Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Gear West Duathlon: An Escape for the Day

I would call this a race report but to be honest i quit racing during the first leg of this race. Let me back up.

After being less than 100% from the race in St. Croix and visiting the doctor more times in a week than i had in 3 years, I was not sure i would be ready to do this duathlon. Not only is it a really hard duathlon, duathlons are hard in general. Tack on a hilly, off road, run plus a hilly, punchy bike, then you get to do the hard part of the run again. Woohoo! And to boot i knew it was not going to be sunny and 70.

But Rich was game and since my team puts it on i knew i would go either way. Why not race. I did not feel prepared in a "race" sort of way. But i was mostly not prepared bc of life's little battles. As you know Rich has been doing Chemo for 8 mos now. Wow. That is impressive. He has not once felt "sick" from cancer, and "knock on wood," has had very minimal side effects from the chemo he does every 10 days.

He gets "hooked up" to a baby bottle/ fuel belt if you will, that transfuses into his port over a 42 hour period. He gets "unhooked" on thursdays. Tuesdays is bloodwork ( INR, to check how his blood is clotting and adjust his coumadin if needed, and other stuff they check to make sure his immune system is working, etc..) They also check a CEA. Cancer Antigen.  Then we meet with the MD, and we talk about all the fun stuff we are doing and try to offset all the Debbie Downer aura we feel anytime we meet with her. We like her, dont get me wrong, but those Oncologists. Wowza. What a tough job. I guess they may teach you do not oversell what you can do. So last week ( tuesday-thursday) we were told that the blood levels indicated he should have another PET Scan. He had one in early April and it was great. Lots of dead tumors, and the drugs he was being given were working. As of last week we were really feeling totally cocky and superior.

Friday he had another Pet Scan. Things are still sorta ok, but there are some signals that tell us that the current drug regimen may not be as effective as it was and it may be time to put together another defense system to beat this awful disease. So we are going to Mayo next week to see what fun stuff they can do for us. Oh Joy. I cant help but get a huge pit in my stomach thinking about Mayo. Where it all began.

So, oh there was a race? Yes. The day i forgot about cancer for a full day.
I forgot about the words " Metastatic. " and "Palliative" and "Clinical Trial." It was awesome.

Run 1: It was super crowded. over 50 men and women in one wave and with singletrack it was not ideal, and you could NOT get past people. I got passed by at least 2 girls in my AG that made me mad. Not mad at them, but mad that i hadnt done any speedwork. Mad that i was sick after STX, mad that i decided to race an early Half. Mad at anything. I wasnt actually mad that it was pissing rain, which is funny. At the end of the run i knew i had run as best i could on no training for speed at all. And you know what? I ran the same time as last year.
This is not a PR course, trust me, twisty, turny and hilly. And Mad has been my theme as of late.

T1: Fast and fine I was out of there.

Bike: This is where my legs said "WHAT ARE YOU doing?" You bike THEN RUN/ not Run then bike. Yup. 3 miles of OUCHIE followed, but i repassed one girl and got out of sight. And actually after that I just decided to shut up and race. I took a gel I drank my EFS and i tried to see as the rain just made my face a combination of snot and spit and rain. Lovely. I hope i see a photo. Unlike STX I felt great, i did slow at corners a bit bc of the rain but i was confident and i rode hard even into alot of headwind. I did notice that my disc has a 12-23 and i have been racing hilly courses with a 12-27. Ouch. I would have loved to ride another loop. When you turn 46 you can feel it takes 17 miles to warm up too.

T2: Suzy's bike had drifted ( windy) with a disc into my area and so i could not for the life of me get my bars past her's! That cost me more time than i wanted. But i eventually got in and out of T2 and let the run begin.

Run 2: Passed the guys i came in with and then somehow led about 15 people past a turn and went to a sidewalk and a street that i knew were not on the course. Oops. Not sure how much time that added but i would bet 30 seconds. I knew there was a girl behind me and i just did NOT look back, but the course is back and forth in a few places so you can see how is tailing you. In and out of woods, so its quite deceptive, then you finish up a steep hill and take a lap around the track bfeore you finish. I did not quit Tri on this run, i just ran. Tried to keep my form and ran. I did a quick peek on the track and saw no women so i just ran hard into the finish. and you know what? my 2nd run was faster than last year. So out of shape "blahblah i have done no speed work" was just self talk that was not helpful.

So it goes. Rich raced too, he did awesome. and he finished with a huge smile as i yelled at him on his track lap " COME ON, WE ARE STREAKING THE QUAD..." get moving. I am not sure anyone else got it, but he did.

We froze, waited for awards, I won my AG, I Didnt win all the cool schwag but it was nice to hang out and shiver with my friends. Caribou was next and then home for a warm epsom salts bath.
The biggest thing about this race that made me happy and proud wasnt that i didnt win top masters, it wasnt that i won my AG, and it wasnt that i ran faster than my negative self thought. It was at each corner when we turned the volunteers said "Nice Smile." It just made me really appreciate during the ride ( ahem, after run 1 I was not feeling it) how lucky I Was to be out there with Rich.

I think i question things alot more now. I seem to sometimes be taking Rich's journey harder than he is. He said that is bc he knows how he feels and I dont. So I am working on that, trying to let go, but i cant tell you how hard it is to not "Go there."

Next up is Kansas 70.3. 99% sure i am doing that. If not BSLT. But the thought of an airplane right now does not appeal to me. A few things to overcome before kansas but hopefully it will all work out.

Thanks for reading. And for your always lovely comments and prayers.

Thursday, May 17, 2012


There are some weird spacing issues here and i am not sure why, so sorry about that.

I am not sure what made me want to write a short post about Ab's. I mean this in a functional way.While we all WANT to have Ab's like this : 

And yes I picked a great triathlete named Hillary Biscay instead of a souped up carb depleted body builder, but 
We all want to be able to show our midsections, even if you live in MN and your midrif is pale as a baby's
bottom. I call it my "cancer free zone!"  But what Ab's really matter the most??? If you had to grade which AB's 
you really need to be ON, and those that are just for SHOW, well here is my thought on that:

1) Transversus Adbominus. Pretty much the gate keeper to keeping your pelvis neutral. IF your pelvis isnt 

Stable well your legs and your hips are gonna be doing the jig to keep from overworking. Hamstring issues?

What is your TA Doing while you run? If you have no idea what i am talking about, then you need to figure that 

out. Do you have a little Buddha poking out? Then your TA is not participating today. Even on the bike....

IS your tummy tight And is your belly button pulled into your spine??? Keeping your tuck in Aero can be hard, 

but keep thinking about that while you are trying to hit your insanely high power numbers.

This picture above shows how the TA cannot be seen when you are walking around after the race. The TA is 

hidden under that 6 pack we all think we want. 

And yes The RA is a great strength muscle it really does contribute to your overall core strength but i would not

put all your money on it in Vegas. 

2)Obliques, esp the internal obliques. Again think about pelvic control and controling the pelvic girdle. 

Look at the pic below. What happens when the IO is weak and elongated? Your pelvis drops forward into anterior 

tilt and your rib cage gets pulled down with it. Along with your rib cage your shoudlers now have a nice tug 

anteriorly contributing to the impingement you have from swimming 3-4000yds / 3-4x week. 

I rate the IO right up there with the TA. 

Ok my goal with this isnt to make you not want a great set of Ab's, or a 6 pack but to remember the most

important muscles for you to swim bike run and remain injury free are the ones that we cant see, for the most

part. Triathlon is surely and image sport. It's a lovely sport, fast bikes, fast people, well sculpted athletes. 

Dont get caught up on comparing yourself to everyone else's looks, bc I know as well as you do, that there are 

more than enough terrific athlete's that dont LOOK like they will be fast! 

Train safely.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

More images from St Croix

I had a few more pictures to share from STX and our time there. Nonrace pics that show the pace of the island. I have had a few days to think about the race. I would love to go back if i could avoid the 12 hour airport days and find a bit more direct way to get there. I would love to ride that course again, this time with less fear. Its not an easy trip nor is it a cheap one ( tho really? our airfare was about what we paid for Tucson, just sayin) so i know how lucky i am to have gone this year. 

This was as good as it got in the days up to the race. You can actually see some sky that isnt rain and grey here. But yes, it rained/poured right after i took this!This is a view of the swim course. Loved it. Having swum once in my wetsuit since being home i cant tell you how much i would rather swim without a wetsuit. My shoulders DO NOT like my wetsuit. I am too tall for my suit andwell, think Wedgie. But it pulls on my shoulders making things a bit messed up.

This is the Alley Galley. It was so wet out we just went inside but in theory you go order your drink at the take out window. They had the best banana bread there!

Right as i finished Rich snapped this. I was a bit too sassy wasnt I. Show's i didnt really give it 150% on that run. Just 100% which mentally was all I had that day. 

 Devon is from Canada. I gave him a free ride at one of the practice swims and he thanked me and we started talking. One of those crazy dudes who does IM with his longest run of 13 miles. Good for you Dev! Wow.
Notice the mudfields around us. You may not know it but we are sinking in pretty good.
I should have taken Gretta's picture but she was too dirty and too embarassed of her stink.
I respected her since she had taken me thru knee deep water and had kept me upright.

 As it poured the next morning we hung out at a coffee shop. I found some wine with my name on it. Casa Julia.
 Finally the cloulds parted on our last day. Rich is out looking for buried treasure at Block Island.
 Here he is sporting the latest fashions. They made us wear that life vest bc i guess other tourists get tired and they rest on the coral. ouch.
I am afraid of the coral. I am always thinking i will kick it or it will bite me.

Here I am in glasses that are too big for my puny face.

 Rich looking relaxed and happy. Made me want to go back to ST Johns. We got out on the water from STX and seriously there was a big cloud over the island. Not so out at Buck Island or at the BVI or St Johns. hmm.....
 And here we are at home. Tmmrw I have my first real Open Water swim. The buoys and docks arent out so i dont think we will do a full loop ( 2 miles) but i do have at least one person coming to swim with me, but thistime of year its freaky out there. It's a big enough lake i dont think i want to go too far from shore. But soon. Soon no wetsuit!

So what is next? Our team has a duathlon this weekend. I feel 150% better than i did this weekend so i plan to race it, if i dont feel great I will drop out. But i hope not! and Then either Kansas 70.3 or BSLT 70.3. I am leaning towards the race that includes a homestay, driving there, fun people and no plane rides thru Lubbock. :)

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Beast was the least of my worries

Finally home, sweet home. While in theory a trip to St. Croix was nice, it is good to be home where i have my own bed and no rain. And no roosters, and no midnight screaming. The place we stayed was A+ for convenience. But D- for most everything else.

I dont think i have it in me to really do a true Race Report but I will try to give you some goods and bads about the race.

Swim +++
Felt fine, not much fatigue and other than freezing, yes i said FREEZING, as the last wave we got to sit wet in the wind and rain while all the other waves went off....I felt good.

Warmed up with Lance. He popped up right next to me after swimming to the Cay and i was like a dear in headlights.

Didnt drink salt water

Swim ----
Got nailed, women cut your nails and if you want to swim faster than me, start in front of me, dont CLAW your way over me. Some good blood marks on my arms.

Last wave, need i say more.

Bike +++
Should start with the negatives bc the only real positive of the ride was i did not crash. But to keep this in order, the other good thing about the bike was the climbs. I did awesome on those and I would go up the BEAST 10x before i would descend in rain and grit like we had.

Fuel was right on.

Bike ---
After the 1st spin out on the very first descent about 6 miles in I knew my "ALERT"button was firing. I had less pressure in my tires bc it was so wet but it didnt seem to help. I nearly stopped to try to take  more air out but i had deep rims and knew that could present even more of a problem if i deflated too much. So i vowed to just be careful. Sigh...That pretty much meant any descent that had any curves( hello the entire course) I was a pansy 10 mph desecnder playing/feathering my brakes.

I got passed alot, and I just let it go. I let the race go during the bike. For that mental hiccup I am pretty upset, but at the same time I had many thoughts of "Would i rather crash or flat?" and i honestly thought i was going to crash. Another time turning from the Left  you ride on the Left over there, to the Right lane I spun into the pros coming at me. The Moto guy was pretty impressed as i spun out R ( rear wheel) then left, the right, and got myself back to the Right side of the road. I think Karen Smyers was thinking "what the heck?" But really not how i saw this ride going.

Transitions in general:
Did fine. I was great in T1, then T2 I was traumatized and it was raining and my feet were all muddy and my shoes and socks were wet and...well I think i spent about 5 minutes just in shock. Rich told me to get out, so i did.

No it wasnt sunny but it was still hot and humid so i kept to my salt and hydration/nutrition plan.
I did not go out too fast and i negative split the run.
I lost my fire, I just wanted to run and not blow up and i did just that but i didnt really feel like i was racing.
I loved running thru the golf courses and the resort ( see pic) it was soft and well...wet but the bugs were really bad@ I think i took a few out of my eyes the next day even. Hilly but a nice change from the roads.

Run ----
as i said above, didnt really feel the fire in my belly. Not sure why. I just didnt.
I was pretty content with how i was going I knew i was not in contention for a kona slot and so i do think i just settled in. why blow up? I did get passed in the last 300 yards by a woman that came out of nowhere. I have video of that stretch and unless she cut a corner or was in a porta john i did not see her.

So it goes.

So the Beast? Yes do it if you can. I would say the worst part of this trip for me was the travel. I spent two FULL days getting to and from. And the weather was just awful. I am glad i went but i am not sure i would go back. To make matters just that much better I came home with a sore throat ( actually had it since saturday night but tried to ignore it) and Pink Eye. I have been to the minute clinic ( what a joke) amd my own MD and now i sit on the couch wishing i could feel 100% again. I didnt have Strep ( or so they say, it could have been since this was in full force sunday-Wed before i even go tested) but the Pink Eye is weird. ?? who knows. And icing my achilles. A bit of a hilly area out there you know.

Wish i could be all dapper about the race, but for me it was not my dream race or my dream venue. The course was lovely actually and maybe someday i will go back to race it when its dry. and hotter!

Monday, May 07, 2012

Quick St. Croix update

I'm using my dads iPad so excuse my inadequate skills! But we are alive and well but WET! I ve not seen this much ever, since my arrival I've seen the sun 0 times and blue sky 1x. So other than this blowing what we planned to be a post race water sports vacation we are laughing at the amount of HBO being watched and books being read. Feels like what we've done all winter!! A formal race report will follow but we have no WiFi at our ghetto hotel. We do have roosters and domestic abuse screams so who needs wifi! I'm pleased as heck with the day bc I stayed upright. Going up the Beast was harder than anything on a wet road but I only had one pedal stroke that had me thinking I'd walk. And spinning out into oncoming traffic was all I needed to be a pansy and ride a lot slower bc I started wishing I'd flat before I crashed. Neither happened luckily. IM said there were no serious crashes but Rich counted at least 3 ambulances and 10 to the hospital. I guess nobody died so its a safe race! Just user error I'm sure. I swam well. Rode smart and looked forward to hills bc I couldn't crash going up, ran smart and know I'm lucky it wasn't sunny. You can't simulate this heat and humidity In MN or AZ. And best of all I felt like I could have kept going in any of the three disciplines. So good IM training. Nailed the nutrition and salts. Total relief after over salting at Madison. While I enjoyed the race Im not sure id return to race. The Islanders are gracious and so supportive it's hard to not want to come race again. They make you feel like Lance! But the Beast is off the bucket list so may just leave this as a great early season race! More race report to come. You know the one where I tell you just what Lance really looks like in his speed suit.