Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A hole in my heart

It’s with heavy heart that I write to express that the beautiful life of our beloved Della has ended. Although her 9 ½ years with us was all too brief, she filled our hearts and each moment of every day with unconditional love and limitless joy.

Earlier this year, a biopsy revealed that she had chondrosarcoma. We took her to an oncologist who recommended amputation of the leg and half of Della’s pelvis. We conducted a lot of research on this type of cancer and on amputations in general, and we heavily weighed our thinking on how Della would tolerate such a drastic procedure with the selfishness of wanting more time with her. Those who have ever known an animal as their friend no doubt know that this was a most difficult decision. Ultimately, we could not go through with the amputation. We were advised that the cancer would not metastasize but instead that the bone cancer in her leg would progress quickly, ultimately interfering with her comfort and ability to eat before Summer’s end.

We were able to keep Della quite comfortable on pain medication throughout the summer. She had a very normal and in fact puppy-like existence making us doubt that the doctors could be right. We spoiled her endlessly with special attention. Even in her final hours, she was playful to the point of slight annoyance. In the evening of August 15, x-rays revealed that her body was full of cancer and it was impacting her heart and lungs. Despite our grave loss, we were grateful to send her off with love and dignity.

Della had a great, great life—a gift more enormous to us then to her, no doubt. She was a brilliant dog—as wickedly smart and athletically talented as she was loving. It is our bountiful fond memories of Della that will sustain us as we move to heal this cavernous hole in our hearts. Perhaps someday in the future we will seek another opportunity to share a life of a puppy of equal measure…for now we celebrate Della’s life and reflect upon her great treasure.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Could it be any colder

Up at 4:50 AM today, core work then off to the city pool. I know I complain all the time about swimming but honestly, does the pool have to be so cold that you shiver when you stop? I don't need it to be 86 degrees but something close to 80 would be nice.

2,350 meters today. Nothing too horrible, a nice long endurance swim that except for losing track of laps was painless.

Tomorrow is a day off but in the evening we are heading to my coach's house for some videotaping and one on one coaching in her endless pool. I have heard in the triathlete grapevine that the feedback is immensely helpful.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

It was a brick alright

Off of 7 hours sleep, up at 4:30 AM. Core work then on the bike for an hour. I had no trouble hitting my zones on the bike. It is my experience that when I am tired I can get a high heart rate quite easily. My legs felt great on the bike but I was struggling with my stomach a bit, not sure why.

Off the bike, I went out for a 30 minute interval run. My leg felt great, I was moving very well (of course the pleasant temperatures helped). By my fifth and final interval I caved in to the nausea that was nipping at my heels and spent the final 6 minutes at a zone 3 tempo run. Obviously, I am still inching my way back.

Tomorrow, back in the pool. Hopefully it is not as frigid as it was last evening.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A false start

Up at 4:50 AM today, core work then off to the city pool for a well-needed swim. Unfortunately, the pool was closed due to some pump replacement issue so all was for naught which meant an evening swim after work. Given the choice, I would prefer not to swim at night. I think about it all day and although it does bring on dead woman's sleep if I have my post swim sneeze in the middle of the night I usually spend an hour with the kleenex box.

2,550 meters on the night and I have to say that I was aerobically challenged. Unusually, I have not fully recovered from Sunday's race. My second three hundred was nearly anaerobic and trust that I was not moving that fast. I did finish my set for the night and tried not to think about the fact that I would be on my bike a mere 9 hours after this swim.

Tomorrow, a brick and hopefully a bit of gain on returned energy.

Monday, August 11, 2008

A day of car sitting

A 7 hour car ride back home today and I guess a day of rest although I am sore already just thinking about it. Most likely back in the pool tomorrow......maybe.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Hitting the target

At 4:12 AM I awoke to a pretty good thunderstorm with very heavy rain. I figured I would call my family at 6 AM and tell them I was not racing in that weather. At 5:30 AM I arose, checked the weather online and went outside to feel the 52 degree air. It was raining lightly and the prediction was for thunderstorms and light rain. I decided I could race under those conditions but changed out of my race tire because I feared the roads would be slick.

I arrived at the park and racked my bike, still unclear how the course would run--would we do two loops in the lake and two loops on the bike and run. Details were not that forthcoming. I was grateful that I had tucked in my wetsuit as the water was 75 degrees. Not awful but with the air temperature I thought I might be cold. I tried to swap my cap so I would not have to swim in the first wave, a friend (who is a much faster swimmer) told me she was in wave 2. I asked that she be kind when she swam by me. Finally, minutes before the start we learned how we would swim two laps and a tiny bit about the bike and run although those details were kind of sketchy.

By the time the race started the rain had stopped and the air was humid which detracted from the thermometer reading. The swim start was a bit physical and took some time to clear. The buoys were ridiculously inconspicuous and spaced 400 meters apart. I spotted off of others in the first loop and lost sight of the buoy the second loop ending up swimming a bit too close to shore and costing me some time. Still, I had a descent swim for me. My wildest hope was 33 minutes but I was willing to celebrate anything under 40. When I came out of the water my watch said 35 minutes. This allowed me (mentally if nothing else) to slingshot off the swim and set a goal of 3 hours for the course. I did not think I could achieve this given the hills on the bike and run but I was sure going to try.

The bike is hilly which plays to my advantage. The early part of the bike was on a pretty bumpy road exposed to wind. It has a nasty downhill section that is long and steep and subject to crosswind. Leading up to this I saw someone on the side of the road and I realized later (when she passed me on the downhill) that it was my friend D. The uphill is my strength so that is where I made ground on people. Let me tell you, the uphill on this course is very difficult. I typically climb in the saddle but even I had to stand to get up several of the hills--all of which repeated themselves on the two looper. The worst hill was on Chard Road and I would say this is comparable to the Beast in St. Croix although not as long. Many people were walking. Heading back to the park we had folded into the Sprint racers so at times I was slowed by them as they huddled in groups. I past them in packs on the hills and once I hit the flats I just kept my speed at 21 so no one stayed close.

Off the bike I looked at my watch and saw my time was 2:06. My 3 hour goal was possible but I really needed to have a strong, consistent run. The problem: The run course was also very hilly--unrelentingly so. I would climb each hill and use the gravity for any flat or slightly downhill section. My first mile was 8 minutes which I knew I had to maintain for all 6 miles to achieve my goal. At the turn around I still thought I had a chance but there was more uphill to wear away at my legs. I was looking forward to the last downhill which I thought may give me enough of a recovery to allow me to finish. A mile out I was not sure I could make my time goal. Even as I entered the park and could see the finish I had only a minute 30 seconds to spare. I had nothing left so there was no last minute sprinting, I left everything I had on the bike and run course.

Alas I finished, 2:59:25. Wahoo! My best performance of the year on a very difficult course. I may have to come back next year to better that effort but as for now I could not be more pleased.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

A little warmup

Took my bike on a little spin after some adjustments. Worked the gears, lubed the chain, tried to avoid too many hills to save my legs for the very hilly course tomorrow. Off the bike a little run through the neighborhood testing out my piriformis. Everything seems in order so now all that remains is proper nutrition and a little luck on the weather. Is it a bad sign if the weather says "definitely thunderstorms"--I have never seen a forecast use such definitive language before.

Friday, August 08, 2008

The anticipated olympic moment

Oh no, not that one. I'm talking about my Olympic distance triathlon this weekend. I arrived in Syracuse at 2 AM thanks to alleged weather (more then likely the airlines trying to cram their planes with bodies). Up at 7 AM, I waited for Big L so we could head to the Y and I could get my last swim in. Later, I went to pickup my packet for the Cazenovia Triathlon. I believe there has been a big mistake as I am in heat 1. The only way this is not a mistake is if there is only 1 heat of Olympic distance triathletes and the rest are racing the Sprint course in this race within a race.

The weather is looking kind of iffy but then again it is Syracuse. Thinking good thoughts and wishing the clouds away.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

The unscheduled off day

My hotel is perfectly setup for access to the local Y here in Columbus. I am two blocks away. However, last night I stopped down to eyeball the pool situation and make sure the website information on opening was correct and they informed me that indeed they had a pool, that it opened at 5:30 AM but that it was closed for cleaning this entire week. So much for my final swim of the week, I'll try to catch one tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

No spitting lane

Up at 4:50 AM today although technically I woke up at 3:33 and never fell back to sleep. Core work then off to the pool.

This is my taper week but I did not feel like my swim was a taper swim. 5 x 400 nearly exhausted me. My arms were burning and my propulsion was likely negligible. Oh well, at least the spitter wasn't there today.

Tomorrow, a brief swim (refer back to my taper reference) at the Y in Columbus. Three swims in a race week, painful.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Working the mini brick

Up at 5 Am today for a short brick. Core work then on the bike for 30 minutes. After last evening's bike my legs felt like giant redwoods but I hit my zones and definitely worked up a sweat. Off the bike I had a 20 minute run knocking on the door of zone 4. I was working through some cramps, developing my pain threshold. I want one good run this year and I think I am in position to achieve it...fingers crossed.

Tomorrow, back in the pool before heading off to Columbus, OH for work.

Monday, August 04, 2008

There is no spitting in the pool

Up at 4:30 AM today after a not so restful night. I slept well until 2 am and from then on I was fighting my post swim congestion/sneezing fit. Core work then off to the pool.

Today's plan was all anaerobic. For those that do not workout, this is the type of workout that they think they have to do to lose weight or gain fitness. Little do they know you do not have to do it that often because if you did even I would not workout. I was totally sucking air at the wall as my resting seconds fell from the clock. Meanwhile, the woman next to me was spitting in the pool. This is not a kid but a full grown adult just spitting in the pool. Disgusting. I would have said something but I did not want to interrupt the flow of my work. I did, however, try not to take in any water on that end of the pool. Dirty bird, keep your dirty habits at home.

Tonight, I have to get on the trainer for a 45 minute bike. That's going to sting, especially after PT. Tomorrow, a tiny brick as I wind down for this weekend's Cazenovia Tri.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

She Rox Triathlon

I'm in support today for JB who is competing in this all women's sprint triathlon. I noticed something today. When JB gets nervous she asks a lot of questions, conversely when I get nervous I get quiet. It may have taken me 15 years to make this observation.

Thankfully, we are older than the average gal so JB was the 4th heat of what seemed like 15. It was a beautiful day, 75 degrees, not a cloud in the sky and no humidity. The Schuykill River was 84 degrees. Some women did wear a wet suit but I am certain they were way overheated. The bike and run took place in Fairmount Park. For those who have never been, it is akin to Central Park in NY. A beautiful, enormous greenspace in downtown Philly. The bike was a two looper which set me up to take some pictures presuming I were any good at it which I'm not. Ah well, at least I positioned myself to cheer her in. JB finished in under 2 hours, her goal time. Pretty good day on the whole.

When we got home I rushed off to the pool for my hour swim. 2,750 meters of mostly endurance work. I'll turn that around in 12 hours and be back in the pool in the am. Oh the dread.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

A rushed brick

We need to head toward Philly today so JB can get registered for the She Rox Triathlon. 1,600 women--going to be a lot of chatting, support and apologies for bumps in the water. We are so kind to one another as a gender.

On the bike for an hour including 20 minutes of one legged drills. It's not preferable to be on the trainer on a Saturday but it's what I have. Off the bike a 30 minute run. The run is still uncomfortable on my leg but I do feel like I am moving at a more normal pace. Today was a tempo run so no need to move between zones.

Tomorrow, spectating the She Rox Triathlon (trust me when I say this is a workout for me) and then rushing home so I can get in an hour swim.

Friday, August 01, 2008

What a ride

I'm just going to say, riding in Friday traffic vs Saturday traffic is a bit frightening. I road up at Quantico today by myself soo I was lonely and fighting the draft of big trucks and buses. Not preferable but I did have a spectacular, non-stop 50 mile ride. Lots of gunfire in the background today and some large wild turkeys who oddly were running beside me on the road. My plane did not arrive until 3 am today and I was clipped into my pedals by 10--it is possible part of my ride was hallucinatory. For what it is worth, I think the wild turkeys were real.

I had a sports massage today as well. Pretty good body work that hurt so good. It was a bit overdue as I typically try for once a month.

Tomorrow, prior to heading up to Philly for the She Rox triathlon (in support only) I need another brick.