Saturday, January 28, 2006

Success Card #5

The value of life is not the length of it,
but the use we make of it.

~ Michel de Montaigne

This means more to me tonight than it did this morning. You see, this morning, I started this post out talking about how I could be related, in some distant fashion, to the author of the quote. Then I spoke of my American Heritage. Then I went and ran a race, but only as a training run. I came home. Dinked around on my computer for a bit. Thought about calling my mother, but got side-tracked by something else. Tried, unsuccessfully, to take a nap. Got up and made something to eat, instead.

Then, a little after 6 pm, my mom calls me. She is complaining of a pain in her back. A little more probing on my part and I discover that her pain is in the back of her shoulder. Her left shoulder. I ask if she was nauseous as well. She says a little. I told her I thought we should call 911. Her automatic response, "Do you think so?" "Yes, Mom. I do." Well, because of her hoarding she naturally didn't want to do that. I asked her if she wanted me to come get her. She did.

Twenty-five minutes later, I knock on her door. I try to open it. It's locked, of course. I hear her inside telling me she's coming. She steps onto the dark porch with her bag and book in hand, closing the door behind her. I ask her if she has a coat, for she is not wearing one. She says yes, then tells me she thinks she is sicker than she thought and asks me to take her things. I do.

I try to discover a little more about what is wrong with her. I'm holding onto her hand. Why does she think she is sicker? All she wants to do is sit down. There is a chair on the porch, but because of all the trash, it's hard for me to maneuver her there. She starts to weave, but is still standing upright. "Mom," I say, "Tell me what's going on. Tell me why you think you are sicker." But before she can respond, she collapses on the front porch. My mother is a large woman and there was no way I could keep her from falling. She smacks her head on the screen door.

Now I'm slightly frantic. She doesn't respond to my voice and when I try to sit her up, she is unresponsive. I quickly dig into my purse, pull out my cell, and put a frantic call in to 911. I tell them I need an ambulance and give them the address. I get transferred to the fire department. I repeat myself. They ask me questions. Is she concious? No. Is she breathing? Yes. Kind of. I can't explain to them what it sounds like. Yes, she's breathing and her mouth is moving. It's almost like she is snoring. They tell me to keep her warm, so I put her coat over her and take mine off to give her for added warmth.

Two minutes later, the medics arrive. Because the porch is dark, my flagging them down doesn't help. I finally yell just loud enough to catch their attention. There must have been at least a half a dozen people suddenly crowded around her trying to assess her condition. I try to succinctly tell them what her complaints were and why we were on the porch.

They very unceremoniously drag her off the porch and put her onto their gurney. The bundle her up and put her in the ambulance. One of the medics tells me they will let me know where they are taking her in just a minute. Then the aid truck is gone and another medic comes back to me. He tells me where they have takern her. He adds that he is unable to determine her prognosis, but he warns me it doesn't look good because of the kind of breathing she was doing. He further warned me that they would be intubating her on the ride to the hospital as well as pushing IV fluids.

I follow in my car, calling my sister along the way. I share with her what the medic told me, then tell her there is no sense in her going to the hospital as there really isn't anything she can do. She agrees and tells me to call her when I know more.

When I arrive at the hospital, I head for the emergency room triage nurse. I explain that my mother was just brought in by ambulance, but it occurs to me they don't even know her name. The triage assistant calls into the actual emergency room, briefly explains how she has a woman that says her mom was just brought in, and is put on hold. A minute later, the medic I was talking to at my mother's housecomes out. I'm delighted because he knows who I am. Another nurse comes out and takes some info such as my mother's name. Until then, she was a "Jane Doe."

Another minute later, I've got two nurses and a medic escorting me into the emergency room. They are trying to prepare me for what I'm going to see. They tell me there is activity on the monitor, but warn me it doesn't exist without them performing CPR.

I finally step into the room where they are performing CPR on my mother. The doctor quickly brings me up to speed, telling me that an ultrasound of her heart shows that it isn't beating on its own. I'm watching this young man working hard to keep my mother's heart going, but I shake my head. No, no, no, no, no. Don't. Stop. You can quit. She doesn't want any extreme measures to be taken to save her life. And in that instant, I realize my mother is gone.

I don't cry, I don't scream, I don't wail. I'm simply stunned. The doctors and nurses ask me questions and I respond. They are all very sympathetic. I finally push past all of them and go to her. I hold her hand and kiss her face. I call my sister.


So it is with sadness and regret that I focus on this quote. My mother was 78 when she passed away. That would be considered a long life by some. I still think of it as rather short. But as the quote suggests, it isn't how long you live, but what you do with your life.

My mother an ordinary woman with an fairly ordinary, albeit interesting, life. She gave birth to and reared five children. As a former military wife, she had travelled extensively. She never let on how she hated all the moving we did. And because I didn't know she hated it, I was always excited to go to a new place.


I have to finish this later. I went to be around 11:30 p.m. and woke up around 3:00 a.m. I've been awake ever since. It's now after 6. I need some sleep.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Seahawks Superbowl-Bound!!!

Son of a gun! The Seahawks actually made it to the Superbowl. What a thrill! They played a terrific game today. It will be interesting to watch the matchup between them and the Steelers.

Go Seahawks!

As an update to my back, I laid off of all training after my swim Tuesday morning and did nothing that afternoon. I also did nothing on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday. By Friday, I was starting to feel pretty good and expected I would get back on my trainer for my 90 minute hill cruise interval workout Saturday morning. Only problem was, when I woke up Saturday morning, I felt like I was back at square one. I hurt so bad, I once more wanted to cry from both pain and frustration. However, I took my pain-killing cocktail and sent a plaintive e-mail note to my coach asking for either wisdom or encouragement.

It was nice because she called me at home as soon as she got it. I didn't call her, because her weekends are her family time and I respect that. So it was nice she called right away.

Bascially, my coach suggested that I:
a) Do something, so long as it didn't aggravate the pain.
b) Get a massage.
c) Continue to see the chiropractor but only so long as it was helping me.
d) WORK ON MY CORE (as long as it doesn't exacerbate my pain)!

So, I:
a) Agreed to get on my trainer and do an easy 30 minutes on an easy (read FLAT) course. Turns out it felt really GOOD to get on and ride. There was some pain, but not unendurable.
b) Set up a massage appointment with a friend and training buddy. I'd rather she got my money than a stranger.
c) Already have my 4th appointment with the chiro for Monday.
d) Agreed to get back (oh, bad pun) with the program with regard to my core routine.

After the trainer ride, I was in a great deal of pain, but I took another pain-killing cocktail, used an ice pack, and chilled the rest of the evening. This morning, I got up, pain-free, but ate breakfast and took another cocktail. Then I met up with my Y group and ran 6 miles. It was a wonderful morning out (meaning it wasn't raining), I could see Mt. Rainier (sorry, no pictures today), and it felt GOOD to run.

Thankfully, this back problem happened during my rest week. This coming week will include increased volume on the bike and run. Strangely enough, I'm looking forward to it. Oh, dear. I must be more sick than I thought.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Got A Hitch In My Get-Along

I'm ready to cry. I'm in pain. Yesterday, while I was at work, I merely tried to rise from my chair when I was in instant pain. I didn't DO anything. I just stood up. Something was wrong with my back. After what I thought was a muscle spasm passed, I was able to finally stand all the way upright. Whew. I felt "sore" but not in pain. I told one of my co-workers that I had a "hitch in my get-along." The rest of the day, I was very careful about how I moved.

This morning, I wake up and I'm in my bathroom putting on my swimsuit. Damn hitch didn't go away. I'm in enough pain just trying to pull my (new, thus a little extra tight) suit up that I'm perspiring. I can't bend over without hurting. Finally, though, I get it on.

I go to the pool with the clear notion that I only have to do 30 minutes. This is my rest week and I only have to swim 30 minutes today and 30 minutes on Thursday. On the way there, I decide that if that is too uncomfortable, that I'll just sit in the jacuzzi for a bit.

I'm moving rather gingerly and grimmacing a great deal as I try to contain the pain. I get in the water and do an easy 100 yards. Easy is a relative term and can mean so many things. In this instance, easy meant I didn't push for speed. Doing flip turns is another matter. Not only wearing a new suit, but I had on new goggles as well. I didn't get a good seal when I started the 100, so I ended up with one eye full of water for the whole 100 yards. I just closed that eye and kept swimming. I was trying hard not to be a wuss. But, I noticed my depth perception depends a great deal upon having two good eyes open. As a result of having only one good eye (and saying that eye was good may be stretching things a bit) open, I noticed I was misjudging the distance to the wall, thus not getting a very good push off the wall.

The first 100 out of the way, a little fanagling with my goggles, and I do some work with the pull-bouy. East stuff. Just some 75's while I concentrate on proper rotation. Or what I think is proper. I dunno. My back hurts, so it's hard to tell.

I didn't swim for 30 minutes, but I was in the pool for 30 minutes. Is that the same thing? I took lots of rest breaks. Between my main sets, I took a full 60 second break. Coach wanted me doing some fast 50's, so I'd do a couple of those on 30 seconds rest, then do an easy 50. Fast is also relative. Those 50's were fast for me, especially with a sore back. For some of the rest of you, it would be downright dogged slow.

Anyway, I got my 30 minutes of swimming in, but I still have the hitch. When I get to work, I take 1000 mg of Tylenol along with 800 mg of Ibuprofen. A dentist once told me that this combo will give me all of the pain relieving effects of two Tylenol 3s without the sedating effects of the codiene. It seemed to work because, after a bit, while I was still in some pain, it had at least abated.

I called a chiropractor. Got in to see him and got an adjustment (my pelvis is out of whack which is causing the pain). I have to return tomorrow and again on Friday, but the chiro thinks he can fix me up in a couple weeks. The good news is, he's training for a marathon. I hate it when a doctor I go to doesn't understand my compulsion to keep doing what I'm doing.

Anyway, this is my rest week, so the only other thing on my agenda for today was a 30 minute trainer ride with ILTs (individual leg training). But I'm bailing on the ride. I'm also supposed to do a 30 minute run tomorrow. I may bail on that as well and just hope I'm feeing well enough by Thursday, that I can do that day's swim/bike sessions. Instead of riding tonight, I think I'll opt to ice my back where it hurts and take some muscle relaxants and, well, relax! After all, it's my REST week, right?

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Success Card #4

From a certain point onward
there is no longer any turning back.
That is the point that must be reached.

~Franz Kafka

Animation of a neutron star X-ray burst. Credit: NASA/Dana Berr

I can really relate to this quote. I can remember thinking during my IMC swim, and most especially, during the bike portion, that after I reached a certain point, there was no sense in going back because I was beyond half way. It would take longer to get back than to continue going forward.

So, this tells me we must continuously strive to move ever forwards. To reach the point of no return. This requires a full comittment on our part.

For example, I could probably quit at this point in my training and turn my back on IMC. While I would be out a great deal of money (spent on gadgetry, coaches, and entry fees), I wouldn't be out a lot of time. But I have a lot of myself invested in this venture. I consider myself already beyond the point of no return.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

CompuTrainer Review

A rose, by any other name, would smell just as sweet. Well, in this case, a trainer, by any other name, is still just a trainer. Heavens, the word "trainer" is even in the name of the product, so what should one expect?

Okay, so I've had my eye on a CompuTrainer since I started doing triathlon. Of course, I could never justify buying one for several reasons, not the least of which was I didn't have the money. I bit the bullet this year, though, because I knew I was going to have to do some really long rides this winter and, since it was winter, many of those long rides were going to be indoor. If I didn't have something else besides football (while riding in front of the big screen in my living room where hubby controls the viewing) to keep me entertained, I was afraid I may not do what was required of me. Getting on a trainer for 30 minutes is pretty tough. Staying on for 45 minutes is incrementally harder. Doing an hour is almost impossible. Going longer than an hour...uh....not gonna happen?

But, if I want to succeed at IMC in 2006 and not do a repeat of 2005, then I was going to have to get on my bike over the winter. Riding the trainer isn't particularly difficult from a physical standpoint, but I find it mind-numbingly boring from the mental standpoint. I have no problem getting on my bike and riding for hours as long as I'm out-of-doors. But stick me in a stationary position for hours on end and I want to go out of my mind. The treadmill would likely have the same effect. I can use it for up to two hours so long as I have something to watch on TV to distract myself. If I don't, I won't last 20 minutes.

So I ordered the CompuTrainer at the Seattle Marathon Expo on a Saturday, the day before the race. It was delivered to my home by the Tuesday after the race. That's f-a-s-t! Great service. I'm impressed and very pleased.

When I opened the box, I have to admit to being mildly overwhelmed at all the pieces. And there were no less than 4 manuals to go with the thing. Unlike most new computers and/or printers these days, there was no colorful "Quick Start Guide" with pictures. I had to read the directions which I could find in one of those manuals, but figuring out which manual had the information I wanted was a chore unto itself. I may have to offer up a suggestion to the company that they should put in large script on one of their many manuals START HERE FIRST. Once I started reading, it wasn't all that bad, but figuring out where I needed to start was a little less than intuitive.

Please note that I consider myself fairly good at following directions. Doing so allowed me to change the timing gear in an old 1967 Chevy Impala I once owned. Of course, I had to figure out how to use the harmonic balancer puller to do it, but I eventually got that figured out too. Too bad the Chiltons Auto Manual I was using (borrowed from a neighbor, along with most of his tools) forgot to include the minor detail that you were supposed to drop the oil pan first and then replace the gasket once you were done. Sadly, the car leaked oil like a seive after that, but at least it ran.

Back to the trainer. So, after doing a little reading, I figured out that I needed to decide if I wanted to run my CompuTrainer in a stand-alone mode or if I wanted it hooked up to my computer. In the stand alone mode, I wouldn't have some of the pretty graphics or the spin-scan show up on my TV screen. That is NOT why I bought the thing. As the first part of the product name would imply, it was a COMPUtrainer, hence should be connected to a COMPUter. Okay, we were going for hooking it up the the computer.

After work on Tuesday, I spent most of the day re-arranging my office to accept the new trainer so I can hook it up to my computer. I did my level best to figure out a way to get the computer hooked up to my TV which is at least 25-30 feet away, in another room, but I wanted the thing hooked up now and I didn't want to fiddle with all the necessary connections and coax cables and such. That was a cluster I wasn't prepared to deal with.

What I simply could not figure out was where I was supposed to put this little piggie. However, after reading the paper that was attached to him, his significance became clear. He is the P.I.G. (Performance Improvement Guarantee). CompuTrainer guarantees that the original purchaser can return the product within 12 months if they don't see at least a 5% improvement in their cycling power (as evidenced by watts) after using their product three days a week for five consecutive months. Of course, there are a few other stipulations, but since I'm currently on this thing three days a week, it gives me hope.

The above was written shortly after I received my trainer. The following is written as I contemplate and prepare to get on for a 3 hour and 45 minute ride. Yes, you read that correctly, 3 HOURS and 45 MINUTES.

As of this writing, I have had my trainer set up for a little over a month. While the computer graphics make riding the trainer at least mildly entertaining, watching the spin graph and drafting off metal man or watching him get way ahead of me is, after all, still sitting on a trainer, and that just sucks big time.

However, it is scary to note, I am getting used to riding on my trainer. When I first started, riding for 20 minutes was a chore. Going for 45 minutes was excruciating. Now I find that the idea of doing 90 minutes is (almost) easy. Anything longer than that, though, is something I admit I fight.

Okay, so what are some of the main features and benefits?

First, and I believe foremost, there is a plethora of courses which one can ride. While the courses range in distance from a measly one-third mile flat course, to almost any Ironman course out there, this is a screen shot as I prepared to tackle the IMMoo (Ironman Wisconsin) course. Naturally, one of the rides I do most frequently is Ironman Canada. I am hoping that by riding the course multiple times before I ever return to Canada, that when I get there for the race, it will simply be second nature for me. I was in the mood for a change on this day, though.

In addition to being able to ride a variety of courses, if you have the correct software, you can create your own courses. I will have to do some additional investigation as to exactly what is required as I have the TopoZone software (purchased long before I got the CompuTrainer) they mention, but I do not yet know what it takes to convert my rides into courses for the CT.

Besides having all the courses available, if the course loops back on itself (start and finish are in the same place), you have the option of selecting to do 2 or more laps (not sure what the limit on laps is). Doing laps can be fun because you can try to improve your time from the previous lap. This is a double-edged sword, however, if you are supposed to be keeping your HR or your watts in a certain range.

You also have the option of starting anywhere on a course that you'd like. You simply select the mile marker where you want to start. You can also create courses manually, something I haven't yet found a need to do. I've not used all the courses available yet.

What I am also not yet familiar with is how to modify the courses I have to take into consideration things like wind. The program allows you to add wind, but I don't know how yet. For now, I've been riding in a windless environment. Having my fan on doesn't exactly count.

Another benefit is the "spin-scan." This is available as either a bar graph or a polar-type graph (tough picture to take as I was actually on my bike when I did it). Both of them show pedal stroke efficiency. It is designed to help you eliminate the "dead" spots in, and thereby improve, your stroke. I have yet to really get anything out of this, though it is interesting to play with it and watch the graph change as I change my pedaling. It becomes especially evident when I do one-legged drills.

While a funky pulse-meter that you wear clipped to your ear in included in the set up, I find I don't use it as it appears to be extremely unreliable giving me readings that aren't anywhere close to reality (300 bpm is not close). I continue to use my regular HRM for that data.

I don't think the software is all that intuitive either. I've been using computers, in one form or another, since 1978. By most standards, I would be considered a power user, at least when it comes to most windows-based applications. Features like "cut & paste" are second nature to me and I'm dumbfounded when people don't understand. I'm usually able to open and quickly pick up on how to use most software without reading the instructions. Not so in this case. I'll actually have to hit the books on it.

In the mean time, one of the things that can be extremely deceiving, when looking at the screen of your course is the course profile. What might look like a flat course, may actually have hills with an 8% grade in them. Likewise, what looks like a hellacious hill climb is nothing more but a series of ups and downs (like the IM Wisconsin course), with most climbs being no greater than 5%, but it looks like a 12%.

In addition, to use the trainer properly, the tire must be wiped down with alcohol before every ride and the trainer must be calibrated. Not a big deal, but an inconvenience when you just want to start your ride. Also, in the way of trainers, it can chew up your race tires. To alleviate this problem, I have just ordered this trainer tire, made by Continental, which is specifically geared for use on indoor trainers and is in now way an outdoor tire.

Another disadvantage, of course, is the price. This is not a cheap product. It regularly retails in the neighborhood of $1200. That will take a bite out of anybody's budget. Unless, of course, you are independently wealthy.

All that aside, the biggest disadvantage, in my view, other than the bike being stuck on the trainer rather than outdoors, is the fact that you must constantly pedal. It doesn't matter if you are going uphill, downhill, or on flat land with a tailwind. There is NO coasting. Pedaling is done non-stop, or you cease forward motion, even on a downhill. This can result in a great deal of leg fatigue. There is an advantage to that, though, in that you are increasing endurance. I guess it just depends upon your perspective.

In the end, though, computer graphics aside, trainer rides still suck. NOTHING can replace doing your riding outdoors in the fresh air where the scenery changes regularly. Even when it means dealing with weather, terrain, and inconsiderate drivers. However, if you are stuck indoors either because of daylight or weather constraints, this isn't a bad way to go. If you are a geek (or mildly OCD) like me, then you will enjoy the instant data feedback such as current, average, and peak MPH, watts, and RPM.

Success Card #3

Opportunities multiply
as they are seized.

~ John Wicker

Yes, I got Success Card #2 up as well. You can see it here.

Okay, so great. Now I get to focus on opportunities (Success Card #2 was all about being ready when opportunities arose). I wonder if there is a message in here for me, specifically? Anyway, I've always been a big believer and adherent to the notion that when a door closes, a window opens. So it goes with opportunities. When you lose one, another one presents itself.

In a nutshell, opportunities are self-propogating. As we grab, grasp, wrangle, tangle, and succeed or fail with one opportunity, another is there waiting. The thing with opportunities, though, is that they are fraught with risk. Which is why a synonym of opportunity is "chance." Chances and opportunities are not sure things. There is always the possibility of failure. I believe, however, that even failure is an opportunity in disguise.

For example, I had an opportunity last August to compete at Ironman Canada. While I did not succeed at completing the race, I had a chance, which I took, to sign up again. Doing so allowed me to objectively look at my performance and analyze my short-comings. Obviously, I needed some work on the bike. by signing up for IMC in 2006, I now had an opportunity to not only redeem myself, but to improve on my bike training.

Improving my bike skills will give me the opportunity to finish the bike portion in time to go run 26.2 miles (oh, yippee). Seriously, though, while success begats success, so can failure. The difference is in looking at failure as an opportunity to change, to improve to get better, rather than simply an end unto itself.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Bad Blogger

I'm a rotten blogger. I think of stuff to write all the time, but finding the time to actually write it out is difficult. If I'm not working, I'm training. If I'm not training, I'm sleeping. If I'm not sleeping, I'm back to working or training. I just don't know where some of you find the time to blog and read each other's blogs and keep up. I know I'd like to devote more time to it, but by the time my day of rest comes around (usually a Monday), I'm exhausted and all I want to do is sit in front of my TV and watch as many of the shows that I DVR'd as I can and then go to bed. Early. For a change.

However, I was harassed today by Lady Lurker because because I have not yet kept up with my quote sharing. It's almost time for Success Quote #3 and here I haven't finished hatching Success Quote #2. The good news is, I did start it, but it's still in "draft mode." I may be able to finish that up today as there is nothing else on my agenda. At least, I don't think there is anything else I have to do. Except maybe get something to eat. Or take a nap. Maybe watch a little more TV. Besides. It's getting ready to rain again. Blech. I'm sick of the rain. Enough with the rain already! According to one TV station, we typically get .17" of rain a day during this time of the year. But for the last 18 days (maybe 19 by now), we have had a whopping .45" of rain EVERY FREAKING DAY. That's a lot of damn rain. The ground is so saturated, even for the Pacific Northwest, that mudslides are becoming a constant and serious concern. Gosh, I'm glad I don't live on a hill.

Okay, so off to finish my "Success Quote #2." And to update my weekly totals amount. And download my Garmin Forerunner 301 data. And, yes, to finish the CompuTrainer review (which is also currently in draft mode).

I shall return. (Where have we heard that before?)

Monday, January 02, 2006

Success Card #2

The great secret of success in life
is for a person to be ready
when their opportunity comes.
~Benjamin Disraeli

This made me wonder how many opportunities I've let slip by because I either didn't recognize them for what they were or because I wasn't ready. It also makes me wonder about the definition of success.

There are many that would define success in the way that Merriam-Webster has, i.e., the attainment of wealth, favor, or eminence. But do I really need a lot of fame, fortune, or prestige to be considered successful? I think most people would agree with me when I say, "I don't think so."

In the process of writing about this particular quote, I found myself wanting to focus on "opportunity" or "success" when the real thrust of the message is all about being "prepared mentally or physically [or both, in some cases] for some experience or action." Now I find, I want to replace the word "life" with the word "triathlon." In my case, success in triathlon is equivalent to finishing at Ironman Canada (IMC).

Triathlon, most especially ironman distances, is all about conditioning. Conditioning is nothing but preparing; making ourselves ready. We must condition our minds and our bodies to accept hardships. Being ready for IMC means being focused enough to put in the necessary miles, yards, and time requird to meet the goal. It means getting up early when I would rather sleep in bed. It means getting on my trainer when I'd rather watch TV or read or do anything else except get on my bike...indoors. It means making arrangements for an early morning run when I'd rather sit home sipping coffee and reading blogs. But if I did the alterntives (sleeping, watching TV, reading blogs), then I wouldn't be ready for IMC.

I see IMC as an opportunity to prove that I have "mettle." Ironman Canada is a chance for me to show the world and, most importantly, myself, that I can apply myself without hesitation or delay; that I can train both my mind and my body for the rigors of the race. Training is about preparing oneself. And being prepared is what allows us to succeed.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Monthly & Yearly Wrap-Up

Well, this was an interesting year for me. I started with a DNF at the Phoenix RnR Marathon in January. I had been having issues with my feet, and particularly my left foot, for about three weeks before the race. I was very concerned about it and saw the podiatrist. We couldn't determine that there was a stress fracture and decided to simply tape my foot in the hopes that would move the bones into the correct position and alleviate the problem.

When I went down to Phoenix, I went down with the idea of doing the half marathon even though I was signed up for the marathon. However, once I got down there, I just couldn't let the marathon slip through my fingers, so I gave it a go. Unfortunately, by mile 12 my foot was hurting too badly to go on. I stopped at the aid station there and they told me they suspected the stress facture of the fifth metarsal and did not recommend I continue. Since my primary focus for the year was going to be Ironman Canada, I happily withdrew as I did not want to cause any further damage.

In retrospect, I'm glad I opted to try for the full marathon course. Had I been on the half marathon route, I know myself well enough to know I would have gutted it out for the last 1.1 miles and possibly have hurt myself in the process. At least by quitting at mile 12 of the marathon route, it was inconceivable to go another 14.2 miles feeling the way I did.

My next DNF was at Canada. That was another huge disappointment. I had initially said all during 2005, that I was going to take 2006 off from IMs and just do some sprints and oly's with one or two half irons thrown into the mix for good measure. But within the span of seconds, I made the decision to sign up for Canada again. I was not going to let the course defeat me again.

I finished the year with my slowest ever, Seattle Half Marathon time. I can't complain too loudly, however, as I did just have knee surgery 8 weeks earlier. I guess I can say I was still rehabilitating. In fact, I'm STILL trying to get back some of that fitness. I'm hoping that with continued training AND continued weight loss, that I will get faster as time goes on.

So, began and ended 2005. While 2004 had been a year of PRs, 2005 was the year of the DNF. I DNFd at the Phoenix Marathon and DNFd at Ironman Canada. I'm hoping 2006 will be the year of no DNFs even if I get no PRs, though I admit to hoping for a few of those as well.

So, I think I had a great training month in December. I was in the pool twice a week. I got on my trainer three times a week. I even did a 3-hour CompuTrainer ride (yes, product review still coming) just three days before Christmas. It was gruelling, but I did get it done. I also ran three times a week. Most of them were short runs, and I frequently opted for my treadmill because of time and darkness constraints. Overall, my totals for December look like this:

Swim: 13,450 yards (6:43 hours)
Bike: 245.6 miles (16:38 hours)
Run: 45.9 miles (9:54 hours)

No, I don't move fast for the hours presented, but at least I'm moving.

I ended the year with the following totals:

Swim: 177,811 yards (80:44 hours)
Bike: 1,721.4 miles (130:00 hours)
Run: 533.0 miles (106:43 hours)

That's enough miles to get me almost all the way across the country! Okay, small potatoes to some of you other folks out there in blogland, but more than some others. Compared to previous years, the increase in my cycling has been significant even though my total distance and time in the other two disciplines has been less. But that is where I need to focus this year...on my bike.

Well, that's it for 2005. I think the most significant thing I did in 2005 was hire a coach. I have confidence that that is what will make the biggest difference between my success and/or failure at Ironman Canada this time. That and my willingness to do what is suggested/recommended.

I wish all the rest of you much success as well, whatever your goals and aspirations might be.

Happy New Year

I want to wish everyone in blogland a happy, healthy, and prosperous new year.