Wednesday, July 25, 2012

First Open Water Swim...Ever

Well, since this Ironman Kentucky thing does not take place in the pool at my local gym, I decided that I better go out for an open water swim to see how this thing will play out.  This was to be my first open water swim.  By first, I do not mean first of the season or first in a long time, I mean my first open water swim, EVER.  Now, I have "swam" in the ocean before, you know sat in the water with a frozen drink in the Caribbean Ocean, but something tells me that the Ohio River is not going to look like the Caribbean and that I will not have an umbrella drink in my hand.

My super sweet husband volunteered to go out in the lake with me on his kayak.  We were not sure if there would be a lot of other people out during the open water swim or not, so we wanted to be fully prepared.  We were very surprised and happy when there were three life guards out on the course.

I first walked out into the lake, thinking this was not so bad.  I felt sand beneath my feet.  I then kept walking to get out onto the course and no longer felt sand.  I am not sure what it was but it was something that I did not like, it was probably grass or moss or something.  Yuck.  (In case you have not noticed, I am more of an indoor girl). 

I took off swimming and was completely overwhelmed by the fact that there was no red line on the bottom so I could see where I was going.  Ah, so this where that whole sighting thing people have talked about will come into play.  I kind of started to panic a little bit.  I saw Ken on his kayak very close by and decided that it was time to completely panic.  My heart rate went up, my breathing was labored and I very ungracefully made my way over to his kayak.  I told him that I could not see and that this was awful.  All I could think about while holding on to the kayak was in the move Titanic, "Rose I need you to swim!".

At this moment, I wanted to quit.  I wanted to straddle that kayak and get out of the lake.  I was convinced that there was no way I could even swim one loop, let alone swim 2.4 miles with 2000 other flailing bodies.  I composed myself and went on my way.  I started to panic again just before the first buoy when I saw the first life guard.  She talked to me for a second, and calmed me down.  I told her I was having a hard time seeing and she told me I would get the hang of it.  Ken talked to her for a moment and she thought it was so sweet that he was out there with me to support me.  One point for Ken! 

I leaned on the kayak thinking, wow, I have no idea how I will do this.  Then it hit me.  I have spent the last eight months swimming 2-3 days per week for at least an hour each time if not more.  I can do this.  I have not spent every Friday night at 68 Sports in the pool for nothing.  I have trained for this.  Get your butt out there KJ!!!  (I call myself KJ when I mean business).  Show your husband that you can swim and that you can do this!

So off I went.  Guess what, I was completely fine.  I just counted.  I counted like I do in the pool 1,2,3....1,2,3....I ended up swimming three loops, which was about 1500 yards.  I could have kept going, but Ken and I were both rather hungry. 

Ken told me that I just took off like a duck.  I was just swimming like a mad woman and would look up to make sure I was on course.  He said I was passing people.  Me, little Keri, that could not even swim 50 yards without stopping 12 months ago, was passing people! 

I was so proud of myself for not only making myself stick it out, but for even getting out there in the first place.  I am so not a fan of dirty water.  I guess I am a little tougher than I thought I was. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Random Training Things...

With all of the training I have been doing lately, things are bound to go wrong, right?  I mean, I am so not a professional or even an experienced tri-athlete, so I am bound to do things that are silly.  I like to think of myself as the normal everyday tri-athlete.  I try not to take things too seriously, knowing full well that I am just rolling with the punches on this whole ironman thing.

  • I have been wearing my swimcap backwards for oh, the last seven months.  Yep, that's right, I just noticed the other day that a lady in the gym was wearing the same pink cap as me and the speedo logo was on the front and not the back like I have been wearing it.  I took a good look at my swimcap and noticed that yes, the logo obviously goes in front.
  • I also just realized on Friday the correct way my goggles go on.  In my defense, I have only had these specific goggles for about six weeks, but still.  I had zero goggle issues on my 2.4 mile swim on Friday and told myself that I needed to mark them as to which side is up.  Well guess what, there is a mark on both sides of the goggles that show which is the top side.  In my defense, the top and bottom look a lot alike.
  • I finally had to buy a new swimsuit.  Mine went from okay to borderline peep show overnight.  My biggest fear is that my butt crack was showing because the bottoms were falling down.  That's right, I just typed butt crack.  Don't even ask about how the top was starting to fit.
  • I think I finally have my breathing down to where I am not spitting on anyone when I breathe.  This is a step in the right direction.
  • I had to share a lane with a guy at the pool the other day.  Guess what, I was faster than him.  I am sure he did not realize that it was a competition, but I totally kicked his butt. 
  • I have encountered more dead animals on my bike rides than I can count.  I think this is the worst part about riding a bike.  You see and smell so many awful things.  On my 90 mile ride over the weekend, I saw a dead raccoon, dead skunk, and a dead deer.  I turned around when I saw the dead deer.  That was too much.  Plus, it was at the bottom of a big hill and I felt that the dead deer was a sign that I should turn around. 
  • I passed someone on the bike on Saturday.  A man to be more exact.  Sure, he was like 60, but it still counts.  Seeing how I am so slow on the bike, this is a huge victory and I will take my props when I can get them.
  • Speaking of being passed, there is this one hill on my route that is the death of me.  It is at 159th and Mission and it is not even the steepest hill I ride up.  It always comes about three miles from home at the end of the ride and is about a half mile long or so.  I hate this hill.  A few weeks ago, I was dying going up this sucker and out of nowhere comes a Lance Armstrong wannabe flying up the hill.  He turns around and asks me if I was okay.  I was not quite sure what made him thing I was struggling, my heavy panting or the fact that I was counting while I was going up the hill and every other word was an f-bomb?  I assured him I was fine and had already ridden 60 miles and that is why I was cursing so much.  That and my hoo hoo hurt.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Random Happenings...

  • I was in charge of watering our lawn last week while Ken is out of town.  If you know me, you know this is not good.  I had to move the sprinklers around to the front yard and ended up getting sprayed in the face and still did not have them covering the full yard.  I just could not figure the darn things out. 
  • I was also in charge of taking the garbage out last week.  Fortunately for me, the recycle truck drove by as I was walking out of the garage with the garbage can wearing heels and a dress.  The recycle truck stopped, the guy got out and he took the garbage to the curb.  How sweet was he!
  • The last few weeks I have been doing things that do not make any sense.  For example, I made Ken a cup of coffee the other day and forgot to put the coffee cup under the spout of the Keurig!  I wondered why there was coffee all over the counter...
  • I also have left the lid up to the washer at least three times.  I wonder why I can never hear it running...
  • I also shook a can of parmesan cheese with the top open.  Miss Kya helped out with that problem.
  • I have also started the wrong burner on the stove and wondered why my item is not cooking.
  • Oh and the new low that happened this morning, I opened the oven and started to put my dirty coffee cup in there instead of the dishwasher.
All I can say is, bless my heart. 

Big Weekend...

This past weekend was a big training weekend.  I am happy to say that I survived.  I am not feeling to fabulous today, but what can I expect!

Friday - 2.4 mile swim, that's right, a 2.4 mile swim!  Oh and a two mile run.

Saturday - 90 mile bike ride in the 99 degree heat.  My hoo hoo will never be the same!

Sunday - 12 mile run. 

I ended up having to run on the treadmill on Sunday.  I just could not drag myself out of bed early enough to get outside.  I need my sleep!  I would have liked to have run 15 miles, but I was pressed for time. 

I ended up training for just short of 10 hours over the weekend.  The sad thing, I did not even have any ice cream to celebrate. 

We are officially on the countdown, less than 5 weeks to go!  I hope I am ready.  I have a 100 mile bike ride planned for this weekend.  Yikes!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Baby It's Hot Outside...

With the temperature still rising and no end in sight, Miss Kya is about to go crazy!  The poor girl cannot run and she cannot enjoy her yard.  What is a girl to do?

How about some ice cream?

Did someone say ice cream?

Patiently waiting in the drive thru

We usually go to Sheridan's but thought we would try Freddy's since it is so close to our house.  We were disappointed that they do not have any pup cones, so she had to get a small dish.  It was actually a little easier because I stopped in the parking lot and let her eat a little bit and then put the lid on and she ate the rest at home.  

Two happy, ice cream loving girls!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

R2R2R Trip, Hiking North to South...

I thought I had some fun pictures of our day on the North Rim, but I really do not.  I will just skip on to the North to South Rim hike. 

Last year, Ken was unable to hike the second day due to nasty blisters on the bottom of his feet.  Well, this year, he decided to listen to his marathon running wife and use body glide.  Guess what, no blisters!!!  He was up and ready to go on the return hike. 

This picture is blurry, but that is how we felt.  The temperature on the trail head had dropped about 10 degrees from when we were outside our cabins.  I had started to wish I had brought my gloves. 

The hike down the North Rim is more enjoyable for me than hiking down the South Rim.  I really have no reason why I like this part of the trail more, but I just do.  We had decided early on that we would all go to Ribbon Falls to check it out.  It was absolutely gorgeous!  Ribbon Falls is about one mile after you pass Cottonwood on your way from North to South.  You hike off the main trail for close to a mile and then you see this gorgeous water fall.  We were wondering if the extra mileage would be worth it and then we saw this:

It is hard to believe that this is inside the Grand Canyon

Katie, Molly, and me

You can hike up and get behind the water fall.  Look how tiny Ken looks!

I walked up behind the water fall too.  It was so pretty.

Yes, this is INSIDE the Grand Canyon

I could not stop taking pictures

We waiting around for our other five hikers to join us.  A few people had fun getting inside the falls.  I chose to stay dry.

Molly, Ken, Katie, and me.  Despite what you might think, Molly does not have to pee.  She was cold from getting in the falls.

No Ken, you cannot kayak down the falls

When we were leaving Ribbon Falls, we had to make a decision:  either cross a stream or backtrack about a mile and hike up a monster of a hill.   I voted for the hill, but I was the only person that voted for the hill.  The other five people with me, chose to cross the creek.  Great.  We walk along to the stream.  Let me tell you, this thing may as well been the Amazon.  I had no idea how my little self was going to cross something rushing so quickly.  I know, you are thinking Keri, you are training for an ironman that requires you to swim in a river.  Yes, I am, but I will be in a swim suit, with goggles, and I will not have my iPhone or GPS watch with me.  Oh and the water will be 80 degrees and not 50 degrees. 

Ken crosses, no big deal.  Molly starts to cross.  I remove my socks and shoes and start to cross.  Yeah, it is not happening.  My feet are on rocks and are freezing.  Water is rushing toward me and I just know it is going to sweep me away.  I tell Ken I cannot make it.  There are three other people behind me.  I am holding everyone up.  I am two seconds from turning around and hiking up the big hill.  Ken starts mumbling.  Ken starts shouting "You call yourself and ironman!  Come on Keri".  For the record, I am not an ironman yet, so I can still be a baby if needed.  Amy comes up and takes my shoes.  Fabulous, now I have to cross the damn gigantic river.  Amy crosses and gives me one of her trekking poles.  I somehow take off as fast as I can with tears in my eyes.  I made it to safety.  Sorry Ken, you cannot cash in on the insurance policy yet.  :)

Katie and Anna follow and we stop to wipe our feet and put our socks and shoes back on.  It was the absolute worst moment of the hike.  Ken says I was dramatic, but it was awful.  I was so happy once we were back on the trail.  Next goal, make it to Phantom Ranch.

Last year, Molly and hiked past Phantom Ranch before they were open.  I was bummed that we did not get to go inside to see the store they have there, but this year we went inside.  Um yeah, they have peanut M&M's and Snickers bars.  That's right, candy at the bottom of the Grand Canyon.  Ken bought a sticker, some ice, and me a bag of trail mix.  It was already getting so hot, that we were stuffing ice everywhere we could think of.  Ice in pants, ice in my bra.  It was fabulous! 

Leaving Phantom Ranch, we hope on the Bright Angel Trail to hike out of the South Rim.  First, you must cross Silver Bridge.

Then, the ugliness starts.  You hike a mile or two in the most awful sand ever.  I had forgotten about this part.  It was so hard to walk, and the sun is blaring down on you.  Blah.  We kept moving along cracking jokes, talking about everyone's jobs, about our pets.  If you do not know someone very well before you hike, you really get to know them during a 24 mile trek across the Grand Canyon.

Ken kept talking about wanting to see a mule and a big horned sheep.  I had seen plenty of mules on the South to North hike and Katie assured Ken that she has hiked the canyon four times and has not ever gotten to see a big horn sheep.  That is all we heard the entire time out of Ken.  I want to see a big horn sheep.  Well Ken, I want an ice cream cone.

We arrived at Indian Gardens knowing that it was hot.  We did not know how hot until we saw the thermometer that read 120 degrees.  Yikes!  We had 4.5 miles to hike in the heat of the day with very little shade. 

Attitudes were a little down and then enters the Desert Storm Veteran.  Now, before I continue, please know that I have absolutely nothing but respect for veterans and current service members.  This guy was a little off but proved to be entertaining.  Here is how the conversation played out:

Man to Molly:  "Ma'am you are wearing black, bend over." 

Molly bends over, the strange man pours water down her back. 

Man to Molly:  "Tilt your head back."

Man pours water all over Molly's front.

Man to all of us:  "I am a Desert Storm Veteran.  I know how to handle the heat.  You should not be hiking from 12:00 to 4:00.  When you get to the three mile house, dunk every item of clothing you have on three times.  Yes, three times.  To cool your self down, stand with your arms out like this.  (Man holds his arms out like chicken wings).  See, you feel better since I cooled you down with water."

Molly to man:  "It looks like a cloud cover might be coming."

Man to Molly:  "Don't get excited ma'am, it is a small cloud, it will pass quickly."

He pulled out a bottle of pills and we were on our way.  I think he really thought that we had just woken up and said, hey, let's go hike the Grand Canyon today.  We were completely prepared and he treated us like a group of idiots.  Although, his commentary did make us laugh and keep us entertained for the next four miles.  I am sure there are people that do indeed need his assistance, however, we were not those people.  Molly is a nurse and Amy is a doctor and we each had a few liters of water, so we were quite prepared, just hot and tired.

We carried on, hiking away.  Someone would throw out a ma'am you are wearing black, bend over, when it was least expected, making us bust up laughing.  Did I mention that Ken was a trooper hiking with five women?

This picture cracks me up.  Molly looks like she might kill Ken. 

Ken tries for a better reaction out of Anna and Amy

About one mile from the top, we turn and see the absolute highlight of Ken's day.  That's right there on the trail was a big horn sheep.

Hello lover

He was just standing right on the trail.  He has no idea how delighted he made Ken.  Ken's entire day was made right there with the big horn sheep siting.

He climbed up the trail and hopped up on this rock to model for us.  I can call him a he with absolute certainty.  When he turned around, we were lucky enough to see the biggest pair of balls I have ever seen in my life!

After the sheep siting, we were engergized to get this hike finished.  Next thing you know, we were rounding the corner to the top!

I have never been more proud of Ken

Ken, Katie, and me.  Katie is enjoying a lime-a-rita.  She could not stop talking about those things during the entire hike!

Ma'am you are wearing black, bend over - pretty sure we are retelling that story to the other folks in our group!

Larry and his family finished after us.  I love this picture of Larry, he was so happy to complete such a wonderful experience with his children.

That is our rim to rim to rim experience for 2012.  It was a hot one, but it was so much fun to hike the North to South with Ken, Katie, Molly, Amy, and Anna.  We were such a fun group and we will forever have memories that we will share.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

R2R2R Trip, South to North Hike...

After getting to bed early the night before, we set the alarm and woke up at 1:45 am.  Isn't that what everyone does on vacation?  We had a little coffee and made our way out the door to get to the trail head by 3:00. 

                                               Here we are at 2:15 am, ready to head out!

Here we are ready to roll!  I have no idea why I am bent down, I am 4'10 for heaven's sake!  Also, you really cannot see Ken, but he is the one with the insanely bright light.  Nice Ken.  Tell me about your headlamp.  :)

The first few hours you spending hiking in complete darkness.  The trail is a little on the steep side going down, so I personally like it being dark.  

One of our first stops to potty

Yes, I just posted this, on the internet.  In his defense, it is very dusty when we are hiking down.  One of our hikers last year ended up getting a fungus infection in her lung. 

One of the drop off areas
Katie hiking along.  You can see the sun is starting to creep up.  This is probably around 4:30.

Stopping for a snack.  We are about three miles from Phantom Ranch.

This is my favorite part of the trail.  You are still going down, but it is very gradual.  The views of the canyon with the sun creeping up are unbelievable.  You also can start to hear the river and you know Phantom Ranch is just around the corner.

We look a little more awake in this picture than our first one we took at 2:15 am.  :)

Katie looking oh so bright and cheery. You could not miss her on the trail.  :)

It would be a crime to hike the Grand Canyon and not get a photo of Ken and his signature pose.

Poor Ken.  He was completely out numbered by women during our hike.  Out of 16 hikers, there were only four guys.  Ken was a trooper and hung up with us girls most of the time.  He was trying to take a picture of us hiking, and Katie and I were trying to look all natural hiking and swinging our arms.

Now we are being super silly.  You have to entertain yourself when you are hiking 21 miles thru the Grand Canyon.

There's the Colorado River!  We have almost reached the bottom of the canyon!

After Phantom Ranch, Aaron, Maddie and I separated from the group.  This was both Aaron and Maddie's first time to hike.  They were wanting to go a little faster, so of course, I volunteered to stick with them to make sure they made it out safely.  I was their resident cheerleader.  I am pretty sure there was a time when they both wanted to toss me off the trail.  I kept telling them that every land mark was just around the corner.  Yep, just around the corner.

Pardon my boob shot.  :)  Here I am with my hiking buddies.  I tried to keep them entertained during the rough patches.  I volunteered to sing giving the choice of Baby Got Back, Gangster's Paradise, and Ice Ice Baby, but they were not interested.

Stopping for a picture break

You can see the trail along the cliff and Amy and Anna making their way along the trail.

Ken is finished!

Maddie and me.  I was so proud of her, she was such a trooper.  The poor girl starting having hip flexer trouble on the way out of the canyon.  My favorite thing she said the entire day was when I asked her if she was going to have cake with dinner.  Her response was "I have no effing idea!"  It was so fun.  I wanted to make sure she was okay and not over heated, so I kept talking to her and asking her random questions.  I am sure I was not annoying with my peppiness.  :)

South to North Rim hike was a success!!

Checked into our cabin and ready to shower and relax!  For those of you that think there is camping involved on this trip, you are sadly mistaken.  :)  Up next, a very much deserved day of rest and then the North to South Rim hike.  Did Ken end up hiking North to South???