Saturday, June 28, 2008

How's your fun?

About a year ago I think my son Jack asked me that once when coming back from a bike ride or run or something, and it was such a funny saying that has stuck with us. Well as a matter of fact, my fun has been wonderful. In fact I think I have broken the fun barrier as my dad used to say to us as kids.

AFter deciding to not do Lake Placid, I have felt huge relief and last week and have had a whole bunch of fun. I was on the track, sluggish but it felt good do be pushing the pace. I also did the Thurs night group ride. My goal was to stay with the group the whole way, but wasn't sure what would happen you never know what they'll do and I had no idea what kind fast surge efforts I would have. They were now means riding hard that night, but I stayed on the whole way and didn't just sit in the back but tried to stay up in the front and even took some pulls.......this was fun and I have missed doing this. On a whim, I decided to sign up for Bigfoot Triathlon in Lake Geneva. I had a brick workout scheduled that day so opted to do the Olympic Distance tri instead. I knew I'd be putting myself out there a bit entering a short fast race being Ironman trained, but I had heard this was a fun race and thought it would a great way to shake out the Ironman cobwebs. It was a really neat race. I had a horrible swim, felt like I was going no where and seemed to find some awful current and chop in the lake that no one else had, but I made I finally made it out then started sooo hard on the bike trying to make up time. I faded in the middle, obviously starting too fast. My brain said.....go HARD go, but it didn't last. The run was VERY fun. Not a fast run course, mostly all on grassy trails and some hills. I was having so much fun running on such a different type course. I wasn't fast but felt strong and it was a good effort and making my 180 degree turn in the season.

We booked it home to finish packing and catch a flight to Disneyworld. Talk about fun, oh my. Disney is a World Championship event for kids. It is much like a big triathlon in many ways. The kids had been training for it for months doing chores to earn quarters (ha ha) for Disney and finally it was race week.

In the mornings, we would fuel up, pack up our gear, which included park passes, $$ of course, camera, hats, water, and sun tan lotion and embark the shuttle to the main event. Once leaving the bus we were faced with long lines to enter the park kind of like those long lines for bodymarking or picking up your timing anxious to get in to the transition area and get rolling, but the lines...slowing us down. Once inside, wow. The kids were soon sizing up their competition. They were checking out the princess costumes, pirate swords, toys and such that all the other kids had, kind of like checking out the cool bikes, race outfits and helmets secretly thinking "I have to have that". The stores are like race expos....all kinds of cool things that are hard to resist right in front of you For me, at downfall and weakness are swimsuits. I have to just stay away. Here, the kids could hardly resist Cinderella crowns, pirate hats and hooks. Getting to the ride, venue, or show is the event itself. Negotiating the other park goers, as quickly as possible to try to get the most in, get that fast pass and see has much as possible is race. Other park goers should have gotten blocking penalties for slowing us down and not letting us pass and get to where we wanted to be. The designated "stroller" sections are like the Chicago Triathlon transition area with rows and rows of strollers parked, some with treasures, bags and belongings even in place. Is there an underlining courtesy like in a transition area...."don't touch my stuff"! There were even a few moments of bonking, where we needed to get Popsicles, lemonade or water in as quickly as possible so we could keep going. The finish line, for me, was seeing the kids faces when they saw Mickey and Minnie, or the other characters. And, just seeing them have fun and go crazy. The electric light parade was fun and worth staying to the end.

Now I even sense a little post Disney World depression setting in the household. Like post Ironman depression, what now? I think I even heard coming from the couch this morning "what do you think we'll do today?" We'll recover and start training for the next big event!!!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Change of Plans

All I have been thinking about is wanting to do other races, other types of workouts. I would think about my race at IM LP and I would feel dread. This is not the right mindset to have going into an Ironman. NOOO way, it would make for a very long painful day if your heart is not into it. I have done 3 IM and quite well at one. I know what its like and how the day goes. I feel complete with my Ironman racing. I haven't liked the feeling of wishing I were doing other races this summer. I have had these thoughts for awhile, but kept blocking them because I signed up for this race, so you HAVE to do it. But after lots of though and talking with Adam and my Dad and really realizing you have to do what is in your heart and what you have fun doing I have decided not to do my IM. I know its the right decision and it hasn't crossed my mind once since Sunday when I made this decision. In fact, I feel like a ton of weight has been lifted from my shoulders. (Big decisions like this get easier with maturity!!)

You are forced to sign up for these races so far ahead of time, that almost 1 year ago is when I signed up to do this race. At the time...I thought it would be fun a change, something different. It has been a while since I did an IM. Then you're bound to that race for a year and a lot can happen. It lures you into thinking you can't change your mind. We signed up for Blackwater....before the end of the race season last year, then came along about 5 other 70.3 races, I might have wanted to go to Boise....I know that area well and know where the run and swim would have been a really cool race. I am sidetracking now on another topic, how fast these races/ fill etc, registration procedures etc.

I'm not saying doing an IM is bad. I did 3 in a row! I was pretty motivated the first time around to finish and still say finishing my first IM is one of the most memorable triathlon experiences I have. But my heart is in to racing more and racing fast. I like those types of workouts, that is what I have fun doing. I have done this sport for too long, hmm, lets say 18 (yikes!!!) to get caught up in to feeling like I have to do something that my heart isn't in to.

So right away on Tuesday I had a track workout. Wow, I was having a great time even though my legs were sure what the heck was going on. My times were off a bit but, and I felt like I had cob webs in my legs, because right now they are trained to clip a long at IM pace, but I didn't care. The speed will start to come back and I have to say I have a big aerobic base now! I plan to race a lot the rest of the season, with Steelhead and Nationals as 2 big ones, then lots of others locally to help get the speed back and ......have fun.

Do your workouts, push yourself to where you haven't gone before, challenge yourself to do what you haven't in your training and racing, take it serious, but remember to have fun!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

A New Toy

This is a the new toy Adam got for his birthday last month. Yeah, it will save some gas $$, but really it is the newest tool in the Zucco house for bike training. A fancy scooter for motorpacing. I hear this will go up to 80 mph. I guess you could make these "motorpacing" intervals as Hard or Easy depending on the speed, and .....who is driving !!! So I welcome this new toy into our garage with all the other bikes of all sizes and shapes, this new bike just has a motor; and does require a helmet according to my rules. No spandex here though.

Train Safe!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A True Test

I am finally cooling off from one HOT weekend and race, both physically, and mentally. Temps on the east coast were super hot and humid as I am sure everyone has already heard. The heat I had been wishing for showed up with us to race a tough competitive field. Blackwater is basically a long Memphis. It is flat and fast. Yes, I have been waiting for the heat, and usually kind of like it hot! I got all I was waiting for and more. Knowing it would be a hot day, I planned ahead by adding more salt to my drinks, and carried more salt tabs, planned to drink more water, and even bought a hat.....yes a hat. I hate wearing hats to race in....but thought it would be good to put ice/ water in it to stay cool.

All was great going into the race. I did do more training than maybe normal before a 1/2 but I am IM training so some volume has to stay up. In the days before the race I felt great. I had a breakthrough brick workout that went awesome, and felt great in the days before the race.

I had an uneventful swim, it is a strange set up, still not sure of the exact shape of that swim, but I stayed on course and even caught a nice draft off some chick for awhile. I had a great transition and passed up about 3 girls just during T1. The bike went well too. I road hard in the beginning and passed quite a few more girls. I was happy with how I felt and was motoring along great. Saw a few girls (in my age group drafting)Yuck. I'll make no comments here. I was really feeling the heat toward the end of the bike. I knew it was getting hot because its not too often that I am HOT on the bike. I backed of just a little towards the end of the bike. I really wanted to have a good run. T2 was fine and even passed 2 right away on the run. I felt decent at first,and yes had my HAT with me...(wasn't sure of the pony tail situation with it) ....but it was shading the sun some. The first few miles were good I kept telling myself to be patient and that everyone else was hot too. I took my salts and gels and dumped water on me put water in my suit.....hmmm not a good choice. A little too cold on the wrong parts. I actually had to stop and dig the cubes out of of my shorts...that must have looked ridiculous. I was ok until about mile 7 then I really started slowing down. Muscle cramps and Charley horses forced me to walk and run. This is a miserable way to race, when you love to RACE. I saw Yuri and Joel out there. They were feeling the heat too but cheered me on, which helped a ton. Also saw the LEGEND, Bob Scott. Thankfully I was feeling good, no slacking when you're around Bob. But it became a mental test to just keep it going and not quit when things were falling apart and not going as planned. The last 5 miles or so were so long, and hard. But I am glad I finished even though much slower than what I do my 1/2s in and am capable of.

I was pretty disappointed at first. I have been working very hard and would have loved a better result, but a true competitor finds the good in the bad, learns, and moves on. Ironman is a long day, maybe this was good practice for my long race day in July. During IM there are so many ups and downs and you have to be able to work yourself out of the hard parts when you are tired and feeling bad and just want to stop. This was definitely good practice for that.

I have to say ROCK ON to my client Megan M. She did Rockman also and was tested in some tough conditions also , but trudged on. I believe she was pelted with extreme down pouring rain and gusting wind, but finished 3 rd overall and even was some cash!!! WOO HOO.

Finally, yes Adam qualified for Kona. He has been chasing this for a long time. I am so happy for him and that means..........a trip to Hawaii in October !!!!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Race Week

Wow, this is a big week of racing!!!! It makes for all kinds of fun writing schedules and workouts for athletes, and I get so excited for them to finally test their fitness and see how their fitness has come together with all the hard work and training. It also makes for an interesting week when trying to get yourself ready to race, and of course travel. No simple task these days. I am wondering how much we'll get charged to check bags, bikes, use the toilet!! etc.!

Rockman Tri: Good Luck to Megan and Teri. Both have worked so hard on their long distance training. Megan is riding so strong, she has no problem staying with the boys on group ride and has gotten tough in the water and running. She is coming off her IM AZ base and will do great. Teri has been doing IM training for Lake Placid. She has gotten a huge base and done some great long training days and will be able to use this as a great test of IM fitness. I hear this is a fairly tough course...oh fun fun!!!

Batavia Tri: Good Luck to SO MANY MSMers!!! I almost wish I could be there to watch the competition that comes out at these local races. There has been some good smack talking!! Good Luck to Joe B. and Kristi. They are both using this as a fast brick workout for some later season races. Good Luck to my friend Debbie H. racing....oh go girl you can win!

Mooseman Tri: Good Luck to Jeff out east doing Mooseman Tri. I have heard good things about this race. Jeff is also training for Lake Placid and is coming off some great IM training in the hills of the Northeast all amongst saving lives as a cardiac surgeon!

Worlds..lots of friends and some of the kids team off to Worlds in Vancouver BC (such an amazing place!) Age group worlds is a FUN event!

Finally, Blackwater: I am racing Blackwater. My first "A" race this year. I came out of my dark IM sinkhole just great. It helped having 2 birthday boys last week to focus on. Then have come back to feeling human, and topped it off with a killer hard brick, which hurt, but loved, and am ready to race. Blackwater is fast, competitive. Good Luck also to Yuri, Papa Joel, and of course Adam!!!!!