Sunday, April 30, 2006

RR (CMM) 'Till I Collapse - Part I

RR: Country Music Marathon
Date: Saturday, April 29, 2006
Time: 7:00am
Theme: ‘Til I Collapse

Goal 1: Finish
Goal 2: Sub 5 Hours

This is going to be heinously long. I make no apologies, however. It was a long race, darnit. This is also going to be an endurance effort… both writing and reading. So, grab a big water bottle, a comfy chair and settle in. I’ve already had three huge glasses of water and two trips to the bathroom. Heck, maybe you just want to print the sucker off and use it as bathroom reading for the next week. It’s up to you. But consider yourself warned.

I used to think marathoners were nuts. Now I know they are. But, I am ever so happy to now consider myself: “Marathoner.”

I signed up for the Nashville Country Music Marathon some time in October, after I finished the Hartford Half Marathon… Or maybe it was just before. Anyway, I had known for a WHILE that I wanted to do it. Why? Because I like country music. And, I had heard that this course was a ton of fun with lots of bands and great crowd support. AND, with your bib number, you got into a big-name country concert – for FREE! I thought that sounded like a great recipe for a first marathon. Now, all I had to do was convince my friends, train, add water and stir. Turns out that taking a chance and registering was just the motivation my friends needed. A group started to form. (Hmm, maybe I am a leader?). I started to get excited…. But first that was that tiny detail… Training.

Rush: Aly & AJ

Into your head, into your mind
out of your soul, race through your veins
You can't escape, you can't escape.

Into your life, into your dreams,
Out of the dark, sunlight again.
You can't explain, you can't explain.

Can You feel it, can you feel it,
Rushin' through your hair,
Rushin' through your head,
Can you feel it, can you feel it,

Don't let nobody tell you, your life is over,
Be every color that you are,
Into the rush now,
You don't have to know how,
Know it all before you try.

Pulling you in, spinning you 'round,
Lifting your feet right off the ground,
You can't believe it's happening now.

It takes you to another place,
imagine everything you can.
All the colors start to blend,
Your system overloads again.

Can You feel it?

My first training run was the day after Christmas. I figured – What a great gift to myself – Renewed health, a plan to complete my first marathon, and lose weight in the process. I had a plan, but honestly it didn’t suit me. I was still in triathlon mode. I was going to spin class, swimming twice a week and trying to run on top of it. In typical grad student fashion, I was trying to do it all. Or maybe that’s just me? I posted my confusion to my blog and a friend replied with an offer to help.

Thus began my relationship with Sheila. She asked me to send her all of the information I could about my heart rate (I didn’t tell her at the time that I had thrown that thing in the deepest, darkest corner of my closet, and was really starting to wonder what I had gotten myself into…), my race times and my desired goal for the marathon. Within a day she had a new plan back to me… And it was perfect. The paces and heart rates were dialed in exactly, and she gave me a plan that would make me faster and lighter on my feet.

So, I spent a night locating the heart rate monitor, and I followed that plan to the T. We didn’t really need to talk that much because it was pretty much set it and forget it. Read the plan. Do the workout. Reap the benefits. Rinse. Lather. Repeat. What I didn’t bank on was the support that Sheila gave me. And her ability to teach me about life. And strength. Such strength.

Other very important people helped me through the process. One of those people is Dan. I knew Dan from the first online running group I had joined. As it turns out he’s a triathlete, and is one of the reasons I consider myself one as well. He called and emailed often just to check in and see how things were going. He’s the one I called when my Achilles was acting up. And, he is the one that offered to run me in the last 6 miles of the marathon. I was on that like white on rice. I pictured that last 6 miles as a great time for us to catch up on how the half marathon went, and talk about life in general. I couldn’t wait. Little did I know how it would really play out… But I’m getting ahead of myself. Where was I? Oh yeah.

Well, I made it to week 18 fairly unscathed. There had been issues with my Achilles tendon and my right knee, but they had been handled (More importantly, I knew now that a twinge wasn’t cause for panic, but a time to investigate self healing.). I had made it through the schedule, missing only two runs (because of a move), and losing 11 pounds. I had had two challenging long runs (one VERY hilly 18+ miler and a nice steady 20 miler). I had done the wicked-hard tempo runs, the strides and the long runs. I had the recipe to become a marathoner with a possible sub 5 hour time. All I had to do was get to the race in one piece.

The taper began, and I got very nutty indeed. Thankfully I wasn’t too clumsy (This was strangely out of character… You should have seen how big my friends’ eyes got whenever I got close to anything sharp.). There was the night when I was doing laundry 3 days before the race… I made it to the washer with the over-full basket just fine but then proceeded to hit my head on the washer door not once, not twice, but THREE times in the same number of minutes. My thought? “That’s okay, I don’t need my head to run.” Well, I knew what I meant.

Stay tuned....

Saturday, April 29, 2006

I finished CMM

Just touching base here. I am now a marathoner! It was alot of work, but I did it. I'll give you all the details when I return. Hear me roar!!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

It's Thursday, right?

I woke up this morning and this horrible fear that it was Friday. That I had overslept. That I had missed my plane. That I would have to race to the airport.

Still looking for some confirmation... Because it *feels* like Friday. Anyone?

So, I picked up my bike yesterday. Did the fitting. Honestly, it was perfect. Just the way it was. The lady that was helping me said, "It's weird. Sometimes these bikes fit certain women perfectly. This seems to be one of those cases." She had me in the aero bars for a while too... Perfect. It felt really good, and it was absolute torture to drive it home (very carefully!) and put it in the corner of my living room. But, before I did....I took a picture.

Well, looking at it now, it's a crappy picture, but can you see how the TIRES match the frame???

I had a little tiny snaffu trying to get it on my bike rack. Turns out the top tube is shorter than the distance between the bars on my bike rack... Had to go back in and then watch sheepishly as the guy put in on there in a second using the rear fork. Duh. I never thought to do that!

OOh, and look at the new bike jersey that arrived yesterday! It matches my shoes!
Isn't it CUTE?! I have a thing for really cool jerseys like this. I can't wait to wear it!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

So here we are...

A new blog. A new beginning.

I'm glad you came. :)

See, I needed a change. Beyond the anonymous issue, I needed something that said more about who I am, and about the intensity within me. And, it's funny, it took others to see it in me first before I saw it in myself.

A year and a half ago (was it really only that long!?), I joined a running group. As, I raced in 5Ks, 10Ks, and finally 1/2 marathons, I grew to love these people as brothers and sisters. And, we treated each other as such. We were a family and families have disagreements. The group changed, but mainly it stayed the same.

I found myself changing, however.... in the most unexpected ways. I started thinking of myself as an athlete. I started to become curious about other sports! In swimming, in biking. And, I took up triathlon.

As my good running friends watched the transformation and the "strange" training weeks evolve, they started calling me TriGal. Awh, that's so cute, I thought. I love that name. And, then I guess I got a little nutty for the sport of triathlon, and they lovingly started calling me TriMonster. And it stuck. Like glue. Like a spaghetti noodle to the wall. Like lasagne to an ungreased dish. Like gum to the bottom of your shoe.

At first I thought... I'm not a monster. And then I thought some more. Oh, yes I am. Especially when you start thinking about the atfributes of monsters:

Big (well, bigger than I wanted to be!)
Scary (yes, especially during taper)
Ugly (Can you say: Bad Hair Life?)

Getting past those obvious negatives...

Lest I get too big of a head, I see now what it is that my running family saw in me. A kind of driving force with the single goal of improving myself. So that's where I am today. I love the sport of running and triathlon, but I have to say that triathlon has taught me more about this T3, as it were.... The transitions of life, and how we are to mold ourselves and help others through them. That's what it's all about there, folks.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006


My New Digs

And here she is. We'll see how long I can stay anonymous. I'm taking drastic measures. No picture, no real name. From now on, I will be TriZilla!

More to come later! :)