5/17/08

Disney....here I come!

First off...thank you to everyone for the good luck wishes!! I never thought I would have so many friends through blogging. I hope to meet a few more bloggers at Disney tomorrow, but I'm sure we will all "run" into each other one day down the road. I really appreciate the kind words, encouraging advice and just the committment to checking my blog and writing comments so that I had an incentive to get up every morning and do something fun, hard and challenging so that I would have something to write about on my blog. I guess all you bloggers (and readers) have held me accountable to my training for the past couple of months. To all my blogging training buddies and supporters..thanks!
Well, Karel left at 8:45am for Lakeland. He has a tune-up race today and then the state crit championships tomorrow. There is race money for both days but only tomorrow will the state champion be awarded. I think karel is going to do really well. He felt great all week (even though he really didn't say much about his training) but I could tell he had a calmness that I usually don't see in him. I think speed week gave him that extra boost of confidence and I know he would really like to do well this weekend. I guess today will be a good opportunity to get a feel of the other races. Most people will probably just race on sun. but for Karel, he likes racing two days in a row. however, with the race at noon, he isn't too happy about riding in the heat. Oh well....Good luck Karel!!!
I woke up around 6am with Karel and packed up my stuff. Actually, re-packed. I like to pack my stuff 2 days before I leave for a race. It just makes me more calm than trying to gather everything before I leave. Also, with our place filled with boxes (for our move on tues), I had to think ahead when packing up our stuff. I then warmed up with a 17 mile ride and a 2 mile run. The bike was a bit windy and I got rained on toward the end of the ride. I didn't expect rain but it came quickly and then it was just wet and cloudy. I put on my running shoes and felt great. I was just running along and noticed there was a 5K race on the street behind me. I had a few people tell me that i was about to miss the race start. I just smiled and kept running.
I said bye to karel and made breakfast. Now I'm just hanging around anxious to leave. My parents are picking me up and we are heading to orlando together. It is nice to have my parents with me. I don't ask them to come to any of my races and I tell them that they shouldn't drive to a race if the drive takes longer than the race itself. However, when it comes to a 70.3 race, at least the 2 hour drive to Orlando makes up for a hopefull "sub-5 hour" finish. Of course, it is great to have my mom to cheer and my dad to take the pictures (which I will post on my blog with the race report).
I don't always feel this way about a race so I don't want to come across as super confident. However, I am feeling really good about this race. Not nervous (you might want to ask me again when I line up for my wave with the 18-29 women, 145 of us total, 115 in my age group), excited and ready to hurt. Karel gave me a little pep talk and told me to pace myself so it will come down to the run. I was thinking the same thing. As I was warming up I found it strange that I felt so good. HOwever, my good was very relative to my opinion of good and mot so ready. I guess the old Marni would think that I was feeling good if I felt fast and without aches. A not-so ready warm-up would be soreness from overtraining or not resting properly. Perhaps not enough sleep or not keeping up with good nutrition. However, this time I only had one thing on my mind for not being ready. Pain. The pain I felt going into Kona and not being able to run for 31 days before I ran 26.2 miles in kona. The pain I felt walking (with a horrible limp) for 2 months (1 month with crutches). The pain I felt trying to run at 4.5-6 mph for another 2 months. I guess now I feel so good about this race because I have no pain. I am not sure if my legs are sore, if I am not properly trained or if my muscles are tired. I am feeling so good because I can go into this race (and hopefully finish) without any pain. Of course I am going to work very hard and it WILL hurt as I push my body but that is why I worked so hard. I don't expect to go a time that i didn't train for but i expect to enjoy this experience because I am not in pain. Racing in pain is not fun and I don't like the feeling of wanting to just finish. I hope that after the race, even if I don't reach my sub 5-hour goal (I am aware of the difficulty of reaching this goal) I can find something positive in this race. There may not be an age-group award, there may not be a 70.3 World Championship qualifying certificate and I might not set a PR (last year, 5:09 finishing time). However, I will have a medal to show for my Ironman Florida 70.3 finish and if the above "goals" don't happen, I will try to dig deep and remind myself of where I was 7 months ago.
Good luck everyone racing. too many names to mention so a BIGGGGG good luck to those who know I am cheering for them!!!

5/16/08

Websites?????

This is an area I know nothing about. I think the idea of blogging is just great because it is easy to blog daily and you learn a lot about random people. It is only after a few comment posting's that the random person becomes your friend.
A year ago I knew I wanted a website. Since I'm not a Pro athlete, I didn't want it to showcase my athletic career. Although I am an athlete who takes my sport very seriously, I wanted to show people what I can do as far as coaching, sports nutrition and writing.
I was told by Robert "vigo" Vigorito (race director for Columbia triathlon...if you live up north, you probably know him) to contact Ray Lake as the go-to person for a website. I contacted him right away and told him what I wanted it to look like, I sent him some info about me and he went to work. I paid him and it was just that easy. There are many things that I feel I am capable of doing and I don't need to hire anyone to help me out but when it comes to computers and designing a website, I need help!!
Here is some info about Ray....


I have 25 yrs experience as a pharmacist but my interest in information technology led me to create my own home-based webpage business called "Pagescripters". I've been building webpages now for a little over 10 years. My first site was for my local running club since I felt others, like me, wanted to see our race results and upcoming races online. Wow, that makes me feel old considering how far we have come since then!

As a pharmacist, I am responsible for a large cleanroom operation and several corporate pharmacy initiatives for Medstar Health, an 8-hospital system in the Baltimore/Washington metro area. I also have 3 Microsoft certifications which I acquired through self-training.

I am a divorced father of two. My beautiful daughter Carla is 18 yo and will soon be attending the U. of MD @ College Park in the Fall and my 13 yo son Michael is a burgeoning tennis player with a mean backhand. My girlfriend is also a pharmacist and we both enjoy technology, movies, eating out, traveling and anything outdoors.

I've done many triathons and two marathons and continue to love running and biking. Swimming has always been a necessary evil to register for a triathlon. I've also done the Chesapeake Bay One Mile swim. My favorite local races are the Cherry Blossom Ten Miler (~ 7 times) and the Columbia Triathlon (5 times).

Some of my current sites include:

www.trimarni.com
www.mshp.org
www.dcshp.org
www.paulmassaro.com
www.tms-mindbodymedicine.com/
www.tricolumbia.org (some behind the scenes, not the design)
www.mdvoices.com (some involvement since my daughter is the Editor)
www.striders.net (no longer actively involved but this was my first site)

Ray Lake, R.Ph, M.S.

Contact: raytlake@gmail.com

This year, I wanted something new. I wasn't sure what I wanted, but I thought my website needed an update. I am in a new stage of my future career and I feel much more confident about my skills and ability to help people. Therefore, I need a website that is informative and fun. I see all different types of websites, some cluttered and some very detailed. I just want something that tells people what I can do and shows that I love what I do.
Ray went to work with almost any guidance on the layout of the site. I just provided the info and pics. I couldn't be more impressed and I hope everyone out there enjoys my new site. With a lot of time and work it is finally finished!!!!
  • MARNI'S WEBSITE
  • 5/15/08

    A few more memories....

    During the beginning of my senior year of college I was filled with emotions. Of course because it was my LAST year of school (so I thought) but because I knew I would finish school (Transylvania University, Lexington, KY) with a great liberal arts education and 4-years of competitive swimming. Because I almost didn't swim my senior year because I was so burnt out from swimming, I ran cross country my senior year but didn't feel happy. I had so many amazing memories from swimming and I felt like the swim team was my family. As much as I spent the whole summer before Senior year dreading the upcoming season of jumping into the pool every mwf at 5am and then going back for daily afternoon practices from 3:30-6 and then going to sat. morning swim from 7-10, I knew I wanted to be with my family. I wasn't in a sorority in college but I felt like my team was my combined fraternity and sorority. Luckily, I decided to swim and had an amazing season and I graduated college with a great fulfillment that I stuck it out and swam. Not only stuck it out just to finish the season but I enjoyed every swim practice and never complained.
    I remember having many "Last" moments during my senior year.
    This is my last first swim practice.
    This is my last first meet.
    This is my last swim practice.
    This is my last race.
    This is my last nationals.
    This is my last banquet.
    This is my only senior banquet.

    I think I had a "last" comment for everything but it was a happy, yet sad, time in my life.
    Now I am moving on once again. However, triathlons have given me many memories that I will never forget. The best part is that I don't feel like any one time is my last. I know I will see people again, I know we will all train together and I know there are no endings to what we love to do. I guess after 4-competitive years of swimming, a college athlete is ready to say "good-bye". However, I have so many great memories and I am fortunate to have many great friends in my life to share them with. Karel and I have been so lucky to find each other through our sports and the best part is that we have the same friends. Even if some people do only triathlons and some people
    do cycling races, we all find joy in training together, socializing and just having fun. Life is just a lot sweeter with good friends and I am really going to miss all the great people that have come in my life during the past couple of years.
    Last night Karel and I did the Wed. night ride with the Gearlinkers. Gotta love those crazy fast rides. I think I was barely hanging on around 26-28mph and after 2 loops (3 mile loop, no stopping, all right turns) of warm-up I hung on for 3 more loops (out of 6). My cornering skills are just awful so as I would keep getting dropped I would have a guy or two try to pull me back into the group. I was barely hanging on for all the loops. After I got dropped I rode by myself. This ride is just one of those rides were you just hang on until you get dropped or can't take it anymore (for those who are rotating). I think around 30 people start the ride and the final sprint is around 15-20 people. Tough stuff! I saw Blair Lahaye (PR at Ironman) walking on the sidewalk so I thought chatting with blair as I pedaled around 4mph was a perfect end to my workout. After we talked for about a mile (so it seemed) I headed to the long stretch of road so I could watch the guys (and Celia D.) sprint to the finish. I love watching them and it is unbelievable seeing how fast they go. I guess Karel wasn't going to finish his "last wed ride" without making the guys work a little harder than normal so I see Karel and Spencer Smith (Pro triathlete, you may know him as the one with the Pink Planet X bike) and Frank Lopez (pro cyclist) sprinting together. Oh Karel...going out for the win. I catch up with Karel after a cool-down and the first thing he says "I can't wait for some wings and a beer." Sounds like the Czech boy was ready to celebrate. We had a great group of people (more than we thought) join us for dinner at the Varsity Club. This spot is very special to Karel and I (not because they serve good wings and beer to the cyclists) but this is where Karel and I met after the group ride. We met on May 31st, 2006 (my b-day) 2 years ago so we thought this was an appropriate place to say our "see ya later, until the wedding" to everyone. Because a few of the Gearlinkers decided to hook-up Karel and I , we couldn't be more thankful that we have such great friends in our life.




    This morning, another great swim and the last swim of my taper. I practiced in my Zoot speed suit (LOVE IT!!!) and felt amazing. It took me a while to warm-up (again, it was a little cold) but I was ready to work hard and get some good rest in between sets.
    2 sets: 4 x 200's. I took around 45 sec - 90 sec rest. I pretty much went when I felt like my HR was down. The first 4 went 50 pace, 100 hard, 50 pace. I also descended each 200. My times were:
    2:45, 2:43, 2:41, 2:39.
    HAPPY!!!!
    The next 4 were build within each 200. My times were:
    2:41, 2:41, 2:39, 2:36.
    SUPER HAPPY!!!

    Time to take another pic!!!





    I am really going to miss my fabulous swim team. Gay, tony, lee, barb, jerry, john, leo, dave, derek, eric, art, jill, tracy....everyone!!! Coach Matt Hess just wants us all to have fun and enjoy swimming. He loves pushing us and I guess it works. Everyone has improved within the past season. There is a lot of sarcasm in the pool and it makes me laugh so hard in between sets. No one complains about the sets...we just laugh cause Matt makes fun of everyone..and we all take it ;)
    After the swim I was surprised by a beautiful fruit display in the lobby. Derek...you are awesome!!! Thank you so much. Jerry gave Karel a nice bottle of wine and I guess my friends really do know me....I would much rather prefer fruit than cake, cookies or some kind of sweet for a going-away party in the lobby of the Y.



    Thank you all for lots of great early morning swims :) Even if my bed was nice and warm, I wouldn't want to be anywhere else (swimming that is) than with the Swim Fit at Palm Harbor Y at 5:30am on tues/thurs.

    5/14/08

    Last Spin..getting ready for Disney 70.3!!!

    I was sad to say good-bye to my spin class. But, I worked them really hard today w/ a 20 minute sprint set (10 x 30 sec build, 20 sec run/out of the saddle, 30 sec. all-out). At least they will be thinking about me for the rest of the day...and possibly tomorrow :) Teaching my class has been a great experience for me and I have really enjoyed seeing everyone progress with their cardio fitness. It was just amazing seeing the looks on their faces the first couple of months and then a year or two later, they are still working hard but I can see them getting out of their comfort zone. I know it is hard going beyond comfort (especially at 5:30 in the morning) but it is so important to stress the heart by pushing a little harder (for a short period of time) when you start to feel the burn. Or, in my class...when you feel your heart beating out of your chest.
    Anyways, I am going to miss everyone in my class so much and perhaps I will surprise them one day when they least expect it :) We took this pic after several people had left. Most people in my class jolt out right as I finish the cool-down so today, a few people are going to be late to work because of me wanting a pic :)

    After the spin I went for a short run. 3.1 miles with a little walking after 20 minutes. I did 5 min. pace (7.3mph) and then 5 x 45 sec. pickups (8.5mph). Another 5 min pace (7.5mph) and then 5 x 45 sec pickups (85mph). I made use of my extra time at the gym by stretching and doing a few core exercises on the ball. I am so enjoying resting my body but I can't wait to start working my body again when I recover from Disney. I'm not trying to jump the gun on my recovery, but I am anxious to increase my thresholds for a few more weeks.
    After a shower, I headed to Starbucks for coffee with a friend. Another "see ya later" which was sad.
    The best part of my morning was coming home to karel!!! Yay..he is home! Actually, he came home last night around 11pm. Finally, he is mine and we don't have to spend time apart anymore! It was so nice sharing my smoothie with him and just having someone besides a cat in our place.
    And to make the day even better, my bike tech went to work on Seduza without me even saying anything. Thank you babe!!! I snapped a few pics as he was working. I was enjoying the sun doing nothing :)



    5/13/08

    LAST Interval Tuesday!

    Well..I guess it is tuesday but something is different about my interval tuesday. I'm TAPERING!!!!
    I was super excited to get up this morning so when my alarm went off at 4:43am I jumped out of bed. Coffee was brewing and on goes my swim suit. I said bye to smudla and headed to the Y. Although I always look forward to going to my swim practice with around 20 other triathletes, the jump into the pool is so hard. Being so nice and warm and then being wet and cold. Usually the cover is on the outdoor pool but I guess the warm Florida weather has caused the pool cover to be removed at night. BURRR!! I never got warmed up. It was so cold so Matt kept us moving. A lot of mini sets like 50's and 100's and even with the 16 x 75's for warm-up (10 sec. rest) I was cold the whole swim. Oh well. I kept a smile on my face and the guys around me kept me laughing the whole time. I was kinda slacking in the pool so they were making fun of me. Nothing new :)
    I ran into the locker room to get my towel and I felt like it was IMFL all over again. Yes, my 7 minute transition at IMFL was because it was around 40-degrees outside and I was soaking wet ready to get on my bike. I said no way am I getting on my bike until I am warm and ready. I think I got warm around mile 40 of the 112 mile ride at IMFL when the 30-mph wind slowed down. Oh the memories.

    I dressed for the treadmill and Barb and Tony joined me. Oh, I am going to miss my running buddies so much. We have so much fun. We chat during warm-up and barb and I exchange wedding planning stories (she is getting married next year) and we all talk about racing. I give the main set and when we are all ready (usually 10 min. warm-up, 5 min. pick-ups) we increase the speed.
    I had to change my mind a couple times before the set. Because I am so use to pushing hard and not getting much rest, my planned taper set was more like a normal interval tuesday set. Well, in spite of tapering, I needed more rest as I kept with the intensity. Here is what we did:
    10 min. warm-up at 7.3 mph
    5 min pick-ups (45 sec. at 8mph, 15 sec. straddle treadmill)
    Main set 3x's:
    3 min. pace at 8.6mph (6:58 min/mile)
    2 min recovery run at 7.5mph
    3 x 45 sec. at 9mph w/ 15 sec. straddle treadmill
    -then right into the next set.
    Total: 5.6 miles - 40 min.

    I felt really good and although I needed the first 10 min. to really warm me up, I am thinking I'll hold back on the first mile (like usual) because my body takes around 8 min to release the endorphins and increase the pace. I have spent many long runs looking at my watch for the beginning of a run. Especially a brick run. We all have a certain time that we are concerned about heavy legs and then it goes away. For me it is around 8 min but it isn't until around 20 min (or about 3 miles) that I really start feeling good. This is a problem for a lot of people because it is really easy to psych yourself out at the beginning of the run during a triathlon (especially a long one). Just keep your pace steady and hopefully you will get your rhythm if you take your time for the first few miles. Also for the distance athletes, hold back on fluids and gels in a 70.3 and IM for the first 1-2 miles. Water is fine if you need to splash yourself at the first aid station but try to get your rhythm and pace before slowing down or trying to take in some fluids.
    Well, looks like I am almost ready to go. Just a few more days and I'll be off to Orlando. I'm super excited to see Kate W.J. and all my other tri-buddies. This is one of my favorite races and for the 3rd year in a row, I hope to have another enjoyable experience.
    I'm a little sad cause tomorrow morning is my last spin class. I am going to miss my spin class so much. After 2 years of teaching I have seen some of the same faces week after week. I have only missed 4 classes in the last two years and they excused me for 3 weeks of being gone because of kona (and injury) and before then, IMFL (1 class after the race for recovery). Well, I guess since I won't be teaching them after tomorrow I will have to give them just what they come for....a super fun and hard spin class where they get to listen to me yell (encourage) at them for 45 min. at 5:30 in the morning.

    5/12/08

    Weekend Training!

    What a relief. It isn't that I finished my last weekend of training before this week of tapering for Ironman Florida 70.3 (5/18) but I feel so good that I successfully trained for the last month without any "kona injury" pain. And to finish this past weekend without any soreness, aches or pains really made me so much more thankful (and excited) that I am racing on sunday. I am super ready to get out there and leave it all at Disney. I know it will be hot and my competition is strong (I gave in last night and although I tried not to, I googled some of the 115 girls in my new 25-29 age group. Oh my, these girls are fast!!!) but I have to be confident about my training. I know I often dream big with my race goals, but I have to remember that the body is only capabable of pushing to the limit by which I trained it to reach. I like to tell myself that my body is ready for X-time but anything can happen come race day. I also set several goals before a race so that I can't set myself up for negative thinking after I cross the finish line. Of course, I always want to have fun but it is so important that everyone crosses the finish line with a thought that they just did something unbelievable. Even if it is a sprint triathlon, the fact that you trained yourself to do something like a triathlon is a major accomplishment. Even if you have never done an Ironman or 70.3, or even an olympic distance tri, just think about how your non-triathlete friends respond when you tell them about your weekly (or weekend) training routine for an upcoming tri.
    Sat morning was my last long run and I did 10.8 miles. I felt comfortable and strong and although I was super hot I tried to keep my breathing under control. It is very important that you stay well-hydrated during a long run or race. when the body begins to get dehydrated, the heart must pump faster and harder to send blood to the working muscles for cooling. Not a good thing when you are already increasing the heart rate to get to the finish line. I got back to my place and checked the watch. 1:29. I didn't expect to run 8:14 min miles but I'll take it. I grabbed my bike and rode 21 miles at an easy pace to spin my legs. I was super hot even on the bike and the flat tire I got at mile 18 made me even hotter as I stood on the sidewalk of the road to change it. I was surprised I didn't get frustrated (who likes changing a flat tire anytime, but especially at the end of a workout) and if anything, I kinda saw this as a positive thing. I am totally comfortable changing tires but my 650 wheels on seduza make it a little hard to get the tire off the wheel to get out the flat tube. However, I am not going to waste my energy in a race if I get a flat tire. It is important to understand that anything can happen in a race and you just have to move on. plenty of races have been won by pros who have gotten flat tires. Well, this was just an opportunity to clock myself (3 minutes) to change the flat. I probably could be faster but I try to just stay calm. I think karel can change a tubular in around a minute (I have clinchers).
    I made a great smoothie and started on the packing in my place. I worked on an article for BT.com which I really enjoyed writing. It is for the performance members only but this one was really practical for everyone. i wrote about energy drinks and how they compare to sport drinks. I learned a lot! After looking through PubMed (which has the latest and greatest research studies) I was surprised to see how many recent studies have been published on energy drinks and caffeine.
    Sat night I was super tired and went to bed before 9:30. Sunday morning came quickly and as I headed on my bike at 7am I realized that I had a little taste of Disney for my windy ride. It was SUPER windy. I was getting blown all over the memorial and sand key causeway and because I rode along the water (south from clearwater to st.pete) I had wind to my side the whole way there and back. I did 46 miles totalled but only averaged around 17mph. I never worry about my speed because when I put my race wheels on seduza I know I will give it my all for the bike (well, a hard push with some energy left in my running legs). After the bike I really didn't want to run. I was SOOOO Hot!!! However, I didn't talk myself out of it and I went for a 3.5 mile run. Just a comfortable pace but I think I ran a little faster than i should have. I got back in around 30 minutes and finally..I was done!! I had a big glass of cold water and I wish I could jump into a cold pool! I am so happy that Karel and I's new apartment has a big pool...yay!!
    here's a nice sweaty pic after my sunday workout!


    Smudla enjoyed watching me make my smoothie.
    Time to get back to work now..nutrition, articles and then coaching this afternoon. This week is going to fly!!!!

    5/11/08

    Happy Mother's Day!!

    To all the mommies out there....happy mothers day! A special mom day to my friend Kelly who just had a baby last fri!!
    And to my mommy, thank you for being the best mom!! I wasn't the typical child when I was young. I was always doing my own thing, trying to be unique and different. You helped me and let me become the woman I am today and thank you for believing in me when I thought I would fail. And when I did fail, thank you for pushing me to keep on reaching my dreams. And when my dreams were really, really...really high, thank you for believing in me.
    I love you mom!