Week twenty and twenty-one. May 12-25, 2014-From a relaxing vacation to a stress filled training week

Week twenty I was in Cap Cana in the Dominican Republic to celebrate my cousin John Michael’s 50th birthday.  He invited some of his family and his closest friends for a fun filled week on the beach.  I was one of the lucky ones that were invited.  The week came in the mist of some heavy training but there was no way I was going to miss it.  I planned my flights so I could get the major workouts in before I left and after I returned.  The workouts during the week were not too bad and I managed to get some of them in.  I know I could have done more but sleeping in always seemed like a better option.  As it turns out this trip, although not good for my training, was good for my body.  It was the first week in maybe 6-7 weeks that my stomach did not bother me.  I think I really needed to rest and relax and that I did.

I want to take a moment and say thank you to John Michael and Richard for inviting me.  I truly enjoyed spending time with my family and with your beautiful friends.  The food was incredible, the beach was beautiful, the drinks were plentiful and the company was amazing.  I feel completely blessed to be your cousin.  I went back home completely relaxed and re-energized. Here are some pictures from the week:

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Birthday boy and me on the beach

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View from my living room

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The beach with sand so soft it felt like flour

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The finest Rose

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Table setting elegant each and every night

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Lobster, ceviche and fish snack on the boat

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John Michael with his favorite sister Ana Maria after the boat ride

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Lobster dinner OMG so good

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Drinks by the pool with the most beautiful moon

Week twenty-one is another story.  It started out with a 4.5-hour ride on the windiest day I have ever ridden in.  I had just gotten new Zipp wheels, which made my bike super light.  That made for a very unsteady ride and it was a bit scary for the first time out with the new wheels but I managed to hang on and finish 62 miles.  I will have to admit there was a time when we did not think we would make it back but we just kept at it and we finally made it home.  I was never so happy to see my house.

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I survived

That was followed by an email from our coach that basically said that some of us were being complacent and we needed to get our butts in gear.  The email went to an undisclosed list of people and the way it was written it seemed like he was just talking to me.  I was most upset because I have been working really hard.  This really stressed me out and I started having nightmares about not finishing the race, which kept me from getting any sleep.  I was determined to get every workout in this week and I did all but one. Not only did I do them but I did really good. I attribute that to the week’s rest and the fact that I am feeling so much better.

This week also included tenting our house for termites. This was just one big pain in the butt.  We had to take all the food out and then move out for a few days.  We stayed at our friend’s house, which was fun but well you do not have all your stuff so it can be tricky.  For instance, we had to move out on Thursday and I was supposed to do a 3-hour run.  When I went to get ready for the run I realized I had no running shoes so I had to scrap that.  Not really an ideal situation but I knew I had a day off on Monday so I decided not to worry and just do it then. Then Friday I got ready to go to my computrainer class when I realized I had no flip-flops so I had to head out in my nice sandals. That was kind of funny. They went really good with my workout clothes.

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Fancy Sandals with bike shorts. Classic

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The house under tent

That night we decided to stop by Happy Hour since Steve hadn’t seen the happy hour crew in awhile. After a couple of drinks I announced to Steve “I need to go I am feeling like I am getting drunk.” He was shocked and responded by saying “I never though I would here you say that.” One of the guys followed up by saying “you must be taking this Ironman thing serious”. It was really funny because it’s true. I even shocked myself when I said that. So we left, grabbed some food at Whole Foods and had dinner with our friends at their house.   It was probably one of the earliest night I have had in a really long time.

Saturday morning we had a swim and bike workout. We had to swim for 1:hour and 15 minutes and then ride for 2.5 hours. The water felt good and I was swimming great. Ended up swimming 1.8 miles. I was pleased with the effort. When we got out of the water the guys told me they were doing Sunday’s 4.5 hour ride and then do the 2.5 on Sunday since it was a holiday weekend. I wasn’t prepared for that so I couldn’t go with them. Since no one was left I decided to head back and do the ride later in the day.  We finally got back into the house at 12:30 and I just started cleaning out the fridge and started washing dishes since I wanted to get my kitchen back in order. Before I knew it, it was 7:00pm and I was starving. So needless to say I missed the ride.

I had made plans with Liz for Sunday’s ride so she met us at my house and we took off at 7am as planned. The ride started out good. I took the lead and basically pulled until Black point Marina. Then Steve took the lead until Robert is Here (a great local fruit stand that has bathrooms and a good stopping point). We took a short break, refilled our water bottles and took off. Well I should have known the wind was going to be in our face on the way back since we rode so fast on the way out.   For some reason I always forget. Anyway on the way back I decided to get into my aero bars and see what I could do. Much to my surprise (and Steve and Liz’s surprise) I kicked butt. I was pulling at 19.5 MPH on a straightaway that was about 3 miles long. Now this may not sound fast but the head winds were strong and I usually do about 12 MPH on the way back so that is huge. Then when we turned and I thought let me really see what I can do in the aero bars so I sort of took off thinking Steve and Liz were right behind me. I later found out they couldn’t keep up. Steve told me he could not believe I was riding that fast. I pretty much took the lead all the way home. We ended up doing 68 miles in the same time we had done 62 miles the week before. I felt great. I was already thinking about the next long ride and how I could possibly keep up with the boys if I drafted. I really cannot wait to see how I do. During this ride not only was I going faster but I was also more confident generally so I was taking off quicker at lights and actually drinking while pedaling. Again this may sound like nothing but for me it’s huge because that is one of the reasons I always get dropped.

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Steve and I after the ride.

After the ride Steve was telling me how him and Liz were talking about how confident I looked on the bike and how amazed they were at my riding. The bike has always been my weak sport and given that it is the longest portion of the Ironman it has been freaking me out. I am super excited at my progress. As Steve said, “you have come along way since you started. Thank God because it was so frustrating riding with you but today every time I looked back you were right on my tail”. That was awesome to hear.

So after the ride I stated seeing Facebook posts about our team mates racing Ironman Brazil. These guys were hauling ass and at the end of the day when everyone was finished I got really scared. They all did so well and some even placed in their age groups.

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Iron Alines Ironman Brazil group: Stephanie, Ralph, Hans (double fisting 🙂 ), Silvana, Ale, Angelo, Mike and Dario

I was thinking man I don’t know if I can do this. Then came another post from my infamous coach Andy.

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Andy’s post. He is killing me.

Gotta love this guy.

This week I managed 86% of training time.  Man I only missed one workout and the percentage was not as good as I had hoped.

▪   Planned workout duration:  18:15

▪   Actual workout duration: 15:45

What I learned this week is that I am stronger than I think. That is really a good thing. I think I needed to learn that. I am glad I was able to figure that out with Steve. His encouragement this week was exactly what I needed to get me across the finish line on June 29.

This week’s quote is really about what happened to me.  I finally set myself on fire. It only took 21 weeks but hey better late than never right?

Success isn’t a result of spontaneous combustion. You must set yourself on fire. ~Arnold H. Glasow

Week nineteen. May 5-11, 2014 – No gears oh no

This past week was all about the big 7-hour workout on Sunday.  I stressed all week because of it.  Six hours on the bike and 1 hour run immediately after.  I have never ridden for 6 hour so it seemed huge.  I started the week following most of the workouts and just kept thinking about Sunday.

As it turns out Sunday was Mother’s day and Joe from our team posted the following:

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Coach suggested I do it on Saturday with the group since I was travelling on Sunday and he didn’t want anything to get in the way so after some back and forth I agreed.  I was most concerned about getting dropped so I made Leo promise he wouldn’t drop me until we reached Blackpoint Marina (about 1 hour from our starting point) or until it was light.

Saturday came and we were planning on leaving at 5am.  I was already to keep up with the boys.  Shortly after take off I realized I could not change gears.  I was ‘Leo my gears will not change”.  He asked if I had charged the battery.  I said no but battery should be working.  He rode up ahead to tell the others.  We stopped for a brief moment and battery was working since I was able to change from big gear to small gear but the back cassette was stuck in the easiest gear.  That was not a good thing.  We finally made it to Blackpoint and I called Steve to meet me to see if he could figure out what was going on.  As we were about to leave I noticed a loose wire so Leo was nice enough to push it back in to the derailleur and boom the gears started working.  The guys went ahead and we planed to meet at the Starbucks.

I made it to Starbucks and they showed up with a few other teammates.

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The group. Evan, Joe, Stephanie, Angelo, Leo, Me, Eduardo and Sylvana

After a short stop to refill bottles we took off.  Oh man the wind was ridiculous so I just pedaled and hoped I could make it back in time for the run.  In the end I had gotten back to Blackpoint 1 hour sooner than I had thought so I circled back to make up that hour.  So far the ride was good except for the few times when the wind almost took me down ( I must be getting better at my handling skills since I always kept control of the bike).  I used this time alone to practice riding in the aero bars.  I definitely went faster but I freaked if the wind got too strong.  So I just kept practicing.

Somehow I had not calculated my water and soon after I left Blackpoint I ran out.  I spotted a fire station and thought I should stop and ask them to fill my bottles but I didn’t want to stop and figured the Farm Store is not that far.  Well it was further than I remembered but I finally made it and refilled.  I finally made it back to our starting point and was a little short on time when I saw Leo.  He said he was at 99.3 miles and wanted to make it to 100.  I was like hey I’m at 79.3 so I definitely want to make 80 so we took off on a loop, which brought him to 100 and me to 80.  I was very excited about 80 miles.  I had never ridden that far.  So I took a photo of my Garmin to post on Facebook.  Typical response from coach:

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After Joe got back we all changed to running shoes and took off on our run.  We were all pretty beat from the bike so it was a pretty funny conversation.  First we were like ok I am walking for the hour, then we went to lets run/walk then we finally made it to we will take a walk break at every mile.  So were moving at a pretty good pace when Leo starts with the “I want to be an Ironman” video.  We were cracking up and I said oh I am going to watch that for some inspiration.  Here it is:

We ended up running 5 miles at 12-minute mile pace.  We all thought it was pretty good.  When we finished Joe starts yelling “It’s over”.  Yes it was so we did what we always do and that is take a picture.  He we are after the workout.

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“It’s over” Leo, me and Joe

Joe and I planned to meet Sunday for the open water swim.  Thank God he agreed to go because I was so tired I know had he not gone I would have skipped it.  It was really a great swim and the farthest either one of us had swam.  We made 1.77 miles in 1 hour 10 minutes.

This week I managed 89% of training time.  Not bad.

▪   Planned workout duration:  18:10

▪   Actual workout duration: 16:12

What I learned this week is that I can do these long workouts and not completely die ( I was super tired and ended up passing out before 10pm but not dead) and that I need to learn more about how things work on my bike.  Like check wires if gears do not change.  That trip to Blackpoint would have been much faster had I looked for something so simple.  But I suppose that is what training is for.

Quote for the week is a reminder that if I just keep up with the workouts I will make it across the finish line.  It is ok to have thoughts about quitting one week as long as I do not act on the thought.

Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out. – Robert Collier

 

 

 

Week eighteen. April 28-May 4, 2014-Giving up crossed my mind

Week eighteen was hard. Steve arrived back home so that usually turns into a lets go out kind of a week. It was no different this time. My workouts were going good but I kept trying to avoid them. I just felt like why bother.  Then Thursday morning when my alarm went off and I was tired Steve says just stay in bed. Which I did. That was not cool. He is supposed to be supporting me and forcing me to get up when I do not want to. I missed a great swim workout. Then of course I missed my run later in the day. It is so easy to get lazy and then blame someone else. But that is how I felt when I finally did wake up.

Friday was a day off and we were heading to Clermont for training. The weather was not good so coach changed the run and the bike workouts. We usually do the big ride on Saturday and run on Sunday but we ended up running on Saturday.

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The group before the run

The clay trail was wet so we basically were running in mud. At first I was dodging the mud so my shoes wouldn’t get dirty. After about 5 miles I ended up stepping into what I thought was a dry spot. Well it turned out to be squishy mud so I sank. Shook the mud off and kept going. At this point I didn’t care about the shoes anymore so I just started running through puddles and mud without a care in the world. At around mile eight I realized that I could beat my 10-mile time again so I picked up the pace. I flew past Steve and ended up running it in the same time as last time I was in Clermont so I was happy with that. I still had 5 more miles to go so I started the second loop. Given that we are in the middle of nowhere coach brings water and waits for us every few miles. I was out of water and thought coach would be waiting but he wasn’t there. No biggie he will be at mile 1. Nope and well I ended up running the last 5 miles without water. I was not a happy camper and when I finished I just lost it. After a few minutes of yelling I turned around and told my teammates to just go ahead and give me the Beeker Award. I mean no one was going to top that breakdown.

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After my meltdown: Me, Eduardo, Rachel and Liz

The next day was the Sunday ride which was a 92 mile loop. I had the course loaded and ready to go on my Garmin. But of course it did not work again.   Not happy with my Garmin products right now. Anyway I just started riding hoping to keep up with the group but ended up loosing them in about 8 minutes but I wasn’t worried since Steve was with me. We studied the directions that coach had typed out for us and proceeded on the ride.   We were cruising pretty good and got to an intersection that’s said turn right on Buckhill. The road did not say Buckhill but it seemed like the correct road so we just kept going and following the turns as written in the directions. Then all of a sudden about 12 miles later we thought “haven’t we already been here”. Yep we were almost where we started. Ok so we missed something. We figured we would try again. Then we found ourselves at that intersection that was supposed to be Buckhill. We googled, we looked at the map coach had given us and we just couldn’t make any sense of it. So when a car pulled up I went over and asked where the damn road was. “It’s just about 2 blocks straight ahead”. We did not take that road before because it said Turnpike so we did not think that was the road we should take. Sure enough there was Buckhill. Buckhill is pretty much how it sounds. There were 3 hills and I mean big ones. We started and really they looked worse than they actually were. Actually that 12-mile loop that we did was worse. We finished the second hill and Steve stopped. He was getting tired and wanted to head back. So we were like do we head back or continue and do the 12-mile loop again. I chose the 12-mile loop. For some reason it seemed like a safer option.

At this point I realized I was not going to get 92 miles in so I needed to use this 12 miles to my advantage. I kept hearing in my head coach telling me that I needed to let go on the hills so I thought ok this is what I will do for the next 12 miles. I will try not to brake on the way down. I did pretty well. I even pedaled on the way down. I even had to scream at Steve to keep going because he was slowing down and I was speeding up. I cruised past him on the up hills a few times. I was actually getting less tired as we powered through the 12-mile loop. We ended up doing 52 miles of hills. That was a good workout and should help me for my race. When we got back I saved my ride since I wanted to look at my stats when I got home. Steve and I were done with the weekend so we quickly packed up and headed home. It was a long drive.

As soon as we got home I was dying to see my stats so I plugged in my Garmin but guess what. The ride did not save. Again, I had a meltdown. At a minimum I wanted to see how fast I was going down the hills.

Steve was trying everything to figure out how to use the stupid computer but nothing. We were both getting mad. After awhile we gave up since we had to wait until Monday to call Garmin. Anyway, Steve later told me I was at least doing 25mph. That is like a record for me. Check out coach’s response.

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This week I managed 78% of training time.  I am not happy with that. Not at this stage of the game.

▪   Planned workout duration:  14:25

▪   Actual workout duration: 11:15

What I learned this week is that I am getting a little tired and somewhat bored with this whole thing. There was even a few days that I thought really I do not need to do this? Really what do I have to prove? That is not a very good way to be feeling 2 months before the big race. So I did what any good Suarez would do.  I grabbed a bottle of wine and proceeded to drink it until my thought turned to “tomorrow is a new day”.

Quote for this week says it all:

You cry and you scream and you stomp your feet and you shout.  You say, “You know what? I’m giving up, I don’t care.” ANd then you go to bed and you wake up and it’s a brand new day, and you pick yourself back up again.  Nicole Scherzinger

 

Week sixteen and seventeen. April 14-27, 2014-The self doubt continues.

Week 16 was about getting over my race.  I needed to shake off the bad run and move on.  I did most of my workouts during the week and then headed to Clermont for the weekend.  Clermont started out horrible.  My group dropped me before I even got on the bike.  I finally ran into a few of them and they were lost and apparently so was I.    I had passed them and stopped to look to see where we were supposed to be.  I was at a curve so I do not think they saw me stop so I went back.  At this point they were taking off and I yelled to wait for me.  I followed but lost them and never saw them again.  I was so upset and so alone.  I had not signed up for this.  Riding alone in Clermont was not my plan. At this point I somehow ended up on a trail.  I was like crap what do I do.  I knew I was not going to get 80 miles in by myself.  So I stopped and checked Training Peaks.  Four hours is all I really had to do.  So since I was by myself and lost I decided to take it.  It was really pretty cool even though I was alone and crying.  I did actually enjoy it.  It had hills and it was shady and well there were no cars.  I even rode with some really cool people during some of it.   I took it for 25 miles.  At this point I decided to head back and then I was packing up and heading back home.  I was so upset.  During the ride I was like really why am I part of this team.  I know I would have never left anyone behind.  No one even bothered to check.  So I called Steve. He told me to just keep going and at least get my workout in.  So I decided I might as well do that.  Really an Ironman is done alone anyway so it is good mental training.

We were supposed to do a 3-mile run after the ride so I ended up doing that.  I killed the run and thought might as well go eat.  After I totally inhaled a steak sandwich I decided well let me take a nap.  Then it all of a sudden it was time for the Sugarloaf hill repeats.  I figured might as well get those done since I really need to get down the damn hills faster.  I was still mad so I just took off.  The first uphill about killed me but I got up pretty fast.  Then down I went and I was still slow but way faster than the last time.  I stopped to talk to Andy and I asked where everyone was.  He said a few people had left and I told him I almost left myself.  He asked why and I told him and he basically said well everyone pretty much had gotten lost.  He told me to go back up and at least let go of the brakes at the end.  I said I had done that the last time and he did say that yeah he noticed I had come down faster.   So I went back up the hill and came down even faster the second time.  I was starting to feel better about everything and figured might as well stay for the clay trail run on Sunday.

The next morning we headed to the trail and the weather was just perfect.  In the 60’s and overcast and a little drizzle.  I took off and decided I needed to take advantage of the cool weather.  As I was approaching mile 8 I saw that I could beat my 10 mile time and went for it.  At some point Derek caught up to me and said that I was running at a pretty good pace.  I told him I wanted to beat my 10 mile time and he paced me and I did end up beating my time.  So I thank him for that.  It felt good and I am happy I did get that run in.  I actually got some confidence back.  I know the run is what is going to get me across the finish line before the cutoff time in Coeur D’Alene.

This week I managed 86% of training time.  I am happy with that considering I am in such a doubtful state.

▪   Planned workout duration:  16:40

▪   Actual workout duration: 14:20

What I learned this week is that if I am going to get this done I really just need to depend on myself.  16-17 hours is a long time and I need to get used to it.  The swim you are alone.  The bike you are alone.  The only part to talk to people is the run.  So for the first 9.5 hours it will be my conversation and me.  This weekend was a good training session for that.

The best part of this week was getting a Facebook message from Susan from Sarasota. She said she had stumbled across my blog on Facebook and was inspired about what I am doing. She is about to start her Ironman training and thought what I had done at Florida 70.3 was incredible. This is great motivation for me. I can’t let people down right?

Week 17 is testing week but I decided it was also going to be about reconnecting with the team.  That really did not happen.  First our swim coach was out of town so not many people showed up for the swim.  Then it just went down hill from there.  I ended up doing my workouts alone, which was fine, but I could not wait for the weekend to reconnect.  Saturday came and Andy wasn’t there.  I found out he had gone to Sarasota.  There was a race and he has a group there.  I usually know about these things but since we have cut out my weight training sessions with him I do not get the updates anymore.  I hate that but I did have to cut that out of my schedule.

So Saturday was a swim test, a hill run and an easy ride.  I was so excited for this.  Did the swim test.  2000 meters at 42 minutes.  Not bad.  Could have been better.  Then to the bridge repeats.  Started out great.  Killed the first 2.  Joe even ran up to me and told me damn Espe you are really getting fast.  I explained that 20 pounds really makes a difference.  But then all of a sudden everything started breaking down.  My stomach started hurting, I was over heating and I was sweating like Leo (OMG he sweats).  I started with the chills and I thought no not again.  I managed the 5 repeats and had to walk all the way back and I decided to skip the ride. I got home took a shower and proceeded to sleep for 6 hours.  I was shocked.  I texted Andy to see if I should skip the 2 hour ride and concentrate on the 4 hour ride on Sunday and this what he said.

Andy mess

But he has no compassion. So I ended up getting up and doing the 2 hours.  Then I went back to bed for 11 hours of sleep.  When I woke up it was the first time since training started that I realized I forgot what it felt like to not be tired.  So I posted on Facebook.  This what my friends say as opposed to what Andy says.

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Love my friends.

This week I managed 82% of training time.  I really wanted to get 100% but well I just did not manage that.

▪   Planned workout duration:  16:00

▪   Actual workout duration: 13:50

 

Since it was a testing week I decided I want to check my weight loss results. I was blown away. I know I have lost weight but I measured today and I feel good about what I have accomplished. Results:

Start Weight 145 pounds. Current weight 125 pounds.

Measurements: Bust from 36.0″ to 33.0” Waist from 32.5″ to 30.0” Hips from to 37.0″ to 35.0” Gut (or what I call my keg) from 35.5″ to 31.0” (yeah keg is gone-sort of sad really). So total 20 pounds lost and 12 inches lost.

This week what I learned is that I really have not gotten my sleep in order.  I need to work on that. Seriously need to work on that. But I did say in my second week that I was struggling with that. Apparently hasn’t changed. Ok I will work on it.

Quote of the week is about taking each step as a goal. I chose this because it is true. I sometimes look at the big goal and forget that all the little goals to get there are just as important.

It is not enough to take steps which may some day lead to a goal; each step must be itself a goal and a step likewise.
–Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

 

 

 

Week fifteen. April 7-13, 2014-Totally freaked out

This week was all about Florida 70.3. Half ironman distance that I was dreading so I just thought of it as just training so it wouldn’t seem so daunting. All my workouts this week were just sluggish. It was like I could not move. Thursday I did my workouts went home to get ready to go to a meeting when it hit. The worst stomach flu or bug that I could imagine. No wonder I was so tired all week. It had been lurking.

I cancelled my meeting and hoped for the best. As the day progressed it only got worse so I started to panic. Called Coach Andy  to see what I should do. He told me to relax, wait to see what happens in the morning and in worse case scenario I can drive up by myself on Saturday. I now had a plan (not the one I wanted but a plan none the less).

Friday I woke up and managed to leave the house for 3 hours without having to make a pit stop. I thought ok I can make the 3 hour drive later in the day. With some advice from my friend Karen I stocked up on very bland food so the next 3 days consisted of chicken, chicken broth, eggs, rice and potatoes.

Saturday we got up for our pre-race brick.

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Carlos and Jose setting up transition

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On the way to the bike ride. Christy, Victoria, Robert, Me, Liz

I managed it but did run out of energy. I needed some food. Robert had some issues with his bike so we had to stop at a bike shop. It did not take long but I was getting weak and needed to get back to the house to eat.  So he took me back while the others went and got breakfast.

After breakfast and showers we headed to Haines to check in and drop the bikes off.

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Aliens in the house. Victoria, Christy, Robert (always in the middle of all the girls), Me Liz

The plan was to go home and cook dinner but everyone was hungry so we stopped at a Carabbas. I thought I would be able to get some grilled chicken with mash potatoes. Not the case. They only had garlic mashed potatoes. I asked if they could boil potatoes the waiter said no. After a few minutes of the waiter saying no to all of my suggestions I got a little testy.  Surely they could come up with something. The manager finally came to the table and asked what the problem was. I explained and he said they could bake me a potato or boil some. I said boiled is perfect. I also said I could not have any of the herb mix on the chicken just salt. He said the would bake it to make sure no herbs got on the chicken Chicken came out grilled. It tasted fine but I could tell the herbs got on it. I paid for that later.

I basically did not sleep all night. We had to get up earlier than usual since Haines was an hour away, which wasn’t a big deal since I was already awake. We got to the race start, set up transition then it was time to wait for the start.

The swim was ridiculous. The water was so murky you could not even see your hands, which meant you could not see the other swimmers. That caused a lot of hitting of other swimmers and other swimmers hitting you. It was a slow swim to say the least.

Got on the bike and felt ok. I was trying a new nutrition mix that consisted of honey water slat tabs and magnesium. The recipe came from my friend Karen. I think it was a good mix for the bike.  It tasted like candy so I gave myself a treat at very 5 mile mark.

As I came up to the halfway mark I saw that it was 1:30 into the bike and thought I could do this in 3 hours. That would be amazing. Then that dream ended when I turned and started with hills and wind in the face. Ended up with 3:49, which was my best bike time at this distance. So I felt good about it. Then it was time for the run.

The run, that was just plain horrible. Every time I started running my intestines hurt. I thought they were going to explode. I was thinking I would quit after the first of 3 loops. As I was getting close to what ended up being the last water stop my friend Thomas (who I never see on the run) came up behind me and I ran with him until the water stop. He was hurting from the heat. Seeing him did get me motivated to keep going even if it was his last loop.   On the second loop I decided to run really fast on all the down hills and use gravity to move me forward. It seemed to help because I started passing people. At some point I passed Victoria during one of my down hill fast runs. After the last water stop I ran into Andy. I do not think he liked the fact that I was walking but just the fact I was still going was as good as it was going to get. He told me to just keep going so I did. I started my 3rd loop and did the same thing and again I was passing people. Then people were yelling looking strong or good job so that just motivated me even more. If they only knew I just wanted to cry. I finally made it across the finish line and all my team mates were cheering me on. Thanks Christy, Robert, Liz and non-team members Carlos, Emily and Jose. It was great to finally see you at the finish.

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Finishing it up

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The medal will always put a smile on my face.

What I learned this week is:

That as in every journey it only takes on moment to go from feeling great to feeling completely freaked out. I am back where I started on this journey. Even though I had a great bike I felt like there is no way I would finish my ironman.

On the other hand when I finished I thought I can power through anything.

I am proud of what I did even though it was a terrible race. I should have stayed home and gotten over the flu/bug but my brain said no you need to get the training in. I am glad I did even though this race filled me up with self-doubt.

Will not show my training stats.  They were horrible this week.

Quote for this week is exactly what happened. Just when I was getting ready to quit I kept going and the tides did finally turn.

 “When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.” ~ Harriet Beecher Stowe

 

Week fourteen. March 31-April 6, 2014-It was all about St. Jude Children’s Hospital

This week was all about South Beach Triathlon which it the big race where our team raises money for St. Jude Children’s Hospital.  I love this organization and I want to raise the most amount of money as I can but we were not doing so good on Monday morning.  I was no where near my personal goal and the team was just as behind.  I was starting to get crazed.  So I did the only thing I knew how.  I let all my frustrations go and I just started begging by posting on Facebook, sending emails and making phone calls.  I also started bombarding our team page with updates on our progress to get my team mates excited and motivated.  It was touch and go but we made out goal of $35,000.00 by late Friday night.  I pretty much think I spent about 8 hours a day in front of the computer the entire week.  I was relentless and I am sure I drove people insane but I just didn’t care.  I saw us winning the corporate challenge and I had to pull out all stops.  In the end I personally raised $6.250.00 and our team raised $40,000.00.  Way more than our goals. So I was so proud of Alien Endurance for that.

Friday night there was a party for the captains so I went to that and at this point our team was ahead but I was freaking out because I knew Auto Trader was catching up very fast.  Brent, the captain, was already telling me they were going to win.  He wanted to make sure I would not be disappointed so he was preparing me.  I kept giving him the evil eye.  I still had hope that they would come up short even though I knew he was pulling out all his stunts to get ahead of us.  Really he motivated me more than ever this year.  It was because of him that I raised more this year than ever and I think I ended up 8th overall fundraiser.

Saturday morning I got up early and headed to to get my training in but it was also race registration and the day that all would be revealed.  The deadline was 5pm so I basically spent all day at the beach meeting up with my team mates and keeping a close eye on the competition.  I was checking the fundraising page every 5 minutes.  Took my battery down to .5%.  I didn’t even know you could do that.  So the deadline came and it was time to find out what happened. Auto Trader pulled it out in the end and passed us.  I was bummed but we came in second which is still pretty damn good.  I had decided I would not to post the outcome until after the pasta party but it seems my team mates were also checking because I got so many messages.  They were all telling me how good I had done and they hoped I was not disappointed in my efforts.  I will not lie I was disappointed in myself and I even told Mari at the bar before we headed up that I needed to get happy before I went upstairs.  That was no easy task but I managed and then of course when I got to the dinner and saw all of the St. Jude’s people all my disappointment went away.

The pasta party was fun and we got to meet Stephen who was a patient of St. Jude’s and he was actually racing and he ended up being the 5th top overall fundraiser.  I could barely keep it together when he got up to speak.  That is why I do what I do.  It was an emotional weekend to say the least but I got to spend it with my team mates and some of the other captains and the St. Jude’s employees who make it all possible.  I could not have asked for a better weekend.

2nd place

Our sign and Stephen and me in the back ground

South Beach St. Jude Triathlon (3)

Me ( Alien Endurance 2nd Place) Brent (Auto Trader 1st Place) and Francisco (Discovery 3rd Place)

group picture

Gloria, Willy, Rosana, Ralph, Carolina, Me and Mari (these are some of the top fundraisers for Alien Endurance)

Sunday was race time.  I was the swimmer in my relay team.  It was a rough swim but I did alright.  Robert rode and Liz ran.  Liz killed the run allowing us to beat our coach Andy’s team which really was a sweet sweet sweet feeling.

me after the swim

Testing the ice compression after the race. (Jaguar Therapeutics set up at our tent)

After the race I went over to the stage to watch Auto Trader present their check.  It was a deal I made with Brent.  We would be there for the presentation no matter who won.  It was great the Corporate Challenge had raised over $350,000.00.

After that presentation I found my team mates who were waiting for the race awards.  Some of our team mates placed in their age groups so they were there to support.  As I sat down Alien Endurance was mentioned and I was called up to the stage.  I didn’t quite know why since I really did not hear the announcement but as it turns out our team won the Corporate Challenge race for the international and the classic distance races.  That just means we were faster as a team than all other teams.  Awesome.

tropheys

Our throphey’s

We have been doing this race for 3 years and as always we headed over to Frankie’s for an after party.

party pictue

Last men/women standing

That is always fun but a little sad at least for me.  It means all the excitement about fundraising is over.  This year I poured my heart and soul into it more than ever and I will have to say that I did crash and burn when it was all done.  It took me a few days to recover (the main reason this blog post is so late).

So mow that this is all over lets get to my stats for the week.

This week I managed 56% of training time oops.

Planned workout duration: 12:30
Actual workout duration: 7:00

What I learned this week is that I like a little competition (well I always knew that but this past week it took over my body and mind).  I sacrificed my training for the fundraising.  I will pay for it next week but it will have been worth it.  Ill just get back on that horse next week.

Quote for this week says it all for me this week.  I did actually give until it hurt.  I will do it again next year.  Like I said before I love St. Jude Children’s Hospital and I will do what it takes to raise as much money as possible for them.  Those kids have a hold on me that I can not explain.  I owe it all to Maria Quesada who introduced me to them.  Until next year.

“Give, but give until it hurts.” ― Mother Teresa

 

 

Week twelve and thirteen. March 17-23, 2013, Uneventful and finally a recovery week

The weirdest thing happened in week 12.  I was plugging away at my workouts and by the end of the week it just seemed so normal to be riding for 4-1/2 hours and starting in the dark.  I didn’t think about it or stress about it I just did it.  When I got home it was like nothing.  It actually seemed so normal.  Never in a million years did I ever think that would happen.  It felt great.  So it was a pretty uneventful week, well except for the sea urchins from Saturday’s swim.  I stepped on 4 of those suckers on my way out.  Those little suckers hurt.

Week 13 is another story.  It was recovery week and I took full advantage.  A little too much but hey I was heading to St. Thomas to surprise Steve and to see some friends.  I had every intention of running hills and getting my swim in but I chose sleep.  I sleep so much better in a hotel.  Always have and I was in a very nice one so I just could not help myself.  But it was a great trip and I am not gonna feel guilty about it.  Here is what happened when I got to St. Thomas.

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Step 1-10 minutes after arrival John buys me a beer

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Step 2- Steve shows up for surprise and here is the beautiful sunset

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Step 3-dinner with my new best friend and great adviser (Karen is a superstar runner and she is helping me with nutrition)

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Step 4-celebrate Karen’s birthday (Colin, Karen, Kayden, John, Me, Steve)

 

So during my visit I got to talking to Steve about my bike and how everyone keeps telling me I need a Tri-bike.  He did some research and told me to go look for one.  He is crazy but this is what he wrote to me today.

Steve message

Gotta love Steve.

Today was swim and run test.  Swim was horrible I almost made it to Cuba I was so far off with my sighting.  But no sea urchins so that was good.  Then we took off for the run test.  It was kind of funny because I just took off and went for it.  I took off too fast but I later found out that Joe was pushing it and the last time he ran passed me he yells you are killing me.  I love that.  He was pushing to pass me which means he ran harder than he might have.  I am so glad I can push people that way.  It is a good feeling.  Here we are after the run.

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My stats for these 2 weeks are not that good but it is ok.  I get to start all over again next week.

Week 12 I managed 81% of training time.

Planned workout duration: 17:00
Actual workout duration: 13:50

Week 13 I managed 75% of training time (this include what I need to do tomorrow).

Planned workout duration: 11:15
Actual workout duration: 8:30

What I learned these past 2 weeks is that I really can not travel during training.  If I get away from the people who push me I go back to being a lazy triathlete.  This realization comes at a time when I have just gotten a project that will have me travel.  I think I need to find a support system for those weeks that I need to travel.

Today’s quote is from my friend Tom Fiala.  He had a little setback this past weekend and he posted this on facebook today.  I think it is perfect for today.

A bend in the road is not the end of the road….Unless you fail to make the turn.

 

 

Week eleven. March 10-15-Great week ended with a meltdown

This week my goal was to make 100% of my workouts.  I am happy to report that I did do that.  I also had some great workouts.    The highlite of the week was the bridge repeats.  As the training progresses I am running faster which helped me kill the bridge repeats.  I know I am doing good from the comments from my team mates as we run up and down the bridge.  Or when I get these kind of messages.

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As the week went on the great workouts started to end.  Saturday we had an open water swim on South Beach.  The surf was crazy and as we approached we could see the man-a-wars on the beach.  I hate those things but we went in.  We had a 50 minute swim which turned out to be a 50 minute swim/walk.  It was an interesting swim to say the least.  I am not sure how many times I ended up on the shore or way too far out to sea.  All I know is that it felt like the only time I was moving was when the waves knocked me around.  At one point I was swimming along and a wave took me and when I got back up all I could hear is Christy (who was my swim buddy on this particular day) laughing her butt off.  Yes she was laughing at my expense.  Later she was describing what she saw which was just hands and feet all over the place.  I guess I would have laughed as well.

After the swim we had a 2 hour and 15 minute run.  I ran with Christy, Kristen, Derek and Liz (Elizabeth).   I was the only one without music so it was just plain boring.  The best part of that run was running into Katcat.  She was cruising along the Venetian Causeway.  I stopped to say hi and to model for this photo.

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After the run it was time to go home and get ready for our trip to Haines City for Sunday’s ride.  Robert, who was driving got to my house before I did and rushed to get all my stuff.  Needless to say I forgot a few things.

So Sunday morning we head over to the park where the Haines City 70.3 starts because we were trying out the course.  It was cold and of course all I had is just a jacket.  One that is not meant for training is but I had no choice.  It was heavy and uncomfortable but it did keep me warm.  The course was fine not too hilly not too flat but somewhere we missed a turn and ended up adding 10 miles to the ride.  This just mentally killed me.  Then all of a sudden the wind kicked in.  Every time it is windy I get left behind by everyone that has a tri-bike.  I can’t cut through the wind on my road bike like they can.  Today was no different.  The wind was so strong that I was almost taken down 3 times and as I was coming to a stop the wind actually did take me down as I was trying to unclip.  I broke the fall for the bike so I can report no scratches on the bike.  As we kept going I was getting frustrated which doesn’t help and I certainly did not have the right nutrition because I was starting to hit the wall.  We found a gas station to stop at so we could refill our bottles.  I was 10 seconds away from calling a cab.  I was in complete meltdown mode.  I instead went to the bathroom grabbed some chomps and said I guess I do not have much of a choice (there were certainly some cuss words involved) so lets just go.  I took off with tears in my eyes.

Since we had added the extra ten miles we decided to not finish the course and just get back to the park.  The road we took was a really hilly highway.  On a normal day I would have had fun with it but I was physically and mentally tired so I was scared which caused me to go slow on the down hill so I was not able to keep up with the group.  The good thing is that I was actually strong going up the hills.  Knowing that the roads will be manned on race day will help me go faster on the down hills.

After 4 hours, 20 minutes and 57 miles later we finished.  I have never been so glad to get off of that bike.

We packed up the bikes and headed back to shower, have lunch and head home.  On the way back I told my group that I was glad I did not quit.  It did feel good to finish.

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Victoria, Me, Robert and Christy

I was so tired when I got home but I wanted to get some stretching in.  So I start and then end up waking up at 1am on the floor. I never knew I could get that tired.

This week I managed 100% of training time.  Miracles do happen.

  • Planned workout duration:  16:35
  • Actual workout duration: 16:35

What I learned this week is that mind over matter is a reality.  If I can push through the misery I can finish.

Today’s quote:

“Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.” ― Haruki Murakami

Week ten. March 3-9, 2014-Crash and burn

What goes up must come down is how the saying goes and well that is exactly what happened this week.

It was sort of a hectic week in the sense that I was having minor surgery (nothing serious but required) done on Wednesday and I knew I was not going to be able to do some of my workouts.  So I shifted the schedule and doubled up earlier in the week.  It all seemed fine until Wednesday when I basically crashed at the doctor’s office.  He gave me an earful, told me I was crazy but understood why I was tackling an ironman.  He also said if I was going to do this thing I needed to get my act together.

Looking back at it now it really was not all about the doubling up on the training it also had to do with eating.  First on Tuesday I had a design review board meeting that I thought would take no more than 30 minutes.  The projects in front of us were already preliminarily approved so it should have been a formality.  So I went to my swim workout then told Andy I could do the entire weight training session and then just run in and be home early enough to get some food.  I was totally wrong.  It took 3 hours.  It was awful.  When I got home it was hard to even make a decision of what to eat.  I am not good with nutrition if I get that hungry.  I usually end up skipping the meal.  Not a good idea.  I ended up eating something like at 4pm.  I then had a dinner meeting, which meant not enough food and too much wine.

Since I was doubling up my workouts Wednesday morning I swam and then did my bike workout before I headed to the doctors appointment.  That really does explain why I crashed at the appointment.  I went home took a nap and did feel a little better but I had plans to got to dinner with my friend Sue.  When we get together it is dangerous.  Before the night ended I was like ok Sue this is it.  I cannot do this anymore until the race is over.  She did not like that but really it was the first time that I thought ‘yes it is time to say bye to my friends’.  It is a necessary evil if you are doing an ironman.  I always thought I could do it and not give up my friends but I can’t.  Sorry friends.  I will be back in July.

When Thursday rolled around I was super tired when I got a call from Steve to wish me a happy anniversary.  It’s our 15th and once again we celebrate separately.  Since I was having issues with my food intake I decided I need to just make some meals up for the weekend.  I put a stew in the crockpot, chicken and rice in the rice cooker and some beans on the stove.  Everything was working out just fine until the power went out.  Great as soon as I put all this food on the damn power goes out.  Three hours later the power is back on and my food is now cooking.

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My sister Elena had called to see if I wanted to have dinner so I wouldn’t spend my anniversary alone. Her and my mom were inviting me so I said yes.  I had a great time but it is now the third night in a row that I am out eating and drinking.  It was starting to hurt.  I have never felt that before.  When I got home I went to bed and slept and slept and slept.  Friday I never even got out of my pajamas.

It was time for the weekend workouts.  Two hour run on Saturday and a four-hour ride on Saturday.  Maybe because I slept so much on Friday the workouts seemed fine on the weekend.  Well except for the fact that I was freaking about riding in the dark.

Sunday’s ride was great.  I mostly kept up with the group.  I could have done more but I was in zone 4 and I was supposed to be in zone 2 so I slowed down some.  On the way back it occurred to me that my heart rate could have been affected by the new supplements my doctor prescribed.  I mean I felt fine so when I got home I texted him.  This was his response:

Dr Lee response

I just have to say, I love my doctor.  He responds on a Sunday.  It was good to know that it was the supplements and not me that had my heart rate so high.  That means I killed the ride today.

This week I only managed 77% of training time.  This is the worst week I have had since I started.  Not surprising.

  • Planned workout duration:  15:5
  • Actual workout duration: 12:11

What I learned this week is that I am not a super human.  I have to give some stuff up in order to get to where I am gong.  It is hard but I have to do it.

This weeks quote is about keeping going even though you crashed and burned.

“One of the most common causes of failure is the habit of quitting when one is overtaken by temporary defeat.”– Napoleon Hill

Week nine. February 24-March 2, 2014-And the high continues

This week was really all over the place for me but it ended incredibly so I am going with that.  During the week I had a personal meltdown which really affected me.  That in turn affected some of my workouts but it also fueled some of them so a meltdown can be good sometimes.  It is amazing what anger can do on the bridge repeats.  I not only killed them I found the anger was gone.

As is turns out I was not the only one in meltdown.  On Saturday we did a swim test and a run test.  As we were coming out of the water we saw Kristen standing there ready to run but it was obvious that she did not do the swim.  We asked her why and she just said she didn’t feel like it.  She really did not act like herself so I went back to talk to her after I got ready for the run.  She told me that she wanted me to know that she read my blog because she needed to get inspired.  She told me she was having a personal breakdown and she was even checking to see which race she could defer to.  First the fact that she went to my blog for inspiration floored me.  This blog is for me to share my journey and so that when I am done it is all collected in one place.  Having a team mate read it for inspiration is unexpected and really almost brought me to tears.  Second Kristen there is no way in hell that you are switching races.  We are all in this together.

Off we went to the track for the run test.  As we were running people started commenting things like Espe you are getting skinnier, Espe you are running really good, Espe you are doing good and so on.  I seriously do not know what happened during the run but I just kept going faster and faster and when I finished I knew I had done well since the comments kept coming.

Earlier in the morning Christy asked if anyone wanted to go to breakfast and some of us said sure so while at breakfast I checked my watch to see the run test results.

run test

Proof

I ended up taking off 1 minute and 22 seconds off per mile since the first run test.  It really felt so good.  I can’t believe I did that in 2 months.  Later I went to Ultrabike to get my brakes adjusted.  I was telling Andreas that I had completed my run test and that I ran 8:53 minute miles for 3.38 miles and he was like damn that was fast.  Anything with an 8 in front of it is good.  Again it felt so good.  After I left I thought was it really 8:53 or was it really 9:53.  When I got home I checked it really was 8:53.  Again it felt so good.

When I got home I had to change the back tire.  It had a slow leak and did not want a flat on Sunday and it was good practice right.  While putting the tire back on I messed up the brakes and didn’t know what to do.  I called Steve but he couldn’t help me so I reached out to the coach.  I asked him to help me in the morning.  He said he would.  It ended up being that they needed to be moved.  I was too scared to put too much force for fear of making it worse.  It all worked out.

We had a 3 hour ride so we headed to Deerfield Beach.  It is a great place to ride.  It is a straight shot to Palm Beach and then back.  Only problem is the headwinds.  You get them in both directions.  It was a great ride and Christy and I managed more than 15mph average speed in Zone 2.

We all wanted to eat before heading back so Christy and Robert went to look for a place when they got back they found us sitting on this bench.  It was cold and felt so good.

group on cold bench

Leo, Joe, Me and Kristen

We ended up at Offerdahl’s Cafe and Grill and it was pretty good.  It is always nice to hang out with the team mates after a big workout.

Later that night I was texting with Andy about this week since I am going to have to miss a few workouts and in the mist of the conversation I got this response.

andy message

That last text is why I am still on a high.

SInce this was testing week and since everyone keeps telling me that I look skinnier I decided to compare the stats.  In my head I had only lost 3 pounds.  It is what the scale says so I decided to measure and look at the difference.  Boy I am glad that I did.

This is where I started

  • Weight 142 pounds
  • Bust 36.0″ Waist 32.5″ Hips  37.0″ Gut (or what I call my keg) 35.5″

This is where I am today

  • Weight 137 pounds
  • Bust 35.0″ Waist 32.5″ Hips  36.5″ Gut (or what I call my keg) 34.5″
  • And I had to put a belt on to keep my shorts up yesterday.

For a total loss of 5 pounds and 2.5 inches.  This is not bad considering I am still struggling with the nutrition.

This week I managed 84% of training time.

  • Planned workout duration:  10:40
  • Actual workout duration: 8:55

What I learned this week is that I am actually good at this.  I just need to stop being a lazy triathlete. I am working on that.

I am including two quotes today.  The first one for Kristen and the second one for Christy.

“Between you and every goal that you wish to achieve, there is a series of obstacles, and the bigger the goal, the bigger the obstacles. Your decision to be, have and do something out of the ordinary entails facing difficulties and challenges that are out of the ordinary as well. Sometimes your greatest asset is simply your ability to stay with it longer than anyone else.” ~ Brian Tracy

“It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop. ” ~ Confucius