Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Update from Mexico


Here we are, 4 days into our Mexico vacation and we're sitting at an American coffee shop using the wireless internet. Something is just so wrong about that..... At the same time, something is so GOOD about it as well. It gives us the opportunity to stay somewhat connected without having the constant "ding" of the blackberry.... Plus we can both do a little work then go enjoy the rest of our day!


Of course I forgot to bring my camera with some of the pics we've taken so far, so I'll have to share those next time.


It's absolutely gorgeous here. A little chilly in the morning, but not a cloud in the sky and it's warming up to about 70 by noon. Can't beat that in December!


After a 2 day escapade of driving ALL over the city to visit the families for the Holiday, Shane & I were VERY much looking forward to our trip down here.... Unfortunately for Shane, I volunteered to be the DD on Christmas, since he has been driving me around from party to party for a couple of weeks. Plus, it was mostly my family's day on Christmas....so I figured it was only fair to let him booze it up!


I think my Dad was a little disappointed I was driving... He had picked up a bottle of Hornitos to do my celebratory birthday shots. I took one for the team, but Shane had to pick up the slack and play "today's your birthday" with my dad. I think we were all secretly wishing we stuck to the plan of being in Mexico on my birthday through New Years... Oh well - we did what we were asked and stayed in town..... Next year will NOT be the same. Just saying.


So, the drive down here an morning packing was a bit rough for Shane. Fortunately for him, he has a very understanding wife (read as.... She's been there MANY MANY times), who picked up the slack... After a few hour later than planned departure, we were on our way. A pitcher of Margaritas later and a quick trip to the beach for the dogs and we were shortly in bed, completely exhausted from the week.


I woke up not feeling all that great. Aches, and tired... We went for a run on the beach and then took it easy the rest of the day. We decided to go into town to our favorite seafood restaurant, The Blue Marlin. Seriously, it is the best, most fresh food you will every get. A mixed green salad with all the fixing, followed by a 4 course meal of ALL fresh seafood. All for the bargain price of $29 TOTAL. Their motto - "Welcome Home." You really do feel like....


The next few days have been just as great. I got Shane to promise me we'd do SOMETHING active every day. A walk or run on the beach, boat ride on the kayak (we haven't done that yet...) and the topper... i decided we should do a pushup challenge. And of course I decided to add some ab work to that.... and some of Daniel's famous million lunges. Let's just say that wasn't one of my better ideas....I’m STILL sore. I guess I will just NEVER learn.


Well, I guess it's time to get back to enjoying the vacation... We have a few errands to run then we're going to try to take the boat out.


I hope you are all enjoying the Holidays - and have a HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Ending the year in style...

I can't believe where this year has gone. I would be lying if I said I wasn't ready for it to be over. While I've had some fantastic things happen, I'm sure I'm not alone in saying it's just been a tough one. Ups and Downs one right after the next... I have every hope and belief in the world that next year will be so much better for all of us!


Over the past couple of weeks we've been celebrating. Party after Party. And yes, I am the absolute worst person at bringing a camera with me - so I have no fun pictures. Have no fear though, I am good at drunk "snapping" so I'm sure I'll have plenty o' fun pictures to share when we get back from Mexico. (p.s. the picture of the shoe doesn't do it justice! It's too cute, and actually very comfortable!)

Last night Shane & I went to a restaurant called Elements. It's nestled up against Camelback Mountain in the Sanctuary Resort. It's one of those places you hear about, and heck - I even ride my bike past it all the time. But, I've never actually been there!

Well, the food the ambiance and the service was everything you'd expect from a top notch resort, yet at the same time it was very comfortable. We were seated in a small little both directly in front of a wall long glass window overlooking the infinity pool, with views of the city. It was gorgeous.

The food was just as great. So great I have to actually share the descriptions from their sample menu.

We started with this:
tartare of tuna herb salad, pine nuts & crisp cucumbers

it was just the right flavor - sweet tuna with a hint of spice that went amazing with the wine choice...

We actually had the 2007 Foley Pinot Noir. For such a young wine it was full of flavor. Slight fruit forward but with a fantastic spicy finish. I would absolutely drink this wine again...and again :-)

Next was our salad. I chose:
organic spinach squash, golden raisins, ricotta salada & pumpkinseed pesto vinaigrette

Shane chose:
butter lettuce spiced walnuts, bacon, granny smith apples & blue cheese , Minus the bacon.

Shane made the better choice on this one. Although my salad was good - the blue cheese dressing on his was amazing!

For our entrees Shane picked the feature of the day, a tempura shrimp trio. It was very sweet, but perfectly cooked.
I chose:
grilled wild salmon udon noodles, shiitake mushrooms, snap peas, sesame & ginger

The entree was great, and satisfied a fish craving I've been having!

HOWEVER - the best item we chose was our side dish. It was interesting enough that we just had to get it.

Truffle Mac & Cheese.
It was absolutely amazing. The pasta was so soft and tasty, it almost seemed like a gnocchi. The cheese was a combination of possibly Asiago, Romano or Parmesan. There were mushrooms and the Truffle Oil made it just melt in your mouth. Honestly, I don't think I could ever go back to Regular Mac & Cheese after that.

Of course the meal wasn't complete without desert. While they had an item called "chocolate peanut butter decadence " - our waiter (who was obviously tipped off) brought over a complimentary liquid center chocolate torte peppermint milk shake with a candle and chocolate written "Happy Birthday"

It was a perfect way to celebrate my birthday before all of the Holiday chaos starts. Just the two of us, all dressed up, perfect food - then home to share some more wine and cuddle with the dogs.

Really, does it get any better?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Tis the season?

Here we are, that time of year again. For some reason I just CAN NOT seem to get into it this year.


The last two years Shane, the dogs and I have put aside all family obligations (yes, I said obligations because we felt like we were constantly being guilted into going all over the city for all the celebrations, regardless of what we actually wanted to do.) We tried the one year here, one year there thing, but still it seemed like someone was always mad at us..... We decided we wanted to make our own tradition - go to Mexico!


On top of all that my birthday is on the 24th. So, usually on my birthday we were celebrating Christmas somewhere, and having someone else mad at us that we weren't participating in the celebrations elsewhere....


Bah Humbug. I know.....


Truth be told I used to ABSOLUTELY love Christmas. I have a very small immediate family. My parents & grandparents always spoiled us rotten as kids, and even when we couldn't afford stuff, somehow Santa always arrived with more than enough. PLENTY MORE. But, it was fun. Good food, stockings filled Christmas morning (my FAVORITE) and no fighting over where we were going to go. One year it would be my grandparents, the next year at our house.


Sometimes my parents had to work on Christmas, so somehow, Santa would always find his way to our house before they left. Always.... funny how he just knows, huh?


Back to the Mexico thing. So the last two years we've gone to Mexico. The first year my family came, the second year it was just us. Honestly, it was quite nice. There was no crazy gift giving, just a birthday celebration on the 24th and yummy food, followed by a lazy day on the 25th. Oh and a too cute charlie brown Christmas tree to boot. Santa brought stockings for the dogs, and we shared mimosas on the beach.


After last year however my family started the guilting again. Some family were going to be coming into town this year, and it was made clear that I was to be HERE, not in Mexico. Apparently my tolerance for guilt has been diminished, because sure enough we are going to be here until the 26th.



Now, don't get me wrong. I know I should feel more than blessed to have my family close and here, and in many ways I do. We all have family problems and issues we go through, I know I'm no different than anyone else, but this year, let's just say my family has had it's fair share of drama.....


The meaning of gift giving has changed, sometimes it seems more about how much you spend, vs the thought at all. That's what I hate the most. It's more stressful and not at all what I felt like when I was growing up. Honestly, there is nothing more that I would rather being doing next week then heading south and celebrating with my little family, friends... away from the commercial like holiday atmosphere. A Charlie Brown tree, bottle of tequila and blue ocean.


But, in a way I am "sucking it up buttercup." I can only hope that things make a turn for the better. That the time we spend with our families will be even an ounce closer to what it used to be like. I'll do my best to put all negative feelings aside, I just hope that the rest of my family can do the same...



Unfortunately, this year not only have Shane & I not put up our Christmas tree, but we also lost our creativity for our most famous Christmas cards featuring the "kids." We will come up with something, but time is closing in on us so I don't think it will be anything like before, and will most likely come as a New Year's card this year..... I guess that only means next year will have to be Bigger and Better!!!


On a more uplifting note, it IS the season for Holiday Parties!!! This is something I DO love :-) Now that Shane & I no longer have any big corporate connections, there are no fancy dress up parties to attend, however..... I did find myself needing something nice to wear for a couple of things!


Holiday attire for me usually means a nice top or sweater, jeans and some cute shoes! But, this year we are going here for my birthday dinner, so I really wanted to have something nice to wear.. And, later in January is my partner in crime's big day, and I think there might be some dress up involved in that, after the big RUN of course....


So, in my restless, post race recovery mode I headed to the MALL and fell in love with a couple of things. Mind you, the closest thing to a dress I've bought in the last 5 years (other than my wedding dress) is a running skirt. NO joke...


But, in the next month or so I will be wearing THIS.....



and THIS....


Crazy no? I'm pretty excited! Usually this time of year I'm injured or full recovery mode, wanting to hide the extra lbs away under warm fuzzy cloths. This year, I'm feeling pretty good. I've managed to keep my Ironman race weight, minus even lb or 2 so I'm happy to be playing dress up I guess! I am a little worried about the birthday bash, it is a few weeks after the Mexico trip... Guess I'll have to work my butt off when I get back!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Tucson Half Marathon

I'll try to make this short and sweet, but in typical Krista fashion, I'm sure I will just go on and on babbling...

We all know I signed up for this race after my disappointing DNF at the Soma Half IM. I was so prepared for that race. So ready. But, my body seems to have a mind of it's own these days and this time my perseverance (stubbornness) would not have the last word.

So, after only a day or 2 of wallowing, I set up my new Plan B. A 1.2mile swim race, a 109mile bike race & a half marathon. Unfortunately, those races were keep my training for another 5 weeks... and I was mentally and physically ready to be done. I had been training for the better part of a year and we all know we can not just keep on going without starting to see diminishing returns.

That said, I asked for some help to get me through the next few weeks and formulated a good plan. With part 1 & 2 done pretty successfully the half marathon was my last goal. I needed a PR... and with the way I have been running it was theoretically a sure thing.

Key word - Theoretically!

My first half Marathon was in 2002 (I realized this when I saw the year on the "throw away" shirt I wore on race day). It was the Arizona Desert Classic. The venue has since moved, but it used to start at Scottsdale Community College and run out into the Indian Reservation making a loop and finishing back at the college. IT was ugly, flat and boring...but it was my PR to date. In 2002, my first "long run" after my first marathon - I ran a 2:01:40 (I just looked up the results).

A few months after that race I also set my 10K PR (50:29).... I also ran my second marathon cutting off 25mins (4:31)... That's where everything went down hill. My initial onset of ITBS started and I was on a 4 year injury/recovery battle...

I completed a few more half marathons throughout the time, some pre-surgery, some post surgery. It's been a long battle trying to get back to where I was when I first started running. 8:15 tempo runs, 9min long runs... Training for back to back Ironman probably didn't help. Long, slow and steady. I had actually began thinking slow is just what I was going to be. I was ok with it - I had my "faster" days... I was just happy to be able to run again. I looked at my race medals on Sunday - I've done 8 half marathons. Only one of them came close to my 2:01 time... It was 2:05:12 at the Arizona Distance Classic in Oro Valley. The others hovered around 2:06-2:15 mark...

However, over the past several months my runs have been faster, and faster and faster.... I've seen speeds I never dreamed of having again. And, on speedwork - even better than before. The girls & I did one downhill training run about 6 weeks ago... We pushed it a little, but my HR was still in the mid zone 2 range. It was a 90min run at a 8:28 pace. I used that as a baseline for what I COULD do in Tucson (slight downhill course - ~750ft loss).

I did 5 weeks of 4x7min repeats. Those hurt. I ranged from a 7:10 pace to a 7:30 pace for all of them, depending on the route I took (slight up or slight down). As much as I hated them, I was hoping they would give me that extra push I needed.

Finally, the race report - I told you I would end up babbling!!! I guess it's just that when I finally sat down and to write about the race, I realized how big of an accomplishment this was for me. An actual goal reached, and how I had almost given up on it.

We drove down with Natalie & Jeff on Saturday... Jeff was doing his first full marathon and Natalie her first post 2 babies race! They are some of the busiest people I know, so the fact they were able to still train for this still amazes me!

I set up a group dinner for some of us doing the race... There were 11 of us at the table (2 sherpas) - 4 that were trying to BQ. Here I am all giddy and feeling great and the table was just QUIET. No confidence whatsoever! I tried to perk it up a bit...but it just seemed like no one was feeling it. So, I kept quiet about my own confidence. I was more than ready to get this on, and overwith!

I did my normal routine. Stretch, foam roll and icing of the knee..... In bed fairly early, I just didn't sleep much. I wasn't tired. I had rested pretty well the whole week. So, when the alarm went off at 4:30 I was up and atom.

Spark check. Race gear on check. Inhalers used check.

We took a bus to the start. Much better than expected. We had about 90mins to kill, but somehow it went by fairly quickly. It was a very very relaxed start. I stripped down to my race outfit - sleeveless top, shorts and throw away gloves.

My plan as simple: Start easy, get HR into high zone 2 for the first 2 miles (160-165). Whatever pace I was at try to hold until mile 11 - then give what I had.

Unfortunately my plan had to be reassessed immediately. Although it was reading before the start, as soon as I started running it was showing 185-195 HR. My breathing totally controlled, pace effortless. I tried fidgeting with it under my bra top. Then, it would read in the 200's.

I think I was focused too much on it and doing something weird, because then immediately I got a side ache. I BAD one. It was all over my stomach and around to my back.... I would hold my stomach for a bit, and the pain would go away. I slowed the pace a bit down to an 8:30 and it seemed ok. I also removed my HR monitor strap and wore it around my waist. FINALLY after about 2 miles it went away.

My knee was also hurting. Hurting somewhat bad. It had been bugging me ALL week, out of know where. It wasn't the typical IT pain I was feeling. It was from the outside, radiating down under the kneecap. If I moved to the side at all to get around someone I would feel some really bad twinges.

So - here I am mile 2 of "my race" with knee pain, no HR monitor, side ache - yet my muscles were on air. My breathing was effortless. I wasn't willing to give it all up. Not now. I was running an 8:15 pace and it felt EASY.

I decided I wasn't going to stop. No water stops, no walking, no stretching. I slowed as much as I could to get water, I ate my gel on the move. I stayed as straight and on the flattest ground I could find. I never once felt fatigue or tired or like I was even out of zone 2 for the first 6-7miles... The knee pain was getting worse, but I figured as long as I didn't stop and it didn't start with the stabbing IT pain, I could manage.

Shane jumped in at about mile 8.5 with me. It was really great to finally have someone to run with. Talk to. I kept my pace. I was able to do my last gel before he left me & had his water to wash it down with so I didn't have to stop at the aid station. That REALLY helped. He told me how great I was doing, how all I had was a 5k left. How my speed work was way harder and longer.

He was so right. As soon as he left me, I slowly started to pick it up. I had slowed a bit after the 10k when we had a little bit of incline on the course. The last big down was around mile 10.5-11 I think. I picked up the speed to sub 8min pace. I knew we had a hill coming around mile 12 and I would most likely slow a bit. I'm glad I gained some time, because when I did hit the last up my quads were toast. They felt like they were seizing up. I needed salt, but of course didn't bring any....

I passed a LOT of people on the up. People walking like crazy. Not me. It wasn't in my plan. Finally, the last turn. Slight up for /.5miles and I could see the end of the tunnel.

My first goal. Break 2 hours. My I think I can goal 1:50. My if everything goes right goal 1:47-1:49.

I crossed the finish line in 1:48:42. A 13minute PR. Huge smile on my face :-)

My quads froze, almost sent me to the ground. But, something was different. Usually when I finish a hard race. I feel sick. Nauseous. Dizzy. It was nothing like that. My endurance was so much more than 13.1 miles.

Of course it makes me wonder what I could have done without the knee problems. But, I'm not thinking about any of that. I had a perfect day. Perfect weather. Perfect race, perfect everything. I was even able to "borrow" this shot - I was kinda smiling at the end!

I was happy to be able to see all of my friends finish their marathon. My friend Sara fought like an animal for her BQ spot finishing in 3:45:35 - 25 seconds to spare. It was SO cool to see!!

I have no idea what is next up for me. Right now I'm trying to recoup the knee and rest up...

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Plan B Finale.

Perfect day. Overcast. 45-50degs. Nice.....

12+ min PR - 1:48:42

I'll write a full race report later.... But, I just looked up my results & was kinda giddy. My knee HATES me.... as it did for 12.5 miles... but It never got to the point I had to stop...

Thanks for all your good luck wishes!!!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Photo Game

I decided to join in on the photo posting game.... 4th Folder, 4th photo.... No explanation needed. Except for the fact that when I went into the folder via my computer, my documents.... The order of the photos (images)were different.....Being the non-rule follower that I am, I am posting TWO.
First.... the no explanation needed...

GO COUGS
And next, this is what I found when I went to grab the image from blogger..... It's little miss Abby. She was only about 8 weeks when we took this... So, sweet then...... HA!


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Today I am thankful for a lot of things... My husband and our life together. My friends and my family and perfect 4 legged children. I have a pretty fantastic life, and some of the best people to spend it with..... I couldn't ask for much more.

Today, for the first time in about 6 years I was able to do a 10mile run on Thanksgiving. Injury after Injury put a stop to that for so long, but today, with only a few minor body aches I had a fantastic 10mile run, half with Shane & my dogs and the other half to negative split and push myself a little. The last two miles were even in the rain and I absolutely loved it.

I'm so very thankful for my body turning the injury page and finally getting to do more of what I love so much.


And, last, but not least... I'm thankful for the brand new jug of Bloody Mary mix that Shane just spotted in the fridge. Yes, the Holidays are here...

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

El Tour de Tucson

Part 2 of Plan B - El Tour de Tucson.

Having never participated in any stand alone cycling event like this, I had NO idea what I was in for. I was going into this event 100% blind, and tagging supa along for the ride. Thankfully, she had a few bike races under her belt so she at least had a little bit of experience.... So, after a late Thursday night flight and sushi dinner we were up Friday for a quick run and off to the bike shop to get momo's bike set up for her....

3+hours later we were on our way to Tucson, just a tad late.....

One thing I've learned for sure about the Supa and I. Blonde or no blonde, we are two blondes in a pod... or the blind leading the blind...or whatever, I'm sure you get what I'm trying to say here.

Somehow a couple hours later I got us to the packet pickup and we were on our way. I had no idea what to expect from a bike race expo. Would it be like a marathon expo? I mean, I had just been to IMAZ expo the day before so I wasn't expecting much.

After a few turns and a few directions we were entering the hall to the packet pickup.... or so we were trying. No sooner had we stepped into the building, the emergency alarm was telling us to evacuate. Of course.... Fortunately, it was no big deal and we were allowed to re-enter shortly.

Race numbers check. T shirts check. Big screen TV showing last years race and HOLY SHIT what have I gotten us into!?!?! What the hell is THAT? That's like tour de France gone camping... walking their bikes, peeing, crashing, changing flats IN THE MIDDLE OF A FREAKING RIVER BED. WTF???

I digress, as I had been told by many who have done the el tour... during the race there are 2 "washes" you must cross. You must dismount your bike, and walk across a (hopefully) dry riverbed. Twice..... Sounds like fun, no? Hey, I figured at least everyone had to do it, right?
I guess I was expecting more of the short dry wash behind my house.... Not a full on middle of nowhere half mile experience.... but whateva... this was just for run, right?

Over the next few hours we managed to feed our bellies, find the crappy hotel (no offense anyone who loves Tucson - but I'm a big fan of the city... and, I've seen a LOT of it!) that I managed to book at the last minute, get our bikes ready, food ready, and I even managed to entertain supa in my ambien'd state for a while :-)

A couple hours later we were very begrudgingly out of bed and packing the car up in the dark... We had a mile ride to get to the start line where we would sit and wait for TWO hours before the start.... I can only compare it to the New York Marathon start... Where you are bussed out for several hours of waiting.

I had no idea where we are in relation to the start. There were over 8600 people doing the race, and a couple thousand of them had the "Platinum" or "Gold" classification and would get to start up near the front with the pros, elites and ubber fast cyclists... We were somewhere probably about 2/3 back in the "bronze" section... I would guess behind about 3-4 thousand cyclists.

For the next ~ 6 hours I had the TIME OF MY LIFE. I worked my ass off and earned every single mile out there. I earned every single person passed and group dropped.

It was like nothing I had ever done before. Because of where we were placed in line we had to work really hard to get from group to group to group. Supa was fantastic! For the first half of the race where I am usually still warming up, she pushed me. She has an incredible fire and race competitiveness in her. I fed off it and I thrived.... We were like 2 pees in a pod out there. We were wearing matching allthingstriathlon jerseys and despite what you might think about wearing Tri-gear in a "Road" race, it was actually a fantastic decision!

People were INCREDIBLY nice to us. Not like I expected. We were the "Tri-Girls" or the "Tri-Chicks." If we got separated, some would tell us where our teammate was. I even had people slow down in the middle of the pack to let us be together. Of course there was also some teasing along with all of that. "So Tri-Chicks... You ready to run now? You gonna go run a marathon after this?" We just laughed and played along...

As for the actual course. It was TOUGH. I was trained for a flat race. A flat race on a tri-bike that weighs about 1/3 what my road bike does. The el tour was HILLY. No huge climbs or too steep climbs, but when you haven't done any hill riding you feel them. For the first half Supa would climb the hills about twice as fast as me.... Thankfully I had Shane's Zipp 404 wheels on and they REALLY helped me zoom on the flats and descents and I could catch right back up.

The first half seemed really tough for me. I had just one goal of sub 6 hours so that we could get the "Platinum" finish and be allowed to start with the faster people if I chose to do it again. Well, that and it just sounds cool!

The first wash came just 8miles into the race. It was no big shake. Hop off, walk across, back on bike. It wasn't steep or too deep so I didn't bother putting the caps on my shoes (I had been warned with Speedplay cleats you needed the caps so rocks didn't get stuck).

The second wash however came around mile 50... It was nuts. Deep, deep sand, rocks, hilly.... We literally had to take our shoes and socks off at the end to dump the sand out of them. It took about 10mins to get through this wash... We were starting to worry about the sub 6 finish at this point.

For me, this is where things started to get better. I was 50miles in and finally feeling really good. Warmed up so to speak.... I will let Supa share how she was feeling at this point, cause I think her first half experience might be a little better ;-)

We started working with some guys around us.... We would work our way from group to group. I would get a faster group in my sights, pull out in front and was just on a mission to get them! Yes, I was working extremely hard, and pulling men twice my size that were just being lazy.. but I didn't care - I was feeling it.

I could go on and on about the race and the people and the entire experience, but what it comes down to is I really truly felt like I was in my element. My legs felt absolutely fantastic. While I was tired and couldn't have given any more out there, I was surprised at how comfortable I was....

We saw several crashes around us, but besides getting a little anxious, I was never scared, or tense.

I gave it my all out there which is something I am very very proud of. While a 5:30 finish would have been nice, I don't see how it was possible based on the packs we were with due to the start...

One thing I am really really proud of is that Lindsay and I were not passed by ONE SINGLE girl. Not one. We rocked it out there, tough Ironman - Tri-chick style...

This is a plan B I can be very satisfied with. With that said, I think I will be back again. Now that we have the Platinum classification we can have the preferred start, and from what I'm told start with a pack that could help cut up to an HOUR off of our time with much less effort. An hour? How cool is that?

Oh, and next up might just be THIS race.... Now, if I could just figure out how to get a 10lb lighter and faster bike? Hmmmmm...

I think I might just be hooked.

PS. Supa has pics - hopefully she'll post some soon!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Suck it up Buttercup

The theme for the next few weeks - Suck it up Buttercup.....

I should not have waited so long to post something. I've blogged in my head several times. Sitting on the beach in Mexico last weekend I was going to right all about the trip.... Riding for what seemed like eternity the day before we left...I was going to write all about that...

Somehow I just never found the time to sit down and write it all out, so for that I have to apologize in advance for the ramblings I'm about to start. At least I'm warning you. Oh and the 3 huge glasses of iced tea and 10hours of sleep last night won't help... just sayin.

Here we are Ironman Arizona weekend. I just got back from the expo with momo. Bless her heart she continued to train after CDA. Yes, so have I, but not the 6hour bikes. I just don't think I would of had that in me. That, or the thought of the "b-line." She's after something on Sunday though, and I have NO doubt in my mind that she will achieve it. We'll be out there all day long helping her get there... As if she needs it.

It was weird to be down there for an Ironman that I wasn't standing in line to register for. I thought I might have "that feeling," that desire in me wishing I was doing it... but I didn't. I guess that means I am doing the right thing by not having an Ironman on the schedule for next year. Or maybe it's just the home thing. To me the race is about the entire journey. I loved every minute of the course, the traveling, etc in Coeur d'Alene. I thought about doing IM Canada next year, but I didn't hop on it. Didn't register. I do think however, that will be my next one. Maybe training in dry, hot dessert makes me long for the hilly, GREEN scenery? The challenge? Who knows - but I'm sure when it comes time to making that call next year I'll know where I want to be.

For now I have my first "PLAN B" race coming up on Saturday. The best part about it is I convinced my girl to come join me. Really, it wasn't that hard. 109miles, followed by IM sherpaing momo, bloody Marys (don't worry momo, I promise we won't miss you even if we are a little buzzed. In fact, you might find us more entertaining!), oh and 85degrees. Like I said, it wasn't that hard to get here here....

The bike race will be a first for me. I'm riding my road bike. I couldn't seem to get the fit right on momo's and didn't have time to play with it, so I even though I did my training (if you can call it that - 3 long rides) on Momo's bike - I put Shane's Zipps on my road bike and while it's much heavier than momo's bike - it's comfortable. And, now Supa gets to ride momo's bike!

I've asked some advice from friends that have done the race before. Apparently the beginning is NUTS - there are 10-12000 people the do the race! There are 2 washes that we have to cross by getting of our bikes and carrying them over. I was told if you wear speedplay cleats the caps are a must of rocks etc. get stuck.

Like I said, and adventure.

Two weeks later I will finish off Plan B with the Tucson half marathon. I can't even believe how good my running has been. I'm excited to see what happens on race day.

After that it's time for some "off season" Let my body recoup. I've been basically "training" for a year straight, and I know in order to see improvements I have to let my body heal. I hate to see the fitness drop, but I know it has to in order to have a good year next year.

I'm still struggling with my lungs somewhat so I'm hoping some time off and rest will help my body heal entirely. If not, I will head back to my Dr. for some more tests.

Ya never know, maybe a holiday trip to the ocean will help them? I think I'll have to hope for that :-)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Plan B HURTS

Well, I'm officially into Plan B training. Holy Heck it hurts. Ok, it's not that I'm training any different or harder, I think I was just so mentally ready to take some time off and now my body is mad at me. Of course I'm too stubborn to give in to my body, so it's a few more weeks of "Suck it Up Butter Cup!"

Or something like that.

I met with a coach last Thursday to help devise a 5 week plan to get me ready for the 109mile El Tour de Tucson bike race, as well as a half marathon a couple weeks after.

His plan, totally doable.

My pre-plan "plan" STUPID.

It started off with easy Wed, Thursday workouts. My lungs are better each day, but last week they were still hurting quite a bit.

Then come Saturday, off with the easy in with the kick my own ass. I learned a few things in the 4hours of calf torture that was my bike ride.

* No wonder cyclist have killer calves. ROAD bikes are SO different than Tri-Bikes.
* Riding 4 hours for the first time on a new bike, road bike none the less, is DUMB.
* Especially when that 4 hours is mostly flat, and you are riding with someone who is peak IM training and has aero bars
* Seriously, I love mini-me even more now. And, I LOVE aerobars!
* My body was really ready for a break from these long rides.
* IM AZ bike course is FAST. If you have aerobars and a tri-fit that is. Oh - and no wind. 2 hour loops, TOTALLY doable! I'm excited for all you doing it in a few weeks!
* That being said, I have NO desire to ever do that race. It's boring. And Ugly. For some people fast trumps boring. I'm just not one of them.

In that 4 hours I offered Melisa $100 to switch me bikes for the ride back. My calves hurt THAT bad. I don't think I've ever even noticed my calves on my tri-bike.

So, after that 4 hour torture fest Momo, Natalie & I met for an early morning DOWNHILL run. We drove up into North Scottsdale for a one way run. Most my runs are rolling runs. Some up, some down. Not this one. This one was a net descend of 800ft. Why would I torture myself with that? ITBS and all?

The half marathon in Plan B is downhill. About 800ft in total. I needed to make sure my IT band could handle it.

It was rockin fast run, even in the middle of zone 2. I had some twinges of pain, but mostly still my calves and some in my hips. A little knee pain, but not buckling pain.

It's now Wednesday and I'm STILL sore. My calves are so tight that when I get out of bed I basically walk flat foot because it hurts to push off and use my calves.

And, now that I have this official plan.... I chose to do my long runs on Weds. Yah, didn't so much think that one through when I killed myself on SUNDAY and had another 90 min run today. 2 10+milers with only 2 days rest is not a good idea. I made it though, and very happy I had absolutely NO IT band pain.

So the next 2 weeks will be building up my mileage and numbing my butt for 109miles on November 22nd. I'm still harassing Supa to come do it with me. Now that she doesn't have the election excuse anymore, I TOTALLY think she needs to do it. FOR ME!

And 2 weeks after that I will be putting my legs to test and trying to PR (should be hard) at the Tucson half marathon.

I've been doing a lot of reflecting over the last week. I am so tired and sore and ready for this to be over with, but at the same time I just can't live with letting all the hard work and progress I had after Ironman CDA go to waste. I don't have anything to prove to anyone, but I want to do this for myself. I want to show myself that all my hardwork is worth it, and that I can overcome just about anything.

I know that I have some physical limitations, but we all do. And, we all have our own way of getting through them. I guess this is my way. Not letting go.

That said, I am sure I was thoroughly enjoy our time over the Holidays in Mexico this year. Maybe it will be Shane trying to get ME to walk to the bar this time, you know...for exercise :-)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Plan B

It's been 2 days of nothing... well, really more like 10 or so if you add in the taper, then the swim, then rest....

I am ALREADY bored.

My name is Krista & I am addicted to exercise. There you have it. I admit it. It's a problem. It's sometimes healthy, sometimes over the top. It's there and I just can't seem to get rid of it. There are worse things I could obsess over, right?

I am still indifferent about the whole ordeal. Disappointment is probably top of the list. Not in myself, just in general. I know there is absolutely NOTHING I could have done about my situation. That does stop the "what-ifs" though. I look at those race results and see where I could have been. That's probably the hardest, most frustrating part.

My good friend Sara, my medical (NP) expert sent me a very sweet (along with so many other people!!) email that really helped me feel better.. This girl has been around through all of my drama. From IT band injury and surgery to my Spine issues and epidural injections in my neck. Poor thing things she can get away from the office, unfortunately I always seem to reel her back in :-) Anyway - this is what she wrote:

"I know it's got to be so frustrating with what you WANT to do and what your body LETS you...And of course, the thing to remember with something like asthma is that it is absolutely no reflection of how you take care of yourself and how good of shape you're in... Something you just happened to inherit and something you need to medicate so it doesn't keep you from doing the things you want...A lot of times I'll have my asthmatics use their meds from Feb-May and then again from Sept- Nov... but depending on pollution levels (as you well know) you may need it for a week or two here or there throughout the year."

The part is bold is what really hit me. It's so true, and lot of times I take my breathing problems with a grain of salt. I am very regular about one of my medications, but with the others, the ones that really help on a day to day basis, particularly before workouts and in prime allergy/cold/pollution times, I am less than perfect. My only reasoning (or excuse) I suppose, is that you hear about people with problems all the time. Half the people I know use an inhaler for exercise induced asthma. The majority of people I know have a hard time breathing in the crappy AZ air. I guess I forget that I'm not just like them. I have a non-seasonal or subjective problem that I DO have to pay attention to DAILY.

Yes, I am stubborn... Aren't we all though?

With all of that said.... Of course I have a new "Plan B."

I was very uncomfortable on Sunday when I got home from the race. My chest felt like I had a brick sitting on it. It hurt to breath deep. I slept another 10+hours and in the morning got in to see my Dr. We are trying another medication that will help open up my airways. I tried this medicine before, when I got sick from all the dust with the remodel, but I wasn't very good about continuing taking it, as it has a steroid and I thought it was part of my sleeping problem. After talking with my Dr., we decided to try it again, a lower dose this time - and hopefully the sleeping problems were just a reaction to all the crazy amounts of steroids I was put on at the time....

It's been 2 days, and I am already feeling better. My chest doesn't hurt, it's just really tight in the morning, and as the day goes on and I take the second dose of the medicine, I feel even more open.

I was scouring the internet trying to come up with a race(s) to not waste all this fitness I have. Momo and I were IM'ing and I told her I was going to do the Tucson half marathon in Dec, and I guess I just had to let my bike fitness go.... She started asking about any bike races, etc.... And we talked about tour de tucson. Thing is, I can't ride my road bike for that kind of distance. I'm just not comfortable on her for longer than about 2 hours. She's just a little too big, and it starts to take a tole after a lot of miles.

Momo told me to ride HER road bike. At first I was like, NO WAY. She's brand NEW. And, then I looked at the date and saw it was 11/22. IMAZ - so that was OUT! Again, she assured me IM was on SUNDAY not Saturday.... Why was I thinking it was Saturday??? Weird...
Anyhow, so I am going to do it. I'm going to do the El Tour de Tucson on 11/22.

Seriously, how lucky am I? Who would let someone ride their brand new barely used bike? Good friends people.. that's who.

Part 2 of Blan B is The Tucson Half marathon on 12/7. We have a LOT of friends here heading down to do either the Full or the Half, some trying to BQ.

So, there you have it. I'm meeting with a coach (my master's swim coach's husband) on Thursday to make me a 5 week schedule to get me thru those races, the right away.

And, most importantly I'm taking my medicine and getting better and not over-doing it.

And there you have it. Plan B!

Monday, October 27, 2008

The non race report

My first official DNF. I pulled out of one other race last year. It was in Vegas. They cancelled the swim, had us jump on our bikes and GO. My hip/IT had been bugging me and I rode HARD - with no warm up or stretching it was really tight. Since the race was already a sham, I decided not to do the run and risk injury. I never showed up on the results, so there wasn't an actual DNF.

Yesterday, it was a real true DNF. I'm still not sure how I feel about it. Frustrated, yes. Sad, yes. I'm not mad or disappointed in myself though. I know my body, and as much as I like to pretend things aren't bad or I'm fine - the reality is that I was not fine. I spent 7 days resting. Loading on vitamins and green tea and supplements. I slept 10+hrs a night and did basically nothing.

Momo had me convinced (kinda) that I was just over-analyzing and being like her! I convinced myself that the pain in my back was a knot from laying around so much, not my lungs. Denial is a very powerful thing you know.

Come race day I was hyper and excited and with so much support and well wishes from so many people, I was sure it would all come together.

My morning went flawlessly. I got to the start of my swim wave. One of the first girls in the water. New goggles worked, I was at the front of the pack and not nervous at all.

There was no anxiety, no swim drama. I did weave back and forth quite a bit, but didn't freak out. I had a lot of trouble seeing the buoys. The water temp was perfect. Wetsuit near perfect.

I hit the last buoy to swim in and looked at my watch for the first time. 35mins. I was a little bummed, as I was hoping to be out of the water UNDER that. I had passed many men that started in front of me.. and only saw 1-2 of the caps from the wave behind me.

I got out of the water, had my wetsuit stripped and actually ran through transition. I got on my bike and that's where everything went wrong. My legs were toast. I was going 15-17 on the flats. 12mph on the smallest inclines. I figured I would eventually loosen up, but it wasn't happening. My lungs were burning and aching. I dropped to my small chainring. My HR was 175+. I was passed by about THIRTY people in the first few miles. I felt like I was going all out and just spinning and getting nowwhere. I was disoriented and my head was throbbing. I ran into a "keep right" traffic sign with my bike. I turned around to make sure the sign didn't tip over and hit someone and almost ran into another bike.

On one of the first out and back small loops (downhill even) I started coughing.... so I pulled over and threw up. I knew it was not going to happen. I would put my health and lungs into some serious jeopardy if I continued. I'm stubborn, but I'm trying not to be so stupid. It was not worth it to me to suffer out there. I trained smart, I trained FAST. I was on my way to a very big PR - a very attainable goal of 5:30. With the times in my training I could have even come just under that.

Unfortunately yesterday was NOT may day. I got on the sidewalk and rode back to transition. I borrowed a cell phone to call Shane. We got my stuff and went home. I showered and put on sweats and snuggled on the couch under a blanket with my dogs on top of me. (mind you it's like 75 degs in my house, but I was cold). My chest felt like it had a huge brick on it. Pain deep into my back when I took a big breath.

I slept another 10hours. My body feels fine today - no aches (besides the rested, tapered, ready to race legs) but my lungs hurt to inhale. I'm heading to the Dr. shortly to see what is going on. I've basically had trouble for over 2 months with my asthma. My airways have been tight, and that's my only reasoning for being sick so much. I hope he can come up with a solution to get my breathing back on track.

I checked the race results this morning. Some people had GREAT days. Cindy & Lisa had fantastic races!!! it was GREAT to meet you both!

Although I was unhappy with my swim time, I noticed most everyone had slow swim times. I was 6/41 in my AG & 38/208 for OA women. After a speedy transition I was in 30th place for the females. Too bad that's as far as I got :-) I'm trying to see the glass half full with that.

Of course I've already been on line looking for a replacement race (assuming my Dr can help me clear up my lungs). Unfortunately AZ is about the only place still warm, and besides Clearwater & Silverman there is nothing!

I'm so sad to see my training just slip away. My swim & bike & run times faster than I've ever seen. I guess this is what happens when you put all your eggs in 1 (or 2 ) baskets. I'm just so thankful this did not happen to me on an Ironman day. It also makes me happy or satisfied with my decision to not race Ironman next year. To do more races. Challenge myself. Get fast.

I want to thank everyone out there that has been so supportive. I felt like I had so man people rooting for me. Shane & Momo & Heather & Sara all there for the swim start. The countless emails of encouragement from so many. My sister & niece and Natalie were all on their way to see my finish. I really feel so lucky to have so many great people in my life! Thanks for all of your emails and facebook posts.

Remember, I'm tough and I've fought all these things that have stacked up against me and won. I'll get my asthma in check and I'll find another race to conquer. I just might be a little sad for now....

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Soma pre-race jitters

In about 12 hours my alarm will go off and I will be crawling out of bed, mixing my spark and trying to stay calm. I'm all packed. EVERYTHING. Aquafor, sunglasses (including my Daniella-bella look alikes that will hopefully make me run fast), shoes, chip, hat, sunscreen, gel, nutter-butters, frozen gatorade, post race pringles and peanut M&Ms (nice recovery, eh?), mini-me wetsuit.... I pretty much have it all. And then some. 2 pairs of goggles, 2 caps...

Oh - and I did the funniest (or weirdest) thing a minute ago. I hate goggles fogging up, so I bought a new pair. Then I got sick and haven't used them yet. And I certainly didn't want to chance it and get in Tempe Town Lake today... So, I put my cap on, then my new goggles - filled my bathroom sink with water and stuck my head in it. Shane wasn't watching. I'm sure I would have been laughing under water and choked. Thankfully, I do have a spare pair that I will have in some one's hand just in case they fill up with water or something when I get in. God help me....

Can you tell I'm hyper? I feel so much better today. Not 100% by most of the aches are gone. OH, and I drank about a pitcher of ice tea at lunch. Oops. I wonder if THAT is gonna make me pee all day long tomorrow. Don't worry, I'm so not above peeing myself :-)

Mini-me is already parked in transition. In a crappy T-spot I might add. She's row 7 out of like 12 or something. On the far inside lane. Nothing to remember or mark my row off. Let's just hope I can remember the number (row) 7 after being horizontal for 30+minutes.

OH yah - 30+minutes. We'll see about that. My swims in my mini-me wetsuit have been fast. Effortless fast. So fast that if I swam that pace in the race I would be done in around 32minutes without much effort. My race experience is telling me that is a little far fetched so I'm hoping for under 35mins. It's doable.

The temps are going to be warm. Probably about 85 or so when I finish. If I race my race, and nothing goes wrong.... I could be finishing around 12:30. You do the math. Putting down any more detailed times freaks me out. Cause then it's a real live goal for everyone to see. And, well, that's just not how I roll. I've put out more hints and splits and times then ever in the past so if you have read this blog you can probably figure it out.

So without blabbing any more (again I blame it on the ice tea and lack of training and 10+hrs of sleep per night this week) I'm going to just say that I'm feeling REALLY good. I'm EXCITED (not usually the case for me pre-race). I've told all my friends what they need to do put put the fire in me if I'm slowing down tomorrow. I've thought about it enough that I really think this might be the race it all comes together.

See you on the other side!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Ta-Dah....

Seriously - what is an ADD girl like me gonna do after this Sunday when the remodel is done, my race is over and it's dark in the morning..... My poor husband :-)

And here we go:
Before - view from our bedroom. The huge double sink vanity with all the wasted space, as well as the mid 80s retro mirrors and lights....

Sideways view of inside the shower. This was a huge bathtub, but no jets.... Oh - and the cracked fiberglass (or whatever it was)... That is what happens when you take 2 LaPans (present one excluded) a case a beer and no plumbing experience. That was day one in the new house...


Another view of the shower door.....



My old sink and tiny closet...


And the New Improved!! I absolutely LOVE it!!!
We still have 2 sinks, and plenty of room - and NO more 80s stuff!! Some of the cool details -
The brushed nickel Rosettes (?spelling) on the corner pieces of the mirror frame. Those were NOT easy to find in Plain brushed nickel...
The dual lights - we actually had a hard time finding these too - Finally ordered them from Restoration Hardware. I love the way they are set inside the mirror....
The granite is beautiful - It has gray hues and some blue/purple and chocolate colors - we really lucked out finding this slab.


This is the new view from our bedroom - The cabinet was custom built (for sizing) off something I saw at Restoration Hardware. The wood stained an espresso with red hues to match our bedroom furniture. The quality is very very good and the guy added in pull out gliders under the sink. He also built the medicine

This is just a picture inside the shower. By taking out the old tub, we had a lot to work with space-wise, so we added this bench and used extra material from the granite slab. The shelves are shown before they were installed (next picture)





Like I said, the shower is HUGE. We have vaulted ceilings in there, so they took the tile pretty high. The glass doors have the "euro" fixtures that make it look a lot nicer.



And, here is the 2nd bathroom before. Same wood, fixtures and fiberglass shower. Oh, and you can't see the detail of the paint - but it was horrible. When we moved in this bathroom had wallpaper. We removed it, did a horrible job of re-texturing and then tried to do some fancy paint job (Ralph Lauren textures, River Rock I think) It did NOT turn out!

The tile on the floor was installed by an old friend.... not his forte' - it also did not look good at all!


Inside the shower/tub



And the new tile/paint/fixtures!

For the most part the bathroom materials are different. Slightly different style faucet and lighting, but everything else is about the same... We were beyond sick of making decisions after 7 weeks on the other bathroom!

Even thought the wait about killed me - I am SO happy with the results!!! Of course we went way way way over budget so the kitchen is going to have to wait, but for sanity reasons, that is probably a good thing!!!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

yes, i live in the desert

Thank you all for your comments/suggestions. I've been od'ing on Zinc, soup, tea, sleep, vitamin C and water..... I feel about the same today, maybe a little better.

I sure do tend to post a lot more when leading up to a race. Prolly cause I'm all up in my head and all. Well, today I read the BEST POST EVER. I am such a self doubter. But, She is an experienced athlete, a pro in fact and a coach. If she says it, well, it must be true, right?

So, when it's 90degs and I'm on my second loop of the run - this is what I will be thinking, believing and LIVING. And, if not - I have recruited several friends to yell and scream very mean things to me to light my butt on fire!

"If you did it in training – if you got close – you can do it in racing with a proper taper and rest."

in case you didn't follow the link - that is from the fabulous blog of Elizabeth Fedofsky, a.k.a. "Elf"

Unfortunately the race is here, in my home of the desert. Where, while other states are bundled up in turtle necks and sweaters, here you can still sit outside in your swimsuit and work on your tan.

Here is the 10day forecast from the ever-lying weather.com. I do hope this time, they are wrong with the low. I hope it's more in the 50's for a low so the cooler temps will last a little longer. 85degs I can do. 90's will be pushing it.

Right now it's 84degs. I should be a mile or so into the run by this time Sunday. OH - and the water temp this morning at race time - 71degs. Perfect for sleeveless wetsuit. (obsess much?)

For the first time every, I'm not totally totally freaked about the weather - It is what it is and I'm going to do my best to cope.


Monday, October 20, 2008

Fighting it off!!!

Ok - I need everyone's help, advice, suggestions....

I thought I was in the clear... I thought getting sick 6 weeks ago was almost perfect timing so I couldn't get sick for the actual race.

Then damn it all to hell on Saturday I started feeling like crap. I do think a LOT of it has to do with all of the wind and crap in the air.. It's been relentless lately. My lungs are weak, so any change something can get in there and jack them all up, well... it seems to happen.

I used to be able to just drink OJ, overhydrate, Emergency/Airborne and sleep and with in a few days I would be good to go....

So, Saturday I just felt a little tired. Then Sunday I woke up a little achy, mostly in the neck (back & sides). My throat seems fine, not too stuffy. I drank a ton of fluids yesterday and bought some Cold-Eeze and went to bed at 9pm.

I actually woke up feeling MUCH better. I had a 35min low HR run on my schedule so I took the dogs out. Kept my HR around 140-145, didn't seem any higher than normal, but I could tell by the end my neck was starting to ache a bit again. My lungs also burning a bit.

On the bright side my legs feel absolutely FANTASTIC!!! Rested...

So, please send me all your home remedies!!! SO far I have airborne (I found it worked better than Emergen C), Cold-Eeze, and lots of fluid!

Friday, October 17, 2008

My 'On Switch'

Wow, what a week! My taper officially started on Monday of this week, and for the first time EVER on a taper, I have had one of my best training weeks to date. I don't feel sore and tired and sluggish. In fact, I feel just the opposite. Loose, and STRONG and fast and energetic.

Mark Allen's training plan taper mixes things up the last 2 weeks. Instead of doing 2 workouts a day, with only one rest day - you have 2 days with all three sports done. And 2 weeks out is all about speed and tempo. Between those tripple set days are rest days. Wednesday was my first. I started with a speed bike, followed by a speed run, followed by a swim....more on the 3rd in a minute....

Maybe it's because I trained for Ironman 2 years in a row? I forgot what this not so tired, fired up feeling was like? I don't know, this time it feels SO great!

Like, so great that where at the beginning of this training I decided it was "all about the bike" and I completely ignored the swim & the run... I put very challenging goals out there for my bike split. I was less confident in my swimming and my running, but felt strong on the bike.

Well, things seemed to have changed. My running has done a 180! In comparison to my Ironman paces I've dropped ~:40/mile off my long run pace and significantly more off my tempo pace. Most of this happened in the last 2-3weeks! Maybe the less is more is working for me this time? Unfortunately I did not get to test my new-found speed on anything longer than 9 miles due to the IT band, but endurance isn't what I'm worried about next Sunday.

And the swim.... The swim & I have a love hate relationship. I know I have potential, but when it comes down to proving it, I usually come up short. Honestly, I had kinda just given up on my swim speed. After my neck issues and epidural injections last year I had 6 months of no swimming. It took me about 8 months to get back to the speed I was before all of that... and then I was going NO WHERE. I started doing some tough speed sets with my masters coach, which I felt was helping me sustain my "fast" speed, but not really getting me any faster...

Then again, like the running, something happened in the last 2 weeks. My on switch, if you will, finally went ON! I dropped about 5 seconds off both my 200 speed and my 100 speed! And, after some more wetsuit drama, I squeezed my butt into my very first "mini-me" wetsuit from 2003, and bam - TWENTY seconds off of my 200's. TWENTY seconds.... I felt like I was flying!

It's a fantastic wetsuit, the old Ironman Stealth (before Blue Seventy Helix) I bought to do my first colder water triathlon several years ago. I got it on clearance for like $99 or something! I downsized (on the edge of the size chart) to get the deal... and when the next season came around, well needless to say I couldn't really fit in the damn thing anymore! So, I upped a size and wore the same wetsuit, a bigger size for a few more races. In fact, I even posted the mini-me suit on a few websites to try to sell it. It had only been worn once!

It had been a while sine I had raced in a sleeveless wetsuit so I thought I should try it out in the pool. So, last week I brought my wetsuit to the pool and tried it out. I was faster - about 10seconds on my 200's, but when I got out of the pool, I felt the same problem I had in the past with a borrowed wetsuit that was too big. Water gushing down the legs putting me off balance. I had been holding a lot of extra water...

So, freaking out I decided to see if I could squeeze into the smaller suit. I dug it out of the bottom of a storage bin on top of a closet. THAT was a workout. I got in it, but DAMN. Really, it was just in the neck. Like right by your trachea, in the middle of the neck. I decided no way could I swim in that and I put it away. But then at masters someone else was trying out a wetsuit and Anne, our coach was checking the fit. I decided I should tell her about the water filling up & see what she thought...

The next day I was at the pool in the mini-me suit to try it out. She said it was absolutely perfect! I showed her the neck problem, and she said as long as it's not restricting my breathing, and I could tolerate it the rest of the fit was perfect. The test was a set of 200's descending in speed. 2:50,2:48,2:41!! The last one a solid 11seconds faster than my best time in the other wetsuit! I felt like I was gliding across the pool!

Anne told me, if there was any way I could tolerate the neck problem, "I HAD to wear that wetsuit!"

So, now I'm all giddy. I have all these visions of my race. Of having my ONE swim. That one where I push myself, and get out in front and DON'T get off course.... And, I can't gain a freaking lb in the next week or I don't think I'll fit in it! I'll have to swim in it again next week :-)

And the bike... Well, I'm not nearly as confident as I was.... but I've got the heart and the desire & I'm really hoping that carries me!

The run. Wow. I just don't know what to think. I feel SO good right now. I'm faster, more efficient and surprising myself every time I finish. I actually end up looking at my Garmin over and over to see if those times were for real! The heat will be a big factor in my performance.

So for now, I'm going to enjoy being "ON" and hoping more than anything that I can keep on, all or nothing next Sunday. If any of you out there see me next weekend.... If I'm not flying by you - or my HR is not in zone 3. I expect 4 words from you....

SUCK IT UP BUTTERCUP!

btw... being "on" is making me very hungry.... that does not bode well for the min-me wetsuit!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Inspiration

We all need a little bit of inspiration and help out there some days right? Well, here's some for you.

You all remember my dear friend Tonsa, right? The one who was diagnosed with breast cancer less than 2 years ago while training for the Ragnar Relay?

Well, not only has she been "cancer free" for several months, she has also since celebrated her 50th birthday, ran and placed in her age group in several local races and is currently training to Boston qualify at the Tucson Marathon. And you know it, I will be there to cheer here in!

However, probably one of her most proud moments happened last Sunday at the Komen Race for the Cure. I'll let you read what she sent out!

Dearest Friends ……………………………………………. Howdy and Happy Monday --- here is the Race Report …………………..

Over 34,000 people stepped to the start line on Sunday morning ------ they only gave out three medals to the top three survivor finishers and WE won one of them!!!!

Running for all that each of you have meant to me, running for all those women who fought before me and running for all those who may come after me, I strung together three 8 minute miles to capture third place and one of the coveted medals!!! It will now and forever more be my favorite race medal --

The best moments were seeing Del's astonishment as I was bookin' to the finish (I know I surprised both of us!) and then climbing up on the medal podium and seeing that sea of people there supporting the cause.

The real winner is the Phoenix community we raised over 2 million dollars for Komen!!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Bike to Run...

Remember this? Well, seems things are looking up for the other discipline. The one where I've just been "wingin" it. I've avg'd about 15miles per week over the last 12 weeks. Babyin' the IT band like crazy.

Epiphany. RICE works people!!! Oh, and less is more... who would have thought? Not me that's for sure!

I try not to talk about running as much as the cycling cause it's easier for me to put my money where my mouth is when I can actually control my body. I can ride hard if I push it. Running, that all depends on my body. And the stupid weather, I suppose. ON the run, I tend to ugh, give up in races. Get tired, walk. Let people pass me cause "they're just faster!"

Well, since I haven't been running all that much, I decided I could at least push the runs that I have been doing. So, on my long runs for the past month I've been negative splitting the last part. Letting my HR go into zone 3.

I think it's helping. On Saturday, Shane, the dogs & I did a 6mile loop to start. We avg'd 9:10min miles, HR 144. I finished the run by myself pushing it & feeling fantastic 3 miles 8:38 pace, 155 HR. My overall avg was 8:59, 147 HR!

Unfortunately I wasn't able to get my long run any further than 9 miles for this training, so I'll just have to hope that the bike ride loosens up my IT band enough that those last 4 miles aren't horrible.

Then today, I woke up and saw an extra speed run on my schedule! WTF? It wasn't too bad, some "pick-ups" with 2x12mins getting faster ever 3mins.... It was only 53degs outside, and the dogs were following me around like crazy, so I decided since my ITs don't do all that great with the speed work, I'd substitute this first speed run with a "tempo" run & take the dogs.

Wow, temperature shock! 53degs is a far cry from the 75-90deg weather I've been running in. my hands were cold and quads bright red! My HR was 15beats lower, and even when running in the low 8min pace wasn't rising above 153. Whoot! This is gonna be a GREAT run... come on Abby - speed up!

Baxter was in Irondog heaven!

I decided to do a route that is a little over 4 miles, thinking that would about the same time as the speed run. It's up down up down, with one half mile hill. I typically run this route at about a 9:30 pace aerobically.

Today the kids and I were on fire. I never even got to push my HR, my body just felt fantastic. Even up the hill....

The last half mile I was really pushing the pace and finally got my HR into zone 3. Poor Abby was dying, but we all had big smiles on our faces...

4.25miles, 147 HR (171max), 8:28 avg pace!!!!

Now, of course I am on cloud 9 right now... I'm shocked at how well my running is going. I know my IT band is the ruler of all things race wise, but there is also a hint of hope in side me that thinks I might finally have that one good race. Finally have a good run split. Finally have all things fall into place?!?!

I usually don't put all this stuff out there, in fear of being let down if the results don't happen the way they should, so I'm wondering if putting it out there for all to see will help me dig deeper on race day. Even if it's 90 degs out?

Oh, and the swim.... I usually have those BAD dreams. You know, forgot goggles, missed the start, no wetsuit.... got off course. Well, last night I had a dream I was doing a "splash & dash" race. 1.2mile swim. This is the funny part. The winner, Keanu Reeves (WTF - I can't stand him!).... Me, first girl out of the swim in SUB 30mins!

Now I know I'm not going to swim a sub 30min swim, but could a first GOOD swim dream - good swim race? Hmmm.

Progress on the bike. Well, honestly - since I had my legs dead dog tired, ride by myself a few weeks ago where I avg'd 18.3 things haven't gone as well. It's been crazy windy here and momo & I have been getting our asses kicked by the wind, hanging on for dear life.

Shane says it's making us stronger, so let's just hope he's right! I know if it's windy like it has been I won't be able to hit my goal of 20.5mph, but if I can get good weather I know it's doable.

So, here's to 2 more weeks of tapering, resting, not freaking out and praying for good weather!!!!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

All about the SHOES

Well, I'm pretty sure that title grabbed a few of my fellow shoe whores :-) Unfortunately, this isn't a post about some really cool new shoes, or boots I purchased, or received... or even HAVE for that matter. Boo hoo. I would love me some new shoes though. Something about fall and cute new pumps that go perfect with Jeans. You know, for all those time I shower, and actually blow dry my hair.... and try to remember how to put make on and all. Whatever, you get the point. No cute new shoes. Blah.

Bet Shane read the title and thought I ordered myself something online... again :-)

Anyway, this post is about RUNNING shoes. Boring, I know.. but, probably one of the single most important things to being a successful, injury free runner (you know, cause I'm all of that and all - ha!)....

I've been thru it all. Several running assessments, orthotics, Adidas, Nike, Saucony, Brooks... you name it, I've probably tried it (remember, shoes we are talking about here people). In the past year or so, I've been running in Asics Gel Nimbus. Doesn't hurt that a good friend is a podiatrist and gets them pretty cheap for me. And, so far, they seem to be helping a lot. No more icky blistered callouses. No sore arches, etc.

But, honestly shouldn't a $120 shoe last longer than 200-230miles? I mean COME ON. Thankfully, I've been averaging only about 15miles a week since June, but once again... in the last week or so everything started to feel like it was falling apart... So, I went to my trusty training log, and sure enough - it was getting time to break in a new pair.

I meant to do it last week.... that didn't happen, then I was going to do it Monday - oops, forgot again. Then for SURE on Wed, but then I was trying to sneak out so the dogs didn't see me (like i had em fooled!) cause I was doing speed work, so once again I didn't do it.

Holy Hell people. My legs and knees hurt last night like I had run 20miles. Or a marathon. OR SOMETHING horrible. They were throbbing and achy and oh - just not right. I was sitting on the couch with 2 bags of frozen peas, one each leg. Dude, it was only 6.5miles!!! Ha..

But then I got to thinking. You know how anyone who doesn't run, or thinks you are crazy for running, always says the SAME THING. That one thing that if you heard one more time you could just scream???

"I can't run, my knees are bad."

Yah, that one thing. Well.... Call me a genius, but I figured it out. It's cause they need some new DAMN shoes!!! Duh. I mean if I threw on my old "running shoes" from 1999 and tried to run 2 miles, I'd prolly say the same thing.

Point taken? I'm going to go switch my orthotics into my last pair of new shoes in stock (a la' Krista's closet) so I will have no more complaining to do about not being cut out for running....

I do have one question though.... How long do YOUR shoes last, cause really, I think just over 200miles is a bit ridiculous!

And yes, Molly.... if you are reading this - I was thinking of you while writing this post. NO MORE RUNNING IN YEAR OLD SHOES!

shoot.. now I've got CUTE shoes on my mind. damn it. maybe I should actually try taking a shower and getting out of my workout cloths first... hmmmm

Monday, October 6, 2008

Wind wind GO AWAY

And DON'T come back every single day... PLEASE! Jeez. It's not like it's April in AZ. And, isn't hurricane season about over? Apparently, not. I mean - really.... Can you imagine what Momo, all 90lbs of her and Malibu Barbie, and myself (eh..not quite as light as momo - but mini-me's lightness making up for that difference) out there on our long rides holding on for dear life with those cross winds? I'm sure we look pretty funny.
But, funny it is not when you are on your bike for 4-5hours with 25mph crosswinds going down 9mile hill. Let's just say our rides have been eh, sub par. I'm trying to keep a good attitude about it though. What doesn't kill ya makes ya stronger, no? Sure hope so! Although, I swear a couple of those gusts WERE going to kill us! We actually modified our route Saturday because we were going DOWN HILL at some points only 14mph - usually we are going about 22-23 at that point. The wind was just too strong.
But, enough about the crappy weather. I mean, the last two days have been ABSOLUTELY gorgeous in AZ. Like, I even ran at SEVEN THIRTY this morning and didn't die. It was heaven! And, yesterday we had our doors/windows open ALL DAY and even grilled and ate outside last night. I love October here....

I just hope this fantastic weather can hold up for Soma this year. It's a 50/50 chance. The year I did it, 3 years ago - it was like last year. Blistering hot. I have however trained my body a bit more this year, running and pushing my HR in the heat... Hopefully that helps. I'm trying not to think about it too much.
As for the rest of my training... well - it's been ok. I've had some great/fast runs (for me)... some good bikes, and swimming has been about average. But, for the first time ever... I'm not doing ALL my training :-) If training were like school, I'd be an A+ student. But, this time around, I'm trying the "less is more" approach. More quality, not as many workouts.... We'll see how it goes!
.............Now some catch up.....
So, last weekend was Shane's 40th Birthday. Yup.... he's 40, I'm 30. I'm such a little shit, rubbing it in like that ;-) It's fun though. For now.... And, according to Big J, I'm an OLD 30. As much as I hate to admit it, it's true. That's ok though - I had fun when I was younger, and just aged quicker I guess! I'm healthy and active and happy - that's all that matters to me, regardless of my age. And, I still get carded all the time, for the most part. Except when I'm with Shane :-) He's totally going to call me out on this post....
But, anyhoo - we went down to Rocky Point to celebrate his birthday. S & I drove down on Thursday after the 4hr kansas ride (me) and 20mile kansas run (S). Holy Hell was it HOT! Like, July Arizona smoldering hot and humid hot. Crap..... It's never fun to be at the BEACH when it is so hot you have to stay in side. Last year, same time - I remembered it being hot that first night, but then gorgeous the rest of the weekend. We were hoping for the best...

However, when Momo & Big J arrived, and we greeted them at the guard gate with a Dos Equis and momo drank it before we even got to the house, my denial of how freaking hot it was was realized.... Oh well. We can still make our own fun! Which we did! Unfortunately, maybe too much fun cause of course I didn't remember to take ANY pictures! Momo got a few... maybe someday she'll update her blog too and post them :-)
We walked around town (hungover) in the morning.... Thank you Bloody Mary! My new favorite morning drink for Mexico :-).... We played scrabble and ate jello shots. And, BTW - scrabble is SO not meant for Mexico. Miss smarty pants Momo & Mr. smarty pants Shane were driving me nuts with their 42 point per word strategy, while I on the other hand was oblivious to the competitiveness in DRINKING scrabble, and chose a more fun fiesta strategy with words like sex and sexy and adding "s" to the above mentioned smarty pants' words.
I tried to pick it up at the last minute to get some good words, but I'm sorry - Mexico, tequila, vodka and HANGOVER do not = words like "zenith" for me.

Anyhoo, enough of that. Maybe I'm just a poor sport for getting my ass kicked. No, drinking scrabble is STUPID. Unless next time we have a category! Yah.. that's a good one.
So, the weekend came and went - momo & J were only there for a couple days, and of course once they left the weather got better and Shane & I were able to spend some time on the beach. We finally took a couple pics. The dogs had an absolute blast, and the dolphins actually came out for a visit as well....


After the sun finally went down, we headed back up to the house to clean up a bit & out for a nice quiet birthday dinner and margarita!


Overall, it was a fantastic weekend, and I was sad (albeit bloated and hungover) to come home.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Perspective

I've been analyzing and over analyzing my training like never before lately.... I guess because I put a pretty specific goal out there, which I've never done before. It's a challenge, and it's SO incredibly hard to put training times, paces, HRs into perspective with = race pace.

My bike rides have been pretty incredible lately... avgs are higher than my entire history of cycling (ha - that makes it sound like I've been riding forever!). But, in the end how do you make an 18.3mph training ride = 20.5+ race day?

I keep going back to the fact that the first time I did Soma I trained at about a 16mph pace and pulled off a 19mph race pace - 3 years ago.... I have come a lot further on the bike in that time.

And, running too - although my miles are very very minimal (had my peak running mileage this week of 19.5miles) they are getting faster. I actually negative split my long run this week by over :30 (sub 9min pace) for the last half of the run. But, since I have never had a great run split in a race, it's really hard for me to come up with a run time in the race.....

I know a lot of this is lack of confidence, which I'm trying for. I guess in 5 weeks I will no a lot more.....

So, yesterday I had a 3:30 ride on tap, with a :30min transition run after. All my training buddies were MIA so it was going to be a big mental day for me. My legs were TRASHED. With those 240 lunges, 8x400s, a couple bike rides and my longest run since CDA the day before I was a little worried. I've also been having some issues with muscle cramping for a couple weeks. I think I got behind on my hydration and salt intake, and I was paying the price. I actually had a calf cramp wake me up one night, and it was sore the next day. This is usually not something I ever have?

So, anyway... I had picked a route that would have me climbing for the entire first half..... Then I had a nice 10ish mile descent - and ending pretty flat.

My legs were worthless right from the start, so I started coming up with things to occupy my time. Thank You Garmin! I added the lap view to my screen so I basically played with that and did math in my head all morning. I started with the warmup... a nice flat start, then about 8 miles of climbing.

13.86miles, 1120ft ascend, 720 descend, 16.8mph - avg HR 124 (yah.. I was having a hard time getting going...)

The next portion was pretty much all up - straight up Pima road
9.63miles, 870ft ascend, 100ft descend, 14.9mph - avg HR 152 (I was GLUED to my Garmin. My legs were KILLING me and I kept fading. If I fell below 150HR I made myself stand up to pick up the pace for a minute

The 3rd segment was my favorite, thru the town of Cave Creek. Nice, FAST descents. I was at an overall avg for the ride of 16mph for 90mins so I knew I need to pick up the pace to hit my goal of 18.2avg....

I decided to see what I could do in the second half so I decided to push thru the pain and really pedal (geared out most of the way) on the descends & flats. I did it - over the next 90mins I avg'd 20.6mph, 145hr, 1000ft ascend & 2000ft descend....

The unfortunate part of the ride is I think I hit EVERY single light - so a LOT of stop and go..... my garmin graph looks a mess with all the up down up down.. All in all it was a good day. On completely trashed legs I was able to hold an 18.3avg on my own. I had some rough patches, but overall I'm happy with the results:

60.1miles, 18.3avg, 3:17mins - HR avg 142, max 168, ~3300ft ascend and descend. I think the low HR was due to all the stopping and going, and the rough start....
Transition run 2.6miles, 9:24pace (I actually ran with ice down my top - it was 95degs out by the time I was running.....)
But my big question - how does all that translate into race day?
**Update - as requested, the graph. You can see all the drastic ups and downs are the damn lights!!!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Miscellaneous

The never ending remodel.... We are so freaking close I can't stand it! The very last TWO steps we are waiting for - the shower tile to be sealed and the glass/mirror to be installed. I was under the impression those were happening today. We'll see.... I'm sure we're looking at Monday now....

I'm now working on the guys to start demo on the spare bathroom as soon as we can shower in ours. I think they wanted to wait a week because they have started other jobs, but enough is enough.. I want the damn stuff done! We trust our contractor enough to allow him to work on the house while we are in Mexico next weekend. We're heading down with the Angelones to celebrate Shane's birthday. It's kinda a big one..... Who better to celebrate it with! Shane & Momo can bond. She too has a big one coming up soon!

Training is going well. Although I was sick last week and missed about half of my workouts (or more)... I got right back into the swing of things this week. "Daniella-bella" about killed me during a leg session on Tuesday. I had to do 4 x 60 lunges. 10 each leg forward, side to side and each leg backwards. I'm still sore. I had to postpone my speed run,which I was actually looking forward to another day, which kinda threw the rest of my week off. With the old' IT band, I don't run 2 days in a row (except sometimes with a brick), so running Thursday meant a long run Saturday, and long ride Sunday....

Momo is doing an Oly' triathlon and my other buddies are busy or into marathon training so it looks like I will be on my own this weekend. Hopefully my legs aren't too toast from the rest of the workouts and I can still hold a good pace. I've been keeping all my avg's around 17.8-18.2. It's harder with the stoplights so I'm going to try to find a good route!

While I'm enjoying the speed runs, I find the speed bikes harder to pull off. This morning I had a speed bike with 2 x (3x 1:00, 1 x 9:00). My legs just didn't want to move.... Especially all out for 9minutes.. I'm wondering if maybe I should put the speed bike on Tuesdays vs Thursdays (this week Friday) so my legs are more fresh?? I have to admit, this is my workout that is usually the first to be skipped, or just used as a normal ride, but since I'm trying to have a pretty good bike split in my upcoming race, I'm making myself do these intervals... Let's hope they work!!

I'm pretty sure the speed runs are working. I looked back through my 400 paces during Ironman training. They were like a 7:45 pace. My last workout I avg'd a 6:40 pace (1:40) for 8x400. Now, if only I could actually run ONE solid mile at that pace!!! Ha.... I have never ever ever had a good run split in a triathlon, so hopefully this one can be a little more successful. Back when I was much faster, before all the years of IT band struggle I didn't do triathlons...so all of my races are post IT band injuries. Someday I'll get past it, but for now, my run training and times are usually to just get by.... Frustrating! I have all the desire and will to put in the work and the intensity, but my body just never seems to cooperate enough to get it to the next level....

And, on to the next...

Shane & I watched the season premiere of The Biggest Loser. We have actually never watched this show before... OMG... I had chills and teary eyes almost the entire time. The reality of how unhealthy those people are was shocking, even to myself whom I consider a pretty healthy gal. Honestly, all I could think about was my mom. She is not healthy, she is over-weight & has horrible eating/sleeping habits. To make matters worse she has been a smoker, and I mean 2-3 packs a day smoker since she was a teenager. Ironically (or maybe not so) she is a nurse. Yah, go figure....

When they were doing the Real Age factor, and aging some of the younger people up by 20+years, and then they moved on to the cop..... I could seriously only imagine what my mom's age would be. It was so scary... I thought, I think she watches this show. How on EARTH could she watch it and not think of how incredibly sick SHE is.... Denial is a powerful thing I suppose. I've tried for years and years to get her to change, but excuse after excuse - I've come to learn you have to want that change in order to make it happen.

I have to admit watching that show not only scared the shit out of me for my parent's sake, but it also made me feel pretty darn good about the changes I have made in my life over the last 10 years....

10 years ago is when I started casually running. I was a big party girl, I ate like crap and weighed 20lbs more. Yah, 20lbs on a 5'3" girl not so cute... Now don't get me wrong, I still eat some bad things, and drink prolly more than I should.... but, I have a pretty good balance of it all... I know the patterns and way that my family lives and I am just so thankful that I made the choice to not live that way... to take care of myself and live a different lifestyle....

I'm very excited to watch and follow the stories of the cast members. I can only hope that they will inspire some people out there to do the same.

Last, but not least... it is finally cooling down a bit in Arizona. Yah, it's still topping off at 100degs, but the humidity is going away and the mornings are at least in the high 70's and low 80s.... I can't wait for October, it's one of my favorite months here!