Last February I decided to take on the challenge of competing in the Wildflower Triathlon, one of the nations most difficult Triathlons,which took place in May of 2006. The distance I would cover included a 1.5K (1 mile) Open Water Swim, followed by an intense 40K (25 Mile) bike ride and finishing off with a 10K (6 Mile) Run. I finished this race in 5 hours, since then I have continued to document my journey.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Week 11: Only 3 Weeks left...

Hi everyone

I only have a few weeks left before the big day. This fact has been hitting me pretty hard over the last couple of days. I know that I am fully capable to finish the triathlon but this nagging voice in the back of my head keeps saying that I have not worked on my running enough. People keep telling me that I'll be fine and that once I get off my bike I'll just know that I could finish but what if I'm near cut off time? For those of you who are not into tri-speak a cut off time is when they decide that you are taking too long to complete the course and they decide to take you out of your misery and make you stop. They normally break things down by age group with the faster men's age groups going first then the faster women's age groups and down to the slowest. Being that I'm in TNT we are not broken down by age group we just go DEAD LAST which means that we have the shortest time to complete the race. Here are the cut off times that I will be faced with:

Olympic Cut Off Times
Swim 1:20 after the start of the Last Individual Age Group wave
Bike 3:50 after the start of the Last Individual Age Group wave
Run 5:20 after the start of the Last Individual Age Group wave

Here is what my times should look like:

Swim 0:32:30
T1 (transition 1) 0:03:00
Bike 2:04:00
T2 (transition 2) 0:03:00
Run 1:45:24
Total 4:27:54

According to this I should finish over an hour before cut off times but I'm not taking nerves, the fact that I have never practiced in the heat, and mechanical issues like a flat tire into account. I just need to keep reminding myself that I could do this and nothing is going to stop me unless I psyche myself out. Positive thinking will be key. I also have a couple of tricks up my sleeve. For the swim I am going to use mostly my arms and do a nice easy slow stroke. Taking my time will be key. During the bike I plan on using my weight advantage to fly down the hills (last time I hit well past 30MPH) and up hills I will be taking it easy and trying not to burn out my legs. I'll try to keep calculating my times to ensure that I am maintaining 12MPH. I have a computer on my bike which will help me out with my average speed (I just need to bust out the instruction manual to figure out how it works) On the run I will be using the run walk method. I'll start by running for 9 minutes then walk for 2 minutes then run for 9 and walk for 2 (you get the picture). Most importantly I'm going to have fun!!! Hopefully all those strategies will work. If someone else has some advice I'll be happy to take it.

The last time I did a distance event I didn't go in with a plan, I didn't train, and I didn't have fun:

I did the Breast Cancer walk (3 days, 20 miles a day) a couple of years ago and I would like to share some of the mistakes that I made. For some strange reason I decided to forgo training. I weighed 100 pounds more than I do now and I had never walked 20 miles in a single weekend let alone 3 of them in 3 days. Being that I chose not to train I had not broken in any sneakers so I walked with a shiny new pair of Asics along with a pair of Spenco Insoles which I had never tried. If any of you have ever worn Asics you may have noticed that those shoes already have a lot of extra arch support and Insoles are not always necessary. If I had done the right thing I would have gone to a specialty running store and they would have told me that the shoes I chose were not the right geometry for me and not to wear insoles for the first time when choosing to do a long distance walk. One of the lady's from the walk told me that "the right socks" were the greatest anti-blister socks ever created so of course I also tried those for the first time during day 1. On day one I walked 15 of the most painful miles I have ever experienced in my life. The first 5 miles were fine but after mile 5 I started really noticing my shoe rubbing against parts of my arches as well as my toes (again...if I had gone to a specialty store they would have told me to wear shoes up to a size and a half larger than my foot). After mile 10 it started to rain...then it started storming. I was in pain and I was not very happy but I kept on trucking. Once I crawled past the day 1 finish line I went straight to the medical tent where they immediately looked at my feet and asked me to really consider whether or not I wanted to continue. I had 7 blisters on one foot and 5 on the other. Being that I'm not a quitter I absolutely refused to stop. I gingerly put on my new Luggs and went to bed in pain and frustrated.

On day two I woke up to swollen feet and...could it feet had a rash. It turned out that I was allergic to the fabric softener that they used in the Wool Luggs. I shoved a new pair of right socks on my feet and stuffed my feet into my (still wet) Asics and hobbled to breakfast. I must have looked awful because some lady came up to me and gave me some of her vicodin which I took before remembering that I had just taken 2 800 mg Motrin. On day 2 my blisters gave birth to blisters and I only made it to the finish line because my mother had dropped off several Perkaset and I was continuing to take Motrin (in other words I was looped). It continued to rain and my wet feet were so cold that I didn't really know the extent of my injuries. I took off my bloody socks and examined the damage I had done. When I realized how bad it was I refused to go to the medic because I knew they would pull me out of the walk.

On day 3 I woke up in so much pain that I thought there was no way that I could continue. But I did. I hobbled through 15 of the 20 miles in so much pain that a police officer stopped to pick me up. When I refused he kindly explained to me that I had no choice but to get into his car. Reluctantly I did. When the medic saw my feet she started to cry. Apparently she was emotional from the success of the walk and seeing my feet was the breaking point. I told her that I needed to finish and there was only 3 miles left so she let me. I did finish the 3 day but I was miserable the whole time. I missed out on all the bonding and wonderful things that were going on around me. They had several themed pit stops along the way but I refused to stop because I knew that if I did my feet would start hurting all over again. The walk was a true testament on how stubborn and stupid I could be.

In summary here are the mistakes that I made and please don't do the same:

1. The day before the race I decided to try out Spenco Insoles for the first time
2. I bought brand new shoes because they were pretty and not because they were the right ones for my feet
3. I wore those new shoes without breaking them in first
4. It rained the whole time and I had only one pair of shoes
2. I did not train nearly enough (none of you will be having that issue)
3. I bought a new pair of Luggs to wear at turns out that I am allergic to wool fabric softener
4. The "right socks" in my situation were the wrong socks
5. I was too stubborn to stop when I had to. (it took months for my feet to go back to normal)
5. I did not check in with myself to make sure I was having fun

I would include the pictures of my feet (which I do have) but I will spare you all. Now I'll make sure to have fun, be prepared, and be smart and everything should be fine.

Training this week has gone well. We did a marker set on the run. I was disappointed to see that my time had not improved as dramatically as I would have liked it to but I took solace in the fact that I felt as though I could run another 4 miles at the same pace which was definitely not the case before. We biked up in Los Altos hills on Saturday. I felt that it was much easier than when we did it before but I was having a hard time breathing. It turns out that I was coming down with a cold so I feel confident that I could do these hills when on my A game. Once again I got lost...I was supposed to have gone back via Miramonte but I ended up in the Stanford campus a good 10 miles farther out. I was actually ok with this because Foothill Expressway is a flat ride and I could go pretty fast on that road. Next week should be pretty awesome since we are biking AND running on Thursday night. On Saturday we are doing something called a ride n tie. All they tell us is that we need to bring our Mountain Bikes and running gear. We are also supposed to dress up in a costume. This should be really fun!!!

Update on Fundraising:

I hit my goal but you could never raise too much money for this great cause. If you have already donated...I thank you very much. If not...WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR!!!

Here is a link to my fundraising site:

Update on Ethan:

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 12, 2006 09:13 AM, CDT

(Our computer has been giving us problems, and we haven't been able to get in to update the journal from home, so I'm updating from work)

Ethan is finally over the fever he had for about a week. We assume that it was just a virus. His neutrophil count continues to be good, but he has lost his appetite a bit. We are not too worried about it because he just started his 5 days of steroids. That should increase his appetite just in time for Easter. He is a little extra tired and clingy also, and it's hard to tell if it's from the chemo or his hemoglobin level, which is borderline low. We're hoping this goes up as well, as we're planning on visiting my family in Santa Barbara for Easter.

As many of you know already, Ethan loves the Wiggles. When Andrea found out that they were coming to our area, she e-mailed the person in charge of the show to see if there was any chance of Ethan meeting the Wiggles. When we did not hear back from them we bought tickets for Ethan, Andrea, and myself to see them on April 18. Just a few days ago, we received an e-mail from the Wiggles asking if we were still interested in having Ethan meet them. Of course we said yes. Ethan will get to meet them before the show.

Thanks, for checking in on Ethan. It is such a blessing to know you all care for all of us so much. Please continue to keep Ethan in your thoughts and prayers.


Greg (for the Marleys)


Blogger Michele said...

Sounds like you have a pretty good plan for your race- I had a very fun time with the bike last year- because it is an out and back course you get to see teammates on the other side of the road-very distracting and fun. Don't forget to plan your nutrition too and you should be golden. :)

3:52 PM

Blogger Sandy said...

Thanks Michele! I think I'm just starting to get a little nervous. I should be fine for race day. Your right though...I should come up with a nutrition plan sooner than later.

8:04 AM


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