Monday, April 26, 2010

In the Beginning

Dates and numbers. All coming together. I'm not sure if I've said this before, but I'm kind of superstitious. In middle school and high school I used to wish every day at 11:11 that I would become the MN state backstroke champion. My Junior year (11th grade) the section meet was on 11/11/00, and State Finals were 11/22/00. My senior year, I won.

I carry on the Rocky IV tradition. I get new goggles for big swim meets (or triathlons). I put in new contacts. So naturally, I googled my Ironman number. #122. This is what came up:

The 122nd volume of the Iron Man comic. Tag-lined with "In the Beginning"Which got me thinking about my beginnings in triathlon. It just so happens, that on the weekend anniversary of my first triathlon, 2 years ago, I will be competing in my first Ironman. My life has changed significantly since that amazing day. I competed in the Super Sprint on May 4, 2008. I finished a 200m swim, 7 mile bike, 1.5 mile run. It took me 42 minutes and 59 seconds. The swim of my Ironman will take longer than that entire race. My goal was to run the entire run, which I did and I ended up winning my age group and taking 10th overall (male and female). Now I will be attempting a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike, and a 26.2 mile run. And my goal is to finish. With a smile on my face.

The 22nd episode of the Iron Man cartoon (production #122) was titled "Don't Worry, Be Happy" which is my focus this week. I'm trying not to worry, and yeah being happy is pretty easy. I think I've passed the phantom pains part of taper, and the taper blues. It's happy taper time, and I'm on vacation as of Wednesday afternoon!

My last brick is over (here I am on Soledad). My last ocean swim is swum. (with dolphins! it was amazing). My bags are packed (okay, halfway packed).

I'm ready. Excitement brewing... #122. Five more sleeps.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Ironman State of Mind

I have the BEST friends EVER! Not only did I get good luck cards in the mail (thanks, Kari) and facebook messages/posts, but my college roommate, Missy, who I so graciously loved in my last post, list maker... made a rap for me! (Run on sentence much?) There she is at her bachelorette party, dancing to Michael Jackson. (She memorized the entire dance from the video for the Diva Party senior year. Ask her nicely, and she'll perform a couple steps for you.)

I'll post a nice one. Here at her wedding. (obviously) to Gabe, who helped create this amazing gift.

Background: Missy and I were roommates in college for all four years. Our freshman year the senior captains made a rap for us. Let's just say it wasn't to our standards and we wanted to one-up them. Well not to brag, but we did, and we started a tradition for the Sioux Girls. Every year we stole the tune to a rap song and changed the lyrics to Sioux Girl swimming, kick ass, conference domination, lyrics. It was a blast every time.

Here we are, our senior year. Yes I have hot pink hair. Yes, UND's official colors are pink, green, and white. And yes, even though they "retired" the name, I will forever be a Fighting Sioux girl.

Flash forward to now. She, with the help of her husband Gabe, and their sweet Mac Garage Band setup created this for me.

Worldwide release of: Ironman State of Mind by Mi-Z, Featuring Melissa Keys

Special thanks to production assistant and DJ, Gabe Schell.

Ironman State of Mind by rgordona

Yeah,Yeah, Imma up in Bismarck,Layin’ down this rap for you, Wish that I could be there,But i’ll still be cheerin’ you,

Headin’ down to St. George,Yes it is finally here,And after you make it there,You can make it anywhere,

We used to swim in college,Thinkin’ that those days were long
, Puttin’ in the yardage, But you had barely started,

Took it to the next level, hundr’d K swim bike run, can’t believe it can be done, A. Rudser’s not the only one,

Qualify for Kona, You can do it, RGordona – there won’t be nothin’ to it,

All the hard work’s over, All those hours of training,Now it’s time for race day,No more time spent waiting,

Say wat up to Ky Ky, and hugs to Di Di
, they’ll be wavin’ hi hi, to you at the finish line,

Time to take it easy, Watch Rocky beat Drago,like a piece of iron is what you’ll be when you go to…


In St. George is where dreams are made of,

There’s nothing you can’t do,Ironman Utah,

This race will make you feel brand new,This rap will inspire you,

Ironman Utah, Utah, Utah

Time for preparation make a plan for nutrition, watch hydration set up stations for some fast transitions,

You should know what to do, this sure ain’t your first go,But I gotta admit this really is the big show,

Welcome to the M dot,Utah the most hilly spot,weather please cooperate, swimming can’t be forgot,

Jump right in, first you swim, no big thing, gonna win,For the others it ain’t fair you’ll be done they will just begin,

Hundred twelve miles out there on the pavement,really is a pity half of them won’t make it,

Now you run a marathon, and you got it made, you’ve trained real hard, you couldn’t be in better shape,

3 parts to do
,3 parts finished,congratula’ns Rach, time for peace you did it,

I’m so proud of you, I’m your number one fan, I’ll brag endlessly,
about your Ironman…

In Utah,

In St. George is where dreams are made of,

There’s nothing you can’t do,Ironman Utah,

This race will make you feel brand new,This rap will inspire you,

Ironman Utah, Utah, Utah

One hand in the air for the victory,

After 12 plus hours still looking pretty,

No feeling in the World that can compare,Put your hands in the air, everybody say yeaaahh

In Utah,

In St. George is where dreams are made of,

There’s nothing you can’t do,Ironman Utah,

This race will make you feel brand new,This rap will inspire you,

Ironman Utah, Utah, Utah

Monday, April 19, 2010

Homework, What?

So. My coach is amazing. He has done quite a bit for me this season, more than he needed to. Weekly training plans of swimbikerun were all that was needed. But every time he put in the extra effort, I noticed, and it made a big difference.

He analyzes the data from every possible angle. He tells me what workouts are key and when I really need to hit my goal pacing/HR/effort/etc. and when I can back off. He tells me what, when and how much to eat. He was flexible when my body wasn't. (Colon, listen. I'm doing my best here, but you need to cooperate) He motivated me through hard, rough, dark patches, and let me know when the light was going to shine in (and during the rest weeks it did). He road his heavy commuter bike alongside me up the steep roads of Mt Soledad during the first half of the longest run(s) of my life, and then he'd run the other my pace. He emailed me videos of proper run technique. He just wrote me a 6 page Race Week plan.

All I had to do was swimbikerun. Easy enough, right?

Until now. Homework time. I won't give away all his secrets, but here are some of the tasks I've been given.
  1. Make a checklist of everything you need to bring to St. George.
  2. Make a checklist of everything you need on race day. This is a cool site.
  3. Make a checklist of everything you will put in your special needs bags.
  4. Call Elizabeth and ask her about using immodium during the race. Also, tell her you're nervous and she will remind you why you shouldn't be.
  5. Write up a detailed nutrition plan.
So the tasks begin. Hopefully this list making/packing will shake the nerves. I'm usually a last minute packer and wait until very late the night before the race to get my stuff together. And yes I forget:

I forgot my custom ear plugs to an important swim meet in college. I've forgotten to bring a swim suit to swim practice. (Actually multiple times...but imagine how many swim practices I've attended in my life, give me a break.) This weekend I forgot socks (thank you Erin!), my liquid nutrition (carbopro 1200), extra salt and sunscreen for my swimbikerun day. Luckily, knock on wood, I haven't forgotten my bike, helmet or shoes since I've been riding.

But seriously, lists are good. My college roommate, Missy, was (is?) a list maker, only because she was obsessed with crossing things off. So she'd include
-take a shower
-calculus homework
-brush teeth
-take birth control
Okay, maybe that's a little drastic. But she did download the Post-it notes program so instead of having sticky notes attached to her computer screen they would appear on the side of the desktop. We had fun messing with her lists on Vernon. (Pleasure Mikey, Make Rachel's bed)

Random tangents. Packing List for St. George. Started my google doc with earplugs and sunscreen.

Oh yeah, wee! I got a new custom tri top from Splish! I made it because I wanted to wear Brian's coaching logo and the shop logo from Moment Cycle Sport. It's light blue with white sides. I've already tested it out and it's awesome...but I need sunscreen.

12 more days.

Friday, April 16, 2010


Wow, 2 weeks since my last post, and now 2 weeks until St. George. Obviously, I have one thing (or really, 140.6 things) on my mind. Here. Now. Over. Done! Seriously, taper time is seemingly more difficult than the 18 hour weeks!

I have gone through 10 major tapers in my life (7th grade - collegiate senior year) plus all of the mid-season, summer-season, ymca-season mini-tapers. All swimming tapers. I would say I had a 99% success rate. I'm pretty sure I got faster in at least one event every year, luckily ending up "retiring" on top (200 yard backstroke - 2:05.95 - without trying to sound cocky, I just shocked myself remembering how "fast" I was). Anyway, this feeling of taper is all too familiar, and I should trust my past results, but I can't help but freak out a little. It's me.

Signs of Taper:
1) Sleep. Or lack there of. Since I'm not pounding myself into the ground, I'm sleeping like crap! I wake up at 2:50 or 3:50am and think it's time to wake up, but not refreshed.

2) Random Twitching. My muscles want to move. I am not moving them as much. So they move involuntarily. I thought my involuntary heart was annoying (at 207 bpm) but quad convulsions jolting my body awake...not cool.

3) Hunger. It doesn't leave. But again, I'm moving by body maybe I should give the stomach a break. :) Baxter isn't calling nearly as often. Keeping in mind Racing Weight.

4) Movie Watching. On the list: Rocky IV, Rudy, and Ironman. I have watched Rocky IV every year since my first Section carbo-load at the senior captain's house in 1996. There is something about Silvester Stallone's training montage for the match of his life vs the Russian that really got us going. It sounds crazy, but it was tradition. You wouldn't dare suggest anything else. We watched it at my house before my senior year section meet in the fall of 2001. I brought the tradition to college and watched it all four years with my roommate, Missy, who introduced me to the great story of Rudy. As for Ironman, Santa gave that to me 2 years ago as inspiration.

5) Music. On my iPod: Jock Jams. The original. "Are you ready to rumble?!!" Again, not kidding. This was the "soundtrack" to every home swim meet. I specifically remember one meet, where the opposing team got into the office and changed the CD to perform their choreographed pool deck dance. Not cool. We shut them down. You didn't want to mess with the Thunderhawks. Na na na na na na na na na THUNDER! (ACDC anyone?)

6) Doubt. Fatigue. Dead Legs. This is where it gets dark. You doubt your training. You doubt your preparation. You doubt your leg's ability to carry you (or back then, the shoulders ability to rotate). But you manage. You have coaches to tell you it'll be all right. To tell you the training will work. To give you proof. To email your "Training Hours Summary" with pie charts and line graphs.To tell you to trust. To let you know you'll hit your taper. And it'll all be better. At the finish line. With a smile.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Final Four

Final Four, basketball what? Go Midwest. That's all I have to say about that. Now, really onto some serious sporting news.

Ironman Utah is Four Weeks away!

I'm down to the Final Four weeks of training. The time hasn't really flown by. It's been an eventful past five months. This is it. One more hard week and then I'll be tapering! The last time I actually had a real taper (that worked) was Four Years ago, finishing my collegiate swimming career. The seasons were longer back then, but the anticipation is the same. I wish it was here, now, over, done. I have enjoyed the journey though, and I should continue to enjoy this it is the easiest, right?

It's no surprise that I haven't updated in a while. I just got done with a huge three week training block and my rest week is coming to a close. Thursday included a successful IM simulation day. Next week brings my longest run, longest brick, and longest ride on top of the tempo workouts, swims, and the San Diego Custom Bicycle Show that we are having a booth at. Fun times. But there is a light.
First ride picture from my new iPhone. :) Straight down my straw. Solo Swami's loop on my IM simulation day.

Here are some fun moments that my busy weeks brought:

Season opener for the Monday night La Jolla Shores TCSD swims. Big group, perfect conditions, fast friends and fast swimming.
Kyle came out to play.
Sunset at the ocean. What a great place to be.Enjoying my backyard. I don't get to do that very often.
What a nice view.
I had some Mt. Laguna adventures. The first one wasn't horrible, but it was a wee bit cold and windy so we didn't make the entire 102 mile loop for fear of getting blown off the backside. I think that day it ended up being around 90. Super duper fog on Laguna. Sunrise Hwy wasn't so sunny today.
Fun times with new riding partners. Liz and Whitney; crazy girls who don't wear enough clothes.
A couple weeks later Jen accepted my offer of GWL+Laguna (I had some unfinished business), and we made it out for a perfect day. Full circles here. This was the same loop where I did my first century, also with Jen. She was training for IM Arizona and I was a week out from Soma Half IM. Now the tables have turned and she's training for Wildflower half and I'm the crazy girl needing long ride partners. Good times battling the headwinds on the way out, and yes, on the way back. Just our luck. Although we thought we were lucky, spotting a Radio Shack rider, and thinking it was Lance Armstrong on our way down from Cuymaca...but apparently it was Chris Horner. Skinny white dudes in Radio Shack kits...they all look the same. Here is my tweet from Moment Cycle and our retweet from Lance.
And his response back. Yeah, Lance Armstrong tweeted back at us!! Holla!Heigh-ho, heigh-ho, it's 4 more weeks to go!