Friday, August 31, 2007

SAVE & Other Happenings

This has been a busy week and somewhat exciting week. I have an opportunity (fingers crossed) to begin a new career at a new company. I currently work at an insurance company in the twin cities. Since a year ago however, I've lost a lot of drive and ambition which is not simply how I NORMALLY am. The situation I was in was not ideal by any means and simply put, I was not going to get any help from my boss. I realized there are many people out there willing to take advantage of you. If you have a strong work ethic - all I have to say is "watch out!" There will be someone waiting to let you do their work for them and then take all the credit. For the sake that someone from my work might "happen" their way to this post. That's all I've got to say about my experience.
I was fortunate enough to gain a new position internally but the whole entire fiasco (with my boss and with the company HR Dept) left an awful taste in my mouth.....and I guess maybe it's just time to move on. While I love my new boss - I don't feel very good about where I work and I kinda think that's important.
So this week, I got a call from a friend asking me if I'd be interested in making a move. Are you crazy! Uhm - Yeah! I had previously interviewed for this company in the spring but had been nervous about the amount of travel they didn't tell me about. It's one of those things were you ask how much travel is actually involved - and they respond with a question - "how much do you think is too much?" Yeah - I made a bee-line towards the door. Tstorms is really a creature of habit - and triathlon training becomes kinda hard when you're traveling all the time. Needless to say I passed on the position.
This new position is perfect and right up my alley - so I'm waiting to hear back from the recruiter. I'm nervous and excited.
I've been working out since my return from Lake Placid - although I've not ridden my bike since my return and tonight was my second 30 minute run. I've swam a few times, once in the pool and a few times in Bush Lake (my favorite until recently - but more to come on that!) Mainly I've been focusing my attention to lifting free weights, which was my first love prior to triathlon. I miss it tremendously and it's felt nice to get back in and focus on the muscle and not really have to worry about squeezing in a 45 minute swim, 60 minute bike or 90 minute run on top of that. I've forgotten some of the old favorites - so I've even busted out Mark's book, The new Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding, by Arnold Schwarzenegger. It's a welcome change.
Last night, Mark & I attended a benefit to raise money for Taconite Boy's Janus Charity Fund Benefit for Ironman Wisconsin next weekend. Tac's benefit is SAVE and their mission is "prevent suicide through public awareness and education, eliminate stigma and serve as a resource to those touched by suicide. The picture above is from the benefit. Mark is on the left and Tac is on the right. It was a gorgeous night and we had a lot of fun. Here is one of the tables set up with wines, cheeses etc. (Did I mention it was a wine tasting?) The other is Trimama with Mark guzzling down the leftovers! Tac boy raised $1,000 dollars last night, but he still has almost another $1,000 to reach his goal.
Did You Know
•More people die from suicide than from homicide.
•Suicide rates among the elderly are highest for those who are divorced or widowed.
•For young people 15-24 years old, suicide is the third leading cause of death.
•80% of people that seek treatment for depression are treated successfully.

If you or someone you love has been affected by Suicide, please consider donating to this worthy cause. You can donate by going to his blog and looking for the Janus Charity Callenge link.

So - about my favorite place to swim - Bush Lake. While talking about training with Tac Boy last night- he asked me if I knew about the beach closing - of which I replied, "NO????" To make a long story short - apparently there have been too many birds on the beach if you know what I mean - therefore they had to close the beach due to ecoli. Since Tac Boy, Trimama, Sir Kraut and I have been swimming there up until recently, it sort of gives me the willies. And it was SO CLEAN up until I left for LP. I shudder to think how much poop it takes to close a beach......Ick....

It's hard to think that tomorrow is September 1st. This weekend - there are projects to be completed. Well, one for sure - cleaning and staining the deck. Yuck.

We also have Gopher Football season beginning tomorrow against Bowling Green. Mark is an avid Gopher fan, whilst I am an avid Badger Fan. (having grown up in Wisconsin - my allegiance is still Red/White!) I do however wear Gopher colors with the exception of when they play Wisco!

Sunday - I'm joining my fellow P2 teammates for what may be my last official run of the season with my team before surgery. Can't wait to see coach and everyone. It's been awhile!

Monday - some of my Gear West team mates are having an end of the season triathlon - Lake Minnewashta style. You can show up for the swim and swim as little or as much as you like - followed by T1; bagels, o.j., muffins, gatorade - whatever. Maybe - an hour or so later the bike - again you can bike as little or as much as you like - followed by T2. Perhaps you care for a few bagels, or perhaps you might crack open a beer.....I think you get the picture.

I hope everyone will be enjoying their weekend with family & friends and enjoying the "working man's holiday" weekend.

Be safe!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Waiting for my volunteer duties

I'm excited about my volunteer duties at Ironman Wisconsin in a few weeks. Following that I will be volunteering at the Irongirl Duathlon in Bloomington. It's one of the coolest events, which by the way takes place on my B-day. I'm bummed I won't be able to participate in the event. It takes place just a couple of weeks after my hip surgery so I simply had to forfeit my entry...
I'm even more excited that I've confirmed 5 days at the Crowne Plaza in Lake Placid in order to train on the course and volunteer.
I've actually thought quite a bit about taking the year off of triathlon - maybe I should make it strictly a year of volunteering instead of racing.....

Monday, August 6, 2007

My extended family

Now that IMLP is checked off on the List of things to complete this summer, I am looking forward to IM MOO. This got me to thinking....

A few years ago I went to the inaugural IM Wisconsin event by myself - knowing no one. None of my friends were interested in joining me and at that point in my life - I was practically afraid of my own shadow let alone going somewhere by msyelf and being forced to meet new people. I spent all day there - taking in the sites and reveling in the thought that I wanted to do this thing called triathlon.

Now, we go to IM knowing so many acquaintances, friends and local triathletes that it's like showing up for a family reunion. There's always those family members you are particularly close with and those that you've heard of but not seen or
talked too much - but still have a connection with. You see them and suddenly you have a big smile on your face and you cheer for them all the same. The same goes for the local races. It's like showing up to a family get-together. I feel very fortunate for those I've had the opportunity to meet and call friend.

While I'm not AS shy as I used to be, I'm still a little overwhelmed sometimes at the thought of meeting new people. I've learned from some of my extended family though how to be more social and quite frankly - having such wonderful family makes it easy to FEEL comfortable. Sort of like being wrapped in your favorite blankie...

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Race Report

Swim - The swim was the craziest I've ever experienced. Mirror Lake where we swam is pretty narrow for the most part and to fit almost 2300 people in a mass swim start is sort of crazy. I placed myself with a friend in the back of the speedy swimmers and sort of on the inside by the dock to align myself with the buoys we needed to swim around. That proved to be a very costly mistake. It took me almost 2-3 minutes to even get across the start line! Once across - I could merely dog paddle or tread water to hold my ground and look for ANY open space to begin swimming. I would not really find a good comfortable pace until lap two however, due to the congestion of bodies. At the beginning of lap two - the athletes actually run out of the water onto the beach and then back into the water on the other side. Once I started running, my left leg cramped horribly and when I tried swimming it simply kept cramping. I swam back to where I could stand and massaged my calf for a minute until most of the pain subsided enough to swim. That was the first cramp of that magnitude I've ever experienced in a race and I really thought it was going to prevent me from completing the swim!

Bike - The bike was simply too gorgeous for words. I wished I would have taken a camera with me but I'm afraid I would never have been able to complete the course in time if I had done so! I had friends warn me to be extremely relaxed and to take my time on the first loop of the bike course. The hills were very long and high but very manageable as long as you found a good cadence and stuck with it. On most of the big hills I could only manage about 6-7 miles/hour. There is a long down hill once you reach the top of one of the sections which is about 6 miles long. It was amazing - my first loop I managed to reach 47 miles/hour - but due to the wind on the second loop I could only muster 35 miles/hour. There was a section where it's an out & back and the turn around has an aide station. At the turn around there is actually a very small town which looks like there are only about 20-30 homes. I have heard stories about this place and that they have a different theme each year and dress up in costumes etc. All I can say is that as we were approaching the town you could hear the thumping of the music for miles. Once I hit the town limits it was mayhem and throngs of people everywhere. My eyes misted over a little because I do not believe I've ever experienced anything like it. It was a huge party just for us. You couldn't help but smile from ear to ear. This years theme? Halloween. They had balloon arches and they had the lawn/house ornaments out, balloon arches etc I stopped at this aide station both times and talked with some of the volunteers. They were a blast - and I told them they were the highlight of my trip. I had some Gastric problems on the bike right away - and it took me a bit to dissect the issue and then try to correct it. I think my Gatorade concoction was too harsh - so I had to dilute it. It would take me until about mile 13 of the run to really get over that.

Run - The run was quite hilly in spots, but again, there were some amazing sights. As I mentioned the first 13 miles my stomach was pretty upset but I knew that I was going to be able to finish in time - so I wasn't worried too much. While I tried to push myself somewhat - if I saw a person struggling - I stopped and walked a bit with them and chatted w/ them. I think one of the most interesting things about this sport is that it brings so many different people together and you have the opportunity to learn so much from others - what drives them, what inspires them, why they do this thing called Ironman. It's purely a blessing that any of us can do it - and it's another blessing to meet so many other wonderful people. The spectators where awesome as well. I don't think there was a minute that went by that I didn't hear my name called out - telling me I "looked good," or "keep going - you can do it!" I was hoping to have finished in 15 hours - but considering the views I stopped to take in and the amazing people I met along the way - I think it's worth the extra time.
If anyone is looking for a place to race their first or next Ironman. I firmly recommend Lake Placid.
My Finish Line Catcher was FABULOUS! She was extremely nice and very patient. (Even though I know you need to keep everyone moving!) She even took the picture of Mark and I!