Wednesday, February 27, 2008
First, I'd like to thank the Academy, God, my parents, and my husband...or maybe for this honor I'll just thank Rural Girl. I can already hear the orchestra music rising. But seriously, if you haven't done so yet, you should go check out her blog!
Alas, I digress. My task is to share 7 random things about me, then tag 7 unsuspecting friends. Along those lines:
1) I have been married for 7 1/2 years but my husband and I have been together for 17 1/2…which means that this year on our anniversary September 2nd, we will have been together exactly ½ of our lives. Incidentally, we got married on the 10 year anniversary of our first date. (awww!)
2) I love music. I have yet to find a genre that I don't like. I single-handedly keep iTunes profitable.
3) I am the eldest of 3 children (1 sister and 1 brother), and we are all 5 years apart. I am a textbook case of the firstborn child. I am responsible, accountable, conscientious, a protector, and a pacifier. My siblings would also add that I am bossy. They would be wrong. I think it's pretty clear that I bring order and discipline to their lives and they would be lost without me. See photographic evidence below. (I am on the right...obviously)
4) I am very sarcastic.
5) I love animals. All animals. We have 2 dogs - Homer & Annie, and 2 cats - Kodi and Katie. I would adopt every homeless animal on the face of the planet if I could. I started bringing home strays when I was a kid. This is why I am not allowed to visit shelters without the supervision of my husband.
6) I can’t stand the sound of someone eating an apple. It puts me over the edge. Even people who sit next to me at work know the no-apple rule. My sister and I actually came to blows over this when we were kids. Of course, she kicked my butt. Even though she is younger, she has always been tougher.
7) I work in marketing for Oscar Mayer. I have actually taken a ride in the Wienermobile...
Ok, now I get to do some taggin'. I'm looking for folks who haven't been tagged (or at least not in awhile). You're it:
Robert - 2009 Ironman
Go Hard or Go Home
Tri Training, One Step at a Time
Julie's Alaskan Adventures
Leave a Trail
Let's hear from you next...
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
And you know what? It felt great.
I missed 2 days of workouts due to the dreaded cold and it was exciting to get back to it. Even if I still can't breathe out of my nose. The mouth works fine.
Maybe it also felt great because I do truly heart my new aero bars - and the tough face I make while on them.
Today ended as a really good day. Even through my cold fog, I had a great meeting at work where I had to present my least favorite topic (the budget I manage). Then I got a text message from my best friend...and she's having a boy!
The news is out...go blue. (Oh she and her husband will not like that...they are Spartan fans in Michigan) I am beside myself excited. A little boy...and I can't wait to spoil him. I'll be like 100th in line I'm sure...but there will be spoiling!
She and I have been best pals for, well, 20 years this year. And I simply cannot wait to watch her become a mom.
I'm off to bed - I'm back in the pool in the AM. Hopefully the chlorine will help kill the rest of my cold!
Monday, February 25, 2008
Jeff was home this weekend, which is a nice change of pace for us. As you know, he works and essentially lives in Sioux Falls, SD, and I work and live in Madison, WI. This is not fun for us for several reasons, but it is a temporary solution for our careers.
When he comes home to Madison, my "honey-do" list pretty much consists of bike stuff. This is a list he actually enjoys getting. Well, maybe "enjoys" is a little strong - but he definitely prefers working on a bike to, say, shoveling snow off the roof. It's practically a win-win for us because about all I know about my bike is its color, and how pretty it glistens in the sun. Thankfully, he takes care of all else.
So this weekend, he put it back together for me after our trip to Austin. Then he installed my new aero bars! Of course, he picked those out for me as well. I am very lucky, I know.
He then proceeded to do a bike fit for me and all is well in bikeland. I tried out my new aero bars on the trainer, and I am a force to be reckoned with. If I didn't have this pesky cold, and my back wheel was not cemented down to the floor in the 400 lb trainer...I would've zipped around the 'hood, slicing through the air like a Ginsu knife at Benihana. Honest.
Plus, something about being in the aero bars makes me feel tough. I think even my facial expression screams "I'm.gunning.for.you". Seriously, my cats even fled the room. I can't wait to try my new race face out on others.
The rig is looking pretty sweet, and I'm excited to spend some quality time on it. Believe me, a few rides on the unforgiving seat of the stationary bike at the gym at my office, and you'd be singing the praises of a trainer ride as well. A parting shot of my beautiful bike...ignore the messy house. I'm training for an Ironman, ya know? Who has time to keep the house clean?!
Maybe I should work on a secret codename for my bike! I'm not sure I can come up with something more creative than "My Cannondale" but I can try...
Sunday, February 24, 2008
Before the fish, there are beads. While waiting in the beer line, we were fortunate enough to catch a few strands. We definitely had enough time to do so...
An hour later (yes, it took an hour in the beer line) - the first taste of the Blonde Doppelbock. Friends Emily, Ray, and Mr. IronMin himself are seen here enjoying a well-earned sip after we endured the mosh pit (aka, beer line)
Because you wait so long to even smell the beer, it makes sense to load up on your supply. You only get 1 Doppelbock, but other varieties like Maibock flow more generously from the tap. I am demonstrating the proper way to acquire beer at Bockfest...
Mr. IronMin and I took a moment to enjoy the ambiance & our victory in the beer line.
Then the fish started flying off the roof. Kirby is the certified fish head handler...
I spotted one "lucky" guy redeeming his catch for another beer...
When the skies were fish-free, we headed back out in the sun and caught up with our pal Kelly & a few of her friends. Here are the 3 of us winding down the afternoon.
And that, my friends, is the renowned Bockfest. A fun day with friends, hanging out, and doing something in these parts besides shovel snow!
Saturday, February 23, 2008
Is the Blonde Doppelbock on the training plan? Of course it is! However, today also marks another important day in IronMin land: the tapering of the beer. After today I will be focusing on my nutrition plan a bit more rigorously than before and unfortunately beer is not making the cut. I will miss it I'm sure, but in the world of calorie consumption for endurance training...beer proves to be full of empty promises.
I will hopefully have a pic or two to share about today's festival. We shall revere them and call them "memories" until September 7th...
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Monday, February 18, 2008
"Due to the weather and the fact that the roads are still bad, we're going to cancel swim class tomorrow morning. See you Wednesday!"
And then a strange thing happened. I got mad.
Not at the coach. Just at the fact that I couldn't swim. And then I realized, this is not the same IronMin as last year. Believe me, that IronMin would've called the coach around noon..."So, we just got a molecule of snow...wait, I think it's snow...at any rate - don't you think it's in our best interests to cancel class?" That IronMin jumped for joy when the class got cut.
Now, oddly enough, I don't mind getting up at 4:45 AM and leaving a nice, warm bed for the pool. Oh, it's never easy - don't get me wrong. I'm not leaping out of bed with a big grin on my face whistling about the sun (that's not yet up) or a brand new day (which is a stretch considering it's still dark out). Instead, I just don't think about it - and therein lies the change. I don't think about whether or not I should go. I just know I'm going.
And when I find out I'm not going...I get mad. Then a leetle bit depressed. I think this new IronMin is an interesting character. I wonder what else she's up to.
Saturday, February 16, 2008
There are also disadvantages. Little tidbits people don't really tell you about. Like the anxiety attack that strikes out of nowhere when you are standing in a location that will be the center of your universe in about 190 days...
On Friday we had a work offsite meeting/celebration at the Monona Terrace. I was part of the planning committee so I was there Thursday evening to set up and prepare. For those who aren't familiar with IMWI, the Monona Terrace is the hub of raceday activity. In front, in Lake Monona, is the swim. The facility itself is T1 and T2. Pre-race events are held in or around the Terrace. The picturesque finish is a block away, within another block or so of the State Capital building.
The cylinder structures on either side are affectionately known as the "helix". You run up to get to your bike, you bike up to get to your run.
During our Thursday set up, I stood on the lower level looking out through the wall of windows at a beautiful panorama of Lake Monona. And promptly almost lost my lunch.
In less than 7 months, race day will be here. There will restless nights leading up to it. Nerves. Checking and double-checking transition bags, nutrition, bike equipment. A rollercoaster of emotion. And I will be standing in Monona Terrace saying to myself "Wow. I'm actually here. I'm really doing this."
As I stood there Thursday, nauseous and light-headed, I also made a vow. The one thing I don't want to question - the one thing I don't want to lose sleep over - is "Am I ready?"
Let race day bring on whatever it wants in terms of weather, water conditions, and the like...but I don't want to be floating in that lake, looking up at that sky before the gun goes off and wonder if I've done enough to get there. It's difficult and sometimes impossible to control things like equipment failure, crashing, and a total body let-down if you're battling an illness or injury on race day. We all know that. There are things we just can't worry about, right?
So I made a pact to stop thinking so much and just keep doing. Keep getting up for swim class and working as hard as I can. Keep spinning away on the trainer or at the gym until I can go outside again. Keep running when it's slightly crazy to run. Keep listening to my coach and keep following the plan she's so carefully laying out for me. Even when it's hard. Even when the day slips away from me. I want to hold up my end of the deal on race day.
The next time I'm standing in Monona Terrace, I want to be thinking, "Bring it on". I may still think I'll lose my lunch, but out of excitement that the day has finally arrived, and not anxiety wondering if I'm ready for it.
When this sign says 2008, I want to be thinking - "THIS is my year. THIS is my day."
I've got to go get on the bike now...
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Highly underrated. This little miracle has my calves thinking they are gliding through a minty fresh winter forest, skipping along looking for gnomes. It's soooo good, and I can WALK again! I'm not sure if it's doing anything to the muscles, or if the cooling sensation just takes your mind off them. Either way, I'm hooked. Can you get addicted? If so, just add it to my list...
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
All I can say is, at least I got in the pool.
We did drills. For a lot of yards. Even the warm up was a free/back type of rotation. I love me some drills...I need me some drills...but this morning, it took every ounce of effort to get out of bed. Then I had to pull on some reserves to even get in the pool. At that point I think I would've been better off with this on my schedule:
"Hey, thanks for coming! Swim as many yards as you can until time's up. Zone out. Enjoy."
Instead I got "50yds of this, contort your body this way and do 50 yds of that, try a new stroke with paddles on your hands, kick without a board, kick on your back with a board and look at your knees (because they do bad things when I do backstroke...they actually try to get OUT of the water) etc" You get the idea.
I made it through, knowing my butt was being handed to me in the form of foggy goggles and a swim clock second-hand that I SWEAR moves faster when I am counting off my rest interval than it does the entire rest of the time.
I counted up my yardage (yes, it's a word) and grimaced.
When I got out I told our coach, "You know, I love to swim."
Which likely made her laugh all the way through her 2nd cup of coffee this morning.
But, hand to God - it's the truth.
Tomorrow is the rest day I have been looking forward to this week. On my way home from work I actually felt like it was a vacation day. My exact thought was "Oh, all I have to do is go to work tomorrow"
Yep, that's it. Just go to work. WOOHOOO!
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
That just about sums it up. Thursday is a rest day and I am really looking forward to it. I'm wrapping up a major project at work on Friday as well, so this weekend should be quite a bit less stressful.
Personal best for me on Monday in the pool - 3,400 yds. New record! My highest yardage prior to that was around 2,800 - give or take a few laps. This is my shining accomplishment this week. I am supposed to repeat it tomorrow morning, but I'm not counting my chickens just yet. This body is pretty worn out.
Winter has been hard on us in the midwest, eh? In Wisconsin, we got another 3 or so inches of snow today. I say this with the most exhausted, defeatest attitude I can muster. One more inch and please ask the city of Madison to send out a search party for me. I'll be in my front yard, buried somewhere between inches 28 & 59. Please wait until I'm frozen solid. Then just defrost me on May 15th. I have a good feeling about May 15th. I'm fairly confident my basement will be flooded from the spring thaw, but at least it will be spring.
My coach ELF, who is absolutely incredible by the way, posted this on her blog Sunday. It's inspiration when we need it most. I know I needed it!
Enough whining. I need to start peeling myself out of the chair in the home office and head to bed. I should get there in half an hour. It's only about 30 feet away...
Saturday, February 9, 2008
1. Gu gel makes me gag. Since I'm in brand marketing myself, I just want to say - sorry Gu gel brand manager. It just does. I'll keep trying, maybe it's just a phase.
2. At MATC (Madison Area Technical College) where I get my swim on 3x a week, they have installed one of those swimsuit spinny things - I think it's called "a swimsuit dryer". 3 big cheers for MATC! I'm sure the woman at the front desk thought I was a little crazy when I stopped on my way out at 7am and praised MATC up and down for installing this wonderful, miracle machine in the locker room. I've used them other places but I never dreamed we'd get one here. On my wish list of things to make my life easier, this was definitely one of 'em.
3. My Honda Element, that I love dearly but some others have claimed is ugly and "functional", made it through our bazillion inches (or was it feet?) of snow this week to get me home from work with no problem. I know others were not as lucky because it was virtually chaos on the roads Wednesday. All I'm saying is that before you make fun of my car in lieu of your BMW or pretty SUV - my car works when I need it to.
4. Nuun Kona Kola is almost like having a cup of coffee at swim class! I love it. I still have the real deal when I get out of the pool, but this stuff is great.
5. When my muscles hurt after a good workout, it actually makes me feel stronger. Although when my core muscles hurt, it actually makes it less fun to breathe. Oh well.
6. I think snow is pretty. I have realized too much snow sucks. It's like eating too much popcorn or too much chocolate. You can actually overdo it and make yourself sick. Consider me sick, Mother Nature. I'm puking snowflakes.
7. My dogs are officially tired of being cooped up in the house so much because of winter. This is evidenced by recent excruciatingly fun behavior such as: chewing my socks, stealing cat toys, grabbing wood out of the fireplace (not while it's hot, of course), ripping up pieces of paper into a million little bits on the rug (obviously my fault for leaving it on the TABLE), and destroying pens (ah yes, also well within their domain on the TABLE). We spent an hour and a half at the dog park last night so I hope that helps.
8. I've become quite sensitive to Britney Spears jokes. I don't think mental illness is funny. Now that it's clear she is sick and not just acting out, can we just move on to other news so she can get out of the spotlight and get help? Why do so many people get a thrill out of making fun of someone else's descent?
9. I have gotten myself ridiculously behind on reading all of the blogs I enjoy so much and I miss you guys!
10. I did not win the lottery. Again. I'm really growing weary of waiting.
Monday, February 4, 2008
On Wednesday we hung out around the hotel and in downtown Austin, foregoing a ride to just relax a bit. The day kind of got away from us, as they sometimes do when you're on vacation.
We loaded up the bikes for an adventure on Thursday, but were thwarted by winds so strong we could barely stand up (see pictures above)...let alone mount the bike. We decided to investigate Hill Country by car where I saw my first armadillo...
...and we scoped out a bald eagle nest waiting for the bird to entertain us. It never did, but we had fun nonetheless.
On Friday we embarked on a cool adventure in the Dripping Springs/Hill Country area. We rode for just over 3 1/2 hours. We came face to face with longhorn cattle (If I were going to be cowgirl, I'd have to get the longhorns. They are seriously cool and they walk like bobble heads) Lance owns a ranch in the area (ah yes, we are on a first name basis with Mr. Armstrong, do you have a problem with that?) and although I had envisioned him catching us on a hill and asking us if we wanted to hang with him for a bit, it didn't happen. I guess between the wind, bald eagle in hiding, and Lance no-show, you could surmise vacation was a disappointment. On the contrary! Sometimes our hallucinations of perfect weather, mother nature cooperating, and celebrity sightings just get the best of us. Here is evidence of vacation success:
Saturday we opted for a divide and conquer strategy. I really wanted to swim in Barton Springs Pool, and Mr. IronMin really wanted to ride his bike around the city. So we split for a couple of hours. His ride was fun and he explored a lot of Austin. My swim was an unforgettable experience. Barton Springs Pool is a natural spring that stays 68 degrees year round. It is huge - 1000 ft x 25 ft, and is connected to a lake. Essentially they built a "pool deck" around it. It still has fish, algae, and rocks on the bottom. It's like an open water swim in a lake, except it also has a diving board. Apparently lots of folks in Austin's tri community like to frequent it to practice open water swimming, and I couldn't pass this up. The water was capital C.O.L.D. I won't lie. Invigorating, to say the least. But really, an outdoor swim in February? How can you say no to that?
This picture is from one of the towns we visited in Hill Country - for my pal Tea. I couldn't resist!
In other news, my 3x weekly IM swim training began Monday morning at 5:45AM. And yes, my training partner Valencia beat me to class. She beat me IN class too, for that matter! But I'm up for the challenge...