Sunday, October 31, 2010

Taper Time.....FINALLY!

I was hanging in there until the very end....

But, oh man, was it ever tough! Today was my last *real* day of training before taper....*Real* in the sense that I am fatigued, tired, and oh yeah, did I forget to say FATIGUED????


I knew there was no way I'd be able to get my 2 hour run in before the pool opened today.

The pool opened at noon.

I lolly-gagged around the house -- moved from one end of the couch to the other. Got up to eat. Got up to get a glass of water. Got up to eat again. Then, got up to do the dishes. I was sort of huffing and puffing and moaning a bit to myself too. You know those little noises you make, like sighing, etc to let everyone know just how tired you are? Well, that was me, except I was alone -- I had no one to appreciate how tired I was, and those noises still occurred! Hahahahahahaha!

After my swim, I was on auto pilot trying to drag myself out the door. I wanted to go to bed and lay there.....forever. Instead, I peeled open the Halloween candy and got some sugar in me to try and kick start the bod. I got little shavings off chocolate in between the keys of my lap top...

Now, sugar and I have always had an on/off relationship. When I was little, every time my and sister and I would get into the candy, we would get really, really hyper, then we would crash and start crying. Hahahahahahaha! Well, today, even the sugar had a hard time getting me going. I barely got lift off, but I did finally get out the door.

2 hours later, I was so BAGGED, I was moaning out loud as I climbed the front stairs. I moaned all the way down to the basement where I did the laundry...

Then I moaned even louder when I realized I forgot the new bottle of vinegar (because I was washing my workout clothes, remember?) at the top of the stairs and I had to climb them....

You know when you are so tired, you use your hands to help you get up the stairs? That was me. Moaning all the way.

When I unscrewed the vinegar cap, I realized that stupid metal foil seal needed a sharp object to pierce it open. I literally moaned even louder, "No!" And looked crazily around my arm's length perimeter. Oh God. Nothing!

I then jabbed my forefinger in and LO! It worked! My finger dipped into the vinegar, and without thinking, I licked my finger. MY GOD, I ALMOST WENT CROSS-EYED!!!

Right then and there, I wanted salt and vinegar potato chips so bad I nearly fainted. After a quick shower, I phoned the gas station that is literally less than a block from my house and asked them if they had any s&v chips. (I wasn't going to risk going there and wasting a trip -- I needed them NOW!)

They had two bags left! I drove over there (I gassed up whilst there, to make it not too lame -- LOL!) and got the chips.

When I tucked into them, I swear the earth moved, angels sang, and I experienced what my sister and her hubby call "quiver-tail."

You see, they have a cat (Sparky) who has a very distinct habit when she is LOVING a back rub or a treat. Her tail quivers. It starts from her body -- her back is arched and the quiver moves up through the base of her tail, until it gets right to the tip of her tail. At this point, it is really quivering.

My sister's hubby thinks it looks perverted. Hahahahahahah!! Me and my sister think it is AWESOME!

Anyways, when I crunched down on all the salty vinegary goodness, "quiver-tail" is simply the best way I can explain my delirium.

Oh yeah baby. Now THAT hit the spot!!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

You Big Chicken!!!!!

You know how they say a vampire won't show up on film?
Well, if you are a Big Chicken, it DOES show up on film --
this is why I didn't buy race photos this year...LOL!!!

Six years ago I had no clue how to swim. NO IDEA.

For the first 29 years of my life, I had an uneasy relationship with water. When my parents would take us on summer vacation, my sister and I loved to play in hotel the shallow end of course. Neither me nor my sister ever learned how to swim.

Fast forward to when I was 26 years old, and the summer of me and my sister's Great Mexican Vacation. Our trip consisted of tanning by the pool and then submerging ourselves in the little pool to cool off every once in a while.

One afternoon, a local scuba guide came by the pool to give free demos. Now anyone who knows the Andersons, is aware what the word FREE does to us. It is the same thing that happens when we see a glittery object...It's like our hunting instincts are instantly activated. The heart starts beating quicker, all senses are heightened. Things are seen so much more clearly -- hearing is maginified, the sense of touch, everything. We are turned into Superman!! FREE?!?!?! Where? FREEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My sister and I were the only ones who took advantage of the free demo. It didn't matter that neither of us had a clue how to swim. The poor guide.

First, he had to show us how to get our faces in the water. This took some time. Step by step, he walked us through putting the gear on and then breathing underwater. He tried to get us to take off our masks underwater and then put them on again. That was NOT happening. I panicked and flew back up to the surface as quickly as possible. I know -- if I was in real deep water, the pressure would have blown my eyeballs out of my head and stopped my heart, but remember, I had never been underwater before!

My sister, on the other hand was a total stud. She put the gear on and just sank to the bottom of the pool and stayed there. She told me afterward, it was easy -- she didn't know how to swim or anything, so she just sank. And then sat there at the bottom of the pool until the guide brought her back up. LOL!!! It reminded me of when she was a baby and she would poop her diaper and just sit there with this big grin on her face. No worries, no problems. Just sit there.

After the demo, the scuba guide asked if we wanted to go for a scuba tour. In hindsight, I realized that what he did was probably illegal, because I guarantee you could not find two greener scuba-tourists than us. I can't actually believe given our limited 20 minute demo that we went out in the ocean with scuba gear on!!

This was how it went: We each had to fall backwards off the boat, just like you see on the Discovery channel. I thought I was going to have a panic attack when I saw my world go all topsy-turvy and then bubbles everywhere. But I clung to that mouthpiece and breathed like Darth Vadar and used my breathing as something to focus on.

The scuba guide then took my hand and my sister's hand, and pulled us around the ocean floor. It was pretty cool -- he gave each of us a sea cucumber to hold and took pictures of us with our underwater camera. (The one pic of my sister holding that cumber looked especially perverted, It looked like it LIKED my sister's grip -- I kid you not!! LOL!!!)

There was one point during our underwater excursion where I could feel a current. I felt myself getting pulled along....The guide at this point had (for some reason) let go of each of our hands for just a moment. My sister got caught in some weird-ball current and no kidding, it looked like she was getting sucked out into space. Like she was on the Starship Enterprise and someone opened the hatch and you see the person getting sucked out into space, their arms and legs spread and them spinning away.

The guide caught me, and then looked to the left, to the right for my sister. She was above him!! OMG it was so hilarious (but terrifying in retrospect) when he didn't see her and then he finally looked up. The poor guy probably had a heart attack.

As we ascended, I had to fight the panic attack thing again. Oh man! When we finally got to the surface, his partner hauled each of us in the boat -- literally. Hahahaha -- the guide told me he had been worried about me freaking out. That he thought I would have been the one to watch out for. LMAO!!!

Now you know my swimming background...

Thus, today at Masters, for part of the session we were to DIVE off the blocks. I was excited (yet scared) about this. We started by standing on the blocks and then jumped as far as we could, plunging into the water feet first.

I could do this.

I did it twice.

The next step was bending over and then actually diving. I had heart palpitations and I broke out into a cold sweat. Oh My God I was terrified. The coach kept saying, "1...2.....3...GO!" And everyone kept cycling through.

Except me.

I was shaking so much, I got off the blocks and let the women in my line go ahead of me. Then I tried again, and I tasted fear -- the terror of the unknown. Coppery like blood. My God, if there was a cougar, shark, bear, any wild animal around I can guarantee you they would have come running to me. I SWEAT pure fear.

I finally got up enough courage to ask if I could try diving off the pool deck. The coach said, "Of course!" On the 1....2....3....I wavered again and was shaking, I couldn't do it! The coach then came over and showed me how to pretend like I was going to dive, but then just fall in.

Now that I could do! Although I was still terrified, I could do it. It was so hilarious, everyone was offering me encouragement and when I finally plopped into the pool, the coach said, "That was really great, Julie!" Yeah right -- I felt my belly slap the water. Hahahaha!! But positive encouragement is something I will take! :) :) :)

I was a big chicken!!!! LMAO!!!!

Who's the big chicken? I'M the big chicken! Me and my
Coke Zero. Yeah man. Cool like us chickens.

It's hard to explain to people who learned to swim as kids what it is like for chickens like me...The vast majority of my memories involving water are coupled with fear. It is only in the past 6 years that I have created fun water memories. What is even stranger is having both sets of memories (and their associated emotions) rattle around my brain at the same time. It can be a very odd experience!!!

Until next time....

Monday, October 25, 2010

What I've Been Up to.... OR

What it Feels Like to Train My Bum Off. LOL!

After completing the power tests Coach Sara had me perform on the bike and the run, she changed the way she is training me. Let's just say things are a little more errrr, intense.

Last week, there were a couple of days I thought there was no physical possibility of me completing some of the sessions -- the cumulative fatigue, the very THOUGHT of what the workouts entailed....But I pulled through.

I don't know how -- well, yes I do. A mixture of stubbornness and caffeine seems to do the trick. ;)

So, I sort of just came around 5 minutes ago....I found myself sitting in a kind of stupor in front of the computer with a Coke Zero in one hand and no idea if I had just woken up from a nap, or was going back to bed. LOL!!!

This weekend, I completed what was (for me!) some epic workouts. (Every time I say or think this, I automatically insert the clause "so far" -- because what was epic a couple of months ago, ain't so "epic" now! Hahahahaha -- That's what coach's are for right? Hee-hee!)

Anyways, I've been training hard and training consistently. Saturday saw me pedaling away on my Computrainer at the gym for 4 hours with 2 hours of race pace power sandwiched in, then a 30 minute run on the tready: 15 minutes faster than race pace, 15 minutes easy.

Then, Sunday, I woke up early to get 2 hours of hilly running in -- the session called for some "good downhills" in the last hour. Home, quick shower (actually a quick tub, my legs and body were getting pretty beat up at this point and it was all I could do to ease into a warm tub and just lay there with Peanut watching me and batting at the water. I don't do ice baths. Blasphemy, I know. I don't do massage either. Right Keith? Hahahahaha!) then it was off to the pool for an hour swim. Then, food and a 30 minute run on pavement to REALLY MAKE SURE my legs took a good pounding.

My God I felt like I ran a marathon. This has been another one of those days where I start to drool when I sit down and relax. It's like my body falls asleep before my mind does. Hahahaha! And in the morning, when I go down in the basement to clean the kitty litter, the climb back up the stairs feels like my heart rate is at 195. That's before my oatmeal however. Hahahahahaha!

Nov. 2 is the day me and my Dad leave for North Carolina. I am very, very excited to race. I was dissatisfied with my performance at IMC and am hungry to race once more this year. goes!

While in Wilmington, my Dad and I plan on taking a segway tour (oh yeah baby!), and a ghost walk!! I am super excited about the ghost walk.

Well, starting to drool again...time to sign off and stare into space for a couple of more hours and then head to bed. Hahahahahahaha!!

Like my new iPod case? Or the poor-man's version of an iPod case? Heh-heh. The ole sandwich bag trick. I either carry it in my hand, or if the clothes I am wearing have a pocket, I'll stick it in there. Hey -- whatever works right? I usually don't run with an iPod, but there were two runs this week I needed to use it to get me out the door. I created a new play list and turned up the music so loud I couldn't hear myself suffer (or think, or breathe, or anything for that matter). Like I said before --- whatever works, eh?

BRING IT, BATTLESHIP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

:) :) :) :) :)

(Yes this post was written in a state of extreme fatigue/delirium/joy/giddiness/etc. As if you couldn't tell....)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

8 years of accumulated stink....

When I first got into triathlon, I went HAYWIRE buying all kinds of shorts, tops, sports bras, etc. I mean you sort of have to though, right? You can't just have one pair of bike shorts...if you have say 5 of everything (at least), that means you don't have to stress about laundery all the time.

And about the laundery....

I've always taken good care of my workout stuff. Hang it to dry so it lasts longer, etc. But over the years, I have come to realize that every wash only removes around 99% percent of stank. And you don't notice it, until one day, say about 8 years hence, all those little 1%'s add up and YOU ARE THE STINKY ONE IN THE GYM!!!!!


It was a few Saturdays ago, I was doing a treadmill test -- had on my favourite black sports bra top and was sweating away. There was a certain point when the top got sweaty enough that it suddenly released all that cumulative B.O. I was horrified at myself!

Now, to be honest, I've been noticing this gradual degradation of my clothing for some time now. I smelled stank when I would ride on my trainer -- my favourite biking jacket had stinky armpits that no matter how much I would scrub with Shout! and baking soda only took the edge off. My favourite running top suffered the same issues.

The piece de resistance however, came a few weeks ago when I walked into the bathroom and was overpowered by the aroma of BO. I immediately yelled at Mike, saying, "GEEZ! You need to have a shower or something -- it STINKS in here!!" Poor guy, instantly smells his armpits looking worried/anxious/confused. It was at that moment I realized that the stink was coming from all my facecloths/bike shorts/bra top that was hanging over the shower rod to dry after my workout!!!!!!

Cue my sister.... Like an angel, she told me to add a cup of vinegar to the wash and it would remove all stink. I was so excited to try this, I took all my workout clothes out of my closet and washed them again -- this time adding a cup of vinegar along with the detergent.

I thought I had nailed the stink problem, until that tready session. It turns out that the proportion of 1 cup vinegar to 8 years of sweat is slightly off....

Thank goodness there were only two other people there that morning I went to the gym. Now, I was doing a treadmill run test, where I was running progressively faster and faster with 1 minute rest between sets. It was during one of these breaks that I felt OBLIGATED to explain to both men the reason why I stunk and that it wasn't ME, but it was my bra top.

Oh man -- the one guy was so nice and said - "I don't care! I don't even notice!" LIAR!

The other man was friendly but you could tell he was thinking "What in the heck is WRONG with this chick?!?!" LMAO!!!!!! I can talk pretty fast in one minute!!!!!

I went to Wal-Mart later that day on a mission: Buy the biggest jug of vinegar I could find. These past few weeks, I've cycled through all my workout clothes...when I would finish a session, I'd strip down, dump LOADS of vinegar on them and fill up the sink with hot water and let them soak all day. I did this every day. THEN, I threw all the clothes into the washing machine and poured more vinegar over everything and then added detergent. And you know what?

IT WORKED!!!!!!!!!

Yes, I am now stink-free -- odor-free, not even a scent of vinegar lingers. YES! :) :)

Here is a quickie update of what I've been doing (as I have been getting over the loss of Toby):

1. One week after IMC I went for a run. A RUN. A real run and I felt incredible. I felt so incredible that I emailed Coach Sara and said, I feel like I haven't "peaked" yet. She wanted to wait 3 weeks to see if this feeling did and I've been back at training like a pit bull with a bone -- a big meaty bone with lots of fat and tendrils and ligaments hanging from it.

2. In a last minute change of mind, I've entered the Beach 2 Battleship iron distance race in North Carolina-- Nov. 13. Me and my Dad are going to drive there and back --- EPIC ROAD TRIP!!! YAHOOOO!!! :) :)

3. I've joined a Masters swim group and I can't believe how much of a difference it is making to my swimming. Having a coach on deck toss out simple reminders and give you instant feedback is invaluable!


That's it for now....