Saturday, August 29, 2009


(To avoid a really long facebook entry, decided to do this on my blog!)

The last 3-4 days I haven't felt like myself. I think the rain and cooler weather has impacted my RA, and I've really felt yukky. One thing I really notice is a lack of appetite, especially for good, healthy food. Since I'm tapering, I haven't been as hungry as normal either. So, I really didn't eat that much.

Last night I made tacos, refried beans and rice. Bad idea! I didn't eat much (Melissa ate as much as I did), but it just didn't sit in my tummy well. After a restless sleep (which seems to be the norm these days, what with those wonderful hot flashes and all), I woke up feeling sluggish and my stomach was still a little queasy.

I ate my normal breakfast of plain, instant oatmeal with a few raisins. I felt OK by the time I dropped Melissa at the gym. Her Saturday practices now start at 8:00, so I headed over to Waterfall Glenn, knowing it would be crazy hard to find a parking place. I parked on the street, and I didn't feel like going back to the parking lot to go to the bathroom, so I just started running. I know there's an outhouse about 2.5 miles into the run.

My training plan called for 60 minutes; I figured I'd run 7 miles (3.5 out and back), which is a little more than 60 minutes for me (today it was about 75). I actually felt good on the run. Stopped and went to the bathroom, and had an uneventful run. I was able to run all the hills, which was good since I haven't run at WFG for a while. But I must say that while Greene Valley's hills don't seem as tough, I think they really are, and that's where I've been doing my outside runs.

Anyway, since we only have one car, I drove home and picked up Jerry, who had a meeting at the gym. I drove to Lifetime Burr Ridge, and he drove to the gym. (This turned out to be a REALLY good thing).

I spent about an hour doing strength/core/stretch work. When I got to the locker room, I noticed I was REALLY dizzy and getting nauseous. I mean, so dizzy that I had to sit down. Bottom line, I felt really sick and couldn't eat or drink anything, including water. Jerry and Melissa picked me up, and the ride home was awful.

I exited the car and went directly to the couch. I just couldn't sit up without everything spinning. Jerry commented that I probably needed to eat/drink something ASAP. Just the thought of food was, well, not a pleasant one.

After about an hour, I started to get really thirsty. Had some Gatorade, and actually felt like I could stand up without keeling over. Bottom line: the more I drank and started to eat, the better I felt.

So, lesson learned: do not attempt to workout without enough food. Yeah, I KNOW THIS! What I didn't know is that the food I consumed the last couple days was either a) the wrong kind (most likely); or b) not enough (probably also true).

On a separate note, tomorrow will be the one year anniversary of my IMKY failure. As the day has been approaching, it's been on my mind more and more. When I see the forecast is for a HIGH OF 74 degrees and partly cloudy, it makes me even sadder. I'm SO HAPPY for the athletes competing tomorrow, but sad it couldn't have been this way last year. Oh well, as I've said before, the past is just that, past, and I'm concentrating on my olympic race next Saturday.

Good luck to everyone racing this weekend, particularly those in the Chicago Triathlon. The weather should be absolutely perfect.

Until next time--God bless!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Summer is Almost Over

It's been a while since I've blogged, and quite a bit has happened, little everyday stuff. I have been keeping up with facebook, so if you are a friend, you know my life day by day.

But in general, training has gone well. I find I am putting in almost as many hours training for an olympic distance this time of year as I did last year for Ironman Louisville. That's crazy, isn't it? I think because I've been doing a lot of biking and strength training, to make up for the swimming and running I'm not doing. Actually, I always do more than the program calls for, but not so much more as to get injured or overtrained (I hope).

Last Sunday I did my first organized ride of the season--Rotary Ride sponsored by....the Rotary Club of Naperville. Last year I rode the 100 mile route and did a 30 minute run after. This year it was an easy 62 miles, with a great catered pasta meal after. Soooo much better than last year. It's a fun, easy course and the best part is I rode the first 30 miles with Sheila (many of you may know her as Crackhead). Anyway, she was coming off some amazing training and Lake Placid, so we rode together well. She went on to do the 100 mile route. I rode back by myself. It was hot, but we started early and I was done early, so it really was a nice day.

Melissa's finished with her summer workout schedule for gymnastics. The gym was closed this past week, so I had more free time. This was my last week of quality/interval training, and now I begin to taper. The week was relatively uneventful--until Friday.

I am supposed to see my rheumatologist every six months, or at least have blood work done every six months to make sure the drugs I'm taking are not destroying my liver. Our finances being what they are, I put almost everything off this year. I decided it would be a good time to make the 1+ hour drive to Melrose Park--before school and the night practices start.

I drove to Burr Ridge and rode an easy 25 miles. It's on my way, so I figured the drive would be easy. HUH! I didn't realize they were tearing up North Avenue, which is already a pain in the !@# to drive on. I barely made it on time--she has one more patient after me and was leaving for the day, so if I hadn't made it, the trip would have been for nothing. Anyway, she says I'm doing great, considering my disease, and can't believe I'm able to do what I can. She did STRONGLY recommend I get the blood work ASAP, and said I only have to see her once a year as long as there are no problems. YEAH!

When I was riding on Friday, I noticed my right eye was bothering me. I figured it was from sweating, or salt, or whatever. By the evening, it was bloodshot and really painful. I think I've had this before, but can't remember what I did. Anyway, it's gotten worse every day, and I will definitely call the ophthalmologist tomorrow. People with auto immune issues need to get stuff like this looked at. It's probably allergies or something, but it is REALLY PAINFUL!

Today I drove out to Coal City and did the Bike Psychos ride. It's not that far, and I don't think I'll have any more organized rides, so I played hooky from church (again--shame on me). It was such a great day--cool, breezy, and sunny. I rode the 70 mile route which turned out to be 67 miles for me. I'm not kidding when I say that I rode 98% of the time without seeing another rider. I started around 7:50 (it was only 55 when I woke up, so I didn't rush to get started). I figured I either started after or before the other 70 milers, or else most of the people were doing the 100 or 124 mile routes. Anyway, I ran into two people I know--both doing the 100 together--and they took off at the 1st rest stop--they didn't stop. I was starving, so I did!

This ride was harder than last week--I think because I had a pretty hard run and swim yesterday, and just didn't feel like eating much last night or this morning. Yeah, I know better, but sometimes I just lose my appetite and it's really hard to eat. I'm still not wanting to eat, but since I need to swim and ride tomorrow, I need to find something appetizing.

So, 13 days until my last race of the season on 9/5--an olympic distance in Niles, MI. I love this race--it's a challenging bike course and the competition can be really tough. I'm just going to do my best and leave it all on the bike course and run the best I can. My recent runs have been good, but each race my run was slower than the last one.

It is officially taper time, although the plan I'm following doesn't really look like much of a taper. Less swimming definitely, but more running than the last four weeks, and the same amount of biking. I think I will edit the plan the second week so I get a good rest before the race. I'm going to need to be fresh.

Ryan starts his sophomore year at BHS tomorrow. He's not overly excited, but I think he's ready to go back. I think it's been a long, boring summer for him. Three honors classes should make it much more challenging.

Melissa starts evening workouts tomorrow. We will start her school on the 31st. I have all her textbooks, so I'll start working on her schedule this week.

Jerry is working hard and we love him for that. He's been very supportive--a great husband and dad.

Next Sunday is Ironman Louisville--the weather forecast: 81 degrees. Can you believe it? The last to years it's been in the 90's with a heat index in the 100's. Oh, what I wouldn't have given for that kind of weather last year. I KNOW it would have made all the difference in the world.

Hope everyone is enjoying the final days of summer--not officially, but it sort of ends after Labor Day here in Chicagoland. The kids are back in school, and things get back to "normal" for many people.

Until next time--take care and God bless!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

OOPS...I Forgot....

After my post last night, I remembered I forgot to congratulate all who ran the Rock N Roll Half Marathon in Chicago on Sunday. Props to all 17,000 who participated, especially Waddler, Lisa, and Gary. If I'm missing anyone, so sorry. GREAT JOB!

Monday, August 3, 2009

A Quick Update....Another Sprint Race

Things have been pretty routine since my last post. Training has gone well. I really believe that the short distance races/training has been good for me, both physically and mentally. It's been fun and challenging at the same time. Doing races every two weeks has made it a little tough on the training, but now that is done and I'm just training for my "A"race, olympic distance, 9/5.

I raced in La Porte, IN on Saturday. It was the 30th anniversary of the race. It's run by the YMCA and they do an excellent job. The swim is 1/4 mile (it always seems shorter to me); the bike is 12.4 miles; and the run is 3.3 miles (always seems longer to me). I've done the race 3 times in the past--once as a relay on the bike, and twice by myself. The last time I did it was 2006. It's on the same weekend as Steelhead (which I did in 2007), and last year I did Racine, which is the week before.

It was a beautiful day, weather-wise. I little breezy on the bike, but my mechanic decided early in the week that I would use my 404 and not my disk--turned out to be a smart decision. It started raining on the way home--that worked out great.

As I looked around before the start on the beach, I saw a lot of very fit-looking "older" ladies. Last time I finished 2nd in my age group. This year, I was hoping for a top 3 finish. Actually, I just planned to swim, bike and run as hard as I could and see what would happen.

I had a good swim, although I got caught (again) in a group of slower swimmers for the first half. Women 35 and older were the second to last wave--under 17 and relays were last. The waves started 5 minutes apart, so there really was no bunching up on the course. My swim was about a minute faster than last time, so that was good.

I knew my cyclometer wasn't working before the race. It konked out on me earlier in the week. Jerry thought he fixed it, but when we got to the race, he couldn't get it to work. (Turns out I needed a new battery, which is what I thought in the first place.) So....I had no idea how fast I was going, or where I was on the course. I only saw one marking at 10 miles. In the past the course was really crowded, and the first 4 miles was. But I passed a lot of people before the turn around (it's an out and back course), and the last half of the course was pretty open. Plus, I think we had the wind at our back. I wanted to equal or better my time of 34:28--ended up with 35:53 (20.7 mph). I seem to be stuck on that 20.7 number this year!

The run was HARD! My heart rate monitor kept going in and out (I need a new strap; both of mine are pretty warn). When it was working, I was above my AT, so I know I was working hard. However, I know my pace was not what I wanted. I really wanted to go under 9 min, but I ended up running 32:10 (9:37). BTW--each race my run time has gotten slower--YIKES!

My transitions were both about 1 minute, which is good for me. When I was done, I was convinced I left everything on the course. I couldn't have gone any faster. My final time was 1:18:10--43 seconds slower than last time--1:17:33. I was really hoping to break 1:17, but it didn't happen. I had no idea where I finished. I really don't worry about that. Jerry always goes to check the results.

I changed clothes and chatted with a nice young man (he finished 3d in 20-24, and his girlfriend finished 1st 20-24). We were racked across from each other, and talked for a little bit. Jerry came over and told me that I won my age group (by about 5 minutes).

Turns out I did pretty well--1/11 age group; 12/123 women; 6th place on the bike. As usual, my swim was about the middle of the pack, and my run--well, we won't talk about that. The race director announced this was the largest number of athletes in the 30 year history of the race.

I was really happy with my place, but would really like to improve on my times. I guess being three years older and a certain number of pounds heavier doesn't help. But you know, when I look at the women who finished after me, I definitely do not LOOK like I would be faster than them. It just goes to show that you can't always judge a triathlete by the way they look. I would love to look like them, but I would NOT like to give up my time.

I have to add that my RA has really been acting up. I think the weather has been a factor--the change in temp and rain makes it worse. Stress is also a huge factor, something I'm dealing with in a major way right now.

So, all in all, I was very happy with the day. I really didn't feel my best before or after the race. I'm hoping things will settle down and I can put it all together for my last race. It would be so cool if I could win my age group there too. I last did the race in 2007 and placed 1st in my age group. This will be my last USAT race in the 50-54 division. Next year I'll age up. The race is very competitive and has a challenging bike course. I did my PR for an olympic distance there in 2007, and had my fastest 40K bike time. We'll see--I can only do my best, and I will be happy if I do that.

Congratulations to everyone who raced this weekend, particularly all my friends and acquaintances who kicked butt at Steelhead. Every single one of you are amazing, and should be very proud of such a great accomplishment. Good luck to everyone racing this weekend--there are probably a lot of races--I know the Naperville Sprint is Sunday. Have fun. I'll be at the Warren Dunes with Melissa's gym. I plan to bring my wetsuit and practice swimming in Lake Michigan while I'm there.

So until next time--God bless!