show tomorrow with Janice Rogers after RR airs.)