IM Louiville

IM Louiville
Bikes racked at Ironman Louisville 2010

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Hitting it in 2011!

So for the last 5 weeks or so, I've been sporting this lovely boot. Yes, I even took this boot to Mexico. I wore it while walking around, when going out to dinner and even while watching Ironman Cozumel.

I've come to like the boot, however, I've found it's not very winter-friendly. I've been sporting 2 pairs of socks every day now, particularly since we've had snow. See, it's open in the front and the snow gets all up on my toes. I already have a problem keeping my fingers and toes warm, this is like a double-whammy!

The good news is that I swam today and actually did my flip turns with BOTH feet and - HOLY COW - it did not hurt! :) I mean, I kept waiting for that little twinge, that little pang of pain I've been feeling for the last 6 months any time I put any pressure on that big toe...I got nuthin'. And I couldn't be happier.

Yes, I've still got another week and a half in the boot and another 2 weeks of physical therapy, but I'm well on my way. When I start running again, it will be a run to walk or one of those Couch to 5K type plans, but it will come back.

I've missed you, running friends...I have about 4 pairs of BRAND NEW running shoes in my closet just calling me to wear them. I am well rested and ready to go! Yes, I will be hitting it hard in 2011.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Is Yoga Tougher than Ironman?

Bikram Yoga Burr Ridge

Most of you know – I’ve been sort of out-of-commission with my running since JULY! YES, JULY! So, when a friend said to me, “Hey, I’m doing this 30 day Bikram Yoga Challenge, wanna join me?” I thought that might be exactly what I needed. For those of you that never heard of it, Bikram Yoga is a 90 minute session of the same 26 poses each session. Oh, and the room is 105 degrees (and I’m told it’s like 135 degrees with humidity).

What the heck, I can’t run, I know yoga is good for me – because as a triathlete, I’m quite inflexible – and, hey, it’s only 30 days. Right? Oh so not right… (sigh).

I joined my 30 day challenge at Bikram Yoga Burr Ridge. I joined my friends at 5pm on a Friday night for our first of the 30 days. It must be very quiet in the yoga studio. I have a hard time keeping quiet for 5 minutes, forget about 90 minutes! I walked in the room, sat my mat and towel down and nervously looked around. I’m hot. What the hell did I get myself into?

The first thing you do in this class is breathe. Yes, I said it. Breathe. I’m sweating. We are 60 seconds into the class and I’m sweating. I want to cry. I want to leave. I want to douse myself with water. Sweat is literally DRIPPING off my arms and I’m not eve doing anything yet. NOOO! These people are crazy. But my friends looked like everything was OK, so I tried to keep it together.

I went through the poses, trying to follow the instructor’s directions to a cue. I saw other people in the room bending themselves into pretzels and I wondered how they did that. OUCH, that pose hurts. Ok, modify. Don’t laugh out loud at my friends who can’t do the poses, either. We so looked ridiculous in this class…we have no business being here. We are IRONMEN, not yogis! But no yoga class is going to defeat me. I refuse. Need to calm the heart rate down? Breathe. Need to stop the dizziness? Breathe. Need to get your bearings from being upside down?? BREATHE!

None of us left the room during the first class, but believe me, each of us thought about it. Yoga is supposed to be “zen” and relaxing. Bikram does not do this for me. How is it possible to get your heart rate up so high when you’re really not DOING anything? I have no idea, but in each class, I felt like I was going to puke, fall over, pass out, cry….you name it, I felt it. Keep it together! No yoga class is going to defeat me! This became very much a mental challenge as much as physical. Can you endure the heat? Can you give each posture 100% of what you have that day and still do the entire class? Trust me, each and every day was a challenge. One day, I’d have a pose nailed. The very next day, I’d fall out of it. I noticed a quite distinct – one step forward, two steps back pattern throughout the 30 days.

On two of the days, I did 2 classes. Can I tell you, I DO NOT RECOMMEND THIS! Holy cow, I would leave the studio completely exhausted. I’d go home, take a shower and sleep for two hours. Yoga is simply stretching and some of the moves made my muscles very happy, even though I was shaking to hold the posture for the duration. But I’d leave and almost feel like I could fall asleep on the drive home. Very important to hydrate. Well, I think I hydrated more than anyone else there, and it still never felt like enough. Some people even did class with NO water. During many classes, I wondered why I didn’t bring THREE water bottles in the room with me. I almost always ran out.

And laundry. You gotta be kidding me with the laundry. My clothes were so completely soaked through after each class, it looked like I jumped in a swimming pool. On most occassions, I even sweated through my yoga mat. Yes, THROUGH the yoga mat. How the hell is that even possible?? I’d pick up my stuff and scoot out of the room quickly after each class hoping the other people wouldn’t notice the big sweat marks I left behind. I had to do laundry every 2-3 days to keep up with the clothes and towels I was going through. And since the class is 90 minutes, it takes 30-40 minutes for commute there and back, let’s just say this was a very time consuming experience.

The first few days were tough. After ab0ut 7 days, I started to look forward to going. After 15 days, I was on a mission. After 25 days, I just wanted it to be over. Please stop. Please let me get through another class. Why did I do this again? Oh yeah, free t-shirt. With each couple classes, I saw a bit of improvement – and THAT is what kept me going. The instructors all had their individual style and I learned something from each of them. I had the opportunity to go to a lot of different time slots, so I had a really great variety of instructors. Midge, Erin, Chris, Mara, The Polish Guy (can’t remember his name), and a few others – sometimes it was like a lightbulb went on when one of them would describe exactly what you were to try and achieve with the pose.

Final word? The 30 day challenge is not for everyone. A couple of my friends dropped out (JQ and LP), but I had another one (GO COURTNEY) who is close to finishing! It was awesome to do classes and get some of my friends to experience this – to Lisa, Bernie, Mel, Marisa, Chris, Tracy, Michaela and Barbara – THANK YOU for coming out to do a class or two with me. Whether you know it or not, it really helped me in each class when someone else I knew was there. I hope to do more classes with each of you. I am WAY more flexible when I started, but I’ll be honest and say – I need to take some time away from the yoga right now! Definitely something I’ll continue and I think it’s going to be a great compliment to my Ironman training. But 30 days in a row? Not really sure I am up for the challenge again.

Is yoga tougher than Ironman? No. If you can stay strong through Ironman, you can stay strong through this 30 day challenge. How strong are you?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Rev3 Cedar Point

Rev3 is in it's second year of races. None of them was very close by, but being a part of Team Trakkers, I went to Cedar Point last weekend. Unfortunately, I've been struggling with Turf Toe since early July, so I've done no running since then. I DID NOT want to go do this race. I had very little expectations of myself.

It was a chilly morning, so after setting up transition, I went back to the car to keep warm and fell asleep. Woke up about 15 minutes before my wave start and hustled down the beach. Yikes! Threw on the wetsuit, said good luck to all the Tri Smart peeps and maneuvered my way to the front of the pack.

The siren went off and all the W18-44 ran - yes, ran - out into the water. It was shallow for a pretty long time and that can be exhausting for a short girl! I took my time and tried to keep the HR low. Once swimming, I was way off course - the water was pushing from the left. This was good once we made the right hand turn, it was like having a tailwind in the water! One last turn, to the right, made the water hit hard on the right side of my head. I'm glad I'm a left-side breather. :)

Into transition, I fumbled a little and almost forgot to put my helmet on before running out. It was chilly, but I didn't take the time to put on gloves or armwarmers. About 30 seconds into the ride, I wish I had! It was COLD! I think it was mid-50s at that point and no sun. At least I had toe covers on my cycling shoes.

Road was rough for the first 15 miles, but we had an incredible tailwind pushing me to about 24-25mph with little effort. I knew this was going to be an issue coming back in, so I just focused on my effort vs. mph. Caught up to my man Dennis just before the point where the Half Ironman and Ironman bike courses split. It was a nice little boost. Had several guys pass, all pretty nice about it and 2 women. The headwind on that last little section back to the park was brutal. I was going what felt like 12 mph, but the effort was there! I wondered if I should even bother trying to run this thing.

Once in transition, it was nice to know most were still out on the bike. T2 felt quick and the sun was starting to come out!
But once out on the course, just about 30 steps, the toe let me know it is still unhappy with me and I considered the DNF. With just 2 words from him, I pushed on. I knew there were just a few women ahead of me at this point. It wouldn't be a PR race for me, but if I could hold it together, I might not do too badly...

First couple of miles were OK. I figured it would start to hurt around mile 6. Luckily for me, it got a little warmer, which made me happy, and the run course was pretty flat and I liked it. Where I disliked all the turns in the bike, in the run, it made it a little more fun. I did more passing than I got passed and I wondered if I was dreaming. When was the wall going to hit? AH - MILE 10! OOOOWWWW! Now the toe was screaming at me to stop. But it was just 3 more miles - less than 30 minutes. I can handle this, right? Got to give BB from Team Tri Smart a little encouragement on her way out on the run and it gave me a much needed boost. Last mile winding through the park felt like FOREVER, but was worth the wait!

Down the finish chute, the scene was much like that of Hy-Vee - banners lined across the sides, big jumbotron with scenes from the ongoing race and a charismatic announcer calling names at the finish! It ended right in the park with the roller coasters, so there were spectators lined up on both sides.

One thing that deserves special mention is all the goodies that come with this race. Blue shirt and visor come in the TYR re-usable goody bag - nice medal and long-sleeved tech t-shirt at the finish. This series has some great stuff going for it, so if you missed out on Rev3 this year, it deserves consideration for 2011.

Costa Rica anyone?

Friday, July 30, 2010

Ironman Lake Placid Race Report

Departed Mokena at 5am on Thursday morning for the drive to Lake Placid.

Slept in on Friday and went to check in.

Saturday, dropped off transition bags and bikes.

Saw some pretty interesting nutrition strategies.

And Ed was really excited about this race, his 2nd Ironman.


    Mirror Lake was warm, calm and clear as we lined up at the start. After chatting with a few competitors to make sure I was lined up properly, we listened to the national anthem and the race started with the sound of the cannon. Within seconds, I was struggling for breath and hyperventilating. As strong of a swimmer as I am, there is nothing that can prepare one for this mass chaos at the start of an ironman swim.

    I fought for position and was clobbered both from the left and right - but thankfully no one was attempting to swim over me. For a few seconds I wished I could swim over to the side and quit. I can't breathe. I want out. WHY AM I DOING THIS? After about 100 yards or so, I found some open space and attempted to get my breathing and heartrate under control. I heard myself gasping for breath more than once and wondered if I was drowning. Within about 60 seconds - there was peace. A nice, open stretch of water in front of me, the mass of elbows and flailing bodies all to the left of me. I was back in control.

    In the practice swim just 2 days before, I remember commenting on how Mirror Lake is probably one of the nicest lakes I ever swam in. It was a nice, relaxing start to an otherwise long, torturous day. Out of the water to cross the timing mat, I noticed I was on pace for about an hour swim. Very nice - I jumped back in the water and noticed it was now raining. The chilly raindrops hitting my arm and face as I turned to take a breath. I found the most absolutely perfect person to draft off of - I liked his line, I liked his pace and he didn't kick much! I smiled and relished the fact that I was barely working. In fact, I was thinking that I was breathing with about the same effort as I would be if I was just sitting on the couch watching television! Out of the water in a nice, solid 59 minutes. I'll take it!

    Into transition, I grabbed my bag and headed to the changing tent. I took my time, put everything on comfortably and jogged to get my bike. Lots of craziness at the mount line with eager Ironman-wannabes with just a little too much gusto starting off on to a 112 mile bike course, but this is not surprising to me any more. I carefully stopped, got on my bike, hit my watch and rode off, careful to GO SLOW!

    Lake Placid is the most challenging Ironman bike course I've ever done and I knew using too much energy going up those hills would cost me later. I rode stupid slow up the hills, taking my time, watching guy after guy fly by me - most of them out of the saddle. I tried to focus on myself - work my own race. It was chilly - cloudy and sprinkling rain on and off. The first big downhill was fun, but scary! At one point, I looked down and saw 45mph. That's it, I'm not looking at my computer any more.

    The gusty winds caught my disc wheel a couple of times and I worried a little about being blown over! The second half of the loop is a lot of slow uphill. It's hard to put forth consistent effort - either you're riding too hard or you're flying downhill really fast. The time was going by quickly however, until about mile 90 when I realized I was about out of fuel. Then my legs started to cramp, something I've never experienced before in training or racing. My legs were seizing up and I thought I was going to fall over. I didn't bring any salt tablets - I mean, it wasn't going to be hot enough for that.

    I started to think ahead of what I could do to rectify this situation if I could manage to make it off the bike. The last 10 miles or so were much slower than anticipated, but I needed to keep the cramping under control. Giving up a few minutes on the bike wouldn't be the worst decision I could make.

    Off the bike and into T2, I grab my bag again and head into the changing tent. I sat down and went to take my bike shoes off and my calf seized - I screamed and the volunteers were staring at me. I felt pretty stupid. I tried to put my running shoe on, but every time I pointed my toes, the calf would cramp up and it was excruciating. I tried to hurry through and get everything else done, hoping this would pass quickly. A volunteer asked if I wanted sunscreen. What? It wasn't even sunny out. In fact, I left my sunglasses in transition - first time I've done the Ironman marathon without sunglasses.

    Spent a little too much time in transition but headed out on the run careful to go slow. The first few miles are downhill and it's easy to get carried away with the pace. The toes on my right foot were numb. My left toe, where I've been dealing with Turf Toe, hurt almost immediately. So much for the cortisone shot.

    The pace was on target for the first 6 miles, but my legs still hurt from the cramping and seizing up that was happening in the last 20 miles or so of the bike. So instead of being able to pick up my run pace, I had to throw some walking in. Then the toes started to thaw on my right foot and it burned! There was a section, furthest out from town, that was just beautiful. Thanks to the Comiskey family for putting up a message for me at Inspiration Station!

    The entire run seemed to have hills with some of the hardest ones on the way back toward transition where all the spectators were hanging out. Some of the best volunteers I've ever experienced in a race - very nice, helpful and did their best to get you what you needed. I saw our other Team Tri Smart racers on the out and backs - mostly with smiles and still moving forward!

    So not a great race for me, but definitely an experience. Now it's time to take some time off and let this turf toe recover. And think about the race plan for next year!
  • Sunday, June 13, 2010

    Liberty Half Ironman Race Report

    As if driving about 9 hours the day before a race wasn't bad enough, we woke up to temperatures in the low 50s and rain in the forecast. I couldn't decide if I should put on armwarmers and gloves for the bike or save the time in transition and just grit it out. I set everything out in transition because I couldn't keep my teeth from chattering. I put on booties under my wetsuit too and, of course, toe covers on my bike shoes.

    The swim was a bit weedy and seemed a little long, but it was easy to get out in front in my wave and I had a pretty clean swim for the duration. About 400 yards from the finish, some clown from the wave in front of me decided he'd try his hand at drafting as I went by. Here's a tip for all you wanna-be drafters: DO NOT TOUCH the person you're drafting off of. It's quite possible to have an effective draft without hitting my feet with every stroke, despite what you might think.

    Once in transition, I was breathing deeply and didn't feel so cold, so I skipped the gloves and armwarmers and just hopped on my bike. Within 2 minutes, I thought about turning around. WOW - the air felt like ice and I thought about what 56 miles of this would feel like. I should turn around and get my armwarmers. Maybe put on a shirt. And jacket. And gloves. Wait, did I bring a hat? But no - at the risk of losing time and possibly screwing up my timing if I went backwards over the mat, I decided to suck it up and just ride. How bad could it be? Well - it was bad. I had goosebumps for the duration of the ride. My fingers would not work and I couldn't feel my toes. I didn't take much advantage of the downhill because the faster I went, the colder I got. This ride could not be over soon enough.

    Back into transition, I couldn't work my fingers to get my bike shoes off and put my running shoes on. My toes were completely numb. I headed out and tried to figure out what pace I could hold. I started flexing my fingers, but still had trouble getting gel from my back pocket. At about mile 4, my toes started to thaw. It was around then that the rain started coming down. Are you kidding me? I'm not sweating in the slightest and the icy rain drops pelting on my arms once again brought on those goosebumps. At first it was just a drizzle. Then it came down. Cats and dogs. Well, at least it didn't rain while I was on the bike!

    The rain was off and on for the remainder of the run. Hang on, can I see my breath? Yep, that's it! My pace slowed around mile 8 and my legs began to feel heavy. With a little bit of self-talk, I was able to bring those miles back down to where the first few were and continued on with that pace to the finish. With purple lips, frozen fingers, not a stitch of dry clothing anywhere and no shelter at the finish line and pouring rain, I was forced to collect my things from transition and run to the car and crank the heat. Worst weather conditions I've ever done a Half Ironman in. Aside from that, Final Stretch put on a terrific event!

    Wednesday, May 05, 2010

    Palos Half Marathon Race Report

    Not only was I excited about racing the Palos Half Marathon last Sunday, it was also the first "team" event for our new triathlon club, Team Tri Smart. In the week leading up to the race, I was just as excited to bring our group together for a powerful, fun kick off to the season as I was to see what I could do at this year's event.

    The rain woke me up at 3:01am and I started to freak out. About racing? No - about providing gear check to the many Team Tri Smart members I had promised to could leave their belongings at our tent through the race. I needed to make sure everything stayed dry and so I started texting tri club members who I thought might have plastic tubs to keep things dry. I'm not sure how happy they were with me for that wake up call!

    Thankfully, the rain subsided by 5:30am when we went to assemble the tent. Everything went smoothly and it started heating up and becoming rather humid. I scrambled to get changed and take in a bit of Pre Race from First Endurance. This stuff does not taste very good when mixed with plain water, but I'm adjusting because it's like magic! I was a little late in taking in my last bit of calories for the morning, but I tried not to worry about it. This is just a half marathon.

    Plan for the day? Take it out a little slowly for the first mile. Increase speed in the second mile and settle in by mile 3 and hold it until I collapse. Not the smartest thing I've ever done, but if you never blow up, how do you know where that point is? Based on some of the long runs I've done recently, I calculated my target pace to be somewhat aggressive, but realistic if all goes well.

    A quick team photo before the race kicked off took more time than one would think. The sea of red and black at the race was fun. It was Team Tri Smart all day - to the left, to the right, in front, behind. Don't slack, someone for sure will see it today! At the start, a big pack of red and black lined up between the 8 and 9 min/mile pace. It kept my mind relaxed right up until the gun went off.

    Several teammates and I had our plan to run together. This lasted for about a half mile. The pace was too fast. We spread out faster than any of us expected. Mile 1 split - TOO FAST! Shoot, slow it down! We laughed and joked as people started settling into their grooves. Mile 2 - TOO FAST! OK, so much for easing into a cruising pace! But now I was there and didn't feel the need to slow down. So I didn't. I was able to hold good conversation until about mile 5 when I kept thinking how great it was going to be when we make the turnaround. Seeing all our teammates on the out and back was going to give me much needed support.

    I tried getting water at each of the aid stations without actually slowing to walk. At one aid station, I dropped 4 cups of water. FOUR! Maybe I should slow down to walk next time. I was thirsty and it felt like the volunteers weren't letting go of the cup when I grabbed it...and then we both would let go at the same time and the cups went flying. I was fortunate that none of these cups landed on my shoes.

    By mile 9, I'm in the hurt zone. My legs are feeling heavy and my breathing is labored. I want to let up. Why am I working so hard? Four more miles seems like an eternity and this stopped being fun several miles ago. My legs are hot, but my hands are freezing. It's humid as all get out and my shirt is sticking to me. The sunglasses I put on my head because it was threatening rain at the start have too much condensation to see out of when I tried to put them on as the sun started peeking through. Would anyone care if I started walking right now?

    Mile 10 - ok, same pace. This is where it got tough. I'm not looking to get faster, but I want to be consistent. When one of my teammates, Ed, said, "Hey, let's turn on the jets at mile 11" I wanted to kick him. If I had any breath at that point, I would've started screaming at him. Jets? My legs are going to fall off. I encouraged him to move on - my pace was definitely not making him work hard enough! A little encouragement from some fans around this point was a huge help (you guys know who you are - THANK YOU!).

    The last couple miles now seem like they went fast, but I do remember thinking "OK, I'll be done in about 24 minutes, OK, now it's like 10 minutes if I hold the pace," and so on... I had no kick and it felt like I could see the finish line forever before I got there. Happy with my time? You bet! Happy with not starting it out slower? Not sure - will test the plan out again at a future race.

    Congratulations to the Team Tri Smart members who placed in their Age Groups. This is a competitive event and it was great to see some of the awards go out to the red and black!

    Tuesday, March 23, 2010

    Cary Half Marathon - March Madness Race Report

    The day before this race, I woke to frigid temperatures and pelting sleet. I thought, "No way do I want to race in these conditions tomorrow!" Fortunately, when I woke on race day, it wasn't sleet pelting, it was only rain. It was a balmy 34 degrees.

    Plagued with insomnia for the last few weeks, I was up at 2:30am and tried getting a million things done. I had no idea my ride, filled with other half marathon participants, was sitting out front for about 10 minutes before I received a text asking when the heck was I coming out? Sorry, guys!

    The Cary Half Marathon prides itself on being held in brutal weather. The thing about March in Chicago is just like Forrest Gump's box of chocolates, "You never know what you're gonna get." Thankfully, the rain stopped before we arrived, but the wind was bone chilling. After running in Disney this year, I was ready for anything, but so very, very thankful of being able to wait inside the school until about 10 minutes before the start.

    Spending the time inside, I was able to catch up with a few friends I haven't seen in a while. I remember when I first started running and triathlon, I used to go to races alone and see everyone talking to their friends and I wished I knew some people. It has come completely full circle as I didn't go more than 5 minutes before the start of this race without running into a familiar face!

    The race wasn't chip timed and I was treating this as more of a training run than anything else, so there was no need to push to the front. The race has about 1000 runners, so it's a good sized group and most are pretty competitive! The gun sounded and off we went! Though I've run the race several times, I don't remember it being quite so bottlenecked for the first mile or two. We seemed to be zig zagging a bit, but the pace was still a little quicker than I expected.

    Within the first two miles, I shed my long-sleeved throwaway shirt. This year, they gave the hills nicknames. I remember the first one being called "Shoe Tree Hill" and I thought it was funny. We jockeyed with this guy wearing those vibram shoes. He looked like he was running pretty gingerly along the road, so I decided to start talking to him and ask him how he liked those shoes. He said he did, but I think he said he got them after the Chicago Marathon (October) and only had about 70 miles on them - indoor. I can't imagine those shoes feel good to run in outide, but I've never tried them. And since my toes were numb from cold being all together in my sock, I know my toes would fall off in this weather if I attempted to try those things.

    About mile 4, I decide to ditch my handwarmers. NO, people, I was not the one who dropped theirs in the road, I waited until an aid station before I pitched them. And yes, I still had 2 pairs of gloves on at this point. On we go, and I don't think I'm taking in enough fluid, but I don't want to take off my gloves to get the water yet I don't want the water to spill on my gloves to get them wet, so I'm skipping more aid stations than I should. By mile 6, my hands are cold and I wish I hadn't trashed those handwarmers! (you can buy a box of these at Costco for a very reasonable price!).

    The hills keep coming and I remember one of them being called "10 mile hill". It was just before mile 10. Very original. The pace is now slowing a little, but overall still faster than I anticipated this run to go. I am tiring up the hills a little, but the downhills are my friend. I pass many people going downhill...the same ones that pass me going uphill. Flats seemed kinda equal, but not much passing being done this late in the race.

    I remember one of the garages being painted in hot pink and brown - I don't know why it reminded me of the Brady Bunch, but the garage door is now painted all brown. I couldn't help but start singing the Brady Bunch song, "Here's a story, about a man named Brady..." Thought it would get some laughs, but I think these people were pretty tired. It was quiet on that course.

    On toward the end, I give it a little sprint. Not much. If you've ever seen me sprint, you know what I mean. It was time for the race to be done. We didn't hang out more than a few minutes before heading inside to change out of the wet clothes. It became apparent just how cold it was when you were standing around after the race.
    A good, solid effort to kick off the racing season!

    Tuesday, March 16, 2010

    Running and Eating

    Well, it seems that runners like to eat! Who knew that when we announced a Chili Cook off to take place immediately after our regularly scheduled Monday night run, we'd have a full house and more chili than I've ever seen all together in one place?

    Come for the run, stay for the chili?

    Friday, March 05, 2010

    Luna Chix Chili Cook Off - March 15th!

    Chili Cook-Off

    Hosted by the Chicago Triathlon Team LUNA Chix

    Calling all Chili Chef’s! Come join the Chicago Triathlon Luna Chix and Runners Grove for a Chili Cook-off! We will be hosting our regular 6:30pm Monday run, followed by a Chili Cook-off! Bring your favorite prepared chili recipe on Monday, March 15th to Runners Grove to be tasted by our world-class experts! Prizes will be given to the top three chili recipes! Even if you aren’t a runner, come join us as a chili chef or chili taster for this fun-filled event!

    WHEN: Monday, March 15, 2010, 6:30 pm Run, 7:30 pm Chili Tasting

    WHERE: Runners Grove, 5155 Main Street, Downers Grove, IL 60515

    COST: $10.00 for Tasters ONLY, $5.00 for Tasters/Cookers.
    All proceeds will benefit the Breast Cancer Fund

    PLEASE RSVP to: or 708-466-2379.

    REFRESHMENTS: The outstanding chili; drinks provided!

    Monday, March 01, 2010

    Keepin' it Clean

    A few weeks ago, I received a package of TriSwim products. The samples included some shampoo, conditioner, lotion and body gel. There was also a sample of Foggle - an anti-fog towelette and TriSlide - body lube (get your mind out of the gutter, it's for putting on a wetsuit!).

    Though I haven't had a chance to try the TriSlide yet seeing as there isn't much going on in the way of triathlon here in the midwest this time of year, but I've been using the other products on a regular basis. Outstanding!

    Like most midwesterners, the combination of chlorine and cold, dry air in the winter months leave the skin like the sahara desert - dry and cracked. The hair? Brittle straw. With a little help from these products by SBR, you can get a handle on keeping your hair skin healthy, particularly through wintertime.

    For those of you who swim on the Lincoln Way Masters, you've been able to check out a few of the samples I've passed out through various workouts and, of course, our Swim-A-Poolooza, the swim endurance challenge! For those of you I don't see often, you can check here on where you can buy these great products. They work. Check them out. Stop complaining you smell like chlorine.

    I kinda like the smell of chlorine...

    Wednesday, January 27, 2010

    Team Trakkers in 2010

    This year, I've been fortunate enough to earn a spot on Team Trakkers! For those of you unfamiliar with the Trakkers product, it's a GPS device used by athletes so their spectators can follow them online getting live updates throughout the event. One of the reasons I was interested in being a part of this team (other than being associated with some of the most talented athletes in the country!) was the complaint my friends had during my last Ironman race. Apparently the first bike split didn't come in until I was past mile 73. MILE 73! So for over half the time I was on the bike, my friends and family at home were wondering what was going on. Did I flat? Was I just having a bad day? Where the heck was I? Having a Trakkers unit on would have allowed these people to know exactly where I was and be able to predict very closely when I'd be heading back in to transition.

    With this team comes a lot of prestige and other very cool, top notch sponsors! Trakkers is also associated with Rev3. In fact, if anyone is interested in participating in one of the Rev3 events, you can use this discount code to receive $10.00 off your entry: Trakkers123. I have heard fantastic reviews of the Rev3 race that took place last year. You can visit the Rev3 website for a video of highlights: Rev3

    The 2010 season will be upon us soon, so now is the time to start planning which races and events you will be registering for. While I didn't plan to do 3 Ironman events in 10 weeks, that's what happened. Who knows what's on the agenda for 2010. If you have ideas/thoughts/suggestions, please share. Let's hope 2010 is as fun as 2009!

    Wednesday, January 13, 2010

    The Goofy Challenge Race Report

    I had no idea what I was getting myself in for when I signed up for the Goofy Challenge last January! Living in Chicago, the idea of heading to Orlando, FL for a run in January sounds like heaven. It was not to be.

    Our flight was scheduled for Thursday morning. I awoke to the sound of my cell phone alerting me of a text - our flight was cancelled because of the snow storm. We were able to get on a flight later in the day! However, this flight had a layover in Ohio. The weather in Ohio was worse than it was here in Chicago and we sat on that plane on the runway for at least two hours. We finally arrived at our resort around 9pm. This means it took me longer to get to Orlando than it took for me to get to Hawaii! Go figure.

    Getting to Orlando that late meant we missed the expo and packet pick up. It was very late when we got to sleep - and we lost an hour for the time change. It would not be fun getting up in the morning for the 5K on Friday. Oh well, it's only a 5K.

    Hopped on a bus, got to packet pick up and everything ran smoothly. It was a chilly 41 degrees and I was concerned about the temperature. We spotted some unused porta potties, headed over there and then made our way to the corrals. It was a MESS! People squashed every which way and the corrals were not big enough to fit everyone. Athletes were pushing and shoving to try to get to corrals that wouldn't hold more people. Some were downright rude. This event wasn't even timed, so I questioned the need to move up front. They had the character from "Up" on stage and that was fun, but I had no idea what this movie was about. The race started - we ran, we laughed, we had fun, we ran through the parks and it was a blast. I tried to pace myself slow enough so I wouldn't sweat. I didn't want to be wet. The finish was uneventful with little bags with an orange, some raisins and a blueberry muffin in each.

    Back to the room, shower and off to the expo. When you stay at a resort at Disney, it's convenient to use the park transportation. They took us everywhere we needed to be - no thinking required. The expo was a cluster - lots and lots of people crammed into space not meant for so many. I think many people missed the expo on Thursday due to all the flight cancellations - this made the expo a zoo. Very meticulous process to be doing the Goofy Challenge, including a separate wrist band - they want to be very sure that you meet the requirements for this challenge and that huge medal, or so I thought.

    Expo took longer than expected which meant for a late lunch - which gave us little time to nap (still dragging from lack of sleep the night before) and grab some dinner. Dinner was great, back to try and sleep and I find I can't. I tossed and turned and I felt like I slept about 30 minutes before I had to get up at 3am to catch a 3:40am bus for the half marathon. It was colder than the day before. And sleeting. Oh well, it's only a half marathon.

    Now they changed things up - gear check was now by alphabet vs. number (I still don't understand why they do this). Cold, windy and sleet - and no protection from the elements as we waited the almost 2 hours before the race started. We saw the fireworks marking the start of the race as we were still headed to the corrals. No rush, we weren't going for time today. I was happy to have remembered to bring hand warmers today, but wished I could do something about my freezing toes.

    The run was ok, but the sleet never stopped. My feet were wet and cold before we started and never warmed up. The course gets narrow in many places and has some sharp turns. Definitely not a course to try and run fast for that would be very frustrating. It was fun to run through the parks and see the characters, but I didn't want to carry a camera for the run. Even if I did, I wouldn't have stopped for pictures for fear I would get cold. Seemed to be lots of Ironman athletes there - as marked by hats, tattoos and jackets. Yes, this is an event for the endurance athlete!

    After the race, I hustled through the water/food line, through gear check, said goodbye to BC and headed for my bus. I was cold down to the core. Unfortunately, I had to wait about 30 minutes (which seemed like FOREVER) for a bus to arrive to take us back to the resort. I was just shivering and wondering how long one can shiver before something bad happens. Once on the bus, I felt better, but I couldn't wait for the shower! My feet were blue by the time I got in the shower - and the hot shower felt great!! But even after drying my hair and getting dressed, I couldn't get warm. OK, let's try some hot chocolate. Nope, still not warm. I put on another couple layers of clothes and hopped in bed with 2 blankets and the comforter over me. After about 45 minutes - I was finally warm!

    This day went much more smoothly without the hassle of heading back to the expo! Lunch was more on time and we picked up dinner while we were there to make sure we could eat on our own time and get in a decent nap. This trick worked well and we even had some time to watch several episodes of Entourage!

    Up again at 3am, catch the bus at 3:45am. This time, the line for the bus was LONG! I thought there were LESS participating in the marathon, but it didn't feel like it. This day was even COLDER than the previous day, but at least it was dry! I had 4 layers on and the mylar blanket from yesterday's half marathon. You got it, I was still cold. My toes were numb before the start. Got to the corrals ahead of time and was able to stand there a few minutes before the fireworks went off. Still didn't plan on running fast...let's just do this to get the bling!

    The beginning of the race was the usual starting and stopping. There were a lot of garbage bags and throw away shirts/sweatshirts all over the course. I'll never understand why people don't make an effort to dump that stuff along the sides of the course! It was chilly and my handwarmers were doing the trick. I had not one, but two throwaway items - one long-sleeved t-shirt and one battered sweatshirt. At the first aid station, the water and Powerade was frozen in the cups. I was wishing they offered hot chocolate. At the second aid station, the water people were spilling on the ground was freezing and runners were wiping out all over the place. It was difficult to watch as some people went down hard. It was also very difficult to navigate around the slippery spots because you couldn't see them until you started sliding!

    I took off the sweatshirt around mile 4 and then the long sleeved shirt came off around mile 7, but I was afraid to toss it. The wind would sometimes kick up and give me a chill. We made a few porta potty stops that seemed to have long lines. Maybe it was just taking people a long time to get the layers off to actually use the bathroom! By mile 10 or 11, they were finally putting sand on the ice at the aid stations and that helped tremendously. I kept taking my headband off and putting it back on, never really getting comfortable. The sun didn't come out until mile...hmmm, maybe 14 or 15 and it gave a little warmth and it felt good!

    Around mile 17, my toes unthawed - and then they hurt. They hurt so bad, I considered quitting. But what the heck, it's just a marathon! By mile 19, I wanted this race to be over with. I still had the hand warmers, but they didn't seem to be working any more. I finally tossed the long-sleeved shirt figuring the sun wasn't going anywhere, I won't need it. My legs were feeling heavy - I wasn't able to get in a single 20 mile run for this marathon, so I was now going to pay for it. I tried concentrating on cadence and short, quick steps to prevent the hamstring from acting up. I was passing many people but I wasn't going very fast.

    Once back in the park, lots of sharp turns, narrow pathways and lots of things to look at. At one aid station, they gave away those mini candy bars - Hershey's Krunch, Mr. Goodbar, etc. The foil wrappers were blowing all over the place and I wondered if anyone considered the mess that would leave when they passed those out! I pushed on, my legs getting really tired and my quads begging me to stop. I didn't want to slow down, I just wanted it to be over with already!

    The music was blasting loudly and as I made the same turn into the finish as the 5K and Half Marathon had, I knew it was just about over. Turn the corner and you can see the Finish banner. I smiled as I thought about how close I was to taking a nice, hot shower! Though the weather was not ideal, it was a good race and I am the proud owner of the Goofy Challenge bling!