Monday, October 29, 2007

Race Week!

T-minus five days and counting. Ack! I can’t believe it’s already here. Saturday I did my last “long” run of 8 miles. Kind of funny that an 8 mile run doesn’t seem very long anymore. After that, Courtney and I did a short little 30 minute ride just to make sure the bikes were in proper working condition and then we drove them down to Clinton to drop them off with Eric’s parents. They are driving to Florida and were nice enough to offer to take our bikes with them so that we didn’t have to worry about shipping them. I’ve heard so many horror stories about bikes getting lost and damaged, it was nice to have one less thing to worry about. Not to mention the fact that it isn’t exactly cheap to ship a bike. Although, if I could have bought my bike it’s own seat on the plane and just wheeled it on and sat it next to me, I would have done it in a heart beat. I’m a little nervous about them riding on a hitch on the back of the Jeep, but they’ll be fine. Court checked in with them this morning, and they are just a few hours from Panama City Beach. I will breathe much easier when I know the bikes are safe and sound in Florida! I must admit, it was a little weird to go home without my bike. I kept having momentary panic attacks thinking I had accidentally left it somewhere.

While I was off saying buh-bye to my bike, Dan took Walter and Penny up to Maryville to drop them off with my parents. Sad! I have to be without my two little bostons for the next 2 weeks, because we wont be going up to Omaha to pick them up until the weekend of the 10th. The house is much quieter (and calmer!) without them, but I do miss them already. Max was a little confused at first, but I think now he’s liking the fact that he’s the only dog around. He’s going to stay with Bryce while we’re gone, so he’ll have Emma to keep him company during the day.

Sunday I planned on doing all of my packing since I have a night meeting for work tonight, but first I went out to Wyandotte County Park to watch Monica and Melissa do the Boulevard Cup cyclo-cross race. It was fun to watch, but I think I will stick to riding on the road, thank you very much. Then the IMUSA broadcast was on, so naturally I HAD to watch that. I sat on the couch shaking through the entire thing, partly from nerves and partly from excitement. It has been such a build up to this race, I cant wait to just GO! I’m a little bit nervous about the swim, so once I get out of the water I know I’ll be fine. And I’m actually looking forward to the run.

I made a packing list, so that made my job a lot easier. I started with my race essentials, and made sure those would all fit in my carry-ons. I’ve informed Dan that he doesn’t get a carry on, because I need two. No way am I entrusting my running shoes or something else important to the airline. That stuff is not leaving my sight. My luck, they would lose my bag and it would show up at the condo on Sunday. I’d prefer it if they would just not lose my bag, but if it happens, it’s OK because everything I NEED will be with me.

So, now for the good stuff. You can track me on Saturday on Just search for my name or my race number, and you’ll get updates whenever I pass certain points on the course. Then, based on how my run times are looking, you can estimate about when I’ll finish and actually watch me cross the finish line! I’m shooting for around 15 hours, so that would be about 10pm CST. I may do better, I may take a little longer, but I figure that’s a pretty decent guess. Dan will have his cell phone and my cell phone with him during the race, so if you have either of those numbers feel free to call for an update. He’ll have some time to kill, and I’m sure would appreciate the distraction. I’m going to try to post a couple of blog updates while we’re in Florida, and I plan to have my race report up by the end of next week. So be sure to check back.

Thanks again for all of your support and well-wishes, I’m ready to go!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

My name is Julie, and I'm a painaholic!

The other day, I had a business lunch and ran into some of my former co-workers. I didn’t have much of a chance to stay around and chat with people, so later in the afternoon one of them sent me an email asking how things have been going, yada, yada, yada. I responded back that I’m doing an Ironman next weekend, and his response made me laugh:

“Ironman Florida?! Damn, are you into pain? Like getting kicked in the head while your swimming in shark infested waters? On TV?”

So I got to thinking. Yes, the race is going to hurt, and it’s going to hurt bad. Am I scared about the pain? Nope! On the contrary, I’m rather looking forward to it. Maybe it’s my sadistic side, but sometimes pain is good. Swim 2.4 miles, ride 112, then run a marathon. Bring it on, baby! I can take it! I’m going to get to my pain threshold, pass it, and keep going. When I think my toes are about to fall off, I’ll keep going. When my hips hurt so bad that I’m about 99.99% certain I’ll be crippled after the race, I will keep going. When I start crying because I want to lay down so badly, I’ll keep going. I can handle some pain. I’ve got the bloody shoe to prove it!

Speaking of my bloody shoe, I’ve decided that it’s going to be my good luck charm. The weekend after I bloodied it up, I set my new half marathon PR. That’s got to count for something, right?!

So, bloody shoe, you and I are going to get this puppy done. You might get a little more bloody, you might get some pee on you, and you might get some puke on you. But by God, we will get to that finish line.

Monday, October 22, 2007


Numbers are finally up, I will be athlete number 2158 on race day. Woo hoo!!

KC Half Marathon

I did the KC Half Marathon on Saturday and set a new PR for myself… 21 minutes! My finish time was 2:35, and my time from Lincoln last year was 2:56. So I am definitely improving! A 5:00 marathon feels a lot more realistic now. Well, maybe not for Florida, but a stand-alone marathon later on. I’d like to find a good spring marathon to do next year.

Anyway, Saturday was perfect as far as weather goes. Erin and I got down to Crown Center early, and sat around for a while before heading over to the start line. KC is a LOT bigger than Lincoln, so it was a neat feeling to be in a really large crowd of runners. Runners Edge provided pace group leaders for the full marathon, so I decided to start with the 5:15 group since that equals out to about a 12 min/mile pace.

The first couple of miles were through downtown, then we headed up the biggest hill of the race to the Liberty Memorial. After that we headed over towards Westport and the Plaza. It was fun to run through some of the most scenic parts of the city. Several of the people in our group were from my regular RE pace group, so we were having a great time chatting it up and enjoying the run. The course split just after mile 6, and the rest of my group headed off for the full marathon course while I continued on for the half. I was still feeling great and kept at the same pace I had been for the first 6 miles. At this point, I actually started PASSING people! That never happens! Usually I am the one being passed!

The next few miles were pretty uneventful, and I chatted with a few people here and there to help pass the time. Pretty soon I was at the last aid station, and they had up a bunch of signs saying “next stop, finish line!”, and things like that. I got a little choked up at this point, because even though I was just doing the half, I was imagining how I would be feeling at about mile 24 in 2 weeks. We headed down through the 18th & Vine Jazz District, and they had a jazz band out on one of the corners playing, so I clapped and cheered for them. Actually, one of the neat things about this race was that they had bands every couple of miles. The first half when I was with my pace group we had clapped and yelled for all of them, so I kept it up once I was by myself.

I kept waiting for the first marathon finishers to pass me, and it wasn’t until after mile 12 that they did. Two guys passed me about 5 minutes apart, and that was it. Between mile 12 and 13, people all around me were walking and saying that they couldn’t wait to be done, and I was so happy that I was still feeling good. I was one of those people who thought I was going to die around mile 10 at the first half I did, so this was a definite improvement.

After I turned the last corner, it was about 2 blocks to the finish line, so I picked it up and ran on in. I looked at my watch; 2:35! Yeah! I know that’s still not fast, but I held a consistent pace for the entire 13 miles which made me very happy. And I still felt great, which is what I had been hoping for since this was part of my taper. Given that, I know I can push it harder and do a half in under 2:30 next time.

I found Dawn, who had finished a little while before me, and then Dan found us which surprised me a little because he had gone out the night before and hadn’t even been home when I left the house at 5:30. So I was happy that he had made it down to the race. We waited for Erin to finish, and then went to Eggct for a well deserved post-race breakfast.

Next up: IMFL!!!!!!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

My list

I decided I had better finally start making a packing list. I've broken it down by day, and so far here is what I need to pack just for race day. Notably missing is my BIKE (which is going down with Eric's parents) and my pop tarts, cheezits, and Gatorade that I'll have to buy in PCB:

- 2 pair goggles
- anti-fog
- wetsuit
- swim suit
- bike shorts
- tri top
- 2 sports bras
- bike jersey
- bike shoes
- bento box
- saddle bag
- 2 pair of bike socks
- 2 pair of arm warmers
- Bike helmet
- Sunglasses & spare lenses
- Running shorts
- 2 pair of running socks
- Cotton balls
- Tape
- New Skin
- Bandaids
- Hat and visor
- Long pants
- Long sleeve t-shirt
- Jacket
- Crocs
- Flip flops
- Water bottles
- 2 small towels
- Gu (20)
- Spare tires
- Spare tubes
- Co2 (4)
- Body glide
- Electrolytes
- Race belt
- Vaseline

Monday, October 15, 2007

Enough with the rain!

Seriously, I am through training in the rain. I was scheduled to run 20 miles on Saturday, my last LONG run before Florida, and those of you in and around KC know how bad it stormed Saturday morning. The thunder woke me up at about 4, and I laid there awake until my alarm went off at 5 hoping that the storm would blow over. But no such luck. So I got up and headed over to our meeting point. The rain let up a little bit as I was leaving the house, so I was hopeful that it would stop all together.

Kris and I usually run 2 miles before the main group start just to get them out of the way, but it was lightning quite a bit when we got there at 6, so we decided to just wait until 6:30 and start with the rest of the group. The lightning didn’t decrease, and it was raining pretty hard again by the time 6:30 rolled around. Not many people showed up (wonder why??) so Eladio had to combine several groups so that people wouldn’t be running alone in the dark and the rain. Most people in my group were only going 8 or 10 miles, but one person was going 20. As we started out, I was still debating about whether or not I was actually going to do 20 miles.

The first 2 miles were on the trail along Prairie Star Parkway, and were actually pretty enjoyable. It wasn’t raining TOO hard, so it was kind of nice to be out in the rain. At least I wasn’t hot. I don’t know if my skin was absorbing the rain or what, but by the time we got to the aid station at mile 2 I had to pee really bad. Luckily, there was a nice wooded area right by the trail there, so I just went back in there and dropped trou. Much better. I also ditched my long sleeve shirt at this point because it was soaked and weighing me down. It wasn’t overly cold, so I felt fine in a sleeveless top.

We kept chugging along, thinking the storm HAD to blow over, but it wasn’t. The rain and lightning weren’t letting up at all, in fact it almost seemed to get worse as we went on. At mile 4, the other guy that was doing 20 miles had gotten way ahead of us, and most other people turned around. There were a couple of other ladies doing 10 miles, so I at least had a little company for the next mile. After they turned around at mile 5, I was all by myself. I couldn’t see anyone ahead of me, and there was nobody behind me. Great. The sun had finally come up enough to that there was a little bit of light, so that was good. As I got close to mile 6, I finally passed some people going the other direction. Just about then, the clouds really opened up and it just POURED. This was the kind of rain that I wouldn’t want to be driving in, let alone out running in. I was so tempted to turn around, but I kept thinking “an Ironman wouldn’t make excuses and turn around”, so I kept going. At the mile 6 aid station, I had to pee again, but it was in the middle of a residential neighborhood. I figured I was already soaked and it was raining hard enough that nobody would notice, so I just stood there and pissed my shorts while I drank some Gatorade. It actually felt kind of liberating!

After that, the course turned down this country road, and I was sure I was going the wrong way. Just when I was ready to turn back, I saw some Runners Edge flags and knew I was actually going the right way. Running down a country road by yourself in the middle of an early morning thunderstorm is a little surreal. I turned onto another road, and was surprised to see that it was a frontage road along K-7. It was raining so hard that I hadn’t even been able to hear any traffic. About that time my stomach dropped and I had to go. NOW. But I was right along the highway, and there weren’t many trees. Every tree and bush I passed I debated about whether or not it would hide me very well. Much to my delight, right at mile 7 I came up on Smiley’s Golf Complex and noticed that there were a couple of cars in the parking lot and the lights were on in the club house. The rain and lightning also picked up significantly right about then, so I decided to head in and beg for them to let me use the bathroom. I was surprised to get up to the door and see a couple of other Runners Edge people taking cover there. They were all doing 20 miles too, so I would have some company.
We waited a few minutes for the rain to let up a tad, and then headed out again. This was beginning to not be fun. We made it to the aid station at mile 8: only 2 more miles to the turn around! My shoes were soaked and starting to get very uncomfortable, but I figured I could make it. Right as we got to the aid station, Shawn pulled up and asked if any of us wanted a ride. We all said no, even though I was tempted to take one. My shoes and socks were soaked and were getting very uncomfortable, and I was cold. But I really wanted to get those 20 miles in. We had to cross the highway and run along another frontage road, and by the time we got across the highway, 2 more RE people had pulled up in their cars asking if we wanted a ride. Why would I want a ride? Isn’t running 20 miles in the middle of a thunderstorm normal??

As we got to the 10 mile aid station, the rain let up substantially and we thought it was going to stop. But as we turned around and headed back, the rain came back on full force. And it was painful! The wind was blowing it straight into my face so I had to keep my head down and turned to the side, and I noticed that the rain was bouncing off the road. Hey wait, that’s not rain! That’s HAIL! No wonder it hurts!! I was officially miserable at that point. I was cold, wet, my feet hurt, my hips hurt, and now it was hailing on me. Just as I was thinking that, another RE guy pulled up in his car and asked if I wanted a ride. “No, I’m fine, I’ll make it”. WHAT?! He drove off and I just about beat myself upside the head. Why didn’t I take a ride!? Because I am doing an Ironman in 3 weeks and I didn’t want to be a baby and puss out of my last 20 mile run. Either that or I am just stupid.

We made it back to the aid station at mile 8, and the guy in charge of it was there waiting for us to come through so he could clean it up. “Does anybody want a ride back?” Again, I said no. I kept shuffling along, and now my feet were REALLY hurting. Wet socks and shoes rub my feet really bad. I was not a happy camper. The cotton balls and tape that I use to save my pinky toes had long since worked their way loose and were wadded up in the bottoms of my socks. So I had my toes blistering up on top of the general pain in the rest of my feet. As we neared the aid station at mile 6, I was still thinking that I could tough it out, but the guy in charge of that one was there to break it down and before I could stop myself I asked for a ride back. Aaahh!! I wanted to cry, from my feet hurting so bad and feeling stupid for taking a ride. On the way back, he said that most people had taken a ride back in quite a while ago, so I was kind of proud that I stuck it out as long as I did.

When I got back to my car, I took my shoes and socks off and both of my socks were bloody. D’oh! I guess my feet really DID hurt! My pinky toes were all blistered up, but aside from that, I didn’t really see anything that would have bled. My feet were red from being rubbed so much, I guess maybe they had bled? Who knows. I was just happy to get my feet out of those shoes and put on a dry shirt and pants. So I only got in 14, but given the conditions, it was just as hard as any other 20 mile run I’ve done.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Ridin' in the rain

Well, I guess I should have no more fear of riding in the rain! I don’t know why it’s always scared me, but it has. I guess I just had this picture in my head of me sliding around a wet road on my bike, or not being able to stop or something. But, I rode 90 miles in the rain yesterday with no incident. We had planned on riding 100, but it WAS pretty miserable, so we packed it in after 90. Court and I rode with her friend Melissa who did IMFL in 05 and IMLOU this year. She had some great tips for us about the race in general, and made me feel a little better about my level of preparation.

We started at Court’s house in Blue Springs and then swung by Melissa’s place to pick her up. She only lives about 5 miles from Courtney, so it was pretty convenient. Then we headed out towards the route we had ridden on one time before since it has some nice flat stretches. I don’t know all of the road names out that way, but there was a flat stretch just west of the Lake City ammo plant that we did a couple of times, another one just west of Buckner, and another one on the east side of Buckner. Most people think that Kansas and Missouri are flat, but that is not the case! It’s hard to find nice stretches of flat road to train on, so we had to do the few that were available several times. Hills are good for strength, but since Florida is flat, we do need to get used to the constant pedaling and learn how to keep from slitting our throats out of sheer boredom.

About 5 miles into the ride, it started sprinkling, and it just kept getting heavier. About 10 miles in, Court was in front and went down as she rounded a corner. It’s been dry lately, so this rain was really making the road slick. She got back up quick, and wasn’t too banged up. It kept raining off and on the entire time we were out, so I think we were all pretty conservative with how we were riding to avoid any more spills.

On the way back home, we passed a house out in the country with a wrought iron fence in the front yard, and the guy was mowing his yard with his two dogs out running around. The dogs saw us ride by, and ran down the fence “chasing” us. We thought it was kind of cute, and I made a comment that they wanted to come run with us. We got past the house, and the dogs were out of the yard running down the street after us! They were just little fluffy pooches, so we weren’t worried about them attacking us or anything, but they just kept running right along side of us. We were in the middle of a 2 mile long incline, so we weren’t going all that fast, so the dogs were able to keep up with us pretty well. The road was pretty winding, and I was afraid that a car would come around a curve and hit them because they were running down the middle of the road. So finally, we pulled over and called the number on their tags. No answer. We waited a few minutes and called again. Still no answer. Well crap. We didn’t want them to get hit, but we couldn’t wait around all day. So we kept going, and they kept following us. At the top of the hill there was a fire station, so we pulled in there and Court told them “I’ve got this dog problem. Now it’s your problem”. At least we were rid of the dogs!

After we got cleaned up, Melissa came over and we watched her highlight video from Florida. It was a pretty crappy video, but it was still exciting to see! Especially the start. I really wish I would be able to actually watch the start of our race, 2000 people running into the ocean at the same time is quite a sight.

26 days!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Under a month

One month from now, I will be an Ironman. It’s real now. It’s not some ambiguous thing that is months away, I fly to Florida in 25 days. DAYS. And I have no idea what I’m doing! I feel like there are a million and one things I need to get done, but what are they? I need to start making a list of things as they pop into my head, like I did before the wedding. I need to get my bike tuned up. I need to buy spare tubes and Co2 cartridges. I need to buy a seat mounted bottle holder. I need to figure out what the heck I’m going to put in my special needs bags. I need to figure out whether or not my TA bag will be too big to carry on the plane once it’s stuffed to the brink. And I don’t know what else I need to do, but I know there is some stuff.

Most of the time I feel pretty calm and excited about the race. But some days, I just completely lose it and freak out. For anyone who has had the pleasure of being on the receiving end of one of my freak outs, I apologize! I really am NOT a spaz, for the most part I’m totally normal and level headed. I promise!

In 29 days I will be done. It will be over and I can resume a normal life. Not that the past few months have been horrible or anything, but I’ve been pretty much consumed by Ironman. I don’t even know how many events and activities I’ve had to turn down because of this. Sorry, can’t go out tonight, I have to go for a ride. Sorry, can’t go out, I have to get up early tomorrow morning to run. That has been my life for months. And to be honest, I haven’t really minded all that much. But for some reason, NOW it is getting hard. I had to turn down happy hour last night so I could ride my bike. And I can’t go to the American Royal with Dan tonight because I have to get up early tomorrow to run. Dammit! I’m tempted to go, but I would wind up drinking a few beers and eating a lot of BBQ, and then I would feel like ass tomorrow. So I will be at home by myself hanging out with the dogs, catching up on the shows I DVR’d this week.

I’ve been busting my ass for the last 5 months training for this. Well, longer than that, since I trained for the marathon in May and built up a nice solid foundation. I’m constantly tired, and something is always hurting. If it’s not my back, its my legs. If it’s not my legs, its my toes. If it’s not my toes, it’s my shoulders. And sometimes its everything. But soon it will all be worth it, and I have a feeling that all the aches and pains and missed fun activities will make it that much sweeter.

I’ve got three friends signed up for Ironman races next year. Erin is doing Arizona in April, Dawn is doing Coeur d’Alene in June, and Robyn is doing Louisville in August (I just realized how nice and evenly spaced all those are). I want to shake them all and say “Do you know what you have done?!?!!? Do you realize you have a freakin IRONMAN coming up in X number of months!?!?!?”, and then spew all of my acquired knowledge all over them. But like I said earlier, I really don’t know what I’m doing either. I do feel like I’ve learned quite a bit just through my own trial and error over the last year, but I know they’ll all probably do a better job at figuring it all out than I have. I’m excited to get my race over with and then be able to cheer them on, but I know I’ll be a little jealous of them at the same time! But then again, I’ll be kicking back with an adult beverage or two while they are forced to say “sorry, can’t go out, I have to get up early to run” :)

Monday, October 1, 2007

Longest training run in the books

So, Saturday was my 22 mile run. My longest training run leading up to Florida. With as crappy as I have been feeling the last 2 weeks, it went surprisingly well. I’ve run a total of, oh, 3 times since Half Max, and none of those were over 5 miles. So I was a wee bit apprehensive about running 22. Every year Eladio opens up one of the group runs to people training for the KC marathon or half, and this past Saturday was it. So we had a lot more people than normal running with us. Among the one-timers were Court and Erin. So it was nice to have a few more friends out there.

I went out early to run 2 miles so that I would only have to run 20 with the main group. Those early 2 miles are always such a help. Once we got going on the main portion of the run, I was actually feeling pretty good. We started at Ward Parkway Mall, and wound our way down through Brookside and the Plaza and up to Loose Park. At about mile 1.5 I looked back expecting to see Erin and Michelle right behind us, but they were no where in sight. I knew that Erin hadn’t had much time to get in her runs, with the cross country move and all, so I was hoping that she was feeling ok. Court was with me the whole way, and we kept recognizing a point and would say to each other “hey! We ran by here on our first 10 mile run!”. Back in January we had run 10 miles in this general vicinity, and had felt like such badasses for running so far, and because our Ironman was ONLY 10 months away. My, how times have changed.

After we hit the turn around, we hooked up with a few other girls going 20 miles, and stayed with them for several miles. Then, with about 7 miles to go, Court and another gal fell back a bit and the other two girls and I kept on going. I wanted to stay back with Courtney, but I knew that we each needed to do what we needed to do. And I wanted to get this thing done. It was getting warm, and my feet had started hurting. When we got back to Brookside, the Strutt with your Mutt was going on, so there were dogs EVERYWHERE. Naturally, I was on the lookout for Bostons, but didn’t see any. I did run into Melissa Dehner who was there with her dog Sage, so I stopped and talked to her for a minute before I forged ahead.

One thing that kind of sucks about being slow and doing these long runs, is that by the time you’re on the last 5 miles or so, there are VERY few other Runners Edge people out there. It’s kind of like being at the very tail end of a race when they are starting to come tear the course down with you still on it. You know you’re doing good just for being out there and finishing it, but it still makes you feel EXTRA slow. I caught back up with the two gals I had been running with and we chatted to make the time pass a little quicker. But about once every minute or so, one of us would complain about some various body part hurting. Misery loves company, I guess :)

We made it back to the aid station at mile 2, and I was SO tempted to sit down on the front steps of this house that it was in front of, but I knew I wouldn’t get back up if I did. So we just kept going. Before we knew it, we were back at Ward Parkway Mall and I could actually stop moving! Eladio was still there, so we chatted with him for a bit while I waited for Court. I had been there about 20 minutes or so, and she still hadn’t shown up, so I started to get a little worried. I told Eladio I was going to drive out on the course and find her, and that I’d bring her back to the mall so he knew everyone was ok. Just as I was rounding the corner into the Target parking lot to head out on to the course, there she was marching along. I asked if she wanted a ride back, and she said no, and kept going. I knew where her head was at, I’ve been there myself, and the last thing you want is someone badgering you about how you are feeling. So I told her to check back in with Eladio and I headed home. I checked in with both her and Erin later in the afternoon to see how they were feeling. Both had had a bit of a rough go of it, but were no worse for the wear.

For not having run much the previous 2 weeks, I felt like I did pretty good. By the time I got home, I was definitely stiff, but my feet were relatively blister free. One thing I’ve been noticing is that my cardiovascular system is in SO much better shape than it was earlier this year. My heart and lungs felt perfect throughout the entire run, it was just my joints getting sore. So that is something for me to be happy about. Dan was nice enough to go get us Papa Kenos for lunch when I got home, and then I spent the rest of the afternoon napping and watching some football with the doggies. Then to top it off, he went and picked up Chipotle for dinner! Papa Kenos and Chipotle in one day….it doesn’t get any better than that :)