Showed up, finished, took home a silver.

I woke up scared.

I rode to the event fighting fear that kept me on the edge of tears. My friends and family were there supporting me and telling me I could do it.

And then I was in the pool and they were counting down the time 3…2…1 go! And I kicked off and there was no more fear only breathing and swim strokes.

I did it.

I swam. I biked. I ran. Not fast, not well but better than before I started to train and I took fifth in my weight class (I am an Athena) and second in my age group. My daughter-in-law who trained with me, kicked my butt on times and got a bronze cuz there are fewer Slow Old Fat Triathletes than young thin ones like her. In my eyes she got double gold.

My swim time was pretty awesome for me. I did it in 8:36 (eight minutes, thirty-six seconds) much better than I have ever done in practice.  Next time will be better (and double the distance). As it was my first time all the people coming up behind me discombobulated me and I lost time letting the mob pass.

My eight miles on the bike was very slow, the first half of the four mile loop (2 miles) was a slight upgrade and I did the eight miles on my beach cruiser because I really want to take the mountain bike somewhere and get street tires and a check-up after its altercation with a car before putting it in a position of trust.  It was slow and hard going.  Coming around the first lap and knowing I was into the uphill again the excuse wheel began to spin, but there were my friends holding signs for me and cheering. I wasn’t about to let them or me down and just kept peddling.

My time was about what I expected. I predicted 85 to 90 minutes and completed it in 71 minutes 17 seconds. Again beating any practice times but really sloooooooow.

I used the beach cruiser partly cause of the needing to get the geared bike checked out, But also, and this was a big one, I am comfortable on it’s no gear and no power break turtle type solidness and fear was a HUGE part of what I was facing down in this whole triathlon. I have only been riding a bike, any bike, for a little over two months.  I need practice, practice, practice. I need to learn how to use gears and my hand breaks in a way that doesn’t throw me over the bike. I am glad that I took Bessie as there were times when the real competitors were woooshing by that Bessie and I’s sympatico natures kept me from succumbing to fear. The one time I did let fear take over the reins I had a small spill and spent a couple minutes walking my bike before I got back on and finished.

Coming into the transition area my left knee sharply announced it was done and I dismounted a good 100 or so feet before I was supposed to dismount.

My run was the thing most affected by my October falls and mishaps. Dawn was waiting for me as I came into the transition area and paced me the whole way (Mind you AFTER she had already completed the same thing at a dead run) My left knee was screaming four letter words at me by the time I finished biking and did not want to run, walk or really do anything that required it to flex or extend or bear weight. But Dawn was there right beside me  and quitting was not an option. I walked more than half of the run, so run time was 9:23. Still better than I predicted.

And guess what, I the Slow Old Fat Triathlete who in June of this year got breathless walking a mile, had never ridden a bycicle, and never taken a swimming lesson, then fell messing up her left knee Oct 3, got knocked down by her Golden retriever injuring her right knee on Oct 8 and THEN got hit on her bike by a car re- jacking her left knee again Oct 13, finished her race. (Yes, I am talking about myself in the third person.)

Better yet, I can’t wait for my next one.

So many thank-you’s to say: Rick, Dawn, and Phil Veatch who were all my trainers (Phil is the official trainer), Dallon as well, Jody and Steve, the staff at Backfit Chiropractic in Gilbert, Sara, Pat, Amie, Ken and Deena, the women in my training group, the nice lifeguard at the pool who got me the ice pack today, and others I know I am forgetting…I could not have done it without you.

..and also a special thank you to James Owen for the audiobooks that were the soundtrack for a lot of walking, running and stationary bike time the past few months.  You and my son Rick are the examples that motivate me to focus not on the obstacles I need to overcome but how I will accomplish my dreams.

Lots of love to all of you who have followed the first lap of this journey, and it ain’t over yet! 400 meter, 12 mile ride, 5 k is my next race and I plan to beat my times a lot on my way there.

So I am thinking a lot more training is in order.

But now its time to sleep.

P.S. If I can do it, anybody can!

14 Days and counting…

My “baby” who was born in 1984 so you do the math, completed his first Sprint Triathlon Saturday and placed 6th in his age group.  So proud of him. Dawn is training, training, training and will also make a good showing for herself.  I kind of feel like I started something, I hope its something we all keep doing, myself especially.

I have had a tough couple of weeks motivation and “mindset” wise as I have worked through three injuries. The first was a fall at a restaurant in a patch of super slick mud, the second was while running with my dog and came off a curb onto knee and wrist when said dog bolted after something in  the dark, and the third was just Thursday and involved my bike and a vehicle. On top of this the sudden temperature drop in the pool water I have allowed to be a HUGE deal.

I had almost lost (which for me means quitting cuz to me winning this just means showing up and crossing the finish line) and the race was weeks away.

So I really worked on getting into a better mindset yesterday while I was at work. I was gonna do my swim even though I had been in pain all day at work. After work I headed over to the pool and was hit with a blinding migraine on my first lap and almost passed out on my second. All kinds of possible disaster scenarios passed through my thoughts , I was wearing a helmet but had hit my head in my bike  accident and this was like nothing I ever experienced before, besides which I greyed out for a moment.

Pride wanted to stay and finish but good sense won out, drowning would make it hard to race. I have tried hard to keep my actions in line with the big picture while inwardly furious that I can’t stay on my training schedule. I had either been working or icing for 48 hours (My roommate Amie has been awesome by the way plying me with hot soup and ice packs.)

So I got out of the pool.  At that minute I was soooooo done.

The voice in my head knew that I was just a big loser and the universe was set against me succeeding as evidenced by all these things standing in my way, I should just quit trying, and at that moment I was sure my sons thought I was just a big baby whiner and more trouble than I was worth, blah blah blah…yes, I really do have a voice like that in my head when fear is my master.

Luckily that voice in my head is Full Of S***, and even more luckily I more quickly realize that.

So tonite my heart and soul bound and gagged the voice of fear and foolishness and instead played all the loving encouragement of my sons coupled with the awesome visit and moral support from two of my same-age friends who also believe life is still about living with gusto and I went out and ran.

yes I still have a bit of that headache, probably related to elevated BP, but my knees and ankle held out for the mile, I iced them when I got home while I wrote this; and i faced the fear from the fall and I took the dog with me to run this evening

and I feel one hundred percent better about everything.

Tomorrow I get back on the bike…

Ice, Ice Baby!

June 1, 2011. I couldn’t run a block. I had never ridden a bicycle or had a swimming lesson. June 1st was day one of this journey I am on, my goal was to try something ego challenging, that required effort and discipline and it had to be something fun and  completely different.

Anything athletic was about as different as I could get from my bookish existence. Also, and not surprisingly,  I was and am a BIG girl. Big girls still got game, I call my style of game, ” SOFT” (Slow Old Fat Try-athlete).

This pre-amble is to put in perspective my yesterday.  I swam 100 meters; four lengths together without break. I was panting and gasping when I was done but I did it.  Then I swam another 200 meters in lengths of 25; when I was done swimming I biked about 5 miles, and walked 5K. I am also trimming down, weighed in yesterday at 217 lbs. Not that the point was to be thin, but every ten pounds I lose is ten pounds I don’t have to drag through the water or around the track.

This morning I ran 1 mile, walked 2 more. Tomorrow after work I will go bike and swim.

I am tired and sweaty a lot.

I am also currently icing my back daily and rolling, rolling, rolling my legs and butt. I have a healing blister between my cheeks, ache places that never ached before and a very funky tan line but still am sooooo excited by my progress and that I am still engaged in an activity I have been told (and for years even told myself) just wasn’t for me.

So what’s my goal, well my dream goal is an open water/trail run triath event in an exotic local, but since I am still an EXTREME novice, Athena novice at that, below is the website description of the first event that all this swimming, running and biking is about. I will be doing the MINI ADULT. Not a bad beginning length. I will be in the Athena category and have no idea how many will be in my age group. I am not as much interested in taking home a ribbon as I am in actually completing the race. My DIL is a bit more competitive and I hope to see her take first in her group.

If I continue to practice, practice, practice I know I can complete the lengths needed. Now I am all nervous about transitions and set up and what to wear and eat. Gonna reread the book by Jayne Williams and just keep swimming…

By the way, anyone who wants to come participate in the race or cheer me and Dawn on, let me know, I say for this kind of thing…the more the merrier!!!!

I know I haven’t finished it yet, but I am farther than I could ever have believed possible a year ago. I wouldn’t have come this far without Phil Veatch, my trainer from Inspire Fitness;  the massage and adjustments from Backfit Chiropractic (Anne, Dr. Vogel, and Jacquie);  bike riding lessons and poolside encouragement from my local sons Rick and Dallon and my DIL Dawn; the special contribution of Steve and Jody; and of course my friends Pat, Sara, Anne, Angela and Amie who keep encouraging, clothing and believing in me regardless of what crazy thing I try now. (Also a small thank-you to James Owen and Wil Wheaton, not that they will read this, but it is there amazing writing I listen to when running, stretching and walking. Like Oprah and Glinda the Good Witch these two men keep me motivated and believing that I have always had the power.)

 

Brief Description

Tri-Family Racing presents The City of Mesa Halloween Adult & Youth Sprint Triathlon & Duathlon. Everyone can get in on the fun; …we have Youth & Adult divisions as well as Relay Team competitions.

Event Refund Policy

No refunds provided!

Additional Information

MINI ADULT TRI: Adults: 200 yd. Swim, 8 mi Bike, 1/2 mi Run
MAXI ADULT TRI: 400 yd. swim, 12 mi Bike, 2 mi Run
YOUTH (TRI ONLY): 100 yd. Swim, 2.5 mi Bike; 1/2 mi Run
MAXI DU: Adults: 1/2 mi. Run, 12 mi. bike, 2 mi Run

WHERE: Fremont Pool, 1001 N Power Road, Mesa ,AZ 85205 (Northeast corner of East Adobe Street & North Power Road)

WHEN: Youth triathlon approx. 7 am Adult Triathlon & Duathlon starts at 7:45am. ALL TRI-ENTRANTS MUST HAVE THEIR BIKES IN THE TRANSITION AREA NO LATER THAN 6:45 AM

AWARDS: Five deep in all Age & Relay team categories. All youth also receive a participant ribbon.

REGISTRATION: Registration Packet pick-up on Saturday October 29th is HIGHLY recommended, Registration packets and late registration will be available at Iron Gear Sports, 6655 E. McDowell road, Mesa, AZ 85215 (480) 396-4766 from 1pm to 5pm. (Suite 103, southwest corner of Power and McDowell)

FEES:
MINI ADULT TRI: $67 postmarked before October 15th $77 thereafter.
MAXI ADULT TRI or MAXI DU: $72 post marked before October 15th, $82 thereafter.
TRI RELAY TEAMS: $140 postmarked before October 15th $150 thereafter.
Youth Race TRI ONLY: $47 postmarked before October 15th $52 thereafter

RACE DAY ENTRIES ADD ADDITIONAL $5 TO LATE FEE! REG. IS LIMITED TO 500 ENTRANTS!

DIVISIONS:
Children’s Race Age divisions: 7-8, 9-10, 11-12, 13-14 yrs old (TRI ONLY)
Individual Male and Female: 15-19, 20-24; 25-29; 30-34; 35-39; 40-44; 45-49; 50-54; 55-59; 60-64; 65-69; 70+, Athena – Females 150+ lbs — Clydesdale – Males – 200+ lbs,
Relay divisions: Coed, All Female, All Male.

SPONSORS: Iron Gear Sports, Landis Cyclery, Adobe Images, Carlos O’Brien’s, M & J Trophies, Triple Sports., Hammer Gel, Adobe Graphics, Coffee’s of Hawaii, Tri-Family Racing,: Over $750.00 in merchandise, WOW !!!!!

Sanctioning

USA Triathlon is the national governing body for the sports of triathlon, duathlon, winter triathlon and aquathlon in the United States. Participation in a USAT sanctioned event means the event director has the proper permits in place, liability and athlete excess medical insurance coverage and the event plan has met the standard of organization required. USA Triathlon provides rules, guidance and governance to set the standard for safe and fair multi-sport races. For more information on USA Triathlon and fueling the multi-sport lifestyle, visit our website at http://www.usatriathlon.org.

I Rode My Bike…..

I am incredibly happy this morning.

Nothing has changed in the externals. My back still hurts at about a 5/10 (had two full hours of relief after my visit to Backfit Chiropractic yesterday thanks to Jacquie’s massage and Dr. Vogel’s adjustment). My ends still won’t speak to each other, let alone meet. I have no medical insurance at this point, nor any hope of getting anymore due to actually really needing the coverage and so have absolutely no idea of what my bloodwork looks like or if anything is growing again, and yet, I am totally and competely, Happy.

Because today, anything seems possible.

Today, for the first time in my long, coordinationally challenged, plus-size life, I rode a bicycle.

I rode it for a mile.

I am still giggling about it.

I did this after swimming two laps (thats four lengths or 100 meters), twice plus a few lengths to equal 14 lengths or 7 laps. (So swam a total 350 meters)

This was accomplishing the impossible for me.

The other stuff will come in time.

I can ride a bike.

I am happy.

Thank you to all who have helped me get this far, I didn’t quit before the miracle happened because of your support.

It is good for me to have goals that rest on the things I can control like how I use my time, what I eat, how I dream, and how I apply my discipline; because the things I cannot control (like the economy and politics and other people and some portions of my physical vessel) somehow become small and insignificant when I amaze myself. The irony is that the blog I will edit and post later on about  middles will actually be posted after the breakthrough.

Also BTW, my DIL is kicking butt on this training thing. As far as Athena novices go she is the Goddess!

A small video of me swimming…<iframe width=”420″ height=”345″ src=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/PnoGGuYXV7k?rel=0″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>

Now I lay me down to sleep…

 Short blog about my training progress and then off to bed. I am incredibly exhausted and plan to try to sleep a little later tomorrow morning as it is a training rest day. 

My big accomplishment this morning at swim practice was completing eight full lengths (or 1/2 lap, 200 yds) of the pool face down in my free form breast stroke. They were not consecutive. Every length down I did non-stop face down but the lengths back were riddled with pauses and pretty much backstroke or dog paddle. My weakness, fear and  rudimentary skill awaken my impatience today more than my doubt. 

 
I am digging my progress. Five weeks ago I couldn’t make a full face in water length with the kickboard. As of this morning I have accomplished the lengths I need to complete the October race. I just need to complete them without lunch breaks. LOL.

Progress, progress. Oh, I also think I found a bike I want for my starter bike. Its a hybrid and about 200$ at Target, and I found the training wheels on Amazon. Though if I can start doing the gym regularly maybe I can skip the training wheel phase as my strength and balance improve.

Noien, my dear canine friend and subject of my last blog, is also doing better today. She is still very low energy and coughing her CHF chuff at any excitement or exertion but she ate a scrambled egg and a Milk-Bone. I am very much concentrating on living in the now with her, and I stand corrected by my youngest son that she is actually 12.5 years old. As a pup, her life span was predicted at 8 to 10 years max due to puppy mill health issues;  I think I started mentally making her younger and younger hoping to stop time’s progress.

 
Speaking of time progressing quickly, I can’t believe 28 years ago I was giving birth to Richard. I did make the Jello for the birthday party, and ate it and the steak my son cooked. He is an awesome cook. It was nice to share his birthday and I am glad I went. 
 
Also pretty much sure it will be the last meat I ever eat. My conscience is bothering me and so is my used to tofu tummy. Just like it takes all kinds of beliefs to make up the world, it takes all kinds of diets. Mine needs to be meat,  milk and wheat free. Sometimes I am a slow learner. I don’t need anyone else to eat that way, but my whole body and soul tonight are reminding me that I do, now it is up to me to take care of me and learn to just say no.
 
 Still the tummy tussle is a small price to pay for a great meal and to hang with them all and make Rick smile. I hope they all finally went swimming. I went home cause I knew I was gonna throw up and well, somethings are better done at home, alone, and I am such an early riser/bed goer no one thought a thing of it.
 
And now once again this Slow, Old, Fat Triathlete is off to dreamland and star catching, if the tennis match in my tummy will just finish.
 
Namaste.
 

The unexpected stretch

This blog is itself a stretch. It is unlike any other blog I have ever kept, or any other public writing (both personal or professional) I have ever done.

 
 For a while here this blog will host little poetry and few reviews. This blog will be about about stretching. Not about the Yoga stretching I have done all my life. (I think sometimes I keep doing it just cause my ego loves watching people’s reaction when an mature woman of my size can completely touch her toes). Nor  will it be about the stretching after a workout to keep muscles from tightening and tearing, although both of those stretches will be involved. Today’s blog is about stretching my "self", that thing below the ego self that has always embraced the easy ways, and only chosen to continue the things at which I was good. It is about pushing aside the self that avoided embarrassment and possible failure, and secretly still fears being ridiculed, and stretching the real "me" that loves to move, and run, and dance and play. 
 
This blog, and I don’t know how many in the future, are about identifying and publicly displaying the one area with which I am least comfortable. I will talk honestly about my experiments in the one skill set that has caused me the most embarrassment while I develop the one talent package I was least gifted with at birth. 
 
Today I am a 234 pound woman, over the age of 50 (no I am still not telling my age, over 50 is enough information and accurate info is hard to come by ;)), who is coordination challenged, barely makes ends wave, let alone meet, with a medical Sword of Damocles hanging over her head, and so today, I started training as a triathlete.
 
Yea, makes me wonder if I am crazy, too.

When I was growing up there were two kinds of people, athletes and non-athletes; those who got chosen for teams, and those like me who were only chosen to help people on those teams pass academic tests so they could play on those teams. My nicknames were "Claudia Klutz and Lydia Lump Lump", and those were the kind ones from my own family. The names called me by children had a lot to do with mispronunciation of my name and the fact that my center of gravity is large and located to the rear.  In a protective reaction I internally dubbed all sports stupid (except baseball but that is a whole different blog) and all sports participants my mental inferior.  I was just "too smart" to be part of that whole sweaty Jock jive through my teens and twenties. Then as my peer group moved from football and cheer-leading to Aerobics, Gyms and Spin class I was "too enlightened" to ever participate in the perfect body competitions. 

 
I will add that I was not a couch potato. In my late teens when I joined the millitary, women were just crossing the gender lines and I was the first woman to graduate as a Machinist Mate 3rd Class (Honor Graduate, of course). My military service did require me to pass PT tests and I lifted weights with some Marines so I could open, close, dismantle and repack some might large valves. I also swam (without any lessons or form) enough to pass the requirements, learned to jump out of planes (with a parachute), hiked with full pack, etc. I was never the best, in fact often the third or fourth worst in my unit, but since I was smart and not "the" worst, I survived without much harassment. I also will admit I liked the feeling of running, swimming, etc. But I never did it where someone could see, and probably laugh. 
 
Before the military I also took some dance and some fencing classes, all related to stage work I was doing. In these I was also never "good", but not the worst. Mostly not noticed, and I would do just the amount I needed to do to get the part, the certificate, the whatever…but most of the time I was mostly focused on not looking to stupid or klutzy, and after most of these classes I would go home and throw up from the stress and the strain.
 
I have always done yoga but as part of my private meditation practice. Again, I love yoga, just like I love swimming and running, but I do it poorly. I have been so embarrassed when I have attended a class, I have always dropped out of them after a few weeks.
 
No dropping out this time. That is part of keeping this blog. Knowing the enemy is a critical part of any campaign, and where sports are concerned, I am my own worst enemy. Telling others my commitment is what kept me "at it" to complete the 5K. And that was a lot less public,
 
I will complete a triathalon. I will face my fear of looking foolish, and stretch that authentic me that hides behind my gigantic joking ego, and most likely have a lot of fun and get some good stories doing it while also improving my odds of dodging that sword when it falls again.
 
I am not at all sure what directions this blog will take, but for now it is not about poetry or reviews. Unless mentioning that I found my awesome new trainer at Back-Fit is considered a review. If it is, then consider this a rave review of Back-Fit.  Through massage, exercise and adjustments my constant neck and back pain (and co- fatigue) has been brought down to intermittent bouts of discomfort and aha moments of "Wow, I was really in that much pain?" thanks to my care at Back-fit. Also thanks to going there I found a trainer willing to take this slow, fat non-athlete who has never had a swimming lesson, never ridden a bike and has never run more than a 5K and coach her into a (probably still slow and fat, but thinner and faster) tri-athlete. I am also very excited and honored to be joined in this adventure by my already much thinner and faster daughter-in-law. My goal first race is http://www.active.com/triathlon/mesa-az/the-city-of-mesa-iron-gear-sports-h…, the mini of course
 
Things to do…get goggles, kickboard, practice, practice, practice….
 
So here is the boring log part of my blog, a daily record of how I use my time, what I eat, what training I do, which some days may be all I got, but today is just the end tag of a whole lot of talking and refelecting.
 
Rose:0430
Meditate: 30 Minutes with Meditation Oasis podcast "Peace"
Breakfast: 0515  
                      12 oz brewed organic coffee
                      1 T local mesquite honey
                       2 T Organic Half and Half
                       1 package Kirkland Cinnamon Roll flavored Organic Instant Oatmeal
                        8 ozs Freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
                         1 multivitamin
                          81 mg aspirin
 
Training: 10 push-offs side of pool
                    4 laps
 
Lunch: 0930
              1 Pumpkin Waffle
               2 eggs fried.
               32 ozs lemon water
 
I.75 hours at computer

Out to run errands. Driving, Parked away from places we needed to go into (partly for shade, partly for exercise) so some walking. 32 more ounces of water. 32 ounces of unsweetened Green Tea.
Chiropractic appointment and some stretching for back and neck PT

Dinner with friends at Sweet Tomatoes. HUGE freakin’ amount of raw veggies with a few caramelized walnuts, some sunflower seeds, 1 scoop of the Strawberry vinaigrette, 1 scoop of the Fat Free Ranch, a small sweet potato, one strawberry muffin, small portion of sugar-free strawberry mousse, strawberry lemonade to drink with LOTS of ice to let it water down (too sweet but tasty) and one warm chocolate chip cookie. Waaaaaay to many simple carbs in the dinner but good vitamins and fiber but YUM! Also quite sure I exceeded my days calories. Still I feel good about today.

Home at 1930. Dog care (teeth, ears, meds, water, food; too late for a walk tonight)
 
I have checked to see that I have a uniform ready. Time to do my  bedtime yoga and meditate again, then back stretches and into bed. Asleep by 2030.