Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Great Lakes- No Salt, No Sharks

 My dad found a t-shirt that says just that. And he loved to remind me of it every time I went out to the lake to swim. I really don't remember the last time the water in Lake MI was this warm and clear in August! I took full advantage and swam almost every day. The best was my Wednesday morning father/daughter outing. I really wanted to swim across the Traverse Bay (a huge bay of Lake Mi). It's approximately 4 miles. We tested our luck early in the morning, hoping there would be few boats on the lake and fewer waves. (Yes, for those of you who haven't been to the great lakes, it looks like the ocean and can get very windy!)
Compare- Pacific Ocean...                                          and Lake Michigan.....

Dad wasn't ecstatic to wake up at 6am, so I made sure he had a few treats from the local Bakery to make his boat ride a bit more enjoyable
Then it was off to the water where Captain Charlie was ready to make sure I swam a (somewhat) direct route
I suited up in my speed suit just in case the water temps dropped severely when we got out to the middle of the lake, where it's over 600ft deep (didn't get cold, but the speed provided by the suit was awesome).
And I was off....
Dad even took a little video. When I watched it and told him it was a bit rocky he said he found it more important to not run over me with the boat than to get the perfect video. I agree, so here u have it ;)
The conditions were beyond perfect!!!! After about 2 hours I arrived at the beach across the way. Dad said I even swam pretty straight (and the GPS confirmed).
Thanks dad for the perfect morning! it left me hungry for that beautiful Canadian lake that awaits me....5 Sleeps!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Family, Fun, Training, Food, and a whole lotta love!

 Following the race we immediately left for the northern hemisphere of MI. If you've been reading my blog for a while you might remember my trip to Michigan last summer included freezing my butt off while trying to train and during the race I did as my Kona prep (it was a far cry from Kona conditions!). This year it was RIDICULOUS! The temps were perfect (80s), the water was crazy clear, warmer than ever before (76) and well it was humid and windy too.
 During my long training days I often heard Kid Rock reminding me of the times shared amongst Michiganders. They sure do soak in every second of sun....and do so with a constant smile and joy that is absolutely contagious!!!

"Splashing through the Sandbar 
(boats gather on the many sandbars throughout the lake...the bar/barge pulls up and we're all set for the day!):
Talking by the campfire:
It's the simple things in life like when and where 
(I got in my last long ride pre-IM Canada along the endless lake front & farm rolling roads!)
 We didn't have no internet, but man I won't forget the way the moonlight shined upon her hair
Catching wallie from the dock (ok I passed on this), watching the waves roll off the rocks

She'll forever hold a spot within my soul!!!!!!!! 
 We'd blister in the sun 
(or train long enough to require a homemade ice bath- no tubs in the lake house ;)...so I got creative),
 We couldn't wait for night to come, To hit that sand and play some rock n' roll 
(or enjoy the Elk Rapids Harbor Days fair)
Singing "Sweet Home Alabama" all summer long. 

Countdown to Ironman Canada...6 sleeps!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Ok, ok, ok

I've been delaying posting my race report from Steelhead simply because I don't feel like rehashing it. It was one of those times that when things started go wrong, it was only the beginning of the end.  But here you have it...and then I will quickly move on the excitement that lies ahead next week!
Weather: Cool and very wet. It was pouring rain from the minute I got out of bed. Not exactly the way to get me in the competitive racing spirit!
Swim: Thankfully I held true to the TYR moto from the beginning of the swim. I got out in front right away and stayed "always in front." At the half way point I looked back to see a girl 10yds back. She had been there most of the way so I decided to slow up and work with her. Staying in her draft was like floating down a river-easy! But the second I moved along side I was working hard...so I opted to work on the drafting skills and stayed tucked in her draft until the last buoy where I took over the lead and pulled us to shore.

Bike: I can't go into all the details because I simply refuse to rehash it all. I mean I have a bigger and better race coming up and the past is the past ;) But short story. Rain. Decent head wind. Mile 20 my front wheel wasn't rotating. I had no clue how to fix it, as it seemed to be a problem with the hub. I rolled on, a bit frustrated. 
As I passed girls from earlier waves they started to hold onto my wheel...one, two, three, four, five. Ok, seriously?!?!? At one point I swear there were 10 of them, and predominately chics. (usually I feel like it's the guys that get caught up in groups). The only time I could pull away was on the small (very small) "hills." But the pack would come back and cling on again. Now I was doublely frustrated. Wait, make that triple. Because my heart rate also wouldn't go up. I figured this might happen with all the higher volume IM training, but it's still frustrating when it happens. Can you see the frustration in my face?!?!?!
Then only a few miles to go I flew by a girl. There was a moto behind me, but I figured he wasn't a ref since he had passed me about 3 times when there was a train behind me (and did NOTHING). Well he pulled up, flashed the red card and continued to tell me I didn't make the pass fast enough. If I get a penalty I'll take it like an athlete...IF I am guilty of the offense! But when I asked if he had a stop watch and timed my pass he proceeded to receipt the rule and tell me it took me 11 seconds. Hmmmmm, clearly he was yet another WTC volunteer ref who didn't know the rules. I was irate. I, like so many athletes and industry peeps, have a laundry list of annoyances with WTC. They are overselling the races (money hungry?!?!?), not paying refs (money hungry?!?!?!) and then not even training them properly. This is unacceptable. We train too hard, and spend way too much money in this sport for this crap. And it isn't even like they were giving out a ton of penalties out there. In fact I checked and only a handful were given all day. Ok, ranting done, because I could go on and on. 
                                  Dad, thanks for the pic of me standing still and watching ppl fly by me.
Good news, my bike split wasn't horrific once you subtract the 4min penalty. And better news: I cld have held that effort for another 56miles!
Run: After spending 4 mins in the penalty tent I was out of it. I couldn't make up that much time, and worse I was mentally frustrated/exhausted and it translated into my body giving up as well. I didn't care if I was passed, at times wanted to stop or run it in even easier than I was running, and even found myself in the port-o-potty twice (not something that ever happens for me). Although my time was decent (1:33) my mental attitude was atrocious. 
I usually am happy and have fun out on the run course. This race was different, I was mentally over it. Looking back, maybe I needed this. 
It was fun to have Beth and James out there racing with me in my home state! 
And thanks Mom and Dad for hanging out and cheering all morning! My dad said "this race reminded me of all those weekends we spent at swim meets. It was an all day event just to watch you swim for a few minutes." 
Ya, this wasn't exactly the Kona race viewing experience ;) BUT we had a pretty awesome week together following the race. Pics from our week to come. Tomorrow, I promise ;) 

In an Ironman, things typically don't go well from start to finish. It's about dealing with things as they come and staying positive! Steelhead70.3 was a reminder of this, and I'm happy it came then instead of next weekend. I can't wait to be tested, both mentally and physically! Richters Pass, Yellow Lake...you'll be in my dreams. 7 SLEEPS!