Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Summer is Here.....and some other good news

Yeah, it's hot and humid and I got to run outside and ride outside without being cold and no wind. Ha!

It was a little warm on my run yesterday. Due to the shopping/gymnastics schedule, I ran after I dropped Peanut at the gym--11:30. I went to Waterfall Glen. Since I decided no half iron distance race this year, my "A" races will be the sprint at Evergreen (40K Bike--YEAH!) and the Olympic race in Niles on 9/5. So, I'm following an olympic distance training plan. Which basically means much less training, and more ME/FAMILY time, which is fine with me.

So, yesterday the plan was for a 1,000 meter swim and a 20 minute run. I decided that even though it was really warm, I wasn't going to go through all the trouble to run for only 20 minutes. So I packed up all my stuff (lots of fluid, salt tablets, gel) and ended up running 4 miles. Not much, really, but I really felt the heat. Not much company on the path, either. One other runner, a couple walkers and bikers. Most sane people were not out at that time. However, it's a good place to run in the heat because about 50% of the part I ran is shaded. It was hot, and I did take frequent, short walk breaks, but I really felt good when I was done.

Drove to LTF Burr Ridge and had a good strength/stretch/core session. Didn't even bother trying to swim outside--the pool was packed, and I knew the water would be ridiculously warm. It was almost unbearable the day before. I swam inside and it was refreshing and felt good after the hot run.

Last night was tough sleeping. Our basement and first floor stay nice and cool, but the upstairs, not so much. Our bedroom thermometer read 88 at 9 p.m. last night. I tried sleeping in the basement, but the couch is really uncomfortable and my back was killing me, so I ended up in my own bed. Put the fan on high, no covers, as little clothing as possible. Not too bad.

M,W,F Peanut's practices start at 8 a.m., which is great for riding near the gym. I brought my bike and did my 25 mile loop. It was warm, but after riding 112 miles in almost 100 degrees in the hills of KY last August, I feel like I can ride in almost any kind of heat. Time was a factor, as I had to get home to take R-man to the bowling alley. He couldn't find a ride, and I was not going to let him walk 2 miles to the lanes carrying his 14 lb. ball and shoes. He did it on Monday, and I felt awful. So, I dropped him off, headed back to the gym for Peanut, and then back to pick him up. I think I drove about 60 miles today. Short workout, but I feel good.

One thing I learned last week--tapering, rest and a day off really WORK! I definitely plan to try that more often.

The best news of the day: I take a medication for my Rheumatoid Arthritis that costs approx. $15,000 per year. I am very fortunate to have insurance, and my co-pay every three months is $150. Comparatively, not a bad deal. However, considering our recent financial woes, $150 is not chump change. I needed to order my next three month supply this week. I get it from a mail order specialty pharmacy. They always call to schedule delivery, etc. When I spoke to the pharmacy today, the very nice lady told me that I was eligible for a co-pay assist program run by the company that manufactures the drug. Long story short, I now get the first six months for FREE, and the second six months for $20.00. OMG, I was in shock. Instead of $600 for the next year of medication, I will be paying $20.00. That is such an amazing blessing. Thank you God!

I'm so excited to share good news. I love the summer, I'm enjoying my current reading (Stephanie Plum rocks!), and I'm saving money. What else could I ask for. Also, hubby has been working a lot of hours at the hotel, which is really good for our bottom line.

BTW, R-man bowled a 268 last week at practice. Went bowling with Dad on Sunday and bowled 204. Monday he bowled a 209. It would be great if he can bowl this way when school team tryouts happen. He would love to make the team again.

That's all I got. Tomorrow will be a later run. Rain is in the forecast, but it should be cooler. I could run on the treadmill, since the training plan calls for only a 25 minute run, and a 1500 meter swim.

Enjoy the warmth and stay cool.

Until next time--God bless!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

A Day of Firsts

As I was thinking about yesterday's race, I realized there were several things that happened for the first time:

1) First race since the distaster at Ironman Louisville--it felt really good to start and finish a race.

2) First race of 2009 season. Didn't know if I would race at all this year.

3) First race--EVER--without contacts. I did my first race in 1985, and have never not worn my contacts. I am really blind, so I need glasses/contacts to see. I used inexpensive prescription goggles, and it was a very short run to my bike out of the pool. It worked out really well.

4) First race driving the CRV. We've always taken the Town & Country, mostly because we can fit my bike and all my junk and four people. Since the car needs new tires and we still don't know why it sometimes won't start and the 'Check Engine' light comes on, I decided to see if I could fit my bike in the CRV. It works OK--it's a tight fit, and only two people can ride in the car. Since the kids stayed home and really aren't interested in watching me race anymore, it was a wise decision.

5) First time I drove home after racing. Jerry usually does all the driving. But he worked much later than planned Saturday morning, and only slept 1.5 hours, so it only seemed fair for me to drive home--it was only about 1:45 drive and I was fine after a sprint.

6) First time I messed up on the course. It's a long story, but I was an idiot. I thought I was done when I still had more to do (we had to run past the finish line and do part of another loop before the end). Jerry told me I wasn't done, so after I went through the chute and turned in the tag on my number (not a chip timed race), I kept going. I was upset because it cost me about 1-2 minutes, but it really didn't matter in the end. Jerry retrieved my number from the spindle and handed it to me before I crossed the finish line. I should have listened to him--he's ALWAYS right about that stuff. I felt like such an idiot.

7) First time doing this race. It was the first time this race was held in this particular venue, but it was a rebirth of the Rockton Tri, so I don't know if that counts or not. In any case, I don't think I've done a tri in that area before.

8) First time since 1991 I swam in an indoor pool as part of an outdoor triathlon. The Schaumburg race is in a pool, but it's an outside, 50 meter pool. This pool was 25 yards long. I have to say I really enjoyed the swim. Each athlete started 20 seconds apart, and I did a good job seeding myself. I guessed it would take me 7:15 to swim 350 yards, and my time was 6:49. I was happy!

9) First time I've been up at 4 a.m. since Louisville. Nuf said.

10) First time I raced with my disc wheel since 2007.

11) First time in a long time (only the 2nd race ever) the race didn't provide bathing caps. At least at this race they weren't required (in a pool swim, not necessary--but since I always swim with one, I remembered to bring my own). One race I did caps were required but not provided. What a mess. Now they provide caps.

And...I finished first in my age group. I know there were at least three of us, because they gave three awards for women 50-54. The race director said there were about 144 people racing. Jerry tells me I finished 6th overall female (according to results posted at the race), 19th fastest overall bike time, and 39th overall finisher.

Jerry said my swim time was right about in the middle of the pack, which makes sense. We won't talk about my run. I thought I was running faster than my actual pace. Suffice to say it felt like the longest 3 mile run ever. I think because I usually run longer, I thought 3 miles would feel short. Not so much. It was getting warm, and I really pushed the bike--averaged about 20 mph on a course I thought was mildly challenging. Many of the racers (including the director) thought it was a really tough, hilly course. I didn't really think so. I loved it.

I'm probably forgetting some other "firsts" I was thinking about....

I was chatting with the winner of the 30-34 men's age group. He is a veteran ironman finisher. He did Louisville the first year, said he probably won't go back. Not only was the air hot, but he commented on how warm the water was too. Yeah, I remember. He encouraged me to go up to Wisconsin and sign up for 2010--don't think I'm ready for that on so many levels! I'm going to stick to my sprint and olympic races and worry about next year later.

Happy Father's Day to all. Hope you're having a great day!

Tracking a friend at Coeur d'Alene...glad it's not me!

Until next time--God bless!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Race Plans

On Sunday, my husband informed me that there was a race near Rockford this coming Saturday that looked interesting. I think he felt bad that I'm not going to do the half iron distance race that I've been training for since March. So, we checked it out and decided to go for it. It's in Roscoe, and was formerly the Rockton Tri. It will be a 350 yard pool swim, a 17-mile bike (which is what really got my attention), and a three mile run. It should be a small race and I plan to go, have fun, and do the best I can.

So, this week has been taper time. I've been following the taper I would have done for my half iron race, since my body is in that training mode. Monday I did a 1500 meter swim. Tuesday I rode, ran and swam and my body felt awful. Every session was hard and my legs felt tired and heavy. This is real typical of how I feel during a taper.

But today, I swam, rode and ran and felt sooo much better. Since all three sessions were really short and based on time and speed, I decided to ride inside on the spin bike at the fitness center and run on the treadmill. I wore my racing outfit to reacquaint myself with swimming in shorts and a tri top. It was a good workout, and my body feels fresh and rested. Tomorrow will be a short, easy swim and Friday will be a rest day.

I also signed up for a couple other races. I've wanted to go back to Evergreen. I did that race the first two years it was held, and they do a great job. Last year they added a sprint distance, but the key is the bike is still 40K--yeah for me. So I signed up for the sprint. I also signed up for a small sprint race in Schaumburg that I've done the past couple years. It's close, the price is right, and they do a great job.

I have plans for two other races--the 30th Annual LaPorte YMCA sprint which I've done several times--its a small race, great venue, and they do a great job; and the Niles Triathlon in Niles, MI on Labor Day Saturday. This will be my A race--olympic distance. It's a great course--challenging bike course which I love. I lost track of how many times I've done this race. It's a pretty easy drive and is always very reasonably priced. Every year the competition gets tougher and more challenging.

So, that will be a total of five races, and the entry fees for all of them is about what I paid for one of the half iron races I did last year. No overnight stays, which really cuts down on expenses (hotels, meals, extra gas mileage). Also, only one Sunday race to interfere with church for us and the kids. (We're hoping we can get them a ride to church and pick them up after the race--that's what we did last year!)

I have to say that while I'm getting the usual pre-race jitters, I feel so much better knowing I'm going to get to race this year after all. Jerry has been amazing and supportive as always. He knows how much I enjoy racing, and is willing to share this with me.

(I decided not to renew my USAT membership this year. I'm only doing two sanctioned races, so it's actually cheaper this year to just pay the one day fee for those races--more money saved.)

Congratulations to everyone who raced and rocked this past weekend--great job, everyone! Good luck to everyone racing, training, and riding this weekend. Hopefully, the weather will cooperate.

Until next time--God bless!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Why do drivers honk at cyclists?

It's been a little while since I've written. I've been spending time on facebook. I like it. It's quick. I can post several times a day. And since I'm not a talented blogger like some of the people I follow, I don't really have to have a lot to say when I post.

So.....what's new in my life? I've decided that the half iron race on 6/20 in WI is not happening. Just don't have the money. As a told someone the other day when asked about my racing plans for the year--I'm broke and burned out. Well, not really burned out, but it's a good excuse. I'm still holding out hope for about 3-4 races. I'll let you know when I know if they will happen or not.

I realized yesterday that last year I spent over $1,000 on entry fees alone for the four races I did. When you factor in all the other expenses, I just can't justify that right now. I really have to think about my family (i.e., kids) first when it comes to finances. When they were younger, it was easier. Now, bigger kids equal bigger expenses. Melissa will probably need braces, and I have no idea how that will happen. We may have to chose between gymnastics and braces. I hope that doesn't have to happen.

This was a crazy week of training. Peanut started her summer schedule at the gym. Since she is now a level 7, she practices Monday-Friday, 4 hours each day. I don't like to drive home and back again, so I get some good workouts in, between LTF in Burr Ridge, riding on the hilly streets, and running at Waterfall Glenn. The weather was pretty yukky, so I only rode outside once (Tuesday p.m.), and ran on the treadmill 3 times--too much for my body. I was able to swim and bike outside today--it was a gorgeous day. Not sure what I'll do tomorrow--rain is in the forecast for the morning and early p.m. Sunday looks like a better day for another ride.

So to get back to the title of my post--I was riding this afternoon on a frontage road along I-55. It's a narrow part of the road, and the street is really bad--tons of potholes, etc. I was riding up the little hill, a car was coming toward me in the opposite direction. As it passed, there was a car behind me--she laid on her horn, and really scared the heck out of me. I DON'T KNOW WHY SHE HONKED OR WHAT SHE EXPECTED ME TO DO! There was nowhere for me to go. I was riding as far to the right as possible. There was no shoulder. WHAT THE .........?

I actually do know why people honk. They are upset because they have to slow down for 5-10 seconds to let the other car coming toward them pass, before they are able to pass me. But please, really, what can honking your horn do, beside scare the heck out of the cyclist and maybe cause them (me) to swerve into traffic and for sure get hit? I just don't get it. I absolutely go crazy when a huge truck passes me, with plenty of room on either side of the truck, and insists on laying on the horn right as they pass me. Are they just ticked off because I'm on the road? Am I not entitled to be on the road?

Listen, I'm really a good rider. I pay attention to the lights and stop signs. I try to stay out of the way of cars. If a car wants to turn on red and I'm in the way, I move so they are able to turn. I ride the way I would want to see a cyclist ride when I'm driving. I signal when I'm planning to turn. I ALWAYS let the cars/trucks have the right of way--they are much bigger than I am and they will always win the fight anyway.

Anyway, I finally get that out of my head. I'm riding a six mile loop that is about 5.5 miles from my house. I like it because there are hardly any lights or stop signs, and usually the traffic is minimal. Today there was a little more than normal because I rode later--2:00 until almost 4:00. I knew I was taking a chance, but it really wasn't so bad.

There is a fire station on this loop. When I was on my third loop, I passed the fire station and a fire truck pulled up next to me. Right when it was along side me, they TURNED ON THE SIREN! OMG, it scared the heck out of me! I almost jumped right out of my saddle. Couldn't they have waited 10 more yards before turning on the siren, or did they do it on purpose to see me jump? If so, that really was not nice!

Now I'm heading home, passing a bunch of warehouses. It's really windy, and I'm riding into the wind. I hear a funny noise, like the noise you hear when a firecracker is set and before it explodes. A second later, I hear what sounds like a sonic boom! I'm not kidding, it was the loudest firecracker I've ever heard. I thought someone dropped a bomb, I kid you not. I turned and looked back and saw lots of smoke in one of the parking lots. REAL NICE, PEOPLE! It's not even the 15th of June, and you're messing with firecrackers already? YUK, I really hate firecrackers and the 4th of July.

Well, I got nothing else. Sunday is the Suburu Women's Triathlon in Naperville. Good luck to all the first timers, old timers, elite and pros. It should be a nice day, and I hope everyone has fun and a good time.

Good luck to everyone who is racing this weekend. I'll be praying for good weather and great times!

Until next time--God bless!

P.S. A friend of mind just started a blog. Check him out at

Monday, June 1, 2009

Training, Racing (?), Other Stuff

Today is a rest day. So for me, that means I swam an easy 2200 meters this a.m. As I sit here typing, it is pouring rain and thundering outside. Guess we're lucky it didn't rain Saturday or Sunday. Saturday started out kind of yukky, but of course as I was finishing my ride, it turned beautiful. Yesterday was great--I had an early, easy outside swim (the water was warm, but not unbearably so). In the afternoon I "practiced" transitions--which really turned into a bunch of run/bike/run bricks. 4 min. run, 10 min. bike, times 8, plus one final 5 minute run at the end just for fun. It was actually a lot of fun. The neighbors now know I'm completely crazy, watching me run and bike around the block like a crazy person.

It has been an interesting couple of weeks. The week before last was a "recovery" week, but I didn't do to good following the plan. I did fewer sessions, but still ended up training 16 hours. I just couldn't resist riding and running when the weather was nice.

I'm still not sure about the half iron race in WI on 6/20. I REALLY want to go, but don't know if I can justify spending the money on a race when things are so tight. We've talked about leaving the kids home with friends to cut down on the expense, but after paying bills yesterday, I just don't know. I've trained really hard, and I'm in good race shape (I think). I'm still too fat, but I feel really strong and would love to test out my fitness. We'll see. Maybe God will work a miracle and we'll find a way to make it work.

R-man had three of his six finals today. He already knows he aced his Biology exam, thus the course. That was the only test he was at all concerned about. I'm definitely more nervous about his exams than he is. He's a really good kid and a great student. I really wish I could find him a job for the summer. He's only 15, so he's even more limited than other kids in finding work. He will have bowling four mornings per week for a month, but then what?

Peanut starts her summer practice schedule next week. I'm pretty sure she'll move up to level 7, which means five days of four hour practices. Good for her, a little crazy for me, but it will give me tons of time to train. (Now, what I'm training for is still a mystery!) She finished her school work the Friday before Memorial Day and passed all her subjects with flying colors. She, too, is an excellent student.

Jerry found a part-time job at the Marriott in Burr Ridge. Because it's a "franchised" hotel and not run by the corporation, he looses the 15 years he had with the company--bottom line, a lot less money. BUT, we're very grateful he found the job. It's very close the the gym, and not a bad drive from home. He'll be doing the same thing he did at his previous job, so that's a good thing. It's an upscale area, so the tips should be good. All in all, good news!

Good news regarding R-man's cell phone. We have Verizon, and they just happened to be running an upgrade special. Bottom line, the kids will both get a new phone (nicer than what they have) and it only cost us $49.95. That is a really good deal. We're happy, and they're very excited.

As you may remember, I rode a lot of miles on my trainer this winter (over 2,500). Now, I LOVE riding my bike outside. However, I'm not crazy about fighting with cars/trucks on the road. I really try hard to be a good, courteous rider. I stop at signs whenever necessary, at lights (unless there is absolutely no traffic and I know I won't get a green light), and I follow the rules of the road. I ABSOLUTELY HATE when drivers honk at me just because they don't like the fact that I am riding my bike on the road. Heaven forbid a driver slow down to accommodate a cyclist on the road. It may cost them a total of 20-30 seconds of driving time at the most. WHAT IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE!

When I was riding last weekend, there were at least three cars that honked at me JUST BECAUSE! I just don't understand these people. I really try to avoid traffic when I ride, but there are times when I must cross a busy intersection, or maybe ride on a busy street for a short distance. WOULD IT KILL THE DRIVERS TO GIVE US A LITTLE ROOM ON THE ROAD?

I just read on a fellow triathlete's blog that he was hit by a car while riding over the weekend. He wasn't seriously hurt, but enough so that he needed to go to the hospital. Thank God he will be OK. But, the crazy woman that hit him got out of her car and proceeded to scream and yell and swear at him when he was on the ground, still attached to his pedals, bleeding! WHAT IN THE WORLD IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE! She claimed she didn't even see him. Well, maybe she needs to open her eyes and pay attention to the road. I know accidents happen, but really.....

OK, so that's my soap box for the day. End of rant.

Lots of races starting up in the next several weeks. Hopefully, I'll be able to participate in 3 or 4 this year--that would be my goal. My training is going really well--I'm a little tired today, but that's OK. Last week of long hours, runs and rides. Then two weeks of tapering before the race (I hope). After that, I'm not sure how I'll train. I'd like to do a couple sprints and olympic races.

Hope everyone is enjoying their training, racing and finally the warmer weather.

Until next time--God bless!