Thursday, June 25, 2009


I dont usually post mid-week but this needed some air time. I just got back from the Derm and am officially 2+ years CANCER freeeeeeee!! woo-hoo! I wont turn this into a PSA or post pics of nasty skin lesions ( you are welcome) but it just is so WEIRD to me to think that just 2+ years ago I was outside from about 9am-2pm or even 11-4pm sans visor, in my fun cool Prince sponsored tennis clothing...loving every second of it. Sun was good! I used to take the side with the sun in my eyes so my tennis pupils didnt have to squint. I sometimes made them serve into the sun to practice, bc you gotta do that in a match so you had better practice your toss.
And SPF, sure. I wore it. But i didnt think too much about re-applying or anything...

And today, my Derm, who is the sweetest most porcelain skinned goddess I have seen..reminded me this isnt about "never getting color again," but about "delaying the overall sun exposure." That makes me feel pretty good. Since I cant imagine hiding in a wetsuit all summer long, or not going to Mexico in January or riding with arm warmers /skin coolers all summer long.

So despite still having this habit of buying SPF spray on EVERYTIME I go to Target..Serious problem I think. I like to try them all. Kinda like having a different color of socks..My go-to is Neutrogena SPF 45+ or 60+ with Helioplex. IT just has that "brand authority," must be better.
But now Target has their own brand so i get that sometimes as well. I like Bert's Bee's, and that face stuff stays on thru ANYTHING. It is like a caked on layer. Good in some ways.

Ok so before I turn this into a blog on sunscreens and what is the best, my freeflow update has a few more bullet points on it:

* I miss my J.R.A Junk miles. I miss em in the hot weather. Sometimes I wish i didnt have any goals other than to rack up miles. I seriously think i could go back to JRA and just bike racing again. But not yet.

*I am sick of chicken. Already. The grillling season has barely begun. And tho i like Brats sometimes, I think i like the pickles ketcup and mustard the best. Salmon on the grill is my favorite still but when you are at a BBQ or you are entertaining it isnt that easy since I hate to just buy some salmon and freeze it. Black Bean burgers are ok but I dont really need a grill for those.

* Open Water. I love it. But lately it has been a stressor ( sorry Jen) bc If i cant find peeps to swim with I am stuck in what i call the "holding pen" swimming laps for an hour. Still good, and the lake i swim at has a LONG holding pen so back and forth is about 300 yards. Not bad. But the open water and the buoys call....instead i can go back and forth 500 x in our pool.
Love it:) but not for laps.

* Bootlegs, yes that is MINT. We have a crop so big I could host a party for 100 people and you all would get a bootleg.

I need to do a bootleg post. The bad thing is that if i make bootlegs I must have them. and That makes me want a G and T and that makes me want a Skippy..and...extra blog points if you know what a Skippy is. And this brings me full circle to the first topic i covered. Tennis.
Clay courts..late afternoon doubles...some bootlegs and skippys...ahh..summer.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Solstice Ride

No Silly, not me.

I wouldn't ride 235 miles ( make that 245 miles with one wrong turn) in one day. That would be CRAZY TALK! But I know some people that did!( and no calling Rich Crazy bc he supports me in things that he thinks are crazy as well!)

Because of Grandma's Marathon the ride took place friday not saturday, the actual day of Solstice. The plan was to ride from the twin cities to pine city ( cabin 1) then to Duluth ( stop 2, no cabin but i would be there with supplies), Two Harbors ( cabin 2, our family) and then to Finland ( cabin 3, done!)

So here is your cast of characters. Scott, Rich, and Kevin.
It was a long day, leaving at 5am from St Paul and heading to Scott's cabin in Pine City.
With a brief stop, jump in the lake and some good eats from Scott's better half they were on their way. The plan was for Rich to call me from Pine City ( and wake me up. ha ha) and then i would leave to get my sister and we would beat them up to duluth and then ride backwards to meet them on the Munger trail. So far they were only a few minutes behind schedule. And really they had all day, so what is the rush...( he he he, we all know that the Lake creates its own weather system up there so who knew we would be fogged in later that day..)

So sister and I drive up to the trail head at the Munger Inn and saddle up to ride south. Hoping to get 2 hours in of fun sisterly bonding with an hour out and an hour back. Rich called me from Moose Lake saying they were re-hydrating...I knew they were at least 40 miles from us so we slowed it up a bit and since the climb out of duluth is all uphill that was easy to do. 15 miles gradually uphill...Along the way we took some pics:

My siser played along and wore her Verve Kit. This way we could look like our team was doing super secret training on the north shore. We got to Carlton and decided to keep on heading North since we werent quite at an hour and since we figured the boys were going to be a few more minutes. We admired all the lumbar and figured it was either going to Cloquet to become paper. Fascinating I know, but there was SO much of it, and some of it was distinctly painted with blue on it ( in a plank, ok dont know lumbar terms) so it was likely marked for a reason. I digress.

And who do I find speeding on by? WADE. Super ART DC SPONSOR extraordinaire. I am not airing out my dirty kit. I am trying to show his logo. He was headed up to Duluth where his wife was racing Grandma's the next day. I think Wade is training for...I cant remember. Something long.

Elizabeth and I headed back south at this point and stopped to help some guys with a flat. Now since i change a flat in about 20 minutes, we just lent them her hand pump. Guess they saw our guys at the trailhead in Carlton and said "oh they missed the turn, went flying by us." Okay. OOops. Later we learned these guys had sucked some wheels and knew that the guys were headed to Duluth as well. um, hello. Dudes give a shout when you know they missed the turn. Either way our boys got to see scenic Wrenshall, MN home to the Memorial Day cycling stage race TT and turn around and come back. 10 miles added, could have been worse.
So they caught us about 2 miles from Duluth and they were flying. I was being a good girl riding easy and so just let them head on down the hill to the car.
Looking pretty good. I think some bananas, PB and J wraps, Aleve/Advil and some more water and they were good to go. Their new trail buddy led them thru duluth since the traffic was horrendous bc of the marathon and then they were onto old 61 and headed to Two Harbors. Trail buddy dropped off in duluth ...Woo hoo! Eliz and i headed to the cabin where i was on smoothie duty. Whey chocolate banana smoothies and dip in the river before the final leg to Finland.

By now it is about 4pm and they arrived at our cabin around 5:45pm. It was hotter in duluth than usual and at our cabin, about 40 miles north of Duluth it was hot as well. But all the sudden the wind shifted and it got downright cold. misty foggy cold.

My dad came out to greet the boys and we came inside.

All the sudden it was time for a hot shower, as they were all shaking with chills. This was the only point i thought and said "Um, if you are so chilled you have to be careful and not get more chilled. I dont want to go to the hospital bc of hypothermia." oops. Sorry. Negative talk. My bad. But reality is that after 200 miles I figured that they werent exactly sane and didnt exactly have stable blood sugars, obviously contributing to their body temps dropping. Hot showers later and they all felt better.
Sorry but no pics of K in his double hawaian shirts, Rich in my sisters knee warmers, and S in my knee warmers, they were off again into the fog.

Blah blah blah. I thought about going back to get them but knew they wouldnt take a ride anyways..since there is no cell coverage they were on their own till they got here: ( pic was taken saturday, it was raining and foggy when we got there to prep dinner!)

Mile 255 arrived at around 9:15pm. Tired and wired Rich walked up the porch with his cleats chanting "boot leg please..." :) They made it. Best part of the ride: getting to the gravel road to turn into the lodge. Worst part: the gravel road, in the dark. nearly took them all out!

So it was a late night friday...and i dont think anyone slept too well. Myself included!
Saturday dawned and i headed back down to Two Harbors to see some family and get short ride in was HOT. Those poor runners! Naps were taken and Rich came back down to dinner at our place and then the DQ run.
Up and at 'em early to get a forest run in, then head home. Rich dropped me at the lake, wetsuit in hand and I met some buddies for an OW swim. Got a lift home and was 4pm. Sunday.
Fun times....
Now to be honest...I had to ask myself...Do i want to ride to my cabin? And the answer, once again is NO. Some of you know I have done some century rides but i have also done some 90 mile rides. and some 88 mile rides and even some 95 mile rides. I really dont get an extra buzz riding to 100. Not sure why. Just seems really far!

Good job boys! Glad we can check that off the bucket list.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Liberty Tri Race Report...and Great Gatsby party!

So this weekend was my first half IM. It wasnt an official 70.3 by IM standards but from what i hear that just means that i dont have to pay as much entry fee and I dont get as many fancy toys/trinkets. Someday i will do one but for my first I wanted to sleep in my own bed.

I know that the video below should be at the end of the blog post but since i was too afraid i would lose it here it is. Thanks to fantastic Verve Teammate Sheryl and her hubby and kids for ( scaring me!) I mean chasing after me in the last 2 miles of the race! And editing this great clip:
And wow, i look a little hunched over there, but small steps are good. Very good!

I was pretty nervous about this race. The week of my taper I had some SI pains that I can trace to a few things, but the point wasnt how it happened but how to avoid going into my A race with pain. I sure wanted to be 100% physically bc Lord knows mentally I felt like a wet blanket!
When i had a few pep talks with coach Jen and all my supportive friends from FB, Blogland and real life ( ha ha..I do have friends i see off the internet!) I just kept up with the TRUST mantra.
Trust the training, trust that my body will be ok that day, trust that i wont get a flat, trust that If I stick to the plan ( nutrition, etc) I will be just fine. I sent coach Jen an email saying "Um so lets talk about panic attacks in the water. I mean it has been sooo cold here that I have been scared to swim for too long since i get so cold. Even with a wet suit." Jen emails me back..a one liner:
Julia, have you EVER had a panic attack in open water?
Um. No. Ok. MIND SHUT up.

So the week before I did all the stuff i know to do for the SIJ. It turns out i had a left upslip meaning my left Ilium was a tad higher on the left, so i had it adjusted and was sore. Sore but better. Went back on thursday and i was better. But i had been having pain with standing and with the pedal downstroke on the bike, not to mention some pain with running. So nervous i was..but the tune up went ok, not 100% still. gulp.

Race day dawns and I had my list of things in my head that kept me calm:

1) 1.2 miles is only 4 laps plus a bit on the track. Seems alot easier to visualize swimming that.
Why i dont know.

2) The water IS NOT going to be as cold as Square Lake where i swim. That is spring fed and one of the coldest lakes in the metro/outskirts.

3) Once you are on the bike you LOVE the hills and you love those courses. 2 laps and then it is just the TNT course add on. It will be mentally fine.

4) IF you get a flat..oops sorry. This was a positive list, but i did tape some of that Hutchinson Fast air to my Bottle carrier. Not that i really knew how to use it but i would have tried.

5) Once done with the bike then just stick to the plan. Run and keep moving forward.

So here we go...
Swim: It was fine. Nice. water was about 65 i think they said. I sighted well and had to work hard to get around those that had fallen off their waves. It was hard but I didnt feel EXHAUSTED and once i got into a groove I was actually enjoying it. I came out 2nd in my wave just behind that lady in yellow, who had better luck getting her wetsuit off than i did. Neck is sore so i must have sighted well.
Time 33:xx something or another. fine.
T1: Ok someone must have nearly clawed my time chip off my leg bc it was dangling there. And i have skinny ankles so i had to make sure to tuck it IN my socks. bike shoes on. Helmet on. Off I go. 2:20 ? Fine.

Here I am lifting my leg ...I mean mounting after i nearly got on too soon. this is the poster child for how NOT to do a flying mount. Coach, can we work on these at camp next year?

Bike: I mean what can i say..I was stressed about wearing arm warmers and I was SO glad i didnt have them on. My lower body/butt was cold to start. For the first 10 miles I really felt like my legs and my left glute ( dangerously close to that SIJ) were SO TIGHT. I was trying to spin it out a bit not lose focus or get down but when you are doing 56 miles and your legs/main movers ie GLUTES are not wanting to push and you see mile signs saying MILE 4..that is a bit depressing.
Finally around mile 12 I started to have some juice. It was like things just opened up. ( or maybe it was the green apple power gel..this is important to T2, stay tuned) but it was go go go from there. The course was lined with friends and family and Rich was there just hitting every spot on cue. He knew exactly where i was on the bike. So great.

The first one is coming up a short but steep hill. CY and JH and some Loud cheering was going down there. What a party! Thanks everyone. And the 2nd one was me chasing down some dude..looks like i was drafting but i wasnt.

As my butt pain eased and my legs came open It took alot of energy to have to work around the riders. I am not used to this, in bike racing and in TT's especially, we make a lot of effort to announce ourselves. I had ONE, yes ONE person, a male say "on your left" on hunter road. The rest of the people kinda snuck by as if I wasnt there. Now granted I keep a good line. I stay to the right as best i can, and there were more men passing me which was fine. But the ones that kinda started to annoy me were the women that I was back and forth with. I guess ANNOY isnt the word, but it was frustrating that some of them would brake and brake HARD at all the intersections and on any descent they would brake too. So i was constantly going by people on descents ( ha ha ha, that is a joke. remember I descend like a flower) I guess that is just triathlon and i need to get used to it. But it is more a comment on "Hey lady, you are losing ALOT of speed braking so much.." So into T2 I roll and...

T2: Rack the bike and shoes off, helmet off, belt in hand, gels..gels...gels???


ha ha, please take your shoes off and go thru the gel detector.
So who knows, but they were gone. I started rummaging in my bag and thought "oh heck," grabbed a raspberry and an apple HAMMER gel from the girl and ran on my way.
1:21 for all that messing around.

Run: So as i run out thinking "great, lets try something new on race day!" I just figured it would be fine. Raspberry was fine. it wasnt like it was a double caffeinated coffee gel. And as for the hammer gels, I have had 'em. I was prepared for the jelly thickness or pureed whole fruit all mushed into a plastic wrapper. Not my faves. They are supposed to be better for you or something? I mean sugar is sugar for the most part I think..last time i checked my chemistry notes.
Mile 1 was fine. My legs were there from the get go and that was a super great feeling.
I wont bore you with the mile by mile but I kept it together with the HR zones till mile 7 and then i was scared to let it rip. I didnt want to die a slow death having seen the girls behind me that of course i figured would catch me. So i just kept at it, figuring as my plan was, to run my run and if they got me, they deserved it.

One woman ( see 47 on her leg) went by me fast and confidently around mile 9. That kinda bummed me out, but i was able to keep her in my sight and i closed in on her a bit so i knew that i was getting faster or she was getting slower, but the point was I was not slowing down.
Also around mile 9 was the dreaded Hammer Gel. I took 1/2 of it and figured that was it.

So at mile 12 I hear someone yelling "is that julia?" at that point i am in the "GET THIS DONE" mode. Pharmie, Speedo Steve's wife had already startled me with a high five yell as she was coming out on the run and i was at about mile 11. I was not looking up and i was really visualizing my long runs and so I kinda jumped away from her.

Same thing with Sheryl and her kids at mile 12. I heard all these steps and thought "aw shoot, that little blonde lady is scurrying by me." nope it was Sheryl and Robert's kids. YELLING SO LOUD...And running behind me till I heard Robert and Sheryl say "She is dropping us!" Then they got to me on the downhill wood chip path before the turn to the finish and the kids ran right alongside me and I heard Sheryl say "dont trip in front of her..."
All i could think of was those crazy TDF people running alongside the bikes! Thanks kids, you were great, even if i couldnt/didnt look like i was enjoying you!
So finish i did. 5:08.01.
This was about completion and I wanted to be under 6 hours. I am not sure why that time, but i purposely wanted to just see if i like this race. I did. But it was HARD. And there is no way I want to do a full IM right toes are a mess. I wont post pics of them bc You would lose your:

And what does a girl do who has had 7 gels in a day, bruised toenails and two blisters the size of a quarter and likely cant get up too easily when she sits down:

She goes home, ice bathes, then puts on great grandmothers dress and goes to a Great Gatsby party in celebration of cupcakes and bootlegs. I mean in celebration of my brother's 40th!Ok that head band makes me look like a 60's druggie, not a 20's flapper but it was worth a try.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Happy Birthday Dad!!!

Dad, when i am 82 years young I hope i can wield a chainsaw, climb a ladder and change windows, and smack a tennis ball just like you can! Or insert appropriate substitutes to the mentioned activities...Thanks for sharing your special day ( and Carrot Cake) with us!
I love you! Hope you enjoyed the spirometry testing those candles gave you!

PS We can get mom back with re-lighting candles in a few weeks for her birthday:) hee hee.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Minnesota in June

Ok before i get to MN in June...Roger won:) Ties Pistol Pete for the most Grand Slams and will possibly surpass Pete if he can win on Grass at Wimbledon. He and his wife Mirka are also expecting a little Roger  or Rogerette. Ok we now resume our regular programming:

I started this post with all sorts of pictures of 45 degree dashboards, and rain ( kept one) and even thought I could mess with you and put in some snow pics. But then I decided that there are some great things about it being 45 in the early morning, no sun, rain and highs of maybe 60 today? I dont think we got there. So here we go...Why cold-er weather is OK! Yes, say it 10 times outloud. Right it down and post it where you can see it, on the mirror, fridge ( i go there more than the mirror) and just know it cant get colder. I hope.

It has gotten much greener with the rain. And the lawns and farmers need it. Our sweet corn from FLA and CA tastes great, but MN corn is the best so we need to get those crops Knee high in July. Right now i think the crops are too Pune (y) in June ( y). Bad, ok.

Look at the neat fall gear we can wear. My sister is sporting her Tinley jacket, circa 1984? From the Tinley store in Del Mar, Ca. Likely a Lulu store now. And I have on tights and a fleece jacket.

My parents were kind enough to pose as well. Note the double sweater on my dad. And my mom has her HEAVY wool sweater on. I learned to layer living in this house. Heat rarely went up and we wore down vests around the house. If you come visit we will have one for you. It is an old house, cold in the winter, cold in the summer. Who needs AC? Not us, and not likely anyone this past weekend.

Ruby has a show coat. She gets VERY hot. When it is cooler out she doesnt get as hot and is more able to pose and pay attention when my mom is feeding her popcorn.

Other good things about the cold june thus far:
- I am not dehydrated after a run. Today i went running to warm up after i swam in the lake.
- I love hot tea so i get to drink more of that in the AM and I also eat my oatmeal hot still. I eat it cold in the summer.
-Many of you know I have had melanoma. This way I still use sunscreen but i have less desire to have bare arms and legs. Less likely to get skin cancer!
-Sleeping with the windows open is great! I dont have AC either so it can get stuffy in here.
-Rich's Pool isnt ready yet. Long story. But despite wanting to take my ice bath in the pool there is no need to take a dip to cool off.

I surely hope it warms up bc next weekend when i come running out of the lake and have this on underneath my wetsuit ( or something like it) I sure dont want to have to put on many layers in order to warm myself for the long ride ahead. That does concern me. But if I do have to put on a jersey I do. So be it. I dont overheat too often when it is highs of 70. So better to be a tad toasty, than a chilled.

Happy week ahead folks, send us some warmer temps and even some humdity please. And if I EVER on this blog complain that i am too hot, please feel free to out me.