Poor, unsuspecting parents.

My triathlon team chose 2 Ironman races for next year - IMUSA & IM Florida. IMUSA is in July, which would be difficult for me to accomplish next year. IM Florida is in November, & it's a 9-hour drive from my parents' house. Also, friend Meredith is racing it.

I am highly tempted to sign up. First & foremost, I have to ensure that my hip will not cause repeat problems. Secondly, I need to iron out my nutrition for on & off the training grounds. This little food allergy nonsense has to be understood. Thirdly, I have to race the Patriots Half-Ironman to ensure that I feel comfortable with completing an entirely flat course.

All that being said, I've already broken the news to the 'rents. This is how they took it:

Me: Dad, what do you think about Panama City Beach, Florida?
Dad (very suspiciously): What do you mean "what do you think about Panama City Beach, Florida"?
Me: Well, 'insert-text-about-racing-Ironman-without-mentioning-distances'.
Dad: Oh! That'd be great. We'd all go up there to see you.
Me (relieved but uncertain that he understood): You know I mean the Ironman, right?
Dad: Not the Half?
Me: No, the Full.
Dad: .............................................................................. Oh. .......................... You be careful, alright?

Now, Mom's visiting her Mom. So, I got to hit them up separately. None of this "MARY! Keri's acting crazy again!!" Divide & conquer, my friends. Divide & conquer.

Me: Hey, Mom. The team chose the 2009 Ironman races for next year. We're doing Ironman Florida in November.
Mom: Florida? Where?
Me: Panama City Beach. Near Pensacola.
Mom: Oh! That's near where your father's thing is at. In November? First week?
Me: I think so.
Mom: That's my wedding anniversary.
Me: How would you like a nice, beach vacation in Panama City Beach for your anniversary?
Mom (laughing): Maybe. Let me talk to your father about it. (& change of topic)

No idea that the term used was "Ironman". I'll win 'em over eventually.


Also, update on the allergy status: I feel great when I'm gluten & dairy free. 39 skin pricks later & one blood draw, there are no real results. Will post when known.


Oh, ghee.

I've been restricting my dairy & gluten intake as I had an inkling that I had both allergies since Lake Placid training camp. This week alone (& keep in mind that it's only Thursday), I've dropped 4-5 pounds.

My sister told me last night that the pounds just dripped off her when she eliminated the allergens from her diet. So did friend Annette. Still, I didn't expect it to be so quick - I'm not even 100% gluten-free yet!!

Also, my sister told me to give up the cereal & crackers regardless of what they're made of. Why eliminate them, you ask? Well, there was a medical study done where 3 sets of mice were given nothing to eat, cereal, & cardboard. The order of their deaths were: nothing, cereal, & cardboard. The cardboard-eating mice lasted a lot longer than the others.

My response was to eat a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios audibly while on the telephone. One day, I'll give it up 0r transfer my cereal love to granola (or something healthier). Just not while I have a box of HNC, two PB Puffins, & one Rice Krispies in the house.

Another tidbit that Kat imparted was that ghee (clarified butter) is probably okay for me to eat regardless of my allergy. & all this time, I only thought that "ghee" was good for Indian cooking, baking, & as a Scrabble word.

Welcome back, butter. :)


Put your money where your mouth is (Part 1).

I had my first appointment with Rebecca Mohning today. As a first one-on-one meeting, I felt very comfortable explaining a lot of my nutritional problems. First, it's become quite apparent that I have a dairy allergy. That's a little different from a lactose allergy. I can't even drink Lactaid or eat yogurt.

Dairy, you're outta here! Goodbye, delicious Greek yogurt! Goodbye, feta cheese! Goodbye, Swiss cheese!! Goodbye, hunks of Parmesan on which to nibble!! (Butter, I want you to stay just a little bit.)


If that wasn't heartwrenching enough, I had to bid adieu to all wheat & gluten products as well. I just finished my last baguette. It was nearly rock hard, but I ate every crumb. Here start the goodbyes.

Goodbye, fresh breads from the market! Goodbye, most oatmeals! Goodbye, normal soy sauce! Goodbye, pasta! *sniff* Goodbye, sandwiches!! Goodbye, most protein bars!! Goodbye, most cereals!! Goodbye, bagels!! Goodbye, croissants, muffins, delicious scones, & pastries!! Chocolate muffin with chocolate chunks, you will be reincarnated in a non-gluten form - I KNOW IT!

(If you see me looking forlorn in the baked goods section, you know why.)

OH! DAMN. Goodbye, most beers. & :( Goodbye, hefeweizen. :(

I know you'll think that I'm being melodramatic, but I really feel like I might cry now. Now, I have to figure out how to cook/bake my favorite items without any gluten. At least, I enjoy a good challenge.

On the bright side, I made a lovely gluten-free chicken salad last night. Here's the recipe:

Fruit & vegetable chicken salad
1 English cucumber (or two Kirby cucumbers)
2 avocados
a helluva lot of chicken - I used 1 breast, thigh, leg
1 mango
a bunch of fresh cilantro
salt & pepper

I recommend chopping the chicken first to see if you have enough to satisfy all those non-meat items. Also, a squeeze of lime over it might be nice. It's the only thing I thought was lacking.

Chop & enjoy. Without baguette. *sniff*


Mooseman race report - Picture version

Here is a revision of my race report - picture book style:


Then, I saw a big fish or rock or something. Then, I totally :

When I finished the swim, I was so happy. That's not me in the foreground. Look closer. Oh... I'm there alright waving to a few Zrs on the sidelines.

Still very excited, obviously. I have Muppet mouth!!

Pflugie takes over on the bike. He's very focused.

Pflugie still being very focused on the bike.

Pflugie hops off the bike, & I take over on the run - I'm so excited, but I'm still slow.
Still happy - About mile 3, I believe.

Mile 11 or so. This is my focused picture. I swear I was smiling 3 seconds ago.

It was hot. Unbelievably hot. I feel like this:

Oh, hey. I finished. It's return of the smile! But apparently, I left my butt behind on the course somewhere. Don't fret, though. Someone returned it to me.

The end.

Thanks for scrolling by!!!


Mooseman race report.

So what happened to me at Mooseman?

1.2 mile Swim: 42:48

I had trouble sighting during this swim. I zigzagged a little, & I panicked when I saw something large & pale near the channel. I had thought it was a very large fish or something else amphibious. As I hail from Florida, seeing a large something that might live in the lake made me HUGELY uncomfortable. I pretended that it was someone swimming without a wet suit & zigzagged back into the middle of my swim wave (which made me feel more "safe"). I also tried to pick up the pace - I did not be the last niblet of swimmer in my wave - lest whatever it was felt like chomping on toes.

At the end of the swim, my neck hurt a little as I was favoring my strong side. I decided to change it up to weakside breathing. If I thought I zigzagged before, it was nothing like what I did after I changed my breathing side.

All in all, I was happy with my swim. It was the perfect distance. I felt that I could've gone faster, but I was saving myself for the run.

56-mile Bike: Pflugie did the bike leg of the HIM. He did a great job & came in at 2:59. I took a nap. :)

13.1 mile Run: 3:10:22

Snicker all you want at my time - It was "towering inferno hot" as Tim said. My average pace was 14:32, which is only 2:32 over my average run pace. That's not too shabby for over 90-degree heat & completing my first half marathon.

On the first loop, I was just happy to be out there. My heart rate rose with the temperature. Even though I felt like I wasn't pushing it after a few miles, I started walking to lower my heart rate. I had never ran longer than 10 miles, & I wasn't sure how the heat, hills, & distance would affect me. Better to play it safe on the first loop...

I met someone on the run who gave me some interesting advice regarding keeping cool. Blake said that I should drip the icy water from the sponges around my waist to keep my lower half cool. That worked like a charm - even more so than dripping water on my head or putting ice in my sports bra. Whenever I followed Blake's advice, my heart rate dropped from Zone 4 to Zone 1 - A full 30-40 beats.

Despite the heat, I really enjoyed myself on the run. I ran when I could, & I cheered at every opportunity. I kept to my nutrition strategy - double mixed HEED in my fuel belt, 3 endurolytes per hour (or as needed), & water at every water stop. (I even managed to urinate near mile 9 - good sign.) I nabbed a few orange slices & half an Oreo after I finished the first loop, but they caused my stomach to sieze. I didn't allow myself any more food on the run after that.

I kept fairly cheerful during the entire race, but nothing compared to hearing the Team Z horns being blown near the finish line by Leslie & Es. (Thanks, gals, for being out there.) I knew I was going to make it, & I was so happy to hear them. I actually yelled to an anonymous spectator, "I'm going to FINISH!!"


Mooseman was my "A" race for the year. Now that it's behind me, I have the rest of the summer to focus on my weaknesses. Perhaps in a few months, I'll decide to race the Patriots Half Ironman in its entirety. We'll see how strong I can become in the next month or two.


Pre-Mooseman endurance race.

I don't know what I was smoking when I decided to visit my grandmother before Mooseman. Visiting my grandmother isn't the issue. It's the last time that I visited her that is causing the problem.

What happened, you ask?

Well, it was over 5 years ago... for a wedding... where she & everyone else do not remember my presence at.

So, I had to visit the entire family in the Boston area. & this is the Greek side of the family. Have you seen My Big, Fat Greek Wedding? Seriously. SERIOUSLY! I don't even know all of my cousins.

I'm exhausted. & everyone wants to talk politics because I live in DC (proper). When we don't talk politics, they tell me family gossip. Minus the sleeping, I've gotten about 19-hours of it.

I feel like I've gotten my quota of family news & world events. Time for another endurance event. I think I can handle the Half Ironman better than all of this food, family, & chatting.

P.S. I got one "please give her some baklava. Look at the size of her!!" Feels good.


Side note:

My boss just wished me well for the race & said that he hopes I get a t-shirt.

A race t-shirt.

For a Half Ironman.

:) That's funny.


Always a triathlete, never the runner.

I am not a runner. Don't get me wrong - I run the last portion of my triathlon. Yet, I would never categorize myself as a runner...

...which makes it difficult to explain that long red line of irritation on my inner thighs & the growing collection of running t-shirts.

*sigh* Okay, okay, okay. Maybe it's just time that I finally bite the bullet. The evidence speaks against me. Yes, I have a fuel belt. Yes, I get chafing. Yes, I can run for 2 hours.

Some of you can walk faster than me, but that's okay. One day, I will be faster. One day, I won't dread the run portion of the triathlon.

Until then, how about we make a deal? Let's pretend I'm a runner, & we'll see how much positive thinking will make it happen.