Thursday, October 8, 2009
I bet Chelsea will still post a race recap here on Adventure to IMOO, but you can now find me, Trish, at I'm Gonna Fly.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
For a week and a half, I was a bundle of nerves. For a year, I figured Chelsea would be the nervous one, but nope. It was me. I even started having nightmares about getting lost on the course. Shockingly, I slept very well the night before the race. But before we knew it, the 4 a.m. wake up call rang.
Time for traditional oatmeal and the morning routine before we packed up and headed to Monona Terrace. Tim dropped off Chelsea and I right where we had to drop our special needs bags. He found an amazing parking spot then did boyfriendly duties and got in line at Starbucks for Chelsea while we walked to prep our bikes. We stopped to say good morning to the Voice of Ironman, who has been such a help in me getting my story out! Thanks Mike!
We both had wonderful rack spots. When you walked all the way through transition toward the Bike Out, you literally ran right into my bike. Ah, the joys of a low bib number. (Note: Participating in the Janus Charity Challenge provides low bib numbers!) I pumped up tires, added my nutrition to my bento box and triple checked that the bike was ready to roll. After about 4 stops to the porty potty to make sure everything was on target, Chels and I found "Team IMOO" to say our last words as Iron Virgins before we headed to the water.
As we zipped up our wetsuits and were herded toward Lake Monona, Chelsea was jumping around unable to contain her nervous excitement and energy. I tried to conserve everything I had, until the DJ had me going and I couldn't help but shake it a bit. We waded into the lake, exchanged a good luck hug and promised to see each other at the finish line. Before we knew it the cannon blared and we were off.
The mass swim start was intimidating from the get go. My brother told us it was the single most scary athletic experience he'd had. So instead of heading out to the middle of the pack. I stayed where I could touch and let the crazy fast swimmers out ahead of me. I stayed wide toward the shoreline on my way to the first buoy and avoided many of the other swimmers. At every breath, you can hear the crowd on the Terrace screaming for you. It is such a unique experience - swimming. To have your face in the water, where all you can hear is the gurgle of the waves and your breath and all you can see are the murky movements caused by your stroke. Its a great time for introspection and to feel at one with the world.
At the first turn, I felt good and felt confident, so I stayed to the inside of the buoys except for at the corners. While it is completely impossible to avoid all other swimmers, I did a pretty good job on the first lap. At the start of Lap 2, I enjoyed the company of a kayaker since I can't swim and pee at the same time. If you can do it, many props to you. It was 7:42 am - and I was stoked that my first 1.2 was so fast! I've never done a Half Iron swim at that time. Go me!! The start of Lap 2 was a little more rough and my goggles were knocked loose. I took my time to get them readjusted and then started my freestyle again, focusing on form and efficiency. I knew I had properly hydrated when I had to visit another kayaker at the final turn, which is when fellow KC Multisporter Jim got out of the water. I finished strong and fast (1:32 - much better than expected!) and enjoyed the screams of encouragement from Team IMOO and other fans as I made my way to the strippers and up the helix toward T1.
Transistion is what makes Ironman Wisconsin so unique. Everything is up a level from the ground, so you have to make your way up a parking garage ramp to get to the changing areas. If you were able to go fast enough, you'd get dizzy. Spectators line the helix and you have fans the whole way. I used this time to regain my composure, let my heart rate drop and get focused on the upcoming task at hand. Entering the building, I called out my number and a handsome volunteer handed me my gear bag. I hurdled other bags to get to the changing area where another wonderful volunteer saw me in all my glory as I stripped to change to bike shorts and a dry sports bra. It was the triathlon comparison of having a personal shopper, or so I imagine. They do the work and bring you the items you need, all with the goal of you leaving happy. I've never been dressed by a stranger before, but I must say, it was quite a treat. If you've ever tried to put on a sports bra or tight top when you're wet, help is pretty much a necessity.
Grabbing my bike from another wonderful volunteer at the racks, I ran to the mount line and was off. Down the helix I'd just run up, braking the whole way to avoid a wreck. That would be a bad start to a bike ride. On the road out, spectators line the streets cheering. It made me feel kinda like a celebrity with paparazzi following me and cameras flashing left and right.
After a weird leg jetting in and out of bike trails and parking lots, you're able to pick up your speed on some rolling hills for the first 15-20 miles of the ride before the loop starts - which is where I ran into Team IMOO and got more energized to take on the day. On the far western side of the loop, as I rode north and looked over my left shoulder, I saw the most beautiful, lush green fields. The sign on my right told me there was a raspberry farm somewhere close by and I couldn't help feeling like I was really in God's Country. On such a beautiful morning with absolutely perfect weather, there was no where else I'd rather be. Every athlete was enjoying himself and though we're all competitive, everyone was encouraging and motivating everyone else. I saw spectators with a sign "Pain is temporary and pride is forever. Unless you're over 40." That made me laugh and remember that even though at some point this is going to suck - I'll be able to call myself an Ironman for the rest of my life.
The three hills were the part of the loop I was really not looking forward to. As I approached them, I was passed by the leading male pro, 4:15 into the race and I was getting lapped. Its pretty amazing to see how fast they ride, to hear the whizz of their disc wheels and feel the wind they create as they pass. If only you could get them to hollar "on your left" I would have gotten more out of the way. Old Sauk was lined with people screaming and encouraging the riders up the half mile climb. Not as bad as I'd imagined. I think I can do this. There was a bit of a straight, flat ride after Old Sauk where I was passed by more pro's. One, who I think might have been #12 and I know was wearing brown shorts, stood up and stopped pedaling. I thought he was stretching and cooling off from a water bottle shower, but then it hit me. Pee. He was peeing and it literally hit me. GROSS! I mean seriously, give a girl a warning!
Up the second big climb and I found Team IMOO again. I felt great and was ready to keep riding. The third hill really sucked but there was a cross-dressed cheerleader doing flips and shaking his/her pompoms so that made the climb more fun. Next I knew, it was time to start Lap 2 and I felt like I could ride forever. Until I got to mile 85. Yikes. That's about when the 3 hills started again and my legs felt heavy. I think I'd pulled a muscle in my left forearm, which made reaching for the brakes difficult and painful. My upper back, neck and shoulders were tired and sore and I was ready to be off my stupid bike!!! At the top of Old Sauk, a spectator cheered me up. She held a sign "Ironman is like good sex." So I asked if she meant it was painful? "No, just ROUGH." Ain't that the truth. This ride is rough. And painful. But hopefully she's right and it will end blissfully! I suffered through to about mile 95 when my brother ditched his family at Culvers and sprinted next to me for a quarter mile or so. Who knew he was so fast!? That was a big pick me up for the final leg back into transition.
One thing that really messes with you mentally is when your odometer passes the century mark. You think you're done, but nope. 12 more miles. And for most people, 12 miles is a decent distance to ride. So I tried to focus on having fun, beating the cutoff by more than an hour and spin in easy so my legs would be ready to run. Volunteers in T2 were just as wonderful and I saw my race buddy from Redman 08 there to help out and sign up to race 2010.
As I started the run, I found the O'Donnell side of Team IMOO waiting for me. Cheering me on, I learned The Face was about to start Lap 2 and I should see her before too long. There isn't too much to report from the run. I ran when I could. Walked when I needed to. The lap in Camp Randall, UW's football stadium felt like a spa pedicure. Turf on sore feet is a dream come true.
Me being me, I made some friends while running. TriSupporter's girl and I had buddied up and then realized we had mutual friends. Another girl and I had been playing cat and mouse on the bike and upon chatting realized our friends were friends back in KC. It is such a small world. There is one big hill on the UW campus that you must run, er, walk up. At the top a group was studying the words so they could accurately sing. I mean really, who needs a lyric sheet for Sweet Caroline?! So I stole the mic and karaoked to the crowd before taking off and using gravity to my advantage. Chelsea lapped me at about mile 12/25 and I tried to keep up with her - but damn, that girl is fast. I could only manage the Ironman Shuffle and not a full out run so I wished her the best and off she went. As darkness set in, I expected to hit a wall. To want to quit. But I never did. I enjoyed every miserable step of the run. With many thanks to the volunteers and other athletes, particularly Team in Training from Madison and the wonderfully costumed aid stations from the 60s proclaiming the benefits of "Legalizing GU" and the need for "LSD", I truly had a great run.
Going into the day, I said that if I finished in 15:30, I would be ecstatic. With 2 miles to go, I had 30 minutes to make my goal, and I did my best to pick up the pace so I could demolish that time. As I approached the Capital, I really wanted to walk, but some wonderful spectators encouraged me to keep with the quick step and make it to the finsher's chute. All I could think about was the proclamation I was about to hear.
I rounded the corner and immediately beamed. Full on ear to ear smile. I had gone 140.6. I was still smiling. Goals accomplished. Then from the PA system, I hear "FROM PRAIRIE VILLAGE, KANSAS....TRISH O'DONNELL..." But it's not THE voice. As I look up to the announcer's booth, I see Mike Reilly grab the mic and start screaming "WAY TO GO TRISH. YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!!!"
As promised, I danced down the finisher's chute. (Video from Grandpa Video Productions to come.) I enjoyed every step of the way. I smiled at the finish line. And most importantly, I finished.
Even if Chelsea lapped me and beat me by 3 hours. She's a machine, so it doesn't really count. :-) All other things aside, we both accomplished our goals and lost our Iron Virginity. And that's something you can't ever take away from us. Because as they say...
"Swim 2.4 miles. Bike 112 miles. Run 26.2 miles. BRAG FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE."
Friday, September 11, 2009
Thinking about my brother who obviously was wishing he was racing. Remembering when he was in my shoes, sitting in Monona Terrace eating the same mass-cooked meal, shaking the same nerves two nights before his first Ironman. Thinking about everything we'd both put into training to be where we are at that moment. Thinking about where I was when he sat anxious and energized to see if he could "brag for the rest of his life" as the motto says.
I don't remember much. Looking back, I see a dark house, dark leather couches, dark stormy skies and a dark, haunting quiet. I remember checking a couple times online to see how he was progressing, not really understanding the gravity of his undertaking. I remember fighting, crying, exhaustion, anxiety, screaming, insulting, fear. All those dark days with Shithead run together, and this was one near the end.
I wanted to share about 1000 words that tell the story of my progression from that time to now. It's been a long journey. But one that is definitely worthwhile. I'm not the fastest athlete out there, and probably not the one with the most heart. But being the best doesn't matter in Ironman. It's all about having the courage to start. And if I can do it, you can do it. Just take the plunge.
You know that feeling when you’re at mile 22 of a marathon when your legs are heavy and stiff as concrete columns, your body is shaking and tingly from the desperation of wanting to be finished and yet you’re still far enough from the finish line that quitting is a possibility so your mind starts to play games with you? You’re not good enough. You’ll never finish. You’re not tough enough to handle this. Your body hurts, your heart aches, your head throbs. Why would you ever have signed up for such an unreachable feat when you know it’s much too big for you to achieve?
That’s how I felt when my relationship with Shithead was at its worst.
I’d finish a long day at work, after battling those inner demons that all 20-something women have all day, working to prove to myself and my boss that I was good at my job, and come home to a man who claimed to love me. Home is supposed to be your respite from the trials and tribulations of the outside world. But when I got home, things for me got worse.
So bad, actually, that one night we fought (like usual) from the time I walked in the door, until 4 a.m. when I passed out because he strangled me. I had been beating my head against the front door, miserable and hating life, hating who I had become because of him, hoping that I would cause myself outward pain to take the place of the pain I was feeling on the inside. He taught me that I was a horrible person, with no value, a slut and a whore (not to mention a virgin), who had no one to love her except for him. The next day when I got up for work and said to him, “Good morning honey, can I use one of your two cars to get to work today?” He said I needed to ask him nicely. It took me two hours and two missed meetings to figure out I needed to say “May I please borrow your car?”
My independence was non-existent. Everything I had previously used to define myself had disappeared. My friends, my family, my confidence, my motivation – all washed away in the whirlwind that was our abusive relationship.
Until I found the courage to leave. I tried several times, and I have no idea what caused me to finally act. Maybe it was the Freaky Friday effect. It was, after all, Friday the 13th when I finally decided to no longer let a horrible and hateful man define me. To no longer allow any person other than ME to tell me what I was worth.
The following month was a rough one. I almost returned to his abuse many times. But then I found the one thing that helped me become me again.
Both my brothers were runners and they were convinced that running was the best and most cost-effective therapy you can find. So, I gave it a shot.
And hated it. Loathed it. But, luckily, suffered through it.
I have found that a little bit of suffering is healthy. A little bit will help you grow. Too much though, and you’re headed for the injured reserve. Your body, your mind and your heart can only take so much beating.
A year after I left Shithead, I was still on the injured reserve. I put on a good front for myself and for those around me. I was convinced that I had healed from my trauma, I was ready to date again and ready to make a name for myself.
But the truth tells you otherwise. I was willing to go out with any guy that asked me on a date, befriend any girl that showed interest in me. My standards were low and my expectations were lower. Those failed relationships should have taught me a thing or two, but they didn’t.
It wasn’t until the middle of my training for Ironman Wisconsin when I finally came to a gut-wrenching realization.
I was on my bike for my first 90-miler. I was hot, salty and grimy from the summer sun. I was physically exhausted from the five hours of repetitive and mundane pedal strokes and engaged core needed to stay upright in the Kansas winds. My mind kept telling me to quit, just call for a ride and then meet a friend for a beer, I wasn’t tough enough to finish this workout, let alone The Ironman so I might as well just back out now.
And then I remembered how hard it was. I remembered how lonely and tired, beaten and bruised, how sad and exhausted I felt when all I had was Shithead. And now, I have the most important thing. I have me. So I kept pedaling.
I have the opportunity of a lifetime at my fingertips. I have my future and I have me to thank for that. I have my own opinions and they matter. I have friends and family who love and support me no matter what I do. Maybe the reason I’m still single is because I haven’t found a guy who is good enough for me. Maybe he’s just too intimidated by the fact that I (finally) have all my shit together. And maybe that is 100% okay. Maybe I don’t need anyone else. I have me. I have back what I had lost, what he had taken from me.
And now, I have the chance to prove to myself and to everyone who knows me, that I am not broken. I have been through hell, true, but I’m no worse for the wear. I’m stronger and smarter and more beautiful. I no longer need to be handled with kid gloves. I can take it. All 140.6 miles of suffering.
Because when it comes down to it, suffering makes you stronger. I feel stronger than I ever imagined I’d be. And you’ll see that strength when I shimmy down the finisher’s chute at Ironman Wisconsin, not a care in the world because I have just accomplished something I once thought impossible: Self Satisfaction.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Four days out from the biggest race of my life and I'm changing my race strategy. Sort of. It's always been about 1) getting healthy, and 2) crossing the finish line. Lately, though, there has been a lot of dialogue surrounding finish times, expectations, etc. It's a lot of fun to talk about and predict who is going to do what, what event will be my best, and overall finish line hopes and expectations. Truthfully, I've gotten caught up in it. Hard for me not to when that suits my personality to a T!
However, several seasoned Ironman triathletes - the people you listen to because they've been there, done that on several occasions - have said time and time again that your first Ironman is about the experience. Those people, and Andy Potts, are the people whose advice I am going to heed going into these last final days and especially on race day.
I will let my smile, not my Garmin, be my guide... and everyone who sees me on race day is absolutely invited to hold me to that :)
Now, time for my final workout before departing for Madison bright and early on Friday!
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
I'm leaving KC around noon and I am getting excited! I'm so energized by all the well wishes, calls and notes I've gotten from friends. I'm energized by the amount of money we've raised for Girls on the Run. I'm energized by the cake I just ate. Needless to say, I'm pysched.
I've gotta drop of Pete (the PBJ bread eating dog) at The Q's, get kinesio-tape and adjusted, get a quick workout in and make sure everything else is good to go!!!
I'll do my best to do a couple updates from the road, but in case I don't - track me online!!
Next thing we know, I'll be hearing Mike Reilly's amazing voice booming....
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Slaying The Fatigue Monster
by Ingrid Loos Miller
No matter how fit or how fast you are, central fatigue kicks after 4 hours of sustained effort and your thoughts turn from blissful to “you haven’t trained enough”, ”you are slowing down” and worst of all ”you don’t belong here”.
Left unchecked these thoughts can become self-fulfilling prophecies. Focusing on how tired you are slows you down, making you feel even worse which slows you down even more. This downward spiral of despair can turn a race into a suffer-fest. You finish the race feeling defeated and resolve to train more next time. But training your body will not solve the problem. The fatigue always arrives and you have to deal with it.
Here is a simple mental strategy that will keep your thoughts working for you rather than dragging you down. Flooding your mind with memories of success will make you will feel better and when you feel better-you race better.It is important to do these steps at home in a comfortable setting. Put this into your mental toolkit and use it when you are really struggling.
Step 1: Make a list of past accomplishments that make you feel especially victorious and strong. Include things like overcoming a personal struggle, landing a big account at work and your latest race PR. Draw upon all aspects of your life and come up with at least 5 powerful memories.
Step 2: Imagine deep fatigue/despair as something concrete and living. It can be anything, but ectoplasm-goo monsters work well. What color is it? How does it move? As you get more fatigued, does it grow larger or does it multiply? The more detailed and bizarre the image, the easier it will be to remember. Give it a name. Draw it if you like.
Step 3: Pulverize the monster with the powerful memories from Step 1, shaped into bullets, bombs or poison gas. The defeat should be graphic and when the battle is over, only memories of your greatness remain. Next time the fatigue monster comes knocking...POW!
Ingrid’s book, Ironplanner: Iron-Distance Organizer For Triathletes, offers no-nonsense mental and organizational tools that can be used with any training plan.
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Here’s your chance to ride with pro cyclists from Team Garmin following their appearance at the Tour of Missouri! This exclusive opportunity will include time to meet and ride with team members Christian Vande Velde, Steven Cozza, Danny Pate, David Zabriskie and Tom Peterson.
As part of a fundraiser for Girls on the Run, you can make a tax-deductible donation and be entered in a drawing for a chance to participate in this once-in-a-lifetime event! Team Garmin event details below.
Monday, Sept. 14 (day after Tour of Missouri ends and the day after Ironman Wisconsin!)
Events take place at Garmin International, 1200 E. 151st, Olathe, KS
Team Meet ‘n Greet – The team will be bringing the team sprinter and 35-foot trailer for a look at all of the team’s bikes and supplies for the Tour. In addition, three team cars will be on the property for employees to look at and take pictures with. “Hero Cards” and posters will also be on hand for you to get autographed!
Team presentation will take place in the Auditorium followed by a 30 minute Q&A session.
You will get a once-in-a-lifetime chance to ride with team members Christian Vande Velde, Steven Cozza, Danny Pate, David Zabriskie and Tom Peterson. Groups will start and finish a 20-mile ride at Garmin HQ, 1200 E. 151st St., Olathe.
As part of my training for Ironman Wisconsin, I’ve committed to raising funds for Girls on the Run (www.girlsontherunkc.com), a local non-profit program for girls 8-12 that teaches self-esteem, nutrition, healthy relationships and more through running. Your donations are 100% tax deductible!
To enter for a chance to win a ride with Team Garmin, simply make a donation online here: https://www.kintera.org/faf/donorReg/donorPledge.asp?ievent=296288&supid=245693222
The amount of your donation determines the number of times your name is entered in the drawing. So, a $50 donation = 5 entries. After you submit your credit card information, you will be on a “Dedication” page. Please be sure your name is chosen as the “from” and in the space for “Recognition To” please type “RAFFLE”. This is how you enter the drawing.
The winner will be chosen on Tuesday, September 8th so all donations must be made by Midnight, Labor Day, September 7th.
If you are uncomfortable donating online or have any questions, please contact me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
I hope you'll take a few minutes to hear my story and get a little better picture of why completing Ironman Wisconsin will mean so much to me. I've come so far in the past three years. I was with Shithead (he deserves no other name than that) when my brother raced at Ironman Wisconsin in 2006 in 50 degrees and a day full of rain. I was too wrapped up in my life with Shithead that I didn't go to support him and watch him race. Something I definitely regret.
Once you hear what I went through, I hope you'll understand why Girls on the Run is such an important organization to me. GOTR teaches girls self-esteem through running - something that definitely has brought me back to life. It has made me the person I am today - one who will complete Ironman Wisconsin in 13 days!!
PS - That means there are only 12 days to donate to help me reach my goal of raising $10,000 for Girls on the Run. Please donate here!!
Saturday, August 29, 2009
We had a great time in the water and out. Watching the Baywatch-esque exit from the water, the inability to master Warrior 2 on the lawn, and the car-aoke of the not-so-famous hair bands of the 80s.
This is part of what this journey has been all about. Sharing it with amazing people who make it mean so much more.
Too bad the dog wasn't ready to get up yet.
OK, so that's an old picture, but that's exactly what he looks like laying next to me on the couch. He thinks he's part cat and lays on the top of the couch cushions. Silly animal.
The girls and I had a great dinner last night. Homemade calzones and girl talk. You can read about some of our escapades on Lyndsey's blog.
Now, for the important Ironman training talk.... Time to eat and swim. Open water wetsuit practice. I can't believe its August and our high today is 75! Crazy.