Sunday, July 20, 2008

Jackson Hole and Yellowstone

Took a long weekend and went with the Porsche Club on a great tour of Jackson Hole and Yellowstone. Those Tetons are impressive! More details later, but here are some pics:

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Team in Training track practice tonight...what a workout.
1 mile walk warm-up
800m easy
1600m best effort (6:54!!! I beat the 7:00min mark by six whole seconds! woohoo!)
800m recovery (=walk)
1200m T
400m easy
800m I
400m easy
400m R (fast - I did a 1:34 which is great for me)
400m easy
plyos and core
800m easy cool down
that's almost 6 miles of stuff tonight!

Mars is not doing too much better on the prednisone, but I don't think he's any worse. He does seem a tad more stable on his hind legs, but probably no more than 10%. I've got a call into the CSU neurologist, as they said to call atfer 4-5days if no improvement is seen. He didn't call me back today, so I hope to hear from him tomorrow...

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Race Report - Cabbage Head Duathlon

Cabbage Head Duathlon (3 mi run - 30k bike 3 mi run)
Date: Saturday, July 12
Time: 8:00am
Location: Wiggins, CO (farm/ranch/middle-of-nowhere Colorado)

As this was just a 'fun' race, I dragged my butt out of bed at 4am and started on the 130mile drive to Wiggins. I packed up my stuff and showered the night before so I had minimal stuff to do in the morning. At about 4:40am I was on the road. I hit Wiggins at about 7:00am with only toll stops on E-470 and a much needed bathroom stop.

The morning was cool and breezy, with a little bit of cloud cover. Long sleeves were much needed before the race started to keep warm. But by race time after a warm-up, the tri top and shorts worked just fine.

I was in wave 4 with all non-elite women and for some reason a token male.

Run 1: 22:42. My GPS had this really as 2.94 miles, but that works out to be about 7:45ish pace. I was thinking of going 8:00min/mile but the 7:45 felt good. Hard but not extreme. It probably helped that the course was pancake flat (50ish feet of elevation change between lowest and highest point) and at 4500 feet elevtation, which may be lower enough from where I train (my house is at 6800 feet) for me to gain some benefit (more oxygen!) Coming into T1 I felt ready for the bike.

T1: 0:57. Not much to report. Transition area is pretty small so swapped shoes and put on my bike helmet and went!

Bike: 56:58 (~19mph). Again, pancake flat course with less than 100feet difference between high and low points. The kicker on this course was wind! There was a pretty strong wind coming out of the east to south east so those with more aerodynamic bikes had an advantage. This bike leg felt much better than the one at the du I did in May. My quads didn't feel as taed at the beginning. The flat course compared to Boulder might have something to do with it, but it is also later in the season and my legs are in better biking shape. I passed a few people (several mountain bikes) and a few guys on road bikes. Got passed early on by 2-3 ladies who must have been right behind me on the run. Coming into T2 a couple ladies passed me, but it didn't take long for me to pass them back on the run. I do feel I have a substantial amount of improvement I can make in my biking fitness. I fueled well on this leg. I drank mostly my HEED and then with about 15 minutes left of the bike I took a gel from my 'gel-bot.' That thing is great - for short races where you only need 1-2 gels, I can store them right in the water bottle. One stop fueling and no need to mess with gel packets.

T2: 00:49. Pretty simple here. Popped off the bike shoes and helmet, slipped on the running shoes and grabbed my hat and ran.

Run 2: 22:55. Not bad to be that close to the first run pace! It was definitely a harder run, but here is where you find whatever you have left. After that first mile, the legs felt very capable of running (much better than the lake to lake tri!). I passed a few people (mainly the older men who started in an earlier wave) and a few of the ladies who passed me at the very end of the bike course. The second half of the run is ever so slightly downhill, which made the final push into the finish line pretty strong.

Overall: 1:44:18. 2/16 in my age group, 26/78 women finishers (that includes the 7 or so elites). My take home prize was a cool Cabbage Head pint glass.

Post race breakfast was egg/potato burritos, which is actually a pretty decent post race recovery meal. After I cooled down, ate my food and got my award, I headed the 130 miles back home.

Later that night...
Drums Along the Rockies!
My friend had an extra ticket to the DCI competition so I had to go (she drove, thank goodness!) So back up to Denver (Invesco Field at Mile High) I went to watch about 8 drum and bugle corps perform. Some were the classic top corps like the Madison Scouts, Cavaliers, Phantom Regiment, Santa Clara Vanguard and the Blue Devils. My high school drum instructor was in the Blue Devils in the late 1980s. They are about a month out from the championships so though not perfect, the shows are coming along. It's been a long time since I've seen a marching band event and it brought back many fun memories. I didn't know that Denver had a corps (the Blue Knights) but they enjoyed their home territory. Even though it was a late night and a very long day, that was a fantastic evening. Almost all of the performing corps hit the entertainment button very well.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Quick Mars Update

Mars got an MRI on Thursday, which confirmed severe stenosis (shrinking of the channel surrounding the spinal cord) in C6 and C7 (bottom most vertebrae in his neck). It looks like it is pretty far along, which means they don't know if it is reversible or not. So for now we have him on a prednisone treatment for the next two weeks. If he starts to make improvements, then there is the chance that surgery may be an option. If the steriods don't do anything, well, then unfortunately I don't think there is much they can do. If the stenosis gets worse, then it will like lead to paralysis. The prednisone is already making him pee a lot. He used to be able to go quite long without having to go out, now he can't make it a few hours. Not so good on our carpet, but the carpet is pretty old and he went to the back room that was already stained from his digestive issue a week or so ago. Poor guy. I'll keep the updates coming.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Mars Update

Today Mars had an appointment with a neurologist (Dr. Cudden) at the Colorado State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital in Ft. Collins. Poor guy wasn't allowed to eat breakfast this morning in case they ran tests that needed him to fast. Since we didn't have to leave until 10:45 I thought it best to feed Juno or she'd be barking at me all morning. Mars sure looked confused when Juno got the food and he didn't. I then wanted to take her for a walk since she'd be home alone all day, so again, he trotted his wobbly trot to the door as I quickly got Juno out. He was still by the door when we got back. But, I think he felt a lot better when he got a 2+ hour car ride all by himself!

At the hopsital, two senior vet students Molly and Dana, did an initial exam. Then they returned with Dr. Cudden for a more complete neurological examination. Mars did a great job letting them bend and pull and hammer away (reflex tests) on him. The end result being that he is definitely neurologically abnormal and the symptoms indicated something in the mid to low neck region. This could be a compressed disc or something called wobbler syndrome, where the spinal cord gets compressed. Or it could be something else. The docs were concerned with his weight loss that has been taking place with no change to his eating habits. He was down to about 95 pounds today. This could potentially add cancer to the mix of problems.

What we decided to do was leave him there overnight so they could take chest and abdominal x-rays. This would let them know if there was anything suspicious away from his neck area. If those turn out clean (and they did- I got a call after I returned to the Springs) they will do an MRI. So we'll have to wait until tomorrow to really have a better idea of what is going on. He is in good hands at the hospital, but it will be really nice to know what has been causing Mars' issues. I'll post again tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Banana Split!

It's been a while since my last banana recipe and as it is mid-summer, I got to thinking of the....

BANANA SPLIT! What a delicious work of art! So here's a link to the wikipedia entry on banana splits for more that you could ever want to know about this classic american dessert!

ohhhh- I am hungry! Especially after tonight's track workout!
Here's what we did:
800m easy warm-up
800m T pace
400m easy
800m T pace
400m easy
800m I pace
400m easy
800m R pace
400m easy
plyometrics and core work
800m easy cool down

It was a great night for track - a storm had blown through about 30 minutes prior to the workout cooling things down perfectly!

Monday, July 07, 2008

Paint Pics!

TA-DA!! The walls are 'almond paste' with a 'smoke screen' and 'timeless taupe' stripe. the bathroom is smoke screen. I didn't get to the shower/toilet room, but will make those taupe. It was a lot of work, but I think it turned out very nice.
The walls are pretty high, so I spent quite a bit of time on the top of a ladder. I'm surprised I'm not more sore. Maybe the triathlon training is good for something else as well! Anyway, feel free to let me know what you think!

Friday, July 04, 2008

Project Paint - update!

Slowly but surely I am making progress on the bedroom. Yesterday I managed to get all the wallpaper borter off. The first couple feet were surely on the learning curve, but after that, I pretty much nailed the technique. I was using a diluted fabric softner solution - the trick was to first pull the pattern part off leaving the adhesive so that the solution could wet the adhesive, but to not use too much solution. A little spray follwed by a wipe down was all it needed to come off pretty cleanly with a 3" putty knife. The bits of paper did make quite the mess.

Now Happy 4th or July! To kick off the celebration this morning I went for a 34 mile bike ride in the black forest. Just gorgeous. The views of the front range were amazing. I'm so glad I am able to enjoy such sights. One of these time's I'm going to use a helmet cam on a ride to try to share some of the local landscapes!

Back to the project - my brother stopped by to help move the furniture to the middle of the room so I could get to all the walls. Lots of vacuuming up the paper bits from yesterday and all the dog hair that finds its way behind the furniture. A surprisingly quick trip to Lowe's on this project-packed weekend for many and I had my paint supplies. But no painting yet! I taped up all the trim in the room. By this time it was 3:30 so I needed to get ready for a 4th of July BBQ a coworker was having. The highlight of the BBQ - smoked pork shoulder - delicious! Hung out there for a while enjoying the evening then headed over to my brother's to hang out with him and his family for a little bit.

Tomorrow will be another busy day and I will finally get to paint! The morning will be filled with a TNT workout, a little yard work, and as much painting as possible. Hope to have some time in the afternoon to go to the pool with Elissa and little Joey. Time to wrap things up for the night. The dogs aren't happy with all the fireworks, but I think I've finally got them settled down.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Holiday Weekend Project

What do I do with my time now that I have four days off from work? I've decided to repaint our bedroom/master bath - which will be no small task. Let me just say that the room looks just like it did when we moved in almost 5(!) years ago. Yikes! So I will have the tasks of stripping the wallpaper borders, cleaning up the walls, and painting. If getting the wallpaper border off isn't hard enough. I went to Lowe's this evening and picked up way too many paint chips. Let's hope I picked "the right one's." I know it will suck up a lot of my weekend, but I'm really looking forward to finally having a cozy bedroom without pink flowers around the ceiling.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Track Practice

Phew! My IT band issues didn't bother me today at track! Here's the workout:

1600m walk warm up
800m easy
2000m T pace (~2:03/400m)
400m walk
2000m T pace
400m walk
plyometrics and core work
800m easy

I'm thinking I must have pushed it too hard on the first part of the bike on Saturday, causing some tightness in my muscles around the IT band. They were pretty sore for a couple days, but I've worked on loosening them up. I have a massage scheduled tomorrow which should work out any residual kinks!