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Archive for July, 2011

Refurnishing Me

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

I don’t have much to entertain me here in Leysin no tv (well there is a tv but it only has three channels in French which I haven’t mastered beyond we and merci), no Internet unless I venture out, and no one living with me. It makes for quite a bit of free time to read and listen to podcasts. In particular in one podcast that stuck in my head recently the interviewee was talking about a monumental moment in his life and said it rearranged his mental furniture. I love that analogy and have been thinking about it a lot as it applies to me and my journey this year with the team and Doc.

This year has been hard at times and held up a mirror to my own mental room revealing some flaws i have previously decided to ignore or overlook. As a result, this year I have had to do some remodeling of my own mind. In literature, rooms are often used as an expression of the character and provide some insight. In my own life I have held onto mental furniture that is ratty, old, and comfortable in order to keep a safe design that has outlived its useful life. It maybe hasn’t been as dramatic as it was for the podcast subject, but this year has gradually forced me to reckon with my own room’s setup. I still have some furniture that needs to be tossed and some mental design errors that Doc has pointed out to me. In addition Eric and Mr Fur have added their own little touches of fur, knick knacks, and love to make my room a bit more comfortable and less sterile. Unfortunately it isn’t always easy to get rid of that nostalgic armchair even though it sags, has loose springs, and smells funny or the ticking mantel clock that needs to be replaced by a nice piece of artwork. But after one last argument with the designers, I have seen some of what they have been trying to show me. That old armchair is simply a crutch that is blocking the window where there is natural light and clashes with the new rug I have just laid down. And I have always hated that ticking clock sound. I am by no means done; there is still quite a bit of my mental furniture that needs to be tossed, augmented, or rearranged to maximize the room I have. But I am grateful for what I have already been able to accomplish and look forward to working on fixing the rest of my mental furniture in my little room both here in Leysin and over the next period of my life.

IM Austria Race Report

Tuesday, July 5th, 2011

I am no longer an Ironman virgin. I knew it would be but Ironman is tough. The last 12k of the run was a death march but I will come to that part. Overall I am so happy with the result and the course and conditions and crowd support; it was a perfect day leading to a much faster time than i would have had anywhere else. But I will take it with a grain of salt (like that 4:02 at Clearwater world champs wink wink). The fastest debut ironman and fastest US womens Ironman time ever….pretty unbelievable stuff. If it wasn’t for Chrissy doing insanely fast times at Roth the last two years or Marino’s amazing world record, i would have been a big news story.

The day started well. In the swim, I lost the leading men after about 200 meters and swam the rest of the way on my own until two age group men joined me with about 800 meters to go. It was a wetsuit swim so i expected a fast time but 48 minutes was definitely faster than I hoped to achieve. I was cramping from the swim running in T1 but just hoped getting some electrolytes down early on the bike and starting off easy would abate this issue and luckily it did. Once on the bike, I started easy as i was trying to get rid of the cramping but by 20k my quads seemed to be okay so i started to push a bit. On the bike, i had some male age groupers and pros to pace off which was helpful. I kept passing them on the climbs but they would come right back by me on the flats. But their company helped the bike go by faster. I had three bottles of First Endurance and took aid on the course. I also managed to get down some lollies and a mars bar. It was a moveable buffet and every-time i started to puke i would just lay off the food for a bit to let things digest before forcing more down. I did manage four pees on the bike which seemed like a good sign. The second lap of the bike went by much faster than the first. But when i got to T2 i was ready to be off the bike. I don’t race with a watch or anything else so in T2, i asked someone what time it was and was surprised. It was twenty to one which meant i had biked under 5 hours, i skeptical and didn’t believe it. I asked eric again for the time when i ran past him around the 1.5k mark. It was now only 12:43. Wow was all i could think. At the start of the run, i felt good but knew the elephant could jump on my back at anytime. I cruised along for the first half seeing Eric twice each lap feeling like i could do this. On the run, I drank as much as I could and had two full flasks of First Endurance gel one in Vanilla and one in Berry. I think i was on 2:55 marathon pace until the bottom feel out. I stopped for a bathroom break # 1 and 2 around 28k. I felt great after that quick pit-stop but it didn’t last long. Around 30k, the wheels came off and i started to struggle. The last 12k was the toughest part of the day. I just didn’t want to walk so i kept going and slowed down a bit to try to save myself. I wont say it was pretty and i think Eric thought i was going to fall over when i saw him with 10k to go. But the crowds were amazing and kept me going. Then when there was only 5k left, I was able to get home on pure adrenaline and willpower. Seeing the finish line was amazing, I couldn’t believe the finish time, and it still doesn’t seem real. But at that point just getting across it was all that mattered. I was excited to see my teammate Diana crossing in third having a great result on her road to Frankfurt where i am sure she will have another amazing finish. Overall, I am so pleased and now also very sore. I think I will be hobbling around for the next week.

With my first Ironman done, I have no illusions -it is a hard sport but seems to be one that suits me. I look forward to doing another one but no time soon. I am excited to have started the year so much better than last year and even more excited to be a part of team TBB this year. Thanks so much to Doc, all the team members, Alex, our amazing team TBB sponsors, First Endurance, and of course Eric, my family, and friends.