13th July 2010 | Megan
This week, 243 miles ridden, 50 miles ran and a lot of swimming…
Then why do I still have a few pounds to lose before the big day?!? Could it be the Klondike Bar in that shiny silver wrapper calling my name? Not likely but it might be the 2 Klondike Bars.
Ironman training nutrition is cruel. You need to fuel for the workout in front of you and then fuel for proper recovery so that your muscles can perform the next day. Fueling properly this year seemed much harder than in the past. Part of the reason might be my age and the greater length of time it takes to recover, some of it may be our family’s hectic schedule (eating on the fly) but mostly I think it is because I have decided that I am not a very good eater. Errr…I am actually a very good eater, champion in fact. That is the problem.
Every Monday for the past several weeks I begin the day by telling myself, “this is the week”, get my nutrition on track. Every Monday around noon, the plan is foiled. So is the plan to do 5 1 minute planks followed by push-ups or another sort of strength routine. Now, I am two weeks out from race day and nothing I can do or change will help me on race day. Am I OK with that? Well, yes. Why? Because after almost 10 years in this sport and 15 years of running marathons, not much has changed. I exercise, I eat ice cream, I drink wine and I exercise again.
If I had to give up my bowl (or two) of ice cream or glass of wine (or bowl) at dinner, I don’t think I would want to race. So I make myself feel better by weighing myself after my run on Saturday which was 17 miles. I lost 6 pounds of water weight! Forget that it was right back by the evening. For a minute, by myself, in my bathroom, I was my race weight! Woot, woot!
Besides, ice cream is an excellent recovery food and wine is full of wonderful antioxidants. People pay big money to buy nutritional supplements and recovery drinks that have the same properties. I like to scoop and pour, scoop and pour, scoop and pour.
In two Sundays at this time, I hope to be eating a cheeseburger and a tall glass of ice cold milk, followed by a huge diet coke with ice, a glass of wine and a whole sleeve of Klondike Bars.
10th July 2010 | Megan
When I was in 7th grade in Ms. LeBlue’s art class I painted a water color Christmas card for my Mom. I presented it to her on Christmas morning anxious to hear the oohs and ahhs . She glanced at the exterior, read the inside of the card and set it aside. It wasn’t until we were cleaning up the wrapping paper that I mentioned to her that I had painted the card. Her eyes lit up as she reviewed the card in a new light. It was the most beautiful card she had seen she said. Years later, I received that card back in a beautiful frame that I now put on my mantel every year. The thought that she kept that card for another 20 or more years is wonderful.
A month or so ago, Jane came home with a piece of art made on a a paper plate with two handles. It looked great, I told her and then propped it in the kitchen on a plate stand. There it sat for several weeks. The colors were great in my kitchen so I left it there. Last week, Jane brought it into me while I was working in the office. “Mom, do you know what the title of this art is?” she asked. I made a few wild guesses. “It is you, and the title is ‘Fight to the Finish Line” . Looking at the art in a new light as my Mom did all those years ago my eyes welled up. The project was a Roman Shield, brown and beige with two handles to hold. There I am perched on a mountain with a sword in my hand, fighting to the finish line.
Wow, now I have a mantra, provided by my 10year old daughter. A young girl who made this because she loves her mother and because her art teacher gave them an assignment to make a shield with a family member on it, having no idea how powerful her art has become. It was great work to begin with, I loved it when I knew she had done it but now I stare at it constantly hoping to become that person on the hill with a sword in hand, “fighting to the finish line”. 2.5 more weeks. Almost there.
8th July 2010 | Megan
Last long weekend of training…
Last long ride and run were scheduled for this weekend. Because of the bike accident, managing the kid’s health (endless trips back and forth to NYC) and a nagging heel spur, I am a bit behind in my running. The goal this weekend was to ride over 100 miles and then run this morning about 3 hours. Spread over two days compared to the Ironman itself, how hard could that be?
Here is a brief “teaser” that was posted on the Bethel Cycle Message Board for the annual 4th of July ride.
The annual July 4th ride will take place on, that’s right, July 4th, when we will celebrate our independence from both sanity and Britain by riding more than 100 hilly miles. Come prepared to spend 6 or more hours in the saddle in roasting sunlight and dubious company. Past epic rides have featured snake attacks, wasp attacks, town line attacks, dehydration, sunburn, and road rash. This year’s edition of a soon-to-be classic promises to live up to its epic status with somewhere between 100 and 120 miles, depending on the whims of the ride leader, and over a mile of vertical gain. Bring plenty of water, cash for refueling stops, Benadryl, Epipens, snake bite kits, and spare lungs. Riders who know the roads well may wish to do only part of the ride and take a shortcut home, but do so with the knowledge that we’ll mock you for that. On a more serious note, if you’ve never done a century before, this might not be the best one to start with, so know your limits; if you’re sure you’re up
Enticing, huh? I know, you wanted to come as soon as snake attacks were mentioned. I knew by committing to this ride, there would be great company, loads of adventure and an the long bike ride that I needed. We met at Bethel Cycle, 14 hearty souls to start and finished the ride with 6. Ouch! A couple of riders split off to shorter distances, then the adventure began. My good friend Rick (and ride leader) was stricken with a migraine about 50 miles into the ride. Sun, heat, several thousand feet of climbing and his brain decided to stop him. With Rick down, we also lost his wife Rebecca and their friend Chris. Chris came from Old Saybrook (flat riding) to spend the day climbing with us in the Connecticut Alps. He is a great cyclist and also has Crohn’s Disease, so we compared notes for about an hour of the ride. Rick and Rebecca are my constant, reliable training partners. Without them on the rest of the ride, I thought I would be lost.
We carried on after leaving Rick, Rebecca and Chris at the XtraMart. Now it is me, and 5 men who are all GREAT cyclists. After about 10 miles, there was some idle chit-chat about a bridge being out. Greg and Roland ( a Swiss giant, very knowledgeable about the area and an incredible athlete) traded thoughts about the route. Roland convincingly told us that the bridge was no problem. RRiiggghttt… see picture below.
Yes, that is us carrying bikes and bodies down a 25 foot embankment then over pipes and disgusting water via rickety 2x4s and then back up the other side. Keep in mind it is 95+ degrees and the sun is blazing. The last 25 miles of riding was a great team effort as we all wanted to end the misery. What is the 4th of July ride without adventure? We arrived safely back at Bethel Cycle, finishing 106 miles and more than 6000 feet of climbing. Another Ironman athlete, John and I headed out after for a 20 minute run. Then home, ice bath, pack the potato salad and watermelon and head up to the high school for fireworks. In bed by midnight!
I wanted to be up this morning at the crack of dawn but missed it. Scheduled to run 3 hours, and at 9 am it was already 80 degrees. Darn! I sent out a last minute plea to the Ridgefield Racy ladies to see if anyone would join me in the death march. Beth offered so I met her 1.5 miles into the run. It was great to have company and encouragement for the 5 or so miles that Bethe braved. When we stopped, I refueled and she sprayed me with more sunscreen and off I went. At 2 hours into the run I was clammy and thirsty, I stopped and got more water, drank about 20 more ounces and loaded my bottles.
At 2 hours and 20 minutes, the little negative guy perched himself on my shoulder and told me to quit. With Ironman, I pride myself on keeping “that guy” away and beating the elements to have a good race. Today, I was tired, dehydrated and defeated. Quit now? Only wimps quit. Call me wimp. I stopped a half hour short of my goal. Called for a ride home and took another ice bath. Having consumed more than 50 ounces on the run of water, Gatorade and gels, I still lost 6 pounds of water weight. Perhaps quitting was OK today.
I am in for a big swim tomorrow then off to visit Chon’s sister and family in Boston for a few days. Running shoes and a swimsuit are in order.
7th July 2010 | Megan
Itchy, Itchy, scratchy, scratchy…oooh, I got one down my backy.
Flea, Flea Fly, Flea Fly Mosquito,… and so it goes…
Without the support of friends and family it is difficult to do much at all. Like figuring out the rest of the lyrics to that age old camp song. Seems insignificant and minor but it is all part of a bigger picture. Last weekend, two of my good friends, Rebecca and Sue roomed with me during a training weekend for Ironman USA in Lake Placid. As we got ready to pack up after a weekend of riding, running and swimming, that song popped into my head. What were the words? Lots of laughing, texting (to my sister) and finally “Bing-ing” it gave me the lyrics to the song. So, for the rest of the afternoon and the long 5 hour drive home, the camp song played as background music in my head.
I have been very fortunate this past year to have such wonderful friends and family that have supported us during a rough patch (see http://www.im4crohns.org/?page_id=4 , to read the story). Now, this very support network is getting me ready for Ironman. As my family fills in the holes doing mounds of laundry, eating marginal meals and kissing me goodnight as I tire long before them, they all sacrifice to help get me to the start line. I have friends that ride with me, some that meet me at the pond for swims and others that run portions of my long runs to keep me fresh. I am lucky.
Right now I am three weeks away from Ironman. A bit behind schedule, but feeling almost ready. Ironman doesn’t let you cram. I will be racing on my fitness and experience but mostly drawing inspiration from my family and friends that have helped me get here this year. Endless trips to New York for appointments, tests, procedures and even surgeries has made me stronger than before. We are fortunate to have three beautiful children just unfortunate in their disease. Their positive outlook, strength and bravery during this past year, makes me proud and strong. I am racing for them this time. Hoping to help make the rest of their lives symptom free.
For those that have helped get me to the starting line and continue to do so, thank you! I will be blogging about the next few weeks on this site, www.im4crohns.org If you are really bored, my past blog posts can be found here…http://runlikeamotherrace.com/index.php/blog/
When the miles get long at Ironman, I know what song I will be singing. Calamine, calamine, calamine lotion, oh no, no not the lotion, itchy, itchy, scratchy… you get it.
21st April 2010 | Megan
I didn’t know how I would feel when my children decided to join me in my one “alone time” activity.