Monday, October 29, 2012

What Should I Do Now?

All the triathlon books I have read say to do other things during the off after my half iron distance a week ago, I looked at my calendar to plan some "other things," but couldn't tell where my OFF season is.
This coming up weekend I am going to join my guy and another couple and we are going to Bike the Coast/Taste the Coast.
I guess this could be considered "off" because we are only going to ride the 25-miles, but we are going to do it on our mountain bikes. I am really looking forward to the music, food and beer garden....oh, and the expo!
The following weekend I am going to run in the Mission Inn Run, a local run in my community.
My plan is to run from my house to the start line (I think about 3 miles), run the 5k, then the 10k and then run/walk home....for a total of about 15 miles.
At the end of the month I have a sprint triathlon at Bonelli, with a 1/2 mile swim, bike around the lake and a 5k run. I get to race for free because I helped at the M3 half distance handing out water bottles to cyclist.
Okay, then I have a 2-week break and I am racing at the Tinsel Triathlon...another sprint, but this one ends in a pool.
This will be my third year to compete here. It is a fun little race, though I wish they had split timing for the transitions.
Looking over my event plans, after Tinsel Triathlon, I do have a 6-week break until Jan. 19 when Robert and I are riding in the Grape Fun Ride, a metric century in Rancho Cucamonga.
Maybe in those 6 weeks I will go to lots of Yoga classes and get in some trail running. Maybe I'll get in my spring garden and take a Zumba class. I think I'll get in an Aqua Fit class and be like the only person who actually sweats in the pool. That will be besides my running, swimming, cycling and strength training.....
February has two events I want to do - Race on the Base Triathlon, which I have done every year for the past 4 years and Steelman Triathlon, which just started last year and my triathlon club shows out for in force.
They are on the same weekend and are back to back.
Can I do that?
Well, since neither one of them are my "A" race, or even my "B" race, maybe I will, just for a long weekend of racing fun!
March looks booked with the Desert International Triathlon, The Solvang Ride (metric century or century?) and the Pasadena Triathlon.
April has the Carlsbad 5000, which Robert and I signed up for while we were at the San Diego TriRock in September. I mean, how could we pass up a run with a tech t-shirt that is being offered for $20.
April also has the Grape Stomp Triathlon, another triathlon where my triathlon club has a great showing of members.
My "B" race is in May....Wildflower!
 31st Annual Wildflower Triathlon 2013
I raced this last year....I raced in the mountain bike triathlon. This year I think I'll either race in the Olympic or the half distance. I haven't decided. And when I say "race," I really mean "event."
June - Tinman Sprint Triathlon
Friends, Fun, Fast and FOOD!!!
Then there is my "unofficial" event, but every year I ride the Challenge.....when the Tour rides, I ride. This year I think I'll ride and cry and cry and ride and if you don't know why then you don't know anything about the tour.
July...and my fingers are crossed that we get in -
homepage logo - Vineman 70.3
I heart that last year they sold out in 3 hours. Yikes, that is almost as bad as trying to get camping reservations in California.
This will be my "A" race and I am going to PR. And how could I not, since it will be the first time I have done it.
Okay, here is my break - AUGUST!
I have nothing planned.
September.....uhm, well, I could easily be talked into San Diego Tri-Rock. It is a nice event. It is a little pricey, but my guy and I always have fun staying at the Hilton. But I'm not sure about this year...Maybe I'll just take more yoga, Zumba and aqua fit classes.
My friend, Carolyn and I had so much fun at the Rugged Maniac earlier this month, that I already signed Robert and I up for next year. Carolyn says she is signing up her guy, too, and we are going to run, climb, slither on our stomachs in mud, run some more and jump in a lake, then jump over fire, then drink a couple of beers and THEN have a tailgate party at the lake.
October also has the Riverside Triathlon. I did not get to go to the Inaugural event this year because Robert and I were in Tempe, AZ, competing in SOMA half iron distance. I was sad that I wasn't in my hometown for its very first triathlon. I plan on competing in it next year.
Riverside Police Foundation | 2012 Inaugural Triathlon
And then it will be November and my "OFF" season will start all over again.....or will it?
I haven't decided if after I volunteer as Security at Ironman Arizona next month, if I will be standing in line the next morning to sign up.
End Note - accidentally sent me a second pair of SockGuy socks. I got the first pair of sock for completing 99 bike rides.
Well, the other day, they sent me ANOTHER pair of socks. I emailed them and they said to keep them and give them to someone who has cold feet.
Is that you?
Leave me a comment about what you do in your off-season. Or leave me a comment about my plans for the year...sounds okay? too much?
Am I crazy to think I can do an Ironman at 53-years-old (what I'll be then)?
I'll throw all the names of those making a comment in a hat and on Nov. 6 pull a winning name.
Good Luck!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Walking for Mental Health

I'm taking a walk on Saturday and I want you to support me.
Click on the link above to donate.
Want to know why you should donate to my walk? Read on.....
NAMIWALKS for the Mind of America
NAMIWALKS Riverside and San Bernardino Counties
Cruisin' to Recovery 

Many of you who know me personally, know that I have a family member who has a mental illness. When most of the population thinks of people with mental illness, they often think it is the persons fault - that maybe they did drugs, or drank or ??
Drug use, drinking and smoking can be symptoms of mental illness, but not the cause.
The cause is having Diabetes.
Let me tell you about my family member.
My family member doesn't smoke, drink or do drugs.
She was a straight A student in school.
She was on a national sports team and competed internationally. She had dreams of attending one of the more prestigious universities in the country.
Then one day the chemicals in her head just didn't work correctly. She couldn't focus. She became depressed. She became angry. School became harder, but she pushed on and graduated from high school. She went to counseling. She was given medication.
She was diagnosed as bi-polar.
But then she started having auditory and visual hallucinations.
She was hosptialized and doctors played around with medications to find what would work. She was diagnosed as schizo-affective.
She came home and continued junior college.
She was two classes away from finishing, when her medication stopped working. She was hospitalized again. Doctors played around with her medication some more.
Now she is slowly making her way back to normal life.
She still has dreams of finishing school.
She still has dreams of working and marrying.
None of what has happened to her is her fault.

My daughter, Danielle.
Saturday I will be walking for her......
and others like her.
Please support me in my walk to raise awareness and eradicate stigma and to raise money so more services can be offered in the Riverside/San Bernardino area to those who have a mental illness.
Click on either of the links below to donate, then read on for more information.

NAMIWalks, the signature walkathon event of the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

The event I am participataing in is being held in Hemet, CA at Diamond Valley Lake on October 27, 2012. Please make a donation to support my participation in this event.

NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, is the largest education, support and advocacy organization that serves the needs of all whose lives are touched by these illnesses. This includes persons with mental illness, their families, friends, employers, the law enforcement community and policy makers.

The NAMI organization is composed of approximately 1100 local affiliates, 50 state offices and a national office.

The goals of the NAMIWalks program are to fight the stigma that surrounds mental illness, to build awareness of the fact that the mental health system in this country needs to be improved, and to raise funds for NAMI so that they can continue their mission.

NAMI has been rated by Worth magazine as among the top 100 charities "most likely to save the world" and has been given an "A+" rating by The American Institute of Philanthropy for efficient and effective use of charitable dollar. NAMI has also been given 4 out of 4 stars by The Charity Navigator for short-term spending practices and long-term sustainability.

NAMI is a 501(c)3 charity and any donation you make to support my participation in this event is tax deductible.

Please take the time to visit my personal walker page to support my efforts. You can make a donation by clicking on
and then clicking on SUPPORT ME.
Donating online is fast and secure, and I'll get immediate notification via e-mail of your donation.

Danielle's mom, Kandi DeCarlo
Me, Danielle and Carolyn at the Riverside Raincross Run 2011

Monday, October 22, 2012

70.3...I'm a Finisher!!!

SOMA 70.3 miles
I am a finisher!!!
So is my husband Robert.
The medal is a great beer bottle opener.
After an evening of use it is now hanging on my medal rack.
We swam 1.2 miles, biked 56 miles and ran 13.1 miles.
Sorry to disappoint some of you, but we did not end up doing this together.....though we both ended up at the finish line and in transition together!
This was my first half iron distance - that's what it says on the back of the medal - and it was a LONG day.
Mine was certainly longer than some people who can go fast!
We had dropped our bikes off in the transition area the day before as was required.
They assigned bike spots by alphabetical order and mine was right next to Robert's because our last names are the same.
Photo: OMG....Robert and I are right next to each other in transition. He better not hog transition like he does our bed.
Do our bikes look REALLY close together...kind of how our clothes are smashed into our closet at home.
After dropping off our bikes, we checked out the expo, which was small, but Robert picked up some extra electrolyte tabs and I picked up some honey stingers.
I handed out some Aquaphor to several people and they were happy to take a handful out of the bag I was carrying.
So Sunday morning we did not have to worry about our bikes....or did we?
When we got there (after a hectic drive where I did not listen to Garmin's directions, instead having a sight-seeing trip, but still managing to get to the event at the time we had planned) we found our bikes in the same spot, but turned in different directions.
Another athlete said officials came through during the night and turned the bikes they way they wanted.
I must have been nervous, even though I didn't feel as if I was.
I had a hard time setting up my transition area. It was dark, but I had brought my headlight.
Even so, I spilled my coffee all over my transition mat, my bike helmet, my bike shoes, glasses, and who knows what else because then the batteries on my headlight went out and I was in the dark.
But it was light enough to see the horror facing me when I pulled out my running shoes.
They didn't have any GUTS!
Yep, they were gutless.
I know it is hard to see inside of my shoes, but they do not have anything in them.
My specially made inserts were not in my shoes, nor were the regular inserts that came with the shoes. I was facing a 13.1 mile run in barebones running shoes. My guy offered up a big pair of socks. I turned him down. Someone else said they just read a story about a guy who ran a marathon in flip-flops and maybe I should try that.
I thought about that for about 2 seconds.
I decided that when the time came I would just suck it up and run in my running shoes and pray for my knees and hips to survive.
I put the problem/solution behind me and went to get "marked" with my race number and age and when I got back to my transition area Robert wasn't there. They were closing transition so I quickly smeared myself with Aquaphor, grabbed my wetsuit, goggles, noseclip, earplugs and cute swim cap with American flag they gave the "old" ladies and first-timers and headed out to the cemented edge of the lake.
I looked all around for Robert.
I waited in the "blue" cap wave area where he would be, but he wasn't there.
 FINALLY, he turned up!
Quick kiss for good luck and he was in the water.
I had to wait about 20 minutes for my wave to take off. I looked down at my hand and said, "Shit."
In the dark chaos of the morning, I did not write "MBYS and broom" on my left palm (for Michael Bring Your Sword and broom) or "I love swimming" on my right.
So I took a deep breath, closed my eyes and mentally saw those words written on my palms and I was calm and happy.
The water was great!
I loved my swim. Never once was I scared. Never once did I worry about fish. A fist hit me in the head, but it wasn't too bad, so I just shook it off and swam. I swam slow. I wanted to keep my breathing easy and never once feel as if I was out of breath. I did that. I sighted using the cemet wall, the condos, the Silicon (something) bank, the park, the stadium and then it was time to turn around. I sighted on the bridge and focused on my swim technique.
At one point I laughed while breathing out underwater.
"HOLY MOLY...who would have thought I would swim 1.2 miles and enjoy it?????? WOOO-HOOOO," was my thought.
I reminded myself to enjoy the swim because it was going to be over before I knew it.
At the second to last buoy, which was under the bridge, I stopped and just kind of floated in the water. I really wanted to pee before I got out of the water.
I was kind of hiding behind the buoy when all of a sudden a kayak came up on the other side.
"Are you okay," the girl in the front of the kayak asked me.
"Yep," I said.
(come on and just pee, I thought to myself)
"Are you sure you are alright?" she asked me again.
"Yep," I said.
(please don't talk to me anymore, I am trying to pee)
"Uhm, ma'm do you need help?" the guy in the back of the kayak asked me.
"No. I am just taking a pee break. Thanks," I said.
They both laughed. I peed.
Then they followed me the rest of the way to the finish.
It was great to have wetsuit strippers.
Wham, Bam, here's you wetsuit and thank you ma'm!
(okay, I tried to get an image to post of wetsuit strippers, but the only things that showed up on my Internet did not involve triathlon or wetsuits......if you know what I mean).
I had to stop in T1 and change the bandaid on my infected heel. Luckily, my coffee spill had dried up some. I got on my shoes and helmet, grabbed a banana to eat, and WALKED out of transition. I was trying to put on bike gloves, when a guy tried to tell me I wasn't going to need them, but all I could think of was, "Yeah, I do. I am riding my bike 56 miles. Definitely need gloves."
Dang it! I hate it when I am wrong and other people (especially men) are right! Five miles into my ride I was pulling my gloves off with my teeth and shoving them in to little bento bag.
When I shoved them in, it was hard to get the Velcro to close all the way....and at the first big bump in the know the one where the guy is standing there pointing to the road yelling, "HOLD ON!!!!" I hit the bump and my canister of electrolyte tabs flew out.
Should I stop and pick it up or go on and suffer and hope the aid stations have stuff.
By the time my mind wrapped around an answer I was too far along to go back and my decision was made for me.
The bike course was 3 loops, 18 miles each.
My goal was to ride 15 mph. I know that doesn't sound very fast, but since this was my first 1/2 iron distance, I wanted to make sure I had something left for the run, especially since I would be running a half marathon in half-ass shoes.
I was scared on my first lap.

 My legs did NOT want to work. I don't know if it was because I had been sick with an infection in my foot, or because of the horrible cold I couldn't shake, but I just did NOT have any energy in my legs.
I had NO power in my legs.
I just put it in an easy gear and spun at a high cadence, something I got really good at when I was nursing my knee back to health a few months ago and couldn't put any pressure on it. I had spent weeks on high cadence spinning, so I knew what to do.
My legs were going fast, but they were not going strong. I figured since I was not pushing it, it was a good time to get some nutrition down, I ate half a bar and drank.
I kept a look-out for Robert, I thought eventually he would pass me on the course. Never saw him.
About mile 14 life was starting to come back to my legs, but then it was uphill.
Whoever said this course was flat is a big fat LIAR!!!
My GARMIN has it on record that there are several 4 percent, 5 percent and 6 percent grade hills on this course.
While the majority of the course is relatively flat, it is not ALL flat!!
18 miles down and I had managed to spin 15 mph/average that first hour.
I had hope.
Do NOT read any further if the talk of vomit or poop bothers you!
It was about mile 20 when I first I threw up in my mouth.
About every 5 miles, I had the pleasure of revisiting everything I had drank or ate.
Every time I drank, I burped.
This was not fun.
And then I would vomit in my mouth.
That was less fun than the constant burping.
But my legs were starting to work.
At mile 30, my stomach started getting cramps. I was still averaging 15 mph.  At mile 35 I had to stop at the aid station and poop!
So now, I am biking, burping and talking to my stomach about containing itself.
My neck and shoulder muscles started to ache around mile 45. My toes were going numb and I kept moving them around to get feeling.
By mile 50 I knew I had to do something!
"You are rocking," I started yelling out to people.
"You have so got this," I told one lady as I passed her.
"Come on and let's kill this thing," I told a guy as I passed him on the "flat" 6 percent grade hill. "Okay," he said," I am just getting my legs for the run."
I told myself to enjoy the rest of the bike because it was going to be over before I knew it.

This was NOT my transition...our bikes were so close together that I had to try 2 times to get my bike back on the rack.
T2 - I had to change my bandaid again and my socks (uhm, let's not talk about my pus heel)....and put on my gutless running shoes.
I WALKED out of transition while I ate a honey stinger and drank down some electrolytes. I walked about 1/2 mile before I started to jog. Really, I was scared what it was going to feel like to run in my gutless shoes.

The path I ran on was run was NOT!
I started running and I knew this was going to be ugly. It was hot. I threw up in my mouth again.
First aid station, I put ice in my hat, in my shirt and ate an orange.
I walked 50 steps, ran 50 steps.
Over the bridge and then along the river bed. It was a pretty walk/run. There were several information boards about the animals and floral in the river bed area. I didn't have time to stop and read it. I was looking for a bathroom.
My friend

Walk 50 steps/run 50 steps/repeat
Between the picture above and the picture below, I think I stopped in 4 bathrooms.
This was very pretty through here and I was imaging what it would be like just to stop and hang out in the park on the bench. A couple were throwing Frisbees for their dogs. The dogs wanted to go with me. I had to stop while their owners came and get them.
50 steps walking/50 steps running.
Stop at all bathrooms.
I don't know why some of my hardest races involve horses. But there were the horses. Tempe's Papago Horse Stables.
Why am I tempted to trade in all my tri gear and buy a saddle at the toughest part of my race?
I ran on.
50 steps walk/50 steps run.
Bathroom to poop.
 My friend even if there is no toilet paper.
I was now running by the condos and the bank I had used for sighting during my swim, and then I was back at the beginning....but that was only 6.5ish miles.
The path divided - the left to the finish, the right to hell, I mean, the second part of the run course.

  My feet were slopping around in my no guts shoes. My shoes were wet from all the water I had poured over myself to try to keep from overheating. Blisters were forming on the bottom of my foot and toes. I stopped squirted my Aquaphor lip balm on my feet and toes. 
I whimpered just a bit before starting my second lap. At the first water station I stopped and put two cups of ice in my hat.
50 steps walking/50 steps running, then run a little more to get to the next port-a-potty!
 We are best friends, Mr. PP and I!
I saw a guy lying on the grass in his underwear. He was a college student, I think. Or a smart model because he did have some books next to him. He also had a mountain bike. Sorry I don't have a picture.
But the image in my brain got me to the next bathroom.

I kept thinking I would run into Robert along the route, but I never did.
This run was getting monotonous and my knee was starting to hurt. I had some Biofreeze packets in my pocket and I put some on my knee. I also had some KT-tape and taped up my knee, but it fell off from all the water I was pouring on myself. I thought how my chiropractor was going to be so pissed at me for running without my inserts.
I started to chat people up to kill some time.
"Have you done this run before?"
"Well, we are going to finish this," I said.
Okay, how come I am the only one who gets chatty when the going gets a little tough?
And then magically I was by the horses again.
I had to duck into the bathrooms by the stable. But when I came out, I put them behind me.
My knee was starting to hurt and I wasn't setting any records, so I was down to 25 steps walk/25 run/repeat.
I just wanted to finish with my body somewhat intact.
I had passed several dog waste dispensers and at one point thought it might be a good idea to grab a bag just in case I couldn't 50/50 or 25/25 to the next meeting with Mr. PP.

I didn't grab a bag, but maybe I should have.
I was over the last bridge and had about a mile to go.
I skipped a little, I walked a little, I jogged a little.
I went off course and danced in some sprinklers.
I told myself to enjoy the last part of the run because it was going to be over before I knew it.
And it was.

How wacky would I have to be to sign up for IMAZ?

I think I'll train-n-tri.

Friday, October 19, 2012

SOMA Triathlon - You will be there with me!

I'll be lining up at the start line (which is really a deep water swim start) on Sunday morning and I wanted to thank all the people who will be swimming, biking and running with me for my first half Iron distance race.
Yes, lots of you will be with me!
Yes, it is a race...a race of me against a clock to finish before the big broom comes out.
When I line up at the swim start I am going to have Archangel Michael and my sister Tracy with me.
I found out that Michael is my protector angel when my sister did an angel reading for me.
You can read the blog about that if you want to here -
This was my vision of Michael when my sister first introduced us....The more masculine (uhm, muscular) Michael is the one that swims with me in the water.
Thank you Tracy for introducing  us.
Before every triathlon with an open water swim I write on my left palm in sharpie "MBYS and broom," which stands for Michael bring your sword and broom.
Yep, Michael has a broom, but it isn't to sweep me off course because I am swimming too slow (though I am a slow swimmer.) Michael carries his sword to protect me from fish and little waves that make me nauseous and he carries a broom to sweep away all my negative thoughts about swimming.
Michael's sword and broom are powerful.
(that's what I right on my right palm).
Once I get out of the water and start my transition I am bringing Rusty Robertson with me. He is a member of my Triathlon Connection club and he is the fastest person in triathlon that I know. And he LOVES Aquaphor. I am going to try to channel Rusty while I am in transition and get out of there ASAP.
All my Triathlon Connection friends and training partners are going to be with me. Though there are too many of you to mention I really want to thank my Tuesday/Thursday ride group - Jeanne, Orietta, Cynthia, Tawny, Robert, Tom, Mary and Dion. We are a small group but there is always someone to ride with and I know you will always push me to ride faster!!!!
Some of my TC girlfriends - all Ironmen at heart!!!!
To keep my TC friends close to me I'll be wearing this hat.
I'll be wearing this hat before the tri, during my run and after the tri. I LOVE this hat.
And in case you don't notice, my hat has the name "Chrissie" on it.
Yep, Chrissie Wellington will be with my at my first half Iron distance.
I met with Chrissie earlier in the year for a CAF fundraiser for Tanya, the founder of GOTRIbal!
There were about 20 of us at the event and we ran 3-miles with Chrissie, then talked to her, took picture, had her sign books and had a great raffle. Tanya is on her CAF bike ride as I am typing this. Go Tanya!
I learned a lot from reading Chrissie's book and if I hit a slump on Sunday I will be thinking of Chrissie winning her last Ironman Championship after having a bike crash and so many injuries....and I only have an infected foot and a cold.
 When you looked at the picture of my running hat, I don't know if you noticed but I have my tri-kit underneath it.
My Aquaphor tri-friends are AWESOME!
I have only met a few of them in person, but they are the most supportive group of triathlon people an athlete could ask for.
 Thank you Aquaphor team mates for all your support and words of knowledge...I will have fun, or at least I will tri!!!

I always have my children with me. I hope I am a good role model for them. I try my best to show them how to exercise and eat healthy.
My secret goal is that one of them will try a tri with me.
My daughter has run a 5-k with me and maybe she will again. My eldest son put down some money not to long ago and bought himself a bike and has been riding with me.
All 3 of my children (15, 20 and 22) are awesome swimmers (so don't ask me about my lack of swimming ability)..and when I say awesome I mean AWESOME!!!

My children will be with me and if it gets tough on Sunday I will think of them!!

Meredith Atwood is going to be with me!
Yep, she is SwimBikeMom.
We have only met once at a spin class in San Diego when she came to visit, but we are friends!
It is amazing the friends you can acquire from triathlon.
Don't ask me exactly WHY we are friends, because I can't explain it. Really we don't have anything in common.
She is younger; I am older. Oh, we both are married to men.
We both have kids, but hers are little and mine are big.
She has weight issues. I don't.
But she tris and overcomes her issues and I tri and overcome my issues.
I may not be wearing her shirt while I tri, but I will have on this.
SwimBikeMom (aka Meredith) sent this to me..
it says swim bike run.
I wear this a lot and when training gets tough I think of her.
If she can do it; I can do it.
She has done a couple of 70.3s and is signed up for an Ironman.
She is an Ironman at heart already!!!!
Well, I am going to finish my first half Iron distance!
I am going to give it my best shot at finishing (without pooping my pants, thank you very much!)
I am bringing my friend Carolyn with me.
This is blame and thanks to her.
She started this whole fitness thing with me when she asked for friends to hike up Mt. Whitney for her 50th birthday.
I was that friend.
Well, I hope I am still her friend after I post this picture of the two of us "bathing" in the woods.
When I turned 50, Carolyn reciprocated by running a marathon (both a first for us) in Seattle and spending a wonderful week visiting the area and my dad and his wife.
We finished...but let's NOT talk about how long it took us.
The most important person I am bringing with me to the SOMA Triathlon is my guy, Robert!
 I am actually bringing him.
He also is entered in the triathlon.
We had talked about whether we were racing (if you want to call it that) together or separately, and I am not sure what we are doing.
Our swim waves start 16 minutes apart.
All I know is that I am driving from Riverside, California to Tempe, Arizona with him....having a rocking fitness weekend...and then driving home with him!

One way or another we will end up together at the FINISH line!