Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Comparison: Plan vs Reality

Ironman Louisville is over and yes, I can scream it to the rooftops. I am an Ironman. Race report to come soon, but it will be a long one. Instead I thought I'd do a quick comparison to what I thought I should be able to do compare to what really happened on that day.

SWIM: According to my plan, my 2.4 mile swim should have taken approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes. Instead, according to Garmin, my 2.64 mile swim (yes, I am challenged), took 1:42:07.

3 minutes ahead of the game.

Transition 1:  According to plan, a 15 minute T1 was reasonable. I wanted to feel relaxed and not make mistakes. On IMLOU race day, my T1 was 14:48. Right on target.

Still...3 minutes ahead of the game.

BIKE: Based on previous experience, I knew I could do 15.5 mph, but in order to be conservative I decided a safe speed would be 15 mph, add in 20 minutes for potty breaks & family hugs, I thought I'd be done in 7 hours 48 minutes. In reality? I averaged 15.33 mph for a total time of 7:18:25.

Break out the happy dance!!! Now 33 minutes ahead of the game.

Transition 2: I knew I was going to take a long 2nd transition. I had to test my blood sugar. Again, I wanted to feel relaxed and not crazy. Calm was the order for the day. I planned for 20 minutes in T2. My IMLOU T2 time was 27:49, but it was the best transition ever. More on that to come. I know it's hard to see, but this filmstrip is a series of shots by my niece, Tiffany, of Cheryl & I leaving T2. As you can tell from my animated expressions, I was having a great day, the time of my life.

Lost some ground, only 26 minutes ahead of the game.

Run: Based on breaking down the 3 different paces I had planned for the marathon, I wanted to complete the run portion in 5 hours and 11 minutes. Instead, I ran it in 5:26:47. 15 minutes slower than I wanted, but here is the key. I never hit the wall. I felt incredible. Because I feared hitting the wall, I allowed myself to relax my pace a little. Now in the end, it definitely cost me.

If I had stayed with my planned paces, I could have broken into the 14 hour mark. UGH!!!! Crap!!!! Yes, it bugs me. My one regret for the day, but holy hell. I really don't think I would change a thing. Words cannot describe the way I felt all day long. I smiled the entire day. I loved seeing all of the T3 athletes on the course. All of my hopes and dreams for race day were fulfilled.

Carla Leber, You are an Ironman!
In the end, I estimated I could complete IMLOU in 15 hours 26 minutes. In reality, I had the absolute best day of my life. I smiled all day long. I never hated my bike. I never hit the wall in the marathon. I did not feel an ounce of pain until I stopped running. I completed 140.6 miles at Ironman Louisville in 15:09:56.

Yes, I am an Ironman. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Living with Consequences

For the past several years, I have had to endure the consequences of exercise & living a healthy lifestyle. 

I have had to endure the compliments of virtual strangers. 
I’ve had to live daily with a smile on my face. 
I've had to learn how to control my energy level. 
I’ve had to purchase a whole new wardrobe.

I do not know what is going on with the latest television program. 
I feel so alive. Why doesn't everyone want to feel this way? 

It’s a tough burden to bear. If you would like to share this burden with me, please let me know. 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Drink, Drank, Drunk

When I was diagnosed as a Type II Diabetic, most people asked if I noticed any of the classic symptoms, such as constant thirst. I cannot say that I did because I am a drinker. I constantly have a cup of fluid with me to keep my palette wet.

I am a drinker and, therefore, yes, it does get ugly quick when it involves alcohol. But that's not what we are here to talk about. Let's talk about (non-alcoholic induced) dehydration.

According to the Mayo Clinic
Dehydration occurs when you lose more fluid than you take in, and your body doesn't have enough water and other fluids to carry out its normal functions. If you don't replace lost fluids, you may get dehydrated.
Dehydration can surprise you if you are not staying aware. Take for instance Awesome Cheryl during our last training ride in L'ville. The day wasn't even extremely warm, but she soon found herself experiencing the first stages of dehydrating: discolored urine, little sweating, slight headache and chills. After drinking more water, most of her symptoms subsided, but in order to catch it quickly you need to be aware of the symptoms:

  • Dry, sticky mouth
  • Feeling of sluggishness, tired
  • Thirst
  • Decreased urine
  • Few or no tears when crying
  • Headache
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
Symptoms of severe dehydration which required medical attention ASAP:
  • Extreme thirst
  • Extreme fussiness or irritability, sleepiness
  • Very dry mouth
  • Lack of sweating
  • Little or no urination - urine may be dark yellow or amber
  • Sunken eyes
  • Skin loses elasticity, or doesn't bounce back after pinching
  • Low Blood pressure
  • Rapid heart beat
  • Rapid breathing
  • No tears when crying
  • Fever
Last weekend when Cheryl & I were coming home from L'ville, I received a text from my dear husband saying he needed to talk to me about his heart rate during his run which got up to 230-240. 


Just as I am someone who constantly has an ice cold something-something next to me, my dear hubby is my polar opposite. He can go all day long without drinking more than 16 ounces of fluid. When I asked him how much he had to drink that day, he said he had been working in the garage all day cleaning it out and drank one glass of tea with lunch. Oh my gosh. How can he drink so little????

Obviously, I was very concerned. I asked him to call our doctor on Monday and see about talking to him about the situation. Jeff's dad had a heart attack at the age of 50. Jeff is now 44. His maximum heart rate should be about 176 (220 minus age). 

Naturally, the doctor agreed that 240 was extremely high and was concerned. Jeff went through an EKG and chest x-ray that day and they found nothing. The next day he went in for a stress test. With dye injected into his veins, he ran on the treadmill for 15 minutes at 20% include, speed of 5.5. Unfortunately, they could not recreate the problem. I naturally assumed the problem was resolved because he was now properly hydrated. After receiving the all clear from the doctor, Jeff resumed running Monday night only to have his heart rate hit 230 again after running for 20 minutes. 

Could he still be dehydrated? Did he previously experience heat exhaustion which is now causing him to become easily dehydrated? Once again, we are calling the doctor to see what our next steps are. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Starting to believe

Tonight T3 planned an open water swim out at Lake Windermere although tonight was special. Tonight was the first night for those training for Ironman Louisville to do a long swim....the whole kawhona...2.4 miles.

When I first saw the post on Facebook, my heart skipped a beat. Now it was going to get real. I knew I could do that distance. It was just a matter of time. How long would it take me?

In the spirit of the time trial start at IMLOU, we all swam out to the dock, jumped off and started the 10 laps required to complete 2.4 miles. I was the 3rd person of 5 to jump off the dock. Within seconds, Chris and Ed both passed me. And then I heard Diablo screaming in my ear, "I can't do 2.4 miles. What the hell are you thinking?" Slowly, I pushed the negative thoughts out of my mind and focused on completing one lap at a time.

At lap 5, I actually thought to myself, "I'm feeling pretty good. Halfway done!" By lap 8, I would have sworn my arms were made out of lead. I would have sworn I was taking strokes, but not moving at all! By the final turn of lap 10, I was ready to drive it home and get it done!

According to my Garmin, I finished 2.48 miles in 1 hour, 43 minutes! Considering my predicted time, I was practically giddy!  2 minutes under in a race rehearsal. Wow!

After loading the activity up to Garmin connect, I was anxious to my splits. I was afraid to see a dramatic slow down in the second half of my swim, but again, I was pleasantly surprised.

So while I started the night dreading the 2.4 mile swim, I finished with a sense of accomplishment. A sense of starting to believe that by midnight on August 26th I will actually be able to call myself an Ironman. 

Career Path

When you graduate from college, you are ready to start your career as a professional. Often career paths diverge and one can find oneself doing something totally different. Sometimes life choices send you down a different path as well. I've experienced both.

In 1990, I graduated from college with a degree in finance and  minor microcomputer applications. As it turns out, I used my minor and began my career as a computer programmer. I know, I know. Who today has heard of Fortran and COBOL? Only really old people or history buffs. But it was a start and I was thankful for it.

While pregnant with my 3rd child, Jeff & I made the life decision to quit my job as a computer in order to be a stay at home mom for our three children. I enjoyed being home with my kids and watching them grow. During this time, both of my parents experienced health problems. I was grateful to have the flexibility to help them out since I was working. Instead, I took advantage of the many hours we spent in the waiting rooms of hospitals to start working on my family tree. I collected data and tons of stories from both of my parents as well as my aunts and uncles. I was convinced I was going to pursue my certification in genealogy.

But then life throws you a curve ball. A position at our local park district opened up. Originally, the position was a glorified secretary for the park district board working 10-20 hours per week based on seasonal work. Eventually, due to expanding programs the job evolved into a full time plus position. With my love of all things fitness, it was a natural thing for me to add on group fitness certifications to get group fitness classes up and running in the fitness center which the park district had recently purchased.

Early winter last year I decided I couldn't continue to do it all. Working for a park district in a small town is very time consuming with very few true evenings or weekends to yourself. Don't get me wrong. I love my community. I'm thrilled I'm raising my children here; however, once your cell phone number gets out into circulation, it quickly seems as if the entire town has it and they always seem to call during dinner. In the end, I decided to give up my position as Director of Programs at the park district and to continue working as a group fitness instructor. I currently teach 7 classes a week as a certified Les Mills Body Pump and Body Flow instructor as well as a Zumba instructor.

And now 22 years after graduating from college, I am asking myself, "What do I want to be when I grow up?" I could pick up additional classes, but what happens when I get injured? What happens when I am missing my daughter's activities because I am teaching classes in the evenings?

When I quit my job as the Director of Programs in December, I thought I would pursue my personal training certification; however, I signed up for IMLOU in January and every time I thought about sitting down to study for my PT certification I knew I would simply fall asleep on the couch.

Jeff & I have talked about opening an online business, but where do you turn? What do you offer? What do I have to offer?  Offer your passion, right? But in what manner?

And both of these options involve RISK. Something I am not good at. I am not a risk taker. I do not put myself out there very often in order to end up rejected. I generally move through life with a confidence that whatever I try I will succeed at. If I don't feel confident, I tend to shy away. So the idea of starting a personal training business or opening a business scares me.

My oldest daughter, Samantha, will start college in the fall of 2013. Have you looked at the cost of college in the last few years? One year of college in a public Illinois university will cost approximately $35,000 (includes tuition, fees, room & board as well as miscellaneous expenses).

$35,000. Are you kidding me? 

As you can see, yes, the additional income would help and, no, I don't want to sink a lot of money into a new venture. Recently, I even took an online career exam similar to one Samantha was taking to help her identify a college major. Guess what it said? Personal trainer? NO. Computer programmer. That career I quit 11 years ago to become a stay at home mom.

So, seriously, what should I be when I grow up?