Please help us in our fight to help loved ones with Parkinson's Disease live better today!

Please help us in our quest to help those afflicted with Parkinson's Disease live better today!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Single Digits. Almost.

Can someone stop the clock, please? Seriously! We are down to just over one week to go until IM Boulder and the freaking out has begun in earnest!

I cannot believe we are this close. After seven months of training, we are about to receive a new title. We are excited, nervous, anxious and ready to get the show on the road. This morning, we had our last long OWS (open water swim) at Grant Ranch. Neither of us wanted to get up at the crack of dawn again but knowing after next week we can sleep in (well, for maybe a week. Then it's back to training for NYC) got us out the door. It was a good thing we went. The view was beautiful!

Freddy got in about 2 miles and I did just over 1.5 miles before we had to head home. The pace was nice and easy and we felt great after the swim.  During the swim we both reflected on how far we have come and how excited we are to see all our friends and family on August 3. We have worked so hard to get to this point-just training for an Ironman is a huge accomplishment that we don't take lightly. 

We will be unplugging completely next week to turn off all "noise". I, especially, get incredibly anxious before races and need to be in my bubble so if you text and hear silence from me, please do not be offended! If you have not joined our "Where's Waldo fan club" on Facebook, please do so. My dear friend Laura Chartrand has set up a great page for you to get all your scoop on the big day: where to meet up, best places to cheer, how much tequila to put in my margarita, etc. Please join the group and feel free to contact Laura with any questions. She is my right hand girl and I'm so lucky to have her!  You can join the group here.

Freddy and I have also purchased a cool gps gadget we will be wearing on race day. This will allow you to see where we are at any point on the course. The best part? It's free to our fans! Visit My Athlete for more info. If you have an Apple or Droid smart phone, you will need to download their free app, type in Ironman Boulder (they don't have that event live yet) and our names. I'm not sure if you need our bib #'s, but if you do, I am bib #150 and Freddy is #149. No smart phone? No problem! Ironman Boulder will have a live feed set up on several places along the race course (typically swim start, half way on the bike, a couple places on the run and of course, the finish line) you can view here.

We are incredibly blessed to be participating in the inaugural Ironman Boulder with so many friends and even more blessed with our support system. We honestly could not have gotten through this without you! Thank you all, so much, for believing in us, cheering us on, pushing us when we needed pushed and supporting us every stroke, pedal and stride along the way!  Let's get this done!

I leave you with a video that makes me tear up everytime. If you wonder why we do this crazy stuff-this is it.... enjoy! 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Village people

Hannah, me, Molly, Melissa & Freddy before our run along Boulder Creek
I don't subscribe to the whole "it takes a village" to raise a child BS. But in the case of training for an Ironman, nothing could be more true! It is, in fact, taking me an entire army to get ready for August 3!

While most people enjoyed a nice, relaxing long 4th of July weekend, Freddy and I were experiencing our toughest training weekend yet. Friday morning we awoke early to head to Boulder to run 3 hours on the Ironman route (which is on the Boulder Creek Trail). I had done this route many times with Runners Edge, know it like the back of my hand and since I've done so many marathons, a 3 hour run is kind of not a big deal to me. Freddy, on the other hand, was pretty nervous. He had never run that far before and had never run the Boulder Creek Trail. We got really excited when Coach Marco gave us a special treat-he invited his wife Hannah and said he'd be out there on his bike cracking the whip on us! Giddy-up!                                                  

Hannah and Freddy took off like bullets while me and my girls trotted along at a nice, comfy pace. All the while, Coach Marco shuttled between us, Hannah and Freddy to offer encouragement, advice and every now and then, a squirt from his water bottle.  The IM route does a modified 13 mile out and back, so we were able to run the entire route to see what we are in for. The trail is great-very shaded (although by the time I'm running, it will be dark), pretty and cool as it runs along the creek so there are plenty of places to take a little dip for some relief as Freddy found rather quickly!  Another bonus is you can get an awesome contact high from all the Boulder Hippies lining the route. I'm sure this will come in handy around mile 130.

Totally worth all that effort!
Me and my girls enjoying some girl talk!
Don't ask me what he is doing. 
Our reward at the end-a Rocky Mountain Ice Bath!

We thought we'd try Freddy's trick. It hurt......
After 3 hours, Freddy logged around 18 miles and me and my girls came in just shy of 15. Freddy was thrilled to have this milestone behind him and I was thrilled to have some great company! But I was dreading what was to come.....

Sunday was a big day. The monster of all demons for me. The dreaded "entire IM bike course" training day. I did a century bike ride a few years ago and hated it. I also swore I would never do one again. So, don't ask me why I thought riding 112 miles in an Ironman is a good idea. 

We met up with our group bright and early at 6:00am on Sunday morning to begin our journey. Luckily, my girls were there with me and we decided we would hang together. We also were able to rope my dear friend Laura into being our sag wagon for the day, providing us food, water, encouragement and direction. I'm not sure she entirely knew what she was getting herself into!

We took off and were greeted with a nasty cross-wind on Hwy 36. UGH. I hate wind. It totally blows. No problem. This is all good training. Around mile 35, we came across signs saying "road closed ahead". Odd, but whatever. We are on bikes. We're good to go. More signs warning us to turn around. Surely they aren't talking about us. Then we saw it. The orange fencing and on the other side, no road. It had collapsed into the river below! WTF?? We all looked at each other going "how are they going to have this road fixed in 3 weeks? This is crap!". After pondering our situation for several minutes we decided to call Laura who informed us we were way too far north and missed our turn. After figuring out where to go, we all turned around in silence. A detour did not make us happy. But no one complained. We just continued on course. 

We all had maps but quickly designated Lehiwa as our trusty guide. I was too anxious about the ride to focus on anything but pedaling. She did awesome and made sure we were on track. She also knew of detours for bathrooms! About 60 miles in, we were low on water, burning up and pedaling to get to Laura when all of a sudden this man with no shirt on and Richard Simmons shorts started running towards us in the grass. We pretended not to see him but pretty soon he started flailing his arms saying "ladies, we have treats for you one block ahead! Come on over!". Then we saw it: an oasis in the plains. The most beautiful sight we'd seen that day. There was a tent with about 6 people, all of whom had ice-cold rags in their hands that they quickly put around our necks. Others grabbed our bikes and water bottles and started to re-fill them with ice cold water. They had candy, food, sunblock, anything we wanted. Turns out they were just some nice folks knowing there would be a ton of people training that route and they wanted to help. It was awesome!

As we pedaled through the corn fields, we encountered horrendous heat, head winds (that mysteriously switched direction every time we turned), hills and more hills. Having Laura on the course was a life-saver. If she wasn't out there, I truly don't think any of us would have made it. 

Close to the end of our ride and about 10 hours into our day, Dan, Frank and Ian came out to cheer us in. Frank had even bought us some goodies to eat for the final stretch. We asked for rides back to the cars, but they never acknowledged our inquiry. Jerks. Finally, after 8 hours of pedaling, 11 hours out on the course, and 115 miles, we arrived at Boulder High School-site of T2 and our start/finish spot for the day. After literally one minute of celebrating, Frank grabbed our shoes and pushed us onto the Boulder Creek Trail. We still had a run to do. So, Ashley, Molly and I headed out on our short 20 minute run. And it felt great. 

Sunday was a huge day for me. It proved I can do anything I set my mind to. It eased my fears, ever so much, about August 3. I learned a lot and know that race day it will all come together. And I cannot wait!
My Iron Village: Melissa, Molly, Laura, Lehiwa & Ashley. You ladies are the best and I cannot wait to cross that finish line with you!!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Becoming too tough to kill

Just as we suspected, last weekend was a tad brutal and a little crazy. Scratch that-a lot crazy. I got very excited as my run on Saturday was "only" 45 minutes! "Whatever will I do with myself?", I thought, until I looked ahead to Sunday. Sunday was "race prep day" and after I got out my trusty calculator to add up all the hours, realized we would be doing an "almost" half Ironman. For training. WTH? Our training plan called for a 1 hour open water swim, 4 hour bike ride, and 2 hour run. For those of you who have trouble with math like me, that's 7 hours of movement. In one day. Kill me now.
5 miles into our walk. I need an ice bath just looking at this! Gorgeous scenery but dear Lord it was hot!!

My friend Ann, also training for her first Ironman in Boulder, called me earlier in the week to make a plan for this race prep day. We decided that Aurora Reservoir would be the perfect place to partake in this madness. The water is clear and cool, we can park our cars in the lot to stage our transitions areas, there is already an existing bike route from the reservoir, and there is an 8 mile bike path around the reservoir. Perfect!

Freddy got called out on a very busy one day trip on Saturday which had him leaving our house at 5am and not getting home (if he was lucky) until around 10:30 pm. After my group run with Runners Edge, I had a wedding to attend downtown beginning at 6:30pm, so knew between the two of us, Sunday would be tough.

Sunday morning, Ann, Dan, Freddy and I left our homes before the birds were awake to travel to Kansas, er. Aurora.  We arrived at the reservoir and were giddy when we saw we were the only people around. We put on our wetsuits, jumped into the reservoir and started our day. On about lap 3, we noticed a very large school of fish started hanging out with us! They were huge and had horns on the tops of their heads and were not bothered by us in the least! After swimming in our rec center pool, Boulder Reservoir and Grant Ranch, they were a very welcome sight!

After an hour, we got out of the water and made our transition to the bike ride. We were all feeling pretty good as the temps were still cool and we were still fresh. We decided to ride the Harvest Moon bike course. I've never done this course but Freddy and Dan had and they warned me it was tougher than I envisioned. Hogwash, I thought. It's Aurora. Aurora doesn't have any hills. Good thing I'm a fan of roller coasters, because that's exactly what this course was. You were either going up or going down.  No flats in this part of Colorado! Crazy! The road was so beat-up that I was literally out of my saddle and squatting for most of the ride to try and save my bike from all the pounding in the pot holes!  There was no shoulder on most of the route which made me too nervous to eat while riding, so I had to pull over to eat. Then the wind came. And it stayed. Then it's friend, oppressive heat came with a vengeance. And it just got worse. The only saving grace about this ride was that we were in farmland and that made me smile all over. I only saw two other cyclists the entire ride and other than that, it was me, the cows, the farmers, some ducks and lots of tractors. I felt like I was home. I went through the entire John Denver collection in my head until I got to "Annie's Song" which made me tear up, so then had to quickly switch my soundtrack. Three hours and 45 minutes later I arrived back at the reservoir, tired, HOT, and hungry. Not good when you have a 2 hour run still to come.

Freddy and I drank an ice cold coke, dunked our heads in some ice water (which evaporated before we even left the truck) and headed on our way. Coach Marco had sent us an e-mail the day before after looking at the weather forecast (the high for Sunday was to be in the upper-90's) saying there was no shame in backing our bike down to 3 hours and our run down to 1 hour. He did not want us being hero's out there. Not today. So, with this in mind, Freddy and I decided we would break up the run in small segments to re-evaluate. We took off on a slow run but quickly realized the heat was zapping us of our energy fast. Our plan was to go out 1 mile, turn around, go back to the truck to get more water, and continue this trend until we couldn't go anymore. Our mantra was "No hero today. We save it for August 3." We got in 6.5 miles and called it good. We arrived back to the truck and promptly jumped back in the reservoir to cool off. When we got home and looked at our data, Freddy's Garmin said the temps had reached 100 degrees. I wouldn't argue that-I think that's probably about right!

During our 6.5 mile march, I shared with Freddy one of my favorite marathon sayings:
In my re-cap about the day to Coach, I told him he needed to try a little bit harder to kill us. He wasn't successful on Sunday and I promised to pull out all the stops on Aug. 3. There were no heros in Aurora on Sunday. But Boulder better watch out. We are comin'!