Friday, August 31, 2012

It's been 11 days since my last confession...

OK, well maybe it's been more like 25 years, but I know that title got your attention. 

It has been 11 days since my last blog though.

It's been a little hectic, but that's no excuse. 

"Life it what happens to you while you're busy making other plans."  Isn't that what John Lennon said?

So here we are... 78 days until IMAZ and this weekend, I will complete my first ride over 75 miles in a single day.  Ideally, I'd be doing this with the rest of my team, but unfortunately, I wasn't able to leave Miami this weekend to head up to Sebring with the gang for the planned Century ride up there.

My goal is to head out to a park in the Everglades that has a protected 15 mile paved loop and do the mileage/saddle time out there.  It will be hot, it will be windy, a lot of mosquito repellent and sunblock will be employed that day, but if you want to be an Ironman, it's all in a day's work.

With it being a holiday weekend (in Miami, sadly it just makes for even worse drivers because they've been drinking earlier or never actually stopped drinking from the night before) it's too risky for me to go out on a ride of this distance on the regular roads ~ as previously mentioned most of the other people that are crazy enough to do this distance in a single fell swoop are going out of town. 

So, I'm OK with going out to the Everglades... and I can be my own personal SAG... spare tubes - check; CO2 cartridges - check; iPod since I'll be on a closed course - check; cooler in car with more cold bottles and snacks to help keep me going - check.

Plus, I have friends that will join me, at least for a few loops or as many loops as they can suffer through, so the entire distance won't be solo.

Regardless of the crap week that I've had, I know that this weekend will make it all better.

Oh, and did I mention that there will be running involved as well????  :)

Have a great Labor Day Weekend my friends...

Run for your lives!

Monday, August 20, 2012

89 Days and Counting

This was a great weekend.

It started by being able to catch the cold that was lurking and stop it in its tracks.  Hooray for Emergen-C! 

On Saturday, we got in a good solid pre-race workout.  Funny how what you think is going to be one of those "why am I even bothering getting out of bed for this workout?" workouts, really helped to solidify my mental game throughout all of this training for IMAZ.  20 min bike and 20 min run = piece of cake.

Yesterday, I was able to participate in the third of Mack Cycle Trilogy Sprint triathlon series.  I felt great in the water (very relaxed), my legs felt good off the bike (I need to get in more bridge repeats), and my run felt really good.  I know I could have pushed more, but I purposely held back.  I finished a solid 8th in my division and I'm good with that.  I have go to keep my eye on the prize and that is finishing IMAZ.

I recall how I felt on October 9, 2011 when I finished 1st in a similar race produced by Multirace in Miami - the Miami Sprint Triathlon.  That was the race that put me over the edge.  I pushed so hard and so far and was in so much pain, but I finished at the top of the podium in my division that day.  Yet, the feeling of elation was overshadowed by the unbearable pain in my knee.  I finally realized that I had gone too far - I had ignored the pain for too long and now it was time to deal with the consequences.

I had my first appointment with the Orthopaedic Surgeon, Dr. James Voglino, on October 14th, my MRI on October 15th and on October 17th I had all of my results.  I needed surgery.  I remember asking Dr. V. if I could still race on October 30th in the Rohto Ironman Miami 70.3 (half-Ironman distance race - 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike and 13.1 mile run).  He looked at me and said it was up to me. 

I actually left his office thinking that I would race on 10/30 and schedule my surgery for the following week.  After all, that was my "A" race - the race I had been training so many months for.

As I drove home, I got my head out of my ass and thought, "If I am in this much pain after a Sprint - there is NO WAY that I will be able to finish Miami 70.3 and be able to do everything else that I am already registered for."  So I called Dr. V's office, made my appointment for my surgery. On October 27th, I had a meniscectomy - lateral and medial tear removal including the drainage of a cyst that had formed on the outer part of my knee.

I knew it was the only way that I would be able to be ready for IMAZ.  So three weeks after my surgery, when the day came to register for IMAZ 2012, I did it.  I was one of the lucky triathletes that was able to get a spot in IMAZ - it sold out in 10 minutes!  I knew that I had made the right decision by having my surgery and by this point, the stitches had just come out and I had been cleared to swim. 

I was on the bike 5 weeks after surgery and running intervals 7 weeks after surgery.  13 weeks after surgery, I finished the ING Miami Half-Marathon and 3 months after surgery, I finished Ironman San Juan 70.3.

So here I was, yesterday morning, almost 10 months after my surgery and exactly 90 days to IMAZ.  Anyone who knows me, knows that I don't do anything but my best and yesterday was no different, I did my best.  I did the best that I should do in order to be able to give my best on November 18th.

I was able to race alongside of some of my best friends and awesome teammates.  I was able to race alongside people who continue to inspire me and so many others - most notably, my friend, Hector Picard, who did a solo bike ride from Ft. Lauderdale to New York City in May/June 2012.  Then just last week, was the first double-arm amputee to ever finish an Ironman race.   He finished Ironman New York, I repeat JUST LAST WEEK, and came back to Miami to race in this sprint.  Is there nothing he can't do???  You should definitely read more about him:

So, yeah, this was a great weekend.  It's great to do what I do and it's great that I can continue on doing this knowing that I've given my best.

This week, we'll be ramping up training again.  So today,  I will enjoy a recovery day and head out for a nice swim later.  Until then, it is Monday.  Just another day that we must get through until the next weekend - that's when the fun happens!

Run for your lives!

Friday, August 17, 2012

The Grass Is Not Always Greener - It's Just Different Grass

So, a regular week's training consists of several swims throughout the week.  As a member of a nationwide gym chain, I had been going to a number of the chain's local gym facilities with indoor pools, but the problem I found at those locations was that if you were not out of the pool by 8:55am (although the AquaFit class started at 9am) you were given the major stink eye. 

Man, those AquaFit participants are MEAN and crotchety.   The pool is big enough for us to swim in a far lap and not interrupt their jogging, but NOOOO... you had better get the f*** out or else!

So, I recently started going to swim at the pool of one of their newly acquired locations that merged into this chain from another large fitness chain.  It's very convenient and even closer to my house than the other locations.

It's a great outdoor pool - no chlorine fume toxicity - no need to worry about swimming within a dark windowless cavern and because you can't predict South Florida's weather, NO SCHEDULED AquaFit class.

Now, as with everything that happens in my life - there always has to be something to make it interesting.

1)  Is it really necessary to have include a statement within a sign on the wall that the pool shouldn't be used if you're "ill with diarrhea"?  Seriously people????  If you can't figure that out between the toilet and putting on your swim suit, there's a big problem.

2) Beware of the "Buena Vista Social Club"-esque gathering that happens DAILY on the stairs of the pool. 

Picture this, 7-10 men (50+) chillin' in the shallow end of the pool, some using the lane-marking ropes as their own personal "noodle" flotation device.  They've completely overtaken the main stairway in/out of the pool, which also includes about 1/5 of the actual lane - so you can't use that lane. 

As to what they're discussing - you can liken this to what you see/hear at the walk-up window of Versailles (famous Cuban restaurant in the Little Havana neighborhood of Miami - all tried and true Republican politicos make this a mandatory stop on their campaigns through Miami) except, no cafecito, no cigars and they're all in swim trunks instead.  Their wives/families, the weather, Castro & Chavez (of course), more American politics, religion, etc.

Honestly, it's actually quite funny.

Now here's what's kind of creepy.  Sometimes, you'll get a straggler or someone who just decided to come early before the rest of the clan.  They sit and lurk.  This was the case on Tuesday morning.  I was in the far lane (where the stairs are) doing my muscle endurance swim workout (essentially a workout meant to fatigue your arms and shoulders and this guy (chewing a toothpick) was just chillin' at the end of my lane. 

Seriously, what a pain.  But then again, what was I to do?  Go inside and tell the gym management that he was just chillin' in the swim lane?  May refer you back to the photo of the sign posted on the wall?  I don't think that it would have made a difference.

So, all in all, I just had to vent.  Not sure if this happens anywhere else.  But I guess I'll take the BVSC over the AquaFit Witches any day.  At least the BVSC guys don't mind if you're doing your thing while they're doing theirs. 

I was feeling a little tickle in the back of my throat last night.  Emergen-C will be m new best friend for the rest of the weekend, especially since I have a race on Sunday.  I don't know if I'll be able to get in another post before then, but look for a post-race recap after the Mack Cycle Trilogy Race # 3 that I will be participating in.  Watch out for the "Crazy 8".

Until next time - run for you lives!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Know When to Say "When"...

As athletes, particularly triathletes, we are creatures of habit (read "quasi-superstitious").  We have our practice and training routines.  We have pre-race and race rituals.  If you change any one of these elements, it could potentially mean bonking (performing poorly) during a training or a race.

Some of my friends commented yesterday during our long bike ride (which coincidentally changed from the scheduled 46-56 mile ride to a 70 miler!!!) that I was up REALLY early on Saturday morning before my run.  They were referring to my "While You Were Sleeping" post.

I proceeded to explain that my pre-training and pre-race morning ritual (depending on the severity of the training) consists of waking up at least 1 hour BEFORE I have to leave my house.  So yes, this is where my O.C.D. kicks in and I take the time that I want to be at my intended location, subtract the time it takes me to get there and then subtract 1 hour to calculate my wake-up time.  (6am run - 30 minute transit = leave house at 5:30am therefore wake up at 4:30am.)

By doing this (and knowing that I have set out my gear and prepared all of my nutrition the night before), I am able to calmly wake up, check Facebook, email, the weather conditions, have some breakfast, drink coffee, etc... and still have a few moments to spare in case nature calls.  (There is nothing worse than nature calling in the middle of anything - let alone when you don't have instant access to a restroom.)

When I race, I lay out my gear in a particular order making sure that I have everything that I need for every element of the race.  Then I pack my gear in my gear back in the order that I intend to lay it out on my transition mat (a transition mat can be an actual mat or a small towel - the size of a hand towel - that you put your gear on during a race).

When I buy new training/racing clothing there are also rituals that I perform.  I feel that I must share this ritual - as abiding to its logic will save you a huge amount of harASSment on the road.  ALL PUN INTENDED.
  1. Go to the fitting room (I don't care if you think they will fit - this is not about fit!)
  2. Put on the cycling/tri shorts
  3. Turn your back to the mirror in the fitting room
  4. Bend over as if you're riding in the drops (on a road bike those are the lower portion of the handle bars that look like ram horns) or as if you're riding in the aero-position (on a triathlon or time trial bike those are the "extra" set of bars sticking out from the main handle bars) and point your butt toward the mirror
  5. Turn your head (while still pointing your butt toward the mirror) and LOOK FOR CRACK!
  6. Change angles a little bit as sometimes lighting affects the transparency of the fabric - bring a small flashlight.
  8. If you can see crack in brand new shorts - so can every one else and it will just get worse over time.  (Additional comment from Mini-Me... "Underwear under your cycling or tri shorts just means you're an amateur and we can see that you like to wear Scooby Doo underoos or worse that you have an affinity for leopard print and you're a 200lb male.)
  9. OH and NEVER EVER EVER EVER EVER wear white cycling or tri shorts.  NO ONE WANTS TO SEE YOUR BUTT (OR THE HAIRS ON IT)!  (The only exception to this is my friend Janine S. who is a personal trainer and fitness model.  She can pretty much wear anything in any color and will look good!)
I recommend that you perform this ritual on your current repertoire of training/racing shorts.  This little test will help you determine when it's time to retire your favorite shorts and will give you time to turn a new pair of shorts into your new "lucky" shorts.

A friend, who I have the utmost respect for, and therefore shall not be called out by name (but he knows who he is - as does every person who had the pleasure of riding behind him yesterday) wore some "vintage" cycling shorts - albeit, they were the team shorts.  Everyone got to see more of him than they ever wanted. 

He was lucky that I wasn't able to snap a photo of him.  Otherwise it would have been posted here with a Cosmo-style "oh no you didn't" black bar covering his face - but allowing the world to see his faux-pas.

So my closing message to you my friends... this is a reminder that someone will always be riding behind you and unless you want to be the butt of many jokes and the center of much ridicule, always check the integrity of your cycling/tri shorts. 

And if you're unsure if the fabric is wearing thin - wait until you can get the opinion of someone you trust (someone who will not let you leave the house looking like a fool) and ask them. 

Until next time - run for your lives!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

While You Were Sleeping...

I find it curious that non-athletes use the excuse that they don't have time and that's why they don't work out.  Now, before you get all up in arms, I am NOT referring to parents with young children or people caring for the elderly or challenged.  I am talking about the couch-jockeys. 

I am talking about the people who when they find out that I am a Triathlete look at me with an expression of shock and disdain and before they even say a word, their expression is one of, "YOU do triathlons?  You must just do the "mini" ones."  They're referring to the sprint triathlons usually comprising of a .25 mile swim, 12 mile bike and a 5K run.

Imagine the look on their faces when I tell them that I have completed marathons, and two Half-Ironman races and a training for an Ironman.  I think if I had told them that I had three breasts and testicles, they'd be less shocked.

So, while those people were sleeping this morning, or as is the case in Miami - coming home drunk from a night of clubbing, my friends and I were waking up at 4:30am, completing our pre-workout morning rituals, consuming some sustenance and caffeine, lacing up our shoes and heading out.

By 7:50am, I had already completed a 7.5 mile run.  By 9:00am, I had already had breakfast, picked up some items at Whole Foods and was getting some new Tifosi frame-less sunglasses at FootWorks in South Miami to be ready for tomorrow morning's 3h 45m bike and 30m recovery run.

It's now just before 1pm (I've also run a few other mundane errands and watched some TV) and I have the whole day ahead of me to do whatever "normal" people do.  I use the term normal loosely as normal is a relative term...what I consider "normal" sure as hell is not what most people think to be normal.

So, really, it all comes back to the 4-Ds that my high-school dance instructor drilled into my head...Desire, Discipline, Dedication and Dependability.  You have got to want it so bad that nothing will stop you from attaining your goals. 

So the next time someone says they don't have time to work-out, just think back to this post.  There is always time to do what you WANT to do, it just depends on how bad you want it, how dedicated and disciplined you are, and when all else fails, you work out with a buddy and commit to being there to work-out.  The last thing you want is to be known as the person who can never be depended on. 

Finally, I must close with an apology.  My mother said that I may have offended Drag Queens in my previous post ("Sorry for interrupting your stroll in the bike lane") by likening the women who shellac their make-up on before a work-out to them.  In reality - those women WISH they had the skill to apply their make-up so well. 

Until next time - run for your lives!

New milestone achieved this morning while running with my friend Lorena...although we took a second to take this photo, it's the first time since my knee surgery that I've completed interval runs up the William Powell Bridge on Key Biscayne (our only "hill" in South Florida) and ran down them non-stop.  I am happy to report that my knee feels freakin' awesome!  IMAZ here I come!!!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

These are a few of my favorite things...

Below is a list of some things that I just can't train or race without. 

Let's first start with something that all triathletes can relate to:

Now, the list...  these are not in any particular order, but I love them all!

For your reading pleasure:  "YOU ARE AN IRONMAN: How Six Weekend Warriors Chased Their Dream of Finishing the World’s Toughest Triathlon,” by Jacques Steinberg

KT Tape - I especially like the KT Tape Pro in Pink... it matches my bike and most of my gear.

TriPainRelief - NEVER Tri without it!

Dry+Goods - spray this on before you put on your socks and your feet will thank you!  Pretty much spray it anywhere you want to avoid chaffing!  I <3 Dry+Goods!

Hoo Ha Ride Glide by Reflect Sports - enough said!

YouBars - custom made bars.  My custom formula and bar name is the best though... 

Zico Chocolate Coconut Water - it tastes just like Yoo-Hoo, but it's good for you!

Injiji toe socks - each little piggy races comfortably in its own compartment!

Tifosi sunglasses - LOVE THEM!

blueseventy Siren goggles - been racing in the same model/brand for 3 years now.  White with smoke lenses for sun/glare protection.

SportCount Finger Lap Counter - because I get major A.D.D. in the pool and forget to count my laps in my head.

Road I.D. - NEVER leave home without one!

Sweaty Bands head bands - I still like to look girlie when I am out there kicking ass and taking names!


Oh yeah, the training stuff...

I rode for 1:15 this morning and got in a 20 min walk to complete my scheduled "brick".  I forgot a running tank and didn't have the proper support for "the girls" to just run in my bike jersey and sports bra.  Lesson learned!  I just have to remind myself that people pay a lot of money for what I have naturally. 

Until tomorrow - run for your lives!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Sorry, am I interrupting your stroll in the bike lane?

As a triathlete, I would venture to say that I have a bit more knowledge about the rules and etiquette of swimming, cycling and running, than people who specialize in a single sport or activity. With that clearly stated, let me step up onto my soapbox for a moment.


  • If you are passing others, be courteous and let people know that you're "on the left".
  • Before you launch a snot-rocket, LOOK BEHIND YOU!  (For the non-cyclists/runners... a snot-rocket is exactly what it sounds like.). Blech!!!
  • Never ever ever ever pass on the right, unless you want a water bottle tossed at you.
Runners/Walkers (primarily those who use the BIKE LANE as their preferred route)...
  • You should travel facing oncoming traffic. This allows you to see what is barreling toward you at speeds over 20mph.  
  • I know you choose to go "with traffic" because you want the cyclists to check-out the junk in your trunk, but you're just annoying.
  • Regardless of the direction you are traveling in, take the headphones off, or at least only wear one ear bud so you can hear what is going on around you.
  • I know you spent 3-hours putting on drag queen make-up before you ventured out to exercise, but honestly, no one is looking at you except to hurl obscenities at you for not moving out of the bike's path.
  • So kudos to you and your three friends for traveling facing oncoming MOVE out of the way.  The BIKE LANE is not the place for you to gossip three-wide about who knows what.  
  • Most normal people would not intentionally stand in front of an oncoming car, so why do you choose to stay in the path of a cyclist speeding toward you?  
  • When you get hit by a cyclist, it will be your fault for not getting out of the way. Don't force cyclists to have to quickly leave the BIKE LANE into speeding traffic because you are too stubborn to move 8 inches over and run/walk single file for all of 5 seconds.
  • Should you get hit by a cyclist, it will hurt.  But it will not hurt as much as the ass-whooping you will get once the cyclist comes to and realizes that you've caused a completely avoidable accident that has now damaged their baby.  By "their baby", I am referring to the bicycle that probably costs more than your car... And pray you didn't crack the carbon fiber!
  • I personally don't like running on sidewalks, but if there is a sidewalk less than 2 feet away from the BIKE LANE, use it!  It will save you and the cyclists a lot of headaches.

I say many of these things in a jokingly serious manner, but in all honesty, we all need to 
work together to be a more cohesive athletic community.  We all are just trying to be 
healthy and active, everyone has a right to a safe path.

Many of you reading this will understand where I am coming from...especially if you cycle at the Micco course in Kendale Lakes.  

If you don't understand where I am coming from, let me know, I'd be more than happy to 
educate you.  I have spent the past 3 years directing a beginner running/walking program 
and have graduated hundreds of 0-to-5K, 0-to-half marathon and 0-to-full marathon finishers, so I would say that I am, again, rather qualified in this area.

My name is Janette and I am not crazy...but I am Loco.  

I've decided to chronicle the last few months leading up to what will more than likely be the longest and most challenging day of my life - November 18, 2012... the date of Ironman Arizona.

Once upon a all started with a dream.  Not a dream like you would think, but more of a recurring nightmare.  In my dream, I was running... but yet I wasn't running.  I was crawling, struggling to take a step, scurrying on my hands and knees, but never running.  It was so incredibly frustrating.  I can't recall how many times I had this same dream, but I can tell you that after January 2007, I never had that dream again.  

Other than running laps in P.E. as a child, which let me tell you, really put a damper on my desire to run because we only ever ran when the class was being disciplined ("go run laps" the teacher would say), I had only really run while playing softball in middle school.  

So technically, my view on running was that I would run for one of two scenarios... 1) to get to a shoe sale or 2) to avoid bodily harm due to an imposing threat, and even then, if I thought I could take on the threat, I'd be fighting and not running.  

I had never really run a day in my adult life until I woke up one day in January 2007 and decided that I was going to run a marathon.  I signed up with the local Team In Training group and sure enough, by June 2007, I had completed my first full marathon. 

I proceeded to complete the ING 1/2 Marathon in January 2008... and then decided that I needed to "learn" how to run and joined the Footworks Fitness 101 program in March of 2008 as a participant.  

The rest, as they say, is "history".  I have since completed several more half marathons (one in January 2012, just 13 weeks after knee surgery),  another full marathon, several sprint and Olympic distance triathlons and two Half Ironman Triathlons (one in March 2012 just three months after knee surgery).  My goal this year is to complete Ironman Arizona on November 18, 2012.  

An Ironman triathlon consists of a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride and a full marathon...all in the same day, all to be completed in less than 17 hours.  Suffice it to say, I've come a long way, but I have a long way to go to get to my 140.6 (the total distance completed during the race) and my M-Dot tattoo (a badge of honor for Ironman finishers).

I would love for you to follow along on my crazy journey to IMAZ, the good, the bad, the ugly and yes, the countless hours of training that lay ahead.

Why do I do this?  Because someone once told me I couldn't.