WEEKEND RECAP: MY MOM IS A ROCK STAR
this weekend was a flashback to last weekend: gorgeous sunny ride saturday followed by an "open water" run sunday. still, i'm gettin' everything done outdoors, which is more than most tri peeps out there can say this time of year. have i mentioned how much i love living in SoCal???
saturday brought an organized group ride with LA Tri Club complete with SAG wagon support. about 30 of us met and parked at the Irvine train station and clipped in from there at 8am riding 80 miles south to San Diego. as we left the parking lot, the first group of guys took off like they stole somethin' and i never saw 'em again. the middle of the pack was all over the place with flats, and then i lost the bulk of them at the next red light. this was all in the first 3 miles. the slower pack asked me to lead the way, but that was too slow for me, so i rode by myself somewhere in the middle for about the first 15 miles. still though, it was nice to know that i had a route slip and a van out there somewhere if i needed it. soon enough i caught up with a group of 5 others from the middle of the pack who i could keep pace with most of the way, three of whom are all doing IMAZ#1. it was great to get pushed a little bit, but i got so caught up in the group dynamic and keeping up that i lost track of eating as regularly as i have been on long rides. didn't totally bonk, but i coulda been more on top of it. lesson learned, and i'll make sure to be more on it next weekend when a lot of us ride the Tour De Palm Springs, MY FIRST CENTURY!!!! Laura, who i rode most of the day with, will be there, so i look forward to keeping the pace again!! Laura, Jen, and I stopped for a bite to eat at the final hotel meeting place before riding the 7 more miles to the train station. now riding with our SAG backpacks on, the 7 miles were grueling!!! sliding into the station, we watched the next train for L.A. take off without us, but we caught the next one about 45 minutes later. we felt so cool as they allowed us to board first with our bikes in front of about 50 other passengers!! business class seats offered us a little more room, some airplane style snack boxes, and by 8:30 we were back in Irvine. a full 12 hour day, and i still had to drive another hour home, and rest up for what was on sunday's schedule.....
the Surf City Half Mary. woke up to rain at 4:30am. left with my mom at 5am. she agreed to drive and let me sleep a little more as i was still pretty wrecked from the day before. got down to Huntington Beach and sat for 45 MINUTES to get into the parking lot. the rain kept coming down, and we watched in horror as the palm trees blew sideways. never have i ever wanted to not do a race as much as this one. i'd a happily gotten on the dreadmill instead, but my mom had trained 3 months for this, and nothing was going to stop her. i couldn't help but be inspired by her enthusiasm to see what she could do out there. bundled up in my tights, a base layer under a singlet, and a waterproof jacket with another poncho over that (and no, it does not say "KONA" on it), i was ready to roll. i also had the bright idea to wrap plastic shopping bags over my shoes to keep 'em dry for as long as possible. of course, moms followed everything i did, so we looked like two spacemen ready to walk the moon. there was still about a mile walk to the start, and the plastic bags soon revealed to be utterly useless. that first rush of water into my shoes is hard to describe, but i'll try. it's sorta like that initial warm feeling when you pee your pants. you know, kinda warm, kinda maybe not so bad?? but then they just get more and more wet, and then the cold sets in, and you just want to get this mother over with. that's when i looked at my mom, and she knew exactly what i was about to say so she said it first, "you go. you go. i'll call you when i finish. don't wait for me at the finish line either!! go back to the car and change into dry clothes and get warm. i'll be fine. love you!!"
so off i went and got settled in my corral waiting for about 5 minutes to the start. i had already wrung my socks out once before the gun even went off. please please please, no big ass blisters today!!! next thing, we were off. first mile is invariably spent dodging all the peeps who have no business being up front. not tootin' my horn here. i'm MOP for sure, but if you're pushing a stroller and draggin' a dog on a leash or wearing a shirt that says "i lost a bet" or "i quit smoking tomorrow", you need to take your slow ass to the back corral. nuff said.
my only goal for this race was to not let it be a race, and the torrential rain coming at me sideways definitely helped with that. it's hard to not let a race be a race ya know?? all those thousands of other people going by you while you're committed to holding your heart rate at a high zone 2/low zone3. still, i stuck to the plan and clocked the first mile at 9:30 keeping my heart rate below 158. by the second mile, i could tell that my layering was causing me to overheat. aaah, the dilemma. do i stop and try to peel the undermost base layer off risking precious seconds, possibly minutes?? um, hello, it's a race that's not a race, and you're gonna spontaneously combust if you keep this up!!! so i finally gave in and stopped to adjust. i tried to do the "take the bra off and out from under your cool baggy sweatshirt" move as made famous in a scene from the 80's movie, Flashdance, but it's a little hard when you have a gazillion more layers over it and it's raining balls out. so i fuddled the underlayer up under the singlet and left it around my neck while putting the singlet back on. all this took about 3 minutes as i watched the entire stroller pushing, bet losing, smoke quitting contingent pass me by. something felt a little off though, like a small patch of skin on my side was getting exposed to the cold air more than the rest of me, but it wasn't off enough to make we want to stop again, and off i went. spent another mile passing my way back to the closest i was gonna get to where i shoulda been and that's where i stayed for the rest of the race, holding between 158-160, and stuck on a skinny minnie in front of me in a blue top. i wanted to take her out, but that woulda brought the heart rate to about 165-170, so i watched her slowly slip further and further in front of me until i just couldn't see the blue top anymore. that was it. it was definitely not a race anymore. what else could i do if i couldn't pick a victim and attack?? i'd also forgotten my ipod, so i just tried to recall songs on it, getting stuck on a chorus over and over 'til i could get that one out of my head and get stuck on another one. lotsa Prince and The Clash, and a little JT in there too, but i would mix up the words, so i was "bringin' SWEATY back." this got me to mile 10 at a nice clip, still in a good heart rate zone and that's when i started to recognize the people just ahead of me. holy crap, i was back with my original corral pack!!! and there was BLUE TOP!!! she wasn't looking strong either, and in about another minute i was passin' her sorry ass. i just kept strong for the last 5k, and one other annoying woman, who kept belching the entire way, started to pass me up. "that's ok, it's not a race. i just gotta keep my heart rate mellow and finish this mother." i couldn't tell if i was pooping out or she was really just faster than me, so i kept her in my sites. "stay behind her, stay mellow, wait and see." then i saw her pass the mile 26 marker for the full marathoners. i was maybe just 10 yards behind her now. "that's .2 left. let's see if you saved anything" at this point i bagged the heart rate goal and went fully anaerobic, lungs about to burst outta my chest, and sprinted to the line, passing the belching woman with about 40 yards to go. poor thing never knew what hit her.....
as soon as i stopped running, I GOT COLD!!! after getting warm in the tent for a second, i called my mom to see how she was doing. "mile 8 i think. feeling great. don't wait for me!! go to the car and get dry." so i made the death march all the way through the parking lot wishing i would've dropped my belongings bag that morning (which i never do) so i could've changed closer to the finish to be there when my mom crossed the line. back in the car, as i changed and peeled off the layers, i discovered that when putting my singlet back on mid-run, i put my neck through the right arm hole which explains why my whole right side felt cold and exposed under my jacket. DOH!!! i also discovered a blister on my foot so big that i'm considering going tomorrow and getting it its own social security number and putting it to work. things so damn big, it's gotta be good for something....i got dry and warm, and paid her the next best favor by moving the car up through the now nearly empty parking lot to within a half block of the finish line, thereby saving her the same death march. then i waited. and waited...
then i worried
"oh shit. i missed her. she's walking back to where the car USED TO BE." so i slowly drive back, scanning everyone in the parking lot when i got the call. she was finished. she was happy and she just wanted someone to take the friggin' chip off her shoe so she could officially be done with this mother!! drove back to get her, and there she was with a beaming smile and a wet hug!!! 3:38:38 AND NOT LAST!!!
we stopped to eat before making the drive back home. we sat as my mom excitedly recounted every mile: the woman she ran/walked with who was definitely faster than her, the man who had lost 80+ pounds and struggled but finished too, the lady who walked the entire way and still passed her (guess i know where i get that competitive thing from). she must have told our waiter at least 5 times that we'd just run a half marathon while proudly displaying her surfboard medal. in all the time that took, i missed getting to the gym to get my 3200yd swim in before they closed early on sunday. no loss though. i wouldn't trade the day i had with my mom for any training in the world. for me, it was the race that wasn't a race, just another training day, but for her, it was a day that diabetes didn't take from her. and there'll be more soon enough...she's signed up for 2 more half mary's this year!! the last one will be after i'm done with Brasil, and it better not rain that day, cuz i'm definitely gonna be at the finish line for her!!!