9/11/10

Saturday morning....getting close

Bike warm-up



Spectator Carb-loading


Double checking...did I forget something?


Karel left me a surprise on my handlebars to keep me smiling during the 112 mile bike


All done!

24 hour countdown

"Don't worry about drafting penalty's on the bike...the course is that hard and challenging"

Last night I had a great veggie pizza from a local pizza place (Last Nickel Pizza). YUM. My mom has a first cousin in Madison that we haven't seen in 4 years so we picked up the pizza and had dinner (outside) at their place. What are the odds but my mom's cousin does advertising for Trek! How cool is that!! After dinner my parents dropped me off at the Monona Terrace for the Athlete meeting. The quote above was from the head ref who had us all laughing (or for some, shaking in the knees) as he talked about the rules and regulations for the race. I am still excited for the bike but I know it is going to be super tough and challenging.

The weather should be perfect for a wonderful day of IM racing with a high of 73, an abundance of sunshine and no chance for rain. There will be strong 10-20 mph from the SW which will bring some tough side wind and head wind conditions but we will all be on the same course and the weather will be the same for all 2700 athletes.

Just a few statistics for the race tomorrow...
-2700 athletes (approximately) registered for the race.
-1200 first timers (IM distance)
-73% male and 27% female (GO LADIES!!!)
-Three countries most represented: US, Canada, United Kingdom
-5 athletes competing in the 70+ age group (LOVE IT!!!)

My age group has around 116 athletes (registered) which makes for a rather large age group considering that there are only around 700 female athletes in the race.

I couldn't be more excited right now because Karel flew into Madison last night and when I woke up around 7am...there was Karel and my fully assembled bike!! Thank you Karel for putting my bike together around 11:30 Central time (12:30 EST).
Trimarni is ready to go and in about an hour, the roads will be almost dry from the morning shower. Looking forward to taking my bike for a little spin before checking her in, along with my transition bags, a little later in the day (bikes and bags must be checked in by 3pm). Can't wait for Outback tonight and my last sleep before my fourth IM.

I'm very content and excited. I am not nervous and I really feel in my zone. Even though I have goals in my head of what I feel I am capable of doing, I am really excited to share this day with so many other athletes. I've received so many wonderful emails and messages from friends, my athletes and complete strangers. You have no idea how much those messages mean to me and I will be thinking of all of the positive messages throughout my entire race. And then, when I finish, I will have my turn to cheer loud and pass along positive vibes to all of the last-hour finishers and Karel and I will be at the finish line until the last person crosses the line at 12am.

Thanks again for your support and encouragement!

Karel loves to surprise me with something special and new on my bike prior to my big races....for IMWI I will be riding with a limited edition PINK breast cancer awareness chain. Thank you Karel!!!



9/10/10

Florida-girl meets Wisconsin

After a long day of traveling, from Jacksonville to Ft. Lauderdale and then to Baltimore, I was finally able to relax a bit as I boarded my last flight of the day with my parents (who flew from Tampa). We arrived to Milwaukee (my first time to WI!) around 9:20pm (10:20EST), welcomed a brisk 56-degree outdoor temp and to my relief, my bike arrived on the same plane as me. Wheewwww. I took off my compression shorts and socks and happily put on my stylish Zoot compression tights. I'm sooo over trying to look cute while I travel. Compression is my best friend and I gladly welcome it when I travel.


We got our Ford Escape rental care and made the 80ish mile drive to Middleton, WI (just outside Madison). 11:45pm (12:45EST) I was unpacked and in bed....fast asleep.
I had a very restful night of rest even though I only got 6 hrs. My body enjoys 8 hrs but I know I will sleep a little extra tonight.
Our hotel is fabulous...my mom out-did herself and booked me the perfect hotel to meet my IM race week requirements. Not only do I have a fridge and a microwave (2 must-have's for my IM events) but I have a FULL Kitchen!! We also have a bedroom in our suite and for the amazing price just 15 miles away from the race site, Staybridge suites is making me super happy! Free internet, free HOT breakfast and the nicest people around.




After a wonderful breakfast of oatmeal w/ walnuts and raisins, cottage cheese, fresh fruit (melon medley) and the most delicious scrambled eggs (and 2 bold cups of coffee and lots of water) my parents and I got ready for an anticipated drive around the bike course.

FYI-when I do Ironman events, I typically don't drive the entire course. However, for this course, because of the road conditions and technicality, I really wanted to drive the entire 40-mile loop as well as the 13ish mile out and back section before and after the 2 loops. When I travel, I always write myself an itinerary of what I want to do from the moment I wake up until I go to bed, every day, from arrival to departure. It really helps me to have a plan so that I don't feel rushed or overwhelmed and that I make sure I fit in all my to-do's. Also, I plan "rest periods" so that I am not staying too busy on the days leading up to the big day. My parents are still laughing at me cause I keep saying "we are ahead of schedule!"

During our 56 mile drive we stopped at a local bike shop (somewhere around mid-loop) to buy 2 CO2 cartridges (since I can't fly with them) and it was a coffee/bike shop...how cool is that!! I love supporting local bike shops so we chatted a bit with the owner and headed back out on the course for the rest of our drive.




So, how can I sum up the bike course??? Um, let's just say that I am the ONLY Florida-girl in my age group (25-29) and one of TWO females in the entire race from Florida!!!!
I have to say that this will be the most challenging triathlon course I have ever done. Although I feel strong and confident with my bike skills, the course is very technical with sharp turns, tight descends and gravel/bumps on several sections. However, the course looks absolutely beautiful and I wouldn't want to be challenged anywhere else in the US...I'm SUPER excited for this bike. I have biked on a lot of "challenging" roads and have completed 6-gap, Clermont Horrible Hundred and have biked around Lake Tahoe...but all of my most memorable and challenging courses have been completed with Karel near or by my side.
I feel like Karel has prepared me for this course and even though I don't train on hills, I feel really good knowing the layout of the course. I took notes on my turn-by-turn directions as we were driving the course so I will be looking those over tonight and tomorrow so that I even more confident and prepared for this 112 mile bike. I am grateful that I have a power meter because it should be abundantly sunny but perhaps a bit windy (high 72-degrees!!) and I don't want to cook myself on the bike because I am feeling really good for a great run. I know I will have some moments with some inflammation/leg concerns on the bike and possibly/probably on the run but I have really worked hard on my confidence to stay mentally strong and smart. I am really happy that my family and Karel are here because seeing them somewhere on the bike course (Karel always seems to find a back road w/ my parents and they all seem to find me while I am on the bike at least once) will really lift my spirits. Also, the course is FILLED with small towns, neighborhoods and farms... me and 2900 other IM athletes will be in great company with lots of cheering fans and curious cows and horses.




Well, we finally made it to downtown Madison (ahead of "my" schedule hehe) and I instantly fell in love with the city. Absolutely beautiful, clean and bike-friendly. The race venue is getting ready and you can feel the excitement in the air. It can all be a bit overwhelming at times but even for my 4th IM, I still get nervously excited and feel like a newbie.




After athlete check-in (which went smoothly as always) I looked around at the expo/merchandise area and then headed outside to check out the IM scene. After lunch I packed my transition bags and minute by minute, the excitement continues to grow.

I'm Super excited to check out Madison for 140.6 miles....I know this is going to be a race to remember. Regardless of how my finish turns out, I am really blessed to be where I am right now in my life and happy to share this day with so many other athletes.
In about an hour I am off for my typical pre-race, 2 night before, pizza dinner and then off to the athlete meeting (which I NEVER miss for a half or full IM). Karel gets in later tonight (my bike is lonely in her case..she is ready to be put together) and hopefully the anticipated rain for the morning will come and go. I'm looking forward to my warm-up swim, bike and run in the morning since today was an enjoyable day off from tapering. Wow - so close to IM starting line #4!!





9/8/10

My Team

Every athlete has a team. Some people have larger teams than others. A teammate doesn't care about how fast you are or how you place in your age group. A teammate is loyal, honest and cares about your happiness.
Have you thanked your team lately?
You may be telling yourself that you aren't part of a team because you don't pay monthly/yearly dues or you don't train with other people...but really you are part of a team. Perhaps you always look forward to your morning chat with a co-worker because he/she always asks about your training. Maybe your wife/husband/boyfriend/girlfriend asks about your racing schedule and wants to know whether or not he/she can spectate at your upcoming race. Have you ever asked your kids to go for a bike ride or run with you? Does your dog love your morning or evening runs/walks just as much as you do? Do your neighbors or relatives ever ask about your training or better yet, come and watch your races?
We all have people who we count on and rely on to cheer us up when we are down and keep us motivated when times get tough. We have friends and/or family that love to hear our stories about racing and training and perhaps, even feel inspired by what we do on a daily basis.
What race is complete without the volunteers and spectators? Have you ever considered complete strangers part of your team?
I have a really big team and I want to thank each and every one of them for helping me stand at the starting line of IMWI. I would not be here without them and my triathlon career would not feel complete without the following people in my life....

MY GREAT FRIENDS, ATHLETES and BLOGGERS






Katrine, Laura, Jennifer and Mallory....what would I do without you girls!! No matter what workout I am doing, you are always happy to keep me company. I've had some great conversations with you girls on the bike, on the treadmill and in the pool and I love how passionate each of you are for life and for triathlons.
I have lots of friends in the blogging world and it makes me smile to read your comments on my blog and on facebook. I am inspired by every person I meet and I find it special to have so many different and unique people in my life. Thank you to all of my local and web-based friends for believing in me and for always being there when I needed to vent. A big thank you to all of the athletes that I have coached with training and have helped with nutrition. You inspire me to be a better person and I love helping you reach your personal goals!

Marilyn

272 hrs of interning and I couldn't think of anyone else to help me fulfill my community nutrition rotation requirements. I never knew learning could be so much fun! I loved our lunch-times together and sharing our recipes...and of course, lots of doggy-talk. As a runner yourself, I appreciate all of your support and positive words when it came to my internship and IM training. Although my internship was my #1 priority, you really helped me achieve balance in my life and I truely feel as if I made the most out of my rotation. Thank you for everything Marilyn! I loved being your "future RD" aka "dietitian in training"

CAMPY
Words can't describe my love for you Campy, Campy-Camp, Camp, Poochie, Campagnalo, Campochi, Furry little one, Buddy. It doesn't really matter what I call you because you are mine for ever and ever. You never have a bad day and every day is a lottery winning day. The worst part of your day is when we leave you alone but regardless of what our day brings to us, you always greet us with a big smile and lots of kisses. You make our day better because you let us know how grateful you are to be alive and you really do appreciate the little things in life..like having food, clean water and a bed to sleep in at night.
It doesn't matter if it is 6am or 2pm, you never let me down for a great run. You don't even think twice about running with me and I love for that. I don't run for me but for you. I love Campy-miles because I am thankful that I have you in my life and I can share my passion for the outdoors with you by my side...well, more like always in front of me.
You are my favorite travel partner. You keep me company on long road trips and errands around town are always fun with you as my passenger. You love watching Karel race and love to travel, no matter where we go. Campy, Karel and I couldn't imagine our life without you (and your sisters) and we love you so much. Thank you Campy for being part of my team!






MY PARENTS and BROTHER
Mom, I couldn't ask for a better travel agent. All I have to tell you is which IM I am signing up for and I know you will do an excellent job booking flights, hotels and well, anything and everything related to IM.
Dad, you really do take the best pictures. I have so many memories from races because of your fabulous pictures.
Mom, Dad and Aaron, thank you so much for your support and for always believing in me. I don't know where I would be in this world without you all! We have the best family ever and I love when we are all together. I couldn't ask for better parents and I always love having you two at my races, cheering me on to reach my dreams.





HAMMER and MARJORIE
Thank you so much for being my sponsor and for having the BEST nutrition products on the market! I have become such a stronger, smarter and faster athlete because of your awesome line of nutrition products and I don't know how I could get through my racing and training without you in my life! Your clothing is super cute and I am so proud to be a Hammer athlete. The foundation of my training and racing IS Hammer and I strongly believe I am training and racing injury free because of Hammer. Thanks for making such yummy, research-supported and environmentally-friendly products! My body thanks you!
Marjorie, Thank you for giving me the BEST massages! You are so smart and you know my body so well. Without you, I wouldn't be where I am today...injury-free! Thank you for helping me relax, visualize and become more confident with my racing. You are amazing!!



KAREL
Karel, this was supposed to be YOUR year. After IMKY I told you I was going to focus on my internship so that you could enjoy your season of racing without worrying about me training for another IM...alongside doing my internship. You told me that I should sign up for IMWI and as usual, I listened to you because I know you believe in me. I only signed up for 3 races this summer so that we could travel for all of your races but despite my plan to keep the focus on you, you continually stood by my side and coached me. I absolutely love watching you race and your enthusiasm for competition is very contagious. I can't explain how much I love you and how amazing you are as a husband and as my best friend. My life changed the day I met you and since 2006, every day is better than the last day. I love our times together, on an off the bike, and I love living life with you. Thank you for keeping me balanced and happy and for loving me for me. I think you are an amazing manager, bike mechanic, athlete and friend and I am so happy that I can spend forever with you. Babe, I love you SO much and my life feels completed when you are by my side.






9/7/10

Dear Body,

This letter is long over due....

IMFL

Ironman World Championships, Hawaii

IMKY

3 Ironman's and 5 half Ironman's have gone by and it was extremely selfish of me to not thank you for all that you have done for me.
Body, thank you so much for everything that you have done for me. I am a student, a traveler, a wife to an amazing cyclist, a heart-healthy vegetarian, a daughter to two amazing parents, a sister to an amazing brother, a friend, an endurance athlete, a Kona and Boston marathon finisher, an animal-mommy, and a lover of life. I aspire to help people reach personal weight and performance goals and I wake up every morning wanting to make the most out of my life.
Body, I realize that I have not always been the best to you. There were times when you were sleep-deprived, overly stressed, left with an aching and sad heart, extremely nervous, uncomfortable scared and with brain-overload. However, there were the other times when you were extremely happy, in love, overly joyed and wanting more out of life.
Body, I apologize for keeping you malnourished at times and for making you feel restricted and hungry. You told me that you wanted to eat but for some reason, I neglected to listen to you and long hours went by without feeding you. You asked for specific foods and for whatever reason, you did not receive the right balance of nutrients that you wanted. Body, thank you for always talking to me because eventually, I listened.
Body, we have a great relationship with food and because of it, you are happy and satisfied. When you are happy, I am happy. When I am happy, others around me are happy. When I am happy and others around me are happy, we are really living life to the fullest.
Body, I do not strive for a number on a scale. I really do love my muscles as well as the fat on my arms, thighs, butt and hips. What matters to me more than anything is that you don't fail me. I promise I will keep you nourished regardless if that means buying a size bigger of clothes or seeing a little jiggle while I run. My happiness is not determined by a number on a scale or the size of my clothes.
I don't want you skinny because you have told me that you are not very happy when you are skinny. Body, I don't want you to have to carry more weight than you need to carry so I will be sure to listen to you when you tell me I am satisfied at meal and snack time. Body, I will always listen to you because you know me better than anyone in this world. I trust that you will keep me healthy and strong and I promise I will always keep you well-fueled.
Body, thank you for giving me the triathlon season of my life. I feel stronger than ever and I am ready to race in Wisconsin. We've been through some stressful and busy times with an internship and Ironman training, alongside balancing the rest of life. However, you did it body! You managed to keep me healthy and without sickness, overtraining, overreaching or an injury. You asked me for a weekly rest day or two and you returned the favor by giving me strength, speed, power and endurance during every training session. I know I left you sore at times but I made sure I gave you the right nutrients to help you recover. Sure, some days you were more sore than others but overall, I think we made a fabulous team.

Body, I can't thank you enough for giving me the opportunity to race in my 4th Ironman. 140.6 miles is a long way to go but I know you are ready. Did I mention that the 112 mile bike course is really hilly? That's ok, I know you can do it!
I've really enjoyed this journey and I know we are going to really enjoy this experience.

Love, Marni

P.S. Not sure if you remembered, but I'm really aiming for a Kona slot. Not sure if I'm asking too much since we don't know about our competition or the course but I think we can do this together. What do you think? That's ok if you don't want to to answer me now. You can let me know on Sunday September 12, 2010 in Madison WI.

9/6/10

Gearlink cycling cup weekend

What an exciting weekend. So much was built up for this race weekend because Karel is currently winning the FL cup cycling series. Karel hasn't raced in a few months (except for last weekend where he placed 6th) so as you can imagine, the nerves were high. The thought of racing again was weighing on Karel for a few weeks in a row because it is a lot easier to build up speed and endurance for RR and crit racing if you race week after week as opposed to racing once after a few months off. Cycling is so much different than triathlons so I really respect Karel's training and racing when it comes to cycling.

Karel didn't want to do a lot during the race on sat evening in downtown New Port Richey. Typically, Karel would be really active and try to attack, respond and be really involved in Crit races (his fav type of racing), but in an effort to conserve energy, he had to keep in mind his FL cup race on Sun. Although sat was not a cup race, the Pro 1,2 field was stacked with tough and strong riders and the Lindner guys had no choice but to ride hard and respond to moves. Curtis, Karel's teammate, did a lot of work to try to chase down the 3-man break but despite the 75 minute crit race, the hot weather and team tactics of the field allowed the 3-man break to stay away for almost the entire race. Because the 3-man break had 3 riders from the 3 biggest teams, every time a field rider would try to attack, the respective team from the 3-man break would slow the group down. The crit was really exciting and I was so happy to have my good friend Jennifer and her wonderful and sweet dog Molly there to spectate. My parents were there and awesome athlete Andrea came as well. We saw all of our Gearlink friends as well so overall, the race was exciting and fun to watch. Karel ended up 12th and also won a prem (he was the first person to cross the line when the announcer rang the bell for a prem prize the lap prior).

We came home around 7:30, made two home-made pizza's and Karel could barely move after dinner. He couldn't believe how a 75-min, 5:30pm race could leave him completely exhausted and drained. Karel knew that Sun was an important race and after a restless night of hardly any sleep, Karel was 10X more nervous for Sunday.

Karel being the tough competitor that he is, somehow psyched himself up for Sun as we drove the hour or so to Brooksville/Dade City for the 60-mile RR. I let Karel get in his zone on the way to the race but he seemed to relax once we arrived to the race venue. Jennifer met me at the race after her ride in San Antonio so it was great to share another exciting race with her.

There was so much excitement for this race because every team and every rider had his eyes out for Karel...especially the team who had a rider in 2nd place for the FL cup. Therefore, Karel knew that he needed to keep his eyes out for the 2nd place guy and couldn't take any risks during the race (or experience a mechanical) or else Karel would move out of 1st and there would be little chance that he could win the FL cup with only more race to go (in 2 weeks).

The race was 5 x 12 mile loops with a feed zone on the flat section of the course, right after the start/finish. I had a bunch of bottles with me for Karel and his 3 teammates but only Ralph needed a bottle (Jennifer did her first ever feed zone hand off!). I never saw Karel during the race because he was tucked in the field, soft pedaling during the entire windy and rolly ride. Thankfully, there was a lot of cloud cover with a storm in the far distance so despite the wind, it was rather tolerable for the 60 Pro 1,2 and Cat 3 riders.

There was a few breaks during the race, with 1-4 guys but it seemed to change every loop. The riders were coming around every 25-27 min so it was a quick race (a little less than 2 1/2 hrs for 60 miles).

I was really nervous for the finish, for both Karel's safety (NO Crashes please!!) and for the 2nd place rider to not pass Karel on the line.

With a 5 man break, Karel ended up sprinting and getting 2nd for the field sprint. Karel ended up 7th overall and is winning the FL CUP series by a good 33 points. If Karel just finishes the next crit race in Bartow (in 2 weeks) it looks as if he will win the FL CUP Pro 1,2 series!! How exciting.

I have to say how impressed I am with the teamwork on the Lindner team. Curtis, Ralph and Clint all watched out for Karel, despite the other teams continually blocking Karel ever time he tried to move up in the field. Clint carried a bottle for Karel so that he didn't have to carry the extra weight. Also, Clint stayed next to Karel during the entire race so that in the case of a flat tire, Clint would give Karel his wheel and Clint would wait for the wheel truck. I was really impressed with Karel's sportsmanship during the race, although it is no surprise to me. Karel was talking with the 2nd place FL cup guy during one of the climbs and the other rider happened to slip his chain as he was changing his gears. I guess you could say it could have been an Andy Schlek and Contador situation but Karel slowed down and gave the other guy a push on this back to keep him in the race as he pedaled his chain back on the chain ring. Karel said that if he is going to race, he wants it to be a fair race.

Hope you enjoy the pics...I am super proud of Karel!