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)

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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.

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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

Week eight. February 17-23, 2014-Feeling high

As with any journey there will be highs and lows.  This week I am on a high and it is hard to describe.  I have never felt so alive after a bike ride as I did this past weekend in Clermont.  Let me try to explain.

There is this place in Florida named Clermont.  It is in the middle of nowhere but there are hills.  If you are not from South Florida you might not understand the importance of being able to drive 4 hours and hit the hills.  For us being able to go somewhere that has more hills than just a bridge is fantastic.  In addition to the hills, the people of Clermont respect the cyclists so it is a safe place to ride.

I have been to Clermont many times and every time I went I would always be in a panic.  Mostly because I am scared of going down hill and some of the routes are on highways which freaks me out.  This week we had a 65 mile bike ride planned.  I have never ridden that far and I was already a little worried.  When it got closer to the weekend the weather people were predicting rain and since I have never ridden in the rain either I was in complete panic mode.

On a normal situation I would have skipped the ride but training for an ironman does not allow that as an option.  Plus Andy our coach decided that he was giving out the “Beeker” award for the person who whined the most.  There was no way in hell I was going to be the one getting it.

carmackbeaker

Beeker from the Muppets

So it was time for the ride and it was drizzling.  I had my rain jacket (or my parachute which I like to call it since it acts like one) so it was ok until we got to the first down hill.  My brakes were not working so I said to my group (Christy and Liz) that I needed to stop.  Actually it ended up being that the brakes were just wet so it was making it hard to stop.  I was thinking great how am I going to do this but I kept going.  We got to the part of the ride with rolling hills.  These are fun and by this point the rain stopped and things were drying up so I stopped being scared.  It felt so good just to ride and not worry about being scared.  We were cruising right along when all of a sudden at about mile 55 the rain started coming down.  This was not ordinary rain, this was a downpour.  The rain was coming in sideways and it was actually hitting the eyeballs which sort of hurt.  The water was also rushing down the street and we were also getting sprayed by the the passing cars.  And as if that wasn’t enough water my front tire was also splashing me.  After the initial shock it was actually pretty fun to be doing that.  Seriously, I am not sure how I did not completely freak out.

When we finished the ride we had to go for a 3 mile run so we headed up to change and at that point realized Andy had called us.  Christy called him back and we were screaming and yelling when Andy asked where we were.  When Christy told him we were back in the room he was shocked.  He had gone out to look for us.  He did not see us because we took a wrong turn somewhere and since Christy and I recognized where we were we decided not to go back to the original plan.  We knew how to get back so we continued on.

After lunch we headed to Sugarloaf for hill repeats.  I have heard about this hill for years so I was completely afraid of it.  When we pulled up I just went to Andy and said go ahead and give me the Beeker award and then went back to my bike and got ready.  I was shaking.  As usual we stopped for a group photo:

group at sugarloaf

Sugarloaf behind us

I asked Ali for the strategy to get up the hill.  She said take advantage of the little down hill that we have and then get down to the smaller gears and peddle fast and just take it easy.  So that is what I did.  Here I am at the top with a such a relief smile.

.Espe Sugarloaf

I got up ok but then I had to go down.  I was still having issues with the brakes but I managed.  So I went up again but coming down the second time was harder.  I heard Kristen saying Espe you are going down slower than you went up.  That I was.  When I got down I was done but we were supposed to do at least 3 repeats.  I was not going to I was too scared.  Dario who is really good on the bike came to talk to me about my fear.  He gave me some pointers about braking which I figured I would use next time but Andy said I had to go once more.  I explaind that my brakes were not 100 % and he said I could walk the bike down.  He just wanted me to climb.  Like I said I have no issues going up.  Anyway once I got up I was not going to walk down so down I went.  Even slower than before.  I even cried as I was going down. Everyone was laughing at me.  They could not understand how I could go so slow.  But as I was going up and down my team mates were all very encouraging even though they were laughing and that did help me get through this exercise.  So Thank You.  When I got down Andy came by with a big smile and a High Five.  That just made my day.  I knew he was proud of what I had just done.  I was so excited.  I had tackled 3 firsts in one day.  Longest ride, ride in rain and Sugerloaf.  It was now time for some drinks and dinner.  There some very funny things that happened at dinner.  It was a great night.

The next morning it was time to hit the clay trail for a 10 mile run.  The weather was cool so it was a good run.  That trail is brutal in the summer heat.  When we finished Andy announced that it was time to vote for the Beeker award.  The night before at dinner some of the group decided we should all vote for Andy.  I didn’t really want to do that but I did not want to be the only one that didn’t so I asked everyone what they were really doing.  Hans responded by saying they were turning the joke around on Silvana so I figured it was going to be a free for all.  In the end there was a 3 way tie so we ended up voting again but just for the 3 finalists.  This award is supposed to be funny but some people were taking it a little personal which made it even funnier.   After the count it was official I was awarded the first Beeker award.  I was presented a beaker full of beer which I proceeded to shug down.  Best beer I have ever had. (a little side not about the beaker:  Andy mentioned to Kristen that he needed to go buy a “Beeker” for the award.  She responded by saying Stephanie works in a lab I am sure she can grab one. Yes you can stop laughing now.  But that is how we ended up with a beaker.  Actually turned out good because I got a beer).

Of course no award is complete without a post and pictures.  Here is what Andy posted:

Screen Shot 2014-02-25 at 12.55.19 PM

Of course since I am such a jokester this is what I did with my award:

Screen Shot 2014-02-25 at 12.55.01 PM

Since we do not have another trip planned until April I get to keep this for 2 months.  I am going to have so much fun with this (pretty much why everyone voted for me because there was definitely no whining going on from this Beeker).

I am happy to report that this week I made 82% of my workouts.

  • Planned workout duration:  14:20
  • Actual workout duration: 11:45

This week’s quote really sums up what I got out of the weekend in Clermont.  The thing I have been lacking is confidence on the bike.  I got that this weekend.  The fear had always been in the way.  It was not easy but it was worth it.

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.-Eleanor Roosevelt

Week seven. February 10-16, 2014-Damn Alligators

This week I had a one on one meeting with Andy that went really good until the very end when he agreed to get out of town for our long ride.  I suggested Deerfield.  He said Shark Valley.  Shark Valley although is car free is absolutely scarier to me because of the alligators.  I was hoping that maybe we could somehow convince Andy to change his mind so I posted this video on out facebook page with the following caption “Andy Clark, see that cat–thats me with the alligators”.

video

This is what he wrote later.

Screen Shot 2014-02-19 at 7.27.05 PM

Sunday came and I woke up so tired I was really scared of falling asleep on the drive to Shark Valley.  But I had to go or else Andy would blast me.  I made it and it went sort of like this.

First loop (15 miles) was good.  No Alligators.

Second loop I was riding good and was happy because Christy said the alligators would not come out since it was so cold. I was up front and thought no way I want to be alone so I screamed back and told Christy to ride with me as she was not afraid of the alligators.  I was riding so fast and then I started seeing alligators.  Christy was laughing because she was not seeing them.  Once we got to the halfway point Christy left me behind.  It was super windy and I could not keep up.  I was ok with being alone since last time we rode there I remember the second part of the loop there were no alligators.  Well not sure what happened but they were out in full force.  There was one that just eyed my like he was going to take me down.

Third loop I was feeling very lonely.  I swear at this point I was feeling like Andy had decided to punk me and told everyone to leave.  I did not see anyone in our group.  At this point it seemed like the alligators were everywhere.  The only saving grace was that there 25 times as many people on cruisers.  I knew the gators would get them first.  I was riding like a crazy woman so I could just finish and get out.   Halfway through the third loop I saw the Hammerheads (a local riding group).  They were off to the side singing happy birthday and taking pictures when all of a sudden they all started scrambling (they looked like the cat in the video).  I later found out 2 alligators jumped up (I guess they did not like the singing).  It was hilarious.

As I finished the third loop I finally started seeing some Aliens which made me feel better.  All I know is that I was glad that ride was done.

I am happy to report that this week I made 92% of my workouts.

  • Planned workout duration:  13:50
  • Actual workout duration: 12:50

This week’s quote is about getting to Shark Valley and not quitting despite of my fear.  Getting across the finish line on June 29 is definitely more important than my fear.

“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear. “~ Ambrose Redmoon