Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The journey continues....

As I sit here on Thanksgiving-eve and reflect upon everything that has happened in the last year, I truly have a lot to be thankful for. Most of all, I am thankful for my health.

About 6 weeks after my last post, I was involved in a bicycle accident while training for Ironman Chattanooga. I ended up with 12 staples in my scalp, a sprained shoulder, a hip contusion (bad bruise), some abrasions, but worst of all a traumatic brain injury (concussion). I was misdiagnosed and did some things in the next few days that actually made my concussion worse. Surprisingly, there isn't a lot of information out there on concussion diagnosis and treatment. For the next 10 weeks, I was under the care of a neurologist and physical therapist for concussion therapy. As soon as I was cleared, I signed up for another Ironman triathlon, Ironman Louisville, which will be on October 11, 2015. The greatest difference between where I am mentally about this race versus the one I originally signed up for in Chattanooga, is that I no longer wonder if it's possible to become an Ironman. I know that it's possible. I am more committed and want to accomplish this goal more than ever before. God willing, I will.

I have made the decision to raise funds for brain trauma research on my journey to Ironman. This will give me even more of a cause to train and race. I hope you'll support me. I'm excited! My possibilities are endless!! Thank God for my health! What are you thankful for?

Monday, June 9, 2014

Check in: IM Chattanooga training

This week starts the 3rd week of training for Ironman Chattanooga. Life has been too busy to document everything thus far. I have been slowly building my base over the last few months and the IM training plan started over Memorial Day weekend.

I want to share the highs and lows of training. I don't want folks to see that I crossed the finish line and not know the challenging moments that I had in preparation for this event. Below is an email interchange that I had with my Coach on Saturday. Since this post, I ran 9.75 (I got lost due to being a wanderer, ran out of time and made my way back 5.25 miles short) and I have cycled nearly 3 hours. I'm committed to doing my best to get the trainings in. Stay tuned....

Hey Coach,
Congrats on finishing Comrades last weekend!! I hope that you're able to run the Ethiopia marathon this weekend.
My first two weeks of Ironman training have been tough. With the move of my Mom and Sister to the area and getting them settled in, work obligations, personal stuff and being completely exhausted, it's been really tough to get my training in. I had a little breakdown yesterday morning, because I overslept but I wanted to get a bike ride in. I just started to wonder:  Can I even do this? Did I bite off more than I can chew? Do I have enough time to properly prepare??  Do I have a solid enough base? .... I have a little note on my mirror that reads "How bad do you want it?" I asked and  answered that question with: "I want it. I want it bad". This is something that I want to do for ME . I don't want to continue giving all of my time and energy to my job and to my family and have nothing left for me. This IM is for me.
So, I brushed away tears, looked at the calendar and I counted the weeks. I have 16 weeks to get ready for Ironman Chattanooga. I'm going to jump in where I need to be. Today I'm going to run the 15 miles. I know that I can do that. I'm headed to California now. I rented a bike and I will ride my two hours tomorrow. I also packed my swim gear. I plan to run twice, swim twice & cycle twice while here. I just plan on getting on board.
I just wanted to share with you the mental challenges that I've faced this week. I know it won't be the last time that I have some sort of breakdown while training for this Ironman. I'm in. I'm committed. I will do this. I know you help me. I can do this.



I'm glad you shared. You'll have a few more moments like this and the answer will  always be, "YES,  I want this!"  In the end, Tri training should be a stress reliever, not a stress inducer. The workouts are an opportunity for you to dump all of the frustrations of the day.
Just keep doing what you can on the schedule. I've yet to get everything done on my training schedule and I've completed 12 Ironman competitions. Just keep moving towards the mark. We will always keep an eye on the big picture to make sure we are within reach of the final goal.
Family and work are important. But like you said, you've got to take care of yourself first. This race is all about you. Don't let anyone distract you, including yourself.
Get some rest and hit it again tomorrow.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

It Takes a Village: Rock and Roll DC Marathon

I completed my second marathon today. My training wasn't where it needed to be, so I called on the help of friends to get me through. My Coach laid out a great training plan, but I didn't follow it as I should have. Heather and I completed some of our long runs together, but my long runs were never as long as they should have been, so I was worried. I called up Tracy and Angie and asked them to run with me and they didn't hesitate for one second. I got through the first 16 miles alone, but with lots of doubt about going the full distance. It wasn't until I saw Ieesha and she told me, "You're going to finish" that I knew that I would not bow out at the half. It was mental, as nothing really hurt besides my Achilles in the first mile. I was just tired and not up for the challenge, since I didn't get conditioned as well as I should have. This was an emotional race for me. I cried when I saw Ieesha, I cried when I saw Gladys and I cried a couple of other times. I realized that quitting was not an option and that I need to have mind control over Deebo (the devil that sits on my shoulder sometimes). I thought about my upcoming Ironman Chattanooga triathlon and asked myself, "How are you going to become an Ironman if you start quitting now?".

I pushed past the those crazy thoughts and started to count down the miles before I saw Tracy. I hesitated at the point where I could go left to the 1/2 marathon finish or right to stay on the marathon course. Tracy was exactly where she said she would be at mile 16 and we got to stepping. I started to fade in mile 18 because I needed salt, so she bummed some pretzels from a spectator. Francy was out there and gave me a hug. Angie was right before the 20 mile mark, as promised, so Tracy handed me off to her. I had no pain, but was just getting tired. Angie decided that we would start running 3:1 intervals, but we quickly had to change it to 2:1 intervals. She was relentless with sticking to the intervals, even on the hills of that wicked Minnesota Avenue. Before long, we saw Gladys and she had my Coke and Peanut M&M's as promised. Angie made me some salt water and we brought it in to the finish line.

This was truly a group effort. I know that the last 10 miles would have been even more of a challenge without those ladies. I will eternally be grateful to them and vow to follow my training plan moving forward. My Coach and Heather were waiting for me at the finish line. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!!

Me and Heather
Shayla: Chance meeting at the start line!
Running Angels: Tracy and Angie!

Me and Gladys: The Coke and M&M's got me to the finish line!!
Mission Complete!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Mind control over Deebo

There is always going to be something: cold weather, hot weather, family issues, busy days at the job, injuries, illness, etc. We can't escape it. We can either use the issue as an excuse or find a way to work towards our goals, despite the current issue(s). Lately, I have been having a difficult time working towards my goals despite the issues. I wish there was a playbook to tell me what's really just an excuse versus what I can push and train through. Sometimes I tell myself to "just listen to your body", but often times, I can't tell if it's my mind or my body giving me the answer.

The weather has made it tough to get outside to run on days when there's ice and below freezing wind chills. Well, I went to Miami to run a 1/2 marathon and the heat and humidity (along with a personal physical challenge) made it hard to run there too. It's true that if we always waited for the perfect conditions, we would rarely do anything, especially train for an Ironman. So, I just have to find a way to push through and work around the challenges that I'm facing and make it happen. My body and mind have to equally get tougher in order for me to overcome and win on this journey to Ironman Chattanooga. Game ON!

Since I last wrote a post, I have started a Spin90 class one day per week, started a Total Immersion Stroke Development class twice per week, tried to remain consistent with running 3 days per week to train for a mid-March marathon and have inconsistently done weights and core work. I may have to drop down to the 1/2 marathon or nix the whole race depending on my surgery schedule and recovery. I'm very glad that I got a head start on building a stronger base and still have plenty of time to prepare for Ironman Chattanooga. This surgery will just be a little bump in the road. I will do my best to work on my mind game and be more consistent once I am all better.

I WILL give every workout my very best! I WILL be more consistent! I WILL be an Ironman!