18 June 2009

State of my State

Two posts in under 24 hours?! I know it is exciting.

Key points:

  • Work is overwhelming
  • I’m trying to figure out what to do next
  • Dealing with Dad’s death doesn’t go away
  • Training is intense

Work is exhausting right now. We’re moving onto a new financial system, which requires us to go through multifarious training courses – many with nothing to do with our specific roles in the company. Not only am I endlessly clicking through purchasing training, but I am also the POC for Goods Receipt and P-Cards during the Costpoint Conversion. That means I get to take training for 3 positions, instead of just one, and respond to everyone’s emails about their GR/PCard issues. Lucky me. In the meantime, I also have to find time for daily functions. Lately many of the offsite projects I support seem to be in a horrible mood (most likely due to the upcoming conversion) and attempt to drag me down as well. Oh, and to round out my bitching about work, I’m most likely losing my job anyways… I’ll find out the week before Ironman Lake Placid. Well, I’m not so much “losing my job”; my job is moving, and I won’t be moving with it. No hate to Oak Ridge, but its just not my style.

Which brings me to what I’m doing with my life. I have some good leads on jobs in the area that I will pursue once I have my separation date. The question becomes, do I want to stay in the DC area? Its been a great place for the past 2 years. But, I’m young and unattached… I should get out and see new places, right? Ideally, I’ll land a job that requires a good deal of travel (dreaming of a job like Ray's, sending me all across the world to do presentations, but realistically just hoping to travel a bit in the US) and I could stay right where I’m at living-wise. But, should I move to another area? California to be with a number of my friends? Hawaii to enjoy the amazing weather? Up and change countries for a hot minute? Who knows, but its got me thinking a lot. Luckily I won’t have to make these decisions until sometime after Ironman.

I just passed the 6 month mark from my dad’s death. It’s hard to believe that 6 months have passed. I have my good days and I have my bad. I’ll go a week or two without even thinking about it, and then it will consume my every thought. I ran across the adjacent picture when looking for something else on my camera. The flags at my dad’s work flew at half-staff the week my dad died through his funeral. I’m glad I caught a few pictures of the two flags flying with the trucks in the background (the closest truck being the first color scheme that they had when Dad started, and the subsequent trucks being the new line that came out a few years ago). The 6th month mark fell exactly as it did in December; he fell on Tuesday the 9th, and we removed the life support on Thursday, December 11th (actually, that's when the hospital declared him as no longer a patient… he stayed on life support until Friday for organ donation). June 9th was a Tuesday, so the week repeated itself. Last week was a very hard week… and to be honest, I feel like I floated through the week oblivious to anything around me. I shut my office door and cried almost every day. I went home and laid in bed, skipping many of my workouts. My body may not have needed the break, but it was precisely what my mind needed. I had a good weekend, until mom mentioned my aunt had a buyer for Dad’s car. I was speechless. She didn’t even tell me she was thinking about selling it. Last I knew, my brother was taking it. He decided he didn’t want it, and my mom has a hard time looking at it every time the garage opens. I get that, I’m sure its hard. But I was crushed that she didn’t even bother to check to see what I thought. I’m considering buying his car to tie me over until my next car purchase, but I haven’t made a decision. We both had 2002 ZX2’s – his navy, manual, and has a sunroof, mine – silver, automatic, and has about 45,000 more miles. I remember going home one weekend and asking my dad what he knew about the Mazda 3 5-doors, because I thought that was going to be my next car. He just started laughing and said “I’ve been looking at them lately too, and decided that its the next car I want”. He went into a long discussion comparing the Mazda 3 to the others in that same class, and why it was, in his opinion, the best choice. I’ve got my eye on the 2010’s, but will most likely wait until early next year (read: price drop because I’m poor).

Training has been intense for Ironman. Of course it has been.. its for Ironman. I’m often tired from training, and maybe even slightly grouchy because I can never eat enough. After the below outlined Mooseman Fail, I was very concerned about my ability to do Lake Placid; not because of the physical requirements, but the mental. After recovering, I’m ready to tackle it. I didn’t quit at Mooseman, so it must be a good sign. This weekend is the peak of training – 2 hour swim, 20 mile run, 120 mile bike. Bring it on.

Well, maybe. I have to have some medical tests run on Friday. Report to follow.

17 June 2009

Mooseman Half Iron Race Report

Clearly, I’m behind. Mooseman was over 2 weeks ago, and I’m just now getting around to the post. I’ve been dragging my feet, because to be honest, I didn’t want to recall how bad of a race I had. Lucky for you, blogosphere, you get the extra short version:

Swim: 35:18

The swim course is a rhombus of sorts. I lost a good amount of time between the two furthest points. I’m not good at swimming in very very choppy water. If I’m not in a wetsuit, I’m fine… but if I’m in a wetsuit, I get some variation of sea-sick. Not fun. I enjoyed the 59 degree water however, unlike many people. Newfound lake is also one of the 10 cleanest lakes in the US. So clean I probably drank a little too much of it since I wasn’t hesitant about what I might be ingesting.

Bike 3:49

A full 40 minutes longer than I wanted to be on the bike. Mooseman is a relatively hilly course. I came prepared with a newly installed compact crank. Mooseman is also known for its sketchy pavement. And by sketchy, I mean terrible. Well, except for the first 6 miles, which have been repaved. I started off strong on the bike, feeling good after recovering from the near cookie-tossing session on the far side of the lake. I eased right up Devils Hill. On the backside of the course, there are some nice descents. Well, they would be nice, if it wasn’t for the aforementioned shitty pavement. At some point, a crosswind caught my 404’s when I wasn’t paying attention, and it threw me around a bit. By a bit, I mean a lot. On the shitty pavement. I already have a fear of crashing and head trauma, and with it being almost 6 months to the day of my dad’s death, I lost it. By the time I hit the bottom of the hill, I was balling. I didn’t want to be on my bike, and if there had been an aid station anywhere close, I would have dismounted and turned in my chip. I continued to cry. I thought about my dad. The fear of crashing/head trauma finally caught up to me. I wanted off my bike. I was thinking about how I could sell my bike/tri stuff, and make at least $2000. That would cover my investment into Ironman registration, my hotel room, and recover other sunk costs. That is how much I didn’t want to be on my bike… and it was serious thinking, not just “oh I should sell my bike and be done with this sport.” But, I kept pedaling, because the only choice I had was to do so, or sit at the side of a cemetery. The tears slowly dried, and I made my way back to loop 1. I was still having issues with hyperventilating, and hadn’t eaten/drank in at least 45 minutes. As I came in for the second loop, the electricity of the race drove me out onto the second loop. I got up Devils hill again, and continued the climb to the summit. Once I reached the summit, I quickly wondered “What Was I THINKING”? I quickly went through round 2 of hyperventilating and the fear of crashing. I was more prepared for the crosswinds on the downhills this time, and made it through safely. I was mentally diminished at this point, and figured I’d rack my bike and stop.

Run: 2:23

But I didnt. I realized I couldn’t hurt myself on the run, so I’d go out and get it done. Besides, there were too many teammates there. Off I went, and I got my legs pretty quickly. Miles 1-2 went by great. MIle 2.5, ::gurgle… gurgle:: Stomach’s not happy. I throw down a gel and 1/2 a glass of water at the aid station. As fast as I threw it down, it came right back up. Awesome. I walk, sipping water again, trying to get my stomach to calm down. I can feel I’m way under-fueled at this point, and throwing up the gel was the exact opposite of what I needed. I walked some more. Shuffled a little. Walked. Aid Station comes up, I sip on Pepsi. The Stomach (now a proper noun at this point, demanding I respect it) decides it does not want Pepsi either. I Pepsi’d some foliage on the side of the road. I walked… shuffled.. walked. Next aid station, after letting Stomach know we had another 9 miles to go, and surely it did not want to convulse that many times… I took some orange gatorade. Stomach approved. I shuffle a little. Stomach decides it still is okay. I drink the rest of the cup. Waited a minute, fully expecting a revolt. It didn’t come. I picked up my pace, and I ran. I ran fast. I stopped to pee, so at least I wasn’t dehydrated. I crossed the finish line. I cried (into my new Mooseman Finishers shirt and towel)

My time was faster than Kinetic, but not much. I hoped to break 6 hours. I hoped to take one of the top two slots. No luck. It was the hardest race I’ve done. Not topographically. Mentally. I joke about quitting triathlon after Ironman, selling my bike, and taking up scrapbooking. Joke. I was serious when I was on the bike. I guess that goes to show, you shouldn’t make decisions while riding that don’t pertain to navigating the course or eating.

Outside of the race, I had a GREAT weekend. Got up there Friday, swam, cheered on racers in the Oly on Saturday, got a great brick in. Monday, a few of us hung out on a dock in the lake, chattin, drinking wine, eating leftover cheese, grapes, chicken, and pretzels. If you ever have the chance, Mooseman is a FANTASTICALLY run race. I mean seriously, TOP NOTCH. and Bristol is absolutely gorgeous. The community was out in force supporting the race, which was awesome.

I had a very hard time accepting how this race went. I’ve accepted, and I’ve moved on. My focus is Ironman. I’m excited. I really look forward to it.

09 June 2009

A long hiatus

Clearly, I haven't been doing many updates. I've been stretching my time between driving, work, training, and sanity, sometimes wearing thin in each category. I wouldn't go so far to say I've been in a funk, but things just haven't felt "right". I loathe that sensation.

A brief synopsis of the last few weeks:

Went to Lake Placid. Camped Thursday-Monday. Cheap, but still a mistake when you factor in sleeping on the ground, then beating the crap out of your body for a few days. Had an awesome tour of the Olympic center. My run went well on Saturday (one loop of the course). I wish I could say the same about the bike. I'm not sure if I was just tired, too tight from not stretching post-running/sleeping on the ground or what, but my quads were on fire. I rode the course last year on a bike that didn't fit me, and I was in much worse shape. I struggled to make 1 loop. Decided it was time to switch over to compact cranks. My legs won't be that drained before Ironman, granted... but it will be a nice security blanket. Gave up on the bike, and hopped in the lake for a swim in 50 degree water. Cold, but manageable. I kept clenching my fists to make sure I wasn't going into any type of hypothermic state. Oh, and I lost a veneer. *pissed*.

The following weekend was filled with running and biking on my own, and meeting up with some people for a swim in Lake Barcroft. One of the few "gems" around the area... if there's once place to learn to be comfortable in open water where you can't see 2 inches infront of you, Barcroft is it. And, its semi-legal to swim in. 2 or so miles later, we were back to J's house for a barbeque. Ate far too much food. Found out Monday that my job's going to get moved to Oak Ridge... and I have no intentions of moving with it. Awesome.

Last weekend was Mooseman. Bad race doesn't begin to cover in detail, and I will post a full report shortly. Briefly, had a slow (for me) swim.. a breakdown on the bike- not the mechanical kind, and threw up a few times on the run. Devistating, as I was hoping to come in around around 6 hour mark. I had very high expectations of myself for the race, and I crumbled.