Mumblings of a Crazy Person-Ironman Boulder Training

Seven weeks out from Ironman Boulder.  Training is getting…fun? Enjoyable?  Entertaining?  Monotonous? Insane?  Yep…there it is!!

hill-seekerI’m going to give you a little peek into my mind while out on my training ride today.  The ride was only 24-miles with a series of hill repeats thrown in on Fernan saddle, which is about a 6% grade, all timed, so that my legs had just enough time to “turn on” before I’d turn to swoosh back down at 34mph.…nothing to get too crazy about.

Fernan was quiet….2 cars today.  I rode from town, and out around the lake taking in its gorgeous beauty.  I have to say, that view…never gets old.  I love the winding switch backs and the smooth pavement out to the gun range, where the hill starts.  It’s serene.  Peaceful even.  I was nice and warmed up by the time I got there.  Ready to attack those hill repeats!

First repeat….this is feeling pretty easy.  I look over the hill to the gun range and take a notice to who’s out there…a dad with 2 young kids, an older, graying, gentleman and his wife.  He looks like he’s teaching her to shoot.  “Keep it aimed out towards the target, Mama” I think….OK, I’m started to get warm with my jacket on..that will need to be peeled off when I turn around.  Hmmm…is that a bone?  Yep!  That looks like an ulna.  Cat?  Dog?  Coyote?  Oh…theres a pelvis.  WOW!  Yes there are wild animals out here! Check the time…

Down…turn around….Kids and Dad still there.  Wife and husband still there.  She still hasn’t taken a shot.  There are the bones. “That’s gotta be a femur.”  I continue to climb.  A Dairy Queen straw…and the cup.  A Blizzard.  man, why do people litter.  So rude!  On this climb, of course, I start my self-talk.  Last time I made it to point X..this time, I have to make it a little further.  I’m timing 7-minute hill repeats. I am BY FAR my own worst critic.  Not the self-hating, self-punishing type of critic…but the kind of critic that gives myself pep-talks that motivate, makes me work harder, makes me pick up my cadence, sweat a little harder.  I will never work harder than when I am racing myself.  There is something that boils up inside of me, that makes me want to go the extra mile, go a little harder.  It’s me..against ME!  Last time I made it to the snag, this time I blew right by her.  Snagatha Christy!

Down, turn around.  Dad and kids are loading up to go home….the older couple…she’s ready to fire, gun held up..he’s out fixing the target.  Oh man…that doesn’t look good.  I say a prayer.  The bones…man, what’s the story with those bones?  And why? are they in the road?  There’s the DQ straw…oh man! a Blizzard sounds so good right now.  Does it though?  I haven’t had a Blizzard in years!  Honestly 2001 was the last Blizzard I had.  But this little gem, laying on the side of the road….perfection!  Pink toothbrush..Oh that’s new.  How does a toothbrush find its way to the side of the road?  Was it tossed from a car?  Fell out from someone’s belongings on the way to a camping trip?  Hmmm that would make for a weekend of bad-breath.  Was that a couch cushion?  There’s that big, beautiful snag…See Ya Later! Snag!

Down, turn around.  It’s like a slow dance.  Slow it down, turn around, repeat.  The older couple…granny is poppin’ em off like lightning now.  Yeah!!  She’s got it!  It quiets as I head up the hill.  Bones, check.  Blizzard straw, check. pink toothbrush, check.  Yes, that IS a couch cushion, check.  Snag….hmmm there you are you broken and gnarly piece of tree….”were you struck by lightning?”  I think my legs were just struck by lightning.  Dear Paula, you decided to sign up for yet another Ironman….this is part of the pain.  Hit it girl!  I giggle to myself.  It is so quiet now.  No cars, no fire arms, no bikes, no wind….silence.  Me and my breath.  My toosh hurts….(this is another blog-post that needs to be written)  Oh my BUTT!! “Do I have my pepper spray in my Bento box?  Sooo quiet.  And beautiful.  The mountain and trees are magnificent under the sunshine.  I am always so in awe of this place we call home.  I feel blessed.  31525_20130124_125818_good_morning_quotes_06

Down.  And up.  Grams & Gramps have left the range now, seemingly satisfied with her firearm prowess.  It’s just me.  Last repeat.  Last time to make it outstanding.  I am dying to stand up….coach says, “keep the climb in the saddle.”  Make this strong and remarkable Paula….again, being my own worst judge.  Don’t think about the fire starting to escape through your muscles, and burning through your shorts.  This makes me think of the Fantastic Four and the Human Torch…my legs could quite possibly catch fire!  Think of how you’ll feel if you give up now.  Finish this last repeat like a boss.  Do not look for your distractions on the ground.  Look up.  See the snag?  She’s waving you by.  She knows that she was a one-time deal and that you would never stop at her again.  The sound of my breathing is a great sound.  It reminds me how alive I am.  It reminds me that my lungs are strong and healthy.  Capable and competent.  My mind drifts….”your great grace..”  I am WAY past my first attempt of this climb.  Past my second and third attempt.  It feels GREAT to continue up.  Further than the last.  A silent prayer escapes my lips….”Thank you for this.” photo


Look at that yellow mushroom!!!

I am WAY further up the hill!!  Nice work Lady!!  Take a selfie!

“Get your butt home before whatever drug those bones to the road, comes out for a visit.”

The Break-Up

Summer has so far proved to be amazing…as usual. It’s my time of year. My season. It never disappoints. Well…OK, I retract that as sometimes living in the Pacific Northwest our summers are more of a quick blip on the calendar in August. I love the hot (sometimes but rarely humid) days. I love waking early, and getting in a run while the sun is rising. And some days like yesterday, absolutely killing it on a six-mile run in the blistering, heat of the afternoon. I love that feeling of sore, tired, muscles. Sweating so much you feel like you’ve had a complete detox or a good session in the sauna. Finishing off those miles wondering if your legs will give out on you altogether or if when you stop there will be a puke-explosion! Now….six-miles is not a lot to run mileage wise, but when your last mile is entirely uphill, it is 85 degrees, full sun, and you feel like you may collapse….that six-miles can feel like your twenty-sixth.


That hill I speak of, some days it’s my best friend. It’s my “cool down” and I walk that 1-mile hill to my house. Some days it’s my worst enemy, as I run it and do repeats on it…either way, I live at the top, and what runs down, must run up! Yesterday I felt like calling the Hubs for a pick-up at the bottom. Luckily I didn’t have my phone, so it was “tackle this B*tch!” Glad I did. The first thing that came out of my mouth, all exasperated, out of breath, sweating like a dog, used up completely, when I got back to the house, and Hubs was sitting on the front porch, in the shade, was “WHY ON EARTH DO WE LIVE AT THE TOP OF A GIANT HILL!!!??” After I grabbed some water, stretched and cooled out…all I had to do was look around. Enough said.

Not Such a Bad View Coming Up Our Hill

Not Such a Bad View Coming Up Our Hill

I have officially started training for my Fall marathon. I am excited! I of course scoured through different training plans *see last weeks blog post* and felt pretty good with my decision. Annnnd…. have since changed my mind. Go figure! Thank goodness we are only 2 weeks in. So switching gears a bit, I decided to use the Hanson Method. Their book, Hansons Marathon Method: A Renegade Path to Your Fastest Marathon, just made me laugh. And I thought, how apropos. I like the “renegade” part. Again…Go figure! Those who know me know that this word “renegade” alone would’ve sucked me in.

So I am starting this week (yesterday) 3 weeks into their plan. So far, so good, but it’s only been 2 days. It will be a completely different approach for me, as far as marathon training goes. My longest run will only be a 16-miler (which I will do 3 times during training) VS a 20 or 22-miler. They say they train you for the last 16 miles of the marathon and not the first 16. It’s a 6-day a week plan, that incorporates speed, strength and tempo workouts and trains your body to run on tired legs. From some of my Ultra friends, I hear this is a great approach. I will be putting in anywhere from 46-62 miles per week. The reviews are fantastic! So that’s settled….for good this time!



This is What My First 8-weeks Will Look Like (I Started on Week 3)

This is What My First 8-weeks Will Look Like (I Started on Week 3)


On another note, I am sad to say, I am going to be breaking up with my running shoes. This crushes and breaks my heart. I do not understand (well I do) why manufacturers need to change-up their shoe’s design. I know as technology and science betters with time, they need to make a change…but OH MY GOSH…do I love my shoes. Unfortunately since they made a small change, my last 2 pairs have been a little lackluster. Including my newest pair. I feel the tears welling up in my eyes as I type, and am now wishing I had been better at hoarding these shoes. As in buying up 25 pairs while they were so great! I would’ve had shoes for a few years. So now I am left in a quandary, trying to figure out what to switch to. LUCKILY, I am in early training and have some time to get this worked out. The break-up will be hard, and I will go through a mourning process, possibly locking myself in my room and listening to old Journey or some Total Eclipse of the Hearts for a few days. But like any other break-up, I know something better will come along.



I’d love to hear from you about training plans and shoes. Which plans have worked and which have not? Which running shoes have you had a love affair with? Have there been bad break-ups? How did you cope? And what was the “something better” that came along?? Was it hard saying Good-Bye?