Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Best of 2013!

Well this could almost be the highlight reel couldnt it? Ive been pondering my next blog post for too long so best thing to do is to DIVE IN head first, right?

Being that Thanksgiving flew by as did the entire month of OCT and NOV, here I sit in nearly Mid December thinking " whoa how did this happen? " Work has been so busy and so fun and I promise you that taking an off season opens up so many doors and so much freedom that it almost makes me wonder why everyone doesnt live in the north where the climate pretty much mandates that you cant ride and run and swim outdoors year round. As much as -5 and -25 windchill isnt fun, the sun is the brightest i have ever seen on these days as it bounces off the snow.

So. Back to the best of 2013. I have to say this was a pretty incredible year for me. Training and racing wise mostly, and also personally. I had alot of support in all those areas and you know who you are, but i wasnt sure how i was going to get thru 2013 minus my biggest fan. At the same time I know I am tough as nails, but we all know that sometimes being tough just means you get thru stuff it doesnt mean you actually are happy. There were many ups and maybe a few more downs personally but honestly what came of that in the last few months has been nothing short of a blessing.

Racing? well I could not have asked for a better year. Starting with the fact that i was injury free the entire year and actually got stronger and faster at the ripe young age of 47? I will take it. More reason to believe your PT when she says you need to do strength 3 x week till failure and more reason to believe that doing Ironman year in and year out ( for me at least) isnt a good idea if you actually like to run and ride fast again. Again relative terms.
So here are some fun pics, maybe repeats from earlier but for me it sums up a great year of family, friends, training and making peace with myself:)

Who doesnt love an outdoor pool in January when you visit Florida to drive your parents around? 

COOKIE CABIN!!! Just a short ride up to get to that cookie!
March/early April 2013
Nobody makes it up Lemmon without a bike partner. thanks Liz! 

First race ( du) of the season late may. And man was it hard to muster that smile for  Drew!  The saying " you get faster it gets harder " is true.

First and last half of the year. early June at Liberty:) water had us scared it was so cold but got it done. 
Post Waconia late June, me and my rockstars that made me go faster and nearly break a leg trying to outsprint a 23 yo. 

Short time out for some fun cabin time with sisters and dad and Ruby and nephew:) One bonus of short course is i wasnt tied to wkrouts over 2 hours. I know i will miss that this summer! 

Being pushed so hard by Liv and Cathy at lifetime in july was suerly a highlight. We had waited hours for the rain to let up and felt so lucky we got to race. I couldnt have been happier to win the masters title here as i was always afraid of this course. So the best way to deal with that? Sign up:)

Milwaukee AG nats, my A race in 2013. I must say that was a FUN BIKE RIDE!!! 

finishing on the red carpet was the best! 

I lied, hanging with my pals from all over the US was the best! 

And to top it off to finish top 3 next to these rockstars brought me to tears. Lifetime Maple Grove solidified that i truly love the OLYPMIC distance! 

And for about 4 weeks i became a true runner. Running the TCM 10 miler:) Jen got me thru the entire season and i am forever in awe of her coaching skills. Plus she is a great friend.

So while that montage was heavy on races and me smiling, it really just clicked along for me. I love it hot, we had some races ( one i missed including up there, but yawn i know this is getting long) where it was 45 deg at the start and the water was over 70. Hello July ?? I had so much fun in a season where i purposely said I was going to just mess around, race and stay healthy.

Off season meant staying on the bike as long as i could,  meeting steve and pam and Kj to swim just enough to earn some coffee and also continuing to run into our great lovely fall. The snow has fallen and outdoor runs are tougher but if its above zero and its not too windy I head out. Cant beat that fresh air and the possibility of Vit D being absorbed into the small patches of exposed flesh.

Off season also meant hanging with friends and family, visitors from all over, meeting new people and realizing that life with triathlon is pretty darn nice, but life without all the racing is pretty darn nice too. I am doing an Ironman next July and I am super excited to travel to a place i havent been. To race my heart out and before that train and see where it lands me. But i also for the first time know i wont be doing Ironman forever, so its nice to know that I am privileged to do this, its a gift not my birthright to do this sport and do it well. ITs also fun to think about spending a summer running more, or travelling or just moving for no purpose. But not this summer:) This summer has open water swims written all over it. That is after the ice melts in about 6 months:) LOL.

Thanks for reading and hope you all have a great holiday season.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Lots of Off-Season going on

At the risk of not blogging until there is another life changing event ( haha, i mean race) I decided to check in. Nothing much happening here other than working out for no reason other than to burn off all the apple pies i am making ( thanks Caroline!) and the peach pie which i think was more of a hit than the apple.

So getting my head into fresh air has been the best thing for me. It all the sudden got cold, so the cross bike has gotten some road time even tho i am way slower than ANYONE on that so its often a sufferfest which has me thinking " Why are you doing this? You are supposed to rest!" So i work hard then will drop off for a bit if i get a bit "meh" on the quad lock going on. Running has been my savior. I cant tell you how joyous it feels to run, our leaves are still quite nice and its not THAT cold, yet 28 a few mornings had me wondering if we would have an Indian Summer in November. I am not betting on it.

My house has been really really challenging for me lately. I know I know I know. Plenty of you live in a dwelling alone or perhaps you are the person that does all the home stuff. But for me its not so much that i cant do it its just that its ALOT. Take for example, the entire basement is filled with Rich's things. He came to this house post -divorce and i think he got all the wicker baskets and heck of a lot of glassware ( not waterford) and well my lovely husband loved knick knacks. I am talking 300 Sq Feet of boxes and STUFF, some of which is his kids. I actually have a friend come in once a week to help me GO THRU STUFF. ITs that much stuff. Plus the hard part of getting his clothing donated or consigned.

The thing is i am not in a rush to get rid of his things. Some of the things we shared and i love them and i want them. MANY of the things have no memories to me, and his kids have come thru a few times and taken what they want. They will have a chance to go thru more things when i bring a carload of thigns over there tmmrw:) They arent my memories, I cant discard them. And so as much as i hate dropping them in their laps I feel its the right and best thing for all of us. For now its been alot of throwing and alot of labeling. We took a  few HUGE loads to a church that was having a sale and i know GoodWill is going to have some deposits as well. I cant tell you how much work it is, and honestly I was too emotional before this past month to even deal with it.

Now I feel like i am regaining ( or maybe gaining for the first time?) my house. Rich moved in almost a year before I did. He had come from a big house, and I came from a 850 sq foot condo. My stuff in our basement now? Race wheels, a bike. and about 3 boxes of Dartmouth stuff. Rich was the Christmas Santa, LOVED LOVED LOVED Christmas. I have found more ornaments and decorations and singing elves and decorated doors goes on and on. Ornamental glasses and mugs and pitchers and plates and....I think i should have a big Xmas party and you all can wear your decorated sweaters and we will eat off of decorated plates!

Work is good, but the above has consumed me. IF this werent a public blog i would also write more about my personal life that has also been consuming me. Its just been all too much and I have relied heavily on a few close friends ( SORRY I AM SICK OF MYSELF, you must be sick of me too) to help me make some tough decisions. In the end I know i am where i should be.  I never thought I would be single and 47 yo. No crying in my soup here but it just stings a bit when i waited and worked so hard to find Rich and then POOF, gone. He is physically gone but the way I deserve to be treated and knowing what true love feels like? I have not forgotten.

Thanks for reading, sorry about the little trip down " relationship lane." :)

Monday, October 07, 2013

TC 10 Miler Race Report

Yesterday i raced my last event of the season. In conjunction with the Twin Cities Marathon they started a 10 mile " shortcut to St Paul." Now conisidering my parents live 2 miles from the finish and its the house i grew up in, it really is like i am running home.

I had a nice little break after the last triathlon of the season in late August and I was mentally ready to take on about 4 weeks of a run focus. JH did not let up on me running that is for sure. I felt like she handed me about as much as i could handle including " shake out runs," which i associate with my fast runner friends like Angela.I always felt special to run a shake out run in my Hoka's, and Jen teased me that i nailed those runs as well as the harder one's! She took it easy on me on the bike, as evidenced by my complete near breakdown riding about 48 miles at Rich's Memory ride in mid september. Yikes. Not in bike shape. Swimming has been fine and we have still be in the lake just because we can.

Ok as for the race I had a few niggles that came out of nowhere but i nailed a tough track wko the tuesday prior so i figured unless I woke up on the wrong side of the bed i was good to go. I think Jenny didnt know if i could meet my goal. But my goal was to go zub 7's for the 10 miler. At this point i think she was thinking i was fragile and to be honest SEPTEMBER and well alot of August was really really hard for me. Just too much stuff happening that sorta all came to a head mid and late september so i was fine with her talk of " just go have fun." well I was going to break 70 if i could and i knew deep down i could.

If you read Angela's blog you know, that you basically jump off a cliff ( into the mississippi river) for 2 then climb back out for 5 miles then even off for 3. Welcome to St Paul. JH had said to start at 7s and not faster and descend but i ended up banking some time off that cliff and when i got to mile 5 i was at 7 min pace. I knew from there on that the climbs were more gradual and i knew ( thank you tangerine gel) that i could hurt and hurt and drop that 7 min pace.I negative split those last 5 miles and met my goal with 18 sec to spare. I swear that running cold ( and actually the temps were awesome) is harder than running off the bike when you are warmed up and your legs are already turning over.

Here are a few pics my friend Terry took. Terry Lee like KY is out at so many events, and he is the best cheerer and photo taker. Thanks Terry! I think my glove got all messed up i was trying to wave but it looks like i am asking for a favor.

At the finish I met up with some nice friends and it seems we all ran a bit long. My Garmin had me at 10.09 and i think i run a good tangent and Angela had it as 10.2! I know for sure that those first miles i was dodging bodies even tho i was in coral 1 very close to the front. I jogged another 2 miles back with Ann and then went home to my parents. My mom was a trooper and got up extra early to walk up to the corner with her walker. My dad has a bum leg too, so its been tough to see them work so hard but its so special to have them cheering. None of this means anything If i dont have my family and friends around, racing or not. IT feels sorta empty to me. And honestly that is some of what i am figuring out right now. End of season thoughts i know. No regrets, but also so so so blessed to have friends ( and blog friends) that get this crazy sport and the " its there, why not?" attitude. Special too to get to hang out with CY and warm up with her, to see Erin and Nick at the finish, and to keep my mylar blanket thinking my dad used to use those when he pheasant hunted. Oh wait, he doesnt hunt anymore. I saved it anyways:)

So the off season is underway and I am thrilled to have some mental rest. The physical stuff is fine too, I dont feel all that banged up but i know i need to bank some deep rest as 2014 is a big year!
Thanks for reading and congrats to all the runners, especially the 26.2. Wow i didnt envy you yesterday  but i sure did respect you!

 And just because she makes me smile:

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Almost a Year

Since Rich passed away.

I have been thinking alot lately about this time last year. With IM Wisconsin taking place recently and how last year at this time I was so ecstatic to have been done with IM and so proud that i even showed up, to the utter craziness of packing Rich into the car monday morning, giving him oxycodone prn, and my sister and i driving him home to MN. How we watched Bridesmaids the night of IM and listened to Mike Reilly cheer in the last finishers. And how i knew that come sunday morning " Party is OVER" back to my reality that my husband was dying.

Race morning. Rich walked me down to the start, we had to stop and rest in the terrace bc of all the people. I cried. I knew i was TOAST if i cried at the IM Start so i woman-ed up and had a super fast swim. i knew this would be the last race he was at with me.  ( well in body i mean)
Jen like the hat?? :)

It's fun to not be trashed from an IM right now. September is a great month to be outside ( usually) and I am thrilled to be happy, in good health and in a good place in my social and work life. But at the same time I have flashes of " OMG, last year at this time...." And usually those are calmed by a visit to Rich's grave or by spending some time alone in thought or with my close friends that have been and are still by my side.

Today was a day that i had looked forward too but also dreaded. I started to get rid of some of Rich's clothing. It was a good feeling ( and trust me i threw in some of mine as well) to give them to a local church sale and some will go to consignment. Rich would have wanted people who needed them to have them. So i am trying to do my best to clear out and lighten up, while at the same time I freaked out when i went to get a t shirt of his and realized i had boxed them all up. I had to grab a few out. I cant go cold turkey yet:) And trust me i wear baggy t shirts to bed Sorry Victoria's Secret, not getting my money!

We also had a birthday dinner for Rich, and his brothers who are all born within a week of each other. It was a few weeks late, yet still I feel so blessed to have in-laws that love me and include me as if Rich were right near my side. ( which he is, i know!)

I have learned alot in the last year. I will write more about this as the days come but i know this blog is often about Tri, racing and all the EGO stuff I do. That is fun and it makes for good reading but while that comes and go's ( hopefully not going anywhere, health and wellbeing intact) what you dont read or hear about on a daily basis or an hourly basis or a second to second basis is what makes me tick when i am not Swim Bike Running. One reason i knew i couldnt do IM this year was the long rides and runs would have killed me. I think 24-7 about Rich and while that is part of the healing process, being with someone when they are dying isnt something that you just say " just forget about it." Maybe some of you can relate, and if you cant, then just read along. But the journey i took with him and the things i saw and the things i heard and did especially in the last week of his life dont just GO away. I have been told it takes time and i am giving myself that time.

What I have learned though is that the people that love me and support me dont have to get it. They are here for me no matter if they dont get it, and they are here for me for reasons they cant even explain. MY family and my friends are what make me tick and the racing and the training is something God has blessed me with as an outlet. So for now this is what i wanted to write, funny how i didnt plan to write a blog on this and here i am, thursday night news on GoBigGreen.

Running the TC10miler in a few weeks, then its time for some deep rest. Lots of running going on in my life and its going great, and excited for some snow ( in the appropriate months) so i can pretend to know how to ski again:)

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Lifetime Maple Grove Race Report and...

Well, this picture brought me to tears. Ask Jen. I called her on the way home and cried. I cant blog about why i cried but i can tell you the overwelming emotion of being done with likely my most challenging yet rewarding season was too much for me. I think i made Jen cry too:) 
But lets back up...Its not like i am going to the Olympics, but standing on this podium with Heather ( who just WON, THE ENTIRE RACE at AG nationals) and Cathy ( who needs no introduction) was just the biggest honor i could have ever asked for. 

OA Podium

Backing up a bit....This was a maybe for me. I did it in 2010 and had a great race. I didnt remember alot of the course but i did recal it was a challenging course, pretty rough swim and then a rolling bike with alot of open spaces, and a run that was deceptively hot and wide open with more than a few short punchy hills in 2 loops. So why not. I was fit from Nationals and wanted to race one more time. Its weird not doing an IM this year I didnt want to feel like i had to be trashed at the end of the season so i was thinking "one and done." 

Swim: We had a small elite wave and all loved that we knew we would be top 10 elite since i think there were 8 women. Beach start and i let the swimmers line up in front. Christina, Heather and CY took it out and were in view for about the first 500 yards then we got mixed into the collegiate waves ahead of us. The swim was long, some say as long as 1.3 miles. All i know is that i swam hard and sighted well bc the sun was an issue, and came out about 2min down on Christina and in 4th. I heard that Sarah was also behind me but T1 was LONG, alot of running in a wetsuit when the water was really warm. They say 77.8, but whatever we all got hot. 

T1: other than the usual long leg issues with the timing chip getting in the way of wetsuit removal all was fine.  Kerry Y and Yndecam caught me ready to mount up a nice hill! 

We had some wind for sure and it was hard to tell for sure when and where bc the course had these loops where we were doing squares. It was a great course, a bit rough on one road but fair and wide open. The Moto came thru a few times which i love bc little packs just sort of form even in little races. Well this was 1300 people not that little but it keeps it fair. With wind and inclines and a joule that read 27 miles i was still really happy with my ride. I felt really good. Takes me about 5 miles to settle in and then its " OLY MODE" takes over and its like a sorta easier Time Trial. I passed #3 Christina in there before mile 10 and looked back and she was gone. So i was just riding riding riding. knowing that Sarah is a super biker i just kept the pedal down. Nothing eventful other than a longer than 40k bike.

T2: Quick quick i was in and out. When i dismounted i felt the UGH of sore glutes. My first few steps told me my hammies and glutes were going to be a bit more sore than at Nationals, but whatever. Go run. Funny thing is i grabbed my gel and also grabbed the prayer card i keep in T with me. I bring one to the race so i remember what Rich would tell me at a race. " Any day you can ride your bike is a good day!" So i am running out of T2 and i have the gel ( which i need) and the card ( Which i dont need and i have no pockets) so what did i do? Put it down my top and forgot about it.

Here is the nice hill we got to do twice out of Transition. Its ok i like hills but the 2nd time up i was about to explode at the top and it was littered with Sprint runners heading out so there was some " Excuse me, Excuse  me" going on. all ok but ouch.

My tennis pal and fan extraordinaire lives on the run course in mile 1. This is how i looked mile 1. Ok that doesnt look so good. The guy next to me was hilarious. I caught up to him and he was just running so fast i tried to stay with him and he lost me in mile 3 in the rollers. I just thought " oh boy i am not running to well today i hope Christina cant catch me, she is fast." and i soldiered on.

The 2nd lap was quite amazing. Cindy Blackstock caught me and ran past me expressing lots of quick encouragement ( we both were breathing HARD) it was getting hot. Now Cindy has had quite a year,
Kona qualifier at Madison and about 2 weeks later diagnosed with breast cancer and has a double masectomy, chemo, radiation, the works. NOW if that doesnt inspire me to try to stay with her? I mean what a thrill to be at her side, or next to her, or in front of her or behind her, whatever it was through miles 3-4-5 i was just trying my best to be with her. I mustered the " is this your first or 2nd lap" not thinking really that she was not in the elite wave today, but AG so it must be her 1st. And she said 1st so then i tried to be the run tour guide telling her how many more little hills were coming up. Ya always playing hostess. Anyways around mile 5.5 she fell back a bit and i finished and she went thru another loop but i have to tell you i think it was Cindy that got me a 6:54 average on that course it wasnt me. Not at all what i had thought i was running, and i do think that the 10k was accurate despite the rest of the course being long!

And Yes, the look of " OMG am i done and did i really just get 3rd?" I look a bit like i saw a ghost.
And that prayer card? It was safely tucked in my top, lots of little pieces there but I bet Rich was happy to be drinking gatorade down my front as about 2 oz goes into my mouth the rest of it onto my body. I think Rich had a good ride:)

 So this season really seems so short, then i realize i have been hitting it hard since April at camp. Or even before that to get to Camp. Having done IM the last two summers it was really quite fun to race more and to actually feel like i was getting faster as my birthdate gets further into the rearview mirror.
I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Olympic distance. It seems to fit my strengths well and i will always remember that.

As for the season and life in general? Im happy. I havent really been this happy in a long time. I remember telling Jerry M ( the voice of TRI) that I wasnt smiling much other than at races when i saw my friends and listened to him be goofy and talk about tri. He said " I hope you are talking to someone"
I thought about that and realized that I wasnt really happy i was sorta depressed actually. It was a good wake up call as I never think i want my life to only be happy when i am doing well in triathlon ( or any sport or pasttime ) for that matter. Its been a huge process of figuring out my life this summer without Rich. I have grown alot and i am thankful for all the experiences and people in my life, some come and some go. Its all about figuring it out and not settling for anything less than what makes you happy and makes you smile. For now and for today i am in a good place. Of course I am smiling bc I think I kicked master butt this year and Jen is to thank for that. Not only as a coach but as a friend. Sarah and Pam too, you know what you have done, and it cant thank you enough.

I have so much more to say but i wont right now. For now, lets do this....

Tommorrow is Rich's 59th Birthday. August 29th.
What he really would want is for you to get outside and do what you love to do, be thankful for it and to eat some German Chocolate Cake!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Dynamic Warmups and Muscle Activation

I remember back in grade school and even in college, spending alot of time doing static stretching. We would stretch alot before we would go play, and we always held the stretch for at least 20 seconds.

Fast forward to today and even the last few years. The sports i am doing may have changed a bit but more so the warmups and cool downs have as well.

I had a request to talk a bit about muscle activation exercises and maybe at ANY age they are useful but I think as you get older they are critical. Speaking for many of us that may have overactive lower back muscles, and underactive glute muscles, its really important to get your body in "touch" with what it feels like to get the proper muscles firing for sport. I would say that for running this is 100% critical to me, swimming and biking not so much bc there is a non weight bearing component and biking is easier to get your butt firing. For lack of a better way to state that.

So my lumbar muscles ( paraspinals, Quadratus Lumborum) like to extend my hip. They love to overwork. This is coming from someone who really has no back pain at all. But when running what you want extending your hip ( think push off ) are your glutes and your hamstrings. In that order. If your glutes arent working " enough " your hamstrings will overwork and we all know what that feels like. Your hamstrings have the main job of knee flexion ( think butt kick) and also assisting with hip extension. But when your prime movers and your strongest muscles are lazy ( your glutes) those hamstrings and the lower back will be happy to take over. Taking the path of least resistance is what our body is so good at, but that will lead to some issues. Even calf issues as your hamstrings are tired now and your gastroc soleus and your toe running will try to flex your knee for you. We are a big kinetic chain arent we.

So what can you do? What do i do?

GLUTES AND CORE. Say that 100x.

I like to do alot of lumbar stretching in a rounded spine posture/squat, feet under me, core engaged, knees forward.


Then i hit up some adductor activation to get the inner thigh firing to hold the femur in line since lateral quad and ITB like to pull pull pull laterally.  For this i can do this on a curb outside or on a step in my house. I actually have a little wooden box that i use, its about 6 in tall and my PT's dad makes them for us. They are step overs. Cant find a pic but to engage the left adductor, step onto a step, right foot stays on the ground and you need to pull up and in to feel the muscle deep towards your groin, stepping up and over back and forth keeping your pelvis in neutral.

Then some glute side steps, all with a tucked core. lower abs. Lateral lunges yet the foot on the step or curb is stable, not moving, and your back is NOT arched or flat  ( bc you dont want your lower back working, do you?) you want your lower abs/obliques on) lunging deeper you will feel your glutes engage. Do about 20 of them and switch sides. You do not need to be adding hand weights to this, think " waking up the muscles " not strength training.

Finally before a run i will do the regular dynamics you can searchonline. Knee to chest, butt kicks, karaoke, wooden solider kicks, walking lunges, all dynamic meaning you dont hold any stretch. You can also do a few strides to get the legs turning over. Its alot easier to do this in the summer than the winter when its cold and snowy out.

top 10 running recommendations

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Age Group Nationals-Milwaukee, Wisconsin!

Last weekend I competed in what was my true A race of the season. After the stress of last season, and the added stress of training for an IM while Rich was so sick, I knew I had two choices:
1) YES do another IM! kill time! dont think. just do, avoid your feelings by training till you are too tired to think. (All kidding aside its sorta true)
2) Chill out. Pick local races, stay close to home, dont set goals that are over the top, just do the work and the results will follow. If not, that is ok you didnt spend 6 hours on a bike. And no saddle sores.

So Natz was my A race:) And i can tell you 100 times i have said " I am SO GLAD I am not training for an IM this summer" and maybe 4 x I have said " oh what a nice rainy day in the 60's to be riding to Prescott, wish I was IM training." haha. Things happen for a reason.

I was pretty excited to do this race. I like the OLY distance and I had been rained out of the only true OLY i had this summer. I was only nervous about running a 10k versus a 5k but Jen said " oh no worries" so in trusting her i said "OK no worries." 

I drove to the race on thursday and it was a long drive solo. I took my time and met up with many Ohio-ans most importantly my lovely pal Sarah. She had rented a house about 3 miles north of the race site and it was AMAZING! Perfect. Any race, short or long, is made better by having your own kitchen. We can all eat when and what we like. Whole paycheck Foods was about 1 mile away. 
Even if its $$ it beats eating out. I have a pretty set deal for what works for me pre race so as boring as it is I kept my plan and as usual it didnt fail me. 

Friday dawned and we got in our tune up ride and runs, skipped the swim bc i just didnt need to be in the water with 1000 other nervous rubber coated people. I had walked the swim, driven the bike course and the run was as flat as can be. Lets just rack our bikes ( and check it 100x) and get out of there. 
Sarah had switched to the sprint so she was 100% mine for saturday. Actually it was a joke and sorry if we annoyed you but we had a little wager as to who could throw up on Facebook the most during the other's race, I think it was a draw, but i tell you it sure was fun having her out there cheering. And she took some great pics. 

Race day dawned, my routine was put in place starting with food then muscle activation exercises (wait till you are older you will get this) and headed to the race. I was totally excited to be at a race with IM energy but about 1/5th of the race time. Sorta feel like i cheated getting done so fast. 

Race: Swim time! I had over 170 people in my wave. that is BIG for women 45-49. We were 7th and it was an ok time to start, i was lucky not too late. I mourned the loss of 40-44, they started 2nd wave!
I hung out with Ann who is lovely and in my AG, she is from MN too and I have always loved racing with her. It felt like an IM so i was happy to have a friend nearby. I lined up perfect and true to form my 200 yd pace is about my 1500 pace so i had to fight thru a sandwich but once i got to the bridge i was good. Found a few feet but then just kept my own line and felt really good. never tired, never had a hard time sighting. Came out 23:xx which was awesome. Maybe it was short but i was happy with it.

T1 time ! I had really worked to get my T's in order, which meant practicing taking my wetsuit on and off. Long legged folks dont get the luxury of the timing chip under the leg bc our suits come mid calf. So no matter how much glide you put on, that is an obstacle. My Right arm got stuck again. No watch not sure why, but that was a pain too. But in comparing to others i seemed low/faster so no complaints. Gretta and i rolled out. 

Bike time! I was super excited to bike this. I had been biking strong and it was a great course for me. Much to my delight it wasnt as flat as they said, it had some nice gradual longer " inclines" ( I wont call a freeway a hill) and i loved it. I have been nailing my nutrition and today, being sorta warm and not wet and freezing allowed me to really dial the gels and fluids in. When we turned around we had completed more than half the course and as I headed back into town I was sorta sad i was almost done. 
The course WAS crowded but maybe bc i had a 7th wave behind mostly older athletes ( well and the 40-44 M and W) i was pretty ok passing people and moving right along. The Motos were out and from what i heard they were actively penalizing. You know my thoughts on drafting or blocking. Its hard to avoid but i can be done if you slow down or speed up. Bike time 1:07:xx

T2 time! I had that one down fast! In and out burger and off i went, gel in hand.

Run time! I dont race with a Garmin so i just figured it was going to go like this...mile 1, dont think get your legs, if you feel great then move it bc you didnt bike fast enough. Mile 2, keep on moving but start to think about how much you can up the gears. Mile 3, ok now you are starting to get to the critical time in the race where you gotta go if you are going to go.  a TIMEX man passed me and i did my best to stay with him. He was moving and i just stayed on his heels and then he got about 10 feet ahead of me and that was fine. I stuck to him, started passing more people and at mile 4, we turned back. Aha there was some wind, now it heated up but there was no wind. I put my head down, couldnt really see who i was passing bc alot of the ink is off the legs and i just kept moving. I swear i didnt see anyone in my AG, I must have passed someone around mile 5 but i dont remember it. Mile 5 came and it was all cylinders firing. The one thing i remember was that i kept thinking through the entire run " THIS IS SO AWESOME. I AM NOT INJURED AND I AM RUNNING FAST!" That kept going thru my head. I only had my fitness holding me back and having not run a 10k in  ???? I was darn happy with how this was going. 
As i hit the carpet I didnt look back i just kept kicking it in. I just wanted to know if i had to put it into 
"drop shot" chasing mode or not, and I didnt. 
Final run 43:xx just over 7's.

Final placement, 6th AG, top 100 OA women.

In hindsight i laughed bc i did what my plan was :
Swim as hard as you can
Bike like you stole it
Run like you are being chased.
Funny is that rich's friend called me friday to wish me good luck, his advice was the same but his swim advice was " dont sink." good one Kyle.

Here are some random photos: In no real order. 
Lovely Helen from MN My tennis buddy and a great triathlete! 

woohoo i am speeding on the freeway! 

Finishing shot

Sarah and I goofing around post race at whole foods 

Sprint day, my day to help Sarah! Molly and Melissa both from Boulder, CO

MAGGS!!! i finally met MAGGS! 

Me and Maggs hanging 

And need i say more. This  cracked" us up more times than i can tell you. 

So overall? Totally a great time. Lots of good racing and While i wished i had done the sprint as well my body knows better. I am the first to say I dont want to get greedy. When things are working its easy to want more. And I have met my goals 110% this summer. Not time to reflect on the entire season but I am hoping to race a few more times. Going to do a memorial ride for Rich and hopefully get in some good fall runs and rides. Next year? well its looking like Ironman. But still jury out on which one.
thanks for reading and for all your cheers and love. XOXO

Friday, August 02, 2013

An impromptu race and "who ordered september in early augsust ?"

Howdy. Ok short race report first, because well, it was a sprint afterall. But like many races there are versions of sprints. My question is why is the swim ALWAYS SO SHORT? I know the answer, dont answer that. But this race had a 22 mile bike ( which due to construction was 23) so that was money for OLY prep. Race day at 345 was not pleasant bc it was cold and dark and no sign of sun. When the race announcer said the lake water as a full 20+ deg warmer than the air you can guess that i was ok with wetsuit legal and being cozy in my suit. Since it was the sprint, shared with Chisago Half Iron, we went off after the Half distance racers, So some standing around. In the Elite wave i was sorta wimpy, with guys i just never know who is going to clock me even if they arent swimming too fast. Got around the buoy fine, and viola my 7 minutes of warm were OVER. Time to get moving. So much for a gap, not much. I did find that my LEFT arm was having nothing doing with getting out into that cold air. I m not sure what was the hold up but i dropped my cap ( didnt know if the USAT officials would call abandonment of property so got that picked up) ahh, the transistion issues you can only hope for. 

Once riding It took me a good 15 miles to feel like i had some rhythm. I had a horrible lower GI cramps, and i have had this before TTing but not recently. I suspect its bc i am working hard and my Gut isnt getting as much love ( blood) as it would like. IT subsided but i had to soft pedal a few times and who knows, maybe just being cold. Once i thought i could take my gel i did, and that is rocket fuel in the engine and i was good. 

I dont usually mention issues or other rider's issues, but I just cant not write that when people are drafting I just have a very hard time not letting them know they are cheaters. I know that I cant control anyone elses race but my own but come. on. Its pretty obvious when someone is working hard to stay on a wheel and when i am busting my tail to get past another rider and to see you sitting on said rider's wheel then hop to mine? That is all i said. But the moto did come thru a few times and i should have kept my mouth shut bc maybe she would have gotten a penalty.  I even heard a good racer in T2 saying " Well you have to join in otherwise they will get ahead of you." no, that is wrong. 

So besides my rants, well that made me go faster for sure and i did come into T2 ahead of said girl (s) actually two of them, and out ran one and the other who is new to the sport and like 13 yo, kidding, she isnt, maybe 21?  but she is a great athlete and i hope she learns the rules someday. 

 Good pic with at team TT going on in the background.
So getting my shoes on in T2 was funny, I thought my liners were rolled up bc of the cold feet. Couldnt feel em and almost fell over. So the first mile was "meh," didnt have much spark. Ran down one or two women and then pretty much just coasted into the finish and nabbed 5th OA that then became 6th and an AG win by 3-4 minutes. I never take an AG win for granted and I will take any top 10 finish in a race like this when there is prize money and the winners are such fine athletes. So despite my " you all need to go to bike school" I was happy with this and the effort. Showed me a few things to work on for nationals andI was really proud i got out of bed on a cold fall morning. Wait its end of July.

So that plays nicely into my " why is it so cold?" talk. Cant say that i am happy about it, but at least its good running weather, and while i dearly long for a few more days weeks of 80-90 degrees maybe this will carry on thru september and we will have a mild lovely fall.

Nationals is next weekend and I may or may not post about that. I am super excited to do a full OLY bc Lifetime was shortened, and i am excited to see if i can laydown a good race on such a flat and crowded course. I am confident in my bike handling skills i just hope that others dont pull any bonehead crazy bike tactics and crash into me, or anyone! Weather looks awesome that weekend, but a bit chilly. You knew i would say that. But last weekend proved i can race in cold temps as well as warm so bring it on.

Mostly I am excited to see some friends ( Molly, SARAH!) and to meet some new ones ( MAGGS!) and have a good clean race. Lets hope the women 45-49 are a pleasant group! At least in the water!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

What Works For Me

I have been thinking lately about what works for me. This is a pretty broad topic obviously but i mean in the big picture of triathlon, training, lifestyle and most importantly HEALTH. I think it's very easy to get lost in the training/racing/image and forget that it should be about our overall physical and mental health. If something I am doing is "hurting me"( and i dont mean a sore hamstring, etc) I need to check back and adapt my lifestyle.

One example i have is when i got Melanoma. My lifestyle of staying in the sun from 9-2pm had to change.  I had to be suspect of suntans and wear my sunscreen. When my Iron has been low, I have to realize that when I work out harder I need to eat more red meat. When my family says they appreciate me being with them and not running out to train, I listen and remember that my family is more important to me than any training piece that day. When my husband was dying I really really thought alot about what sports and my lifestyle meant to me, and this year, my first summer without Rich I have a few thoughts i wanted to share.

So What works for me at 47 yo. Believe it or not I still feel I can get faster.

1) NOT doing Ironman every year. Dang that's a tough one to swallow. I think if i lived in a warmer climate maybe i could, but living in MN, and at my age i think its hard enough for women over 35 yo ( sorry that is young i know but its true) to keep muscle. IM training is very catabolic. We are slowing down as is, so even tho it hurts in a different way, doing short and fast has been something I think i will keep doing. Ouch i know.

2) Strength and PT specific pre-hab. Note i didnt say Cross Fit or Boot Camp or TRX or p 90x or...
Go ahead and do that, but for me? I know where my weakness is and I know what works for me. What i do is VERY VERY non glamorous. Oh boy is is not glamorous. But i do it 3 x week for 30-40 minutes and I do it till i fatigue. I know i am fatigued when my glutes are sore in the morning, but they arent a "OMG i cant run sore, " just a " yup those guys are working," sore. I used to just do thru the stuff and go " check, check, check.." now i go thru it and keep it going till i know i have fatigued.
Trust me ALOT easier when i am not riding 100 miles and running 20. It was really hard to do the strength on top of the IM training. That being said i think that is when we need it. FORM falls apart in long distance. Racing short makes your muscles work differently, not saying you dont need it for short distance, you do, but for Long Course i think the strength is even more critical.

3) Rest/Recovery/Sleep. This summer i have had some things personally that have made my sleep less restful. We all know our sleep needs. And we all have reasons we may not sleep soundly, kids being one of them. I Find naps to be super helpful even for 30 minutes. I know not everyone can sleep 8hours a night, but maybe skipping an early workout is ok once in a while to sleep in.

4) Trusting the Plan and the Coach. I have learned the hard way that its just a plan. Sometimes the body doesnt want to bounce back as fast as my head does after a race. My coach reminds me that its just a plan, its not the bible and its not set in stone. I do trust my coach and If I didnt I would be in deep doo-doo. I would overtrain and I would push the envelope a bit more. Jen keeps me honest with myself bc I dont think I am 47.

5) More bodywork. In addition to PT visits 1x month ( give or take) for strength updates I see alot of people to help keep my body moving. Some of you may roll your eyes and say " that sounds lovely" but trust me, its not all fun and I dont look at it as a luxury ONE single bit. I am able to do the massage bc i have a membership and its reasonable.I also see a Rolfer who consistently unwinds my Rt Lumbar muscles and gets my body all connected so im not being rotated or torqued right.  My DC puts my first rib back where it belongs and moves my lax ( loose) left shoudler joint back where it should be, Then we talk for 10 minutes about biking. The Docs at Spine and Sport ( DC as well) do the deep work and ART that hurts alot but has kept my Left Hamstring and my Fascia all loose. There isnt too much rhymre or reason to when i get all this stuff done, Ideally I see someone every other week and often its weekly. ( not all of them, but one of them) knowing how bodies work, and injury usually doesnt just HAPPEN unless its acute and trauma. Overuse injuries creep up on us, so I try to stay ahead of it.
And yes you guys in your 20's and 30's, just wait:) You will see.

6) Nutrition. This is where i tell you i follow a regimented Gluten Free and No sugar diet.


You know I respect anyone that has to do that. I m glad you know your body. For me I dont put a heck of a lot of time or thought into what i eat as long as its not making me sick. I eat well.I eat a variety of things and I try to eat frequently and not alot of processed stuff. But last week i had wine and beer the week before Lifetime. I had candy bars. I just think moderation is the key. I am way over the " I did this amount of exercise so i can eat this..." mindset. Half the time after a race esp a longer race i am so sick of sugar all I want is a burger and a beer. At onepoint this summer i had food poisoning. Spinach and Beets were the cause. So honestly I have been eating lighther greens and havent had raw spinach in weeks. Very sad bc I was eating that ALOT, but I can eat kale. Cooked:)

7) Lastly and most important in the WHAT WORKS post is faith in myself. This sorta taps into what Hunter Kemper talked about ( still owe you a post on that) as he talked about all the injuries he had, one question we had was how he kept so positive? I know deep down inside that any race i do I am going to lay it out on the line, I am going to take chances and go for it. The worst case is I fail and I get passed or I dont do what i thought i was capable of. Or someone else has a great day! I have no control over that.
What I do have control over is that no matter if i win, lose or DNF, or DNS ( boo!) is that I am solid in who i am. If I go into a room full of friends or family  I tell ya most of them dont really care how i did. They ask, they support or they say " oh bummer," and then the topic moves on. Strip away any suntan, any PR, and race win and what I have left with I am pretty happpy with.

Rich used to remind me that he loved me for who I was and I was perfect just as God made me. This stuff is all fluff. Whether or not you believe in God, we are all equal in God's eyes and so at the end of the day, win or lose, epic training or simple 20 minute walk, we can all be thankful for what we can do and the chance to do it without a facebook post or a shout of glory as you cross a finish line. Its funny. I dont do this stuff for the accolades. Dont think I dont like them, I mean we all love doing well and if you are a competitive athlete its sorta just in you. But at the end of the day we choose how we let it affect us, and we all know that as quickly as you are on the top, many others will be a top soon as well.

Keep your head on straight and enjoy the ride.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Mpls Tri-Lifetime Fitness Triathlon aka "Let it Rain Let it Rain."

 What a long day! First off I am so thankful we got to even race. Another race was totally cancelled bc we got so much rain ( 5 in ) and the lightening and thunder was ongoing. It would NOT let up!

I got up at 330 am, when the storm started. Ate and got moving to the race site to park. With 2300 athletes btwn the OLY and the Sprint it would be a busy parking area in the neighborhoods around Lake Nokomis. Got parked around 445 and waited. and waited. and waited. The rain continued and the lightening and thunder were ongoing. The Lifetime group did a great job communicating " STAY IN YOUR CARs" till the storm passes yet it didnt seem like the storm would pass.

Transition was to close at 645, Pros at 7 and my wave the Elite Master wave was going off with the Elites and was at 716. I think i got into Transition around 645, and obvously it didnt close! It was ongoing rain and at least the thunder seemed to stop. We had a few updates from race officials and at 745 am we got the final word that we would be starting the race at 9 am. UGH. Pros would go off and do two loops then we would go off in a TT start, no more waves for the elite, which was fine actually just get us moving. The big change was that bc of the flooding we would all be doing the Sprint Course. I had "HOPED" that we would get to do the OLY swim and OLY run but no luck. It was a full on sprint and honestly it was the best decision to keep us all together and to get the race safely underway.

It was actually fun. To hang out with some fellow racers, do a warm up run ( I wore my kiwami skinsuit to warm up!) and get to know a few of my fellow rack-ees ( those who racked near me) a bit better. Right before we started we sorta all said "oh dang that was fun, girlfriend time." :)

Race was not wetsuit legal which was GREAT. I just wore my kiwami race suit and prayed for a good swim. We went off in 2 sec intervals with another racer. Very well done. I think i covered the 400 M in 6:55, which was decent. Sorta funny it was so wavey that we all were getting thrown around. The storm had kicked up a wave pool. I was super thankful i had not worn my wetsuit at all in the last 2 open water swims. Sure makes a difference. I felt great, just hard to see where i was going but cleared the water fast and got moving.

Here I am looking like i am trying to get my move on thru the LONG transitions! I looked at how slow we all were but that is bc they moved a few things around to make it fair, bc they had to change the bike course ( extended the sprint) to avoid flooding.

So onto the bike. The roads we were to ride on were the better of the course, which honestly i was thankful that we didnt have to ride the backside by harriet bc they are rough and with standing water it would have been really really hard and dangerous. The night prior I had a broken cable on my bike so I had to make an emergeceny stop back at the Expo where Kevin, the great owner of my sponsor GEAR WEST BIKE AND TRI, helped me out. What a nice guy. He said " this is easy!" and i was in and out in a flash. I had been told by none other than Hunter Kemper, ( I want to blog on him tmmrw!) to lower the pressure in my wheels if wet. I Was really glad i had. I heard Hunter talk at a Sports Medicine Conference the day prior to the race. He really made my day, what a great positive guy, a great family man and a great athlete as well. More on the adversity he has faced later. Anyways.....

Bike was GREAT. UNtil i heard this "flapflapflapflap" about 4 miles into the ride. I thought i had a flat. Then it just sounded like something was hitting my back wheel. Well i slowed and didnt fully stop but I wasnt flat and i didnt see anything on my disc so i thought " as loud as this is I am moving on!" And then it stopped. It must have been my number form the seat post, it was so wet that the number had gotten so wet it fell off. I also realized the cover i have on my disc valve was gone, that little hole, you know if you have a disc what i mean. So btwn the two of those it surely didnt cost me too much time but i had to get it back up to speed pretty fast or lose the girls i was hunting down. Ended up riding legally with 2 girls i know, we took turns taking over the front( again legally as the moto went by us as well) and anotehr girl was dangling off the back never taking the lead so...?? anyways. I just rode my race she did whatever she thought she had to do to hold on i guess.

We all came in together and ran out together other than danging girl on the back who was from New York, and later i learned was 47, so phew on that that we dropped her like a hot potato on the run. 

Ran out with Two girls and we pretty much ran the entire time together. Sorta fun actually and i was breathing SO LOUD I decided I had better pipe down since i know heavy breathing isnt really a sign that you can GO if one of them goes! :) But suddenly around mile 2 I sorta started to pull ahead. I didnt really mean to pull ahead i just sorta did, and maybe they slowed down but as we got about 1/2 mile from the finish i realized i was alone. Not by much but enough that I "thought" I could just keep it going and not have to sprint anyone at the finish. I am 100% ready to do that but for the sake of recovery I would rather not! 

So as I got closer and more familiar with where i was on the lake and closing in on the finish i just picked it up, and heard people cheering and cowbells a ringing and turned around quickly to be sure there wasnt a stealth non heavybreathing kid in my shadow. There wasnt and I just got on home. And felt really Ill afterwards:) The timing of the race sorta messed with fueling. But as you can tell the gel for my run is sitting in my top. There was NO Way i could swallow that during a 5k, and it was a good thing I didnt take one thing on that run bc coming out of T2 I had a sidestitch. Shut it down, nothing going in for 20 minutes and it worked. 

Ended up 1st Master Elite, 6th OA i got beat by like 6 seconds by a 16 yo. Ha, that is funny. Last weekend it was a 22 yo, they keep getting younger! The reason we arent near each other is that we TT started the swim:) I Also realized the girls i was running with started the swim about 6-8 seconds ahead of me, so i realized when i was running at mile 2 that i need to just stay close and that if worse came to worse finish with them. 

What a day. The post race food was sorrounded by a mud pit, getting my award i had to take my shoes off, and the shower i took after the race was pretty full of mud and dirt. Im really amazed we got to race!

I am super thankful for the chance to race every single time i do it. And thankful for people like Cathy and Liv to push me. Liv and I talked about that after how if done legally riding together ( she and I exchanged legal riding pulls at Waconia as well.) is really awesome bc you just make each other go faster. And you know what I mean with LEGAL exchanges of the lead, no drafting in my playbook.

Not wishing for a sprint yesterday, but I never think getting some extra speed work is a bad thing. I wanted an OLY to practice for nationals but at the same time other than the swim, the bike was SOLID 17 miles and i blew my watts out the sky roof, run too, was great, much faster than i expected. So all good.

Makes me wonder why i think i want to do IM next year:) I am really loving the short and fast right now!

Thanks for reading and I do want to blog about Hunter Kemper, he just really had some great take home's that Id like to share! Have a good week!

Monday, July 01, 2013

Lake Waconia Race Report aka remembering how to suffer!

My directions from Jen for this race were pretty funny. One said " turn yourself inside out" the other was " smile and enjoy yourself. " Hmm. Lets see how those two meet in the middle. I think that the later was had after the race was over, tho the picture here shows I wasnt going to be a focused cranky old lady the entire race: Yes we get to swim in nice lakes when we get outside the metro! I feel very lucky just sad when the season is SO. SHORT. #notfair

So, without further chit chat about the unfairness of now 2 months of summer...race report.

I had a bad week. I think i had food poisoning or a bad case of the nerves or i had the stress outs  ie LIFE stressouts. I didnt feel good and my diet was not sticking to my ribs as i hoped. Lets just say that i was debating how much immodium i may be taking race morning. I have cut out Dairy and Whey and it "seems" to be helping. This is a HUGE BUMMER in that i have been having Whey in the AM EVERY day now for over a year. hmm. Not totally convinced but lets just say I have been better without it. So that had a mind game going on me that week as i just felt FLAT all week. Sleeping alot more, bad GI, and so my real honest plan for this race was to give it what I had. And i did. 

Swim: Lined up with the elite men and women. I didnt get clocked like i usually do maybe bc i let David and Kevin and Steph go ahead. Steph comes back to haunt me about 5 seconds from the finish. Oh well. I Swam well, sighted well and came out with two women in my AG and decided i needed to ride like i stole it. So after i smiled for the camera i did just that. 

Bike: Rode hard, its a rolling course, we had SOME wind but not enough to really feel like i rocked me and usually with that deep a front wheel it will move me around over 12 mph so i guess it was less than 12. Not hot at all, actually i was shivering in the water before we started. Water temp was 75 and air was 60. Where was my humidity?! 

I got passed around mile 5 by a girl i had just met. I diecided this was good, and Sarah a girl who is in my AG and raeally strong was about 400 feet ahead i could see her the entire time. So as i played cat and mouse legally with this girl by mile 10 i was closing in on Sarah. Finally after i took my nice lovely Gel I had rocket fuel and i was off to catch Sarah. Around mile 15 i was sad the bike was ending. I guess this is good for my next race that is 26 miles, todays was 20+. But i did think "uh oh, hope i have legs bc the run is NOT FLAT!"

Run: Despite using my running shoes many times, of course the insoles bunch up race day, never in T practice. So running out with both liners bunched up proved to be a good exercise in "ignore it." I didnt feel too sharp going out. I really had no idea who was ahead of me, but i did know that Sarah had snuck back to me at the end of the ride. So i knew she was lurking behind me. 

I just ran and at the mile 1 water stop a top cemetary hill ( yes its a hill and its a cemetary, fitting for how you feel) I heard "2nd woman." I was like " oh crap!" And then i made that feeling go out of my head and thought " ok, now you have 4 miles to run and you have to make this count." I started the rollers into town and made sure to try to take another gel which was not welcome. Thank you for trying but no thanks. I had about 1/3 of it and grabbed water to get rid of the sticky mouth. As we turned at mile 2 ( out and back, darn!) i saw the train of women behind me. One was REALLY CLOSE. But the one i knew was the threat was Steph:) D 1 Swimmer and runner. Fast girl. Anyways I just ran i didnt look back bc i knew i couldnt go any faster than i was going. In the final stretch where you go DOWN cemetary hill ( yes thank you my quad is quite unhappy today with that muscle breakdown) you also get to rise up again before the finish and just before the chute two peeople said to me " GO. YOU HAVE TO GO NOW." well....when a leg with 23 F runs by you and you do the math you think to yourself " well played, good run!" and not much else. I had nothing to grab her and nothing to get another kick, just hoped nobody was with her. 

Photo thanks to Nick Morales ( tri juice) and Terrence Lee who was working so hard to sprint for me in this last one! Terry's wife Cathy is a super triathlete too and i had to wonder where she was, she flatted which is a bummer but then she ran her new baby up the hills with the jogger and finished with a good wkrout for sure. 

So. I was 3rd OA! Yay me! I was super pumped bc i was happy with how i executed the race, took chances and also turned myself inside out. And i did smile. So mission accomplished. 

Tom also raced and he did great, would have won his AG but he raced elite so i think he is bummed not to get a beer mug. I have three now so I sure cant drink 3 beers at once and happily offered him one of mine :) 

Here is the winner, Suzie, Me, and Steph cooling down. 

So, what is the take home? The take home is that some girl was in the AG and actually beat both me and Steph. Sorta stinks but i guess she is pretty new, she is a good athlete and we have talked about her entering Elite, and hopefully now she will. But that sorta was a bummer, for me, not for her! This was a BOUS race. And I was one off the podium for that but in all honesty? I had such a great time in CALIFORNIA in October 2010. I loved it. I would be honored to get a pass down but likely would let someone younger and new take it. I cant top Orange County in October with a trip to La Jolla after with Rich. ITs a good memory and i may leave it as that.

Rich did race with me. He comes with me in some form, often a prayer card, and in this case it was on my number:

Next up is the cabin, lake superior, family time, Dairy Queen ( haha, lets test that Lactose thing) and then a few more tune ups before Lifetime Fitness. I sorta feel like I need some more rest. I have loved the speed but i also feel like i am more beat up than IM even makes me, its a different beat up. Still feeling like I want more IM in 2014 just deciding which one ( yes i know you already heard that) but now i am narrowed to IM Canada ( Whistler) or IM MT or Wisconsin. I sorta feel there is unfinished business in Madison. But that is a blog in and of itself. But here is a teaser 2011 "newbie, no clue what i am doing and my nutrition was messed." 2012 "rich died about 2 weeks later,not my strongest 11+ hours" 2014 "Settle up."

Happy summer y'all.....

Friday, June 21, 2013

And in other news.....

Well I did my first TT in a LONG TIME. I guess i did one this spring but i hardly call that real bc it was like 45 mph winds so it was more an exercise in staying upright and bike handling, not that you cant still work hard. 

Back before I knew my friend Tri. A. Thlon I did this series, its about 8 races and its every other tuesday. Back then the traffic was just horrendous but now getting to the western burbs after 4pm is utterly annoying. So i am not so unhappy to not be doing all of these. ITs safe the roads are wide the traffic is still there but for the most part unless you pull a total bonehead move you are safe. 

I wasnt going to post a full size pic but why not,. Its my blog. I surely look like i am working hard and most likely to be sure i am fully aero i need to lift my head so that aero tail is on my back not pointing upwards. Then i had a run with some fast stuff in it, then i didnt get home till late and as you can guess slept Brilliantly horribly! Well then i got up and went to the lake, on the clear other side of town. AS much as i groan and was tired, this is the sort of thing I LOOK FORWARD to all winter. ITs here and its then gone. June is almost over and i swear i am doing more TTs even if i dont sleep after and if i have to get up at 5 to get to the lake, bc it all ends too fast when you live in this crazy state. 

So how was my time? IT was ok. My power numbers were good, and i am pleased with how i am biking even tho my biker friends do this stuff every day I am still really happy with my power numbers and that i can still ride with them even though they do this every day, no swim no run. I just really enjoy riding my bike hard! no matter where i end up. So much of it is weather and knowing the course and choosing the best gears!

Well we had two days with out rain that was really nice. Now we are in the rain cycle again, but at least its above 60 so no complaints. I just know that if we could get out of the 80's and into the 90's its too hot for much bad weather unless a front comes in so i hope we can get a few days of 90 just because we deserve it. My pool is behaving for the most part. I am having a little party tmmrw night mostly for the kids, and despite the tornadic winds we have had ( and more coming) i think its salvageable. All the rain makes the pool more alkaline so i am feeding it all sorts of good things ( read chemicals)  to make the water better. ITs like my Pet. I need to name it... any suggestions for my PET Pool? I take good care of it most the time! I like  " PET POOL! "

So what else is going on? I am really enjoying the shorter training, tho i told JH Today that I was tired! I havent been sleeping well due to a shift in my personal life, more on that later. But I also know that all the short and hard stuff is SO DIFFERENT from IM Training. I played tennis and basketball and I also did an immense season of BOUS training and i did get fast! So i know i can do it and its just a matter of remembering how to suffer the entire race, I was at the track yesterday and after 2 intervals ( 8x 800) I hurt so bad i was thinking had to stop. But i realized that the digging deep not just cardivascularly was what i needed to be able to run a 5k or 10k in a shorter race. So I soldiered on and no i didnt have a miracle and feel better at the end, i felt worse, but i finished it up and wasnt totally off my goal times.
And today i can walk and i am so thankful every single day to be healthy and do this crazy sport!

As for 2014, crazy that I am already shopping for next year. Lots of plans for an IM, just not sure if i want to step off the reservation and try something other than IMMOO. I know i have to act fast when those signups open so that is why i bring it up. I know Boulder has a new one ( meh, not really interested in Boulder sorry my pals that live there) looking more at IMLP, MONT T, WISC or AZ.
Still throwing it around!

Hope you are all enjoying summer finally! Thanks for reading.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Liberty Half Iron Distance Race Report

My overwelming thought during this race was " I am bored. " NOW that may seem arrogant and silly, and mocking the distance that i actually do like. But having not done this distance since last May ( 2012) at St Croix, USVI and on the doorstep of my hamstring injury that prevented me from racing until Ironman Wisconsin and more pertinently, on the doorstep of Rich's death.....I felt a bit OUT OF IT......

I wanted to wait for pictures to do this RR, but heck, who knows when and if those will appear. They maybe as elusive as the USAT officicals i saw eating hotdogs in the post race area, and well, i saw one on her bike in the run. But why is the race USAT if there are no officials visisible on the bike course. Just wondering.

So my taper week was hard. I dont usually have an issue with taper, the more the better. Rest is good. Food is good. I dont often feel Like I NEED TO DO MORE. It is what it is. But this time it felt alot worse. The weather had a HUGE part of that, and the anticcipation of a cold swim and a cold bike,etc had me anxious. Not to mention that i swam OW on WED and my Legs post swim had such bad shivering that i actually spasmed in my Quad and it was very present even friday. The weather here has been awful. I mean 50 and rain, no sun for over a week, and just dreary. So its been bad. Chicago feels my pain, the rest of you just ignore me.

So saturday came and I packed up to get out there by 5:45, The race had an OLY distance too and I was amazed how i felt on the ride espec, thinking " WHAT am i doing this distance for???" Anyways on to the race.

Swim: I got sucker punched in the nose by a dude that had to have had the worst shoulder ROM ever. He wasnt even able to reach, i literally sat up in thewater as his poor tight shoulders went on to beat up a few more faces. I have never been hit so squarely in the nose. It hurt and i saw stars. All i could think was that despite it causing me a bit of " shock " and slower to start that if it was bleeding that the cold water would be good for it. Moving on i got behind another dude that was playing zig zag swim. So my effort to find feet was futile, as the fast elite swimmers all went ahead and i was in the middle in front of the" not as fast as me " elite wave. When a few guys from a wave behind us came thru i did jump on them. they were fast and fluid and swimming straight. Horray. REally people, learn how to sight and learn how to not punch people.  Time was 33:xx not great but not terrible considering all the water temp anxiiety. I think it was about 62. Fine.

T1; Fine, still need to work on the wetsuit removal. Its just hard, and i seem to have a hard time in tall grass too. Oh well. Lots of stairs up but i was out and on my way. I Also made the decision to put on a jersey, and i dropped all the fuel out of the back pockets when i put it on. More time getting that out of the grass. La dee dah.

Bike: Now as " warm" as the swim was, recall the shiver affect in water that was about 4 deg colder earlier in the week. LUCKY for me the sun was out but it was still chilly and well, my legs arent too sturdy so they were cold. I felt like my legs hips everything HURT the first 10 miles. I kept swearing at Jen " Be patient, be patient, be patient...why am i doing this distance again?" I stuck to my fuel plan,  a new one, that i am not totally sold on yet ( more on that someday) but i did it bc its the plan and you have to think that up front on the bike you may not feel great. Of course i didnt remember this bc it hadbeen a year since i did this distance.
I had to really put out of my head that i was not doing well. I was getting passed right and left, but i stuck to my watts assignment and my fuel plan and kept saying " be patient, be patient." Not sure but i suppose that helped. Around mile 25 my legs started to feel better. I got a bit less focused on how bored i was, and started to think that i was doing the bike just fine. I often have this angst about not being a stronger biker. But it is what it is, and the fact that i was at the high end of my watt range was good. I was doing fine. I was doing my fuel right but i had a tummy ache. Sorta not what i wanted. But i did get stronger as the bike went on and luckily we had a tail wind, so that may have helped the last 10 miles. 2:43 ( oh and a nice little detour thru a neighborhood took some time but it also was a nice respite for the legs!) this area is hilly, rollers, nothing is flat but it wasnt like DairyLand Dare hilly by any means.

T2; Fine. Said stomach issue put me into the porta potty briefly but all was ok, but still another 30-45 sec  ineed to figure out. IT was colder so i didnt finish all the bottles i had, i also am not as easy to pee on my bike as some of you, so I sometimes just figure its not hot i am not dehydrated it will all work out. and it did.

I figured i had about 500-600  Kcals in gel/bar/blocks on the bike ( 100 before the swim) and then I dont know the Kcals in the Perform but two 20 oz bottles, and  honestly I couldnt have taken more.

Run: I had no clue on the course, etc other than paths. IT was very rolling LONG LONG gradual downhills and some more steep uphills and since it was out and back you knew wha twould greet you the last 3 miles. Ouch. I kept to my plan of starting out around 7:20's but i also knew that once i hit mile 3 and the rollers started that i wasnt even going to LOOk at my watch. Why look at the Garmin? I knew how i could run and i knew that it would just distract me. So i looked at it when i finished, that is it. I nailed the HR and i know that i couldnt have run any harder ( well now, I do think i could have run harder to start but i was feeling bored again from mile 1-6 so i just ran) i did what i did at The half mary in March once i hit mile 7 i started to focus game face on and i just ran.

I geled on schedule, cant stand HEED and just was thanful for the cooler temps and not needing more than water. I had a 2nd gel i choked down around mile 9 and that WAS IT. Full on GI YUK. I could barely drink anything when i finished. At mile 9 i just really started to hit it home. The pace may not have changed and again it was uphill alot but i was passing back some of the kids ( young) that passed me on the bike. Tough thing is that some of the more competitive women arent starting Elite. Not sure why. But you are in a sprint with them when you see the results. ITs hard to race when you dont race head to head. But such is their choice.

I finished in 1:36, course was short but that is ok, Everyone had a short course:)

total time was 4:56 xx and i got 5th OA and 1st Ag. Yay me.

Tom raced too and beat me by a few minutes, but i think he heard the pitter patter of my feet coming after him Had i had a few more miles!

And the Body report:) I am usually thrilled to death to do a race and  not have a body part to report to my PT that next day. ie " this hurt after mile X" or " I think i reinjured...xx" But man my calves are beat up. I cant even walk. Honestly I have never had calf issues EVER, and this spring i have already had one bout with mostly soleus issues, do tight i honestly cant walk, i look like a wooden solder. I am keeeping faith that its the cold water and the cooler temps. The shoes i wear are what i have worn for a few years but i am open to change. Saucony Cortana. I may be shopping for new shoes. Its a bit depressing to feel 100% recovered energy wise in 24 hours but be afraid to get out of bed and go downstairs. The only thing that hurt when running was my Braid digging into the side of my head from my visor. Next time i am wearing a hat:)


I will post pics if they ever are available. Congrats to everyone that raced this weekend. I am pretty sure next year is KANSAS or bust. Love that race and as much as its nice to be at home the mental game at home is sometimes harder for me.