Um, hello?

So, I am well aware of the fact that I suck when it comes to my blog. As the Director of Social Media for an ad/PR agency, you would think I would be a rock star at it… but clearly, I am not.

I blame it on the whole “cobbler’s shoes theory”.

 

Click the link at the end of the post to see my whole photo album

In true form I like to post from time-to-time just to prove to those of you who stumble in my path, that I am still alive.

Today is that day.

 

Recently I started reading Shannon’s blog and it reminded me that I have not posted in a while. It reminded me of the fun of blogging and the input you get from others when there are things you struggle with.

 

First and foremost, I left everyone hanging about my triathlon… so here’s the deal…

I did it!!

 

The night before the triathlon we were bringing our bikes to transition in our street shoes. Usually your feet are clipped nicely into the pedals so you get the whole “push-pull” action on your legs. This night, in our street shoes, it was all “push” action on the legs, and more vulnerable for me, the knees.

Mine popped.

I felt it and I heard it.

But, I didn’t train this hard, raise this money for cancer and push myself outside my comfort zone for nothing…

so I raced anyway…

 

Then, I couldn’t walk…

Then, I needed 8 weeks of physical therapy for a torn ACL.

What I didn’t need was surgery… Thank God, I’m a baby about having my body cut open… been there, done that… a lot.

But I did it..

and I raised the money…

but I am not allowed to run anymore.

 

I was never a big runner anyway, as a matter-of-fact, this was the only time in my life I was a runner.

So thanks Shannon for getting me going… okay, thanks for getting me to post an update, I am not making any promises of consistency.

Triathlon images:


And we stood there in mutual admiration, for two completely different reasons…

A few weeks ago I had a speaking engagement. After I was finished speaking I mentioned that I was doing this triathlon..

I think it’s important as adults to step outside of our comfort zones and explore something new and challenging.

This is new and challenging.

And I’m revisiting my philosophy on life at this point…

I’ve play sports and been athletic most of my life, but I have never demanded this much of my body. To swim a mile, then bike 24 miles and then run 6 miles…

Ummm, really?

Who am I kidding?

FYI… I really hate the run part.


I started training with Team in Training. Not only do they have all of the knowledge, advice and guidance I need to get from zero to completing the triathlon… they also give my doing a triathlon more meaning.

If I am going to torture challenge myself, I am going to do it for something bigger than myself.

Cancer.


Me and My Grandfather... he died of cancer when I was 23.


That is way bigger for sure.

It is also a word I hope to never hear directed towards me or anyone close to me ever again.

I race to fight cancer, I race to raise money for cancer, I race so someone else can live.


I finished speaking that night and a gentleman came up to me and asked me what the triathlon was for, I replied, “cancer”. He said he had lymphoma and has been three years in remission. I asked him about his journey and how his health was today.  We chatted for a while about his experience.  He asked me if I had cancer or if I was a survivor. No I replied, but like most people I have been touched by cancer, grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends etc. but no, not me. No, not my children. No, not my siblings or my parents.”

He said, “I really admire you for doing this.”

I looked at him in awe and said, “I am the one who admires you, Sir, for your strength, and for winning your battle.”


We smiled at each other and decided that we would simply admire each other for our seperate paths and for our different accomplishments.

I went home that night, and as I got ready for bed, I stopped and took a moment to look at my own scars;

the large one that covers half my body across my chest,

the one down my side left behind by the heart-lung machine,

and a third, inches long, through the crease in my leg.

I have seen them my whole life, and for the most part I don’t see them at all anymore.

Except on days like today when I am reminded of their beauty… reminded of my treasured badges of honor.

Days like today when I am reminded that for one day in my life I was only alive because of machines… and because of the hands of another person.


I am reminded at we all have battles to fight, and once they are won, we need to contribute to helping others fight their battles, because one day, we will be fighting another battle of our own and it’s so much easier when we don’t have to fight them alone.

Please help me raise money for Cancer by clicking this link…


1350 meters, the “F” word & spinning rooms

I woke up at 4:30 Sunday morning in a bit of a panic about this triathlon… wondering if I can really do it.  A friend of mine said to me at one point that he thought training for a triathlon would be both physically and mentally challenging.

mentally challenging… crap, I didn’t consider that.

He was right.

My panic-stricken-early-Sunday-morning-wake-up-call was proof of the fact that I wasn’t very mentally prepared. Yesterday afternoon the same friend who initially brought up the mental stuff sent me an email pep-talk after I told him of my panic issues. He reminded me that the trick is to keep moving, don’t let the thoughts in your head mess with you.  Remember all of the tough things you have already gotten through, because you kept moving. Draw on that strength and keep moving.

 

I felt better and stronger as I went into my night of training.

 

Scene: Swim clinic.

Time: 8:00pm

 

First, I had to swim 7 x 50.

A 50 is one lap of the pool, each lap is two lengths. So, there-and-back again.

There are seven separate drills we use for training.  I had to do one length of the drill and swim back for each of the seven 50s.

with a quick break, long enough for the coach to tell me the next drill.

So, like, 10-15 seconds.

Seven times.

 

Next, I had to swim a 500. That’s 10 laps, or 20 lengths of the pool.

With no rest.

Holy, crap.

Oh, and Noel (the coach) said and “you have to do some of those breathing on your left”.


I have issues… like, almost drowning issues, with breathing on my left.

For some reason, on the left I swallow water… Noel says “water is good”

I was looking for pity, not sarcasm.

 

Here is the deal with this and why it is so important to bilateral breathe. When I am in the ocean swimming a mile the day of the triathlon, if the current, swimmers or some other issues are making it impossible for me to breathe on my right side, then my choice is:

Breathe on the left… or die.

Kinda don’t want to die.

 

I did it, and I am feeling more comfortable with it.  I don’t feel comfortable switching back and forth each stroke yet. But, I can breathe on each side now.

 

Back to last night.

As I am swimming my final length of the 500, I’m thinking Noel’s going to tell me to start my 200 cool down… that’s 4 more laps (or 8 more lengths) to cool down… are you kidding me… Swim 4 more laps?

 

Wait, it gets better…

 

I get to the edge of the pool and Bill (he’s another coach, but he is also participating in the event. Some coaches stay on land, and others are coach/participants.  But don’t knock Noel for staying on land, he is training for an Ironman.) is still in the water in the lane next to me. Noel is standing up on the pool deck…

 

Noel: “okay, now you have to swim down as fast and hard as you can, then swim back relaxed.”

I looked at Bill, look back at Noel

Me: “are you kidding?”

Bill and Noel *laughing*

Noel: “No, now go, you only get a 15 second rest.”

Me: “can I stop at the other end and puke?”

Noel: *laughing* “no! you have to swim right back, there is no stopping for anything on the other end. But you can puke right here when you get back” he points at the edge of the pool where the drain is.

Bill: *laughing*

Me: “FINE!”

I go,

I swim my hardest.

I get back.

Noel: “Great! Now you have to do that three more times.”

Me: “really?”

Noel: *laughing* “yes, now go, your 15 seconds are up”

Me: “fuck!”

Bill and Noel *laughing* “GO! GO! GO!”

I go.

Bill: *smiling* “you’re not panting.”

Me: *panting**smiling back* “shut up.”

Bill: *laughing*, because he can, because he is done swimming.

my 15 seconds are up.

Bill and Noel: “GO!”

I go.

I rest 15 seconds.

I go.

Noel: “okay, now you get to do your cool down… swim a 200, at relaxed pace.”

Me: quietly, as I set to push off… “I don’t see how more swimming is a good idea right now.”

Bill and Noel: they hear me. *laughing*

Me: I pull back from my push-off “can I do some of this 200 on my side?” (this is one of the swim drills)

Noel: “yes, for cool down, you can do drills.”


But I didn’t. Just knowing I could was enough and made me not want to.

I swim 200 more meters… 4 more laps… 8 more lengths.

Some of it I even did breathing on my left.

 

I told Bill and Noel about my early Sunday morning panic. Noel said he is not worried about me in the least. He said I have no reason to worry. I will be fine.

 

Let’s do the math:

Warm-up: 100 meters (2 laps, 4 lengths) – I forgot to even tell you about the warm-up.

Drills: 350 meters (7 laps, 14 lengths)

500: It speaks for itself, 500 meters (10 laps, 20 lengths)

Kick-my-ass-make-me-want-to-puke speed drills: 4 x 50 meters = 200 meters (4 laps, 8 lengths)

Cool down: 200 meters (4 laps, 8 lengths)

TOTAL: 1350 meters,  27 laps (33 is a mile) 54 lengths.

TOTAL TIME: 1 hour… I did all of that in one hour!! Hooray to me!

 

And, I didn’t puke.

But, I did need to sit in the locker room and eat my power bar and drink my pomegranate/blueberry juice and wait for the room to stop spinning and rocking and knocking about.

What I have learned is: the most important tools in training for a triathlon are friends and family to support and encourage you and coaches to tell you that you will be fine.


I have both.


I am doing this triathlon to raise money to fight cancer. Click this link to donate.



comfort zones, swimming and the alligator incident.

Saturday we had our first swim clinic with Team in Training. To be honest with you, I walked out of there a little scared. Worried. Freaked out… yeah, all of those.

Seriously, what-the-hell-was-I-thinking?

 

I think it is rare as adults for us to step outside of our comfort zone.  We get into our routines and live our lives staying cozy in the comfort of what we know.

 

Although I know how to swim, I know how to bike, and I know how to run.

a MILE?

In the OCEAN?

 

And did I tell you I’m scared of water?

not all water, pools and water park kinds of things are fine.

Rain? No problem.

(hot-tubs freak me out too, but that is for a whole other reason.)

Swimming in lakes, rivers, oceans etc. scares the hell out of me.

 

-Let’s take a little sidebar trip down memory lane here…

When my brother and I were younger (about 6 & 7ish) we were swimming in the lake in my grandparent’s backyard on a chain-o-lakes in Lakeland Florida.

No one was watching us.

 

My parents were out somewhere. When they returned home my mother asked, where are Johnny and Wendy?”

“outside swimming in the lake.”

“who’s watching them?” my mother yelled over her shoulder as she ran to the backyard…

 

you see,

alligators lived in the lake (maybe they still do, i don’t know, my grandparents don’t live there anymore. Do alligators move to other chain-o-lakes?).

 

So my mom runs outside and in her fakest calm voice she said,

“Johnny and Wendy, come on in now.”

Johnny was all, okay Mommy, I’m coming, cause I’m a good listener and do what I am told

and I was all…

what-the-hell? we just got IN the water!


My brother started heading to the shore, you know, because he was told to…

I said “why? we just got in. I’m not getting out until you tell me why! ” cause I’m really good about doing what I am told.

 

My mother told me again to come in,

I stood there in the water and demanded she tell me why I had to get out of the water.

She stood on the shore, glancing over my shoulder and finally said,

“because the alligator is right behind you!”


Holy Crap Lady, enough said!


and I stood there.

Frozen.

Screaming  and crying for her to come get me as I watched the beadyeyes quickly approaching.

 

Clearly I made it out alive, but I am scared to death to swim in water that I cannot see everything around me.

But I am a certified SCUBA diver…

my life is one big contradiction.


Back to Saturday. The clinic made me realize that I am outside my comfort zone here. First because of the whole open water swim factor. Second because at this point, I cannot swim a mile without stopping.  And you can’t stop in the ocean.  There is no side-of-the-pool to grab onto and rest for a minute… or twelve… or forever.


Plus, the current, the other swimmers, the distance, the alligators and sharks,

and the whole swallowing salt-water thing…

don’t you go crazy from drinking salt-water?


So, I’m a little freaked out.


Click the Team In Training button and help me raise $4,000 for cancer.



I’m a little bit in love with body glide…

I’ve been officially training for the St. Anthony’s triathlon for a week. Wednesday was the gear clinic.  We went over everything we will need during the race and during training.


Did you know you don’t wear a swimsuit?

 

It makes sense,

but it never occurred to me. I mean, really, think about it. If you had a swimsuit on under your wetsuit, what are you going to do next?

 

There’s no way you’re biking 24 miles, then running 6 miles with a swimsuit on.

 

And, I’m pretty sure you’re not changing out of it in transition, for time,

and,

well,

being-naked-in-front-of-a-lot-of-people reasons.

cause that’s illegal.

 

With the wetsuit you need some spray “juice” stuff… I already forgot it’s name, but it has the word “juice” in it. Apparently, it is next to impossible to get the wetsuit on or off without it.

 

Some people use Pam.

One girl at the meeting said in one of her races someone used garlic flavored Pam…

and all she could think about was food.

Not really, but the person did use garlic flavored Pam.

NOT recommended.

 

Okay, so, wetsuit, juicy-slippery-Pamy sort of stuff to get this rubbery coating on you and then after being exhausted from swimming a mile… pealing it off you.

A bathing cap,

and goggles.

 

The goggles with a larger peripheral vision is best,

you know, so you can see when you’re about to be elbowed in the head

or swam over…

about a nano-second before it happens.

 

There you have it… In the triathlon for “swim”, I need: wetsuit, goggles, bathing cap, under the wetsuit we wear our tri-shorts, they have a little less built in padding than biking shorts have. Sports bra and tri-tank. The triathlon tanks are a little more fitted that a regular running tank, has a zipper that zips down in front to “cool-off” right before you die when you are running-or biking, depending on when you start to die.

 

and a life-insurance policy.

no water-wings.

 

For the bike you need first and foremost a bike.  Any bike will do…

with two wheels,

and no motor.

 

Clips on the peddles are recommended so you get the whole push-pull use of your legs and not just pushing.

Special shoes that snap into the clips so you get the most effective push-pull action. Or you can wear regular running shoes but you really should get the thingy on the peddles to hold your feet so you’re push-pulling.

 

You must wear a bike helmet that was made in America so it has the American safety standards of the helmet-biking-safety-laws-of-America.

 

Water, either strapped to you or your bike.

Gel things to “eat” so you don’t die.

 

To sum up bike: bike, special shoes, special peddles, helmet, water strapped to either you or your bike, socks that don’t suck (no cotton anything, especially socks), gels to “eat”.

 

and this is where I will start really being in love with body glide.

Earlier in the day, when getting ready for the race, you must cover your body with body glide anywhere you see fit… to avoid chafing… cause your body is already going to be hurting enough.

A good rule of thumb is: anywhere you feel your skin sting when you shower after training is where you put it… this means your skin or your clothing is rubbing against you and will continue to do so until it has rubbed all of your skin off…

unless you use body glide.

 

For the run, you need either another person to jump in and finish this insanity for you. OR, spiffy running shoes that are a size to a size and a half larger than your shoes usually are.

 

Cause by this point in the race, your poor feet are swollen,

and really pissed at you.

 

You can try to make it better by putting baby powder or body glide on your feet…

or not.

your choice.

personal preference.

 

and for this short of a distance, you don’t need to worry about your toenails falling off. (I just threw-up a little)

 

Here are some of the most important things I learned:

NEVER EVER wear cotton… anywhere on your body… it is soooo not our friend here.

Especially when it comes to socks.

also, don’t pick your shoes to match your clothes.

Lastly, NO new things on race day, NOTHING new, you race in the clothes, shoes and equipment you have trained in.

 

Tomorrow: swim clinic.

 

I am doing this triathlon to raise money for cancer.  Click this link to help me raise $4,000.


like everything broken, i am now being held together with tape…

I would like to introduce you to my knee…

knee,

this is everyone,

everyone, this is my knee…

 

and it sucks.

 

Like everything that gets broken and tattered, it is being held together with tape.

so it doesn’t fall off.

cause that would really suck,

a lot.

 

My knee likes to make itself known, in a squeaky-wheel-I-need-attention sort of way.

it clicks,

and pops,

and locks up on me,

and it hurts.

Most of the time.

 

I asked my mom to kiss my boo-boo and make it better,

but she said “that’s just gross”.

 

Looks like I’m on my own.

 

So, I got this fancy new tape.  It’s not just any tape, this is not duct tape, it’s kinesiology tape. Specifically Rock Tape.

 

I’m using it to hold my knee on,

and help it feel better.

 

Check this out…

this is not a picture of a child who got hold of the tape and went crazy with it… this is what it’s made for. It reduces muscle fatigue and promotes blood flow.

 

This is a picture of how I tape up my legs for a race…

cause I’m all kinds of sexy when I’m running.

In addition to the above mentioned benefits, the tape also prevents cramps and aids in recovery. I’m all for that.

 

Look at this. This is a picture of someone who put the tape over sections of a bruise. You can see how it began healing where the tape was faster.

and this guy is having all kinds of issues…

okay, enough of promoting the tape,

I don’t work for the tape company.

 

This is about my knee,

and how it’s sucking a little less these days.

Thank you, kinesiology tape… I love you.

 

Go to my page and sponsor me in the St. Anthony’s triathlon I am doing for cancer.




in sickness and in health…

okay, this post isn’t about marriage, however, it is a little snack-bite of my life and why at the age of 42 I am doing a triathlon.  This post is actually an email back to a friend of mine who was asking me about celiac disease and being gluten free. He has had issues for as long as I have known him and that’s been a long, long time.  He was reaching out and asking me about celiac disease and my decision to do a triathlon…

I decided to post it here because it is an important part of who I am and a 20 year struggle of being sick.

And for the past seven years, now being healthy.

I have played sports my whole life but felt limited to doing adventurous things because I never knew when I was going to have “an attack”, how long the attack would last or how painful it was going to be. Since I was 14 I was told I had IBS or colitis and I just had to deal with it. My sister, Jane, was getting sick all the time and she kept going back to doctors. Eventually she was diagnosed with celiac disease. My mom told me she thought this is probably what was wrong with me too. I started the diet that day.

It was a Tuesday.

I was 34 and had been sick for 20 years.

 

That upcoming weekend I already had a trip planned to go to New York. It will turn out to be the first time I ate when I was away from home in years and years.

 

Before that, every time I went on trips I wouldn’t eat the entire time I was gone, nor would I eat a day or two before leaving. I didn’t want to have an attack on a plane or anywhere away from the comfort of my own home, for that matter.

 

I knew if I had nothing in my system, I couldn’t have an attack.


On these trips, I literally survived on the sugar in Coke and then binged like hell when I got home. I could go for over a week not eating when on a trip. One trip through Europe was 12 days.

 

On ski trips to Colorado, I would stop eating the day or two before we would leave and wouldn’t eat again until days later when I returned home.  There was no way I was going to sit on a plane or be skiing down the side of a mountain wondering if or when I was going to have an attack. That in itself would cause a psychosomatic attack which was exactly like a normal attack.  Let me tell you, no food and the high altitude was tough.

 

When my sons were younger on many occasions I would be on my way to mommy-and-me classes and had to turn around and go home because I felt an attack coming on. There was nothing more heartbreaking than hearing your 2 year old child cry because we were turning around and not going to play anymore.

I wish I could have those days back and those bonding moments with my young boys again… but I can’t… so now, I make them going rappelling and rock climbing with me… (I bet they long for days of the mommy-and me classes now!)

But that particular weekend… that trip to New York was different. I started eating gluten free that same Tuesday mom my suggested I follow the diet. As early as that weekend I felt safe and comfortable enough to eat while out of town for the first time as long as I could remember. That’s how quickly I felt better. Twenty years of being sick…

always needing to know where the bathrooms are…

never feeling comfortable being too far away from one…

all of those fears,

gone.

 

This is an ALL or NOTHING type of disease you need to cut it out 100%.

My cousin was feeling sick and went on vacation with our family one year. My sister, Jane and I were going to Whole Foods to get our GF stuff for the week. Melissa came with us to talk about the issues she was experiencing. We told her, just eat what we eat this week and see how you feel. Already the next morning she said she felt different. She said she would have easily have had at least one attack by then. It changed her life too.

I have been GF for 7 years. I have never gotten officially diagnosed because once you are gluten free to be diagnosed you have to go on a gluten challenge… which means eat gluten again for a few weeks… I was not on board with going back there again. I was gluten free and I was not getting sick, plenty of people in my family have been officially diagnosed.

Enough said as far as I am concerned.

I don’t care if I have CD or if I am gluten intolerant, to me they are equally dangerous in their own ways and both require a diet that eliminates gluten. I don’t need to be diagnosed to know this fixed my life (although some people argue with me that I should really get diagnosed).

 

I have had a few attacks, maybe 5 in 7 years. I was having a few a day for so many years, so 5 in 7 years is like a gift from God. Plus, the ones I have had in these seven years aren’t painful or long lasting like they used to be. The few attacks I have had were a result of accidentally having gluten. You have to watch marinades etc. It’s not easy, but you will get the hang of it. Check out www.celiac.com and www.glutenfree.com too for safe lists.

 

When I was in my twenty’s  I felt like I had the body of a 80 year old.

In addition to the abdominal attacks, I was always tired and my body ached.

It physically hurt to stand up too long.

 

I got to a point where I said to  myself “this is your life, you are just going to be a sick person” and I hated that.The life I pictured for myself was not that life.

 

I was active and athletic, but my body wasn’t.

 

There was NO WAY I was about to strap on a backpack and go for a hike, go rock climbing, kayaking, rappelling, do ropes courses… all the things I wanted to be doing, all the things I am doing now… there was no way I could do them before,

because… what if I have an attack?


So, now that I am healthy and feel better then I ever have, I am training for an Olympic distance triathlon. I want to push my body further that I have pushed it before…

because today, I can.

 

I read a statistic fairly recently that 3 million Americans have celiac disease and only 100,000 know it. I’m sure that number is changing as more and more people are being diagnosed. I read that statistic about 6 months ago.

 

On average people go 9 years and through multiple doctors being misdiagnosed.

I was sick and misdiagnosed for twenty years.

 

There are gluten free apps on both iphones and blackberrys that tell you restaurants and GF products by brand. A ton of restaurants now have GF options. It’s really not that hard anymore. plus, when you feel great, you won’t miss what you can’t have. Keep in touch, I’ll be happy to keep answering any questions and help you figure this out.

It’s an amazing life when you are on the other side of this.

 

click this button to contribute to my triathlon. I am trying to raise $4,000.