Saturday, April 26, 2008

No Bonk!

If you read a post from a few weeks ago, you know that I had a major BONK on a 16 mile run. Well, today I headed out for my long run under the same hot and humid conditions and at the same time of day - midday!! Real smart, right?

This time I loaded my water bottle with H2O and CarboPro and three gels, each with 150 calories (electrolytes & carbs, yummy!). I ate well before my swim (which I did before my run) and then refueled before the run. I realized that it was going to be a trying day so I made sure to start out nice and easy for my first loop. As I started the second loop I still felt solid and again reminded myself to take it easy because this is, after all, a training run. I'm not going to set any land speed records - ever - and what my focus is today is getting the miles on my legs. By the time I got to my third and final loop I was getting tired but noticed that I wasn't feeling the bonk that I felt last time. I had been maintaining my fuel, just as I had planned. I had forgotten one important item though, my salt tablets! I thought about it as I looked down and realized that my navy colored shorts now had lovely white salt splotches all over them. Oh well, I proceeded and while I did fall off my pace a bit I still completed the almost 19 miles at a 9:35 pace. Like I said, not setting any land speed records, but for a hot and humid day I'll take it!

Now I just have to hope it doesn't storm tomorrow, as is predicted, so we can get our ride in!!

Friday, April 25, 2008


Seriously, this is starting to become absurd...I just filled up my vehicle with $60.54 of gasoline. A week and a half ago it cost me $52.00 to fill up. This is going to start cutting into my Starbuck's allowance, and that ain't cool, people! It's not a matter of affording it, but a matter of principle...ugh!! I wish I had a job that allowed me to dress in a manner more conducive to bicycle commuting...or one that at least had a shower/changing room. My commute is only about 2.5-3 miles and I would LOVE to be able to ride to work. Maybe this is a sign for me to make some changes...

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

I'm Back!

...and way too tired to download my pictures from Boston or put into words the events of the weekend. After waking up at 4:30 EST (yep, that's 3:30 to all you Austin folks) and sitting and waiting and sitting and being delayed and sitting and rushing and waiting on flights...I finally made it home and managed to get everything unpacked and repacked for swim/spin/work tomorrow.

I had to play with my pups first, but I will get caught up here over the next few days.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Up & Down...and Up Again...

Self-Doubt, Beantown, Marathon Trials, Family, Training, Dunkin Donuts...

Last I left you I was wallowing in my own little world of despair...those fears have not completely subsided, however I feel that I'm beginning to put them back into perspective and even experienced a twinge in happiness with myself today!

We arrived in Boston yesterday and the marathon gods are shining on us, thus far...the weather is absolutely beautiful for running! We settled into our hotel (I splurged a little and am sooo glad that I did!) and I quickly began to take advantage of the amenities. I headed down to the fitness center and was surprised to find the pool was 45 feet. I was able to do some drills then for my main set I used a set of swim cords. I hadn't used them before and found them easy to adjust to which was nice because I felt like I hadn't wasted a day by not training. Then I headed back to the room and took a nice, long bath followed by a relaxing shower...oh yeah, I'm so getting my money's worth!! After the self-pampering, all my siblings and I went to dinner with my dad and just goofed around.

This morning was awesome because my dad and I headed out to the U.S. Women's Olympic Marathon Trials where favorite, Deena Kastor, came from an almost 2 min. deficit to win (2:28:35) and running icon, Joan Benoit Samuelson (50 yrs old) finished in 2:49:08, making her goal of finishing in under 2:50:00...Austin women Desiree Ficker and Chris Kimbrough were awesome and showed that Austin women can run! While neither made the team, each showed grit, determination, and strength until the finish! It was truly amazing to watch.

After the trials, we crossed the street to the expo where we picked up my dad's packet and goody bag. It was a bit overwhelming as the sheer number of people was incredible.

As we were walking back to the hotel I was thinking of something a man had said earlier. As we were watching the women, I over heard him asking another guy about the race and he asked how many would make the team. The other guy replied, "3" and the first guy said, "well, then why are all these other women still running?" And that made me think about why we do what we do, why we try, where would we be if we didn't get out there and make the best of an opportunity. These women, most of who were long-shots, at best, knew that they would have to run the race of a lifetime and still probably not make the team. Many of them knew going in that they had absolutely no chance, but they were honored to be there...they finished what they started...some may have even set PR's...they trained and on this day they gave it the best they had. They are all such great examples of they type of person I hope to someday become!

More pampering...I managed a nice nap and treadmill run with some stretching and strength work followed by another shower in our luxurious bathroom...ahhhhh...then a trip to the bar for a glass of wine & alone time before dinner with the family.

Now it's off to bed...the big show is tomorrow and I have to be rested to cheer on my dad!!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Fear and Self-Doubt

Living inside my head has been very weird this week. It's as if I wasn't even me. Does that make sense?

What I mean is, I have been a lunatic and my head has been in a fog since coming back from Arizona. While I was overwhelmed with excitement and awe watching Ironman Arizona on Sunday, the effect it had on me was not what I expected. I haven't even been able to blog!! In all seriousness, what happened was an increased level of anxiety, self-doubt and fear. I haven't been able to go to sleep, stay asleep or focus. I couldn't even focus on talking with my girlfriends the other was so bizarre.


Not sure. What I can figure is that I so desperately want to meet my goals, and because I didn't have the outcome I hoped for last year, I am fearful of repeating that. I sit and think about times, splits, what-ifs, etc. to the point where I make myself crazy! This is ridiculous!!! I CONTROL ME!!

What I do know:
I am far more prepared at this time than I was before my race last year. I am swimming so much faster than ever before (still not breaking any speed records!), riding stronger and longer and running injury-free. I talked with my closest friends and coaches this week about what I'm feeling and they've all been very understanding and supportive...even though they think I'm kind of silly for it (they're right).

Ironman is a mental challenge as well as a physical challenge. Those challenges occur not only on race day, but in the days, weeks and months preceding the event. This is where I have to learn to put in all into perspective, trust my coaches and my training and keep my head in the game. This is where I concentrate on doing the best I can, the most I can and taking what the day gives me and make the best of it.

If you hear me talking to myself it's just going to be me talking some sense into my head...I am strong. I am steady. I am healthy. I am an Ironman. I will do this.

I will do this.

I will do this.

What happened to the week??

OMG! Since I got back to town from AZ it seems like a whirlwind has engulfed me and taken control of my life!!! Now I'm leaving for Boston in the morning!!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

So much to little time!

I have so many thoughts and memories of the weekend watching friends finish the 2008 Ironman Arizona! I desperately want to get all my thoughts down and share them with you, but it's late and I have to get up early for my own training.

But before I go for the night, I want to congratulate all my friends and everyone who completed the event. It was a hell of a day - high temps and blowing winds - and you all persevered and accomplished a tremendous feat!!

Well done!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Oh so much!!

I am currently recovering from a tough ride of 80+ miles that was all hills and wind! Now I'm resting and watching the Masters before I head out to AZ to watch friends race Ironman tomorrow.

Through the course of the week I've been thinking about my experience at Arizona last year. The obvious: it was brutally windy, I wasn't as prepared as I should have been (or thought I was) and I finished.

I'm going to ramble here, so please bear with me...

The not-so-obvious:
When I look back on it, there were so many things that happened that were a result of things leading up to it or happened as a result of it. I found out a lot about myself and others. I discovered that I had (and still have) an amazing support group of family and friends. I made new friends along the way. And I affirmed that some people are jackasses and will always be jackasses. There are always a few people who will take advantage of your lowest moment and try to crush you while you're down. I'm happy to report that that person has no influence on my life at this point...I have grown beyond that. But for every asshole out there, there are many more wonderful people who will help pick you up along the way, walk with you...share moments of happiness, pain and happiness again.

It was an amazing day - bright and beautiful. The early morning tension and energy was palpable. I remember realizing that it was time to put on my wetsuit and I was trembling the entire time...took me FOREVER to get it on!

I remember everyone climbing down into the water and I was a bit hesitant until something caught my eye. There was a middle-aged woman standing among the athletes and I thought, "that's odd, what's she doing here?" Then I realized she was watching her daughter climbing over the wall at which point she reached down as her daughter turned to her and handed her her prosthetic leg. At that point, for me, there was no turning back.

I remember feeling incredibly nervous as I heard the cannon fire for the pro-athletes thinking, "Oh, my God...we're next!" The cannon fired again and we were off. It was like swimming through a washing machine and shortly after we began I got scared and a bit freaked. I turned over on my back for a quick moment and told myself, "you've done the distance many times, you know you can do this, besides this is freakin' Ironman and you just can quit yet!!"

After that moment, I began to relax into my swim and really felt great. I started to get a bit tired toward the finish, but really was comfortable.

The bike is a suppressed memory as the Arizona winds demolished my legs and destroyed my spirit. Here is where my training lagged (I came to realize). I can honestly say that I did not want to go back out for the third lap, but at that point I thought, "well, I only have one lap left...may as well do it." So reluctantly I headed back out. But by then I was devastated and then someone starts asking me when the cutoff is and even though I wasn't in danger of missing it (unless I stopped or something) I started to have incredible doubts and concerns.

When I made it back to T2 I sat down and started to cry...yep, I cried at Ironman. I know, I know...there's no crying in Ironman!! But I did...and for 20 minutes I debated whether or not I could finish this thing I started. I decided that I couldn't quit (at the support of a wonderful volunteer and her daughter).

I headed out for the run. Halfway through my first lap I was numb but plodding along when I ran into (ha ha, "ran into") a guy I had met a couple of times back home. Oh, how relieved I was to find someone I even remotely knew. So Charles and I continued our plodding together until he reached his finish and then I headed back out for my final lap.

Along the way my sister, Becca, my brother, Robert, and my dearest friend, Sandra (who comes to ALL my big events) greeted me with smiles, cheers, signs and at one point they were all wearing Mickey Mouse ears!!! And every time I came around they would tell me who had called to check on me, who called to wish me well...I had so much support, it was truly overwhelming!!

On the last lap, I came upon an older gentleman who had accomplished a dozen Ironman finishes before this one and who had earlier been knocked off his bike by the fierce winds. We chatted and before I knew it, we were at the bridge - the final stretch!! As we were about to make our final turn he turned to me and said, "This is your first Ironman, right?" Then he told me to go ahead so that I could have that special moment to myself. I almost don't even remember the finish, it's such a foggy memory. But I do remember hearing Mike Riley say, "Michelle Lapuente, you are an IRONMAN!" Remembering that gives me chills and brings tears to my eyes.

I remember crossing the line and Rafael was there waiting for me with a big hug! Becca, Sandra and Robert were there, too. As I write this, I can't help but let the tears flow. I cannot convey the feelings that I have from that day. It was wonderful, terrible, hard, devastating, amazing...all at once. It is truly something special to accomplish, even if you're outcome is not what you hoped...if you give it best you have on the day, that's all you can ask for and makes you a better person along your journey of life.

I am heading to the airport in a little bit to go cheer on my friends, many who will be do their first Ironman...I can't wait to share the experience with them.

In no particular order - the people most special to me during Ironman Arizona 2007:
Becca, Robert, Sandra, Esther, Art, Rafael, Charles, Steve, John, Scott, Mom, Dad, Jen, Kate, Nikki, and others I'm sure I have failed to mention. Thanks to all of you!!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Up and Running Again...

Back in the saddle again...

Made it to swim and spin today.
Oh, so motivated this week.
Feeling recovered from my bonk.
Is anyone else having chaffing issues???

Can't wait to head out to Tempe!
Go T3 IMAZ Team!!!

Sunday, April 6, 2008


First let me start by saying this - yes, I was waaa-waaa-waaa the other day about how I never go out anymore, blah, blah, blah. Well, last night I had 2, yes 2, parties to go to - one, a 40th birthday party for a dear friend of mine who I've know for years...the second a housewarming party for a new friend. So I got all "dolled-up", hair, makeup, normal clothes and made it to the birthday party. The margarita machine was fully functioning and I had a couple throughout the night. The party was great and going strong when I left just before 10:00 to head over to Billy's party.

Now, of course, they were on opposite ends of town and I had to pass my exit to continue down south and well, I just didn't make it. As I was driving I began to think these thougths:
1. It would be almost 10:30 before I got there and knew it would be rockin' and I wouldn't want to leave.
2. I wouldn't want to leave and would be there at least 'til midnight.
3. The puppies would wake me up at 5:00 or 6:00 in the morning...and that would be no bueno with a hangover.
4. I had to run 16 miles on Sunday after swim practice (which starts at 8:00)

So, I took my exit and went home. Turned on SNL and quickly fell asleep. Yeah, I'm such the party girl...


All that being said, I probably should have gone to the party because I TOTALLY BONKED my run!!!

The morning started out well enough - the puppies let me sleep in until 6:00 and actually let me go back to sleep. I woke up at 7:30, just in time to leave for swim practice. After a decent swim, Eryn and I headed over to Starbucks and chatted for a while before I decided I'd better get going for my run.

I had to stop by the house because I forgot my Garmin and gels...this should have been an omen for what was to come! I knew I'd be doing multiple loops and totally spaced out on carrying a bottle of sports drink...duh! I didn't pay attention to the weather either, had no clue it was going to be as hot as it was so I also had no electrolyte pills. You'd think I'd never done this before. I had the water on the trail and two gels.

The plan was to start with the 7 mile loop, then the 5 mile loop, then the 4 mile loop. The first loop was fine. The second loop started to wear on me and by the time I was starting the third loop, I was very dehydrated, salty and near tears. I was actually talking to myself out loud!! I'm sure people thought I was a reality, I was bonking and there were only 2 options: stop and walk back or keep running. I decided that the faster I moved, the faster I'd get back to my car.

When I finally made it back to the shop I was wobbly, covered in salt and not looking good...and that can be confirmed by everyone at the shop! Clearly not how I want to be seen, but glad they were good enough to take care of me. Michelle brought me smoothies, Marsha shared her Coke and Cassidy and I went to Taco Bell to get some calories in my body. I had plenty of water, as well. At Zane's recommendation, I even went outside to the back and used the water hose to cool off my head and lower my body temperature.

Key Point: It doesn't matter how experienced a runner you are, it's very important to stop and take the time to really think out your run and prepare your body for the elements. Especially now that the weather has changed and become much warmer, you really have to start thinking differently before you hit the trails. I managed to get in my miles, but it was ugly and I didn't run as well as I had hoped (imagine that!)

For anyone interested, here's an article on bonking:,7120,s6-238-267--11429-0,00.html

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Better today.

Last night was a little tough and that feeling actually carried over to this morning. Reluctantly, I gathered my things and headed out to meet the group for my 100 mile ride. I was a little grumpy about it and when I got there I did mention to a couple of people that I wasn't in a good place. Usually when I'm not in a good place it's because I don't feel good about how I may perform or something else having to do with my actual riding...this time it was just about why I was out there. I decided, though, that I was going to ride my best...stay within myself and try not to think too hard about all the miles still to come.

We decided to ride out to Johnson City and then Eryn and I would add a loop on South MoPac to get us closer to that 100 mile mark. The weather turned out to be gorgeous...not a cloud in the sky and NO WIND!!!! The temperature was a little chilly at the start, enough for arm warmers and gloves. It was really about the most perfect day to ride that anyone could have asked for - this helped my attitude tremendously :) The course was tough! I've never ridden out there before and OMG is it hilly! Holy Crap!! The hills were endless. Some of them looked more daunting than they really were and for some reason, I was riding them pretty well. I'd get passed on the flats, but then pass others on the hills...hmmmm. Once we were on the way back, I kept telling myself, "just keep riding...make it to 290 and we'll stop and get a COKE!" Boy, was it good!! In the end we ended up doing about 95 miles (my quads were cramping - didn't take enough electrolyte pills, I guess).

We started out as a group of around 10 or so, but ended up being me, Amanda and Eryn. They're both stronger cyclists than I am, so it was nice that I could hang with them...I was just feeling pretty good on the bike today...I hope that lasts!!

I can honestly say that I am very happy to be doing what I'm doing...and doing it with some really great people! Sure, sometimes I miss the happy hours and nights out but what I'm doing is really worth everything I'm putting into it. I love how I feel after a hard effort, like today. I love spending time with people who feel the same way. I love that it's healthy for my body and keeps me looking younger than my 36 years (or at least that's what I'm told). Whatever, I feel good and am happy when I look in the mirror - with what's inside and out!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Sometimes I wonder...

I know it's because I'm tired. I know it's bound to happen from time to time, but tonight I'm wondering why I do this. Tonight I'm trying to remember what it's like to "go out" on a Friday night. What it's like to spend an evening drinking wine with people who don't have to get up at 6:00 a.m. on Saturday. Maybe even finding someone special to share the moment with. What it's like to spend an evening carefree - laughing, listening to music, enjoying the city, flirting with the crisp, spring, evening air...

Thursday, April 3, 2008

From 2:30's to 1:40's

OMG!! Seriously??

I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't have seen it for myself...I was swimming 1:40's for my 100's today!!! So, not all of them were, but the point is - some were.

I felt a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction today. These moments are becoming more frequent and that rocks. Now, I understand that there will still be plenty of bad days and days I feel like I'm swimming backwards, but I'm having more good days than bad and that's worth any bad day.

I felt particularly motivated when I heard Chrissie instructing another lane and I stated that I thought 1:30's seemed unfathomable. She simply reminded me that I went from swimming 2:30's to 1:40's - I could swim 1:30's. I realize that I'm not fast, but I'm faster. Ahhh, progress...finally.