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.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Week 14: One week to Wildflower!!!

Good Morning Everyone

This Sunday is the big day and I am experiencing MAJOR pre-game anxiety. I did triathlons in my sleep all night last night. I finally gave up on the sleep thing at 5AM!!! I know that I'll do fine and baring major mechanical or physical catastrophe I'll be finishing this thing and giving you a positive race report next week.

Last week I talked about all of my workouts which I did on Monday through my practice tri on Saturday and the 16 mile bike ride on Sunday. I think I'll do the same this week so that I could re-experience my week again (these newsletters are purely selfish). On Monday I was supposed to do an open water swim over at Redwood Shores in San Mateo (bay water ewwww). The only problem is that the only people who showed up was myself and another girl from the team, Rielena. It was cold, the water was choppy, and this was only going to be Rielena's second open water swim. We discussed our game plan and decided that it would be safer if we swam laps at the gym. When we got there we were very happy to see that Larry, a mentor from the team, was already in the water. Larry is one of the most high spirited, positive guys I have ever met in my life. Seeing him made me really want to work out hard. After chit chatting for a while Stacey, also from the team, stopped by with her son. This was great!!! Team lovin outside the normal venue. After swimming my prescribe 2650 meters I got out of the water feeling good because not only did I see several team mates but the swim was not that bad.

On Tuesday I went to a Jimmy Buffett Concert. Sunday was supposed to have been a day off but I opted to do my Tuesday workout that day instead so that I could do the Parrot Head thing :-)

Wednesday was another open water swim day at Redwood Shores. This time about 15 people showed up. I got their a little early only to notice that their were several people already dawning their wetsuits. I did the Orca dance and got mine on so that I could jump into the frigid bay. Today the water was particularly choppy and the temperature was nice and chilly. One of our younger triathletes decided to start swimming on his own which is a HUGE no no. A training captain was really worried about him so I offered to swim after him. I dove in the water head first and swam as fast as I could and eventually caught up. On the way back I realized that he was not a really strong swimmer and the conditions were really choppy. I was having fun because every time I would hit a wave just right it would launch me into the air and slap me down but I realized he was not having quite as much fun. I ended up swimming 2 strokes and sighting beside me to see if he was ok and then swimming another 2 strokes and sighting in front of me. He ended up stopping several times on the way back but we eventually got back to doc. After getting back, I decided to jump in and do the workout that the rest of the team was doing. I learned a HUGE lesson that day. I really didn't believe that your mind could really control your performance as much as people say. IT DOES!!! In previous swims at Redwood Shores, I remember having a hard time on the way up to the bridge then having to do the backstroke so that I could make it back to the dock. On the way up to the bridge I was so concerned with catching up with my team mate that I NEVER got tired and on the way back the same thing happened. To the bridge and back is a 1 mile swim. I was able to do that plus another 1/4 mile after I got back and this is in choppy conditions. I now know that I will be fine in the swim portion of Wildflower no matter the conditions.

Thursday is track practice day. We ended up having another brick workout which entailed biking for and hour and running a couple of miles. The bike was A TON of fun. We biked from Mountain View High School down Foothill to Page Mill road in Palo Alto. I am pretty fast on flats and downhill's but I was still surprised to find that I was one of the first people back. I was particularly happy to be able to announce that my chain NEVER fell off on this ride. Yaaay!!! I was thinking before the ride that I had no pictures of myself on the bike. Someone must have read my mind because I have several now. Because they are not very flattering I'll spare you all of them but the best one is at the top of this post.

Here is the team on their way up foothill. This is kind of a where's Waldo game. Can you find me?

After our ride we ran for a couple of miles. My knee was kind of bothering me so I didn't push it to hard. Later I discovered that the knee and last weeks back pain was because my seat was set 1 1/2 inches too low. Once the run/walk was over we sat down for a team meeting about race weekend, what to expect, rules and logistics. I could tell tensions were mounting because the team was having difficulties sitting still to listen to the coaches. Here is us in a rare moment of concentration. Where's Sandy? Can you find me?

Friday was a scheduled Day of Rest so I went to a Giants game then to Nicci's fundraiser at a bar in Burlingame. We didn't get home until almost midnight. I know this sounds early for several of you but remember...I'm now a triathlete.
First thing Saturday morning I awoke to HUGE plumbing problems. Nothing like waking up and learning that you have to go down the street just to use the bathroom. Fortunately, I have a very supportive family and my godfather came over to fix the plumbing while I packed up my gear and left for practice. Practice was at Redwood Shores but the problem was we couldn't swim where we normally do because a rowing tournament was going on. Instead we had to go to another part of the bay which was much dirtier and nastier. Once we jumped in we were told to swim out and back just to warm up. I could really tell who had taken advantage of the optional open water swim practices and who hadn't. I'm glad that I did because only 2 weeks before my stroke was terrible and I was swimming a lot slower than I do now because I was not used to the constrictive suit. After a warm up we were told to swim out to the Buoys and back a few times. At first I was a little nervous because it seemed like everyone was swimming ahead of me. I told myself that it didn't matter and this was just practice so I continued with my same stroke. After rounding the first buoy I started passing people, then more people. I continued with my same stroke throughout the entire swim. When I finished my first lap around the buoys I noticed that a lot of people who are faster swimmers than me had to stop to rest but I still had energy to go around again. I did without stopping and passed more people. I was by no means the first one finished with my swim but I can tell you that my strategy for the race will be to swim long and slow strokes and not worry about the people around me.

When we got out of the water I realized how nasty it really was. Everyone looked like they had beards and mustaches. This was all dirt and probably duck shit from the bay. Ugh!!!

After our swim we went for a 2 mile run. I walked most of this because my knees were still hurting. Don't worry...they'll be fine on Sunday. I already feel better ;-) Once everyone got back Kristin announced that she was going to shave her head as a fundraiser and to cough up some money so that we could participate. Talk about a serious desire to raise money for LLS. The most amazing part is that she's already hit her goal!!!

On Sunday my friend Myron and I went back to do the 16 mile UVAS route. Its such a beutiful ride!!! If anyone wants to go for a bike ride in Morgan Hill let me know. I'll do this route any time. Its got hills but not insurmountable ones and is a great ride for someone who has done some hill work and wants a longer ride. There is just one (can I say Mountain) that we have to power up but it is reasonably short and both of us ended up walking up our bikes which only took a couple of minutes. Once to the top of this hill its a 35 mile per hour roller coaster ride back to the final hill before the finish.

Overall it was a great week with as much training as I could get in. Now my task is to rest. I've done all I can and anything else will only hurt me. The next time I post will be my post-race report. Wish me luck everyone!!!

Wiggly Wiggles
Hi, All!

Well, it happened! Ethan did get to meet the Wiggles on Thursday, and it was fantastic! Both the meeting and the concert!! Ethan was a bit overwhelmed, as three of the Wiggles are even bigger than Daddy!! They were all very sweet, and sensitive to Ethan's being overwhelmed. We got pictures, which we'll try to get downloaded and onto this website soon! (It's been soooo busy around here!)

We were very blessed to get to sit in the third row at the concert, and Ethan clapped, sang, and danced (mostly while sitting or standing on our laps) for the entire hour and a half!!

For those of you who are familiar with the Wiggles, Murray, the guy in red, seemed to make a special connection with Ethan, and he even smiled at him during the concert, and waved to him at the end of the concert! It was so touching! ( He had talked with Greg about Ethan's history, and Greg shared how the Wiggles tapes had really helped Ethan keep moving, especially during his initial time in the hospital. ) It was such a special time, and Greg and I probably enjoyed it as much as Ethan did! It was so great to see him having so much fun!

Ethan was started back on his chemo on Monday, and continues to be doing well. He has had to be away from me a lot over the last few days, and has done very well with that, too! I'm relieved about that, as I'm going to be starting to work a couple Saturdays a month, and it helps to know he should do fine!

Thanks so much for checking in on Ethan! Please continue to pray for his little body to tolerate the chemo well, and for the chemo to be doing it's job!

Love and blessings,
Andrea (for the Marleys)


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