Saturday, June 30, 2007

How do ya like me now?

Is the new layout sweet or what? I am in awe of Mallie's work. Is she fast and creative or what?

So I thought I'd take you through a day in the life of a girl 6 days post Ironman.

Get up

Decide today is the day to go on a bike ride, although you can't walk yet.

Change the cassette from the race wheels to your training wheels. It can't be that hard, can it?

Spend 10 minutes washing hands to get the grease off

Realize that you haven't put the damn wheel back on the bike

Spend 10 more minutes washing hands to get grease off

Start riding. Be amazed that you can bike without pain, but you can't take a single step on land

enjoy the beautiful scenery and lovely day in southeast Wisconsin with no Garmin, no HRM, and no watch. Think this must have been 3 hours

get back 90 minutes later and eat Indian food

Feel pretty damn proud of yourself for that killer ride

Strut around the house... well if you can consider a walk that fails to bend one leg a strut

2 hours later wonder how on earth a person could be this tired in the middle of the day. Did you not sleep last night???

Do a flying swan dive onto the bed. Sleep like the dead for an hour

Wonder how many days are going to be like this.

Oh, one more thing. I realize that some of you may have no idea why I named my bike Mike Honcho. Here's a clip for you. You will most likely finish and still wonder why the heck I named my bike Mike Honcho. But the bike enthusiasts will get it :-)

Friday, June 29, 2007

A shout out for a wonderful fellow blogger!

So you all may have noticed that I have done absolutely nothing to my blog for almost a year. I haven't updated my links, made any style changes, it's pretty lame. But, we have a very talented blogger in our midst. Mallie is raising money for the Lance Armstrong Foundation in her leadup to 24 hours of booty. For a donation of $25 or more she will totally give your blog a face-lift. And she does a magnificent job. This is like the best deal on the internet and the money you give goes to a great charity. (She's not shamelessly asking for money like yours truly did. I have absolutely no talent to offer!) We're going to get started on my new look soon, but head over to her blog and at least look at the great work she does.

So what do you think I should go with? I'm thinking black and pink in honor of Mike Honcho. I need to pick some good pictures to put on the header too. Any ideas??? This is so exciting!


Thursday, June 28, 2007

I did it! I really did it!

Are you ready for this?

I went down and up the stairs!

It's the little things, I tell ya. I've been going commando (I know, TMI) the past couple days because the thought of carrying my laundry downstairs was too daunting. But today I was a freaking rock star. Not only did I go downstairs to put my laundry in, but I also put my bike together! Wooohoooo! The weird thing is, I really, really, REALLY want to go out and ride it. Kind of hard to do when you can't bend one of your knees....

Yeah, I think I did some good damage to my left knee. Turns out, I don't think that it was the IT band after all. I think I may have irritated a ligament (like the lateral collateral ligament). Weird. Anyway, I'm walking around all gimpy this week because I'm trying not to irritate it. I need to get well because I'm going nuts here not doing anything. I want to RUN!

Oh, and here is something that ya'll might not want to do before your next Ironman- don't change brands of shoes right before without having the opportunity to put more than 2 miles on them. Yeah, genius move of the week. My feet are SO SORE! I had noticed that the new Mizuno Wave Runners hurt the outside of my feet when I was on the elliptical, but I figured it was just because when you're on that torture device your feet don't move around much. Wrong. My feet are killing me!

I'll probably be posting a lot of garbage over the next week, so feel free to ignore me. My life isn't exactly full of excitement right now. Sit around, eat, waste time on the internet, walk around, decide that it hurts to walk around, sit around, repeat.

But now I think I'll do something to loosen up these muscles... hot tub time!

Enjoy your days everyone!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Pretty cool video....

You really can't appreciated the waves from this video, but it's an awesome view of the swim start!

Official Race pics....

I'm still recovering and can't quite walk right yet. The plane ride swelled my feet and ankles to twice their size, despite wearing anti-embolism stockings. It was gross! Anyway, here are the official race pics. The resolution isn't great because they are scanned from the originals, but I thought I would put them up!

People lining up to pass me on loop 1:

Powering up a hill on loop 2:

Smiling for the camera!

Laughing as I'm tripping over the finish line!

Finally got it together! What a day! :-)

It's all done...

Monday, June 25, 2007

The Big One


Rested and relaxed (see Saturday's post). Carb loading was a bit setback because I started to get some serious stomach cramping. It wasn't the- oh my god I hope there are porta potties every 0.5 miles- it was the- if I eat anything I just might throw up from the pain- kind of cramping. Since I had an ulcer back in January I wasn't too pleased about this development, but there wasn't anything I could do about it so I just ate what I could and went to bed early.

Race Day!

Wake up call was 4am. The first thing that I did was check the weather. It was 9 degrees warmer than was predicted and I decided to make a last minute wardrobe change. I was going to suck it up and wear my tri-suit alone instead of the long sleeved cycling jersey that Miranda brought for me. This would require a bit of nutrition rearrangement from my T1 bag, so I was eager to get to transition early. I had some coffee, took a shower, ate a bagel with peanut butter and a banana and left for the race. Stomach was still really iffy. I didn't know if it was nerves, a bug I caught from the lake water, or a virus but I was hoping it would work itself out. I had my wonderful support crew (Miranda, Mom and Dad) to help me with my stuff and we headed out to transition to meet Paulo and Jonny.

I was very excited to race and got all my things taken care of in transition by 5:30 or so thanks to Paulo who was able to get into transition to help. It was VERY windy so we found some shelter on a stage and just relaxed for about an hour. It was nice to be out of the earshot of the speaker. Kept the nerves down. At 6:20 I put on my wetsuit in prep to go to see how bad the waves were going to be. But I knew the answer. 20 mph winds don't make for a calm lake.

Wetsuit donning:

Pre-race pic with Paulo

I walked over to the swim start. As I said goodbye to my family and friends and walked over to the beach by myself I got all choked up. It was really here. Thousands of people who have all been training and waiting and dreaming about this day were making their way slowly to the water. 2200 people were about to have their lives changed. It was awesome.

I had talked to Jonny and Paulo and Coach Angela and we all agreed that I was to start as far right as possible at the front. So I made my way over there and was relieved to see that there weren't many people there. And among those that were there were my friend Margaret and her man Glyn, and my CTC friend Mike. It was so nice to have a big hug from Margaret 5 minutes before the start. Again, I was out of earshot from the microphone so we watched our HRMs for the time. When it got to 6:59 and change, I started my watch. It was really happening...

Who wants to be an Ironman today?

Boom goes the cannon

Swim: 1:13

I had no problems practicing in the waves. I actually really liked it. But at the race it was different. I couldn't get into a rhythm, the waves were slapping me in the face, I was swallowing water, I felt helpless. I was 10 minutes into the race and I already thought it was over. How could I make it through this swim? I poked my head up and saw crowds of swimmers pulling away from me. Finally I just made myself snap out of if and started to swim. High turnover, as Jonathan instructed me to swim into the waves. I never really got into a good rhythm until I hit the turn buoys and it was a mess there. People everywhere. No one was moving. Finally I made it around the second buoy and cut inside the buoys to find open water. Finally I started to really swim. It felt good. I put my head down and just swam long and smooth all the way in. To get free water I had swam quite a bit to the left of the pack and had to swim a bit extra. I was really afraid to see my time at the turnaround. I was sure that it would be at least 45 minutes. It felt like 2 hours. I popped out of the water and looked at the clock. 36:00. Oh, thank God.

I jumped back in and decided to make the next loop a game. Reel in the swimmers. I started to work my way through packs. It kept my mind off the waves. Find swim packs and get around them. I was comforted to see the strokes of the swimmers around me. I was in packs of good, strong swimmers. It was a good sign. The second loop went really well. I was a bit surprised to see that the loop was slower than the first by a minute, but getting out of that water under those conditions in 1:13... I was ecstatic. Honestly, I was just so relieved to be out of that washing machine that I would have been happy with any time. Something I hadn't heard since I was out of earshot of the microphone was that the conditions were so bad that they offered a duathlon to anyone who didn't feel comfortable with the swim, or couldn't make the second loop.

T1- 4 minutes and change

Stomach was in complete knots. I was supposed to eat a gel in transition, but I was so nauseous that I couldn't think of it. I ran to the strippers, grabbed my wetsuit and then was greeted by one of the many angels of my day. My T1 volunteer. I don't know what it is about that brutal Ironman swim, but to have someone take my hand and say- "don't worry, I'll take care of you", just totally settled me down. She was such a sweetheart. Helped me get my stuff on and I was out on the bike in 4 minutes.

Bike: 6:38

The first loop of the bike leg was my second mental challenge of the day. I was strictly instructed to GET MY HEART RATE DOWN. I was also told by a lot of friends that you can't go too easy on the first loop. It took so much mental discipline. I had done heaps of bike training. My cycling was solid. But I had to hold back to save it for a run I wasn't sure that I could do. It was torture! I got on the bike and my HR was 180. I soft-peddled, and I mean REALLY soft peddled for the first 12 miles. I was getting passed like a salt shaker at a cardboard eating contest- I was passed by at LEAST 300 people. It was so hard to let everyone go. But with the speeds of these people, I thought I would be seeing a lot of them later in the day. My heart rate never really came totally down, but I made a little bargain with my coach (in my head of course). I was supposed to do the first loop under 150 BPM and the second under 160 BPM. I just decided to keep both under 160. When I had my first power bar I realized one reason for my high heart rate. My stomach was in serious pain. The power bar tasted like battery acid. I tried some gatorade. It was worse. Oh shit. It was going to be a long day.

Thankfully, I had done a century ride a couple months ago with GI distress as well. So I knew the absolute minimum amount of food and liquid I needed to keep going in the cool weather. I could make it through on 150-170 calories per hour and 10 ounces of liquid. So that became my plan B. Minimize the pain by minimizing the input.

Soon I realized that plan B couldn't be any nutrition I was used to because I couldn't tolerate the pain of powerbars or gels. So I found my saving grace. Bananas. I ate half a banana at every aid station. I'd never trained with it, but hell, it worked! And that was all that mattered.

Honestly, the pain didn't really bother me too much. It just hurt when I thought about eating or drinking, or actually was eating or drinking. Other than that, I was enjoying the bike course so much that I had a permagrin on my face. I passed a couple high school kids and became "crazy smiling lady" for the next 4 times I saw them on the bike and run. I was having a really good time. But the course was brutal. Brutal but absolutely gorgeous with wonderful support from the communities

The crazy low caloric input really dropped my HR like a stone. The first loop my HR was 185 going up a hill on the out and back. Loop 2 was 162. I was right on the fringe of bonking. But I still felt good. Keep on rolling...

The second loop I gave myself a little more heart rate freedom. The stomach was still in total knots and I hadn't peed yet (but I could feel the bladder filling so I knew I wasn't in dire dehydrated status), but I felt strong and was ready to pick it up. I thought the hills would never end on the second loop. I kept asking people- is this the last one yet? Finally it was. And I got back to the "easy downhill 10 miles into town". Yeah, maybe without a 20mph headwind. It was a bit tougher than I had hoped, but it gave me the opportunity to do some more passing. I had finally started reeling people in in the second loop and it felt really good.

I really pushed the last 12 miles because I wanted to make it into T2 by the 8 hour mark. That would give me 5 hours in the marathon to come in under 13 hours. I pushed it, made it into T2 at 7:58 and was so, so happy to get off that bike. My knees were hurting, my ankles were killing me, and my feet were in a lot of pain and my stomach was in knots and bloated like CRAZY. How about a marathon, huh?

T2- 4 minutes

I ran into T2 and my legs were shaking. I grabbed my T2 bags and asked a volunteer where the bathrooms were. "You just passed them sweetheart". You know the last thing you want to hear when you have been in your cycling shoes for almost 7 hours and your feet are cramping? You just passed up the bathrooms. Turn around in those death vices you call shoes and run back that way. Oh god, I thought my feet were going to explode. After the potty stop I quickly transitioned with my second angel, the T2 angel, and was off on the run in 4 minutes.

Run- 4:36

I knew this was going to hurt and hurt bad. I had run 4 miles in the past 8 weeks. One of those miles included my right knee totally locking up. Paulo said I would be able to run it, I would just have to be able to tolerate more pain than most people. My joints weren't used to the pounding.

The run started to be brutal at mile 1. Uh oh. Bad sign. The first mile was 10 minutes and change. I was okay with that, but disconcerted that I was already feeling knee and ankle pain and I looked 5 months pregnant from my bloated belly. Ok. I need to eat. I am not ahead on my nutrition like I was supposed to be. What looks edible...


It was a good try at least. I had 2 chips ahoy and it was like battery acid again. But I needed to stay positive. I couldn't worry my parents. On with the smile! It was easy to keep the smile on my face because of my secret weapon. My T-shirt. I knew I needed a lot of crowd support to get me through the run, so I bought a shirt that said- "I have a fever and the only prescription is MORE COWBELL!". The crowd loved it. I heard my name more times yesterday than my whole life combined! It was so awesome.

When I saw Paulo at mile 4 I was not looking good. I believe I told him- "I am in so much pain". He said- "keep running".

Angel #3

I didn't really talk to many people during the run. I had to stay so focused to keep going. But I did talk to one guy at mile 5. I told him about my stomach, and he offered me 2 tums. If for some wild reason you read this, Angel #3- you saved my race! One mile later the stomach stopped hurting- for the first time in 24 hours. And an amazing thing happened. I got thirsty. I had started drinking coke at mile 2, and now I started to walk through the aid stations. At every aid station I had 1 cup of gatorade, 1 cup of coke, and 1 cup of water. It was getting hot, and I was getting dehydrated.

Angel #4

Right when things started looking up I heard cheering. It was Angel #4. Miranda. She was my run angel. She was on her bike and for the rest of the marathon she would cheer me, then bike a half mile ahead, and then cheer for me again. She cheered me right up the hill I was going to walk up. And that was such a confidence boost. But on the way back, mile 7.5, the knee locked up. Oh, shit.

I looked at Miranda and said- Is this supposed to hurt this badly? She said- YES! It means your doing it right!

She was absolutely amazing. Whenever I felt like my body hurt too bad to keep going she would bike up and cheer me on. And by mile 10 everything hurt. Both IT bands, both ankles, my feet, my hips. The only thing that didn't hurt was the kneecap I broke!

I kept up the routine of walking the aid stations and drinking as much fluid as I could. Coming into town was such a boost. I was smiling so big at mile 12 coming through town that my cheeks hurt! (and I was smiling really weird:)

The pain didn't matter. I was having the best time of my life. In a crazy, twisted way the pain helped. It was like a personal challenge. I was beating it. I was conquering my fears. I was running the Ironman marathon.

When I hit the turnaround, I realized something crazy. I was in unchartered territory. My longest run EVER was 14 miles. When I came up through town I was at mile 15. Holy shit, I'm still running.

When I passed My parents I was so happy. The next time they saw me would be at the finishers chute. What a weird feeling. I was in so much pain that I wanted to finish, but I never wanted it to end. It was like getting to the end of a great book. You never really want to put it down.

I saw Paulo and was still smiling. I got the- "just keep running" comment again. OK, I will.

But then I hit a bit of a low point at mile 17. I started to get shooting pains in my left knee. I made a bargain with myself. Ok, you can walk 10 steps and take some Tylenol. But of course during that walk I would see Margaret going the other direction. That really helped. You can't walk- people are watching you! I picked it up. But holy hell was I in pain. When I got to the mile 19 aid station I stopped to walk so I could drink and everything seized up. It took absolutely every ounce of mental and physical strength to get moving again. That did it. I had only one choice to make. I was going to run the last 7 miles or walk the last 7 miles. I could no longer transition between the two. So I told myself...

Suck it up, princess, you're almost done

And from that point on, I not only ran, but I ran faster. I forgot about the pain and just soaked everything up for the last hour. Miranda was cheering me on, I had a smile on my face, and I ran right through every damn aid station. The only pain that I felt was an ever growing blister on my pinkie toe. It was getting bigger and bigger and bigger. I think it was my saving grace. It was an intense pain, and I think it totally tricked my mind into forgetting about all the throbbing joint pains going on.

When I turned the corner and saw mile 25 I just about lost it. I got all choked up and knew I was going to make it. I could hear Mike Reilly in the distance and knew it would be my name he was calling soon. I ran faster. At mile 25.5 the blister on my foot exploded and my shoe started turning red. I ran harder. Then I made the turn to the finish. The crowd was huge. I think I started throwing my hands up into the air with about 0.4 miles left. It was the best damn mile I have ever run. When I got a block from the finishers chute out came my dad with the cowbell, he ran me to the entrance of the chute with a huge, proud smile on his face and then said he'd meet me at the finish. Then I hear it. Jodi Thomson from University Heights, Ohio, YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!

And then I tripped over the finisher's mat and almost took a faceplant onto the pavement. Would you expect any less from me?

Total time : 12:37.05

The Aftermath:

Paulo and Jonathan both had VIP passes and met me at the finish. I went right to the med tent for little rub down and to see the damage on my foot.

You know it's bad when the volunteer who has been taking care of Ironman finishers all day looks at your foot, recoils, and says- wow, that's gross.

What you can't really appreciate is that the entire toe, bottom and top is a blister. Nasty.

I then hobbled home and ate pizza, slept 1.5 hours and woke up in a world of hurt. A WORLD OF HURT. Everything hurts. But that's not what this blog entry is about. It's about ending the best 10 months of my life with the best 12 hours of my life. They say it's not the destination, it's the journey. Well, I think it's both. The journey was amazing, and the destination was exhilarating. I am an Ironman. I'll be back at Moo in 2008, but it will never be as good as the first one.

(Thanks to all my training buddies, friends, family, and Coach Angela for making the hardest year of my life the best one)


Full report later, but wanted everyone to know that I survived

Finished in 12:37 with, I think a 4:35 run. I'm totally stoked, it was the best half day of my LIFE. I can't wait to tell everyone all about it, but now I have to eat and sleep!

Thanks SO much for all the comments and emails. You guys are amazing!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Next time I talk to ya'll....

I'll be an Ironman


It was a very relaxed day today. As Jonathan would say- I'm getting in the Zone!!!

First we will play a little game. Guess the hot pro-triathlete bum:

It's Michael Lovato!

He was out at the Gatorade swim giving away a wetsuit to the person with the oldest rattiest suit. Not me! I have my sweet Nineteen Frequency that swims like a DREAM. Can't wait to put it into action in exactly 15 hours from this second!

The Smartasscrew was all getting into the zone today. Here is Miranda in the zone before her swim. She followed up her 4k open water swim with a 6 hour workout out on the bike course. She is one amazing tri-girl!

Jonathan in the Zone before starting his work with Sports Stats. He'll be ALL OVER the course tomorrow radioing back updates from the pro-race. It will be great to have a friend on the course!

Paulo was also in his zone. Looking down upon the age-groupers like me ;-)

He'll be riding along with Jonny tomorrow on the course. What fun!

And I spent my time getting a personal 60 minute ART session to loosen up all these tight muscles

And now, I'm ready.

And the Pit Crew is ready

Bring it on, Ironman. I'm ready to join the family.

And one more day bites the dust...

Started the day with a swim. Went down with Paulo, Jonathan, Mom, and Dad to the swim and met Tom Evans (multiple Ironman winner and one of the favorites to win the race- Go TOM!)

Here is Jonathan and Tom messing around before the swim:

The three of us:

Me and Paulo:

Then Miranda arrived! The crew is complete!

Miranda and sad Jonny:

At the banquet. Now I'm getting nervous!

The crew after the dinner:

What a cool sunset!

Jonny was hungry after the dinner, so we went to get him some dessert...

I DNF'ed my portion...

And now I need to GET TO SLEEP!

Talk tomorrow!


Friday, June 22, 2007

24 hours closer....

It's one day closer to the big dance! And I now have an awesome silver band on my hand and horrible memories of the afternoon weigh-in. Is that some sort of cruel joke from the Gods of taper or what????

I swam the course today and it was a BLAST. High winds had the lake all chopped up and I was getting tossed all over the place on the way out. It reminded me of the second time I ever went open water swimming. There was a small craft advisory and it was NUTS. And I loved it. It makes me feel like a kid in the ocean. The waves actually made it much easier to keep to a nice easy zone 2 swim because I was just enjoying the swell. And the way back was awesome! Wave riding for half a mile! The course is really easy to sight. But of course, there weren't 2600 of my closest friends out today.

My parents and Jonathan arrived today and I took mom and dad down to Ironman Village and we drove the out and back. I wanted to show them a short glance at how beautiful the bike course is. They were just as impressed as I was.

OK, the obligatory day's pics!

I arrived at transition SOOOOO excited to swim. I had been dancing around the room with uncontrollable energy this morning and needed an outlet. Dancing around the room to "My Humps" is probably not the most relaxing thing on the legs...

Stretch, stretch, stretch! I went to ART after the swim and got worked on. It helped a lot. The lady doesn't think that it is my ITB acting up. Maybe it's just taper pains, after all!

Ok, wanted a pic of the wetsuit in case any of my friends and family are trying to catch me at the swim turnaround. I'm wearing a fantastic Nineteen Frequency. It's one of the smaller brands (not for long) so looking for the 19 should be relatively easy.

On the way to pick up the parents. Look! I'm not smiling!!!!

Paulo showing off the "finisher" gear that was on clearance at the store. I mean, seriously!!!!



Paulo, me and Jonathan after our HUGE pasta dinner. Let the carb loading begin!!!!