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Monday, September 20, 2010

Pushing the Reset Button

Ironman has been done and over for a week now. It was a wonderful experience for me with lots of highlights.  I shaved time off my swim and transitions and took nearly an hour off my bike from last year, allowing me to finish comfortably in under 17 hours a la the plan, even after I was reduced to a walking-only regimen a bit after the halfway point of the marathon. I smiled literally all day. Aside from the technical stuff of the details of the kick, pedal, and stride are the personal connections through the day - seeing people you know cheering you on, people you don't know calling your name (it's on your bib, but it takes a while to figure out why all these people know you), and people doing hysterically funny things that keep you going.  I find myself living for one connection, one person to the next and that is what got me through the day in the high spirits I finished with. I had a blast, enjoyed (almost) every minute.
Eclipsing all of that is knowing that Mike was unable to achieve his goal for that day. He can tell his own story, it's not mine to tell. It's ironic in hindsight that everyone's encouragement and attention to saying "You'll do it this time" were directed at just me most of the time prior to race day.  It was a given that Mike was going to get there and be comfortably ahead of me, I was the one who would be racing the stopping of the clock.  After all, he is stronger than me, faster than me, can go longer, harder, and endure more suffering than me before breaking.  I wish we had had that day instead.  Had the tables been turned, it would have been easy for me to concede and support because that was the performance that was expected of me really. I can see that every mention, every picture, every "atta girl" someone sends, crushes his spirit and sends him to dark places.  I am not able to experience the joys that come with the achievement because the mere mention feels like rubbing it in Mike's face and I watch him become more and more hurt and distant with each word and picture. I hesitate even to post a race report as I know talking about my own wonderful day will feel like a kick in the teeth for him. I know he is a bigger person than what I am seeing right now, but I can empathize in knowing he is still licking some fairly large wounds.
And so, with no  further ado, today opens the next chapter.  I am done talking about Ironman until Mike is ready to move forward.  The pictures will be archived, thoughts of the tattoo put on hold, the scrapbook mementos and Finisher stickers tucked away for later, and the conversation geared once again to what is on the horizon not what happened in the past.  It would be great to celebrate and relive it over and over, but it is not worth the emotional costs at this point in time.  
So what's next?
On the short term, I want to continue to work on my weight and lose that last few pounds that seem to be permanently affixed to my ass. Operation Eat Whole begins again today and will hopefully be a giant success without the concurrent pressure of trying to peak my endurance training.
I've also done zero activity for the last week, unless sofa surfing counts. So tonight, weather-permitting, I will try a short run and see where that goes.  We'll take it from there, but I am intent on maintaining fitness through the winter. And taking my pup for nice long walks. And finding joy in life every day, because that is what it really is all about.

Brought to you by the letter J-Wim
Fortitudine Vincimus! (Through endurance we conquer!)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

IMWI Spectator Guide 2010

Spectator Guide
Wimmers Do Wisconsin -Part Deux
September 12, 2010

Mike Wimmer ~ Athlete #1497
Jennifer Wimmer ~ Athlete # 2692

Race Start: 7 AM from Monona Terrace

The Swim:
2.4 miles/3.8K (2 loop course) in front of Monona Terrace

If you want to see the start, you’ll need to get there early (like by 6:30) There is no parking at the Terrace and parking in the downtown ramps may be tough. You can park at the Alliant Energy Center and take the free shuttle to the Terrace.

Where to watch:
There are several options here. Be aware that these areas are all quite crowded. Think early about where you want to be watching from and ease your way into position.
• from the sidewalk along the lakefront in front of Monona Terrace. (Good lateral view of the swimmers as they pass by twice)
• From the top of Monona Terrace (great view of the “washing machine” from above and there are vendors there selling breakfast items and drinks)
• At the swim exit chute (you can watch swimmers exit the water and get wetsuit stripped)
• If you want to watch the swim exit, please get there right away after the start. This fills up very fast and gets very crowded once the athletes start exiting the water.

Anticipated Finish Times:
Mike: 8:40ish AM.
Jenny : 8:30ish AM

T1 swim to bike transition:

wetsuit stripping at the swim exit in Law Park next to the Terrace building and run up the helix into the Terrace and dress for the bike. You can see this from the “grassy knoll” area. It’s packed there, so you may see us and we might not see you. Stripping is cool to watch though .
Roughly 10-15 minutes??

The Bike: 112 miles/180K start ~ 8:45AM

The course goes from Monona Terrace out to Verona where we do two 40-mile loops before heading back to the Terrace for the run.

The easiest place to watch is probably Verona at the High School aid station. That is roughly mile 50 so there is plenty of time to get there. The riders come by very quickly so it may be difficult to spot specific riders and it’s hard for riders to find you in the crowd, but it is very spectator-friendly here. There are usually area service groups that sell concessions, grilled sandwiches, etc here so bring a few bucks to eat lunch.
There is a free shuttle by the Terrace (corner of Wilson St) that will bus you to Verona. You could also drive to Verona and park by the library.

Good spectator spots on the bike course:
• Verona HS aid station (easiest to get to, bussed in and out from downtown area-see above)
• Mt Horeb HS aid station
• Timber Lane – very steep hill (the 2nd of 3 hills known affectionately as “the 3 Bitches”) This is the best option to actually see us (going very very slowly uphill) but it fills up fast and is a bit more difficult to get to. Athletes go by very slowly here and it is really easy to see them. You have to park in the residential neighborhood and walk down Timber Lane. If you want to go here to watch, ask us about instructions.
• Midtown Road- the 3rd big Hill. This is a less crowded option than

Lunch: You have lots of options here.
In Verona, you can eat at the stands along Main Street in Verona, or if you head south you’ll find some places to eat. You head up the hill to the corner of the course, there is a gas station in walking distance where you can buy a cold soda or snacks.
I recommend that you pack a few snacks and water in a backpack to bring with you. It is important you stay hydrated and nourished – it’s a long day for spectators too.

Anticipated Finish Time: 8 hours (@14 mph avg) ~ 4:45-5pm ~ This is a total guesstimate.
Mike is hoping to be off the bike by 4PM, Jenny by 4:30, but who knows.

T2 (Bike to Run Transition): roughly 5-10 minutes to change clothes/shoes

The Run: 26.2 miles / 42K ~ start 5pm-ish

The run will be more spectator-friendly than the bike. This is a 2 loop course and you should have several opportunities to see us if you move around a little. The finish line is near the Capitol. You can watch runners there, along the square, or further on down State Street. State Street is great because you see the athletes pass down and back. Once you see us running toward the Capital the last time, you will have time to get to the finish to watch us cross the line.

There will be a lot going on in this area, especially in the afternoon and early evening. Find somewhere to eat some supper; there are more options than I can list within easy walking distance. I recommend Ian’s Pizza (sold by the slice) on State Street, especially the Mac & Cheese pizza – YUM!

Realistically, we are looking at finishing the run between and 11pm and midnight, so find a place to entertain yourself, and be sure to find time to sit and rest – it’s a very long day! As the race winds down and it gets darker outside, the spectators usually start to move closer to the finish line and you probably should too. (There can be a shady character or two out there at night, so be safe!)

With all that said, anything can happen and times can be way ahead or behind. Ironman can get the best of people on the bike or more often on the run, so don’t get worried if we get off schedule.

The Winners:
The men’s winners will probably be finishing about 3:30-4:00pm. Women’s winners will likely be 45 minutes or so after the men’s winner.

Foofy Stuff:
Unless you are totally into the triathlon scene, spectating is frankly kind of boring. There is a tent by the finish line where you can make signs or you can bring chalk and write encouraging messages on the State St like “only 6 hours left” or “stop puking” or “you paid to do this??”
There is also an IM shop in the Terrace where you can look at or buy mementos or overpriced gear. Let me know if you need our wish list and sizes :)

Tracking your Athlete:
They have computers available in the Terrace where you can check the athlete tracker on and type in our numbers if you lose track of us – or if you can’t make it and are following from home. They are also showing it live on so if you can’t come and you’re interested you can watch the live feed and see some of the race and the finish line. (Be warned- we tried to use the live feed last week for IM Louisville and it was AWFUL to try to get this to work and only barely got it going before we saw our friend cross the finish line. If you use this, you very possibly might not see anything at all).

Taking care of yourself for race day:
• Wear comfortable shoes with good support and cushioning. You will do a lot of walking; flip-flops or cutesy shoes will not serve you well.
• Get a good night sleep.
• Pack a backpack with a few snacks, a water bottle, some money for snacks/meals, sunscreen, a disposable rain slicker, a light jacket for evening. Remember that you will have to carry it all day, so pack light!
• Be sure to get enough to eat and drink. This is an endurance sport for the spectators too!
• Take time to rest and relax. Find a park bench or piece of shade and get off your feet.
• Enjoy the ambience of the day ~ it can be very uplifting and exciting!

VERY IMPORTANT- We can receive no outside help so please do not help us. Do not hand us anything, including water, a jacket, hat, food, or anything. We may be suffering, but it is our choice. This could cause a disqualification. We paid good money to suffer so let us.


Many thanks to Mike Wolfgram from whom I pirated the majority of this guide, with some minor adjustments for pacing as he is far faster than we are!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Random Running Ramblings

So, took a 6 mile run today. Here are the random thoughts the marbles knocked loose:

* Ever get a song stuck in your head and it won't fall back out? It has a name - "Ear Worm". I read it in USA today. True Story. Mine today is Paranoia by Green Day.

* I have an irrational fear of Schnauzers. I saw one today on my run that barked and snapped at me and I nearly peed myself. Other dogs? All Cool. I blame the Sheridans and their devil schnauzer Ollie, who I swear might tear your arm off.
* Why do people insist on using those wimpy retractable leashes?? Like they are really going to be able to keep their dog from lunging at me or keep them from wrapping their leash cord around my legs and giving me a rope burn. A leash is meant to tether and control your dog, not to make you tiny yippy dog look like a yoyo on a string. ARGHH!

* Speaking of dogs, I am tired of coming home to a wet spot on the couch where the dogs have been licking their butt while I'm at work. Stay.Off.The.Furniture. Why is that so hard??

* I have no idea how I would ever be able to run with a running group, I am so flipping slow. I would get dropped like a bad habit pretty much immediately.

* Today, I ran 6 miles. It felt like shit, I did a lot of run/walking and longggggggg traffic stops at corners. Somehow, it was my fastest pace yet recently and was TWO.MINUTES. per mile faster than my plan's goal pace. TWO. per MILE. That is totally odd, but I'll take it where I can get it.

* Wanna make a beautician speechless? Try asking them you miss getting perms and wonder what their thoughts are. The look on their face is priceless. I have said that to 3 different beauticians lately, and they all gave me the same look. Guess that is a no.........rats.

* It's scary how close I am to having a household where everyone is over 18. really? How did I stay so young when everyone around me got so damn OLD??

* Kids are awesome. I pass this trio of 7ish year olds on the hill in front of Cozy acres most days on my runs. They are usually standing at the top of the hill racing in some form- running, biking, skateboards, etc. They are good about seeing me trucking up the hill and they wait for me to get past them before they blow the whistle and take off. It's totally cute. The last few times, they have drawn a bike course in chalk going down the hills with several start and finish lines marked and the path they drew itself has all kinds of zigzags and right angles. Anyone who could navigate that course, my hat is off to you. I personally would break my neck. :)

* Their parents are not, however. Last week, I saw a 6ish year old blow through a stop sign on a busy-ish street. He didn't look around at all, wasn't wearing a helmet, and was barefoot. I politely scolded him in my best Mom voice and said "You really should wear a helmet and shoes, you could really get hurt!". His mother walked up form behind and yelled at me, "Mind your own business, bitch." Nice parenting. Fail.

* Loving the weather. It was 78 degrees and sunny this afternoon. I ran in short sleeves and capris and was roasting. Summer, I love you.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

There's Nothing Worse Than a Reformed Anything

Let me just preface this with a story from several years ago. The boys and I and my sister Michele and her 2 (at the time) kids took a nice little trip to Denver to visit our other sister Tracy. Tracy had really adopted the whole Colorado lifestyle and was eager to show all her favorite places. She took us up to the top of some mountain -like up where the mountain goats live, which was beautiful, but the air was really really really thin and made some of feel pretty lightheaded and sick. We made some dumb wisecracks to Tracy about "Granolas" in reference to the folks we were meeting in the Denver area. Tracy was pissed and if looks could have killed, we'd all have been dead. Due I think to lack of oxygen, we found this really funny. She still doesn't find the humor in it to this day.

Today I went to a seminar in Pewaukee, WI for work. I don't sit still well and after 90 minutes in the car and 4 hours of seminar, when we broke for lunch and I saw the fried, breaded mystery meat and bacon sandwiches on big white buns and fries, I decided to take a pass, make myself a protein shake I had in the car and take a walk instead to try to get rid of the ants in my pants and be able to focus in the afternoon session. It was starting to rain, but I didn't care much - I had a waterproof coat and an umbrella and a change of shoes in the car if I needed it. It was nice to get out and about and I am part Iron after all, so I already knew I was tough enough not to melt from a few raindrops.

As I finished up and walked towards the entrance there was a little flock of ladies surrounding the entrance puffing on their cigarettes, including the girl who was sitting near me in the classroom. She gives me a look like I have 3 heads for walking around in the rain, and then she says "Don't you have sense to come in from the rain? You didn't even eat lunch!"

I replied by telling her that I had brought something to eat since I know I can't really eat the types of foods they usually serve at seminars. She then clucked her tongue and said, "Yeah I guess you must be all ORGANIC GRANOLA type of person."

My first response was to tell this bitch to suck it, but Tracy's face popped into my mind and the look on her face that day on our trip, and I just had to smile.

My response? "Granola is too high in calories, I'm more free range chicken." And I kept walking. Puff on, bitch.

My Grampa Klumpp is often quoted as saying "There's nothing worse than a reformed anything," and I think that's probably very true....... reformed couch potato, reformed fat chick, reformed smoker. He's also known for asking what the display model at the checkout is and when told it's a tester, responded with "I knew a girl like that once." But that's a story for another time.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

I'm Loving It

Well Spring is finally starting to show some sign of springing and I for one could not be happier. Training days are only headed in the direction of harder and longer (I think I just heard Lucas say "That's what she said" as I typed that....) so it's just good to know warmer days are on their way.

Things I love this week:

* watching the snow melt and trying to identify the things that are left behind. Let's face it, the snowbanks are looking a little rough and looking at them got old weeks ago. they are not pretty fluffy piles of whiteness anymore: they are full of sand and grit and trash and are more a dingy gray nasty color. As the fog, rain, and warm temps melt the snow, I like to try to identify the things that emerge from them. Last year, I remember finding the GIGANTIC-EST pair of granny panties I have ever seen. I laughed forever trying to imagine who they might have fit or how they could have ended up in the middle of a snowpile in front of Franklin Middle School.

* Feeling fast and strong on the run. I have no illusions of breaking any land speed records, but the run is on track, ahead of the goals paces set by my Runners World marathon plan, and feeling OK. The last 2 years at this time, I was struggling with IT Band issues, skating the edge of injury, and basically hating where I was in training. I am not hung up on doing well at Madison Marathon in May, just on finishing and feeling good. It is basically a catered training day for me with the big race being IMWI in September. Thinking about it that way is making me much more laid back about the whole thing. Ask me again in September how much I like running, the answer could be different.

* Daylight Savings Time. It's this weekend y'all. It makes me smile every time I look at a calendar and see it again. Longer days, more daylight at times I am actually awake - how could that go wrong??

* Being able to run at 6pm without a headlamp. I pretty much don't have a lot of choice but to run in the evening. Being able to lace up the kicks and go without bring enough light to illuminate Las Vegas is huge for me.

Things that are bugging me this week:
* With Spring comes mud. Lots of mud. And water. I am a magnet for stepping into a mud pit of super puddle and having to run squishy til I get home. My new shoes are now gray. I am not eashing them until it dries up a bit.
* I've lost about 20 pounds, but need to lose about 20 more in my mind. It cannot come off fast enough and it is frustrating me.

* People who can't be supportive or intentionally derail me. Especially people close to me. Mike has taken to making snarky comments to me about what my plans are for the evening. "How many HOURS are you planning to work out tonight?" Thanks, I know I am slow and it takes me a long time to do what I need to do. I actually have a formal plan, detailed online for you to see every day if you are really that interested. I am not just flying by the seat of my pants, but I am following a plan laid out by a coach (in a book anyhow), it's not like I am just some sort of exercise addict or I am just randomly doing a bunch of training for no reason. I'm actually kind of proud that I am starting week 5 of the plan and haven't missed a session or a goal, so be nice and lose the tone and the advice based on nothing. So basically folks, if you can't be constructive or supportive, kindly STFU, mmm-k?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Random Ramblings

(Week 2 of the training plan for Ironman Wisconsin and the Madison Marathon are now done SUCCESSFULLY even! WOOT for me- my worst enemy is sticking with the plan and doing all my workouts.)
So the posts are pretty sporadic here in bloggyland, as are my thoughts while out on long runs. Today was one of my first long runs for this Ironman season so here's some insight into where my brain goes as I am out on the road.

1) Seriously, is it that hard to pick up your doggie droppings from the sidewalk? I really am not a fan of hopping over it. If you take your pup for a walk, bring a baggie. And I promise I won't ask you what's in the bag when I see you carrying it back home. Well, maybe I'll ask, but I won't laugh.
2) people- it IS important to clear your walks so they are passable. I am amazed at the people who clear about a 6 inch path. And your corners? Yes you do have to shovel those too. I know it's a pain in the ass, I live on a corner lot myself. If you don't want the extra work, don't buy the house on the corner!
(there's a theme here, it IS Wisconsin and we've had some snow y'all)
3) Running gives you the freedom to load any weird thing you want onto your ipod playlists. How else would I be able to cram Schoolhouse Rock, Leo Sayer (you make me feel like dancin), Snoop Dogg, and Toby Keith onto the same playlist?? All you gotta say is they have the right beat for your cadence and you can add any old weird thing onto the list.

4) I am trying to quickly lose that 30ish pounds that have crept back on the past couple years. I am doing Medifast 5+1 Lean and Green. Now that I am ramping up the time and distance a bit, I am skating the edge of bonking more often. I need to figure something out, it's only gonna get worse. Would it be wrong to carry lunchmeat in my pocket since it would be too hard to bring a shake (LOL)?
5) Anyone else notice that Google Reader has pretty much killed commenting on other blogs much? I love the Reader because I can easily keep track of everyone's new entries, but I also rarely comment anymore and I miss it. I also miss exploring who is on everyone else's blogroll and finding new gems to follow.
6) Funny how over 32 degrees feels like heat wave in the spring, but anything under 50 in the fall feels like Alaska. It was like 35 out today. I saw a guy on a motorcycle. With no gloves on either. WTF. Wow.
See ya soon folks. My bloggy muscles are a little rusty like the rest of me, but I hope to get back to more frequent entries.

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