Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Wind Beneath my Wings: Lake Placid Race Report, the finale!!

Well, I must confess.  If you stayed with me through parts one and two....I apologize for the lame theme and the drama of a 3 part report but....we all knew I really wanted to talk about the run, so of course, that gets its own piece!

As I ran into T2, I had the biggest smile on my face - after the wild ride on the bike, I was finally onto Terra firma and about to rock this race!  I knew that my A goal and B goal were out the window at this point, but I was hoping to finish strong around 14 hours.  Grabbing my run bag, I had thrown off my bike shoes to run faster and got my feet completely covered in sand on my way to the tent - eff.  The nice volunteer grabbed water to hose my feet down....and spilled it on my compression socks.  OMG.  I knew i could not run this thing with no socks, so I bummed a pair of 50 cent cotton socks and prayed for the best (Yes, Barb, I know).  I opted not to change, but had to pee, so I grabbed my race belt, visor and foodstuffs and jetted out - for a nice five minute transition, 3 minutes faster than in 2010!  Hey, Ill take what I can get.

Out for mile one with the best cheerleader on the course....who of course got a smooch!!  I can't even explain to you how excited I was to see Rob - while I do Ironman for my own interest, watching my kids see their parents out there doing hard things and getting it done is an example that I hope to set for many years to come.  What else is a mom to do than sweep down and give her kiddo a giant hug and smooch?!?  (I did realize post this that was a HUGE mistake...lol). 

After my rob 'mooches, I set off at a brisk trot down the hill and out of town, the biggest smile on my face.  Too big.  Mile one: 7:53.  OMG.  Slow down Rae!!  I was hoping for a 2:15 first half, so I slooooowed it down to a 9:30-10 minute mile rather quickly.  The LP marathon is awesome because its basically an out and back twice, so you see friends on the course.  I saw some of my speedier friends on their lap back - most looked beat to hell after that bike, which I figured under my smile, I did too.  I high fived the sexy speedo guys (the course support is phenomenal) and set out looking for Greg, who, other than hearing he was "quite a distance ahead", I had no intel on. (I figured as much, given my lousy bike split, but hey, I have to admit, I was just as happy to not have died so there's that.)  I finally saw my buddy at mile 3, when he was at mile 8, and gave him a big high five!  He yelled out, come catch me! Which, lets be real, he was about 50 minutes ahead of me....and I had 23 miles to work with.  Do the math, people.  (I later found out he started the run with a 55 minute head start on me..holy cats).  I pretty much knew then that I would not catch him, but I'm one to give it the ole college try, so off I went.

Run loop one consisted of running the flats and downhills and walking the hills, averaging about a ten minute mile.  I saw all my pals, smiled a ton, and while my legs felt great, my lungs were a hot mess and I could not take a deep breath.  I felt really nauseous, which was 100% due to my shitty nutrition on the bike, so I suck with gels, coke and chomps, which are really freaking hard to open (I had to ask someone every time to help - what am I, 5?).  I finished run loop 1 in 2:13, which I was 100% thrilled with. 

As I headed out for loop 2, I saw my crew again - John, Liz, Noah, Karen, Tom and of course, Super Rob!  who held up some inspo (Thanks kid, and thanks Karen!!) and ran with me for about a minute.  John gave me the Greg update and told me I was running about 3 minutes per mile faster than him, which gave me hope that I might catch him (math was not my strong suit now, but the idea of crossing the finish line together was what I wanted the most!!)

Running out of town I began to look for a buddy - I usually find a man in his 50s who paces with me and makes me laugh, and establish a 2 hour father daughter relationship with.  Not this time.  I had a really strong run/walk going, and the people I paired up with had a different strategy in mind.  Ahh well.  This time out I got to see the people on the loop behind me, who either looked as thrilled as I was or dead on their feet.  I got asked several times if this was my first Ironman, people explaining that "I looked too happy".  Was I hurting?  Oh heck yes.  I kept waiting to upchuck.  But at this point I KNEW I would be an Ironman, with 8, 7, 6 miles to go...and OMG I was so happy.  I saw Greg again at my mile 17.5 and his mile 19.5...again, he told me, come get me!  I sadly told him I was running out of road....even if I ran my best, I couldn't make up 20 minutes in 8 miles. 

The run back into town was surreal.  I basked in Lake Placid - the ski jumps, the mountains, the sights....everything.  Mile 24, I heard the finish line cries and headed out for my final two out and back.  Saw Greg heading in and we hugged each other tight and I told him how very proud I was of him. As I made the final turn, I began to run slightly faster toward the final mile.  I began to shiver and well up....the months of hard work, the time, the training, the doubt earlier in this day....the look on my sons face....my husbands embrace....it all caught up to me.  This was it.   I looked behind me....all clear.  There was one group in front of me I passed as I neared the oval, and then clear sailing for the finish.  I raised my arms in Rocky victory, tears coming down my face, and ran across the finish line to "Rae Glaser, you ARE an Ironman!"  (Which, by the way, was just as cool as the first two times!!) and there was Greg.  With my medal.  He placed it around my neck and we just looked at each other in awe.  WE DID IT.

Post race, we caught up with Rob and the gang, and John was a godsend and sherpaed our bikes out for us so we could breathe.  Since I know you are all on tenterhooks, I finished in 14:15:xx, about an hour slower than I wanted, but still a strong finish.  Greg ended up finishing in 14:07:xx, which means that I made up 48 minutes on the run, but still could not out run his strong bike (7:07 vs 8:02).  I later found out there was quite a following back home on our progress as people waited for me to catch him - sorry guys, I ran out of road :-P)

All things considered, I am super amped about our race.  Neither one of us hit our A goal, but the weather sucked, and to be honest, we did not train nearly as much as 2010 and 2011 (I wonder why?)  Be that as it was, we finished smack in the middle of the pack, and we later found out almost no one had the race they wanted....the bike either killed them (me)....or the bike destroyed them for the run (Greg).

Be that as it may, for two people with two little guys, two demanding jobs, and a life, I'm pretty darn proud of us for what we did - and celebrating Greg's 40th couldn't have been any better. 

Post Ironman?  Well, I won't lie.  That initial let down of post race....was not there this time.  I honestly am so glad to be off a massive training schedule that I shook out for two weeks and did whatever the hell I wanted - though I am glad to say I started running a few days post race!  Now?  Well, I signed up for the Hero Vermont marathon on October 14th to cross off state #10.  What, did you expect different? :)

Thanks for following my ridiculously long race report and as always, for reading TFB!

Thursday, August 2, 2018

When the Wild Wind Blows - Lake Placid Part 2 - Swim and Bike

Are we sensing a theme here?  Good.  No worries, I won't take you through every wind song in the planet - I would be nuts to write that much of a multi part report :)  Where were we....ahh, yes.  Wind.

The swim - As the cannon fired to signal the Age grouper start, we moved up the beach, going off in waves of about 10.  I had seeded myself with the 1:20 swimmers, and expected just about that.  The start was rather lackadaisical....in 2010, the cannon went off and 3000 swimmers started jousting for water position.  Five minutes into this race, I was still beach bound.  I started shivering (it was cold!) and a really nice fellow racer rubbed my arms and talked down my nerves....what a sweetheart.  Ten minutes later, we were released into the lake, I hit my start button, and off we went!

The first half of the swim was rather uneventful, a nice change from the scrum of 2010 (Mirror lake is TINY and is usually a boxing match the first loop).  I was really anti this wave start going into the race, but after 5 minutes I found the white cable that denoted the swim loop (that I never found in 2010!) and was good to go.  My watch went off every 500m or 10 minutes, which for my pace....I couldn't tell which was which.  Fail.  Ahhh well.  I exited loop one in 37 minutes, which was about right, as I knew the second loop would be slower.  A few bumps, nothing major, and I felt great!  Second loop oddly had more contact, I had a mild hyperventilating moment halfway through when some guy clocked me in the head and pushed me under, but I swam to the side a bit, took a deep breath and reminded myself that no one has a breakdown 3000m into a swim.  Exited loop 2 in 38 minutes for a total swim of 1:15, a full 5 minutes faster than I expected - sweet!!

The run to T! in this race is super long, but really well supported and we felt like rock stars.  I slammed a gel as it takes me awhile to get into it on the bike, and headed to grab my bike bag.  Suited up with little fanfare with the help of an awesome vollie who offered anything I needed (Except a bike motor....damn) and headed into the bike racks to grab my steed!  Off to the mount line and into the 112 mile ride!!

The Bike - I wish I could just skip this whole piece, but hey, it wouldn't be authentic then, would it.  The bike, like each discipline, is a two looper - a gradual climb and some rollers for 10 miles, a sick fast 6 mile descent, about 10 miles of flat, 15 more miles of rollers, and 15 miles uphill.  Times two.  Ironman added an extra little piece with a decent uphill to make 112 miles, which we knew would add some time, but what can you do about it.

As we wound into the first climb out of  town, the rain started coming down and I was praying that the radar loop was right and that the showers would dissipate by 10am.  The winds started howling at about mile 2....not nice tailwinds.  Or annoying headwinds.  Shitty crosswinds that clocked up to 40 mph (as we found out later) that blew this little 130 pound rider sideways.  Handlebar clutching OMFG riding.  And I'm not a great biker to begin with.  To add insult to injury, my bike computer, which was working wonderfully when I checked it at 6:15 pre race, had decided to malfunction.  I pulled over and messed around with it to no avail - which means that aside from my garmin beeping every 10 minutes and the mile markers every 10 miles - I was riding blindly.  Not the thing one wants to do for 112 miles.  Deep breaths.  Something always goes wrong on race day, you can handle this.  At mile 10, a rider passed me chanting "Wind is our friend" over and over again.  Yeah.  Nice try buddy.  We passed the fear inducing "low gear truck" road sign, and I prayed the descent wouldn't be too terror inducing (I've hit 55 on this part before - and that's nothing compared to the riders whizzing down in aero!).  The first piece wasn't horrible, and then we hit the valley by cascade lakes, where the wind nearly blew us into the guard rail.  I was chanting Hail Mary's, straddling the white line, burning all my emotional matches, and praying not to die.  The second piece of the descent was much better, as the wind subsided, and I blew a huge sigh of relief as I hot the bottom and into Keene.  The second part of the course is my fave - huge shoulders and almost no hills.  Except...it started to hail.  Yeah, you read that right.  I hit mile 20 and was chattering so hard I could barely steer my bike.  I'm not gonna lie, I almost pulled over at the aid station at mile 25 and handed in my chip.  I kept repeating my reasons for being there over and over in my head, and soldiered on.

Miles 25-40 were uneventful except I realized at mile 40....I hadn't eaten anything.  OMG.  Huge mistake.  I knew I couldn't ride and eat at the same time, as I was so cold, so I pulled over, peed, grabbed shot blox, refilled Gatorade, and headed out.  The winds thankfully slowed down for the climb back into town and I hit the first loop in 3:53.  WHAT THE EFF.  I knew 2 things - I would never make 7:30, and that mentally, I was fried.  Thankfully I was ok physically, so I headed out for loop two.

Loop two started much the same as loop one, but thankfullyl the rains had gone away at this point.  I was starting to get into a rhythm when I heard "What the hell" and the dude about 10 feet in front of me launched a water bottle out of his rear mount.  This took out the chick that was behind him - I veered out of the way but was totally not quick enough and crashed full force onto the pavement.


Pre Race motivation - YOU GOT THIS
I took stock of the situation - road rash, elbow scrapes, and minor face damage to the bike.  I pulled over to the side and noticed the chain got swung into the inside of my big chain ring, and spent 5 minutes wrestling it out.  The athletes passing me all asked we were OK -myself, another dude who was also checking his bike, and the other chick who went down, who ended up wheeling her bike up further.  (Water bottle launcher - unscathed and still on the course. Ugh.)  The dude took off quickly and the other girl debated pulling out - she was alright but totally shaken (not sure what happened to her, I hope she made it) - which I totally got.  I finally was convinced my bike was OK, and set to mount it - then promptly almost tipped over as my cleat wouldn't work.  WTF.  I sat there for a few minutes, literally crying on the course.  I knew this was nerves, but with the descent right ahead, I needed to get my head on straight.  I remembered my kids - one at home, looking up to Mommy as an athlete.  I remembered my five year old, on his way up to cheer Mommy and Daddy on.  I thought of my husband - somewhere ahead on this course, celebrating his 40 years with this wild race with me.  And I thought of myself - I AM NOT A QUITTER.  I am a FIGHTER.  I said loudly - RAE.  You can DO THIS.  And I mounted my bike with determination, and was off.

Still.  More matches.  The second descent was just as windy, just as scary, but at the bottom, I knew I had beat the worst part of the course.  The rest of loop two was pretty uneventful - I stopped again at mile 95 for peeing and food, and was helped back on my back by an awesome vollie - and the last 12, albeit slow, were also uneventful - woith the exception of randomly hearing "The Final Countdown" on someones speakers along the course, which is hilarious, as that was a totally random song in 2010 pre race and still a joke a la "Arrested Development' between Greg and I.

  Hitting Papa bear at mile 109, I was just SO DAMN happy that the end of the bike was near, and I started to grin.  I dismounted loop two in 4:09, for a total bike split of 8:02 - about 45 minutes slower than I wanted, and nowhere near what I know I am capable of.  I almost threw my bike at a volunteer and offered to sell it to her for what I felt was a very reasonable $5.  She laughed and as I ran into T2....I saw my crew!!!  John, Liz, Karen, Noah, Tom and ROB!! I leaned in for the biggest hug and he yelled "Mommy!  You're gonna be an Ironman!!!" And with that....how could I do anything but smile my little heart out and go get ready to run this marathon

As I grabbed my run gear......(Conclusion (I swear!) coming tomorrow.....)

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Blowin' In the Wind: Lake Placid Ironman 2018 Race Report

Standard race reports - even if it takes me years to do them, they are pretty easy.  Even tris, which are composed of three disciplines, aren't too bad - morning of, swim, bike, run, reflect.  Wham, bam, done.
Then, there's Ironman.  To sum up Ironman in a standard race report is just not possible.  The day is about so much more than a metric - a power output, wattage, pace per mile, finishing time.  As Aristotle said, "The whole is more than the sum of its parts".  Smart man.  I've done three Ironmans now, and there is no way I can describe to you the feeling of one - the nerves beforehand, the ups and downs (both emotionally and physically), the kindness on the course, the inevitable doubt of a finish, the mind taking over when your body says "no", and the....feeling.  That feeling at mile 25 when you KNOW you will become an Ironman today.  When your eyes well up and you choke with emotion, and your body aches become a distant memory as you run toward the finish line, arms pumped in victory, with Mike Reilly yelling "Rae Glaser, you ARE an Ironman".  The crowd, screaming your name.  The culmination of the months of training, pushing, and all of your "why's"....are here.  Right at this line.  
The only birthday cake on an Ironman day!!

What race report?  You need more than that?  Well, you know I'm dying to regale the good, the bad and the ugly...with emphasis on "gale".  LOL

Pre race - Greg and I arrived in Lake Placid on Thursday and did the usual rigmarole.  As many of you know, the race fell on his birthday this year, so in addition to the pre race prep, I did some prep of my own - working with my surprise crew, which consisted of five family members that were coming up to surprise Greg, one of them being our five year old son!  (I decided Biz was better off at Gramma's with such a long day, but I knew Greg would FLIP when he saw Rob), pulling together small birthday touches with Ironman, etc.  I was determined to make his day special - after all, thats why we were here!!  Friday, we packed gear and did a nice loop swim, ate breakfast with RWB teammates and Roc peeps, and went to the local team dinner at Lisa G's.  Saturday was a haxe of bike check in and forced relaxation, and admittedly, a blur.  Before I knew it, it was lights out at 8pm Saturday night (until I got up at 9.  and 9:30.  And 10.  You get it.)  The alarm went off at 3am Sunday morning with the finesse of a toddler jumping on my stomach.  OOF.
Side note - All the concern I had about enthusiasm disappeared as soon as we touched down in Placid.  I was like a kid in a candy shop, amazed and amped to be there, with a Joey Tribbiani in London eqsue "Placid, Baby!" every 5 seconds.  I'm sure I annoyed the crap out of everyone, but this was Ironman and I was here to play.  As if to squelch my childlike joy, the Adirondack gods kept threatening shitty weather for race day.  I brushed it off - 2010 was supposed to suck, it didn't.  2011 - supposed to suck, was perfect.  Before any of you wise asses comment about 3rd time's the charm, I'll just do it.  Probably should have thought about that one before I signed up, but I do hard things.  And this - would be a hard thing.

Going into this race, I felt pretty decent about my swim training - I expected about a 1:20 in the water, and was cool with that.  I never swam speed, only distance, as I had time for 2 swims a week and that was it.  My run was on point.  I was hoping for a 4:30, though I knew it would be aggressive.  The bike - ahh, the bike.  I would have told you until June that I felt strong on the bike - maybe not fast, but strong.  But a series of bad rides and a crash after getting buzzed in training shook my confidence - I was concerned about my fitness, my bike handling skills, everything.  I knew this portion would come down to my mental game, and at this point, I knew if I could keep myself in check, I would be ok.  A recent course change revised my goal to a 7:15 on the bike, which I thought would be doable.  Add in 15 minutes transition and some wiggle room, and I was shooting for a 13:30, which would have been a 24 minute Placid PR.  

How much back story can I give you?  Plenty.  Back to THE day now.  After the alarm went off, we went about the business of race prep - bagels and peanut butter, coffee, tri kit donning, and the short drive to the Oval.  We caught the shuttle and were in transition by 4:30am.  The pink clouds in the brightening sky gave a foreboding feeling, but we were determined to think the best.  We prepped our bikes, checking tires, breaks, bike computers, and loading nutrition.  I lubed up, sunscreened up, triple checked bags, and gave out hugs to everyone.  We headed to the swim start for a quick warm up and the winds started to pick up, as we heard athletes checking the radar with tht band of storms that were settling over the mountains.  As I looked over at Whiteface, I could see the rain forming in a threatening cluster over the peaks, and the trees started to sway.  OMG.  The wind.  Just what this nervous biker needed.  But....one discipline at a time.  Greg and I hugged, and he headed off to his corral of 1:00 swimmers.  I headed for the 1:20, and stood, shivering on the beach.  The anthem sounded, and I placed my hand on my heart, thumping with nerves.  The cannon sounded, and we started moving up the beach......

To be continued.....

Saturday, July 21, 2018

The Storm before the Calm...Ironman 2018

And it's here.  Even though I haven't been posting about it aside from random facebook updates, the last 7....12...months of my life pretty much play out in the span of 13-17 hours tomorrow.  Ironman Lake Placid.  Holy cow.  Roughly 51 weeks ago, when I saw this race was on Greg's 40th birthday, I had the brilliant thought that it would be a great, crazy thing to do.  In most of these crazy incidences, my somewhat saner husband talks me off the ledge, but he didn't do it this time.  When I said "Hey, let's do this!"  He said, "Sure, why not?"  And a journey began.

It's been 7 years and two kids since I toed the line at 140.6.  It's been a journey that can only be described with one word...adaptation.  Adapt to training, adapt to life, adapt to expectations.  There are only so many hours in the day, days in the week, and weeks in the year to fit in family, friends, self care, work, every day life, and training.

Gone were the days when we could roll out of bed at 9 and do a 6 hour ride, put our feet up, and order take out while watching netflix. Gone were the days when I could shift a run because I felt like crap.  Not only were we both training for an Ironman (which we had never done before), but we were doing it with a new business to run (Greg quit his job and started doing real estate photography in March), a promotion for me in work (Which meant more travel), and a two and four year old.  Holy what.

And, in less than 36 hours, the hard work, persistence, and adaptation will hopefully culminate in something really awesome.

Looking back, it's been tough.  And humbling.  And more than a little crazy.  We rode at 3am.  We did long runs at 8pm.  We pared down a training plan that included key workouts and no fluff.  We did 20 milers on the treadmill while watching "The Emoji movie".  More than once.  (Jailbreak, anyone?).  We did trainer rides while tandem playing Forza with a 4 year old, or where we hopped off the bike 6 times to settle disputes over pop tarts.  We held virtual staff meetings on mile 85 of a long ride (Oh yes I did).  We just did it.

And it's funny.  Back in 2010 and 2011 when I did Ironman, it consumed my life.  Everything was carefully planned around that 100 miler (god forbid I exert myself the day before or day after).  For race prep races, nutrition had to be perfect and recover essential (what, not everyone does brunch for 18 the day after running a double marathon?  Amateurs.).  This time, training fit around life.  Around the kids.  Around us.  Around work.  Sometimes, I would really shake my head and wonder if this was even right because ZOMG Ironman wasn't the FIRST AND FOREMOST in my mind.

Then I would have doubt.  We had a sucky training weekend in LP where every bike thing that could go wrong, did.  We would go 3 days without doing anything but verbal volleyball and kid hand offs, and I would miss my husband.  I would lace up my running shoes at 6am and my two year old would cry, "Mommy, don't run!" and I would question every decision I made.

Then it was Wednesday.  Time to pack.  As I worked through my bag checklist and did my last shakeout ride, I felt them.  The butterflies.  They were there.  I danced around to Skillet's "Invincible" and literally jumped up and down as I packed.  I sat down on Thursday to hug my kiddos and Rob said "Mommy, you're an Ironman.  I want to DO Ironman!".  And that feeling came back.

When we arrived in Lake Placid, the air felt abuzz with the promise of something amazing.  3000 triathletes in town with the expectation of nirvana. Again, I bounced around like a kid in a candy store, taking pictures, running around mirror lake, swimming the line, and riding by whiteface.  And smiling the whole damn time.  All my crazy friends are here - there are about 40 of us from Rochester - and it feels like one big happy reunion.  Sunday will be a party - which is fitting, since we are here because of Greg's 40th birthday!

Am I nervous?  Oh hell yes.  You don't do 140.6 with the expectation that the day will go perfectly.  Something will go wrong.  It's a given.  But how you deal with it will define your day.  And I have that in spades.  ADAPTATION.  I may not be as "physically" trained as when I toed the line in 2010, but my headspace is totally ready for this.  I expect to shake out anywhere between 13 and 14 hours, but if I cross the line in 16:59, it's perfectly fine with me.

It's IRONMAN, baby!  Let's do this!!

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Growing Up- Cause that's What People Do! (Rob is 5!!!)

Well, one thing is pretty consistent.  I obviously stink at Race reports (hello Keuka and Beer Mile), keeping any sort of reflective eye on Ironman training (I swear, I fly from 6 hour ride to 3 hour run to adulting (yikes) to boss lady with no in between), but one thing, thank goodness, stays consistent. 

Mommin'.  Last week, my little buddy turned 5.  Oh, be still my heart.  How is this even possible?  Of course, like a big ole softie, I look back at the past 5 years with tears in my eyes....when Rob was Born...One...Two...Three...Four....OMG.  How the years fly by (I sound about 80 years old).  I looked at Rob the other day and said "Buddy, STOP GROWING!"  And he goes, "Mom!  I can't.  We all grow,  That's what people do."  Well played, buddy, well played.

Ahem. I guess before I cry even more into my hankie, let's talk about this big boy.

 Size: 40 pounds.  Right smack where you should be.  You are 44" high, which is just perfectly right for a kiddo your age.  Way to go Rob man!!  Keep eating all that broccoli (lil trees) and of course, turtle power PIZZA dude!

Likes: Cars cars cars.  I swear I can just put this on repeat!   Not only do you love your cars, but you are getting pretty good at identifying them!  You can point to a car and say, hey mom look, that's a Nissan Hyundai!  Or, Hey! Its a Chevy Equinox, just like ours!  Much better than mom.  You love playing Forza and Project Cars, and got a pretty cool surprise for your bday when you got not one, but two! Power Wheels ride ons!  You love them.  You also love running - you see Mommy and Daddy do it all the time and you have totally caught the bug!  You run on the treadmill (yes, you actually beg to do this!), outside, on the track, everywhere!  You also are becoming a big fishie and looove your bike.  You totally have designs to "do a triathlon next year - our local kids tri has a six year old division, and you are SO there.  I can't wait to see this, little buddy - you melt Mommy's heart!!
Other current faves - Connor is your boy, and you plan to marry Jocelyn, Olivia or Emma - you can't decide (OMG it starts).  You still love trap music, but also a little TLC, Rednex, or Cobra Starship ( A plus parenting, folks).  You can quote Jason Dirullo on what to do with that big fat butt like no one else, and your dancing skills make Usher look like an amateur.  Rock on, dude.

Dislikes: Lack of play dates, beans (thanks Gramma), and bedtime.  Or, well, in general being told no.  (Get used to it, kid).  You have a love hate relationship with Biz (totes normal).  You also are pretty much set in your ways - omg - I thought I was bad.  So, like Mr, Incredible tells Elastigirl, we are working on being flexible.  Except with beans.  Thankfully, you love broccoli.  Hey, I can be flexible, too.

Sleep: Looks like the FOMO subsided, and aside from scary dreams, you rock out on this one.  It still takes a village to get you into bed, but once you are there (In your BIG bed, I may add), you snuggle up with your stuffed turtle, Mackey Doos, and are out.  Now if you could just train your sister on that one....

Eating: Pizza, brocolli, frosting, milkshakes, and fruit.  Oh, and ham, rice and beans, and chocolate milk.  Really, who can complain?  You have your definite faves, but you pretty chill.

Milestones/Firsts: Pre K.  Learning to read.  Counting to 100.  Still rocking out the ridiculously long words Iike paradox, apparently, sustained, and theoretically (You listen too well when you want to!).  Riding a bike with some assistance and no training wheels.  Going underwater.  Visiting the ocean!Swimming backstroke.  Rollerskating.  Oh, my big boy.  

Best Moment: This gets harder and harder each year, bud.  There are so many cool things you are doing - school, soccer, swim lessons, play dates, new vacation spots, new experiences, new friends, new feelings....watching you go through it all, I just step back in wonder.  But when it comes down to is, the best moments for me are the ones that are seemingly mundane....rubbing your back as you drift off to sleep....hearing what you saw as the best part of your day (we do this every night)....the sound of laughter as you and biz fling the poop toy at the ceiling....'Ber hugs....big smooches.....dancing to 1000 years (our mom/rob song!)....splashing with you in the pool....or just snuggling on the couch as we watch Boss Baby for the zillionth time.  I wish I could just stop time at moments like these and inhale your sweet little boy scent and make it last forever.  But I can't.  So I wipe away the tear in my eye as I realize that these moments are going faster and faster.....take a deep breath....and enjoy every precious moment for the miracle that it is.  

Looking Forward To: Everything.  Seabreeze, fall vacations, kindergarten, sleepovers, camping, soccer games, and endless play dates on the circle with all our best buds.  These are the days, bud.  These are the days.

I love you!!

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Just Ducky - MTD 2018 Race Report

Ahhh, those friggin ducks.  Will they ever mind themselves?  Probably not.  Yet, like an idiot, I went back for the 3rd time this past weekend to whip those mother duckers into shape!

For those not privy to my insanity, Mind the Ducks is a 12 hour race which is a one mile loop you run over and over and over again, as many times as you can in 12 hours.  I popped my duck cherry in 2014 with 53 miles, did 56 in 2016, and came back in 2018 for more of the same.

A few things about this race stood out for me - 1, my goal.  Every year I have tried to hit 62 (100k) and came up short.  This year that wasn't the goal - with Ironman Lake Placid 10 weeks out, I knew systematically destroying myself out there for a lofty goal would be dumb - I decided to focus my goal on simply remaining upright for 12 hours, not killing myself, practicing tired nutrition on my feet, with the ability to still train a few days later.  Whew.  And #2 - here goes freaky - this would be the first year I didn't do ducks with a baby - which means no worries about packing my breast pump or a mid race feed (aren't you so happy you subscribe to this blog??).

With #1 in mind, I trained quite a bit differently for this race.  Which, in a nutshell, means, I didn't.  I started Ironman training in mid February, and added one extra run in per week back to back with my long run for IM training.  Which means my long run was 18 miles going in, and my back to back long runs were 12-12.  Perspective - each prior year I did a 31 miler and a back to back 15-15.  With that in mind, I decided a PR was not the goal early on - and was sort of clueless about an actual goal, so like any athlete, I wung out some numbers for the hell of it to make mid race math fun, and decided that 31-40-50 were my C, B and A goals.  Go.

Also, as any good athlete does, I tested a new piece of equipment on a 12 hour race - my suunto watch proved to be only a source of frustration, so like the fabulous husband he is, Greg surprised me with an early Mother's Day anniversary birthday Christmas gift on Thursday - a brand new Garmin 935.  SWEET.  I tested it for 2 miles, proclaimed it good, charged it up, and promptly left the house without it race morning.  OMG.  Way to go, Rae. 

I packed up my tote o fun race morning (extra shoes, outfit, and whatever the hell munchies looked good in the cupboard) and got to the park about 6 (after run back home for said Garmin), set up tent with my new best bud Kelly and my existing trail bud Gretchen, grabbed my bib, pre race obligatory selfie, shot the breeze with some running buds, and amid low fanfare, we were off!

Hours 1-2 I kept it pretty steady at a 10 minute mile, hydrating and eating aid station offerings every mile or two.  I connected with a new friend Garrett about 3 miles in, and he was a strong running partner I knew I could stay with for a few hours.  My rough race plan was decided - run for 26 miles, or until I felt tired, then run walk, then start my power walk 6 hours in.  I felt pretty good with this strategy - I knew i couldn't blow myself up, not only for race day, but also that I didn't have the bandwidth for a long recovery post race, as my peak Ironman training was slated to start May 21. 

Races like MTD are the best, because you can chat with almost anyone - say hey to the eventual winners (who both broke course records), take a silly selfie with your pal Alli who showed up at 9 and ran a few laps with me (where, apparently I agreed to run across Tennessee in a 500k race next year - can I plead insanity at mile 15??) or slap a high five with two of the spectators who I ran a beer mile with a few weeks ago (yeah, you'll get a race report on that one.  You know I strava'd that mess).

I hit my first marathon about 4:30 in, and was pleasantly surprised with a stop in by Greg with fresh shoes, and another hey about mile 30 from John, a fellow runner buddy (who just happens to be married to my sitter and runs 5ks in full fire gear for fun.  #Imthenormalone.  He ran walked with me for about 5 miles until at mile 35 I declared myself run out and power walk ready.  I grabbed some pizza, checked the clock - 7 hours in - and settled off to a nice 15-16 minute mile power walk.  I made a few new friends - Krista,who was gunning for 41 miles for her 41th year (and eventually did 52, because she is a rockstar!) and Mary, who is a freaking goddess and does these races as a retiree.  All the props (yeah, she also bagged 50 miles as a veteran - I want to be her when I grow up!).  8 hours and 40 miles in, I did a quick assessment - I had hit my B goal, was it time to stop?  Feet hurt.  Mild hip niggle.  Stomach good.  Fueling spot on. 

Time to keep going!  I did a few more laps with Krista, did a few on my own, and in general made friends with pretty much anyone that was willing to chat with me.  Both Greg and Uncle Alan stopped by with diet cokes and fries (apparently, I am predictable) which were manna from heaven.  Everyone commented on how good I looked out there, which I didn't quite buy, but the quazy quacker team from Syracuse was offering free photo ops, so 11 hours in I took advantage of my 50 mile pic....

In hindsight, I probably do look too happy and relaxed for having run 50 miles.  LOL.  I debated again stopping, but, ya know, they offered a water bottle for a double marathon, and I'm a sucker for free crap, so there ya go.

Crossed my "finish line" in 11:31 with 52.6 miles under my belt, and aside from my barking dogs, I felt pretty great! 

Oh yeah...and then I stopped.  Once the adrenaline backed off, I realized how much it hurt to walk.  I collected my parting gifts, slowly hobbled to my tent, put on my flip flops (OMG bending over!) and hung out for a bit to watch some epic 11:59 finishes.  My mom, the angel that she is, brought me a big honkin Bill Grays cheeseburger...and...drum roll...diet coke and fries, which were damn delicious. 
Hobbled to my car, drove home, and amid the toddler fanfare (I did not have the energy for this, but mommin is mommin!), stared at the Mt. Everest that used to be my stairs....took an epic, hot, beautiful shower, put on all the clothes (the post race shock is real) and scarfed down that fabulous burger and fries.

My best finish?  Nope.  Actually my "slowest", but just relatively.  I cleaned up 2nd overall female under 40  (the winner did 63 miles, what a beast!) and averaged just over 13:00 mile for 52 miles.  I wish I could show you the cool data but...I hit the wrong button on my garmin and deleted the race (WTF).  I do know I did 98,000 steps for the day and was a total slacker and didn't get in those extra 2,000....maybe next year.  LOL.

Here's the best part though.  One day out - Sunday morning....Rob brought me coffee in bed, because this is why you have kids on Mother's Day....and after I ate some ibuprofin and put on calf sleeves....I walked around pretty normally!  Did brunch for 15 (no one said I was smart), a nice long walk, and took the day off from training.  Monday I rode 20 miles easy.  And Tuesday...I ran 6 miles.  Here I am, one week out - no blisters, no black toenails, and I just got back from a 10 mile run.  I've never felt this good after an ultra, which means for once in my life, I listened to my body - fed it well, hydrated it well, and stopped running before I probably even needed to.  Which was the race goal, after all. 

9 weeks to Lake Placid, baby.  BRING. IT. ON!!

Friday, April 20, 2018

Confessions of a Ironman Mommy - then vs now

So, the joke goes something like this...

"How do you know someone is training for an Ironman?"
"Don't worry, they'll tell you.  Every. Single. Day"

Or something like that.  There's a lot of self depreciating jokes about us crazy ultra guys - and we wear every black toenail, every mile, every race, every chafe, like a frickin badge.  Right?

So, what am I training for?


Aside from the fact that I clearly lost my blogger badge years ago, and I won't even get into it, cause its so old....I could post the same thing on my facebook wall and maybe some people would get it because I have it as a cover photo.

Workouts?  Radio silence.  Weekly recaps?  Yeah, right.  Here's the rub - I'm running a 12 hour ultra in 3 weeks (am ridiculously unprepared) and doing an Ironman in 13 (not so unprepared), and barely anyone really knows about it.  To me, I remember my training days for IMLP and IMMD (formerly Chessyman) back in 2010 and 2011 and it seems so ridiculously different.  So what changed?

These guys.  
It's all about the mommin.  So, I give you and oldie but goody from when I was preggo....time for....

Confessions of an Ironman Mommy!!!

Then (2010):  Kickoff Day for Training was highly celebrated.  Planned races perfectly in key spots.  Days off Arranged months in advance.  All the new gear bought.

Now:  I think I started training in March.  I sort of took a free plan and bastardized it into 4 week blocks that are hilariously executed.  I tried strava, found it showy, and resorted to my notebook to log workouts.  Whats a power meter?  What data?  Don't tell me.  I don't wanna know.  I did buy new sneakers, so that's something.

Then:  A week was perfectly thought out.  Monday, off.  Tuesday, swim/run.  Weds - mid bike (must take PTO for 2 hours or more).  Thursday, run.  Friday - weights.  Saturday, increasing long ride followed by T run.  Sunday - long run.  Any workout longer than 90 minutes required massive thought, perfect start time, perfect conditions, and ample recovery.

Now:  I've been known to have work meetings via uber conference at mile 55 of an 80 mile ride.  Nutrition is a squeezy pouch of applesauce and probably my sons favorite gummy snacks.  It's perfectly acceptable to stack 3 long workouts back to back to back and perhaps grab a sammich post run on my way to an outside work meeting.  I grocery shop in my compression socks and my son asks innocently as we stroll through check out "Mommy, does your girl wee parts hurt after that 4 hour ride?"  True. Story.

Then:  Weekly updates with kitschy phrases on my blog.

Now:  Wait, what are you training for?

Then:  Monthly massages for recovery.

Now:  Foam rolling on my trigger point tube while both kids aim for the inner part to drive cars through.

Then:  My own training plan, as no couple is ridiculous enough to try to do this at the same time.

Now:  careful google calendering for claimage of the Tacx (bike trainer), kid free workouts (highly coveted), and couple time (it does count of he's on the trainer and I am on the treadmill, right?)

Then:  Long, blissful, time outs for thinking deep thoughts during runs and rides.

Now:  Running on the treadmill while Rob plays Xbox, Biz jumps on the trampoline, and I throw them snacks every few miles or so.  I have been known to hydrate off of a sippy cup, and my aim is getting much better at throwing gummies to the kids  #mommultitasking

Then:  a 3 hour run happens...in 3 hours.

Now:  1 hour at 7am,  30 minutes at noon, 1 hour at 5:30pm and a half hour at 9pm.  Hey, I'll be ready for mile 139.

Then:  I AM TRAINING FOR AN IRONMAN.  MY IRONMAN IS EXACTLY 3 months, 1 day, 19 hours and 3 minutes until go time.

Now:  I think I have something going on the weekend of July 22.  Not too sure.  I'll get back to you.

In conclusion....I believe a few things here....

1.  Doing an Ironman with two toddlers is basically like having a second kid.  No one cares and half the time you even forget it's happening until you get a kickstart reminder.

2.  Training as a couple is ridiculous.  With two kids borders on insane.  But Greg and I don't do easy, so I guess this is par for the course, right?  har har.

3.  Expect the unexpected is my mantra and I have learned to train on no sleep, no fuel, less than ideal conditions, and even while forgetting my bike shorts (that was a long 3 hour ride).  Needless to say, I should be set on that for race day.

4.  I'm probably in the best shape of my life because GET IT DONE is just a mantra.

And at the end of it, even though I'm not sure I would recommend this crazy ride to anyone, it somehow is working.  I had doubts for awhile there because it felt like something was missing, but then I realized that, unlike before, Ironman does not define me.  I'm loving the tests, the limits (I will love it even more if this winter shit ever ends) but at the end of the day, it's a piece of my life that makes up a whole - it's a great thing to share with Greg and something we are already seeing our kids are picking up on - when Rob levelled up at swimming last month, he climbed out of the pool and goes "Mommy, I'm ready to do my Ironman!".  That makes it worth it.  How my son and daughter see me - their mom - a super woman, an Iron woman.

Race day goals....well, we aren't there yet.  But I can say I am fully loving the process, as insane as it is, and am grateful for it.  As it gets closer to race day, there's time for that.  But for now, it's time to enjoy the wild and crazy ride!