Where is My Mojo

Archive for April, 2011|Monthly archive page

Veni, Vidi, Vici – My chronicle of the Egg Hunt

In Triathlons on April 25, 2011 at 6:02 PM

I came, I saw, I conquered…

D-day arrived. Saturday 4am. Alarm went off. I slept like a baby. For only four hours, but I slept like one. The minute the alarm went off I started feeling like I was headed for the slaughter house. Since the night before I had been feeling that way. I went to the movies with The Dude, and I couldn’t stop thinking about the swim portion of the race. I tried imagining myself victoriously arriving at the shore after free-styling my way to 400 meters. I did all types of visualization exercises, and still my stomach had the sensation of it being in flames.

I got up. Headed to the bathroom. As I sat on the toilet and I put my hands on my face, I almost wanted something to happen that would make me have to cancel the race. I really didn’t want anything horrible to happen, but something like Pocho vomiting a bit would’ve been enough for me to call it quits.

I was ever so silent even after The Dude woke up. The stress of what was going to come my way really didn’t allow for tolerance of early morning small talk. He knew I was nervous and didn’t make a lot of conversation. He did every once in a while remind me that everything would be ok.

I couldn’t understand what made me signed up again after such a terrible performance on my first triathlon. I guess we are masochists and as such we really like to suffer bad. My problem is not the overall event and the endurance you have to develop for it. My problem was the swim. The swim. The first discipline you need to complete in order to pass on to the other disciplines and complete the race. So if I don’t get pass it, and don’t get through the race. Simple.

Silence was king during the ride to the park. To be honest, I don’t even think I turned on Pandora for music. I was a bit irritated for my decision of registering for something that I was partially prepared for. This fear I didn’t feel prior to the first tri, but it makes sense, I had no clue what I was up to when it came to the swimming. But on Saturday April 23, I knew. I knew of the possibilities. Of the things that could happen. That really sucked.

Once I arrived in the park and saw my coach and my team mates I started feeling a little bit more at ease. They knew how well or not I was prepared. A dip into the water before the race began helped in discovering I was not panicking. It wasn’t like last time, when I couldn’t even stick my head into the water without my heart racing like a horse. This time that didn’t happen. I swam some strokes and got comfortable. My team mates did the same.

So it was time for the ladies with the light blue swimming caps to go out. I was holding on to one of my friends’ hands. She was as nervous as I. We had agreed to swim together alongside each other just like we had done before in the course of our training. Off we went until I started to get tired, not nervous, and flipped on my back to do some back strokes. At one point I had to make a pit stop on one of the life guard’s kayaks. When I hanged on to it, the “Kayak Lady” asked if I just wanted to take a break or if I wanted to be pulled out. Now, that was a tempting proposition I have to admit. But something inside of me answered out loud: “No, just a break”. My friend was getting tired of slowing down to wait for me, so I told her not to worry and to go ahead and continue. I made two more pit stops before I made my way back to the shore. All back stroking. I tried several times to free style, but I have the impression that it’s harder to swim in a lake. It’s harder in terms of buoyancy. I need to check this out and confirm my little theory. In any case, once I was in route to the shore, between two kayaks as a reference, I gave it all I had with my arms.

I’m pleased to say I made it to the shore without the need of a life saver. Objective #1 was accomplished! As I got out of the water I couldn’t help but to jump facing the life guards and saying thank you, thank you, thank you for being there for me. I was so happy, I had this huge smile on my face. I realized then I was not the last one out of the water, which is extra brownie points for me!! It took me 24 minutes, but I made. At the shore I saw the team coaches, Andy and Lee, and then The Dude shooting as many pictures as he could while shouting my name and cheering me all the way to the transition area. I couldn’t but shout to Andy that I had made it without the life saver! I felt proud!!! I was celebrating! I was a winner in my little own fantasy world!

P.S.: More to come on the Bike & Run.

Hours away

In Bike, Run, Swim, Triathlons on April 22, 2011 at 12:56 PM

So tomorrow morning is the race. I can’t wait. I just hope I can remember to latch on to me mantra of “I can get through the swimming”.

Last night I went to a swimming session with my coach. We focused on some things that will get me through the race tomorrow… breathing on each right hand stroke, how to enter my hand into the water with each stroke, buoyancy and slower kicks. I’ve been kicking at 1000 mph and of course I run out of breath quickly. Because I’m not expecting to win the race, I want to focus on just doing the right things that will make me get to the shore more efficiently and, as said before many times, without the use of a life saver.

Today we are off to a brick session. Basically replicating in a guided and smaller scale what tomorrow’s race will be about. We will swim in open water (love living in Miami), then bike and then run. I’m looking forward to the swimming portion, and then once on the bike, I’ll manage not to fall off it.

Later in the day, I have a medical appointment and then gotta get back home in a rush to do my canine mommy duties, take a shower and go out on a date with The Dude! We are going to the movies!

Tonight will be a long one as I will have to prepare all my gear for tomorrow, but I wasn’t expecting to sleep much anyway. I guess I’ll have the entire afternoon tomorrow to sleep the excitement and tiredness away. I just hope not to feel the post-race blues I normally get.

Wish me luck!

Miami! Get your butt off that couch!

In Triathlons on April 21, 2011 at 4:53 PM

My coach is offering two spring specials… one is a free 5K group running program, and the other is a discounted price for Boot Camp. Click here for more info.

Two days to go!

In Bike, Run, Swim, Triathlons on April 21, 2011 at 12:17 PM

While preparing both mentally and physically for the Egg Hunt Triathlon on Saturday, I can only think about the support I’ve gotten from my loved ones, team mates, regular friends. This is something that if you get the right moral support, it helps you get through. Hopefully it’ll get me through the swimming… if only this support would work as a live saver to keep me afloat in the water!!!

But no joke, to know that people are cheering for your efforts makes a great difference! My #1 fan, I must say, is The Garmin Dude, a.k.a. The Dude. Even when I told him I sucked BIG time during my first tri he said “I’m so proud of you”. He wanted to hear everything about it, because he couldn’t be there with me on race day. That was the weekend we had the kids, and to drag them to a race at 5:30am or even 7:00am was just a crime. He was so excited for me, it was like he had done the race himself. I sometimes wonder where he gets all his excitement and energy! I need to get me 100 pounds of that at times! I love the Dude, no doubt, and it really makes a difference knowing he supports me in this crazy affair I’m beginning with the tri world. Of course, he’s a triathlete too, so he clearly understands my new addiction.

I’ve also found a lot of support from my friends at work. Words like “The fact that you are doing it” “… trying to”  “… is a huge accomplishment.”  They keep me going in the right direction.  And also, my team mates. They suffer as much as I do, so we are constantly helping each other anyway we can. I’ve been extremely lucky in the swimming department because some of them go at my pace during the open water group sessions so I can build my confidence and avoid another panic attack… cause you know how that can go!

I’d like to mention that this is a type of sport that is better to do with team mates. I cannot imagine trying to do this on my own. And for those who do, I have the utmost respect for them. You are my heros. But for those like me, I think the best way to go about is to sign up with a training group, with coach included. And if not, there are many groups that although do not have a coach, are very well organized and members train together. I belong to both types of groups. I train with Andy Clark, Alien Endurance and Lee Zohlman, BodyZen who joined forces and created “THE Group”… that’s us, the triathletes training under them. We follow a daily program they give us, and also have group training sessions with them on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Additionally, I belong to a tri club named Miami Pace whose founder, Tachi Llamas, puts her heart and soul out to get the group hyped about training, competing, having fun during the process, and even socializing. I signed up with them because it’s a huge group that additionally goes out every Sunday on bike rides. Everybody in the group is at a different level,  so I can always find someone who rides at my slow pace and have company through out the ride. Being part of a group not only pushes you to train, and train the right way, but it gives you a sense of belonging… belonging to a community of people who you can share learnings from and have fun. You can only get better!

As I told my coach yesterday, my objectives for Saturday’s race are: 1) to be able to swim all the way without the need of a floating device, no matter what my pace is, and 2) pay more attention to the signals so I don’t get disqualified for stupid mistakes. I came in second to last on my first race and got disqualified. I think I have nothing to loose this Saturday! I feel I have improved, gotten better, just by the fact that I had the ovaries to sign up for another race!!! Yet I do ask you to wish me luck and keep me on the side of your brain that stores the good thoughts!!!

Getting ready to hunt some eggs!

In Bike, Swim, Triathlons on April 20, 2011 at 12:03 PM

Not really. But that’s what the name of the tri I’m doing on Saturday implies… Egg Hunt Triathlon (http://egghunttriathlon.com).

Excitement and fear are the two sensations that have been accompanying me for the past months both on the relationship and training levels. On the relationship level I’m on cloud 9. I cannot complain. I finally found a pair of shoes that fit my big feet. The Garmin Dude is all I dreamed of and more. Yet fear hits every now and then, and the anxiety of what the future will bring, or not, crawls up my throat and asphyxiates me for seconds. Yet I repeat to myself: “Live the moment. Don’t think about the future. All you have is today. Enjoy every minute with The Dude.”

On a training level, I’m doing the race this Saturday, and you all know how the first one went. And if you don’t, click on: https://iwanttobeatriathlete.wordpress.com/2011/04/16/egg-hunt-triathlon/ for more info on that little chapter in my life. Excited because I want to race, I want to do this, I want to do this with my team mates and my coaches, and have fun with them. Fearful because of the swimming… enough said. The bike, even though I haven’t been on it as often as I should, doesn’t worry me. As long as I don’t fall off the bike with those terrible click shoes, I will move forward with everything that is inside of me, even if I don’t hydrate myself during the ride.

I’ve been swimming. Yes I have. On Saturday we trained with my coach, and on Sunday one of my friends and team mates went with me for an open water swim. She was there every step of the way, making sure I knew she was there next to me, ready to help in any way she could. Thanks Karla! I did good. Very good. On Monday I had planned to go out for a swim at the pool with The Dude, only to come home and find that one of my Pochos (that’s how I call my dogs), the oldest of all, had had a bio accident which even resulted in a full bath for him. This kind of wrecked my mood for a swim, so we stayed home and opted to eat cereal.

Yesterday, I went for a bike ride with The Dude. I grade the success of my rides based on my ability to not fall from it when I stop. Basically, on my agility to un-click myself from the pedals. So, on that basis it was a very successful 6 mile ride. Not much, but something to get into the race mood.

Tonight… agility training, and then some swimming with my coach. I can’t wait! I’m sure, and hoping, he will push the hell out of me without mercy so I can get better and leave my anxiety at home on Saturday!

Wish me luck!

Forget about that perfect suntan…

In Triathlons on April 18, 2011 at 5:40 PM

… you’ll never get it back. Unless, you really have spare time to toast yourself after training to even out those ridiculous marks left on your skin compliments of the tri-shorts, the one-piece bathing suits, or the two for that matter, the running shorts, tank tops, running shirts with sleeves, running shirts without, huge watches (like my GARMIN to which I’m emotionally attached to for many GOOD reasons), socks, no socks, chancletas (flip flops – HAD to write it in Spanish), and any other apparel or accessory you might think of. Just be aware that the extra time you will spend under the sun, trying to save your perfect suntan, can result in making you look like a prune. So, at my age, even if I could, I would skip the extra time under the incandescent star that makes our days light and warm.

I remember being a hard core sunbather during my teen years and early twenties. I would put anything onto my skin just to accelerate the tanning process… Things like Pepsi (when growing up in Venezuela, Pepsi was THE drink, not Coke), drinking carrot juice prior to frying your skin, and my favorite… Baby oil and iodine. That was THE best, quickest and most popular back in the day. And so easy to “manufacture”. A bottle of J&J
Baby Oil with as much iodine possible until the transparent fluid turned deep dark red.

These days, I try to plaster myself with sunscreen as much as I can. And I say try, because I normally forget. I’m not good at spreading creams, lotions, and such on my body, but the amount of time I’m spending training requires some proper skin care.

Interesting how things change as we evolve (never “grow old”)… Before, I purposely laid on the sun for the perfect tan, and for that did horrors to my skin. Now that I have no choice other than being under the sun, I cover myself in sunscreen only to achieve a tan comparable to that of a truck driver. Nice!

Egg Hunt Triathlon

In Triathlons on April 16, 2011 at 5:50 PM

Because suffering through the swim during my first triathlon two weeks ago was not enough, I just signed up for my second. Addiction is a bitch… and throw in some peer pressure, cause you don’t want to be left out of the fun, and you have a 45 year old woman thinking “what am I thinking..” all over again! At this point the only thing I can repeat to myself, like an on going mantra, is “I can do this. I can do this. I can do this.”

If you are wondering what happened during my first race, I can tell you right now. I panicked! I panicked in the water. I could not put my head into it without my heart pounding. I couldn’t breathe out. I tried floating on my back but then again panicked by the thought of the next wave of swimmers coming my way. I seriously thought they would run over me and of course pull me down.

If you’ve never done or seen an event like this, you might not know there are lifeguards on surfboards surrounding the swimmers in case people like me need help! I yelled “lifeguard!” and he threw me a lifesaver! I hung to that thing for a while until I caught my breath again. Bravely, I threw it back only to be yelling for it five minutes later. At that point I realized my life was more important than making another attempt to gracefully swim to the shore. The truth is I’m a conservationist… I’m all about conserving my life!

With the panic attack I exhausted all my energy, and my only chance of making it through was on my new BFF Mr. Life Saver. I had no clue if I would be disqualified for this, but I really didn’t care. My objective at that point was to finish the race and have a taste for what a triathlon was all about. My strategy was to move forward no matter what.

I made some other mistakes that at the end disqualified me. Additionally, I came in second to last. However, I felt like a champ. From the minute I entered the race my hopes of winning or averaging were null. I’ve never been a delusional person. But to suck the way I sucked was not a fantasy I had dabbled with! Nevertheless, the experience was one of the most incredible ever lived, and still today after registering for my second race and not 50% there with the swimming, I have a big smile on my face… The smile of a huge achievement in my life!

P.S. I’ve learned through the years that success is relative… Relative to you!

This is me coming out of the water with a smile on my face.

I’m training for an Ironman

In Triathlons on April 15, 2011 at 1:04 PM

I saw this while I was training for the ING Miami Half Marathon and thought it was funny. Although I was not training for the Ironman nor for a regular triathlon, the discipline I had in place for my training was similar… no late nights, no drinking, no nothing and yet I was happy and accomplished!

Now training for tris, this rings even more so… Enjoy!

My path to “considering” tri training

In Run, Triathlons on April 14, 2011 at 5:12 PM

2010. A friend from Venezuela was counting down the days for the 2010 Chicago Marathon registration on his Facebook wall. I didn’t understand where all his excitement came from. I’ve always been the type that thought there were only three good reasons for me to run: 1) If someone was chasing to kill me. 2) If I was chasing someone to kill him/her. 3) If I was caught up in fire, which is a huge mistake because, aren’t you supposed to throw yourself in the ground and roll over your body? Nevertheless, I was not a couch potato. At least not in my younger years. I was always playing some kind of sports… basketball, softball, volleyball on a social level… you know, on the beach or something. Even dancing flamenco. There was a period where I did nothing at all. Then came 2000 and I couldn’t see my hip bones anymore, so I started running like Forrest Gump, and paying much more attention to my nutrition. I lost so much weight I was able to fit a size 2 in a Banana Republic pair of pants… I’m sure they number their sizes smaller so people who shop there feel much better about themselves, because I was ONLY a size 2 there, everywhere else I was a 4. But I digress…

After running my heart out, I also did like Forrest Gump… “I’m tired. I wanna go home now.” and started exploring the bizarre but highly addictive world of Bikram Yoga… yoga done at 100 degree F room temperature. What made me want to go back to each class is really beyond my comprehension. But I never dwelled into it, I just did it, and I did for 8 months until I moved from Dallas to Miami in 2002.

It took me a while before I could reinitiate my yoga practice. I tried Bikram, but wasn’t crazy about the instructors here, until a friend from work introduced me to Prana Yoga, a beautiful yoga center located in the Gables. I started learning about sun salutations, downward facing dogs, cobras, pigeons, and many more asanas, including headstand which I had never even thought regular people could do. I remember the first time I saw the other yogis in my class do this asana… I just sat there staring at them in awe, and could only imagine myself doing it… and I learned, and I did it.

In 2003 things changed again in my life, and I abandoned my practice all together… from four times a week at least, to nothing at all. So, by the time my friend’s marathon countdown began early 2010, I questioned myself if I should do it as well, would I be able to, would I have the will power to. I chatted with him and his wife, and started training on my own. Not an easy task, but was surprised by my own strong will to be consistent. I trained following my friends’ training schedule and we would compare notes via Facebook and Garmin Connect. Side bar here, my friends at work bought me a Garmin Forerunner watch for my birthday which “came” with a boyfriend, but that’s another story which I might or might not tell you. As I started adding miles to my Saturday runs, my right knee started to feel the impact of the concrete streets on which I was training. By July I was out of commission and started therapy. My high hopes for a rapid recovery were shattered the first day of therapy. It was made cleared to me I was not going to be able to catch up with my training in time for the race, and that really left me with a huge emptiness inside my body. I was not going to be able to make it to Chicago with my friends…

October 12th came, and one of my friends from work who also ran Chicago came back, and told her st

ories about the race. I was excited but filled with nostalgia of what could’ve been but never was. She mentioned registering for the ING Half Marathon in January and I said “13.1 miles? Easier! I can do that!”… by that time my knee had significantly improved and I was playing with the idea of stopping therapy. I registered and updated my Facebook status telling the whole world (yes, just my list of friends) what I had just done. One of my friends replied that she too was training for it and that I should sign up with her training group.

I signed up with Andy Clark, Alien Endurance, and made new friends while training like crazy. On Saturday long runs, one of us would always asked this question when we started our run… “Please remind me, why are we doing this?” and of course the plethora of answers was unimaginable. We made it through, together and strong, until a month before the race when the cumulated mileage took a toll again on my right knee. Following my coach’s advise, I stay put. There was nothing else to do other than rest until the day of the event. I was not not going to run. I had gone that far, I had to race.

The excitement during the week before the race was incredible. We were all hyped up and couldn’t wait for the day to pick up our packets, go to the expo and carb up with pasta for the race. By that time I was already on my second term dating The Garmin Dude… yes, he’s part of the story I haven’t told you yet. I was beyond excitement the morning of the race. I just couldn’t wait to start running with the Dude alongside and my running buddies all dispersed among the huge crowd. It was an incredible feeling. I guess you have to be a runner, an athlete or someone who prepared so hard for an event, to understand (or not) all the sensations that rush through you in just one second. I ran 8 miles, and the rest I had to walk compliments of my knee, but I finished the race. I did run, in deep pain I must add, through the finish line because there was NO way on Earth I would walk it… not after all I had walked.

While I had a feeling of accomplishment, I was not overly excited with my achievement. Why? Because I was in good shape to run that race at a great pace and to endure it to the end… but my knee caved in. It gave up on me and that was frustrating.

And so the post-race blues started hitting on me. So much hype and then it’s over. Race day came, race day went. It’s like Christmas… You decorate your house, you make preparations to spend time with your family, you go shopping, you… and then it’s over! How can you not feel empty? Wondering, so… now what? Same thing here. Now what? I did the half, what’s next?

Luckily… or not, Andy had been telling us he was designing a tri-program which would start a couple of weeks after the ING. I wasn’t really interested in going all the way, I just wanted another race so I could survive the rush I had in my body… but my running buddies were all up for it. Peer pressure they call it, especially from one of my friends who constantly told me “If we do it, you do it”. And so, I signed up… without knowing how to swim, not even liking to get into the water… not having biked in years, and never on a road bike and never on the streets. The only thing I had on me was that I could run… with an injured knee.

I still don’t know what got into me to sign up. But all I can tell you is that so far this is very addictive and you just want to roll with it.

More to come, especially on my first tri event which was a DISASTER, but I felt like a total winner.

Picture below by Jesús Aranguren – I’m in it with The Garmin Dude!

I'm in the picture with The Garmin Dude

I want to be a TriAthlete

In Bike, Run, Swim, Triathlons on April 14, 2011 at 11:53 AM

Yes, that’s the name of my blog… and not only the name of it, as I hope I can become one and be as good as I can. The hard part is to find time and energy for all the training, but once you do it, you are hooked and feel as bad ass as any pro-triathlete… at least in your little own fantasy world.

I gotta run now. I just wanted to leave a short note while I continue working on setting this blog up!!!