Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Summer Bucket List

Time keeps on slippin', slippin', slippin', into the future. I mean, just think about it. I have literally been singing that song for decades. Since Space Jam. Which feels like it was yesterday.

I am experiencing some mild yet persistent panic due to the fact that June is mostly over. What do I even have to show for the fact that so much summer has already gone by?! And so, without further ado, my summer bucket list. We better get crackin', that's all I can say!

What's on your summer list?

Saturday, June 22, 2013

It's Time. Half Ironman Recap.

Well goodness, I haven't blogged in quite some time. I have had this race recap post looming, and I haven't quite wanted to write about it, because writing means it is over. And I just don't know if I can capture how difficult/scary/emotional/exhilarating the whole experience was in a blog post, and this is why I've really been avoiding it.

But here goes.

I was a jumble of nerves the entire week leading up to race day. I had my bike tuned up, stocked up on snacks, and practiced pulling my wetsuit on and off while running around the house. I felt pretty prepared, gear-wise (which is pretty important when it comes to feeling good on race day).

Chad and I drove the 3 hours to Richmond, IN the evening before the race. We picked up my swag (which, to be perfectly honest, was more like a sorry bunch of coupons), ate some pizza, and went to the hotel to crash.

Race morning, we woke up to POURING RAIN at the course. I didn't know whether to be horrified or relieved, but twenty minutes or so before the start time, the rain stopped. Fortunately, the weather was overcast the entire rest of the race (amazing!).

The swim was a little different than other races I've done, where everyone sort of stands in the water and takes off at the same time. The starting area was pretty narrow, so they lined us up and we went into the lake one at a time. I was one of the last 5 people. I did this intentionally--I didn't want the pressure of being with all the fast swimmers.

The swim is always the scariest part for me, but I got through it just fine, swimming mostly breaststroke. I always have some mantra that I repeat to myself while I race--something that just sort of comes to me in an effort to keep confident. This time, it was, "I could do this allll dayyyy." (Which is kind of lie, and that makes it kinda funny.) Fortunately, I didn't have to do it allll dayyyy, I only had to do it for about forty five minutes.

Next, the bike. 56 miles of hills, according to the race description. Lucky for me, it was NOT as hilly as described. Actually, it was kind of desolate and a little lonely. I was pretty much at the back of the pack, since I started and finished the swim at the back of the pack. Every now and then, I would hear something loud like a car coming up behind me, only to realize it was some super fast cyclist whizzing by.

Speaking of which, everyone was just really fast. Really fast and really intense. I would place myself at the absolute amateur end of the amateur-intense spectrum represented by the people participating in this race. Like, everyone had really nice gear, and people were asking each other things like, "Oh, you're from Louisville? So are you doing the Louisville Ironman then?" I have had the same bike helmet since I had the paper route in 8th grade (I should probably do something about that) and I don't wear cycling shoes or click into special pedals. I just swim, and then I ride a bike, and then I run. And I try to enjoy it.

Anyway, back to the bike. I had a pretty great time. One of the highlights was seeing Chad at the end of the 27 mile loop both times. He was the BEST spectator, ever. Really. He would yell things really loud like, "Lookin' good, Cammie! Kickin' trash and takin' names!!" (Which is a much more detailed yell than most people get, I think, so I felt pretty lucky.)

Another highlight on the bike was a few miles into the second loop (so, maybe mile 30 or so?), I rode past a guy who was walking his bike. My initial thought was, "Oh, poor guy, he must be having bike problems." Then all of a sudden, I remembered that I had bought these special single-use air cartridges in case of a flat. I knew that if he had a flat, I HAD to stop and help. So I yelled back to him to ask, and sure enough, he had a flat and had been walking for 20 minutes or so. I stopped and within 5 minutes, he was back on the road. I felt SO happy and just, I don't know, elevated. It really carried me through the rest of that bike, and I finished in about 3 hours and 45 minutes.

Then finally, the run. I knew this would be tough. I found a mental focus that I have never really experienced before while running. Usually when I run, I think about how much I have left. Only 2 more miles. Or, half-way there. Or, one-fourth of the way there. Starting out, I realized I could NOT start out by thinking to myself, "Only 13 miles to go," or else I would never make it. My main goal in this race was to make it through without having to walk. I really, really didn't know if I would be able to do it. Somehow, I don't even know how, I did. Things that helped were: seeing Chad and him running the first mile or so with me, and then mile 6 or 7 with me when I ran into him after Loop 1; a guy named Keith, a marathoner, who ran with me for a while and kept me company; seeing that guy I had helped on his bike a couple of times; drinking looots of gatorade and water, and eating plenty of that nasty gel stuff. But what helped the most, I believe, was focusing ONLY on how I felt in the moment, and not letting myself think about how much was left. If I started to feel at all stressed or in pain, I would just slow down. My mantra for the run was, "Take it easy. Just pace yourself." Obviously, if I had been racing for time, I might have needed a different mantra. :)

Anyway, I started to become overwhelmed with emotion when I hit about mile 11. I almost started crying a couple of times, just realizing I was actually going to finish, and that somehow I had been strong enough to run the whole thing. I ran into Chad somewhere in mile 12, and he finished out most of the race with me until I got to the closing stretch. Crossing the finish line was so incredible! I really can't even put it into words. I was completely broken down physically (but not delirious, Mom & Dad...), and so utterly proud and grateful and amazed all at the same time. I just fell in Chad's arms and cried, I was so happy.

Sitting around after races is always fun. I got awarded first place in my age group (female 25-29). I should also mention that I was the only female in my age group. Haha. My goal, starting out, was to finish in less than 7 hours. I honestly wasn't even sure if this was a reasonable goal, just because I had never raced this distance before. I finished in 6 hours and 56 minutes, and some change. This is by NO MEANS a fast time, but my goal was to finish, and finish I did.

with a new friend, who was doing her first sprint race that day.

with my trainer Chad, before the race.

don't love this picture of me, but I must document the fact that I was standing atop a podium one time winning first place. So cool.

Friday, June 7, 2013

I REALLY dislike Google Plus right now.

Not to be weird or anything, but I am starting to feel like there is a Google Plus conspiracy preventing me from successfully finding the answers I need to the question, "How do I get rid of google plus comments in blogger?" I mean, a google search has never failed me before--and I KNOW I cannot be the only one out there wanting to get rid of the google plus comments.

Has anyone successfully switched to google plus and back to blogger, without any annoying remnants? I reverted my profile back to blogger (which is an option within 30 days of making the switch to google plus), but now I'm still stuck with the google plus comment form. Help me!

Update*** Fixed it. I had to connect the blog to my google plus profile, then uncheck the box enabling google plus comments, and then revert back to blogger profile. In case anyone ever needs to know.


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