Thursday, October 24, 2013

Race Day Tracking

 I thank each and every one of you for your support over the last year, and I want to thank my husband John for putting up with this for the last 5 years! A few of us are lucky to have supportive spouses!   He is my Sherpa, house cleaner, cook, and anything else you can imagine.  You can't do this without a supportive spouse! I know I am super lucky!  If you see John, say hi (He will most likely have 2 bernese mountain dogs with him and my green team shirt).

First and really important, for my East Coast friends, please note that Panama City Beach is on Central Time!  Start time is actually 8AM EDT and I'll be finishing at 1AM EDT!

If you are at the race, starttime is 7AM Central, you will want to arrive at 6 or earlier.  Watching the sun rise with all the athletes is a sight to see!

You can track my progress on  my Fatgirl page: and with the GPS trackers below!

Most of you know that tracking on "ironman athlete tracker" is prone to issues, so I have some alternatives. in addition to the standard trackers,  Please check out as there is a feed all day on the finish line.  I do expect to be in the last hour, but be warned, the video feed is something you will be glued to as so many cross that finish line!

My Athlete Tracker
During race day I will be wearing a small device which will transmit my location via cell phone signal. I have elected to wear this device in order  to make your experience more enjoyable as a spectator! 
The easiest way to track me using this device will be to download the My Athlete app which can be found in the iPhone Store or Google Play Store on your smart phone.
Just look up MyAthlete or MyAthleteLive and you should find the free application.
On race day you can see exactly where I am by plugging in my #837 - Laura Backus
You are all welcome to take screen shots along the way and send them to my Fatgirl page!

I will have some guest Admins on Fatgirl, so NO I will not be posting during the race ;)  Thank you Rebekah and Kelly!

The swim:
The swim is a 2 loop course, where we will all exit the water at the half way point, run on the beach then back into the water.  Best photo ops, other than a top floor room in the hotel, are best at the water exit, especially for loop one.  Once finished with loop 2, I will run under the shoot and head to the wetsuit strippers and then to the transition area.

The Bike:
I will exit the hotel/ T1 / Changing area and someone will hand me my bike and I will be on my way to riding 112 miles through the towns.  I will be wearing some visible clothing, my shirt is green and yellow with the best motto "Be realistic plan for a miracle."  This is my team shirt from the Pan Mass Challenge, a big bike ride / charity fundraiser for Cancer research and care!   Once you see me leave, head to the beach, it will be a while before I return.

 Once I complete the bike, I will return to the transition area.  Look for signs "Bike dismount", you will see me there.  It would be best to head toward the run out at that point.

The Run:
I will change my shirt to a sleeveless "Be realistic" shirt and I will have a sparky green shirt on.  I kind of stand out.  The run is a 2 loop run, you will be able to see me at the run turnaround. Look for signs or ask directions to the turnaround.

The Finish:
The finish line will be hopping, especially in the last hour.  It is an electric place and you will be caught up in it, whether I'm there or not.  You will want to get there early especially if you would like a good spot in the bleachers or along the shoot.

My estimated times are as follows:

  • I expect a 1:35 - 1:50 on the swim.
  • 5-7 minutes in transition
  • 7-8 hours on the bike.
  • 4-5 min in transition
  • My run is the wild card.  You will want to check the GPS to find my pace.  Use this chart as an estimate. 

For those that will be at the race:

  1. My family will be wearing the 'Team Laura' t-shirt, if you see them, say hi! 
  2. Every athlete loves to be called by name or number. Look at their race bibs for that info. For Example-“John you are looking great” or “Great Job #1302” or “Awesome Bike Ride #121”
  3. Don’t be scared to cheer for people you don’t know!
  4. Cheering “You are almost there” is never a good idea unless you are standing in the finishers chute! :)
  5. See someone with a lightening bolt on their left calf?  YELL BAZINGA!  This is my virtual team from facebook.  An awesome group of folks who have been encouraging each other all season.  

If you see me, saying "GO Fatgirl" is also OK!  I'll know you found me here! (Unless you're my brother, in case he will just be so happy to speak 'fatgirl' this and not get yelled at, Norm, no yelling this at anyone else.)!

Thank you to Stephanie# 694 for writing much of this content for herself, and allowing me to copy! If you see her, please give her a shout!

Please like my  Fatgirl page to get updates!

Thank you!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Pre-Ironman Emotions

I am here.2 weeks until Race Day.

It seems like last week that I created this blog and had this pipe dream of becoming an Ironman.  I fell in love with triathlon and true to my driving spirit, I wanted to go to the 'holy grail'- pushing my body through 140.6 miles. At one point I had a revelation that running was so terribly painful that I would just 'do a Half Ironman' and that would suffice.  I mean 70.3 with Ehlers Danlos is an accomplishment right?

Of course that would not suffice.  2 months after the Providence half, I completed and WON the Athena division for Chesapeakeman Aquavelo. That is 2.4 mile swim and 112 mile bike. And I did it in a time that would ALLOW me to do a full Ironman!

It seems like yesterday that I booked a flight and went by myself to volunteer for Ironman Florida 2012.  I had the time of my life, met some amazing people with whom I  now share this un-explainable bond!

I had surgery in Feb and put me about 1 month behind my schedule.  BUT, a breast reduction was basically prep for IM anyway!  In April I was ready to go.  I racked up the miles, swim, bike and run.  I went through several cycles of hating one sport or another.  At one point I actually didn't "hate" running. (that didn't last long).

I pretty much stopped talking to anyone that wasn't involved in the sport in someway.  Not that I don't love you non-athletes, but there is "sleeping, working, and working out" and if you aren't in one of those categories, there wasn't much time.  I promise I'll get to you in January, thank you for your patience :).

I slacked on my blog. I would have thought I would post weekly at least, but there was no time.  Ugh, Time.  No one can REALLY understand how scheduled a life can be until you try to train for an Ironman.

I have almost entered the full taper.  My workouts are shorter. By shorter, I mean a 50 mile bike ride and a 12 mile run!  I am starting to have time.  This time is spent scouring the internet and commiserating with others about to do this same thing.. Ironman Florida!

I keep looking at videos of the races. Each bring up so much emotion. Excitement, elation, fear, anxiety, and most of all- awe.  Yes AWE, I cannot believe I'm so close to attempting this goal!

Each video adds a little more to the excitement. I am so close.  There is nothing else I can do, the training is behind me.  I can only prepare for my 17 hour day.

I look forward to having many of you behind me, I look forward to hearing "Laura Backus, YOU ARE AN IRONMAN"..

**Like my page on  facebook to follow me on Race day*

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

EDS Strikes Again

I try to stay positive, but sometimes I can't help but whine a little.   I do feel I owe some of the readers too, because I do have several EDS followers who have told me they feel inspired by me and they know they can "DO IT" - no matter what that "DO IT" is!

I get so frustrated at the EDS community, I have mentioned this before in the many other EDS related posts , but I have received basically hate mail from some that are mad at me for posting that I CAN do this stuff.  Some say "I must not have EDS if I can do this" some say "stop posting things because you make me feel bad."  What I say to them is.. I advocate being healthy and pushing yourself to YOUR limits.  YOUR limits may be taking yourself from not getting out of bed all day to making an effort to sit up 2 more times than usual.  It may be trying to walk a little further, one extra trip to the kitchen.  It may be trying to work up to walking one mile. It may be for my crazy self, doing the ultimate challenge for your body: attempting an Ironman.

Conversely, I am brought to tears on  a regular basis by the really awesome emails/messages I receive.  Most of my readers are awesome. I just LOVE to hear the stories of how you have gone from point A to point B.  (Both my athlete friends who have gone from 100 lbs overweight, smoking, alcoholics, to those with EDS who decided if I can do this, they can do XYZ).

I am 18 days out from my Ironman, and I do it for me, but I do it for all of you too!  I carry each and every one of those stories with me!

Anyway!  They point of this post is to just tell you a little more about training with EDS.  It has it's ups and downs!  Like anyone training for an any event!  Some days you feel good, some days not. Some days you have a 'sore something' some days not (well that one is not true for EDS).

The thing is, you LOOK normal, and you just WANT to compare yourself to everyone else and you just can't!  I have learned, although reluctantly, to look at past performance, compare to current.  I can't even count on 'increases' in performance, what I have to assess is "How did I do today and how did I FEEL" vs "How did I do yesterday and how did I FEEL."

Each day is different.  May athletes with an injury of some sort can sort of relate.  Say you have plantar fasciitis. You know your feet are going to hurt. You can tape, massage, wear the boot. You KNOW what is needed to mend it, and you know that each day you rest it, you will get a little better.

With EDS, that is not the case. You can wake up one day and have a knee, hip, and shoulder out of place.  Next day, that knee is back where it belongs but then your fingers are out and your neck is killing you.  It is almost impossible to keep up with all of it.

For me, I tend to have to deal with 1 or 2 issues at a time.  I have an extremely high tolerance for pain, so that is good. BUT with that comes some risk. I have to KNOW what is doing damage, vs what I can push through.

This past month has been pretty brutal for me.  I do think the Fall is terrible for my body.  The temp and pressure changes suck the life out of me. When I did my longest run, 20 miles, my hip was out of place.  Which means the head of my femur rubbed on the hip socket for probably 15 miles. It caused major inflammation and loosened the connective tissue, making it easier for the hip to continue to fall out.  I could not stand up/ walk for 2 days and I had a hard time walking for the next 2 weeks. Riding a bike was ok because of the position of my leg rotation (YEA TRI BIKES).  I didn't actually run again until my half marathon on Sunday.

The difference of someone with an injury and a genetic disorder like EDS, is I really have no idea what might be wrong on any given day.  I could be perfectly fine one day, then a pile of mush the next day.   Saturday this week, I had  a long bike ride. I had some really weird things hurting; my fingers; my knee caps; and my big toes. That isn't typical for me!  I took meds, went to bed, and hoped for the best for the Half on Sunday.

Sunday, I loaded up on antiinflammatories, taped my knee and hip and hoped for the best.  Before I even started running, my arch was collapsed.  I now carry a chiropractic activator and I put the arch back at least 5x before the start.  I was also fighting a 3 day long migraine.

Believe it or not, I had a great first 10K.  I believe my 5K pace might have been PR, it was around :42.  Then I hit 10K at 1:28, that was definitely a PR, cool right? - it started to go downhill from there.  For some reason my right knee, ACL felt very 'tight.' With EDS that can just happen!  Then right foot arch was collapsed again, something was up with my left heel, left patella was out of place and left hip was out.   I was really trying to focus on keeping my hip in place.  For those of you who have ever tried to focus on 'form' you'll get a little of this.  For every step, I had to focus on the hip and leg, make sure it did not go outside of the range, and sort of 'clench' my butt to pull it in.  EVERY STEP!

At some point, I ended up with a cramp under my scapula.  How does one do that while RUNNING? well, if you have EDS, you don't need to 'do' something, sometimes your stuff just moves!

By the time I got to mile 10, I had enough, but I had to finish. I don't know the word "quit."  I slowed down to a pace that I knew would get me through IMFL and stayed there.  I slogged through the last 3 miles and got my medal!  To give you an idea of pain level, I took a percocet and it did NOTHING.

I knew I would have trouble walking the next day, it's just how life goes.

Sunday was as I expected, it would take me 3 steps to get upright. I walk like someone who needs a hip replacement.

Monday I saw my massage therapist; For 2 hrs 15 minutes!  NOTHING was normal.  My ligaments felt funny, such as the ones in my feet actually moved over. Same with my knees. The insertion points were literally not where they belonged.  Also typical for EDS.   My ITBands are normally rock hard and really painful on massage or foam roller, however yesterday it was my QUADS that were beat up.  That never happens!  I have no idea why the switch, other than EDS has a mind of it's own!

I really never know if my body is going to  show up or not. I don't know on any given day WHICH body part will be out (it's not a question if IF, it is "which one").  And I have a mild case of Ehlers Danlos!

This isn't a pity post, no worries.  I know what I'm getting into when I do these things. This is more to spread some awareness of what we deal with, also to show that yea- I'm out there, publishing some really cool stuff, but it isn't' all rainbows and unicorns!

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