New-ier and improve-ier for 2007.


Flux Capacity

When I was a Wee Veeg, round about six years old, my parents took me to a Toys R Us while on a family trip. We didn't have such stores in my teeny little hometown, and I was completely in awe of all of the magnificence of the aisles and aisles of toys.

I'd brought my piggybank money to purchase a toy, but I was so overwhelmed by all of the potentiality laid out in front of me that I was absolutely paralyzed. I sat down in front of an endcap of Barbies and cried.

I'm really feeling Wee Veeg lately.

I do fine with change. I do NOT do well with uncertainty. I am fine choosing a course and forging ahead toward a goal. I am NOT fine when the desired destination is still up in the air, so forging is premature at best, damaging at worst.

I am spinning my wheels, here. And I hate it.



Life is what happens

. . . when you're busy making other plans.

In my case, specifically, training plans.

I had my race schedule about 90% dialed-in (spring 30K. early-summer sprint. mid-summer half-IM. late-summer Oly. fall marathon). I had a lot of my training mapping done. I had a base phase juuuuust getting ready to begin.

And then the rest of my life had to go blow that all to hell.

Weez and I have both been presented with fantastic job opportunities. And those opportunities will take up a LOT of time and resources. And while training does allow me better focus and a higher level of functioning, there's an additional wrinkle.

The opportunities involve relocating to Mexico.

I'm sure there are triathlons there, though. Right? RIGHT?



Active Recovery

Yesterday was two weeks after the marathon. It seems like much longer.

This morning, I got up at 5:00, ran 6 miles easy. Nothing hurt. Life is good.

Tonight, I will go home and finish a proposal, which involves crunching a lot of numbers and floating a variety of possibilities to see which one sticks. I will also do a LOT of packing.

Tomorrow, I will get on a plane, fly to Indianapolis, crunch numbers and float possibilities until my head explodes, and then turn around and fly back the next day.

I will arrive at an airport which is basically two hours from home. . . two hours before a finance meeting is supposed to start. I will come home, crunch more numbers, float more possibilities. Put the finishing touches on packing.

Thursday, I will get up, go into work, hopefully actually contribute to the success of my client. Probably through number crunching and At noon, I will leave work, get on another plane, and fly to Las Vegas.

If my recovery gets any MORE active. . . I think it might just kill me.



Why I Tri

The Chicks
Originally uploaded by Veegee.
Look at those rotten snugglemuffin faces.

Wouldn't YOU want to make them proud?



This is the way we roll. . . .

Downtime? Is good.

I'm taking a look at my 2007 season, and it is ALSO looking good. A lot of really fun stuff coming up. I don't have anything definitive yet, due to some possible mitigating factors that are still out of my control.

But, I'm back to doing regular strength-training, and that feels REALLY good. I need to bang out an equitable workout agreement with The Weez, since he was very gracious in giving up his own preferred time slots so I could get my training in, and then I will get back to swimming, in a "we-can-rebuild-her, we-have-the-technology" kind of way.

I need to get myself a fluid trainer, so that the Weez workout days can become my "all about the bike" mornings. Because 2007? SO all about the bike. It's definitely my limiter right now. . . and that, my dearies, is going to have to change.



Lakefront photos

I finished!

Technology: YAY!




I'm three days post-race, and itching to get back to training.

Apparently, something I did this year broke my brain.



Race Report: Milwaukee's Lakefront Marathon

I was already awake when my alarm beeped. I'd been lying in bed, staring into the semi-blackness for. . . I don't know how long, really. Maybe seconds? Maybe hours? It didn't matter.

It was time.

Although I'd obsessed about it and turned it over in my head for days (in between obsessing about my foot and refreshing, I still wasn't 100% certain what I should wear. I settled on wearing exactly what I'd worn for my 20-miler, with the fun new addition of the Ace bandage carefully wrapped around my left foot.

I drank my customary pre-run protein shake, and chased it with some Gatorade. The liquid churned in my stomach. I was shaking from nerves and un-knowing and excitement. My heart was jumping. I wanted to laugh and cry -- it was like the moments before graduation day.

I checked the contents of my belt: 2 Vanilla Hammer gels. Race number. Cash. ID. Blackberry in the left-back bottle holder slot. Front two bottle holders all ready for bottles.

Weez had left a card for me on top of my pre-run gear. I waited until I was almost completely ready to go before reading it. He wrote to me about how proud he was of my accomplishment. About the example I was setting for our girls. He wrote that he could tell that my training had brought about a difference in me, and that the difference was good for me, for our relationship, for our family.

I realized that no matter what the race showed to me, THIS was what I was meant to know. And in that moment, I knew I was ready.

I made my way through the inky early morning to the shuttle bus pick-up. As I turned off the ignition and did a quick mental inventory, I realized that I'd forgotten to bring the actual BOTTLES for my belt. I did some quick time calculations, and realized that I didn't have time to go back and get them. I took a deep breath and decided that it was what it was, and that I would be fine. I was ready.

I got on the school bus, and was almost immediately befriended by Karen. She was doing her first marathon, and is gearing up for IMMOO 2007. She declared herself "slow as molasses," but her throaty laugh was infectious, as was her can-do attitude. We shared our "why I tri" stories and a dual GULP as we realized that we'd have to run back as far as the bus was driving us.

We arrived at the high school, and I was soon separated from Karen, but it didn't really matter. I'd carry her laugh with me all day. I was ready.

The high school was buzzing. I found a quiet spot and stretched. Started to get too far into my head, couldn't quite shake myself out of it. Sent a quick email to Weez, and the reply that came back contained everything I needed to hear, ". . . remember, you LIKE doing this!" I was ready.

I bought a bottle of Gatorade out of the vending machines. It fit in my bottle holster, but it bounced uncomfortably while it was full. It didn't matter -- I could hold it, and I would be able to drink when I wanted, and that was all I needed. I was ready.

Finally (FINALLY!) I made my way to the start line. The sky was flame orange and pink as the sun let us know, in no uncertain terms, that it was going to be a GREAT day. The sound system was blasting, and as I zeroed in on the song, I laughed and clapped and looked like an absolute loon: it was Wang Chung's "Everybody Have Fun Tonight." My old roommate and dear friend, Brian, had been brain-worming me with that song all week -- I could just hear his voice going all basso profundo on the Everybody WANG CHUNG Tonight! part. With that goofy 80s novelty hit, I was wrapped in the knowledge of all the support and love of all my friends, and I was ready.

The National Anthem. The motivational speech. The gun. The waiting. . . shuffling. . . start line, and then. . . really beginning. The morning was cool (50-ish) and clear and perfect. The sun warmed my shoulders and kissed my nose. We ran through adorable little neighborhoods where kids came out in their princess pajamas to high-five us while their other hand held toaster pastries.

I couldn't stop smiling.

In the blink of an eye, we were at Mile 1. 10:00, on the nose. Hmmm. Faster than my hoped-for 10:30 pace, but it also felt WAY easy. And I thought. . . well, why not? And I matched step-for-step with the holey white t-shirt bouncing along in front of me.

The holey white t-shirt belonged to Joseph. He explained to me that he was doing TWO marathons that day: "my first and my last." He'd started running in an effort to lose 40 pounds, and now that they were gone, he wanted to "finish it the right way." He had a bushy, unironic mustache, and an accountant's manner about him, and a laugh that twinkled like Santa Claus.

We fell in step through the first couple of water stations. Past the spry little gentleman doing a little jig and playing the Beer Barrel Polka on the accordian in the front yard of his century-old farmstead. Past the mile marker with the tuba player. Past the fields full of purple and gold and brown like an Impressionist painting. We were hitting 10:00 miles right on the nose, except for mile 5, which must have been all downhill, because we blew through that one at 9:30. We finished the first 6 miles at 59:28. My heart rate was even. I was smiling. I was feeling like a rockstar. I lost Joseph at the 7-mile water station, where I stopped to heed nature's call. But it was there that I met Debra.

Debra was running her 19th marathon. If Joseph had the Santa Claus laugh, Deborah had the Mrs Claus. . . well, everything, actually. She was full of warm, welcoming encouragement and I followed her as though she was a mama duck and I was her downy little babe.

At Mile 9, my phone rang. It was Sparky, my co-worker, calling with a work question. And also, to wish me luck. Rotten man. The fumbling to answer the phone prompted the group of guys running near me to remark that I should've been using BlueTooth. Dorks!

I duckling-ed on to Mile 10, looked at my watch and thought, "Holy CRAP! I just beat my Lighthouse Run time." And then I thought, "Holy CRAP! Where did that stomach cramppage come from?"

The sharp pang that ran across my abdomen like lightning, fortunately faded lightning-fast, as well. But it took a little of my high spirits, made me a little cautious. I let up a bit, and doubts crowded in like thunderheads, though the sky remained cloudless and blue.

My heart rate monitor started complaining at me, and I noticed with agitation that, although I was running slower, my heart rate was notching up, as well. I cut back a little bit more. I tried not to freak out. I wasn't even to the halfway point yet. . . what was going on?

Right before Mile 13, my phone rang again. It was Weez, telling me that he and my girls were waiting at Mile 14. It was PERFECT timing. I had the novelty of running through the half-marathon checkpoint and the flash of realization that I was on pace for a 4:30 marathon. And then, I had the excellent mantra of "just one mile to Weez and the girls. just one mile to Weez and the girls" to keep me going.

I saw them just past the mile marker. Small Child was waving a rather mangled "Go Mom" sign and jumping around like a banshee. Bitty Girl was snuggled up in Weez's arms and wanted nothing to do with me (evil baby). Weez had my water bottles and a huge smile and a "you're doing awesome!" and they made me feel like I could fly.

The cramping was still kind of threatening, rolling in and out like thunder, and I tried to switch up what I was doing at the next aid station by drinking water instead of sports drink. Big mistake, Tricia. I don't know if it was just the metallic taste, the actual metallic content, the fact that it was water, or just a correllative and not causative relationship, but within another 50 yards, I was in a good bit of discomfort.

I experimented a little bit, and I found that the pain came in waves, like labor pains, and that while it definitely hurt more if I was holding the 10:00/mile pace at the crest of the pain, it didn't make a lot of difference whether I was running slowly, walking, or standing still. So, I ran slowly, and tried to push when I could.

My mom called, and I did a good job of not freaking her out. Apparently, my mother's only knowledge of marathons is from watching Wide World of Sports in the 80s, and she was sure that I must be throwing up and staggering all over the place like a frat boy in Vegas.

Mile 15 and 16 are. . . kind of a blur, actually. I remember when I got to Mile 15, I thought: "Hey! If this were my really sucky run, I'd be done by now." And I thought a lot about my Bitty Girl and how she tears around shouting "I WUNNING!" And I also thought a lot about how, even if I kept going at this reduced pace, I'd still finish before the cut-off, and that was okay.

At the Mile 17 aid station, I thought I would give my body the opportunity to try to rid itself of its problems. Because I am a lady, I will not share the results of this effort with The Internets, but I will share with you that the process added just shy of 10 minutes to my overall time.

Duly refreshed, I headed off on my way.

Weez called again to let me know that they'd meet me at Mile 19. MILE 19! I got a little bit teary thinking about it, both because that meant I was really going to do it, and because it meant that I still had 8 miles to go, and I was getting tired.

When I got there, and I saw them, and I realized that it was really going to happen. . . y'all, I don't even have the words. I think my heart was going to burst. I love my family so much.

But I still had a lot of work to do.

Right after the Mile 19 aid station, I caught up with Joseph again. He was resting/walking the aid stations, so I'd catch him, and then he'd rabbit out ahead of me. Over and over and over.

I crossed the Mile 20 timing mat, and thought "from now on, every step I take will be the farthest I've ever run." And it made me laugh, remembering my first trip out to Colorado, and how I would announce, every half-hour "This? Is the farthest west I've ever been!" Because I am a gigantic dork.

Joseph and I leapfrogged past unbelievably beautiful lakefront homes, with perfectly manicured lawns and unbelievably gorgeous flowers. We ran past hundreds and hundreds of people, all out cheering for us, encouraging us. It was just amazing.

At Mile 22, my fat-boy toe suddenly decided that it had had enough. Instant, blinding bolt of pain. I don't know if my sock shifted or what, but there was hot, intense irritation, and Fat Boy wanted NONE of it. I dropped into the grass at the curb, shucked off my shoe, and fiddled around with my sock. I got my shoe back on, and managed to to knock Fat Boy's status down to "mildly disgruntled."

Then I got up, and figured I'd need to push a little to catch up with Joseph. So, I did.

Just after Mile 23, there was this incredible curving downhill. At the bottom of the hill, Lake Michigan sparkled like jewels under the perfect sky. Trees that were just tinged with their fall golds and reds waited at the bottom to cover us with their lovely cool shade. And above them, the skyline of my city waited for me.

Y'all, I do not say this enough, but. . . I love my city. It is not perfect, by any means, but the people here are good and real and warm and wonderful. And that makes it so incredibly beautiful to me. I got tears in my eyes. I was going to do this.

I still couldn't let myself think of anything other than one-mile repeats, though.

I finally caught Joseph again at Mile 24. We ran together, chatting like old friends, to Mile 25. I looked out of the side of my eye at him, and he was looking back at me. I said, "you're not walking this last aid station, are you?"

"Not a chance," he replied.

And it. was. on.

I do not know our split for the last 1.2 miles. I really wish I did. My heart rate monitor was BURIED, y'all. We were wide-open, FLYING through the park, the marina, along the lake.

"You're really strong!" Joseph said. "I would've knocked this pace off half a mile ago!"

"What? I thought YOU were leading!" I shot back.

"Don't let up now," he said. "We're almost there!"

True gentleman that he was, Joseph allowed me to come in first (and also stopped to get a prime photo op for his wife, who had some serious journalistic-level looking equipment). I finished with a huge smile and a burst of adrenaline.

The volunteer who came up to see to me asked, "How are you doing?" "I am OUTSTANDING!" I answered. "Heh. I can see that! Nice finish," he replied.

And now. . . I don't really know what's ahead of me, what this next year will bring. Either in terms of training, or of life.

But what I do know, what I learned during those 26.2 miles, and even more so in all the miles leading up to them, is this:

I am ready.



I DID IT!!!!!

Time from gun: 4:47-ish
Time from watch: 4:45-ish

Update w/ official stats:
Overall: 1488/1908
Females: 521/740
Chip time: 4:45:36
Pace: 10:54/mile

Day: perfect
Smile: huge
Running: fun