Saturday, December 31, 2011

Number 34

I've been meaning to write this post for a week now, but somehow between the sunshine in Mexico, a sick dog & a fancy New Years Eve party… it's a wee bit late. On December 24th I turned 34. It was a pretty darn good year for me. I decided I'm liking my 30s and I can only hope that it just keeps getting better. So, with that I want to do a little fun post about 34 things, people or places that helped make my year! I've thankful for each one of these...

In no particular order, here we go:

1. Sunshine: Don't get me wrong, I love a good swim in a nice cloudy rainy day… but nothing gets me outta bed and moving like some blue sky and sunshine

2. My job. While I won't go on and on about how my job is so wonderful & I'm changing lives or living my dream career (cause those just aren't true), I am extremely lucky to have been given this opportunity to work from home with Melisa. It gives me so much flexibility to do all the things that make me happy. I take care of my pups, keep the house from falling apart (aside from maybe peak Ironman time), the fridge is (usually) full, I can almost always fit in all of my training & I get to help my sister out and spend time with mini-me niece. Yes, I'm very thankful for my job.

3. Mexico. Lots and lots of time spent at our house in Mexico this year. Friends and family joined us some of the time, and sometimes it was just Shane, me & the dogs. Something about staring at the ocean just makes me melt. I heart the beach. I heart Mexico.


4. Shane. My best friend, my partner in crime. He gets me (or at least does a good job of pretending to most of the time). We laugh, we have fun, we make fools of our self. We frustrate the hell out of each other, and push each other as well. It's a pretty darn good match.


5. Recovery e21. This product has helped me push when I didn't think I had any left in the tank. Recover faster. Meet a fun and talented group of athletes, and to top it all off… it helps when those Mexico trips got a little too crazy. Thank you e21 for letting me represent such a great product all year long!
6. Pedicures. I love me a good pedicure. I hate my feet, but I freaking love having sparkly red toenails and soft heels. Those little pedicure ladies kept me from losing any toenails with all my running and never once (at least in English) made fun of my ugly, sore calloused feet. Is there anything better than a foot and calf massage after a long ass training week?

7. My dogs. We officially had our first year with LMT (little miss thang) Juliette Thanksgiving weekend. She & Baxter have become BFFs and she's made her way right into our hearts. Baxter will always be my baby, my boy… but this little girl is about as close as one can get to compete! I'm so so thankful for my kids...

8. Facebook. I'm not saying I'm necessarily thankful for it, but boy oh boy has it been part of my year. Probably WAY too much. It's entertaining to say the least, but it can also be fun. Keep up with friends, reconnect and laugh at memories. Yes, Facebook you were definitely part of my 34th year…

9. Friendship. I have always been blessed with meeting and building wonderful connections with people. From new people I've met in the past year or so, to some I've known for 10+ years, to those who I've known since I was just a kid. I'm forever blessed with all these people, and incredibly thankful.


10. My blog. This blog started out in 2007 when I wanted to document my training for Ironman CDA. It turned into much, much more than that. It's always been heavy training and racing based, but it is also a way for me to share my memories. The good, the bad and the ugly. While I haven't been writing as much over the past year, I have definitely looked back at a lot of my posts and loved seeing how I've grown. How my thoughts have changed, how my writing has changed and how I see thing differently. Pretty stinking cool.

11. Peanut Butter. Oh my, yes my love for peanut butter was in full force this past year. When Costco's organic peanut farmers ran out of their harvest and I could no longer get my beloved peanut butter I about died. For reals. Of course I found some substitutes but I was certainly a bit worried for a while. My peanut butter toast gets me outta bed :)

12. Our coach. At the beginning of the year the coach I was working with didn't have time to work with athletes. It was February and I was determined to have a great season so I did a ton of research with coaches and ended up hiring Michelle after an hour conversation with her. I loved what she had to say and we just sorta clicked. She's kicked my ass from one side to the next, but she's helped me start my journey of becoming the athlete I had no idea was inside of me. I can not wait to see what happens this next year. Thanks Michelle.


13. Mumford and Sons. I just can't seem to get enough of their music. It's happy, it's dark, it's just got this beat that I love love love to listen to.

14. Recovery tights, socks, shoes. Can't get enough of them. I never thought I would be one of those nerdy people walking around in this stuff, but I so totally am.

15. ART. My magic man Dr. Sherman might be one of the biggest reasons I'm able to push my body so hard. I'm fairly confident I'm helping build his kid's college fund, but hey… someone has to do it right?

16. Mingus Mtn. In 2010 when I got tricked into doing Answer to the Challenge I was convinced I was going to die. I was completely undertrained. I hurt in so many ways I wasn't sure I would ever sit on my bike again. I cried and threw a 2 year old tantrum halfway into day2 after climbing Mingus Mtn. BUT, this year I was in WAY better shape, knew what I was in for and came back to kick Mingus' ass. I felt amazing at the top and did it in a pretty darn good time. So, so proud of that!


17. Coeur d'Alene. CDA means a lot to me. I grew up just 30 mins outside of it, and spent my summers sitting on the beach and swimming in the lake. When I chose to do my first Ironman, there was NO question in my mind where it would be. I've done the race 3 times now, and while I still haven't had my best race there…. I'll keep coming back!


18. Ebay. I discovered how much fun Ebay can be in the past year, well actually few months. I came back from CDA on a mission to sell a bunch of stuff and buy a new bike. It's fun, it's addicting a little crazy as well.

19. Yoga. I'm not putting THAT word on their cause I'm thankful for it, or it was a big part of my year… but since I finally broke down and actually went to a REAL class (ok actually 2) I thought I should put it down here.

20. Running. This has been my BEST year of running so far. I've reached new goals and pushed myself harder (and differently) than ever and ya know what? It's worked. Found some new running buddies and created some new PRs. Yes, I'm thankful not only for my improvements, and running friends but also thankful once again I'm still ABLE to run!

21. Scrabble. Fun, entertaining and a good time killer. I can't spell for anything, but when you play online… you get a dictionary. Love love love me some scrabble

22. Mexico Sunglasses. I just can't get enough of them. I've got polka dot Ray Bans. Mirrored Ray Bans. A couple aviators (YAY RED). Some sporty ones for beach runs, some funny purple Kanye-West esque ones. Shane has his Turbos and whatever else I grab for the bargain price of $5. I've already got my next purchase figured out, just gotta get back down there and find em :)


23. 9 mile hill. I used to hate it. I used to hate climbing it. I used to be uncomfortable and slow and loathe it. This past year it became my friend. I hit a new PR by climbing it (slight tail wind) in my big chain ring. Can't wait to tackle it this season!

24. Martinis (lemon drop). Yes, I know it is counter-productive of all my training, but they are just so DAMN GOOD. Especially after an ass whooping Wednesday hard run and swim.


25. iPhone. Shane made fun of me for an entire year for my blackberry. But, it worked it was only a year old and who cared. But, he finally took me to Best Buy and said enough and bought me a new iPhone. That's really all I need to say. I heart my iPhone and can't believe I waited so long to get one!

26. Shoes. I heart my shoes. Always have. I suppose in the last couple of years my collection has dwindled, because I spend most of my time in flip flops and workout clothes, but every once in a while a special occasion comes up and I need me some new kicks… These were from this past spring. Oh I can't wait for it to get nice out again so I can wear them. Anyone getting married?

27. Garmin. I spent a lot of time training on my own this past year, but I'm such data nerd that it kept me going. Too slow, speed up. Crap - HR 125… suck it up and pedal faster.

28. Pizza. I know, not the best for me food, but it's my go to meal when I'm either starving, or Shane is out of town. I created a pretty healthy version of it myself that works perfectly when Shane is out of town. The whole wheat flat out bread (only 100cals), trader joes pesto, whatever veggies I have or just mushrooms & sundried tomatoes, a little feta cheese & crushed red pepper. Throw it in the oven at 400degs for 7 minutes and eat with a side of mixed greens and it's the perfect meal.

29. My new bike! While I haven't fallen in love with her yet, how can you not look at her (Margarita) and not just fall in love. I'm so so thankful after a whole lot of drama I got her. Now I just have to find a saddle that doesn't kill me so I can get back out on her!

30. Training peaks. Best training log out there. I tracked my training from 07-10' on a site that lost ALL my data. So happy to now be on TPs where my coach enters the workouts, I give feedback and it all gets meshed together. It allows me to track progress, and totals for this data loving nerd. 2011 totals… ~650hours total; 5,225 bike miles 334,793 swim yards 1110 run miles & ~20hours of strength.

31. Texting. I hate to admit it, but every since my iphone (and a little before) conversion I've become a texting whore. I have NEVER liked talking on the phone, but love love keeping in touch with people. Sending pictures, making training plans, asking questions. It's quick, it's simple and I'm way way way over-using it.

32. Mini me. She's growing up fast, but I still get to spend a lot of time with her, and thankfully… I'm still cool in her eyes. Pretty thankful to my sister for making her :)


33. Arizona. I may bitch and complain about it between June-September, but how can you not be thankful for living somewhere the suns shines 98% of the time and on January 1 you are riding your bike in 78degrees? Swim year round in an outdoor pool, and wear flip flops year round.

34. I've had this word on my mind for a while. It's something that everything I've listed, and so much more has helped build inside of me. It's something I was missing for a long time. It's something that you can't buy, or seek out. This past year I've built more confidence than I actually knew I had in me. I don't know how it finally came out, but it did. It allowed me to put goals out, reach for them and then grab them. To speak my mind (probably too much) instead of just agreeing. To not worry so much about what anyone else thinks about me or what I'm doing. To get in a swimsuit in front of anyone and everyone when it's something I'd never been comfortable doing. At age 34 I feel better, more happy and content then I have in my life. So much so I put on this way too short sparkly mini dress, stark red lipstick and 4.5" red platform pumps and toasted the new year with friends.

"Remember, you’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think." unknown.

I can't wait to see what this next year brings, but most importantly I'm so ever loving thankful for everyone and each memory that made this past one so incredible.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Birthday Swim

For the past few years I've done some birthday workouts on my own. I'd bike xx miles, swim xx meters & run XX mins. I think the first year I even managed to do them all in a day. Always before my birthday, since it's on the 24th and well it's kinda hard to ride your bike and swim the laps at the beach….

Some people wonder why they heck I would want to push myself for my birthday, (yes I was asked this questions last week) vs relaxing and indulging. If you read this blog, well then you know that is just not my style.

Last week started the birthday workouts off with an impromptu bike ride. It was my first ride post Tucson half and my legs were still tight, but manageable. I met my training partner T on a pretty cool am and we headed out for a 2 hour flat ride. We were bundled up cozy, but the sun was shining and as we were heading up north we looked over and saw the 4 Peak mtns covered in snow. It was absolutely gorgeous. As we got close to the 1hr mark just chatting away I noticed we were at about 17miles so I decided we'd turn around at exactly 17 making it my 34mile birthday ride. It was perfect. It helped loosen up my sore tired legs, had a great social ride with my friend and couldn't help but just smile at the fact it's the end of December and I'm able to be outside in the sunshine on my bike…

Next up was the birthday swim. I'd been thinking about it for a couple weeks trying to figure out which day would be best. With the holidays & no access to a pool plus I had promised to watch my niece for a few days I came up with Monday the 19th. I put a post out on Facebook asking for company and before I knew it I had a group of about 10 people willing to come swim with me! I had no idea I'd get that much response wanting or able to come mid day during a work day but I was happy non the less!

Of course life gets in the way and the group slowly broke down, but I feel so lucky and blessed that I had a few friends able to still make it.


Preston, one of the friendliest most inspirational guys I've ever met - He started doing triathlons when he was about 50 and is a multiple ironman finisher, including KONA! He is the welcoming leader for our tri group, TriScottsdale.
Nigel, friend of Molly, got persuaded into joining in on the fun! I have to admit I was pretty excited as the last time I swam with him he gave me a run for my money so I put him in my lane and gave him the task of actually doing all 34x100 with me. All went great & we swam side by side until I tied his feet together with a band…. I think that is about where I lost him:).
Sweet Tracy took a half day off work to join in on the fun. I've just become close friends with Tracy in the past year and I'm really grateful to have met her. She's one of the most positive happy people I've ever met and share's my favorite triathlon quality of always "looking good" :)

There were a couple of spectators as well. Abby, baker extraordinaire, did the swim on her own earlier that morning, then made us the most delicious chocolate peanut butter cupcakes and took pictures. Really? I mean, how sweet is THAT?
Tracy's daughter came along and watched/enjoyed the post swim goodies and Shane stopped by for a treat as well.
I feel so blessed to have such great people in my life, and most of all for the ability to be able to celebrate my day doing the things that I love. Here's the workout for anyone interested. You can ignore the interval, it's set for the extra long gainey pool :) Next up - birthday run tomorrow. 34mins ez, 34mins tempo! Anyone can do THAT!

Happy Birthday! Enjoy!
8 x 100's easy @ 2:05 just warming up. stretch it out.
5 x 100's buoy only @ 2:00 tight core good rotation stemming from hips. neutral head position.
4 x 100's paddles/band ONLY. Nice. Must force rotation from hips on these to keep feet from sinking. rest is 15" after each or @2:05.
4 x 100's swim paddles only @ 2:00
5 x 100's swim where you go 50 sprint/50 easy @ 2:00
8 x 100's again @2:00, descend in sets of 2 (ie 2 holding 1:43, 2 holding 1:41, 2 holding 1:39, 2 holding as fast as you can go. ;)

Monday, December 12, 2011

ending on a fantastic note

It's hard to end a season when your big A race was only half way through the year. Sure, summer training isn't the most fun in AZ, but sitting on the sidelines for 6 months after IMCDA wasn't what I wanted to do either. Since I didn't have my best day at CDA, I wasn't finished. After taking July off of training - absolutely no running and just ez swim and bike training to keep the blood flowing, I started back up training in August for Soma Half IM. I got a new bike, and without being completely comfortable on it, raced Soma in some brutal heat & while not having a great run - set a half IM PR.

Somehow I just still wasn't quite done. After a quick recovery from the half I sent Michelle a note and said I wanted to do the Tucson half marathon and yes it was only 5 weeks away but I wanted a PR. My old half marathon PR was a 1:45:32 at the Ogden marathon in 09. My last half was at the Women's half Marathon last Nov where I ran a 1:45:47 - I felt like I was in much better shape now, and was ready to work hard to get some speed.

Michelle put me to work immediately and had me running 4 days per week. One long, one ez aerobic, one speed and one race pace tempo mid distance run. I did this for 4 weeks and then had a ez 5th week taper. The first week was a little hard. My legs were tired and I was working to hit some speeds she gave me. The second got easier and by the 3rd week I was feeling good. The 4th week of hard work was a long run where the goal was to run ez for 45mins then start decreasing the speed ending at a 7:40-7:50 race pace. The run happened to fall the day after a big party so I was certainly in no shape to do that run, but somehow got it done. I figured after that effort (hungover), the race couldn't feel anywhere near as hard.

My goal went from just wanting a PR (anything under 1:45) to stating I wanted to run 7:40s. In my head I figured if I was training ending all my long runs at this pace, and doing tempo mile blocks at this pace, then maybe I could hold the pace on race day with a downhill course? Somehow I got 7:40pace = 1:40 race time, but I didn't realize I was a little off until the day before the race…. I knew everything would have to go flawlessly to get this done and I had my pacer husband to try and get me there.

But, before I get to race day I have to share one of the best pre-race days I've had yet. Maybe, just maybe it was my lucky charm. On Saturday I had the pleasure of participating in the Run4Sal 5k. I don't think I need to go into detail the story of this event, but what I can say is I thought it would be the most PERFECT time for my niece who has been dying to do a run event with me to participate as well. It would be her first 5k and what better place to do it? Shane & I signed up to do the race with her and all I can say is I'm so incredibly proud of her! She struggled a little bit with the cold and her lungs (asthma), but she finished strong and finished just under 38mins. Can you imagine running 3.1 miles at age 8??? Yah, me either! I can't wait to find out when she wants to do another one…

We headed to Tucson after the race and rather than going into a crazy long report of what happened over the next 24hours I just have to say the race could not have gone any better. We started the race with my speedy friends who were both trying to get a NY marathon qualifying time of <1:44 & 1:37. I figured I would be somewhere in the middle of those two times, but we all started out together. My plan was engraved in my head to start EAZY despite the most drastic elevation drop in the first half and then save some energy for the end. I had been practicing this for over a month and felt confident.

I had my garmin auto lapping every mile and giving me splits, but I kept the screen on overall AVG pace. My goal was to start around 7:45's and slowly trickle the pace down. After the first 2 miles it was stuck on 7:40 but the effort was EASY so I just kept plugging away. It was a very cool morning, but we were extremely lucky having the wind literally at our backs keeping it warmer and after the first few miles I had shed my layers and felt great.

One of our friends picked up the pace and pulled away after the first couple of miles and while part of me wanted to go with her, this pace was completely unknown territory for me… I was determined to stick to my plan. A gel at ~ mile 6 then the miles TICKED by and I started to see the avg pace slowly drop until it stuck around 7:37 until about mile 8. My breathing was finally getting a little harder but I still felt fantastic. Around mile ten I took a "SLAM." My new favorite pick me up! Miles 10 & 11 were some of my fastest at 7:25 & 7:22. The only real incline of the race came at mile 11-12.5. It wasn't incredibly steep, but you definitely had to work for it. Shane pulled out in front of me to sort of "pull me." I could feel my pace slow down so I switched my garmin pace to see the avg and saw it getting closer to an 8min pace. I tucked my head in and used my arms to help pick up the speed and wouldn't you know it, I did it. I ended that tough mile with a 7:41 pace. I'm fairly certain the last time I did this race that mile was closer to a 9:30.

With one mile left my quads were starting to cramp. My breathing was labored but at the same time I was slowly one by one passing every person I saw in front of me. I used that as inspiration to just keep going. In the last half mile I had my eyes on a girl in pink (go figure). She was till moving pretty well, and I wasn't sure I had enough time to get past her. Shane pulled out in front again and passed her and I gave it everything I had to reach her. At mile 13 I was side by side her to make the last right hand turn to the finish. I gave it everything I had an crossed the finish line about 2 second in front her her.

My legs locked up and I nearly fell to the ground. Shane gave me a huge hug and told me he was proud.

I did it. I set a goal, I followed a plan and I gave it everything I had out there. I know this was no Ironman and there were no age group placings, but this race might have just been my best to date. I did the work and in the end everything fell into place when it mattered.

My official time was 1:39:05. 6:27 half marathon PR, 9:37 course PR. Holy crap. One of my girlfriends finished a little less than a minute in front of me and will be working towards that 1:37 NY marathon qualifying times in a month & my other girlfriend PR'd by ~2 mins & hit her NY qual time. It was a picture perfect day and the most incredibly way to end my 2011 season.
I can't WAIT to find out what happens in 2012! Right now, I feel like the sky is the limit!

Monday, December 5, 2011

at the movies

Over the weekend Shane & I actually didn't have too much going on so we rented a few movies - a couple that I added made note of while watching some previews (isn't it annoying how some movies now don't let you skip through the previews?).

Anyway - I'm a sucker for a good story line, something sometimes kinda quirky and different than the big box stuff. Although, truth be told I am wishing my niece was a teeny bopper (just for this month - then I'll rewind her back to 8years old) so I could have a date to go see the new Twilight movie.

Examples of movies that I could (and have) watch over and over are:

Garden State - A little dark, but also funny and sad and has one of the best soundtracks in a LONG time.

Juno - I'm not sure I've ever loved so many one-liners from a movie, ever. Ellen Page is AMAZING and who doesn't love Bleaker? This is probably my most favorite movie in the past 10 years.

I'm also a HUGE Kevin Smith fan. Mallrats is my favorite but Clerks & Clerks II are right up there. The only one I've really never liked would be Dogma - just too out there for me.

There are several more, but those are definitely some of my top picks!

So recently I've seen a few that while they are no Juno, they definitely won me over:

The Music Never stopped. It's sad, it's amazing, it's inspiring. Again, LOVE the soundtrack.

An Invisible Sign. I'm not a huge Jessica Alba fan, but I think she NAILED it in this movie. It has a couple scenes that made me cringe, but when the movie ended I was like wow. I really really liked that. You will fall in love with the little girl Lisa.

Peep Show. If you think you have a messed up family, or crazy siblings… This will make you feel a bit more normal. Not the BEST movie, but something different.

Super. A little out there for me, and honestly I wouldn't have agreed to watching it if it weren't for Ellen Page. She defines Bat Shit Crazy in this movie! It's good for a few giggles, but also a little gruesome. Always fun when Kevin Bacon makes an appearance.

Hope you enjoy! Now, who wants to go see Twilight with Me? :)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

running

I'd been toying with the idea of running the Tucson half marathon for a while, but didn't officially commit until a few weeks ago. After IMCDA I took over 4 weeks completely off running. My foot was either on the verge of, or had a minor stress fracture. My friend and podiatrist suggested (gasp) time off. Since it was July and 4000 degrees outside, it honestly wasn't that hard.

When I started running again in August to train for Soma, my run was nothing short of awful. My aerobic pace had slowed almost a minute a mile and my HR would sky rocket up to my HR cap so easily. I was grumpy and slow and grumpy and HOT. I stuck with it and finally, after a shitty run at an Olympic race at the end of September I got some speed work put on my schedule. It took just a few weeks of pace work as well as some temperature drops to get some of my speed back. Unfortunately race day gave us 100deg temps to run in so my run performance was less than stellar at Soma, but whadaya gonna do when you fee like your melting?

We bagged our plans to race in Vegas 2 weeks after Soma, so I immediately sent my coach a note to tell her - Tucson Half. Let's do this. And, BTW I know we only have 5 weeks. But, I would like a PR. Ok, thanks.

If anyone can get me there, I'm pretty sure Michelle can. Now, until this past year I haven't been able to wrap my head around any sort of crazy ass time goals, but I've decided that was the old me. Game on. Michelle isn't afraid to test your limits and put you to work, and thankfully (although I'm sure my husband would disagree) I'm pretty good at doing what I'm told. To a "T".

For the past 4 weeks I've been running 4x per week. Some speed work (although not all out- except 1 VO2 test workout), some tempo race pace running, easy aerobic runs and also long runs ending at race pace. 30-35 miles per week. That might now sound like much to some of you real runners, but besides a few peak IM weeks, I don't usually run that much.. or certainly not that hard.

To be honest, I've been quite shocked at how quickly my body has adapted to this faster running. The paces I can hold and the HRs I'm doing them at have been something in ten years of running that I have never seen nor thought possible. I feel more confident with each run I go do, and all be darned if I didn't hold on to 1 crazy zippy girl the last time I went to track for a couple of laps!

Today's workout was my last hard hard/key run before the race. I did a 2 mile warmup then I did 3x2 miles at "race pace." I was tired…. Probably a combination of last weeks work including a (hungover) negative splitting long run on Sunday plus a 2 hour massage plus a strength workout yesterday. Either way, I was mentally exhausted and had a really hard time making myself get into the run. I kept thinking of ways to turn down a street to make the route easier… or wanting to walk. It was complete mind over matter when I would look at my watch and see I was running faster than race pace and my HR was in the mid 160s. I had NO reason to walk. I wasn't panting, I wasn't cramping nothing hurt. It was all in my head and I sucked it up, kept pace and even finished the loop the harder way at a slight incline.

That run was followed up with a 25 mile ride doing some hills. Sure enough Tucson can't feel any harder that THIS!

So there you have it. I've got a goal. I'm doing the work, and I'm going to give it my all next Sunday.. Best part, I've got my pacer/rabbit/husband all signed up to get me there ;-)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

2012 Recovery e21 team now accepting applications

Anyone who reads my blog or trains with me in AZ knows how much I've enjoyed being part of the Recovery e21 team. I can't say enough good things about the magic seaweed pills. They've helped me train harder, have a season of PRs and most of all avoid massive headaches and nausea due to sodium loss in the crazy desert heat.

I wrote a little bit about some of the results I've experienced in an old post about my favorite things. You can find it at the bottom of the post here.

I've given out a ton of samples to my local friends and training partners and have heard all positive things about it (except the only negative is the "fishy taste"). It's funny tho, I seriously don't even notice it! I've taken up to 12 of these in one day and never had a problem getting them down.

If you are interested in being part of the team representing and promoting this amazing supplement, please go here and fill out the application! Feel free to contact me with any questions, or if you have yet to try the product and would like a sample.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Shoe Dog

So, I'm training for a half marathon. A 5 week training plan that is :-) I don't think I've actually ever trained for a half. I've done lots of them, but never just trained for them. Most were in the middle of a marathon training, or done on a whim, but never actually my big goal.

However, after Soma where it was hot as hell our AZ weather finally turned and it is now the most beautiful running season of the year. You could pretty much run at any time of day right now. Top the perfect weather with all the local run races right now and I just couldn't help myself from dragging out my race season for a few more weeks!

Tucson is a small race that has a slight downhill (about 750 ft over 13 miles). Most of the drop is in the first 10k and then it flattens out with a couple of false flats. The kicker is mile 12-13 is up. You really have to dig deep and have some energy left so you don't end up walking next to everyone else, but then the last little shot to the finish is a slight down, and much welcomed. This race is one of my favorites because it was the first time after years of injury that I nailed my race. It was my first sub 2hr half marathon and it gave me my run confidence back.

After Tucson I've done 2 other half marathons without really training and they were both 1:45 so I'm really excited to see what I can do at this race with a few weeks of working with my coach on running!

First things first, with all this running I needed to find a shoe solution. With all my years of injury and PT I have seen numerous doctors, surgeons, podiatrists, etc. I've gone through 3 different sets of custom inserts/orthotics. I think I've tried almost every brand of running shoe, gone through running assessment after running assessment. And, while I don't actually remember how I came up with the combination I've been in for the past 3+ years…. It has worked with out too much damage thus far. My toes, blisters and calluses are in good shape. My IT bands and hips flare up, but after a few visits with my ART guy they always come around.

But lately I've been having a lot more wear on my shoes, particularly on the right side. After just over 100 miles I start to wear down the entire sole under the big toe of the right shoe. At 200 miles my hip starts to hurt and my IT bands get all fired up. I struggle with back to back running days. I am also really hoping to get a lighter shoe for my shorter tris, run races & track workouts - but, I was scared of screwing myself up so I headed to our local Road Runner Sports with 2 pairs of my old shoes & my orthotics in hand. After a quick introduction to a sales person they set me up with another guy to put me through their "shoe dog" assessment.

Over the years I've been video taped, and I've done the old try these shoes on and watch me run type thing, but I have to say I really liked the guy who helped me and worked with me, as well as the process. First they have you stand on something that takes measures your arch and your weight dispersment. It is all uploaded into a computer system that spits out all sorts of good stuff. Then you run barefoot on the treadmill as they video-tape you & then all that good stuff is added to the software to provide a really good analysis of what is going on when you run; how you land, how you push off & most importantly what is happening with your arch as all of this is going on.

Long story short; I have a high arch and as I land and go to push off my ankles and arch cave and "pronate." The orthotic would help with this but the neutral cushion shoe that I've been running in was just not enough, especially on my right side to keep from collapsing and causing me to roll in (hence the wear on the right side). I was very happy when my shoe expert guy did NOT say he wanted to put me in a stability shoe, but more of a neutral with slight stability. I've done the stability plus orthotic before and it was not good.

After several shoes tried on, and even after finding a pair I thought I wanted, I had them analyze me running with the shoe plus orthotic again. While the shoe will be great for track workouts and shorter races… For my longer distance running I still needed a slightly more supportive shoe to correct my pronation…

I left the store with 2 new pair (well, actually only 1 because wouldn't ya know it they both came in freaking PINK and I could not do the second pair that looked like bubble gum so I have to wait for a new color to come in this week)…. and I'm REALLY excited to see if it helps my IT bands stay a little stronger and just the general overall feeling! I've been running in my current setup for so long I wonder how much it has held me back?

Stay tuned! This is a fun fun run week :-)

Friday, November 11, 2011

Yoga

Yesterday I woke up a little stiff in my upper body. In reality a massage would have been amazing, but that wasn't on the schedule so out of no where before I had enuf caffeine in my system to think logically, I sent a couple texts to my parter in crime T (she's REAL ez to peer pressure into stuff) to see if she would go to a yoga class with me at noon. After several more texts back and forth about the class and her thinking it might be too hard for a first time yoga, then back and forth with our little tri club/yogi friend Abby, we somehow had a plan to meet for the noon "heated" (not HOT) power yoga class…

Good lord what have I gotten myself into? I told Shane I was meeting Matt & T for yoga and I think he almost cried laughing at me….

As the clock got closer to noon I started thinking, "Why didn't I just go swim?" But, instead I went and found my most yoga looking clothes - capri tights and a longer tank top, IM branded of course :-), got in my car & headed to the gym.

I got to the gym 10mins early (WHAT? I'm always 5 mins late). I waited in the car for Matt & T & then headed inside with them. The check in was comical. First, I don't own anything Yoga. I was told I could use one of the yoga mats at the gym so I asked for one and they told me no. Huh what? After getting directions to the studio - yes, I'm that pathetic I've been a member of this gym for over a year and have no idea where anything besides the pool, steam room & showers are - we headed thru the spa and up to the the new heated yoga studio room.

Someone got me a mat and we headed into the studio. I just copied what everyone else did. Put my mat in the back (or at least I hoped it was) of the room and put towels on each end.

Again thinking…. What the F@$K have I gotten myself into???

The class started and the teacher (who I've been told makes or breaks the class) didn't annoy me at all, so we have a good start at least. She started telling us to "pray" (yes I know that's not what she said, but I don't know any of the yoga language and it looks like praying) and breathe and people were making these funny noises. I just couldn't bring myself to exhale and grunt. Isn't that for the end of the race when you sprint across the line or stand up climbing after your 10th hill repeat on the bike? Grunt, just cause you are taking a deep breath? I think not.

Hmm, Yoga is weird.

So the real posing starts and I have NO idea what anything except downward dog is so I just have to copy everyone around me. Some of the things I could actually do, some of them I thought I was doing, then I looked in the mirror and then looked over at Miss Gumby, Abby and laughed out loud at myself. I got a few cramps in some of the lunge-like positions (where's my damn E-21?) and after what seemed like an hour I looked up and it was only 11:20.

FORTY more minutes to go…. Crap. Maybe I should go swim?

After the first 20mins I started to relax a little. I was loving the feeling of sweating, it wasn't overwhelming at around 95degs, but enough to keep you warm and sweating like I love. I could already feel my hips a little achy from trying to do some of the stuff and eventually the class started to wind down.

This is where, in MY opinion, it all started to go wrong. And, this is why I will NEVER be a Yogi.

The praying time and NAP. I'm sorry people, but sitting in a dark room on a flat and stinky mat full of detoxing sweat with 20 other stinky people and their stinky sweat is just NOT relaxing to me. I ended the first :55mins actually somewhat happy I went, and thinking I could maybe do this every once in a while, but it was about the sweat & the stretching and the trying to undo all the damage I do to myself swim, bike running.

MY alone, quiet, ZEN time is when I'm snuggling on the couch with my dogs or under the covers before I get my butt out of bed. When I run by myself with my music so loud it actually shuts my mind off so that when the song changes I don't even know what the last song I listened to was. And lastly, when I'm doing a swim set where I have to check my watch after only 3 laps to see how many I've done because my mind shut down and I was just swimming.

Now I know that means I prolly just don't "get" the purpose of Yoga, but like most other people who just don't get "running" - to each their own right?

All that said, I probably will go back (def to a heated or hot one), it worked over some stuff for sure (very sore today), but I can't promise I won't be the ass-hole giggling during the "Nap."

Monday, October 24, 2011

SOMA half IM

I'm gonna try to do this race report a little different than my usual over-detailed, over analyzed report. There was so much great, so much blah and so much oh my goodness I'm going to die BAD. But, in the end I dug deep kicked the bad guy off my shoulder and got er done with a smile! I was back to my self which is what I'm most proud about; Doing what I love to do and not being bitchy about it. I really did not like how I felt and acted last month, and am happy to say it was a fluke. While finally being competitive after so many years in this sport, it doesn't mean I need to lose the ME in it.

The good:
The I felt like a rock star every time I was near transition and heard the cheers of SO MANY amazing supporters. My team - wow what an amazing group of spirited and talented athletes. My very first coaches who helped me with my first marathon and thru my first half ironman. So many friends that were out there watching and cheering, as well as on the course!

My sister and niece who were there on the bike (3rd lap) when I was not feeling so great. I'm still not used to my new bike, position and different cranks and was really struggling. They gave me that push I needed at about mile 45 to get er done. I managed to hit my bike goal of 2:40 even though I certainly didn't feel like I was biking to my potential.
I PR'd (5:16) my half Ironman time taking off 9 mins from my oceanside (5:25) time. I also PR'd this course (05' 6:05) by :49 minutes :-)

I gave a friendly pat on the back to as many people as I could each time I passed someone (YAY I was actually passing people on the run!). I thanked the volunteers.

I didn't complain that I didn't reach my not so secret goal of beating Shane's time of 5:10, I chose to be happy with my accomplishment.

There were sprinklers on the course watering grass. I got to run thru them!

The Bad:
I had to walk thru every single aid station basically taking everything I could get my hands on to cool myself down. While I was running around 8:35 pace, those :15-:20 walks really killed my time! The aid stations were plenty, but where I was at in the race - they were completely overwhelmed so I found myself basically self serving and taking a lot of time. I know it was the right thing to do though, or I may have just ended up back in that nasty lake instead of finishing the run.

My run time was about 6 mins slower than my oceanside run at 1:57. My bike while reaching my goal still did not feel 100%. I know I'll get there, but it's going to take more time! Looking at people I'm usually biking right there with, I was a few minutes slower than I should have been. I tried to catch them, but just didn't have it in me.

The swim, well it seems to be about 2mins long across the board - but in my coach's words - "swim times in triathlons don't mean SHIT", and I came out pretty much exactly where I usually do. Now, if I could just bridge that 1-2 min gap and keep up with the fasties draft, I'd be a lot better off then swimming on my own (I saw NO caps from my wave after the first few hundred meters).

I was 17th/244 women, yet only 8th in the AG.

The Ugly:
That was BY FAR the hottest I have ever raced in. If this were a few years ago, I think I would have walked the entire run, so I'm happy with that, but it absolutely did slow me down on the run. My stomach was not happy and I couldn't get enough fluids in to save my life. I put ice in my top (front and back) and held on to ice until it melted at every aid station. I even found myself grabbing said nasty ice out of my top a couple of times and putting it in my mouth. i can't believe I just admitted to that….

I got passed by 4 girls in my age group on the second loop of the run. 2 of them were in the last mile and I couldn't do anything about it.

And, I saved the BEST for last:

While I was 8th in my AG, next year I age UP and today, that would have landed me 2nd in my to be new age group :-)

Mini-me niece was there to run a bit with me in the last quarter mile. She took of sprinting and I just laughed, I think she thought I was running that fast :-)

can't you just SEE how damn hot it was?

I finished, still smiling (maybe not my expression - but inside) and still running!

I crossed the finish line and went straight to a bucket filled with ice water. I felt like there was a magnet sucking me in. I downed 3 full bottles and couldn't walk away… I couldn't eat, but just kept sucking down water for the next hour while we chatted with the team. I started to feel a little sick and all I wanted was salt (after 8 e21s, a ton of gatorade a couple of gels and gu chomps I was still depleted). I made Shane go to McDonalds and get me a coke and fry which I downed in about 30 seconds.

I drank water all night long and ended up awake at 2am after dreaming about that bucket of ice water at the finish line. I'm not sure if I have ever been this thirsty/dehydrated after a race in my life!

Overall I'm extremely happy with my accomplishment. This Washington girl doesn't do well in the heat, and to have the race in the hottest day of the month and survive it, well I couldn't have asked for anything more!

Congrats to all, especially Shane who is more than excited to be BACK racing, instead of watching. He had a kick ass relay leg half marathon :-) He got to give Bubba his first medal in over a year!
Thanks to my coach for bringing out a real athlete in me. I can't WAIT for next yeart :-)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Taper Shmaper

Am I the only one that feel like absolute ASS during a taper? Or, any race week for that matter? It drives me batty. I turn into a complete hypochondriac. I'm tired, sore and just plain old not myself. I start to feel achy and my lungs tight (or ARE they?) and and and…

SEE - I become a complete basket case. I don't get it. I'm not nervous to race. I'm excited! I'm excited to go push and have fun and race with so many friends out there. While I don't feel like I'm back up to speed like I was at my last half (Oceanside), I've definitely come back around in the last couple of weeks. My run speed has come back quite a bit and I even PR'd my 5k during a little splash and dash race on Saturday with enuf energy left in the bank to go run an extra 5 miles after the race!

Sunday I felt pretty beat up, but got in a good 2 hour ride with some tempo intervals and a 3 mile race pace run (which felt pretty easy). Monday I was tired, but after a 9 hour solid night of sleep (unheard of for me) I was feeling much better.

Then I woke up today. After a very light active recovery day Monday, I woke up today to head out for a short run with some intervals. I felt blah. My HR was about 10beats lower and I just had no get up and go. Legs felt fine, but I just didn't feel right. As the day progressed I felt achy and my stomach was a little off.

I stayed home working the rest of the day, drank as many fluids as I could possibly get in (plus airborne) and a healthy dinner of grilled veggies and salmon. Here's to hoping I feel much better by tomorrow!

Now, will someone please tell me I'm not the only one that feels like this the week of a race?

Damn taper.

Monday, October 10, 2011

soma circa 2005'

Such an inspirational weekend following everyone on their Kona adventures. I had some serious envy of those on the beautiful island both racing AND spectating. Honestly, I'd take either! Kona was never ever been a goal of mine. Since my first triathlon (Las Vegas Sprint in 02') to my first half Ironman (Soma 05') to my first Ironman (CDA 07')… I was always a back of the to mid pack "racer." Injury after injury kept me from improving, and honestly I just never thought I could improve much. But, things change and who knows… maybe someday…..

I remember training for my first marathon and a couple of gals on our charity team who were 10+years older than me were in amazing shape, looked great and FELT great. I was in my early 20s, drinking a LOT (ok, some things don't change all that much) and more of an exerciser than an athlete. I remember asking them how (after KIDS) and being 10+ years older than me they looked so amazing. Flat abs, toned legs. I still remember to this day what they said.

"Everything changes in your 30s." Your body figures it out, you look better, feel better & your priorities are different.

While by no means did my body turn into what they were looking like at my age, but I can without a doubt say things are different. I'm stronger, leaner (can only do so much with the genes you were given tho, right?), healthier, more fit & well all be darn - FASTER. They were so right. So far, I'm liking my 30's!

Going back to 2005. Actually, 2004. My original IT band issues started when I finished the RnR San Diego marathon in 2002. I did PT off and on, switched shoes, cortisone injections, time off, cross-training. You name it I did it. For some crazy ass reason I convinced myself I could do Soma (2004). After talking with my coaches (Racelab) at the time, they promised to get me there - and they also promised if I just couldn't do it, they would help me transfer my registration to the following year. This was important to me. I was only 26 and had lots of student loans and was getting married that year and had a vacation to pay for ya know? $200+ was a lot of $!

I started training, mostly biking and swimming, and I remember my first 3hour bike ride. I was on a road bike at the time & my IT band was giving me all sorts of grief. I remember climbing up Cave Creek Road, just north of Pima (oh how I thought that was a MOUNTAIN at the time) basically pedaling with 1 leg because my right IT band/knee hurt SO bad. I was stubborn (some things don't change). I don't remember much else about the training in 04' but I remember exactly the moment I gave in and realized I could not do the race.

It was August and we were in San Diego for the AFC half. I had to bail on the race because of my IT band but was there with Shane & Daniel. We were eating dinner and talking about my pain and how I couldn't run, etc… I remember Daniel looking me right in the eyes and asking if it was worth it. To potentially not finish, to ruin my knee? I started crying at the table and made the decision right then and there to back out. I was devastated. I felt like a failure. I hated starting something and not finishing it.

That October I had surgery to repair my IT band. It was a LONG LONG painful recovery. By the time my PT had me running for the first time it had been almost a year since my last run. I could barely make it 3 minutes without walking.

I followed a Mark Allen online plan that was very heavy on swimming. It was all HR training (which was extremely painful after so much time off) and I was slow as all get out. My longest run was about 10miles. I ran scared every day. Scared the injury would come back, scared I wouldn't make it thru the race.

Somehow I made it to that start line at the end of October in 05. I was scared shitless but excited to the same extreme. I was about 10-15lbs heavier, slow, inexperienced & so young. I had no idea the journey that day would start.

Here's Shane & I with another friend before the start of the race. Such babies :-)


My swim was slow for me (and so begins my never ending story of unsuccessful swim times!), but I was relieved to get out of the water. The bike was so much fun! I had just gotten my new tri-bike (mini-me) and gave it my all out there! I remember pulling up next to my coach and passing him, he asked me if I was going to0 hard. I laughed and said I knew I couldn't run for shit so I might as well go hard on the bike! I had a blast and enjoyed every minute of it.

When I started the run, it was HOT as hell. My girlfriend Stacey was waiting for me right outside of transition to run with me. She had planned to run with me until my girlfriend Sara met up with me around mile 8. She talked to me, made me laugh, told me how amazing I was. At mile 8 when we found Sara (who by the way was straight off a plane from India where she was doing a volunteer doctor thing), Stacey just kept plugging along with us. They had water (yah - I know race support, but come on I wasn't winning anything!) for me and sang to me. Sara told us about her crazy adventures in India (I still to this day have no desire to visit after those stories). Those girl made my day. They got me thru something I wasn't sure I could do. At the end before they pulled off they were singing to me that "I was the wind beneath their wings." It was absolutely AMAZING.

I crossed the finish line with one of the biggest smiles on my face. Tears overwhelmed me. It was the start of so many more adventures to come!



My official time was 6:05:30
Swim: 41:45 T1: 2:10 Bike: 2:57 T2: 2:25 Run: 2:21:11

Shane, he was almost an hour ahead of me…. 5:10:46
Swim: 38:08 T1: 2:07 Bike: 2:40: T2: 2:44 Run: 1:47:17

Can anyone guess my Soma goal? :-)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Birthday Week!

So what happens when your husband's bday & your girlfriend turning 40 happen right next to each other? Trouble, that's what. All innocent (mostly) and fun of course… but certainly not conducive with half Ironman training.

Tuesday's festivities started out celebrating Karen's bday with an all girls night - cooking/dinner class mixed in. The event was in LA (or it seemed like it was that far after a couple of bottles of champagne, full bellies and wine mixed in there) so we had a DD for the way out there and one of the girls daughter's pick us up! It was a super fun night and we learned a few cooking tricks! Every tried Grilled Romaine for salad? Do it, it's THAT good.

So, after the innocent dinner we should have been home and in bed by about 10:30, but someone (not sure who this was???) had the brilliant idea that the celebrations couldn't end THAT early. You only turn 40 once (thank GOD) after all.. So, somehow we got dropped off at a neighborhood bar.

What happened at that bar will remain on said iPhone's that took pictures. Nuf' said :-) Now, while the evening was super fun, what wasn't fun was trying to bust out my 3k swim I had on my plan. Swim = EPIC FAIL. I was way sleep deprived and booze overloaded. Clearly I did not train for this birthday event. So, I made it a whole 500/3000 and had to fess up in training peaks "I was too hung over to do this swim."

Coache's response "Payback is bitch, huh?"

Touché

Birthday number 2 was the following day, and thanking my lucky stars, Shane was pooped out from work travel so I was off the hook for any additional celebrations. I made him his favorite Lasagna dinner & gave him a new Garmin!

Up and on the bike early in the morning for my long brick workout of the week, and after a little over 4hrs of sweat I had officially (almost) cleansed my body of Tuesdays debauchery. Awesome, ready to pack up and head south of the border!

The first night was just Shane & I so we were (fairly) good & in bed pretty early. It was still incredibly hot and very muggy and with a long run on tap in the morning we knew we needed to feel good. After another 1:40 of SERIOUS sweat I was ready for some more fun!

Ya'll know what happens in Mexico, stays in Mexico, but I'll leave a few fun pictures! To sum it up we ran, we laughed, we played on the beach, we ate, we slept, we "swam," we had lots of yummy seafood and most of all we had a BLAST.

Trying to keep the Mexico economy alive… and believe it or not we were 100% SOBER when these purchases were made.


I'd be lying if I said I didn't have a SERIOUS sunglass obsession - here's my latest. Kanye West, AKA Shane, and my new favorite RED Aviators!


I'm almost 100% confident Matt's bumble bee sunnys will make a great Halloween Costume :-)
And lastly, we ended the weekend with Shane's famous Shrimp fest! YUM (I think) :-)


Happy Birthday to both… it sure was fun! And yes… As my coach said - payback is a bitch :-)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

nathan's tri

Only a few hours post race and shockingly, I'm already writing my race report. I wish it were due to a fantastic race high, but it's more so I can stop my complaining and move on. While my times (minus my run) were decent, I just didn't have it out there today. I mentioned to someone earlier that I know on paper it looks good, but to be honest - I'd rather finish dead last and FEEL like I had a GREAT day.

I've mentioned in a few posts lately that I just haven't felt well. Seems like every 2 weeks for the past 6 weeks Shane & I both ended up feeling sick. Congestion, fatigue, and mad allergy like symptoms. When it hit me again this week I started to get a little worried. My sinuses were swollen, my chest hurt, my head was pounding. I worried about getting another asthma flare up and having it put a huge damper on my health like it did this same time a few years ago when I DNF'd Soma. I put myself on the couch most of Thursday & Friday and drank airborne like it was going out of style. I also started a round of steroids to clear up the inflammation.

And then I had a little epiphany trying to figure out what was going on. About 6 weeks ago I bought a new brand of laundry detergent. I was in a hurry one day, saw it on the shelf and remembered liking the smell of it from our rental house in CDA. About every 2 weeks since then I've done a HUGE round of laundry after we've returned home from long weekends out of town. Hmm, could it really be coincidence? Either way - I've spent the better part of the last 2 days doing laundry with my good old TIDE.

Truth be told after feeling like I have been, and also being on the steroids I shouldn't have raced, but I wanted to. I hadn't pushed myself hard since before IMCDA and I wanted a little tuneup race before Soma. That, and I wanted to race my new bike!

I did wake up feeling ok. Not congested, but not crazy peppy. The steroids had me a little jittery and HOT, but that's normal. My swim seemed to go pretty well, I only saw a few female caps in front of me, and they didn't seem too far ahead. Felt great until I looked at my 27min time… Oh well, swims in this lake are always all over the place! (looking at the results it was def a slow swim! The fastest female swim time was 23:01)

On the bike I was excited to push. My legs were kinda burning the entire first loop trying to get around a big group of ITU racers. Oh wait, I forgot this wasn't SUPPOSED to be an ITU draft legal race.

And here's my little soapbox that I'm going to go on for just a bit here before I move on and stop my complaining. Anyone who has raced in Tempe knows the course is tight. It's a gazillion turns and just too many people. At some point, unless you are first or last you are going to end up in a period where you are in a drafting situation. I was there, several times actually today. Most of it was around some turns, but there were a few straight aways where I got incredibly frustrated because I would come up behind someone, pull out to pass and get back over - only to be re-passed and cut off. I went along with this for about the first 6 miles, but then it was just too dangerous. I don't know these riders and some of them were certainly not the most skilled cyclists. Being on my new bike and not being that comfortable myself I made the decision to drop back, let them go on in their little peloton and I would ride FAIR.

I'd be lieing if I said I didn't thank the draft marshals that finally got up to the pack around mile 22. Unfortunately it doesn't appear any penalties were given out, but at least I know I did the right thing and that group only got off the bike about :30 in front of me. I ended up having the last half+ with open space on my bike and did not get passed. My bike time was 1:08:xx -

oh, and I DO rock at T-2 transitions :-) I totally have that going for me!

Ok, off my soapbox.

The run was just not in me today. I've had (finally) a couple of decent runs in the past 2 weeks, but holy mother it was hot out there and compounded by my bad attitude from the drafting on the bike and the steroids increasing my body temperature I sucked. And (sorry coach!), I actually took a :30-:40 walk break on the second loop when I got a side stitch so bad I couldn't get ride of. My run time was 53:xx - not something I'm too happy with, but I also know that a couple years ago, I would have been ecstatic with that! Apparently I've (finally) found my little competitive side!


I know the time isn't anything to be bummed about, again it's more of how I felt. Just didn't feel like I was having a great day out there! Looking forward to the next 4 weeks to fine tune before SOMA, after some birthday celebrations this weekend in Mexico!

P.S. My first SOMA race from 2005 was 6:05…. I'm sure hoping I can do a little bit better :-)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

worth the wait

So, when I said my next post was going to be with a picture of my pretty new bike… I wasn't kidding. I could write a 10 page post about all the ups and downs of this bike buying experience, but anyone who has had any interaction with me over the past 2 months has already heard it. From the first bike (Argon) not fitting, to the road bike fit to determine what TT bike would in fact fit me (road bike fit STILL not finished, btw), to the seat post clamp drama, custom wheel tags, aerobat drama, bike physcho/guru, blah blah…

Yup, I'm ready to move on! So without further ado, meet;

MARGARITA



Baxter is having a little bit of difficulty understanding why there isn't a yummy drink in front of him every time I say her name, but he's smart…. I think he'll figure it out, or not since we're heading back to Mexico next weekend.

I've been out on her a whopping 3 times, and will have a short 50min ride tomorrow, then she'll be out on her first race.

While I might get e-coli from Temp Town Lake and die of heat exhaustion on the run, my bike is smoking HOT and at least I will look good for an hour+ tour around TTL. So, I totally have that going for me. Then, 4 more weeks of work before I revisit my very first half IM (2005), and my very first DNF (2008).

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Labor Day in the pines.

I was hoping my next post would be a big bright shiny picture of my new bike, "___" (yes, I totally already have the most perfect name in the world picked out for her. Unfortunately my mini-me cranks and R2C shifters won't be in until today, so she's not quite finished. I'm going to go stalk my bike shop to make sure I can pick her up by tomorrow, and I have my fit appointment for Tuesday! As soon as I finish my fit, I will be driving her straight back to the bike shop to be finished up (taped, cabled, etc) and will have her Wed, ready to ride Thursday.

I CAN'T FREAKING WAIT.

Anyhoo - last weekend we headed up North to Flag to get outta the heat. I booked a house the same week I booked our Show-Low weekend, making it easier to swallow the fact we had another 6 weeks of heat and hell left before our temperature (lows) would start to drop below 90degs. While Show Low was a bust, we definitely made the most of Flagstaff! My gf Karen split the rental with us making it a fun training and social weekend!

Last year was my first real experience up in Flag staying with my girl Amanda who rented a house in downtown. It was a lot of fun being walking distance to everything, however it was definitely loud! I have to say now that I've spent some time a few miles outside of downtown, I'm in love. Beautiful trails and endless places to take the dogs (off leash!) walking/hiking.
Easy access to all the bike rides. Quiet neighborhoods (although the townhouse we were in wasn't as quiet as I'd like), and nice dirt paths to run on….. But, I'm getting ahead of myself here before talking about the weekend I need to backtrack to the drive up to Flag!

It all kinda started Monday as I had a serious case of the "CMOs" (can't miss outs). Massive FB posts about Ironman Canada registrations. I was itching. I loved that course so much and had some friends that did SO well on it this year. My mind was racing wanting to register, but I had a big fat check to right to the bike shop in the next week, and we pretty much had decided we were going to do IMAZ for next year and not have so much race/travel expenses…

But by Thursday (I just happened to check the website in the am) the online entry was still open (or so it appeared to be). I headed out on my morning ride to meet up with Karen…. kinda started hinting around getting her to train for another IM with me. Then, when I got home Shane was on the phone with BSC coach and I heard a few tidbits about IM Canada… I piped in with a "it's still open."….

10minutes later and the next thing I new Shane said "get Karen to sign up with us on your drive up to Flag & we'll register tonight."

Withing 20mins of our drive up north I had Karen IN. We had a whole plan of attack for a Vineman half IM prep. Renting a house in Flag for 6 weeks to train, sans heat. It was spur of the moment & exciting. As soon as Shane arrived, we had 3 laptops open ready to click REGISTER. The IMCA site took us to the Active.com site and that's where it all went to shit…

As soon as we logged onto the Active.com site we saw "online entry sold out, check back for Community fund slots."

CRAP. Total buzz kill. We had already sent out at least 10 texts to friends starting the peer pressure trend of signing up!

To say we were bummed is a total understatement. The 3 of us just sat there with our jaws dropped having a pity party. Ok, maybe it was just Karen & I as Shane is totally fine doing the Community Fund entry. He tends to donate a lot throughout the year, so this is just doing a chunk of it at once. It took some convincing to get Karen on board, but I think we might still be IN… More on this later :-)

The rest of the weekend was just perfect. Although I was fighting a head cold the whole way, I wasn't letting it get me down and just told myself it was allergies :-) Mind over matter right?
Friday Karen took Shane out to rent a mountain bike while I stayed home did a 30min recovery run (my legs were completely trashed from the weeks workouts) and then took the dogs for an hour hike/walk in the woods.

It was amazing. Cloud cover, cool breeze & we had the trails to ourselves - perfect for the dogs to roam around off leash. Juliette went NUTS exploring, but I had to keep Baxter pretty mellow. He really shouldn't be doing anything to help his doggy ACL tear heal, but I just couldn't resist letting him walk around!

I spent the rest of the day on the deck reading a book and relaxing (as did the dogs). It was perfect. Shane & Karen came home dirty & bruised up from crashing (Shane), and apparently committed to buying a friend's mountain bike. Hmm, maybe I should think twice before sending my husband off with my girlfriend again!


Saturday we headed out to climb SnowBowl. This view just never gets old. I was definitely not feeling perfect up the climb, getting to the top a few minutes slower than last month… Allergies :-) I even took a nap after (this happens maybe ONCE a year… hmmm - must be serious allergies!)


A celebratory BITTY after, of course - the caffeine definitely helped!

An evening in downtown for Tai Food!


Sunday was long run day - 90mins on dirt trails. I got Karen to tag along with me for the 10miles, it was very nice to have company for the whole thing! My schedule had 90-120 ride after, easy effort. I was desperately trying to get out of it as I just wasn't feeling great. Somehow I pulled it together & while it wasn't pretty (completely drained) I got in 25miles.

We chilled the rest of the afternoon with yummy drinks and company and a fantastic grilled dinner! We even managed to stay up past 9pm (barely)….

Aside from the 3.5hour (should be 2) drive home Monday night it was an absolutely PERFECT long weekend! I heart Flag..

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Bike.

This past week (or month really) has really been "all about the bike." Finding the bike, that is. Frustrated beyond belief at finding something that would work for me in a 700cc wheel I was about to throw in the towel. Ok, not really but I certainly had a few temper tantrums.

After my phone conversation with the bike guru (where I said - ok what can I get and he pretty much told me I was crazy), I started doing my own research on TT bikes. I looked at just about every thing out there to see the smallest frame size they had and what the actual top tube measurement was. Sure they might call it a "49" but most of the time that top tube is really gonna be somewhere between a 51-52. Why not just CALL it that? I still don't understand that logic.

Before heading to the bike guru I finally found a bike that I thought might work. It's an xxs, "47" (really a 49cm top tube) and it has BIG kid wheels. Wow. Could it work?

I headed into my appt with the bike guru ready for him to take some measurements and tell me I could order this bike. Not EXACTLY how the 3.5hours of bike overload went.

'This is wrong in so many ways"

Yup, that's how the appt started out. It was a full blown assessment of my medical history, cycling history, fitness in the past - current. Injuries (really did he have THAT much time), pain and finally a little evaluation on the computrainer.

Not only did my bike fit have so many things wrong, so did my technique. Question for you all - how many of you were taught to cycle and act like you were scraping mud off your shoe? You know, heal down not toe down? Yup - I had that engraved in my mind, so that's what I have always done.

Apparently NOT the case. Based on my current fit & technique I am 14% INEFFICIENT. You do that math on a 40k race. Yup, get the bike fit right and add in some technique work = awesome potential.

While I have to admit this guy and I have different mindsets about what we wanted out of this fit, and maybe a little bit of personality conflict (uh, can you just fix my bike, tell me what I can buy and send me on my way???), I know that in the long run all of this is going to be worth the time, money and frustrations in a BIG WAY.

Verdict? A big fat shopping list. Biggest changes (road bike):

  • Moving from 170mm cranks (compact gearing) to 165mm (compact)
  • New handlebars changing from a 38 to a 40 and getting a more compact drop angle for better fit.
  • New cleats (who knew they wore down so quickly & what happened to that screw missing from my cleat?) PLUS a slight shift in the posting of my right cleat due to a slight curve from my knee down. I don't know the medical jargon is for this, but to sum it up my right second toe curves out. How did we find this? The fit is almost a tag team - guru's wife is an orthopedic doc (who also happens to be a world record cyclist) examined me. Can we say IT BAND history?
  • Insoles in my bike shoes - who knew?
Apparently this isn't your typical fit. It's a 3 part series:
  • Step 1, first fitting and shopping list (if necessary). My shopping list was so dramatic that he actually couldn't set my bike up the way it needs to be until I have the new cranks & handlebars.
  • Step 2, setup new stuff on bike and get fit right
  • Step 3, ride in new position & then go back to fix my crappy technique
  • Step 3b - find perfect TT bike based on road fit - yes I made this be step 1a :-) I'm a persistent little shit.
Summary - After verifying a few things with the bike manufacturer and a very helpful bike friend…. My new parts are on order as is the NEW TT bike which will be built up with all things I want (SRAM). (I really really pressured (re stalked, drove him him crazy) fit guru into telling me yay or nay before he was ready to because well, I have no more patience and have some races people).

Next post = hopefully a pretty picture of my sparkly new TT toy! And, best part. She's already got some new party shoes to race on!