Sunday, May 23, 2010

The missing miles.

Yesterday I ran the Brooklyn Half Marathon. 13.1 miles. I consider them the missing miles from my meaningful but failed attempt at the Wildflower Half Ironman. 21 days later but I did them. And in typical Kim fashion, I did not prepare for them adequately. Or at all. I ran once between Wildflower and yesterday. It has been crazy busy at work and well, despite my pride over the whole Wildflower weekend, my workout ego has taken a bruising and I have let myself go. I've been off the workout wagon and unmotivated to get out there and fix that. So the fact that I actually got up at 5am and took the Q train to Brooklyn yesterday is pretty tremendous.

I can't tell you how many times over the past week I thought about ditching the race. "I haven't trained." "I'm too busy to pick up the race packet." "I need to sleep more than I need to run." "It will be one more race to prove how slow I am these days and I will be disappointed." But I kept thinking about the need to "fail better." Just finishing would be a much better "fail" than not doing it at all. So I did it.

And slow it was. I took the run 4 minutes/walk 1 minute approach and the breakdown into 5 minute chunks made the whole thing more palatable somehow. The humidity was not helpful and the two loops of Prospect Park were steamy indeed. It was nice to see my co-worker Sam on the course (twice) and very nice to have the water stations stacked to the brim with cups at every turn! I think I only skipped two and did a decent job of adjusting walk breaks to coincide with fluid stations. I took 2 gus and a few sport beans and ditched the fuel belt for this one. Luckily that worked for this race.

The last, straight, flat stretch on Ocean Parkway was fine but just a tad longer than I needed it to be. I just wanted to get to the boardwalk, and when I did I couldn't have been more relieved. I didn't have any extra kick in me for a big finish and somehow even managed to miss a few folks calling my name! The finish was uneventful and after half a bagel and a banana, an extremely efficient bag pick up (there weren't that many left in my corral ;) and a quick shirt change, I headed to the beach.

I was hurting and I remembered regretting that I hadn't taken a dunk in Lake San Antonio after the ride at Wildflower. So I headed down to the ocean for a little stroll. It was cold and served as a perfect post-race ice bath! A relaxing visit to the post-race festival followed. There were cool sand castle building experts, kids games and a fun band (April Smith and the Great Picture Show.)

As I was on my way down Stilwell headed to the subway home, a few Wildflower peeps spotted me and I ended up hanging with them at a beach bar for a bit longer. Friends, fun and food. All good things. I was home before 1pm and will admit to crashing hard. Old man Sam and I napped away the afternoon. And today, I hurt. My quads are killing me and I've been icing and ibuprofening all day.

But 70.3 was done in the month of May - 1.2 in Lake San Antonio, 56 in the hills of Bradley, California and 13.1 on the roads of Brooklyn.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Wildflower 2010...setting up camp

I might need to buy this print from the Keep Calm Gallery Says it all, don't you think? Well I did a horrible job of recounting race weekend last year so I thought I'd try to do a better job this year.

I've found that people are afraid to ask me about the race - they're scared I'll break down and cry (shocking, I know) or be too embarrassed to talk about it. But I'm not. I'm proud of the weekend and all that I experienced. So here goes:

This year I took advantage of an airline credit I earned by volunteering and booked a flight to SF a day earlier than the group. My co-worker Karen was my coordinator and had to travel out early to set up the campsite for the team. I offered to help. Well, really I used that as an excuse to travel on Thursday so as not to arrive Friday afternoon and feel the panicked rush of traveling for 8 hours, setting up camp, retrieving my bike and getting up the next morning at the crack of dawn to attempt 70.3 hilly miles. I was very glad I did.

Karen and I had a lovely drive down to Lake San Antonio in the rental Mercedes SUV (thanks free upgrade) with stops to eat yummy Mexican food, load up on supplies and drink some Starbucks on the cheap (compared to NYC!) The weather was stunning and continued to be so for the entire weekend. Sunny, clear and not the least bit hot. In fact, our first night and day might even be considered a little bit cold! Gloves were in order as the night went on and there is at least one picture of me floating around in which I look like a giant blue marshmallow because I have so many layers on under my sweatshirt.

First order of business - pick a campsite for 30+ tents. This did not prove to be an easy task. Many TNT chapters had already arrived and I was disappointed to see that last year's NYC Chapter spot was already taken. With not a flat inch to be found we staked out a lovely spot near the TNT Pasta Party Tent. Amenities: 2 fire pits w/grills, 3 picnic benches (until another chapter stole one,) nearby bathrooms and shower truck and ample parking. The SF Chapter nearly kicked us out but finders/keepers ruled. We set to work bringing the tents from the tent box and laying out Team NYC's tent village. We had 21 tents to set up and only a few hours of daylight left. Imagine two city girls trying to set up that many tents. Especially considering most of the tents were missing one part or another. Karen was impressed by my knowledge of the term "fly" and kindly put up with my bossy tent assembly guidance. Not more than 7 0r 8 tents in our hands were frozen and the sky was dark. We set up my solo tent and packed it in for the night. The team was expected around 3:30 or 4pm on Friday so we were safe to finish up the next morning. As long as we woke up early enough to fend off earlier arriving chapters and defend our space we were good to go. Day 1 of Wildflower - quiet, cool, beautiful.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Wildflower 2010

May 1, 2010 - Race Report Part 1

"I may not be a finisher, but I'm definitely a winner." I've been repeating that mantra since about 3:15pm Pacific time on Saturday, May 1. For the bicycle gods were not kind to me you see. Not one, but two flat tires foiled my attempt to finish the Long Course at Wildflower this year. Between myself and Mike the SAG guy the flats got fixed and I completed all 56 miles of the bike course, but I only managed to get through 57.3 miles of the 70.3 I was aiming for overall. As with most races there were time cutoffs - and I missed the one that would have allowed me to start the run course and finish those last 13.1 miles on my feet.

Disappointed? You bet. Horribly disappointed and riddled by "What if?"s Friends and supporters keep telling me not to beat myself up. I was fairly hysterical as I sped down the final hill on Charlie with the knowledge that I would not be able to continue once I hit the transition area. A little white car had come up beside me somewhere between miles 50 and 53 out of 56 (I seem to have blocked exactly when) and the men inside informed me that the run course had closed. "I can't do the run?" I asked, still pedaling. "I'm afraid not," they said. "You mean I can't run?" I asked again. "No, we're sorry," they said. "We can take you in or you can finish the bike course, just be aware that the roads are open to traffic." A brief hesitation and then I continued on.

In the last few miles I passed cars and lingering spectators and even a portion of the run course as the rest of the field finished up the race. And as I got to the chute heading into transition, I knew I would need to let go of 2010 and set my sights on Wildflower 2011. The timing mats had already been removed and if you look at the official results, I only have a swim time (and a decent one at that.) As my dear co-worker Karen says, I successfully completed the Wildflower Biathlon.

But here's the part that makes me a winner - that night at the 2nd Inspiration Dinner for the 400+ Team In Training participants from across the country participating in the Wildflower Triathlon that weekend, I was announced as the 9th highest fundraiser. The NYC Chapter had 3 of the top ten fundraisers in the country for Wildflower and I was one of them. That is what truly counts. That is what means more than the shiny medal I didn't get this year. That is what means more than another embarrassing finish line photo that didn't get taken. Months of training and bothering all of you may not have ended the way I had hoped, but I couldn't ask for anything more wonderful than the tremendous support I have received and the success I have had where it matters the most.

My initial goal was to be able to say I had raised $25,000 over 3 seasons. That milestone was blown out of the water. 128% of my fundraising goal this season alone. Nearly $9,000 this season and nearly $27,000 overall. I could not be more humbled or more grateful.

So thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I can't say it enough. Thank you for your donations, thank you for your kind words, thank you for your faith in me and thank you for defining "team" in an astonishing way. Donors, teammates, coaches, bike shops, co-workers and friends made up the best Team a girl could hope for. I hope you won't mind if I ask for your support again next year :) Wildflower Long Course 2011 - I'm coming for you.

Stay tuned for a more complete recounting of what turned out to be an amazing weekend.

I did a little googling for some inspirational quotes -

Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.

And I can't believe I'm going to quote a sports figure but:

Michael Jordan:
If it turns out that my best wasn't good enough, at least I won't look back and say that I was afraid to try; failure makes me work even harder.