Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Ironman Arizona - November 16, 2014

New Jersey is known as the armpit of America and I think I found its cousin in Tempe, Arizona.  I should have been suspicious of this race characteristic with the lead sponsor, Waste Management.  This was Ironman number 3.. they say three is a charm, third is lucky and there were many signs of this luck throughout the day.  

Friday before the race I met up with Nick (the SagMonkey), grabbed my gear and set out for a practice swim.  Taking a view of the water I did not see anyone swimming.  Nope, they were not allowing athletes into the water except for a practice swim on Saturday.   Frantically texting my coach he said, go warm up in the pool nobody should subject themselves twice to that nasty water.  Done.  I turned back and looked at the water noticing there weren't any birds or ducks either.   My best friend from college warned me it was a disgusting "lake" so I was somewhat prepared.   

Race morning was super smooth.  I got up at 4:00am after "resting" for 7 hours... I say resting because I am quite certain I did not sleep the night before.  I found my groove and breezed through the full body spray down in sunscreen and body glide, jumped into my race gear and set off to the start.   

The past two Ironman's pre race were much more nerve racking than the third.   Race morning and every day leading up to the race I just felt a ton of butterflies.  I was ready and deep inside felt a calm confidence about the day.    

Time to inch my way to the dock and jump in for a 300 meter swim to the start.  I should have known the "Waste Management"  theme would ring throughout the day as we moved like a rookery of penguins toward the dock.  Similar to inching your way out of a concert or sporting event it is slow moving.  I passed an athlete clutching a garbage can throwing up and dry heaving.  I offered him the last sip of water in my bottle and all he could muster was a shake of his head as he stood hugging the can.  More penguin waddling and I jump into the "lake" and place my face in the muck of water.  It is dingy.  I can't see my hand pull past my face.   In a clean water match up between Tempe Town Lake and the break off Sloat at Ocean Beach where the sewer runs I think Sloat OB may take the clean victory.   Me and 3,000 other penguins make our way to the start buoys.   The water smells so I purse my lips trying to keep any drop out of my mouth.  Chris held a meeting with his athletes the day before the race and one guy asked, Should I put Imodium or Tums in my bike transition?.. I start panicking that I did not do that!  Fbombs are flying through my head and I actually think through the route for me to stop at Walgreens once on the bike.   Swimming with a big pucker I feverishly try not to let the water sneak past my lips! 

I am a slow swimmer.   I met a guy, Steve Kukta, a couple years ago who dearly swam next to me across Donner Lake during a training weekend.  He coined the term "lane 8" swimmer in his latest race recap, which I thought was fitting for me as well.  I actually may be a lane 9 swimmer but, the one thing I have going for me is that I swim super straight in open water.  

The gun goes off and the waddling penguins are now swimming as if being chased by a seal.  Here we go with hands in my face, arms on top of my head, bodies sandwiched, spooned it is unclear as I am swimming in the middle of a pile of people sticking to each other.  Just like traffic we plug along and then all of the sudden we are swimming and into our groove.. nope, slam on the breaks.  I was kicked, I was clawed, my goggles were ripped off my face at one point.   Somehow,  I find the finish and push myself up on the bleacher seats and exit to the bike.  There has got to be a spot for us slow straight swimmers.

The first few turns of the crank were textbook and my bike transition was smooth just like my morning started.   The day's mantra: just do what Chris tells you to do.   After the first 10 minutes on the bike my stomach began to cramp.  Uh Oh.  My stomach has had this feeling before after a trip to Cabo San Lucas.  All went well until the last day when we ate at a Taco stand.  Those cramps were all too familiar and it took a trip to the Doc, a donated sample and a Cipro Rx to get rid of them.  Damn Tempe Lake!  I must have swallowed the water?!  AHHHH... slight panicking on the bike. Where is the Imodium???!! Then I just think ok, first keep pedaling, second finish the bottle of water Chris told you to drink before putting in any food.  OK, I finish the water and my stomach cramped again... ahhhh... stressing and sweating more than normal I think, think think.. Ok, drink all the Osmo.. gulk, gulk, gulk, in goes the Osmo all 40 oz of it.  I sneak in some food and just go with it, drinking and eating accordingly and trying to ignore my stomach cramps. 

Do you remember the sponsor?  Yep,  Waste Management or as my Finisher shirt is printed, "presented by... Waste Management.  (I think they are proud of it?)  The bike is a three loop course and we pass the Waste Management center six times!  The smell of burning trash is putrid and metallic.  You can see the inferno from the highway and smell its presence from at least a mile away.   On a day without wind this would be a super easy ride but, on this day the winds really picked up as the day progressed.  In one direction along the Beeline Highway I was fighting to hold 10mph on the flats and then at the turn enjoyed 25+mph.  The wind is so strong thorns blow onto the highway and athletes are flatting out left and right.  I had a little chit chat with my bike angel about our "no flat" deal.  Thankfully no flats.   Thank you bike angel!

Three loops of anything is monotonous not to mention the desert.  But in all that monotony my stomach cramps had vanished!  I did not have to go to the bathroom though. Now, by this time I have had 6 -  20 oz bottles of water/Osmo... that's a 6-pack and a half!  I saw a lot of women during this race peeing on the bike, and yes in the wind.  The thought of peeing all over my beloved Cervelo and Zipp 404s just is well, can't do it.  

There is some beauty in the desert.  The dark pointy mountain range like a cut out against a huge blue sky and surrounded in shades of white and green cactus each with their own personality.  Happily I find the end of the bike course and get out of the wind, or so I thought.   

Into the tent I go and get ready to run.  I am a runner.  Running is my happy place. Skipping and cheerfully singing to jump in my running shoes.  I was unsure of what this marathon would bring.  After running Boston in April I had to fix two tears in my Plantar.   An MRI revealed as the Dr. said a "degenerative" runners foot.  In fact, I think in the report the word "degenerative" was used 12 times to describe my foot.  Welcome to 43 Lane 9 swimmer.   That foot has been running for 38 years!  The cure was two PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) injections,  weekly acupuncture, daily icing, bi-weekly physical therapy, massage, chiro and strength training like no other to wake up the posterior chain.  I was vicious but, patient with healing my foot. My friend Mike, a professional chef,  taught me how to make Liver which I learned was good for building healthy tissue.. I really gave it a girl scout try on the liver but, could not get it down.   No wonder it is a $1.87 for an entire container from the butcher!

I finally got an all clear to start running again mid August.  Dr. Rowan Paul at CPMC did an outstanding job at fixing my Plantar.   I started running on the Alter G and a walk/run until I could run for 30 minutes.  Chris was instrumental in slowly increasing the running and chaining me to dirt and grass.  My longest pre-race run was in Truckee around the Sawtooth Trail for a couple hours. The marathon was a complete mystery to me if I was even going to finish.  

Chris's words from the day before rattle my brain as I exited the tent, "Leslie, you can run this entire marathon".   One foot in front of the other, legs feeling like pegs and fbomb!  Would someone turn off the wind!  The Waste Management gift that keeps on giving presents us with 26.2 miles on CONCRETE around the "lake" !  My running buddies all shuttered that we ran a marathon on concrete. Surprisingly even on concrete,  the miles tick away.  The sunset turns the sky to orange and then to my surprise as the sun sets it also turns off the wind, the cool air wrapped my body and my pace picked up.  I call it the boogieman pace, an easy to hold clip in the dark of night.   Suddenly the turnover is effortlessly faster and I start flying by runners and they are cheering me on, wow!  go!  Great pace!  Like a horse near the barn I am all about finding that finish line.   All I can think about is finding my boys and their sweet little faces near the finish chute .   I want to hear about their day and kiss them.  

FINISH LINE:  11:43.57.   
Swim: 1:24.04   Bike: 6:08.26   Run: 3:59.42
14th in Age Group, 85th Female and 498 Overall

Arriving back home I dilly dally for a few days and then go into full swing preparing for Thanksgiving.  I am very thankful for many people in my life.  Time to stop, time to get eye to eye with the to do list and most of all time to make room for friends, family and those who support me in this crazy endeavor.

Surround yourself with brilliant people and you can achieve great things. 

Chris Hauth -  AIMP Coaching  
Craig Upton -  Performance Labs
Andy Tubbs - Sports Massage
Nick Nicastro - SAGMonkey
Tim Burnmaster -  Teaching me how to lift a weight!
Dr. Rowan Paul-  Sports Medicine 
Mara Kevan -  Nutrition 
Erika Moody - Physical Therapy
Jeff Barbie - Truckee Physical Therapy

... wine, chocolate and the O'Neil boys.....

Monday, September 2, 2013

Ironman Canada - Whistler 2013


British Colombia is a stand out beautiful part of this world and my eyes could not gulp fast enough driving from Vancouver to Whistler.   I live every summer near the Tahoe mountains which line the lake's edge however, the tall pointy mountains of Western Canada hug you close and tight from all sides.  The glacier run off is sparkle white and the lakes are emerald jewel green. Complementing this beauty are the people in the community who are NICE....really nice, may I help you, thank you for coming nice.  As an American it is quite shocking at first and very easy to welcome the open arm kindness from Canadians.  
Long ago, I ran a brand new marathon in San Diego and after sucking water from the garden hose of a generous homeowner on the race course I decided that it was my first and last brand new race.   Well, never say last or at least put your trust in Ironman to pull off a "first time" race in a brand new location with few glitches.   Ironman Canada in Whistler is a DO.  Sure there are some race, course and event logistics to flush out but, in my opinion Ironman did a very good job executing a race in a brand new location. 
Whistler was Ironman #2 so, I had only been around the block once before.   The nerves were singing but, at a different tune because this time I knew what I had gotten myself into.  I had studied hard for the exam, had taken the exam before and passed however, never take anything for granted when racing an Ironman.   I gained perspective of where I was just 6 years ago standing in line to pick up my race number.  I was standing behind two women, one with a stroller and cute snoozing five month old.  My thought was, oh how nice the new mom is standing in line with her friend to get her race number... WRONG.  They were both in line to get both their race numbers!!!  So surprised a Mom of a five month old was embarking on what I had taken 8 months to prepare for!  She had the whole thing figured out even how to pack her Madela on the bike for 112 miles!  The next day I met a guy on the bus who had completed Ironman Sweden and Denmark the previous weekend then flew to Canada to race Whistler and the next day was flying to Japan for another Ironman race!  If you lost track that is 4 Ironman's in three weeks!   Crazy Town!   
My pre race preparation was beginning to match my ease of making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  Everything was organized and the reality of what  #691 was going to do the following day was sinking in.   In Ironman terms I had great sleep the night before.  This is falling asleep by 10:00pm and waking up at 3:40am before the 4:00am alarm.    After getting ready and making my way to the start line I saw my parents and soaked up their smiles and everlasting positive energy.  Then made my way to the lake.
The swim in Alta Lake is FANTASTIC!  This is coming from a surfer who learned a swim stroke in her twenties.  The lake is crystal clear and a perfect temperature of 66 degrees (19 degrees Celsius.... sounds colder in C.. eh?). The layout is very easy to navigate and every breath you get a peek of the mountains.   The off shore swim start enabled me to warm up and get into perfect position and AVOID the rush hour traffic jam.  Ambrosia.  The swim course is two loops, 1.2 miles each and lined with multi colored buoys for turns and straights.  This made for very easy navigation and visibility. The steam coming off the lake combed our caps as we waited for the gun... KAPOW, the gun rattled our ears and we were off!  Warming up in the water for me is K-E-Y!  Funny how you can learn what works best on the biggest race of the year!   If you can believe it, I did not want to stop swimming after lap two !  1:24:21  2.4 Mile Swim... Check!

Exiting the water, I ran toward two volunteers who in no time had my wetsuit ripped off like a candy wrapper!  I quickly changed and was off to my bike, hopped on and thought..hmmm something feels weird... oh!  I forgot my gloves!  My Coach, Chris Hauth told me to place my gloves on the end of the aero bars and put them on once riding... Did I do that?  NO... (game show buzzer wrong sound insert here).  So, I decided it was no big deal and rode 112 miles without gloves which I had never done before and what did I learn ?.... I liked it better!   The ride is SPECTACULAR. Good challenging climbs from 4 - 10% grade and downhill rewards with jaw dropping beauty the entire route.  The first section to Callaghan Valley was a good climb and then we rode back through Whistler to soak up cheers before heading out to Pemberton.  The town of Pemberton greeted us with a flat section of pure aero bar joy through a valley lined with more gorgeous mountains.
Surprisingly to me this was one of the most challenging parts of the course... really?  The flat part!  After returning back to Pemberton the course climbs UP to Whistler to the bike finish.  At mile 90 while climbing the last 1,000' of elevation gain my legs were screaming at me that marathons were not meant to be run today.  Oh can whine but, you can't decide.  I only had two major issues on the bike, first my chain derailed at mile 5 and without gloves made for a very black hand.  (Leslie's official rule book states that any derailed chain requires a mandatory follow up Mani Pedi).  Second, the roads were bumpy in spots and athletes were loosing bottles, air, tubes and food from their bikes.  At one point I lost one canister of air but, did not realize it in time.  Then I lost the second canister of air and tube so, stopped to pick that up. Thankfully I did not need to use tubes and air!  6:10:43    112 Mile Bike... Check!
Rolling into T2 I hopped off the bike and ran into the tent to get ready for the marathon.  A good tip from Chris was to run in what feels good and my fav is a running skirt!  I had been battling a leg injury three weeks prior and it was not healed.  I was concerned about the run.  I did not know what to expect, except pain.  I took a good dose of Advil and put Sombra Cold Therapy on my leg. This combination is a WINNER!  

I ran the first 5 miles and then walked 5 minutes to assess any pain... none.  Just do what Chris tells you to do...cha..ching!  So, I continued running on a tree lined, dirt and paved bike trail that wound itself around rivers, emerald lakes and a golf course.  I uncovered my love for running when I was 5 years old.  I would wake up early and get dressed then lay down on the brown shag carpet at the base of the stairs often falling back to sleep waiting for my Dad to join him on his morning run.  He left every morning before work and would take me out with him for a loop around the neighborhood before his "real" run.  To this day I remember feeling the endorphins and the joy of running with my Dad.  So, for me the run is my happy place and this course was fun with trails and windy up and downs.  The last few miles of the two loop course consists of many turns with pockets of cheering so it moves along very quick.   My leg did not hurt but, the strength was not there so after the first loop I put another coat of Sombra (my beloved new beauty sport product) on my leg.  Ahhhh.. Felt so good.  I did better at eating this race however, something hit me hard at mile 18 and I found myself racing for the Port a Pottie.  I had been in this situation before but, I was in Mexico and drinking margaritas, dancing and well you know the story.  I have no idea what disagreed with me because everything I ate was my own except for the bananas on the course.   It slowed me down but, it was over by mile 22 and thankfully it was short lived andIronman has aid stations every mile!  Lucky!  Safe!   Over the Pemberton meadows and through the Whistler woods to the finish line we go...  As I ran toward the finish my mind stopped to a clear space and my heart started beating faster in disbelief that I found it, I did it!, the finish line was right in front of me.  4:04:13  Marathon... Check!

Ironman requires so much mental game play throughout the day that when you do look up and see the finish line and hear your name being called out it is astonishing, surprising and above all welcoming!  How had the day flown by so fast?!   They say time flies when you are having fun but, there are moments that are not so fun... My inner voice reminds me that time flies when you are living in the moment.   Finish Line... Check: 11:51:17   Age Division: 25/121  Women: 107/622
Back in San Francisco, I pull open the front door of my home and walk out onto the porch, inhale the ocean breeze and feel the length of this journey to Ironman Canada.  Grabbing the mail out of the mailbox the time stamp of August 2013 goes from a blur to clarity...  Eight months of the year has flown by and I feel the end of the commitment that was made, the sacrifices and mental focus.  Time to rest, time to hug my boys a little more, time to balance life again.  

THANK YOU for supporting me in this endeavor.  I hope that I can support you in your future endeavors whatever they may be and wherever they may take you...

Racing Ironman requires a posse of support !   


Chris Hauth - AIMP Coaching  -  Thank you for your enduring patience, attention, thorough guidance and telling me what I needed to hear even when I did not want to hear it.   

Craig Upton - Performance Labs  -  Thank you for testing, education and most of all perspective of the goal.

Andy Tubbs - Sports Massage Therapy - Thank you for your down right most painful in a good way massage, attention, calm and care.

Olympic Club -  Provider of the cleanest most loveliest pool in all of San Francisco

The O'Neil Boys - Your eternal support, patience and love is remarkable.  Thank you my loves.  Kisses, Hugs, Kisses, Hugs  and Repeat.

The Girls - Thank you for taking me out, having fun, keeping my heels in use and the girl inside awake!

My Family - Your cheering and support are the sound bites running through my head...  

ChocoLOVE -  Dark Chocolate Power!  ok... And a lot of Honey Stinger Waffles, Bonk Breakers, bananas, Honey Stinger Chews and OSMO!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Hawaii... Mahalo

“Mom, could you please get my snorkel?” My mind embraces the, “please” giddy with enjoyment of hearing that from both my boys.   I stand up and head for the beach towels and bag to grab the prized snorkel.  I glance at the ocean finding a sense of free peace and calm from its blue hue and movement.    Reaching for the snorkel, I see a woman in the ocean floating face down about a hundred feet from shore.  I search for her snorkel and realize she is not enjoying the fish… she has drowned.  Sprinting to the water  the burning sand melts away from my feet as I jump into the ocean.  I swim to her and tap her on the shoulder with some wild hope that she will lift her head and yell at me for interrupting her swim.  No movement.  I turn her body over as foam rushes from her mouth and nose then place her head on my chest and start pulling her out of the ocean.   I scream 911 and HELP through a mouth full of salt water and my voice is in my ears similar to screaming in a dream. Pulling her up to shore I can feel the pain in my skin as I drag her body over the coral, sand and lava rock.  My body is shaking and immediately my auto pilot takes over remembering my CPR skills.  The ocean has soaked her body and while trying to drain the water from her lungs the thoughts of hope rush through my mind.   It is 3:00pm that time of day where the heat from the sun has swelled up and saved itself for the sand.   Searching for a heartbeat, her body turns shades of blue to purple and her eyes stare at me as if she is telling me to work harder.  I can feel her stare and the eyes of others who begin to form a circle around us.  The EMT’s finally arrive and begin their magic.  I am shaking on the outside and praying on the inside.  Her daughter races to the shore and is in complete shock and screaming as if she is in a nightmare.   Her family and friends had arrived that day to celebrate her 40th  Birthday.   I am a Mother reviving a Mother for a Mother who is desperately hoping this nightmare will end.   The EMTs stare in my eyes and shake their head while continuing the resuscitator making sure they have exhausted all possibilities.    The adrenaline is racing through my body and tears are flowing down my face as they carry the woman to the ambulance.  I can hear the ocean and waves, children laughing and look up to remember the snorkel.    How has twenty minutes of time made such a profound impact on my life?  I have wasted twenty minutes many times in one day and not thought a second about the time passing.   I am numb with tragedy, and my body is thoroughly exhausted as if I had just finished a marathon.    People are talking and moving about the beach, and everything is in slow motion.  I hear voices but, it is all mumbled and I cannot make out the sounds.  I find myself laying on the sand staring at the sky.  Tears are flowing down my face and as I look up a lady is staring down at me and says, “You tried”.   My life became extremely narrow very quickly to the sole necessities of love, my boys, family, friends, peace and fostering simplicity.  Spiritually I believe life events happen for a reason to teach us something we need to learn or to prepare us for someone coming into our life.  

Sadly the woman did not survive.  Thankfully she was surrounded by friends and family when she passed away at the hospital. Negating one of her biggest fears, to die alone.  A courageous woman who has taught me to live in and enjoy each moment.    I miss the Hawaii sun, warm ocean and white sand… peace.  Mahalo Hawaii.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Coeur D' Alene Ironman 2012

The pilot barks commands over the loud speaker, "All crew, passengers attention I need everyone in their seats, carts in lock down, crew seated in 5."   I stare into the eyes of a flight attendant with my heart pounding and I can feel its beat in my throat.  The passenger next to me can sense my fear and as I sit with a tray full of airplane food he asks, "Are you going to eat that?"  I stutter the word no and he takes my tray, holds my hand and says... "Just breathe, relax, I just finished Ironman and there is no way this plane is going down."  He continues to talk to me about his race as he shovels a 2nd tray of what he deems cuisine into his fit body.  I listen and completely forget about the emergency and become lost in his adventure.  Years pass and this Ironman dream comes up in conversation with my good friend, Mark Reilly and it seems a little more interesting. Time goes by....I lay in bed staring at the light fixture in my room as the sun tries to pry open the dark curtains.  I am deeply depressed and searching to grasp a blade to pull me out of a very dark place.  I stare at the light then look down at my phone remembering my bucket list and pull up the note to read the first item... IRONMAN.  The blade. 

I started this journey two years ago.  My training buddy Bob Smith had just finished Vineman and we decided to do Ironman Coeur D'Alene in 2012.  I had done some research on Ironman coaching  prior to watching the race in 2011.  The day after the race I signed up and a day later received an email from a coach I had contacted months earlier who asked, " Did you sign up? Ready to start training?  That was the confirmation I needed ... A coach seeking accountability.

The flight attendant calls out over the loudspeaker.. "Welcome Ironman athletes on our flight to Spokane."  I look around and realize she is referring to me and not just the fit athletic guy sitting next to me... 

Training for an Ironman is a feat in itself and a journey just to get to the starting line. The personal sacrifices and monumental friends and family support is a daily enduring necessity.   Not to mention my coach and other professionals who guided me on a daily basis.

Rock Star Credits
Coach Chris Hauth of AIMP Coaching
Craig Upton of Upton Performance Labs
Andy Tubbs Sports Massage Therapy
Nick Nicastro of SAGMonkey
Ryan Moore
Erica Moody of Presidio Sports Medicine
The O'Neil Boys

I had a daily battle with nerves as race day approached.  You could feel the nervous energy wrapping the Athletes Village.   I tried my hardest to zone out the race chatter and fill my head with Chris' wisdom and voice.   The mini workouts helped ease my twitchiness.  Nick Nicastro continued to flood my mind with positive thoughts and took care of my bike in between workouts.   I felt like I had studied hard for an exam but had no idea how the professor was going to test me on the material.

The day before the race I ate my largest meal at 1:00pm, 18 hours prior to the gun time.   Just do what Chris tells you to do and trust him.  It worked like a charm.  I woke up race morning hungry and ready to eat at 4:00am.  

I made my way to the transition and dried off my bike from the evening downpour, loaded nutrition and tuned out a female athlete telling me not to go too fast down the hills.  She sounded like Charlie Brown's teacher in my time I am wearing my Shuffle.   I hook up with Bob and we make our way to the beach and get ready for the gun.  My feet are happy to stand in the familiar sand and I can feel my heart beating through my wetsuit.  6:59 gun and we are off swimming.  If you have ever been in traffic on the I-5 in Los Angeles at 5:30pm then you have experienced an Ironman swim start.  It is packed and if I don't have a foot in my face then there is a hand grabbing my leg.   I am searching for real estate.. Anything.   I am breathing so fast I swim head up for a while just trying to find a way out of the mess which does not exist until the second turn.   There was an emergency athlete evacuation which created huge swells from the emergency boat.  I find myself almost underneath one of the red turn bouys.  I complete the first lap in 46 minutes and actually quite surprised by that time all things considered. As I get out of the first lap I am elated that I am surrounded by athletes and not last!  We climb back into I-5 for loop two and now I am warmed up, I can swim with ease and complete the last frozen lap.  Water 57 degrees.  I can do better on the swim and should have lined up farther to the right as Chris had told me to do.

I run out of the water on frozen feet and with numb hands toss on my helmet, shoes, arm warmers and glasses and set off to get my bike.   Little long on the transition (9:29)! I am greeted at the bike racks with a roar of cheering (and funny antidotes) from my family and friends.  I am off on my bike and review the plan, Z3 heart rate, eat 150 calories and drink 20oz every hour.    The bike course is two loops of 56 miles and has a few challenging hills.  Not steep just long and I am happy to have trained with my friends Mt. Tam and BoFax.  There is a familiar silence on the bike and I feel like I am in a library..staying quiet but focused on my task at hand.   I stopped at the first set of bathrooms and waited in line for 5 minutes.  Same bathroom mess as a marathon...I should have known.  I hear some just go on the bike and I tried that but, stage fright, it didn't work..  The next time I was smarter and found bathrooms with no lines!   The second loop required more brain power on the way out on Highway 95. The hills felt steeper and the wind was pushing us back. I laughed a few times on the bike as I said to myself, "Holy $hit Leslie you are running a marathon today!" And so it was... I found T2 and another set of bathrooms....I was nailing the water requirement! I could not wait to get this bike (yes, beloved Cervelo) stuck off from the bottom of my feet!   I reviewed the run plan and kept my HR within 5 beats +/- of a settled HR of 144. The sun found its way to the blue sky and the heat of the day rose from the asphalt.  I could feel the heat and started my ice tricks.  Never thought I would be thankful for the lessons learned on past bad marathons.  Some stomach issues on the run but nothing new and not severe. The first loop was easier than the second and mile 16 felt like mile 20.  I carried a 10oz Fuel Belt water bottle which filled easy at the water stops.  I failed at eating on the run.  I did sneak in a pack of Honey Stinger Chews one by one and drank Coke ( yes, you read right...) at mile 23 and by mile 24 I felt like Speedy Gonzales.  I could hear Mike Reilly, the crowd, music and I honed in on the finish.   The sun was beginning its decent and it was 7:00pm... How had this day flown by so fast?  I see my boys cheering and before I know it I hear....Leslie you are an Ironman!  I was greeted by a wonderful volunteer who held my arm and helped me through the shoot. 

Finish 12:02:42. 
Swim: 1:29:02  Bike: 6:23:55  Run: 3:55:54  
Division Rank: 11  Overall Rank: 587

Best Race Gear: A CH trained body
Funniest Sign: I trained 6 months to hold this sign
Biggest Laugh: Guys ripping them on the run
Lasting Memory: Chills I felt running through the finish

If you ask my legs if I will do another Ironman they will say no. If you ask my mind it would say...probably...

Thank you to all my friends and family. Without you this dream would have never happened. I love you and hope some day I can support you in your adventures.

My thoughts and prayers go to Sean Murphy and his family and friends.  Sean died of cardiac arrest during the swim portion of the race.  May you Rest in Peace.  Article from Seattle Times

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A Child's Eyes

If you look really deep into a child's eyes, you can see the innocence and love. I see the beauty of this innocence and the raw love behind it. There is nothing to interfere with its expression or reveal. A true beauty that I have only seen in my own child's eyes. If only I could put it in a bottle and save it forever.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I wish you were a kid....

My 5.5 year old is figuring out death... In the past the wooden pirates would fall off the ship sailing through the playroom on the broken sea and fall to their death only to pop back up and find treasure on a nearby island. Now, he knows... He has realized that life has an ending albeit unknown. Tonight he said to me, "Mommy, I want you to be a kid for real" and I said, really? Why? "Because then you would live as long as I will".... My heart is touched again like no other time and I am again amazed at life, love and being present every minute.