Friday, October 21, 2011

Not going down without a fight

We are closing in on a month before TTTTD (The Turkey Trot Throw Down).

At dinner, Googs announced that he will now start training for this EPIC EVENT.

I cringe at the thought. I'm pretty much toast if he trains.

That's when he turned to me and asked, "What are you going to do if I beat you again."

I gave him that confused dog look and responded: I'll just train harder for next year. 

He says: But I would have beat you twice. What if I beat you by MORE this year.

I said: You might win. You might beat me by a large margin. But, you might not. I believe that I CAN win. And that little sliver of hope is why I'm not going to give up. That little sliver of hope is why no matter how many times you beat me, I'm going to keep training harder and keep coming back.

Googs chews on this for a minute. 

Then I continued: Besides, one of these days you're going to come back from college all fat and stuff.

That's what I'm really waiting for.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Act your age

My birthday is right around the corner. Next race season, I age up. 

Back when I was in my 20's and even 30's, I thought being in my 40's would feel ancient. That might have been because of the people that I knew who were in their 40's...well, they looked ancient, acted ancient and moved like they were already planning their path to the grave. 

I had no idea what to expect. I'd spent my entire life mostly eating right, indulging in my favorite gelato or cheesecake on those special occasions. I'd been active since high school doing everything from swimming, cycling, running, hiking, strength training, yoga, karate....I'm sure I'm leaving things out. 

The point is that I've always been doing those things, and I was really afraid of the day that I couldn't do them. 

I didn't want to be in my 40's and only see the sunrise from the glow of a tv screen.

But that's what I knew....that's who was around me when I was younger. 

Even now as I am looking at 44, I see other parents complaining about their bad joints or how hard it is to go up and down the stairs at the school. 

I want to yell at them: WAKE UP PEOPLE! 

I have friends who are 25 years older than me finishing Ironman. I have a friend 35 years older than me doing triathlons. There are woman 20 years older than me who leave me in the DUST at masters swim. I've been passed on the mountain by men and women who look like they are as old as the mountain. I know people in their 60's that move better than people half their age. 

They are the age groupers that I admire. They are who I plan on being. They are the people that I wished had been around me when I was younger. I didn't have any women athlete role models. Think about this, in the US, the 1992 high school graduating class, was roughly the first generation of girls that grew up under Title IX. That was 2 years before my Googs was born. 

Some of my friends are just starting an exercise program, some have been doing it a long time, but the important thing is that we are all redefining what it means to Act Your Age.

To all those people who complain about getting older or being tired or having bad joints, this one's for you.

Monday, October 10, 2011

The changing of the guard, not forever, just a little while

7 weeks ago, I had written off my race.

5 weeks ago, I started giving thought to next year's goals.

4 weeks ago, I started walking and running again.

3 weeks ago, I thought maybe I could walk 4 or 5 miles of the race then cut the course and quit. At least I would have started it.

2 weeks ago, I ran 8 miles and thought maybe I could run 8 miles then walk the rest.

1 week ago, I ran 8 miles and thought maybe I could run 13.1 miles really slowly....

Then, I thought "Why bother at all?"

I'm not a medal-bagger. I've run a lot of half marathons (closing in on a gazillion of them).

They hurt whether or not you are trained. Do I really want to run or walk 13.1 miles just to do it? 


Two days before the race I considered a few things:
1.) This was going to be my last half marathon for some time. I don't know how long, but I'm taking a vacation from anything longer than a 10k.
2.) This is my birthday race.
3.) Could I even finish? Isn't that a little bit overconfident? I hadn't even run more than 8 miles since July.

TWO DAYS before the race, and I didn't know if I was going to do it.

Then, I went to packet pick up. In the packet, there were two bumper stickers: one for the half and one for the full marathon. they read: I ROCKED 13.1/26.2 miles. 

I immediately thought to myself: NEWBIES.

Where did the excitement go? The half marathon used to be my favorite race. 

The day before the race, it snowed, alot. Not wanting to miss running in the first really cold snowy day, I went out. 

It was THIS race years ago that was done on 10/21 when a snowstorm hit. the conditions were almost identical to what I was running in. But that year, I ran the marathon. 

Many of you know this story, many of you REMEMBER my race report. I didn't train for the marathon. I ran 14 miles once, called it training and figured my fitness would carry me through.

Fitness and Mr. Tea meeting me at every mile from 18 on to give me warm, hats and mittens. 

Sort of weird isn't it? 

Almost identical conditions, yet back then, there was no doubt I was going to do the race. 

Once again, I turned to Mr. Tea: What do I do?

Mr Tea: I'm not giving anymore race advice. You can do a half marathon in your sleep, walking backwards & juggling baboons. You do whatever you want.

I hate that answer.

What's the harm? Just go do the race. You feel like you need to prove something don't you? Like you need to prove that you're not just going to wimp out, huh? 

Look, you're perfectly healthy now. I know you haven't run long. I know the 8 miles was a run/walk. I KNOW you didn't taper or anything, but....but

couldn't you just try it?

With that, I decided to do the race.

That's when the most remarkable thing happened.

I met someone doing her first half marathon. 

We ended up running it together.

I've never run a race with someone before.

Right from the start, her nerves/energy started to pour over to me. I remembered what it was like standing at the start of my first half marathon. At my first half, I was so nervous that i didn't eat breakfast (which I paid for later).

Fast foward....years later.....

We started running, and she took off like a bolt of lightning. I almost stopped in the middle of the street, with sheer shock.

Then, I saw her stop and put her hands on her hips. I ran up to her, and she said, "That was dumb."

I said: It's not dumb. I bet you got a sweet race picture.

From then on, we ran.

We had a plan:
Run to the aid stations. Walk through the aid stations.

When we can't make it to the aid stations, we'll run 3 songs and walk a minute.

When we can't do that, we'll walk one song, walk a minute.

When we can't do that, we'll walk the uphills and run the downhills.

But no matter what, we are going to finish this race.

And our evil little plan worked. 

We only walked aid stations until mile 8. At mile 8, there was supposed to be an aid station. She wanted to stop. I wanted to stop. I needed some water. We were still running. That's when I saw the aid station around mile 8.25. We decided to run to it.

At the aid station, we decided to walk for awhile: one song. We hit a turnaround marker at 8.5 and decided to run. Running was getting harder now. I think it was even harder for me than her. This was the furthest I'd run in awhile, but I was not going to stop.

Just then, I saw mile marker 9. We both wanted to take a break. I said, "We can make it to mile 9. When we get there, let's take as much of a break as we need."

Mile 9 has never seemed so far away. 

She said, "Why does this hurt so much more today?"

I said, "Because you are running really fast. You told me you wanted to beat 3:30. We're going to DESTROY 3:30. I bet we even beat 3:00.

After mile 9, it all became a blur. We talked less, ran more than you would have thought. 

But finally, we were down to Walk the uphills, run the downhills. 

As we closed in on the bridge, i told her to turn off her ipod. She said, "Why?"

I told her: You have to hear this. We are about a  half a mile from the finish, but you can already hear the crowd screaming for us. 

She instantly got tears in her eyes: a half a mile. I'm going to run it as hard as I can.

"Alright let's do it."

As we were running, passing people left and right, I realized that this was going to be my last half for some time, but it was her first. In so many ways that day, it was like the changing of the guard. 

I looked over at her as we were running. I could see the tears streaming down her face.

13.1 miles earlier, we were total strangers. 

Now, I couldn't hold back my own tears, for her

for me

for the changing of the guard. 

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Misadventures of Tea

By now, you all have heard about my misadventure on the mountain.

Painful, yes.

Funny, yes.

Preventable, well not really.

Sawtooth to the left. I snapped this picture about 250m from the summit.

Taken from the summit of Bierstadt. That's sawtooth.

As I've been laid up, I've had way too much time on my hands for thinking. 

First of all, accidents happen. I wasn't too terribly upset about this. In fact, I wasn't upset at all given how bad it could have been. Although Justin said that I should get the Bad Ass Mom of the year award. I know, at the time, he was scared.   

Yesterday, I made my first appearance back in the gym. I still can't bear additional weight standing, but my back & shoulders are no longer sore. My hands are scabbed up. My rehab exercises all consist of balance, strength and stretching with my own body weight. During my first appearance back, I ran into Helen who stared at my bruised and battered body, pointed at the bruises that went from the tips of my toes up to my knees and yelled in that demanding voice, "WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED TO YOU?" After I explained, she said, "It's lucky that you are in such great shape. It could have been alot worse."

Of course, that sent me right back into my thinking mode. 

Even before the fall (fall as in GO BOOM. Not as in Autumn), I had been thinking a lot about things that I like to do.

My problem is that I enjoy doing SO MANY things. Thank goodness I don't live near an ocean because I don't know HOW I'd fit in my obsession with sailing or quiet my overwhelming surfing urges. 

So, it comes down to prioritizing. I can either focus on ONE BIG TIME CONSUMING *thing* or enjoy a little of everything.

Given that I tend to get bored with things quickly, my best option is enjoy a little of everything. 

I can't do any of it without a certain level of fitness. If you run, do triathlons, swim 10ks, climb, hike....I don't care what it know that you can't do those things without having a basic level of fitness. And, just because you can do Ironman, that doesn't mean you can climb. Because you can ride 100 miles, doesn't mean you can run 50 miles.

BUT!! The one activity that DOES connect all of these is strength, core, balance....those types of activities. When you DO plan on doing a different activity, it will be that much easier because of the work you've done in strength, core & balance. 

(btw: when I say YOU, I mean ME)

Where does this leave me?

Well, once I'm all better....which should be in about another 4-6 weeks, I'm going to do my half marathon. My friend is coming in from Costa Rica to run with me. Well, not WITH me, especially not NOW. I will likely do the half as a walk/run as I am going to miss out on my long runs. 

Then, it's about fun. Next year, I want to climb & hike more. This Fall (Fall as in Autumn not as in GO BOOM), once I'm healed, Justin and I are planning on going up hiking if weather permits, if not snowshoeing. 

I can't help it. There's nothing in the world like standing on top of a mountain. If I took a personality test, it would likely come out as a "high risk, high reward" type. Or better yet, as my friend Ti quotes on her blog "When you marry a mountain girl, you marry the mountain." (Oh, and if you haven't read her blog, please do. She's pretty amazing, and she's my idol.)

I've also gotten a great opportunity to do CrossFit for 3 months. Talk about PERFECT for my mentality. I love this type of workout. Well, it's a love/hate type of thing. 

Never fear, triathlete friends! My desire for triathlon hasn't died. In talking to coach, I've got a plan to focus on short distances, probably for the next few years. Shorter distances will give me the opportunity to do all the *long* workouts without having to sacrifice all the other things that I love....

And give me time to find NEW things. 

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Turkey Trot Throw Down

It has gotten U.G.L.Y here in the Land of Chand.

You might remember what happened last year at the 4 mile Turkey Trot.


And, I haven't hidden this fact. 

When I WIN, I like to remind family members that YES, INDEED....I ONCE again won the 4 mile family friendly Turkey Trot. 

So, I've had to resort to....evil ensure my win. SO, I've hidden timing chips, running shoes, warm gear and bottles of water. 

A little HTFU never hurt anyone.

especially not a 10 year old, right.

Imagine my surprise, when I finished the race last year....all smug like....only to look around and see GOOGS already sitting under a tree, drinking water.


Needless to say. I was NOT pleased when the official results came down that GOOGS beat me by :24 seconds. 


Immediately after my race I started plotting for the future. Because, let's be honest, this was NOT going to happen again. 

And don't feel all sad for Googs either, he's 17....he can handle his mom being a sore loser.


My plan came down to this. Googs likes to weight lift. Serious, big time, weight.

Because I didn't do the Boulder race, all of a sudden my schedule cleared out to train for SPEED, man, SPEED.

Hmmm, jordan keeps getting bigger....hee hee....I get faster....I started salivating with the thought of regaining my title.

THEN that little bastard did the unthinkable.....he started running. Not just any running.



I needed help.

I called for reinforcements.

Behind an abandoned building in Denver, we meet to discuss the plan.

Did you bring the stuff?

I nod and hand him the bag of donuts.

He takes the bag. Shoves a donut in his mouth and says, The ways I sees it. Your only chance to beat this punk is (he looks around) to use my secret weapon.

I move in closer, What's that?

First, you gotta do these VO2max workouts. I ain't gonna lie. They're gonna hurt.

I start scribbling down the workout. Ok, ok.

He wipes his mouth and says: Next, we need to come up with a plan for you to visualize, visualize, visualize. You got plenty of time to beat this kid, but you gotta BELIEVE you're gonna beat him.

I write it down. Anxiously awaiting the next training trips from the Great One.

What? he asks. That's it. that's all I got tonight. Next time, bring me sprinkled donuts. I like the sprinkles. They remind me of when I was kid.

And he disappears into the night.

Dear blogger friends. 

Intervals, visualization & donuts.

I can almost taste the victory!

Mama's coming boy. And she has a chip the size of Colorado on her Shoulder.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Operation TTIAH

Let Operation TTIAH BEGIN!

Of course that translates to Let Operation Turn Tea Into A Hottie Begin!

Not hottie as in: Oh, you look great for almost 44.


I mean hottie as in DAYUM GIRL!


Sunday, July 31, 2011

Square Top Mountain in Pictures

What few people will see

Early Morning Mountain Energy better than any energy drink

The hike to Square Top Mountain

On the way to the top

We crossed 6 rivers/streams, traversed snow, plowed through SHRUBBERY & negotiated rocky terrain
False Summit, still over 1 mile to go. It's steeper than it looks.
Always last

Summit of Square Top Mountain, 13,818 ft, view west
Mt Bierstadt & Mt Evans (14'ers) from Square Top, view North

Packs taking a much needed rest

Doesn't it look it you could just reach up and grab it?

The ONE, the ONLY Tea, self portrait circa 2011

Hiking the Ridge, this goes on for almost 150m
Square Top Summit

Square Top Summit, 40 degrees, Windy & never been happier

Thursday, July 21, 2011

What Matters

I don't remember my PR times. I couldn't tell you how many races I've done in my life. I don't remember how miles I have traveled.

But, I can tell you about the marathon that I ran in a snowstorm for my 40th birthday.

I can tell you how Mike found me at miles 18 and 21, just to cheer me on and give me warm, dry gloves and hat.

I can tell you about the first race that Jman and Googs every ran with me.

I can tell you about pulling the boys in the bike carrier when they were little. 

I can tell you how they would go out looking for me in sub zero temps just to yell for me.

I remember my first half iron, and the boys ran the last mile with me.

I'll never forget getting pelted by hail and rain at a half iron and seeing the RD pull up along side of me asking if I wanted a ride back to the finish and responding, "No. I'm going to finish".

I remember when my bike was sabotaged at a half iron and only realizing it when I jumped on the bike.

I remember the guy from Germany who rode with me the entire 56 miles, pacing me to BEAT my goal time.

I remember my very first sprint. 25 minutes to do a 750m swim. I got out of the water all shakey and crying saying that I didn't want to go on.

I remember sitting in transition for 15 minutes thinking "I can't do this".

I remember Mike yelling at me, "You're on the run! Even if you have to walk it! You CAN walk it."

I remember crying (again) when I made the bike cutoff for my first half iron because that meant I had to run 13.1 miles.

I remember doing Ironman sick with pneumonia and crying (sigh) as I turned in my chip halfway through the bike.

I remember my very first running race and some guy saying "You should be in the back".

I remember the first time Jordan beat me in a race (:24 seconds).

I remember helping a woman that collapsed at a half iron and running around to get her water and get her out of the sun.

I remember my first half marathon and being so nervous that I didn't eat breakfast or anything on the course.

I remember the first time I saw vaseline on a stick.

I remember the first time I heard of GU.

I remember asking, "WHERE do I put this cream?"

I remember buying my first bike and changing my first flat.

I've gone to bed early and gotten up early on weekends for years. 

I remember taking 5 hours to ride 35 miles in the mountains. 

But most of all, I remember Mike and the boys always supporting me. I remember my friends cheering for me. I also remember that I never, ever quit. I could have quit after my first race. I could have quit after Ironman. At any time, I could have quit. I could have taken that ride during the half iron. 

Now I have memories that I can laugh at, some still make me cry (and THEN I laugh at them). But not one consists of a finish time or pace.  

Best of all, I have no regrets about not knowing who Snookie is, what 10pm looks like, or listening again and again to the constant teasing from neighbors.

Because I know what the sunrise looks like from the top of a mountain. I've been stopped on my bike by a herd of deer crossing the street. I've ridden stride for stride along side a coyote. I've looked up to see thousands of geese flying overhead, darkening my path, to fly south for the winter, and I've swam with the most incredible water creatures. 

And none of that would have happened if I gave up.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

It's *almost* SHOWTIME

For those of you who have been pregnant and have had a child, you know more about endurance events than just about anyone. 

The day you find out you're pregnant is like registering for a race. You're happy, sad, scared to death and wonder if you've made the right decision.

A pregnancy takes about 40 weeks. My training for boulder (including base training) has gotten me to week 31. It'll be 34 weeks, when I show up at the start.

A week or two ago, I started stressing and wondering "Can I do this? The pain. The speeds. Can I do this? I don't think I can. I'm not ready."

A few weeks before delivery, I felt the same way. It was the freakout of "This is going to hurt so bad. I can't do this. I'm not ready to be a parent. I'm not READY!"

Then, something changes. I always call it the calm before the storm. 

Everything makes sense. The date is coming. Training is effectively over. Calm moves in. At this point, the race will be what it will be. Good or bad, it won't be for lack of training.

Race day is a couple of weeks away now. 
On race day, like delivery, there won't be a lot of thinking. My body will do what it knows it has to do. It will push when it needs to and it will back off when it needs to.

All I can do is breathe.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

oh wow



Finally some humidity!

Today, it was about 90 when I left the house for my long run and 70% humidity.


Oh, and I apologize to everyone who got the email about Google+. I was learning how to use it and didn't realize that I was blasting everyone with an email. If you've ever commented on my blog, you probably got the email....unless you were in the group, where I stopped and thought: Hmmm, did send invite actually mean send?


Have you looked at the calendar lately? I'll give you a hint: today is July 9th.

That means Ironman Boulder is less than a month away!

Do I sound stressed?

Do I seemed worried?

Nope! Not at all. 

I'm going out there with Mr. Tea and about 4 friends. Because of the set up of the courses, no matter how fast we all are, we'll see each other many times throughout the day. The bike is 2 loops. The run is 2 loops. sah-weeet!

How could I possibly be stressed about that? It's going to be a fantastic race!

Ok, so it'll be hot. Ok, so we're going 70.3 miles. Ok, ok, ok. fine whatever. As long as Mr. Tea has 1.) Air conditioned car  2.) plenty to drink/eat  3.) a good book to read.....well, I'm all set!

On the other hand, this could just be onset of Peak-Training-Delirium.

I'm not really sure. I have lost track of days, as one day runs right into the next. Train, eat, rest, train, eat rest.  If I'm lucky, I throw a shower in there once in awhile. 

My training clothes are more or less just piles of clothes that go from washer to body and back again.

Dry clothes are overrated anyway....if I'm just going to sweat them all up again.

Alas! The end is nigh! Very soon, all of this training will all come together.

Until then, or until I figure out what day it is, train happy my friends!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Do it right or don't do it at all

As many of you know, there comes a point in training where the miles get long. You have a lot of time to be alone with your thoughts.

This can be both good and bad. Recently, I've been on both sides of this. There have been days, I've just wanted to quit. So.badly. 

On a particularly bad day last week, I was surrounded by thoughts of: "I can't do this. Who am I fooling? Running around acting like a triathlete? What's the point? Just go home and tell Mr. Tea that you're not going to do the race. It's ok. This running. This heat. The hills. Everyone quits. Just stop."

And that's what I did. I stopped running.

"It's just too hard"  I told myself.

"You're missing too many workouts. You're going too slowly."

"Do you KNOW how fast those women will be at Ironman? Do you KNOW? You're not in their league, no matter how much you train."

I cut the run short. 

This attitude, evidently, came through while I was updating my training log. This set off an immediate email conversation between me 'n coach.

What I realized is that it's always easier to blame everything "else" in your life. But nothing will change until you take ownership of your actions.  

Sometimes, when knee deep in WHATEVER it is, we all miss the forest for the trees.  

So, when coach started going off about this and that. I thought "Of course, all of that is true. But, it certainly doesn't pertain to me. I know all that. I wouldn't make that mistake."

Then, he said something that struck me. It went something like this: Get up earlier. Quit your complaining. It's not supposed to be easy.  Don't give a half-assed effort. Get out there and make the workouts count. Get your head right.

ME? Give a half assed effort? Who does he think he's talking to? I'm not some newbie doing a 70.3 for the first time! Doesn't he know it's hot? Doesn't he know how hard the hills are?

That night I stewed on this a bit. 

The next morning, I realized that he was right. Am I slacking? Absolutely not. Was I cheating myself from hitting my goals?


Then, I came across this quote:

"If you are always allowed to stop training when you feel discomfort, you will find it too easy to give yourself permission to quit." --Jet Li

Coach was right. Jet Li was right.

I was wrong.

I realized that I'd become too hung up on my goal. I lost the joy of just training. 

The thing, THE thing that I loved more than anything. TRAINING for the sheer fun of challenging myself to be better than I was the week before.

Training doesn't have to be perfect. I just have to do it right, give everything I have for that day, that moment when I am doing that THING. If I can't do that, I shouldn't be doing it at all.

I don't know what will happen at Boulder. I DO know that I'd rather miss my goal time and enjoy the path that I took to get there.....than PR and need time off to recover mentally and physically. 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Superhero, I am not.

The last, oh, month or so has been very discouraging for me.

Yes, I have been under extreme personal stress. I've had a death in the family, which was one of those "she has 2 weeks to live" type of thing. If you've been through it, it's horrible. 

Then, came the funeral.....nothing like a bunch of Irish Catholics getting together to figure out who the TOP MARTYR is.

Immediately after that, my son Justin had outpatient surgery. No big deal as far as severity, but big deal as in the time committment in changing gauze, giving medications, trying to get him to eat, etc. etc. etc. Really, just plain waiting on him hand and foot. Of course, I'm a mom. I don't mind it one bit. 

Let's see what else I can throw in here, how about WORK. Yea, insane amounts of WORK.


WHERE the hell is this all coming from? As a business owner, it's hard to predict consumer behavior. But THIS. THIS is just insane! (Not bad....just making us rethink our plans). 

With all of this, it's hard for me to catch my breath, let alone get my workouts in.

Everyday, I would say "No more disruptions, starting TOMORROW. Time to get serious."

Well, you can only say that so many times. then, you're just the boy who cried wolf. 

In other shocking news


As disappointing as it is to take this news, i have to accept the reality. Sometimes training is going to happen, and sometimes it's not. And sometimes the workouts are just going to be hard. 

As much as I want to PR at Ironman Boulder, sometimes just thinking about it wears me out. 

Of course, Mr. Tea had to step in with all his logic....because he's the voice of reason.

me, well, I don't know what I am, you choose: hormonal, bitchy, cranky, emotional.....just choose. They're all good choices.

Mr. Tea took me by the shoulders and said, "Look, I've been going through this for years with you. I've never seen you push so hard before. These workouts you're doing. YOU SHOULD be tired after doing them. All I can say is they are complete sufferfests. Everyone has bad sections of training. Just stay the course."

Then, he started making up a rap song that went something like "What you're doing is a sufferfest. But don't give up, just give your best. Cuz there ain't no stopping there ain't no rest.....

By this point, I was laughing too hard to really focus on what he was saying.

I looked at my schedule, family committments, yadda yadda. 

That's when I remembered one of my favorite quotes:

Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I will try again tomorrow. ~Mary Anne Radmacher

I'm not finished. Who cares how many times I long as I keep on starting.