Week twenty-nine to thirty-seven. July 14-September 14, 2014 – I am ready for Maryland

It has been 8 weeks since my last blog post. Wow how time flies when you are having fun. So what have I been doing since my DNF you ask? Well I went to the Bahamas on a 14 day sailing trip (fun as hell),

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went to NYC for a triathlon (and it was a blast of a race),

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It’s all about the medal

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Leo and me

went back to the Bahamas for work, then I went to NJ for a wedding of my very good friend Shefalee (best time ever and even met a triathlete)

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The beautiful bride Shefalee and me

and have been training for Ironman Maryland.   The training has been hard since I have been traveling and my CDA training buddies (Joe, Leo and Kristin) are on the “I do not want to wake up early” mode. Seriously I do not blame them but I will say that they have been really good about at least meeting me for part of my bike and run. In addition to them trying to meet me, Joe sent me a very frank pep talk email where he basically told me that I needed to get my shit together on the bike if I wanted to finish IM Maryland. I had been pretty much riding alone and wasn’t making any progress so the last few weeks I have been riding with some other Aliens and that has actually been great. David, Efrain, Joaquin, Ernesto and Otto have pushed the hell out of me and in 3 weeks I went from an average speed of 14.5mph to 16.89mph. That is some serious improvement. Also for some reason my running has been great. I even ran a 7:40 mile on test day. I have never done that. I have also been in regular contact with coach Andy. Here are some of his messages.

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Until today he has been more confident   about me finishing than me. It feels good to finally agree with him.

I have also been working on getting my business off the ground. I had not been too organized in my accounting so one day I sat down and caught up. The bad news is that I had a lot of money out there. The good news is that I am on target to meet my goal for my first year. My goal was to make a certain amount and then have enough money in the bank to cover 3 months of the company expenses. I have the 3 months covered so now I just have to generate enough revenue to meet the amount. I am more than half way there and things are picking up so I am very happy about that.

The other project I have been up to is getting ready for the floor replacement. Total pain in the butt and I am going to have to move out. So I have been avoiding that like the plague. I cannot wait until that is done. I have scheduled the work after IM Maryland for obvious reasons.

Between all that I have been getting to know some IM Maryland athletes through Facebook. It is nice to know you are not alone in the fears that come with taking on such a challenge. It is also nice to know that there are people out there who are just as crazy and to find people who are just plain funny. One of the girls made up some temporary tattoos and I can’t wait to see people out on the course with them. It is our special group.

Ironman Maryland will not be the same as CDA; I saw so many teammates on the course. There is only one other team member racing IMMD so it will feel very lonely on the course. I am going to have to dig deep to keep moving forward. I am going to have to remember all the words that my teammates have said to me the last 2 months. They want this for me as much as I want it so I am going to think of them when the course gets tough. I am also going to think about my family that will be there to watch me. It is a long day for them as well and I certainly do not want to come up short. My Mom said tonight “I am not coming to any more races so you better finish”. Ok that is some kind of motivation.

Quote for the week is exactly right on. It’s funny when I go look for my quotes I always end up on different web pages and no matter what the right one just shows up. It is the quickest part of my blog.

“You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.”Margaret Thatcher

Week 26-28. June 23-July 14, 2014 -The journey continues

I went to Coeure d’Alene (CDA) to become an Ironman and I had all the confidence in the world that I would have done that but it was not meant to be. I have avoided blogging about my experience because I wanted to get to the point where my post would be a positive one. It has taken 3 weeks to get there and the reason for my delayed post. But I am there now so here it goes…………

I did the training and the hard work. I showed up, got my package and was ready to go. We did a quick run that first day and it felt great. The weather was perfect for a fast run. That was also the day I met Bear. He is an old friend of Andy’s and let me tell you what a great addition to the team. His attitude and humor was refreshing. Seriously do not now how I did not pee in my pants from laughing so hard on that run.

The next morning we got up for a swim. I knew the water was going to be cold so we had additional gear (neoprene cap and socks) that we needed to try out.  Here we are looking all goofy with all that extra stuff.

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Kristin and me

Really in Miami we do not need that sort of stuff. We all got ready and it was time to go in. I screamed that water was so cold but after a few minutes it felt great. Coach Andy had us swim in the direction of the race so we could get a feel of the current. We did that a few times and then we just hung out in the water just to get used to it. After we got out we went for a run. On the way back I remember seeing people just floating around with rafts and floaties and I thought, OMG these people are just swimming for enjoyment. We came to the conclusion they must be from CDA. But regardless it was funny to see.

That night we had a team meeting. Andy gave us the low down on what we should expect and what we needed to do. Then he asked Stephanie and I to stand up. I was like ok but wasn’t sure why. He proceeded to tell us that as a group of 18 we had lost the weight of two people (Steph and I) in our journey to CDA. That was quite astonishing really. I knew people were loosing weight but to loose 258 pounds as a group was remarkable. Leo lost the most with a whopping 40 pounds then Alan, Andy’s twin lost 35. He went down the line then asked whom we all thought lost the most for the girls. Yeah it was me with a loss of 27 pounds.

The next morning it was time for our pre-race brick. Back to the water we went. Some people were trying to figure out weather or not to wear the neoprene caps and socks. I was already decided but everyone was trying out different things. The only thing I tried was one sock over the wetsuit and one under. In the end everyone concluded that they were definitely wearing the cap and socks and I decided on under the wetsuit so that when the wetsuit strippers pulled my wetsuit off I could still run in my socks. It was going to be cold and I needed that protection.

So on to the bike we went. We were doing the first loop of the ride. As usual I got left behind while maneuvering through the city streets but Elizabeth slowed down and waited for me so I wouldn’t get lost. Once we got through the city the climbing started. I was freaking out. I knew I was going to have to come back down. The group stopped and waited for me and when I pulled up Derek yells “what you were doing 10 mph on the downhill.” I was like no 16. It was a pretty funny moment. Andy then told us where the special needs bags were going to be and we headed back for a short run. After the ride Bear tells me “you know you should just not use the breaks, it really just slows you down”. That humor just never stopped.

Later we went drove the rest of the bike course and it really did not seem all that bad so I was feeling pretty good about the whole thing. After the ride it was time to drop off the bikes and gear bags. I later met my family for dinner and went back to the hotel so that I could try and get some sleep.

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My wonderful family

When we got back to the room Steve showed me cards his nieces and nephews had made for me.  It was so awesome to see that.  Here is a picture of some of them.

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Mitch, Andrew, Becky

Race day started early. Alarm was set for 3:30am so I could eat breakfast, try to go to the bathroom and get to transition to check my bike and drop off my special needs bags. Steve put on the weather channel and they said it was going to be a great day with no wind. A soon as we got outside I was like why are the trees moving so much. So much for no wind. Steve dropped me off as close as he could to transition. I dropped of my bags, filled my tires with air and headed out to look for my teammates. At this point I was pretty calm since there was nothing else I could do. The work was done, the bike was ready and all my gear was waiting for me. It was time to just go for it. Most of our team ended up meeting up and we were just what I thought hanging out but really we all individually were freaking out. But I was glad to be surrounded by my training buddies.

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(Front) Eduardo, Joe, Me, Leo, Kristin, (Back) Ashley, Robert, Liz

The swim start was 6:45 and as time approached we all started getting ready. It was time to put the wetsuits on and drop off the morning clothes bag. I wanted to go to the bathroom and the lines were crazy so I went into transition thinking that would be better. It was not. So I just put on my wetsuit and headed out. I called Steve to find out where he was. He was nowhere near me and that is when I totally flipped out. I didn’t think he was going to find me and I had my phone that I needed to give to him. It all worked out in the end and we ran into each other on a very crowded sidewalk.

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We said our good byes, he wished me luck and I headed to the swim start where I ran into some of my teammates. Andy had told us that when we got to this part of our journey we would look out and feel a calm. I never believed him but he was right. I was calm. It was seriously weird to feel that way after just freaking out but in reality there was nothing left to do but swim 2.4 miles, ride 112 miles and run 26.2 miles. I was ready.

We then got in the water for a warm up and to get used to the cold water and well to pee like a crazy person. So we hung out for a bit and then they started calling out for us to get in line. It was a self-seed start and I was going out at the back of the 1:15 group since I thought I would finish at 1:30. The time had come to start my race. Two minutes into the swim my goggles were filling up with water so I headed for the first kayak to get that sorted. I did not panic I just fixed the problem and I took off. The lake was clear but it was wavy. It was hard to sight but I just decided it wasn’t going to bother me. I finished the first loop and the cheering from the crowd was amazing. I took it all in and went in for the second loop. I did great on the swim. 1:34 just 4 minutes more than my goal. As I headed to my gear bag I saw my brother Robert so I went and got a hug and then headed to transition to change.

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As I got into the tent I saw Liz and it was so nice to see a teammate. The time went by so fast and before I knew it I was running out on the bike. That is when I saw my sister Elena, Steve and my Mom. Seeing them made all the training worthwhile.

I took off on the bike and managed that first loop without too much problem. Then I got to the big climbing portion and that is when I realized holy crap it is windy. I powered through it when all of a sudden I hear Elizabeth say great job on the swim. I was shocked that she was behind me but we pedaled along until we got to the top. I told her have fun on the way down and I’ll see you on the run. You see she loves the down hills and I hate them. But to my complete surprise the down hills were almost as tough as the climbs. The wind was so strong that I had to use my easiest gear to go down. I kept pedaling then my stomach started cramping. I was like let me stop and just finally go to the bathroom. I stopped 3 times and nothing. At this point I was like well let me make sure I just make the cut off times.

I got to mile 56 and was so happy I did not get stopped. Then the volunteers said you have 1 hour to get back so I went like a crazy woman and did manage to get back before the cut off. Then came the big climbs. I was tired and somewhere along the route I stopped just to get some bacon and take my salt tabs. The bike tech support guy stopped to see if I was ok. I said yep just needed some food. He then told me I had 30 minutes to get to the turn around. I had no idea how far that was so I asked him. He thought it was about 20 miles and told me just to keep moving. By this point the wind was stronger and then I started to do the math. There was no way I would make it but I decided that just maybe they would change the cutoff since on the way back it would be faster with the wind on our backs. I started passing people and I thought ok I could do this. I’m not sure at what point but Andy was on his way back and he yelled “Espe you got this just keep pedaling”. I already knew I wasn’t going to make it but I kept going and sure enough when I approached mile 92 (yes mile 92-20 miles short), the turn around, they stopped me and asked me for my timing chip. My smart ass self said “if you want it you need to get it. I am not giving it to you” so they did come take it from my leg. As we headed back to transition there were still plenty of people behind me and as I looked out of the truck I thought well at least I did not walk like they are.

When I got back I dropped my bike off and wondered how the hell am I going to find Steve? Well he and Robert found me thank god. I was so disappointed but they were great. They acted like I had actually finished. I cried but they told me don’t worry you are an ironman in our eyes. All I remember is saying, “ I am not doing the same thing I did with my Landscape architecture test. ” They laughed and said yeah you will”.   Here is what Robert posted–Check out that water.  Still as can be which means the wind finally let up a little too late:

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We then went to look for my mom, Elena, Miriam and Skip. We found them and they were all like its ok just sign up for another one. Seriously my family is crazier than me. Elena, as usual, had a bottle of champagne, which we proceeded to drink.

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At this point everyone was texting my family to find out where I was so I had to post that I had not finished. It was a hard post but the support I received was overwhelming. I was no way near ready to hear it but they just kept coming. I actually stopped going on Facebook because it was just way too hard.  Here are the messages and I just want all of you to know that even though I could not handle it at the time these messages helped me get to the point to sign up for another ironman.  Your support was amazing and I hope you know that.

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While we where on the streets we saw Andy run by and he came by to give me a hug. He had already heard I did not make the cutoff. After we saw him I was like I need to eat so we headed to a restaurant that was by the finish line ate and proceeded to drink myself silly. I stayed there until all my teammates passed by and then told Steve I need to get out of here. I cannot listen to Mike Reilly say “so and so you are an ironman” anymore. So we left.

Looking back at it now I cannot believe I actually was able to stay there that long but I am glad I did. Not only did I see all my teammates finish I was also able to see Leo propose to his wife. He had told us early on in the training that he wanted to do something special for his wife. They never really got engaged and they had just gone to the courthouse to get married and since she was so supportive of his training he wanted to do this. I loved the idea but didn’t think I would be there to see it. It was the high light of my DNF.

The next day proved to be much tougher. Everyone was posting on Facebook and it was hard to take. In addition, Leo, Joe Kristin and I have an ongoing text feed and they were texting like crazy. Since I was in no condition to deal with that I asked them to exclude me until I was ready to face the world. They did that for me. Now that is a true sign of great friends.

I had to take Steve to the airport and I pretty much cried the entire way especially when Katcat called me.  She thinks I am a hero but at that moment I was still a failure. Kat, I thank you for that call I just wasn’t ready for it.

I was headed to Seattle and I really didn’t want to go anymore but it was too late to change the plans. So after awhile I headed off with Liz. Before we left I saw Joe and Kristin and they were all dressed with their medals and I just couldn’t deal. I was pretty rude really but that is how I was feeling.  Sorry guys.

On the way to Seattle Steve called and said ‘hey Maryland is not sold out and its flat you should go for it. I laughed. My family the night before had told me why not sign up for another one. You are already in shape. My Mom’s only request was that it was closer to home. I never said anything but I wanted to yell “ really do you think its that easy” but I didn’t. Anyway I started texting Andy and as I was approaching Seattle I registered for Maryland.

That night there were a few teammates in town and they had decided to stay in the same hotel as me which was great because it had a nice roof top and you could see the sunset and for the first time since I got taken off the course I felt ok, not great but ok. I posted some pictures and then I got the best text ever from Joe. He basically said: Espe is celebrating on the rooftop which means she is feeling better and ready to face the world and with that I was included in the text feed once again. I loved the fact that they gave me the space to cry over my DNF.

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I ended up having a great time in Seattle and very happy that I did not go home. I even got to see an old high school friend who I haven’t seen in 30 years. I think I needed that time to reflect on the race and move on. I am still freaking out about my next ironman but I am not one to quit. Hell it took me 20 years to pass my Landscape Architecture license exam but I finally did it.

There is so much more that I felt and experienced but I have left it out because like I said before I wanted this to be a positive blog not only for you but also for me. Along with the negative things I experienced I also experienced a lot of positive things and that is what I want to focus on. Here are some of the few since I started my training:

  • I became a way better cyclist (at least 5 mph faster)
  • I rode 97 miles for the first time
  • I made it to mile 92 on a very grueling bike ride on race day
  • I had a great time-check out theses pictures

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  • I made it down Sugarloaf in Clermont on many occasions and way faster than 3 mph ok like 5.
  • I now only hate downhill not despise them
  • I have actually ridden 35 MPH (not exactly sure for how long but I hit it and that is huge for me)
  • I took 1.5-2 minutes off of my run pace
  • I transformed my body
  • I gained some terrific friends (you know who you are)
  • I inspired one of my cousins to get in shape
  • I inspired my brother in law to attempt a triathlon
  • I am going to jump out of an airplane to help me conquer my fears about going downhill fast
  • I had the guts to sign up for another Ironman thanks to all of my family and friends who sent me the most amazing words of encouragement.
  • I confirmed that I am insane, nuts, crazy, mad and every other word that describe who I am.

So I am not going to post my training stats but I will end it with a quote as usual.  This quote was posted on Facebook today by a dear friend who I met while at NC State,  Thank you Wendy for posting this today.  It is the perfect quote for my blog today and I love it because it comes from our coach when we where in college.  A man who was a terricfic coach but also a fun guy and a real motivator.  Thank you Jimmy Valvano.  And hell its perfect for my journey.

dont give up Jimmy V

 

Week twenty-two. May 26-June 1, 2014-Getting better

This week started with a 3-hour run that I did not manage to get in last week because of the tenting.  It was Memorial Day and it was not easy to get up but I did and managed 12 miles so the week started off great.  I proceeded to get all my workouts in but I was worried about the weekend.  We had a 6 hour ride and although I had done one already I was still freaking but also excited to see what I could do.

This week I also got my test results that were done to try to figure out what was going on with my stomach. It was confirmed that the abuse I am putting on my body is taking a toll on my intestines. It is not what I wanted to hear but it is what it is. My friend Karen came up with a plan to get me through the race before we start real treatment after I am done. I am confident with this plan and I know this issue will not interfere with the race.

On Saturday we had a 1 hour 10 minute swim scheduled to be followed by a 2 hour and 30 minute run.  Joe from the team suggested we start at 5am for the run and follow it by the swim so we could get finished early.  I agreed although I hate getting up so early.  I know my teammates that are married and have kids are at a point where they need to do everything to keep peace at home.  It has been a long 6 months and I can only imagine the flack they are getting from their spouses and kids.  I am lucky I do not have to contend with that so I go along to support and well I like training with them.  I figured I would just go back to sleep when I get done.

We (Leo, Joe, Liz and Eduardo) took off on the run.  Eduardo took off like a jack rabbit as usual but the rest of us hung tight as a group.  We really did have the best time.  I will not go into the details of our conversations but just know it was worth getting up that early for the conversation.  We followed up with the swim.  Let me tell you that I now know why the swim is first.  My legs and actually my feet were cramping up the entire time.  Seriously, I never knew the bottom of my feet could cramp up.  But the water was cool and felt great so I kept swimming and managed 1.7 miles.  Really the best part was being done by 9:30am.  I had the entire day ahead of me.

We had all decided that we would meet up on Sunday and leave Joe’s house at 5am for our 6-hour ride and then our 1-hour run.  It’s a great place to start and ride south which is a very safe place to ride and we have plenty of options to add mileage.

The day was great.  I got some errand done and before I knew it the time had come to get to bed for another early wake up call.  At around 8:30 pm I get a text message telling me to look on our Facebook page where we got these messages from our coach:

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Oh my, really.  First of all I was on my way to bed and second of all the nerve.  Well there was no way I was going to Shark Valley.  It is an hour drive and well you know how much I just love the alligators so off to Joe’s house I went.  We took it easy to Black Point Marina since it was dark and it had poured so the roads were wet.  I was a little freaked out that my brakes were not working but I powered through it.  After Black Point Joe slowed down to tell me about their route which was different than I what I usually take.  He mentioned that the last turn was not signed which worried me so we ended up deciding that they would go their way and Liz and I would go the way I knew and hook up at Starbucks to hit the bathroom and fill up on water. Before we took off Joe said to me, “just work on being in aero and do what you can do.  I know you can do this.”  I love him for his encouragement and how he makes sure I am ok.

I wanted to stay with the guys to see what I could do but I was scared of missing the turn so our decision was good.  I rode like a crazy person and basically rode in aero the entire time and to my surprise I got to Robert is Here 13 minutes faster than I have ever done before.  I was so excited.  I told Liz let’s just keep going and then head back since the guys would not be at Starbucks for another 30 minutes or so.  We ended up running into them, which was perfect.  At this point they decided we would head out to Everglades National park, which was 5 miles from Robert is Here.  I was like ok great we can add some mileage.  As we took the turn we ran into Derek and Elizabeth so they ended up joining us.  I was determined to draft behind them and keep up.  Well it only lasted for about 3 miles but I was happy because for those 3 miles I was riding in aero and at 20 MPH.   After that 10-mile loop we met up at Starbucks.  I knew I could not keep up so they went their way and Liz and I went my way and we met up at his house for the 1 hour run.

When I got back to his house I was like OMG I did an additional 17 miles since the last 6 hour ride just 3 weeks before.  I would say that is a huge improvement.  I was so happy that even though it was like a million degrees out and we were totally over heating on the run I was happy.  He are some of us after the run.  Eduardo is always out and back and misses the pictures.

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Yes we were hot and sweaty but Joe’s pool was the perfect way to cool off afterwards.  Joe you really are the best for letting us crash your house.

When I got home I posted this and the encouragement I got was priceless.

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This week I managed 90% of training time.  I am happy with this since Monday I was making up a workout from last week and is not included in this weeks stats.

▪   Planned workout duration:  15:40

▪   Actual workout duration: 14:10

What I learned this week is that sticking to the workouts is apparently working. I have been working super hard on the bike since it is my weakest sport and for the first time since January I do feel like I can actually do this.

What was reaffirmed this week is I have great teammates and friends. They have followed me through this journey and they are behind me 100%. I can’t thank them enough. I really do appreciate your patience and your encouragement. It has made this journey worthwhile.

What I have noticed this week is that I am missing some of my teammates that started the journey with me but have been missing the last few weeks.  Where are you Christy and Robert?  I miss you.

Quote for this week is mine and for the first time since I started I actually believe it.

I got this-Espe Suarez Kelly

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 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 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.

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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.

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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