Monday, April 28, 2008

Expecting the Unexpected

I've had a feeling something was going to happen the past few weeks, and last Thursday it did. My God mother and aunt Marla had a massive heart attack and is in ICU in Seattle. She has been sick for a very long time, since she was a little girl, with type 1 diabetes and has been in and out of hospitals her entire life. If there is one person in the world I relate to more than anyone else it is her. We have always had an unsaid connection and she is like a second mother to me. She has always lived far away, and I have only seen her probably 10 times in my life, but each time I see her it feels like we've never been apart. So you can understand how upset I was when my mom told me Thursday that she was sick. A few hours later I had bought an airplane ticket to go see her in Seattle, and I met my mom, sister and grandma in the airport after we landed (they came from Chicago).
As bad as the situation is, I am so thankful I had the chance to spend time with my family. I dont remember the last time we were all together like that, and it's amazing the support we provide each other. I don't know what or where I would be if it wasn't for each one of them. My mom, aunt, grandma and sister have all made me who I am in their own special ways and I couldn't be more thankful for that.
It was a handful taking care of my grandma for the weekend, she was a mess and crying all the time. My sister and I kept her smiling and laughing as much as we could. I told her she is the best multi-tasker I know because she is always crying and laughing at the same time! I miss her so much and I wish she was spending the last years of her life happier than she is. She's so stressed taking care of my step-grampa who struggles with lymphoma and is currently undergoing rehabilitation for pneumonia back in Wisconsin. Her brother also recently had his leg amputated. My grandma is one of the strongest people I know - not to mention adorable.
Seeing my aunt in the ICU wasn't as devistating as I had expected. We visited her once a day for the three days I was in town. She had tubes everywhere and was very tired and weak, but we made her laugh and smile anyway by talking about shopping and telling her stories. Today she will have an echo-cardiogram done and we will know for sure the damage. The doctor said things are looking up and she may be able to return to a somewhat normal life after this. I sure hope so. She e-mails me every day and I feel so lonely without her lovely e-mails.
As you can guess, I've struggled keeping up with training the past few weeks. I don't remember the last time I went on a long bike or run, but at least I get something in every other day. When things settle down, and after we move, I'll get back into the swing of things and right into Ironman training. But for now, family is first, training is second, and thats what it will always be. And who knows, maybe thats what I need since I was in such a rut after Lake Havasu Tri. As they say, everything happens for a reason.


It's been a long time and lots of things have happened. On the 18th Brian and I went to Denver to check it out. It was beautiful, although dry and a little hard to breathe when exercising. First we drove all around Denver, and even up to Boulder to check out all the areas. We agreed the Evergreen, Morrison, Lakewood, Golden area is the best and we signed a lease for an apartment in Lakewood May 15! I am excited, but a little worried about finding a job after we move. I don't like being without a steady income for too long, it makes me nervous. I am happy though that I am getting the heck out of Phoenix. I hate it here... way too hot to bike, run and swim and I'm just crabby and unhappy all summer! We'll be back for Ironman in November, so I'm not too worried. More on the move to come later.
We spent the weekend hiking in Evergreen, eating and we saw Forgetting Sarah Marshall in the theater by our hotel in Englewood. There is a really awesome sandwich shop right by our new apartment that we ate at twice called Great Harvest Bread Company, and we also ate at an Israli restaurant like one of our favorites in Scottsdale.
The weekend went fast, and before we knew it we were back in the polluted Phoenix area breathing the bad air again... yuck! I'm going to start the application process for grad school as well. I'm going to go for education and am excited. I'm thinking about the program at University of Northern Colorado.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Ironman Arizona

Ironman Arizona was a brutal defeat for many athletes... including Brian. It was the first Ironman he had to drop out of (at mile 18 of the run with 8 miles to go!) and I feel so bad for him. It's hard to watch someone you care so much about in such a weak condition.

On Saturday we went to the Y and watched a 5K there. I've been feeling pretty sick again this week, so I opted out of the race this time. Patrick ended up winning, which wasn't a surprise at all. He won $100 and he said he was going to use the money to make signs for Ironman. I'm not sure if he actually did. Anyway, it was a windy day. I biked there and pretty much gave up on going fast, I just wanted to get there to watch the 5K. We prayed that it woudn't be windy Sunday for Ironman again, becasue last year was so bad, and the weather report predicted 6 mph winds for Sunday. We had our fingers crossed.

Sunday we got up at 4 a.m., ate breakfast and headed down to the race. When Brian headed into transition I walked up to the Mill Ave. bridge to watch the start of the swim. Jorge and Ted were up there and we watched the pros take off and then 15 minutes later the age-groupers went. Brian came out of the water at in 1:08, which was his same time as last year. I watched him run through transition and head out on the bike. He was doing great, but the wind had picked up and we knew it was going to get hot. The first (of three) lap on the bike Brian had caught up to his brother, Adam, who had a faster swim by a couple minutes. He looked strong, so I stayed confident. On the second loop he was still ahead of Adam, but I could tell he was slowing down. Turns out he said his legs were done by mile 60 because he wasn't taking salt tablets. After he passed the second time I headed down to run aid station #2 where I had signed up to hand out water to the runners. The aid station was at mile 1.5, so I expected Brian to pass by shortly after Keith Rusin, a friend of his who was about 10 minutes ahead of him on the bike. But after Keith ran by I didn't see Brian for quite some time. I started getting worried, but after a while he came walking by. He was dead. His face was white with salt, his eyes were red and he looked dilerious. I was worried, but he said, "It's goinig to be a long day babe," and I figured he would just walk the marathon and finish anyway. After he passed the second time (after 3 or more hours, each lap was 8 miles) he looked worse. I was done with my volunteer shift so I headed back to the lake to watch the run with the Gage Total Training tri group. Brian kept getting slower and when I saw him around mile 18 he said he was done. I walked with him to a grassy area where he layed down while I went to hand in his chip at the finish line.

There were just over 2000 participants, and only 1690 crossed the finish line. The average finish time was pushed back one hour and more people finished in the 16-17 hour range than any other Ironman. I know as many people that finished as those that did not. All in all, it was a rough day and I am proud of everyone that attempted this race. There's always November, and hey, I'll be out there too. I'm just praying for better weather!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Lake Havasu and update

So on Friday March 21 Brian and I took the long drive to Lake Havasu for the Lake Havasu Olympic distance triathlon. Lets just say I was very excited for the race becasue I haven't been racing a lot lately, just training. Well... my excitement was gone early race-day morning as soon as I felt the wind whipping through my hair. We left our hotel room on our bikes early and rode down to the lake where the transition area was. First, we got crappy spots in the crammed transition area. Then we did a warm up run and it turned out the beginning and end of the run was on dry sand! I was not happy, and it didnt help the water was 62 degrees either.

Brian started with the collegiate men, and I was left standing alone on the beach waiting for my wave to start a half hour later. The water was freezing, and when the horn went off I dove in. The waves were much more rough than I expected. I was getting tossed everywhere and could hardly breathe because my body was so cold. I went into a panic state, but pushed through it by swimming very slowly and taking long deep breaths. I couldn't believe I made it out of the water alive after the swim! I ran into transition and grabbed my bike. We had to run over dirt and rocks with our bikes to get to the road, and as soon as I hopped on my bike I felt the wind whipping at me. I couldn't believe how slow I was biking. It felt like I wasn't even moving. It was then when I got really sad and realized my time was going to be absolutely horrible. The bike course was the hilliest course I've ever done. There was even a point where I had to get off my bike and walk up a hill it was so bad. When I saw Brian halfway through the bike course, I could tell he was also having a hell of a day. By the time I finished the bike I had given up on the run. I told myself I was just going to run the 6.2 miles and enjoy the Lake Havasu scenery.... and I did. I ran slow and had a jolly old time. I finished in 2 hours and 57 minutes, which is so depressing. Brian gave up too, and we were both happy to get the heck out of there after crossing the dreaded finish line. I was the most happy after arriving home and enjoying a large bowl of yummy cereal.

After the devistation of Havasu (that even sounds horrible) I really want to have a good next race. I've been feeling a little down, and my body is sore. I want to take it easy for a while and regain my mentality because right now in training I even hate running. We decided not to swim in the toilet bowl (aka Tempe Town Lake) for the 2.4 mile open water swim on Sunday. Next weekend is Ironman and I will be volunteering at run aid station #2 and cheering for Team Folts. I am very excited for that and cant wait to see how Brian does.

Last Saturday I biked with Brian, Patrick and a group of Lifetime Fitness cyclists to Tortilla Flat. It was an awesome ride and we met the CEO of Lifetime. I decided today to rejoin the gym because I miss it so much. The Y is great, but nothing beats Lifetime and it's 24-hour pool hours. Hopefully this decision will also motivate me in training as well, and to stop being such a downer.

March 31 was also my moms birthday. I think she turned 26 again... haha just kidding. HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM! I love you!

Thats all (for now) folks.