Monday, October 19, 2009

June in October

Living in the desert is like no other place, really. We have some of the most gorgeous sunsets. The fall and spring make you feel like you've died and gone to heaven. Cooler mornings & evenings. Beautiful afternoons. You can walk, run, ride your bike, swim and enjoy meals outside ALL DAY LONG.

Then however, mother nature sneaks in one of those gawd awful weekends, just when you think you've hit that died and gone to heaven time of the year that makes you want to kill yourself. Or, something like that.

That weekend JUST happened. Most of you know my obsession with the weather. I don't know why, because it really is what it is & you can't do anything about it. Even if I'm sick in bed, for some reason I just want to KNOW. Traveling? The obsession starts about 2 weeks out. I mean what's a girl gonna wear?

So of course I knew that it was going to be a high of 100degs on Saturday. But, when you live in AZ 100degs really doesn't seem like anything much. What I failed to really pay attention to was the fact that when I planned a bike ride of about 4hours, with a some good climbing in there, and starting at 7am, it was already going to be 80degs.

The ride started out great. We had a couple of other guys join us this week, which was really nice. So three boys twice my size and me. I'm so not complaining about THAT draft. I learned last week that I can't start my rides heading straight up. Which kinda sucks, because by heading up north, after about an hour we have some of the most beautiful riding. But, my legs, especially these marathon in training legs need a serious warmup. If not, I think I suck, I hate my bike & I'm ready to quit.

The route had us doing a nice flat/easy 30min warmup, then we would start the very slight/steady climb up to the town of Cave Creek. We were cruising along, into a horrible head wind, but we all seemed to feel great, taking turns pulling (well - I tried my best, but don't think I helped them out nearly as much as they did for me) and keeping a GREAT avg. About 2 hours into the ride we were up in Cave Creek & Shane got a flat. He'd already changed one before the start of the ride so we were kinda worried. He rode over a piece of metal & his tube was pretty much trashed. He changed the tube & added a dollar bill for protection & got as much air in as he could. He decided he should not do the 10ish extra loop up into Legend Trails (hills) that I added, and just head home. That way, if his tire was trashed - I would see him along the way & have to head home anyway to get the car & pick him up (never mind the fact I totally forgot about him until we were a mile from home & someone asked if we were going the same route Shane would have taken - oops).

We filled up our water bottles & noticed none of us drank enough for that first 2 hours. We also noticed when we weren't heading into the wind and feeling the breeze, how incredibly HOT it was. My legs felt WORLDS better than last weekend, and the hills I normally loathe up in Cave Creek seemed pretty easy! Things were looking good.

At the next intersection, Shane headed on his way home & the boys & I went up for my extra loop. Straight into a flipping head wind. It felt like you were going going going, but not actually getting anywhere. At times there were some cross winds, and I was actually thankful for my tank Hillary (bike) vs mini me. I'm not sure I would have stayed on her.

At the top of the hills, we stopped and waited for one in our group. I noticed I was really REALLY dizzy. My nutrition was perfect, 4 thermolytes down but something wasn't right. We started the descent down Cave Creek, then turned onto Pima, hoping for a tail wind to bring us the 20miles home. But, of course Mother Nature was apparently PMSing and decided to shift the wind on us. So much for the downhill, tail wind dessert to finish up the ride.

The 3 of us were struggling & actually had to stop just 10miles from my house to refill water AGAIN. I took my last gel, and 3/4 a packet of salt (just like a shot, minus the tequila and lime!) but noticed I was getting chills, and goosebumps. Not good. We slowed down the pace, and basically did a 10mile cooldown.

4hours, only 66miles, my garmin didn't map it out so not sure of the climbing, 5 bottles of water, 550calories, 4 Thermolytes & 3/4 salt packet. Deydration, 4.5lbs.

We spent the next 3 hours pounding water until my headache was gone. It was like a flashback to those 5-6hour rides in May/June leading up to Ironman. When you can't drink enough, can't sit on your butt enough and well, are just plain worthless.

About 4pm we both were back to ourselves, fully hydrated and STARVING. We actually made it out of the house to Costco for 2 items. Pizza & lemons, need I say more?

All in all, despite the heat, it was a great ride, a good strength builder & hopefully gained a couple more riders for our Tour de Tucson group!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Confidence

"Confidence is generally described as a state of being certain either that a hypothesis or prediction is correct or that a chosen course of action is the best or most effective. Self-confidence is having confidence in oneself. " Wikipedia

We all have our hobbies, whether it be running, triathlon, car racing, horse racing or even the well, interesting Olympic sport of curling. Or, non athletic hobbies of sewing or scrap booking or hunting and fishing.

When you find something you love, you start out just doing, then you might end up actually competing. Some compete from the get go. My husband is one of those. He loves the fire, the competitive spirit and the challenge. I used to loathe it. I used to make myself sick thinking about it. I'd be nervous before training sessions, let alone racing. I admire his ability to say what he's GOING TO DO.

I've been able to get over half my battle. To give what I have, and not be afraid to leave it all out there, regardless of the outcome. I've had some great success, but also some not so great achievements with this new attitude.

But something I still struggle with is the confidence side. WHAT can I do, how fast can I go, can I really do it. I've learned that my body doesn't give up. Come hell or high water (pain or no pain) I am more than likely going to finish, I just might not end up happy with the result.

I see other people's strengths, their speeds and I feel like I know what THEY are capable of. I can talk people up & feel like I KNOW they can do something they set out to, even if they don't.

For the life of me, I just can't seem to put that on myself. I know my training, I know what I've done & (like this summer) what I haven't done... So, why am I struggling so hard to figure out what all that can turn into on race day? Perhaps it's because I don't have a coach to go off right now. A coach to tell me what all the training I'm doing can equate to on that day? That can't be the only factor though? Is it a lot of disappointments that scare me from believing things I can do?

You see, I've got this marathon coming up. It's in 8 weeks. I'm following a good training plan. A training plan that has been very successful for others. I'm doing what is written, not questioning it. Before last weekend, which was my personal test of getting through the 2:40min run pain free, the reality of actually doing the full marathon wasn't set in stone yet. But, I did the run, I felt great & now it's out there.

In 8 weeks I will be doing another marathon. Something I though I might never get the opportunity to do again.

I've got some really really big fans out there, bless their hearts seem to have my capabilities all figured out, and with any luck their confidence in me will rub off a little. But, for now when people are asking my goal I've got 2 things to say:

I plan on a PR (really, not that hard)
I am actually DOING another marathon, and will FINISH it.

Here's to hoping I can get a better idea of my abilities in the next 4 weeks! But, for now if anyone has any words of encouragement, or advice on how to teach myself to say I will, please let me know ;-)

Monday, October 12, 2009

October, the most beautiful month of the year!

After struggling through the first few weeks back it the heat, the weather has finally changed. It's stunningly beautiful in the mornings, not forcing us to run at dark thirty am. The evenings are starting to cool, and our AC is finally not killing itself to keep the house cool. Yup, it's fall here in AZ, honestly one of the most beautiful times & places to be....

The first weekend in October we had the honor of heading to Sonoma to celebrate the wedding of our friends Ric & Sara. We could not be more happy for this couple. I can honestly say this was one of the most beautiful, elegant weddings I have ever been to. The setting was gorgeous, the details simple and perfect. And, of course the weekend of wine tasting could not have been better...

Our AZ family with the Happy couple

The happiness was so obvious, you couldn't help but get goosebumps during the ceremony




Natalie & Jeff...

Our own little "rehearsal dinner" night

and rehearsal day....

Shane & I had some time on our own to do tastings. Every visit we always have a favorite place we find, this trip it was Robledo Family Winery. The wines were incredible, the story amazing & inspiring. If you are in the area, it's a don't miss...
It truly was a fabulous, perfect weekend - complete with a visit with my old college friend Kelly. She works for Trinchero Family Wineries in the Sutter Home Facility. We headed over to St. Helena for a visit & she treated us with a tour of the facility & then lunch to catch up. So fun seeing good friends after such a long time!
After our return it was back to the daily grind. Work has picked up after a pretty slow summer & training is returning. I've had my two big "test" long runs to see if my IT band could hold up for the full marathon. Yesterday was my 2:40 run & it went GREAT! 17.3miles with a lot of climbing! I'm thankful my leg is holding up, and really thankful the weather has been so great!
This week is a recovery week (running) so we're going to try & build up some bike mileage & see if doing the dual 109mile el tour 3 weeks before the marathon is worth it. I know I CAN do it, I am just not sure how much effect it will have on my marathon performance and if it's worth it..... I think I'll know after this week!
Happy Fall!