Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Inactivity, Cereal Withdrawal and Metabolic Efficiency

My last post was my Denver marathon race report over 3 weeks ago. Since then I've been doing almost nothing. Some of that is by choice (rest/recovery from the race), some not so much (darn flu!). All this inactivity is really OK, as I'm in my "off season" or transition period. Not training, just some exercising and giving the mind and body a break from 9 months of solid structured training. Yes, I'll lose some fitness, but the recovery time is worth it. I know my overall fitness foundation is much improved over last year so I'm hoping to make some good gains this year.

The one thing to watch out for when in the recovery/transition period is eating too much. Throughout the training year I was training for long distance events (half-ironman triathlons, a marathon) which require increased carbohydrate intake and increased caloric intake over a sedentary lifestyle (I have a desk job). I trained at least 10-15 hours a week and could easily burn 1500-2000 calories during my weekend long run or brick. If I ate like that when I'm not doing anything, I'm sure I'd put on quite a bit of weight, and the last thing I want to do is have to work off several pounds when the training starts back up again. So what am I doing?

Well, I'm not on a diet. I'm indulging in some things that I stay away from during the training season - beer, chocolate, ice cream. My birthday was in October so I ate a lot of cake. mmmm. cake. Then there was the halloween candy...but really everything in moderation (except the cake - sorry! a weakness!)

I am monitoring my meals and making sure the majority of them are healthy with fruits, veggies and lean means. Today's breakfast was a homemade smoothie. Lunch was white chicken chili (leftovers from last night - I've posted the recipe below) with some cantalope.

Now I'm going to talk about metabolic efficiency. A few weeks back I took a webinar from Bob Seebohar, one of triathlon's premiere nutrition experts, on metabolic efficiency. In summary, as an endurance athlete I want my body to be efficient burning fat so when I'm racing I don't need to eat as much. This saves time in a race and also reduces the chance of GI distress. And to be honest, I've got plenty of fat on my frame to burn through. A nice summary of the webinar was posted by Matt McNamara.

Anyway, now is the time when I've got less going on in my day so I can work on structuring my meals and getting a healthy foundation, especially revolving around fruits, veggies and lean meats. Now let me state very clearly here - I am a carbo-holic. My mom used to call me starch mouth. I was the one who would eat all the dinner rolls at a restaurant before the meal. I love cereal. I could eat cereal for every meal. But during my off season these are extra carbs that right now I don't need. I needed help - some intervention. So I asked Bob what a good metabolic efficient breakfast would look like. And he responded on his blog with some recipes.

Breakfast for me will be the hardest to wean myself off of cereal and oatmeal, as I've been eating it almost everyday since I can remember. But I'm happy to announce that today is day #9 that I haven't had cereal or oatmeal for breakfast. (or lunch or dinner.) Yay me! I've been using his recipies (or slight modifications - the yogurt one transforms in a blender w/frozen berries to a delicious smoothie. As my training will pick up again in the next few weeks, I will now have a metabolically efficient meal foundation to get my body ready to be efficient for race season! And I'm really looking foward to Bob's book on metabolic efficiency that is coming out soon and there is word of a possible cookbook, too!

As a side note, to help with my dinner planning, I'm trying out a website called http://www.dinnerbeat.com/. I'm hoping it will help save time on the weekends when I shop and plan for the week. I've got plenty going on so knowing ahead of time what's for dinner will be great. And if I make extra, it leaves good leftovers for lunches.

Here's the recipe for the white chicken chili I made:
~5 chicken breasts
2 cans northern beans or navy beans (white beans)
1 can Garbonzo beans
2 4oz of diced green chilis
cumin (1-2 T)
chili powder (1-2 T)
salt (1-2 t)
pepper (1-2 t)
oregano (1-2 T)

spray crockpot w/non-stick spray
layer the chicken breasts on the bottom on the crockpot
empty the cans of beans and green chilis into the crockpot
add the spices (season to your liking - I didn't measure exactly)
stir the beans and spices leaving the chicken on the bottom.
Cook on low 8-10 hours.
When you get home from work you have a delicious protein and fiber rich meal. I'm sure you can throw in some veggies as well to modify the chili.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Respect for the Marathon Beast - Denver Marathon 2009 Race Report

Sunday, Oct 18th I experienced my very first marathon. I've run one half-marathon and a couple others as part of half-iron distance races, but this would be my first attempt at the full 26.2. I was part of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team In Training (TNT) team, so there was tons of support. Our Colorado Springs team was extra motivated, because one of our teammate's daughter was at the very end of her struggle with leukemia on race day. I was also running for my aunt, Amy, who has recently been diagnosed with a form of lymphoma.

Here's my recap of race weekend...
Saturday, after a really good night's sleep, I got all my things around for the weekend. I'd be staying the night in Denver so I had to make sure I had everything I needed for the race. My husband wanted my help to move some furniture around, but I let him do most of the heavy work. We were getting some new furniture delivered that afternoon so we had to make room. I was ready to go but he wanted to get rid of some boxes. He was apparently cutting them extra fast - hurrying for me - and accidentally sliced his leg through his jeans. OW!! I quickly became medic. Thank goodness it wasn't very deep or very bloody. It only took some peroxide and a few bandaids and he was good to go. That was it for the box cutting so I loaded up the car, said goodbye to him and Juno, and headed north.

I-25 is actually pretty scenic between the Springs and Denver, especially when the day provides sun, blue skies, and snow-capped peaks. The traffic flowed nicely and I was at the race expo in under an hour. First I must explain two things about me and city parking.... 1) I can't parallel park 2) I didn't have any quarters for the meters. But I found a meter I could pull straight into and it even had 17 minutes on it! I tossed in a nickel and the time increased by a few minutes so I put in a few more - enough to get about a half-hour of time. That should be plenty for me to get my packet and find a more long-term place to park. I quickly found the expo, got my race packet and the TNT tent. Anisa was there, a Denver resident, and she directed me to the underground parking garage at the Pavillion, just a couple blocks away that was close to our luncheon site as well. Found the garage, found a spot to park, and found the exit. Then I had to find my way back to the convention center. Walked in circles a few times around the construction until I ran into TNT mentor Kelly. She pointed me to the next block where I could head over. Phew. Walked back to the convention center and walked around a little bit. I even got some free salami! I will save that for after the race! Then Jaci and her husband showed up - Jaci's daughter is the one fighting leukemia. We didn't expect her to be there, but Kalila told them to come so they did. She was obviously very distraught so I walked her through packet pick-up and back to the team meeting location. They were certainly surrounded by a wonderful support team.

The team headed over as a group, all 60+ of us the three blocks to Maggiano's for our Inspiration Lunchoen. It was very inspiring, to say the least. First we get the red carpet treatment as we enter the restaurant, with TNT coaches, staff, and volunteers cheering extremely loudly as we walk in. Then we watch a slideshow of the reason we are running - pictures of all the people the team knows who have fought or are still fighting blood cancers. I was sitting at a table with Jaci and Brian, and you could see them wait in anticipation every time Kalila's picture would be about to come up. I can't imagine what they were feeling.

Then we celebrate the Team's fundraising accomplishments (over $119,000 for the LLS!) and eat our pasta lunch. I had the spaghetti with meatballs, and one did roll off the table and onto the floor (but not out the door). We heard from "Mascot Dave," a Team Hero who is dealing with leukemia. He's currently in remission after several different experimental treatments. He highlighted how important there is money going to research and he's still alive over 7 years after being diagnosed, when 5 years was more typical for his type of leukemia. A great character and we certainly appreciate the appreciation he showed us. While dessert was being served, we had a presentation from a guest speaker, Dave McGillivray, the marathon Race Director. Wow. I didn't know much about him prior to today, but he recapped his story and all he has done to raise money for causes or just give something positive to people in need. It seems that he truly enjoys giving back to others and pushing his own personal limits. "There are no mistakes, only lessons." This luncheon put us all in the right mindset for tomorrow's big race! After a few last-minute tips from the coaches, we took some group photos and headed on our way.

So my next challenge was to find how to get back into the garage to park my car. More circles around the construction and wandering into random stairwells and I finally found the entrance and then my car. Now I had to put my ticket in the machine so I would tell me how much I owed. Surprisingly, it was the voice of Stephen Hawking (how cool is that?!) telling me I owed $7 for parking. Next challenge - exit the parking garage and find the hotel, which is about 2 blocks away. I'll keep this part short, but it took me about 20 minutes to find the entrance to the hotel.

Valet parking only due to construction so I gave up my keys and went to check in. Got to the room and roomie Lauren was already there chilling out. Dumped out all my stuff and started to get things around for the morning. Around 6pm I was starting to get a little hungry and decided it was time for my pre-race dinner. I wasn't super hungry and didn't want to eat too much so I set off in search of a sandwich. A block or so away from the hotel I ran into Sam, a TNT triathlete who got injured but begged her doctor to let her walk the half (her original intention earlier this year was to run the full). Great that she was able to be out there! I then found the Hard Rock Cafe. I thought this was where I should eat, surely they will have a chicken sandwich. And surely they did! I sat at the bar since I was going solo. The bartender dude appreciated that I only was drinking water (though a beer sounded really good!) as I was racing. He had recently done the Georgetown to Idaho Springs half marathon. A grilled chicken sandwich, a couple glasses of water and a few french fries later (carbs and salt!) I was off to the gift shop. It is "Rocktober" at the HRC. to honor Melissa Etheridge's breast cancer awareness campaign they were selling these cool pink guitar pins. As I know several people who have dealt with breast cancer, I had to get one. 100% of net proceeds go to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

I walk the couple blocks back to the hotel and it is time to make all the plans - pack non-race stuff, organize race stuff, breakfast, etc. And what kind of fancy hotel (the Sheraton) does not have microwaves or refridgerators in the rooms??? At least there was a coffee maker for some hot water for my oatmeal. Roomie wasn't showering before the race (I like the warm water to help wake up the muscles) so we were good there. Watched the end of the South Carolina v. Alabama game and turned out the light. Not much later I was asleep - didn't even need the ipod to help relax me. Slept beautifully until about 3am - then I had to go to the bathroom but didn't want to get up so I just dozed until the alarm went off at 4:40am.

The morning went smoothly. Got ready. Decided not to wear the new pin as it was going to jingle so I put it on my bag. Went down to the lobby to check out, gave the concierge my bags and met up with the TNT crew. Jaci and Brian showed up but they didn't stay long. They got a call that Kalila was not doing well at all and might not make it until noon. So after a lot of hugs from the team, they headed out. A friend of Kalila's ran the half for Jaci in Kalila's honor. The troops were gathered and before heading to the race start we had a "Mission Moment" from a young leukemia survior, probably not much older than Kalila and was diagnosed a year or so ago. I think Jaci and Brian were still around for that so I can't begin to imagine how they were feeling with a young survior speaking and thanking us for saving her life while their daughter was in her final hours. An extremely emotional start to the race morning, but it certainly put a lot of things into perspective.

At the start, we all sign into the TNT tent. I drop my stuff at the tent instead of using the gear check. I take off my jacket and long pants, and put on the thin clear plastic poncho that Coach Mitch gave us. It works - and you're not wearing a garbage bag! Race number and cool attire completely visible. I work my way to the porta-potties and a lady with a camera says "strike a pose" so I give her a big smile. Takes about 15 mintues to get through the line and then I head over to the start. Crowded! It's about 6:45 now and I'm trying to loosen up and stay warm. Body heat from the corral was nice and the temp was about 50. It was going to hit the low 80's which was fine for me! Better than the 18 degrees I ran in last weekend! I found my way between the 3:50 and 4:00 pace groups. My original plan was to try and BQ with a 3:40, but with the strain in my hammy/calf the last few weeks, I opted that maybe a 4:00 would be more realistic. If could run a 2 hr half off a 56 mile bike I could do a 4 hr 26.2 without a swim or bike. But really, what do I know - this is my 1st marathon! Some chit-chat with the people around me and then it was time. It took about a minute to get to the start (chip-timed race) so I pressed start on my Garmin as I crossed the mat and I had officially started my first marathon.

Start slow. Take it easy. Get your legs warmed up nice and slow. I was taking in the vibe of running with so many people on the streets of Denver at sunrise. Beautiful feeling. I was taking it easy the first mile - my Garmin had me at 10:30 or so pace. first 3 miles were good - legs got warmed up and I was plenty comfy in my singlet and arm warmers. By mile 3 the 4:00 pace group was near me and the leader said "3 miles, right on pace." My Garmin had me at 2.7miles. OK - so don't believe the garmin today. Around this time Jon came running - he was shooting for a 2 hr or less half so for him hanging with the 4:00 group would be good. It seemed like Mr. 4hr balloons was running a tad fast so I let them get a little ahead. Then I started feeling good and picked up my pace. Craig caught up to me - he was hoping to do the half in about 1:50. I ran with him for a little bit - he was still wearing his plastic poncho after at least 4 miles! We wound around the streets of downtown Denver. Around 5.5 miles was the TNT cheer/aid station. Crazy people in purple and cowboy hats cheering and screaming. I remember pumping my arms - woohoo and yeehaw! Now we were at City Park. The sun was high enough it was blinding heading east. Sunglasses came off my hat and onto my eyes. At mile 6 there was the first relay exchange. Tons of people were in line waiting for their team members to show up. Mile 7 was a gu station where you could grab one if you wanted and they told us water was just around the corner. Well, more like a mile around the corner. I had my own gel in a flask, endurolytes and electrolyte drink (HEED). Nutrition and hydration plan actually worked pretty well - I took gel from my flask about every 30 minutes, and every other 30 I took two endurolytes. No stomach issues! Anyway, around mile 9 or so I heard my name and Becky (another former TNTer) was there and took my picture. She was cheering on Jon, who was probably just a few minutes ahead of me. At this point I had already pulled ahead of the 4 hr balloon man. Soon there was a TNT coach who was monitoring us on the course. He said I looked really relaxed. I felt good, even though my legs were feeling it some. I just kept going - through Cheesman park. I didn't realize I was in a park, but I did remember seeing the sign for it. Oh well. After the park we were close to the half-way point. I remember looking at my time at mile 12 and seeing 1:48. Still on track for a sub-4 race so I felt good. Just keep up this pace and I'll be golden.

After the half marathoners turn off to go to the finish, us full folks hit a long (relatively speaking) out-and-back stretch on 7th Ave. Jordan from Girls Heart Rockets found me and hoped in to run a little. At this point I was glad to have some company though I wasn't super chatty. East bound was slightly uphill and I could really tell. Another TNT coach ran with us for a couple blocks and then headed back down to find the next person in purple. I couldn't wait to get to the turn around on this part for the recovery on the slight downhill. Oh so wrong. At this point my legs were pretty sore so there was no recovery on a downhill, only pain. I remember looking at the miles and couldn't wait for the miles left to be in the single digits. Got some water at the aid station and got nailed by a cup thrown by a shirtless guy with a long ponytail down his back. I think he had 6 or 7 rubber bands in his hair. At least the cup was empty and he did apologize (I think). Jordan pulled off around mile 15 and the 4hr balloon man found me again. Just stick with him - let him do the work and just keep the legs going. That worked for a little while. Then the pain registered even more. Everything hurt - well everything except the knee pain that put me into PT all last week! Hang on and keep the legs moving. I knew why I was out there - didn't question that. I knew I would finish. I just didn't know how long it would take me to get to the finish line....

Mile 17 the TNT coach who saw me at mile 9 or 10 was back. He said I looked a little sore. I agreed. He got me to shake out my arms, relax and breathe. Really breathing wasn't an issue. At this time I was going slow enough that my cardiovascular system wasn't taxed at all. I had no trouble breathing. I had trouble moving my legs. But I was tensing up in the shoulders too, so it was good to remember to shake the arms out a bit. Mile 18. I think I just saw Mr. 4 hr balloons go by me but without his balloons...huh? Guess he had to make a pit stop. Just 8 more miles. My IT band tightness was manifesting itself in my knees. Joy. Been there, done that, don't want that again. Just keep moving. Mile 20...OK, only a 10k to go. really - just a 10k! That's still an hour...

Shuffle, shuffle, walk at an aid station. Shuffle again. Didn't even bother checking my pace on the Garmin. I hear there is a wall at mile 20. Nope, no wall, just an extremely viscous medium to sludge my way through. I didn't want to walk (other than aid stations) but I did. I admit it. I started to see more people going by me. Even though I was going pretty slow by now and was hurting (see the race photo grimace) I was moving. The cops were managing the traffic at the intersections and the runners were very polite and thanking the cops. I usually do that too, but today it was all I could do to just smile or give a thumbs up. 5 more miles. Mr. water cup throwing guy passes me. 4 more miles. 4:15 pace group goes by at some point - just hang with them...or not. 3 more miles. 2 more miles. Another TNT coach on the course - better get to running again! He asked how I was but didn't buy the "OK" I managed to squeak out. But I convinced him I was fine other than the pain (with which I am sure he was familiar). He gave me a brief run down on the last 1.5 miles of the course, said I looked good and let me go on my way. Mile 25 marker. I was almost there. walk, shuffle, shuffle, shuffle. OK maybe a little more walking. Jordan was near the finish yelling for me. Woohoo! There was no final kick for me, but I will finish with my head up high! The TNT group was there - in their purple and big yellow foam cowboy hats. Awesome. Then the finish line. And there was Tim with the camera. He made it!!! Now, don't trip on the timing mats! Didn't - good. Got my medal my water, got a big hug from Tim and it was done! I had finished my first marathon in 4:26.

We walked to the TNT tent and Tim helped me down the steps in the park to get there. Now I understand. Tim headed out and I stayed at the TNT tent to eat, drink and congratulate all the other TNT finishers. Really, besides the pain in my legs, I felt great! Made it back to the hotel to get my bags, change into some not so sweaty clothes and got home. (hooray for cruise control!)

This was by far the most pain I have ever intentionally inflicted upon myself. But was it worth it? Yeah. Would I do it again? Yeah. (got to figure the pacing stuff out for sure!) Pressure is gone, right now who cares about a BQ - finishing was fine, just fine. I knew it was going to be painful and hard, but I really did underestimate the power of the beast. I definitely have a new found respect for the marathon beast.

And unfortunately later that night, Jaci and Brian lost Kalila to leukemia....

Here's a link to some of my photos from the weekend:
denver marathon 2009

Click here to see the professional race photos and the grimace.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Harvest Moon Long Course Duathlon - Race Report

9/11/09 - First a thanks to all the service men and women in the US for all their sacrifices!

Gear was mostly packed, but I didn't have time to load the car before work, so I left work a tad early to get home, load the car and make it up to Aurora for packet pickup. The interstate was a little slow-going, but it's been worse. Made it to my exit in about an hour. Then it took me at least 5 minutes to get off the interstate. I-225 and Parker Rd must be a popular exit on a Friday evening! Then it took me at least another 15 minutes to get to the Red Lion Hotel - the map shows that it's right off the interstate, but what you don't see is that the access is via a service road. That was a bit frustrating, since I really had to pee! But I found the hotel, then found the bathroom. Then got my race packet - back to the car in less than 10 minutes. Goodie bag was pretty sweet - t-shirt, headsweats visor, 24oz water bottle, plenty of samples and coupons.

Headed a couple miles up the road to the hotel I found for $51 on priceline.com. It was one of those extended stay places so it had a small kitchen. Checked in and then drove around to find a place to eat. Plenty of chain places to choose from - I picked Boston Market. After my belly was happy I went back to the hotel to get my race stuff ready. Got all my nutrition bottles ready and put them in the fridge, put my race number on the bike (#705) and packed everything I would need in transition. Put lace locks on my shoes - first time using these instead of elastic laces, but I think I figured out how to use them! I was in bed by about 9:30 - set my alarm. Good thing I double checked it, as I set it for 5:45 when I needed to get up by 4:45am to leave by 5:45!
Slept relatively well for pre-race night. Woke up a few times, it seems people go in and out at all hours in this place.

Race day - 9/12/09
4:30am I'm awake so I might as well get up. Feeling pretty well rested and some of the back of the throat congestion that I'd had the last couple days was mostly gone. good. Breakfast was oatmeal with peanut butter and a banana. When I took my bottles out of the fridge and they were frozen! Not competely solid, but enough to not be good when it is 50 degrees or less out and the high might not even hit 60! So thank goodness for the mini-kitchen sink and some warm water. Got 'em thawed enough pretty quickly. phew. 5:45am I had the car packed up and headed to the Aurora Reservior. Very little traffic so I made good time - that is until the turn to the park. The gate didn't open until 6am (I got there at 6:05) and there was only one entrance that I know of, so you can imagine the line of cars for ~600 racers. Another 15-20 minutes later I had a front row parking space to transition. Don't think I'd ever been that close before!

Transition is set, got my timing chip and body marked. It is cold! (my girls heart rockets illuminite jacket kept me warm!) The race staff announced the water was 66 degrees. That would feel warm to all those swimming, as the air temp couldn't have been more than 50. Glad I wasn't swimming! The du start was in the last wave, about 35 minutes after transition closed, so we hung out by the port-o-potties (the race staff said to meet there - pretty convenient, I'd say!) Chatted up a little with the other duathletes and tried to keep warm!

Run 1 - 5k
Official time: 25:37 (8:16 pace)
run rank - (8/21 females, 21/38 overall)
GPS data
We started a few hundred yards up the path from transition. A guy on a mountain bike was our lead. I was wearing my TNT kit (purple, black and green) and my bright blue arm warmers, all under a white long sleeve tech tee. Got a tad warm, but really not to bad! HR probably a bit high, I meant to take this leg ~8:30-8:45 pace, but the pace felt good so I went with it. Also I had set up my GPS for auto multisport and for some reason it had the first sport as 'other' instead of running, so it gave me speed and not pace. I don't know about you, but I didn't feel like converting 7.1mph or whatever it was in a race! Caught up to a few people and hit T1.

T1: 1:14
Fastest transition of all the women! Oh yeah!
Took off my long sleeve shirt, put on my bike helmet, decided against the gloves, grabbed my bike and jogged to the bike start. nothing eventful here.

Bike - 56 miles
3:02:55 (18.4 mph)
Bike Rank (6/20 females, 14/37 overall)
GPS File
Since I've been training for the marathon, I've not spent as much time as I would like on the bike. Been on a few long rides, but not as much as I would like, and I've not done any bike-run bricks. So...time to "take it easy" on the bike leg as much as I could. Focus for the bike leg:
1) get the HR back down
2) nutrition - eat and drink!

Started drinking right away, went through my aerodrink in the first hour and also ate about a third of a clif bar. Perpetuem would be my main source of calories, and I had spiked it with endurolytes. Took a couple endurolytes every hour and that certainly gelped my calves when I felt they were cramping.
The first 12 or so miles of the course contain long rolling hills on an out-and-back along Quincy Ave. Heading out was nice with a tailwind. Heading back wasn't so nice, but not awful. Then we turned north and it was a nice gradual downhill. I looked at my average speed over the course and I was ~19mph. Once we crossed over I-70 (thanks to the cops monitoring that intersection!) we turned east. At mile 30 I was near 19.7mph average! way faster than I was planning, but it wasn't taking much effort. I was also more comfortable by this point in the aerobars. When it's windy and the roads aren't the best, I prefer being in the drops. Something to work on! Aid station #2, around mile 30 I ask for water - I was going to top off my aerodrink that I filled with bottle#2 on the bike. I taste it and it's watermelon HEED. Don't mind that, but I wanted water. I also didn't toss my empty bottle, so I pitch this new one. The roads start to get bumpy with expansion cracks and I get heed all over myself. yay. water wouldn't have been sticky. oh well. Though when I look back, I should have tossed the empty bottle and kept the HEED. On one part of the road, a garbage truck slows behind bikers and doesn't want to pass. Of all vehicles to get stuck behind!

We turn south and the hills and wind are a bit more noticable. Got to gain that elevation back somehow. This road was awful with the expansion cracks. Saw a lot of people fixing flats. Very glad I wasn't one of them! More HEED splashing on me, so I better drink up! Still sipping my perpetuem, too.

With about 20 miles left, we turn west onto Quincy again. And let the fun begin. Long rollers with overall elevation gain. So much for spinning on some of these hills and also gaining momentum on the downhills. Some were OK, but others got the big *URG!* Maybe should have dropped into the small chainring, but with compact gearing, I didn't want to and was stubborn. At mile 45 we hit aid stationg #3 - I ask for water but all they had was gatorade! Boo! So didn't quite take in enough fluids on this bike. But due to the cooler weather, I had to pee! How frustrating to fight headwinds uphill and have to pee. Oh well. On the road back into the reservoir, I finally do shift down to my small chain ring to spin out the last mile. Then I hit transition - decided to just unclip instead of taking my feet out of the shoes - because I had to pee and also wouldn't have gotten the feet out in time.

T2: 1:10 - fastest T2 of the women! score!
Tried to go fast!!! About pulled my quad getting my right shoe on (lace locks aren't quite the same as elastic laces!) But I got my shoes on, got my hat and grabbed my fuel belt. Headed out of transition and went straight to the port-o-potty! And did I have to go! but the port-o-potties were outside the timing mats so it's part of my run time.

Run 2 - 13.1 miles
2:02:22 (9:21 pace)
GPS file
Run Rank (5/20 women, 12/35 overall)
After my bladder was now empty, I headed out. Temps were still cool and still overcast. My plan was to run 8:45ish, then 8:30, then 8:15, then finish the last few miles with 8:00. Would have been nice to do a 1:50. Not in the cards today. I sipped on my HEED from my fuel belt at the start, then took a gel at mile 1 (water from aid station). Mile 2 I took a couple endurolytes. Was checking pace, usually between 8:55 and 8:35 - not bad. Mile 4 in ~36min, so that would be 9:00pace, took another gel. My hands were a tad swollen, then I realized I had an elastic hair tie around my left wrist. hmmm. also get cold, red hands easily (Reynaud's) so could be related? Found it hard to get my heart rate/breathing under control. My legs felt fine, but needed more air. I hit the turnaround at about an hour into the run. Ok, time to pick it up. Or not. Just couldn't seem to get below a 9:00pace, even though I'd just been running uphill at the faster pace. The 2nd half felt a lot more downhill, but my legs were just not cooperating. Kept up with the endurolytes every few aid stations, and gel at mile 9. The time on the course passed quickly, but the little rollers on the run (and the big rollers on the bike) must have taken their toll. I'm sure I could have had more to drink. I went through ~12 oz heed and then maybe 12-16oz of water with my gels and endurolytes. Probably not enough. My right hip (IT related) also started to tighten up. And my quads. I was feeling my quads! Really slowed down mile 11-12, but then saw the short downhill to the finish line so at least I crossed the finish line with a strong pace.

Final Time 5:33:16
Overall Ranking : 2/6 in age group, 5/20 female, 11/35 overall
Got my finisher's shot glass, a bottle of water and then walked back to transition. Packed the bike and my stuff in the car, got my change of clothes, and then the rain started. Stretched a little, but decided to head home. Stopped in Castle Rock for some Chick-fil-A and got a stuffed cow from the staff. They asked how my day was, so I told them what I just did. Guess I earned a cow! woohoo!

General race comments:
I didn't taper for this race, and am coming off a 40 mile run week last week, which is a lot for me. After the race I'm at 46 for this week. I haven't been on the bike much, let alone long bike-run bricks and could definitely feel the cardiovascular system. Though I didn't do as well getting what I hope to be my marathon pace in October on the run, I did get some really good training miles in! This is a good race with a difficult course. Weather can be hit or miss due to the September timing.

Monday, August 03, 2009

State Games of America - Sprint Triathlon Race Report

A little late coming, but here it is...

It is common for triathletes to build up their race season, starting with a sprint distance, then olympic, progressing towards half ironman, if they choose that distance. Sometimes I like to do things a little different than the norm. My race season started with a half ironman, then olympic, and finally a sprint race on Saturday. Sprints go by really fast after you've done longer distances!
The State Games of America came to Colorado Springs this year, so why not do a tri in your own back yard. I encouraged several of the Team In Training folk to either participate or watch, so we had a good showing. Was also surprised to see one of our Denver coaches down at the race. Charley is amazing - you'd never guess he was 62!

Anyway, so as race mornings always do - the alarm goes off around 4am. quick shower and eat my standard pre-race breakfast. Pack up the car and drive the short distance to Memorial Park. On the way Martha calls and asks if I have an extra helmet. Sure do! I get to the lake and the sun is just slowly rising. So far it is a cool (50 degrees) but clear day. Push the bike around the lake and get to transition. I find Martha and my extra helmet is too small for her. So she has to make hers work (really just the plastic shell got warped from being in the car). I believe some duct tape did the trick.

Transition prior to the race is pretty chill. I find my designated rack and set up my bike. I smiled if the bike next to mine was my competition.
The rest of the COS TNTers racing all made it to transition - Becky, Jon, Michele, Martha, Mitch. Shannon is racing as well. As usual, my goal is to catch her since I predicted she'd have a 5-7 minute lead on me out of the swim. Jason showed up with his camera gear and should be able get some decent shots since the bike course is a 4-lap course.

I tried to get in a swim warm-up but the weeds were so thick it was just a little gross. So I just hung out waiting for the start. We corral to the swim start as they call each wave. I'm in wave 4 and off I go...
750m Swim: 19:53. Yikes! Leaky goggles (warm-up swim would have identified that) and the swim was just not the best. Had to gain my composure a couple times - nothing major but just wasn't digging the swim right away. When I saw the lady pass me doing the back stroke, I forced myself to put my head in and just swim. Found a groove (albeit a slow one) about a third of the way into the swim and made it to the beach. There was Jason when I exited the water yelling "you swim like a girl!" He thought he might have missed me...but nope, I'm just a little sluggish in the water.

T1: 1:41. Coach Matt was on the sidelines. Wetsuit came off pretty easily and all I had to do was put on my sunglasses and helmet and grab my bike and go. A Gazette reporter/photographer was there and snagged this shot out of T1 and it made it into an article about triathlon transitions!
13.1 mile bike: 46:09. 4 laps of a very hilly course that was closed to traffic! Each lap had about 250ft of gain and the headwind seemed to be on every descent. I was hoping for a 42 minute split, but still not too bad. I thought I'd be cold with the cooler temps but was just fine. Before each turn there would be a volunteer holding a sign that read "caution, caution, caution." Some volunteers would also verbalize the upcoming turn, others would just stand there. Saw a lot of flat tires - wonder if the cool morning had anything to do with it or the rough sections/seams in the road. I got a lot of HEED from my aerodrink spashed on my from those bumps.

T2: 1:33 No real issues here, just wiped some of the rocks off the bottom of my feet from the asphalt. Got my socks and shoes on, grabbed my hat and race belt and headed out. Realized I couldn't really feel my feet.
5k Run: 23:22. I think it was a little short, but I'll take the time! Sprint tri runs are really about 25 minutes of pain. Run as fast as you can...keep running! The temp at this point was perfect - the cloulds overhead kept the sun at bay. Since I couldn't feel my feet much, I just made sure my legs were moving quickly. I saw a lady up ahead with a "3"-something on her calf so she became a target. Passed her right before the turn-around. Then I caught up to a 24 year old guy, but he would let me pass him. He could tell I was there - I was breathing pretty hard! So he essentially paced me for about the last mile of the run. Mitch had finished his race and was out on the run course cheering for us. Run hard. My nose was a little congested so I couldn't take the deep inhales that I like to do to help focus my breathing. That was a bit annoying for most of the run. But at least towards the end I could feel my feet! The my "pacer" saw the finish line about 100 yds ahead and kicked it in. I don't have legs like that, but I did what I could!
Overall time: 1:32:38 2nd place W30-34! I could not catch Shannon and she took first. I was 1:44 behind Shannon....so close (it's all in the swim - she had 7+ minutes on me there). But very cool to get a medal at the State Games! TNT folks did well - Michele got 3rd in her age group (and Athena so she got 2 medals!) and Charley got 1st in his age group.

Complete Results

Sunday, July 19, 2009

I'm Tired.

I'm just plain tired today. First, it's my 12th wedding anniversary and my husband is in DC until Friday on business. Sucks. But I kept busy - got a long run in - almost 14 miles! The Garmin File. Ran with Jessica, someone I met at the Kansas half - she and her husband just moved to town a few weeks ago. Definitely great to have someone keep you company on a long run like that. The conversation makes the pain more bearable!

Made chocolate pancakes for my post-run meal. Yum. Then got cleaned up, sat on the couch for a while with my legs elevated and my eyes closed. Didn't fall asleep but I wanted to!

Then I headed over to our townhouse (but first stopping by walgreens to get some cleaning supplies) to keep working on the prep. Want to get this thing ready to rent as soon as we possibly can. I went through all the rooms and touched up paint where it needed it. Then I tried to scrub the tile in the shower. Got tired of that fast, so then I started putting outlet covers back on and pulling off the painters tape. Place still needs a lot of work but it's coming along. The carpet guys are coming to measure later in the week.

I was getting pretty hungry after all that so I stopped by the Heart of Jerusalem cafe for a yummy falafel sandwich and went home. Now I'm doing laundry and writing this. And working on a fitness plan for my sister. Didn't get to the grocery store and I'm out of just about everything. oh well.

Through all this we're trying to put an offer in on a house we like. A little more complicated with Tim out of town (and he's not actually seen the house). and my legs hurt. Not pain hurt but fatigue hurt from everything today. Think I will get my bike on the trainer and do an easy spin for a few minutes and then stretch. and chill out with my foam roller to work on any kinks in my muscles - I'm sure there are plenty of kinks. Better stop rambling and get on with my evening!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Boulder Peak Race Report

The race site: http://5430sports.com/peak.htm

Saturday, July 11th
I did a TNT bike ride in the morning at the Air Force Academy. Just did a little over 30 mintues - down stadium drive and back up. Legs felt good. On the way home stopped by Starbucks for an iced soy latte and pumpkin bread. yum. Got home, started to pack. around 11am went for a 15 minute run. Legs feeling good! Finished packing up the car and headed to meet Sarah. Remembered to stop by walgreens to get some rubber bands. Got Sarah, met Shannon and went to chick-fil-a for lunch. I love their grilled chicken sandwhich. Drive to Boulder....get to the Rez just in time for the race meeting. They are all pretty much the same! We got our race packets in a green re-usable bag (they are all the rage these days) and a really awesome race shirt. Ben got there about the same time we did so we agreed to meet somewhere for dinner. Walked around the expo for a few minutes. Very Boulder-esque expo - lots of "eco-friendly" booths. Then headed to the hotel back in Louisville, which is just a few miles up the highway. Got settled in and we all went to Mimi's for dinner. Back to the hotel, get all the race stuff around (numbers on race belt/helmet, etc. ) Harry Potter and the Prince of Azkaban was on TV. 9pm it was lights out! Something must have been in the air all day - my sinuses were hurting (pretty rare) and my nose was a little clogged. A hot shower helped, and I hoped it would go away overnight.

Sunday, July 12th - RACE DAY!
4am the cell phone alarms go off. Actually slept pretty well for a race night. only woke up a couple times but the sleep in between was solid. Felt about as good as you can at 4am! Head was a lot better. Ate my typical pre-race breakfast of oatmeal with peanut butter and a banana. There was a microwave in the room so it made the oatmeal very convenient. Sarah and I got our stuff around and headed to the car.

It's 5am in Boulder and all traffic is headed toward the Rez. It seems like they host races almost every weekend in the summer so it's really smooth to get in and park. We get our stuff and head to transition. No lines for body marking (good!) and no lines to pick up the timing chip (yay!). The 5430 Races have the best transition set-up. They have the racks well marked by wave and there are 4 bikes to a rack, two on each side. Bikes are racked by the rear tire so no having to hang from seat posts or handle bars. They also set the racks up far enough apart everyone has plenty of room. Not like the races with the single bar racks and you have to squeeze in as many bikes as you possibly can...

Today I am attempting to start the race with my shoes already clipped to my bike to save time. That's why I needed the rubber bands. I got the pedals set up so they won't bounce on the ground as I run out of transition. Then you hop on the bike and start pedaling with your feet on top of the shoes (the rubber bands break). As you gain speed, you slip your feet into the shoes and away you go!

I'm set up early enough that I do a short warm-up run to get the blood flowing before I put on my wet suit. No issues here.

My wave (#2) starts at 6:40 so at about 6:10 I head over to put on my wetsuit and get in a warm-up. I really wanted to use the real bathroom (not the port-os) but they weren't open yet. bummer - will wait for the lake. I squeeze into my wetsuit and about 6:20 I get in the water. The sun is rising over the lake, making the buoys hard to see, but that's expected of course! I swim out to the dock a couple times - all is good. The wetsuit seems to have loosened up somewhat around my shoulders, which is a good thing.

Right before the start of wave #1, the national anthem is played and the flag is up in the sky - being carried by three skydivers. Way cool!

6:30, the race starts - they sent the older men and women (50+) and relays off first.

SWIM (1500+ meters):
6:40 - my wave #2 - the lime green caps - all women ages 30-34. Off we go! I wanted to be more competitive in the swim today so I positioned myself a little off to the side but closer to the front. And it was competitive! Lots of us jockying for position, but I found myself on the losing end since I just couldn't keep up. After a few hundred yards I was able to get my space. It seemed like forever to the first buoy! and then the next, and next. Finally I get to the first turn. Then the wave behind me starts to show up - the purple caps. Then I get to the next turn and I start to see the second wave after me - the pink caps. As I am making the final turn for the last few hundred yards to the beach, I see an orange cap - the men have started and the lead guys are FAST! I make the last turn for the last few hundred yards to the beach. I am glad to get out of the water - I felt like I was swimming strong, but it also felt like it was taking forever! And it was! When I got out of the water, my watch said 40 minutes! yikes! I did the 1.2 mile swim in Kansas in just under 45! Didn't think I've slowed that much in a month. Very, very frustrating! But I accept it and get on with the bike (my favorite leg!)

Swim Results: 41:43 (age group rank- 99/121) *sigh*

I easily find my bike, strip off my wetsuit, sunglasses on, helmet on and I grab my bike. Shoes are already on the bike, which was difference from my previous routine so I paused to make sure I really was good to go. And off I ran with my bike to the bike start.

T1 Results: 1:26 (age group rank- 19/121) sweet!

BIKE (42k):
I mount my bike (a little awkward, but not bad) and start to pedal. I slip my right shoe on my foot. Pedal some more, slip my left foot in the shoe and realize that the rubber band didn't break. hmmm....don't think it is a good idea to ride the race with a rubber band attaching my shoe to the bike. quick thinking here - I unclip my shoe and pull my leg far enough away to snap the band. Now the rubber band is just attached to the shoe. I can deal with that. I soon start passing people. My favorite phrase is "on your left." The plan is to pace myself since the first seven miles are all uphill with 1200 feet of elevation gain. I stay in the small chain ring in front and make sure I'm taking it easy on the legs, since the steep part starts around mile 5.

I make the turn on to Lee Hill Rd and it starts to get steeper. The climbers are separated from the non-climbers. Then a curve to the right and we are on Olde Stage Road. It starts to get steep. I'm pretty much in my smallest two gears (36/25 and 36/27) for this part. There is a woman ahead of me swerving all over the road, crossing over the double yellow into the lane of oncoming traffic. The roads are open so I'm not sure what she was thinking. If a race official was there, she could get penalized/disqualified for that. She crossed over several times in the 5ish minutes I was behind her. I kept chugging - Olde Stage was pretty hard, but not as hard as I remember from three weeks ago so my time in Keystone might have paid off. At one point where there were no houses I looked to my right and I could see all the way down the valley. We had certainly gained some elevation! There were spectators lined up on the side of the road cheering us on, which helps on a tough section like that. After the peak of the steep part, the course levels off but you still have a couple hundred feet to climb. When the descent starts, the race directors have imposed a 35mph speed limit for a short section. A few years ago there was a bad crash. At the bottom of this "speed zone" a cop is there with a radar gun. If you exceed 35mph, you can get disqualified. So we ride the brakes for this section (less than a mile). I was behind someone conserative and I didn't have a good view of my speed, so I just hung back. I think I hit 33mph. After the speed zone you can really fly. The road isn't quite as steep, but you do gain some speed and a chance to recover the legs. Then rest of the course is fast and downhill and then some rollers, then a slight elevation gain back into the Reservoir. I just tried to go as fast as I could without too much pain in my legs. Bike nutrition/hydration: Aerobottle filled w/HEED (~24oz) and took a gel (actually almost 2 from my "gelbot") and water with about 10 minutes left on the bike.

Bike Results: 1:25:13, 18.3mph (age group rank - 27/121)
my garmin file: http://connect.garmin.com/player/8659345

Find the rack, put my socks on, slip on my shoes, grab my hat and racebelt and run to the run start.

T2 results: 1:27 (age group rank - 26/118) - some people didn't go on for the run...

RUN (10k):
My plan for the run was to try to go as fast as I could to test myself. If I ran out of steam half way through, so be it. I didn't wear my GPS with pacing info so I could just run by feel. Well, I didn't feel it today. My legs felt heavy - they just didn't have any 'go.' They didn't hurt (well, of course running in a tri "hurts" but not pain that says stop running.) I also felt a little on the edge of my breathing. I know it's not supposed to be comfortable at this distance, but something was holding me back. The run course was an out and back, mainly on a dirt road that goes around the lake. It's relatively flat, but the "out" part has a slight elevation gain. There are a few sections with small hills, but they felt like big ones today. I walked through each aid station to make sure I was hydrating. Temps were supposed to be in the mid-upper 80s so when that sun is out, the course gets pretty warm. There is no shade out there. I took my gel at the turn-around to make sure I had fuel in the tank for the run back. I kept expecting that when I was on the "back" part with the slight elevation loss, it would feel better. It didn't. I was shooting to hit 3hrs for a total time and started the run around 2:10. I would have to really rock to make it. When I was at 2:45 at mile 4, I knew I was going to go over 3hrs by a little bit. My friend Shannon was ahead (she's a really fast swimmer) and I saw her before the turn around. She probably had less than half a mile on me, but feeling like I was, I just couldn't close the gap. I kept chugging along, still hoping for the burst of energy and leg speed. The last quarter mile of the course is significantly downhill so I was able to pick up speed and have good strides for the finish photo. I wish I could have found that stride earlier! Shannon and Sarah were at the finish line cheering. I got my finishers transition towel (soaked in cold water- nice!) and we headed over to the course to wait for Ben and Stacey. After they came in, it was Qdoba burritos at the meal tent and some fruit. And a lot of water. Skipped the beer tent today since I had to drive back to the Springs and didn't want to fall asleep! Then we watched the pros finish their race on a modified run course (3-lap loop) that was more spectator friendly. They seemed to glide along the road. I'm jealous.

Run results: 55:09, 8:54min/mile pace (age group rank - 40/118)

Total time: 3:04:56 (44/118 age group, 195/550 female finishers)
All in all, a good experience and a very well-executed event! Everyone thought the swim was long and I think the times show it. And only 6 women (from the entire field) with slower swim times finished ahead of me....

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Back to oxygen and some cool winnings!

Funny, that going to 6000ft elevation would be back in the oxygen, but after a week in 9000+ and training, it feels good to be back in the relative low-land!

So Tim and I were in Keystone (near Dillon), CO for the 2009 Porsche Parade. We had a fabulous time enjoying the scenery. The weather cooperated 95% of the time and I got in some really good training (hills, anyone?).
Some highlights:
  • We came in 5th place in our very first TSD Rally.
  • I rode my bike to the top to Loveland Pass.
We'll probably exchange it for a trip in 2010 since we have a lot going on this year already and we'd like to make more of a vacation. Guess I better brush up on my German!

Now we're back and have to adjust to getting back in the normal routine and I have to get back to work, though it was nice that our shutdown was the same week as parade. But as usual, there is some more training to do...

Thursday, July 02, 2009

hello from keystone

Quick post today - been in Keystone since Saturday at the 2009 Porsche Parade. Lots of nice cars! We've been on a tour to the old 10th mtn division (the ski troops) training camp from wwii - camp hale. yesterday we participated in a time-speed-distance rally and according to the preliminary results we came in 5th in our class. apparently that's pretty impressive for our first rally and that we are still on speaking terms!

The rally is this - you get a set of instructions which get you from point a to point b, and there are a set of rules on how to execute the instructions. there are checkpoints along the way separating the rally into legs and each leg is scored independently. the instructions might say CAST 33 0.5mi after "mountain views" which means to change your average speed to 33mph a half-mile after a sign that has the exact text "mountain views" on it. the idea is to enter each checkpoint as close to the perfect time, as calculated by the rally master. you can buy rally computers for your cars, which do a lot of the calculations for you. I think we got lucky - we must not have gotten off course, we used a watch that was in the ballpark of the master clock and the average speed function on tim's car. We entered in the navigation class since we had a GPS in the car, but didn't use it. It probably also helped that the rally was in the same general area as the 10th mtn div tour so we had just been on some of the roads a few days earlier! but that can't help with getting the timing just right!

These rallies can cause a lot of stress between driver and navigator, but Tim and I went into it with similar expectations as it was our first one and we are still very much on speaking terms! I can imagine in an area with more roads than rural Colorado, it could be very complicated! Today is the autocross - Tim will go watch and I am going to get some training in before the afternoon BeerFest!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Succussful TNT Weekend!

The triathlon group of Rocky Mountain Chapter of Team In Training had their events this weekend....what an amazing bumch of people.

First we started at the Holiday Inn Select in Denver (Cherry Creek) for an Inspiration Dinner - complete with pasta and motivation for the team. We heard the story of Rachel, one of the Team members who is also a lymphoma survivor. 10 months after finishing her chemo/radiation treatments she is participating in a triathlon. Amazing.

Crashed at Anisa's place, on of the TNT staff members who was also a team member. We had to get up at 3:45am to get to Loveland ~5am. Race started at 6:30. Yeah, that's early! All the TNT folks made it through the race - about 20 of 'em - and they even had great racing weather - overcast skies but no rain! Back to Denver in the early afternoon and I went for a run around Sloans Lake. My first run since Kansas and it actually felt pretty good! Then a hot shower and a nap was in order. Dinner at Wynkoop Brewery with MacKenzie (another TNT staff person). Had the Railyard Ale. Not bad, but I've had better. Food was pretty good, though!

Back at Anisa's one more time - she and her boyfriend had rented a movie (Body of Lies with Leonardo DiCaprio) and I of course fell asleep watching it. Back to bed as Sunday was to be another early start.

Only had to get up 4:45am on Sunday, as the race didn't start unti 7:30am! Another great day for racing, but this time it was sunny. But boy did those mountains look fantastic heading over the final ridge before you drop down into Boulder. They must have gotten some rain the night before. The clouds were low in the mountains, the foothills were amazingly green, snowcapped peaks in the background, and the early morning sun from the east gave a magical glow. This is why we live in Colorado!

All the TNT folks again finished the race with huge smiles on their faces! I'm really proud - it was the first triathlon for all of my folks this weekend and they did fantastic! They all raised at least $2400 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. We really appreciate the effort they put in to their fundraising and their training! GO TEAM!

It was a hot day in Boulder (well, 80s is a hot day with that strong sun). The course has not much shade - pretty much none on the run, but everyone did great. After the race I took my bike to ride the Boulder Peak bike course, as I will be racing that next month. It's got a killer climb on it - Old Stage Road. Here's the ride. The starting elevation is about 5200ft at the reservior and within 7 miles you are at almost 6400ft. On the steepest part of the climb I was going about 4mph. That's a 15:00min/mile pace - you walk that fast. I was in my smallest gear and only slogging through at about 40rpm. Heart rate made it into the 180s. But it was a gorgeous climb, saw a couple deer out there and everything was just so green! The view from the top was amazing (can't believe I actually thought to look around - I was breathing pretty hard!) Then there is a speedy descent down back to hwy 36 and the rest of the course is also pretty fast. Now that I know I can survive that hill, I'll be more confident going into the race. Now if only I wasn't a wussy descender! At least they do have a speed limit (35mph) coming down the hill to make it safer for all. I'm sure you could hit 50+mph and that's probably not safe for 1200ish athletes, some of them not skilled at descending.

Made it back home in the afternoon and now I'm ready for to be off work the next two weeks!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Race Report - Kansas 70.3 Half Ironman Race

wow - it's been 2 months since I posted! must be a little busy training!

Date: 6/14/2009
Location: Clinton State Park, Lawrence, KS.
This might be a little long - it was an eventful (but fabulous) weekend!

Trip started Friday - Tim and I got up, finished packing everything up and left town about an hour after I wanted to. But since we weren't really doing anything that night, it didn't really matter and I didn't get as stressed out as I usually do. I had everything in plastic bins to keep things organized - swim stuff in one bin, bike stuff in another, etc. Turned out to be pretty handy. Anyway, it's an 8+ hour drive to Lawrence. We stopped and had lunch in Colby, KS at the Taco Johns. OK maybe not the best food for ya but it sure was good. I did get a chicken taco to be a little more healthy (won't mention the taco bravo and potato ole's - but hey, at least I skipped the soda!). We ended up in Lawrence around 6:45pm Central time (lost an hour) and found the hotel. Chili's was across the parking lot so that was dinner. I got a grilled chicken sandwich with veggies. OK a little better than lunch!

Side note - what the heck does "Rock Chalk Jayhawk" really mean? I'll buy someone a beer if they can explain it to me other than that is the University of Kansas cheer. And I know the Jayhawk is the KU mascot. :-)

Hotel had a hot tub so I went to stretch out a little before bed. Stacey and Shannon arrived a little later - they were just across the hall from us so I stopped by after my hot tub session. Oh, and I gave my bike one last check (brakes good, tight bolts, clean/lubed chain) before bed.

Saturday...slept in. actually got a really good night's sleep like I wanted to. Hit the free breakfast and found they had waffle irons to make belgium waffles. score!!!! Had one of those with some peanut butter and syrup and a banana. Decided to hit the 4pm athlete meeting so my plan for the day was to relax a little more and review race info and my stuff. Tim's folks were to arrive in the mid to late afternoon so at noon we went to lunch (Jason's Deli - turkey sandwich) and also stopped by the CVS- some tums and gas ex...might have been nerves or the taco bravo from yesterday? Nothing major, just wanted to feel a little better. and I hoped that it wouldn't be an issue on race day! After lunch we scouted out a place for dinner and then I got my bike and headed over to the race site to get my packet and rack my bike.

The hotel was only 15 minutes from the race site and was an easy drive. The sun was out so thank goodnes I remembered to put on sunscreen (from one of my plastic bins!). Rode my bike over to the expo site (about 3/4mile from where I parked) then I found the line. yikes! not sure how long it took - maybe an hour? But I did see Chrissie Wellington walk by. I wanted to bow down to her, but that might have been a little weird. Chatted with some of the folks around me as we worked our way up to get our packets. Got the packets with some free stuff. Thank goodness one of the goodies was a Powerbar - I forgot to bring my snacks that I had so carefully packed for the trip! I bought a $2 bottle of water since I was about to empty my only water bottle. I'd been really good hydrating on the trip so far (Tim was very patient with a few extra stops on the drive over) and didn't want to ruin that. OK - got my packet, put the race number on my bike and then had to figure out where T1 was. They didn't mention that at the end of the pick-up line. Finally found out where to go and rode down the hill to find my spot. Right near the swim exit - sweet! Won't be hard to find the bike. But this was a LONG and narrow transition - so I looked towards the bike start - maybe 100+ yards of bike rack to work my way through and uphill. but, it looked easy to navigate so I covered my seat and handlebars with plastic bags and headed out. Rain was in the forecast for that night and the next day....

OK, bike is racked - hope nothing happens to it! Now the 1/2+ mile walk back to the expo for the athlete meeting and I found Stacey and Shannon. That was one of the shortest athlete meetings ever. The jist was "don't worry, it'll be easy to figure out where to go."

Get back to the hotel and I am definitely ready to have my pre-race meal. Tim's family (parents, sister and 2 nieces) had arrived so we headed down to Montana Mike's - some regional chain steak place. But before we left I wanted to make sure they had what I wanted so I ran back to the lobby and checked the menu - 30 seconds later we were good to go. grilled chicken and potato was there so I was happy. Good dinner - a decent amount of carbs and some protein - teryaki chicken over rice, a baked potato and their dinner rolls were fantastic! And a big, big glass of water. Back to the hotel to make sure I had all my race day gear around, back to the hot tub one last time to stretch, and set my cell phone alarm for 3:48am. Don't ask my to explain that, it seemed to make sense at the time. Tim went to his family's room to play cards and I was in bed by 9:30pm.

3:48am - Sunday 6/14. Cell phone alarm goes off, I get up. A decent night's sleep for a pre-race night. Got dressed in my race gear, grabbed my oatmeal, peanut butter, and banana and went to the breakfast room for the microwave. Turns out they got the whole breakfast thing set up - waffles and all! I'm sure it made some racers happy! But I stick to my tried and true PB/banana oatmeal. Feeling pretty good - no sign of yesterday's minor GI issues. After breakfast I finish getting my stuff around and at 4:30am leave for the race site. Van Halen's 1984 is in the CD player. Need I say more?

4:45am - arrive race site and get a decent parking spot - but still ~10 minutes from T2. Set up T2 as they are different transitions. The sky was pretty cloudy and it could rain - though it hadn't rained overnight like some were predicting. I decided to not take chances and just had all my T2 gear in the bin. It might take me a few extra seconds to pull the lid off, but if I have dry shoes, I'll be happy to lose a few seconds. I had my towel to take down to T1 but since I was there plenty early, I just sat on it and hung out. Chatted with a few of the people racking by me - the one right next to me is moving to Colorado Springs next week. Cool. Stacey and Shannon showed up and it was about time to head down to T1 to put all the nutrition on the bike, pump up tires, etc. But first - the important stop at the porta potty. We all were successful. If you have to ask, don't.

Got to T1 to set everything up and weren't in there for more than about three minutes and some race dude (not sure who he was, hence race dude) starts yelling transition closes in 3 minutes! Get out in three minutes! Well, there are about fifty people in line at the porty potties in transition, several hundred more trying to get their bike stuff around. Not likely that everyone will be out in three minutes. Race dude decides to pop a balloon someone had set up to mark their bike. Didn't think that was against the rules? But - time to hurry. I borrowed a pump from someone, quickly pumped my tires as best I could, made sure my bottles were on, my shoes on the towel, and sunglasses and helmet ready. Threw on some body glide then took the wetsuit, swim cap and goggles and headed out. OK, out before people got too mad. They did come back yelling and racers were yelling back. Note to race organizers - please publish a time that transition closes so people will be prepared. Note to racers - you know it is always crazy - get there early!

Once the wetsuit was on, there really was only about 20 minutes until my wave started so I headed to the swim start line with the girls. Stacey headed up to find her group - 6:50am and I found mine gang of yellow caps. It was an in-water start off a boat ramp - and was pretty much a corrall of funny looking fish. The music was good - pump you up stuff. Mentally I switched over to race mode and was ready to race. The swim is the weakest of my events, though I have been getting faster. I just wanted to have a good swim and be in good shape to head out on the bike and run.

SWIM 1.2 miles
Start time: 6:58am - wave of about 76 W30-34 age groupers - hear the horn and we are off! I'm on the outside to avoid too much kicking and elbows, but there is always someone who wants to swim either right next to you or on top of you at the swim start. Despite that I managed to have a comfortable swim, staying pretty close to the buoy line after the initial start. The course was a very long rectangle, with at least 6 buoys heading out & six more back, so it was actually a relatively good buoy-to-buoy swim. It's always dangerous getting on the buoy line (at least for me) not being in the last wave (9 out of 14 waves) but not too many people tried to swim over me. Ran into a couple here and there and I think I even got to draft for a little ways. General comments on the swim - even this new, more flexible wetsuit still makes my shoulders restricted so my arms felt like if I tried to go harder they would just wear out. That means I need to get into open water with the wetsuit several more times before my next race. Or maybe next year go with a sleeveless? Anyway, water temp was in the 70s - really pretty comfortable with the wetsuit. A little wind but pretty insignificant chop - most of the chop camp from other swimmers rather than wind. I was pretty happy when I turned the corners and was on the home stretch. It did seem that I approached the buoys relatively quickly. Found the exit ramp (concrete boat ramp) and got up. Wetsuit came off with no issues and I only had about 30ish yards from the exit until my bike.

Swim Results: 44:56, 62/76 age group, 1221/1487 overall (yeah, still need to work on this, but still 6+ minutes better than my previous half IM swim time!)

T1: wetsuit came off easily, shoes on, sunglasses, and helmet. That's all so I grabbed my bike and trotted on the 100+ yard trek to the bike start. Transition was narrow - I about ran over a few people during their transition. Then I got behind a few people who were walking (I prefer to jog) so was essentially stuck in a traffic jam. Should have scooted over to another aisle when I had the chance. Made it to the mount line and didn't have any issues.

T1 Results: 2:45

BIKE 56 miles
Plan was to start easy to warm up the legs, then pick up the pace. Some others should have tried that - there were a few people who flew past me on the park road, but then when we reached the first hill even before we exited the park I caught back up and they didn't pass me again. Beautiful bike course. Temps by now were probably in the mid-upper 60's and the sky was overcast. The fields were a fantastic green. Colorado's been green this spring due to all the rain, but Kansas was a much deeper green. Even saw some sheep out there. I don't know how many times I said "on your left." I didn't get passed by very many women at all, maybe less than five. Sure passed a whole bunch. For the most part, people stayed right, but there were plenty of "clusters" where some fast guy from a later wave almost had to cross the center line to get around the slower folks hogging the road. How hard is "stay right except to pass?" Then there was the cluster right across from the penalty tent - someone actually passed another rider on the right! I suppose the penalty tent folks just enforce penalties and don't issue them, but of all places to break a rule!

The ride was smooth - roads were clean and my legs felt good. Probably at about mile 15 or so there were a few raindrops and the roads looked a tad damp, but that was it for rain. The weather gods were smiling upon us! Nutrition plan worked pretty well - had some clif bar pieces to eat right out of the swim as I usually get a hungry feeling. Didn't happen this time so after a couple pieces I switched to Hammer's Perpetuem + enduroyle powder mix (Cafe Latte flavor rocks!). I had a 3 hour bottle on my down tube of that, my aerodrink filled with water and another bottle of water in my seat tube. With the overcast sky and cool temps, the thirst mechanism was quiet, but I kept reminding myself to drink something. Probably should have had a little more - didn't tap the seat tube bottle, but I did refill the aerodrink with a bottle from an aid station at mile ~33. Anyway, I'm happily cruising, passing people, enjoying the scenery and I see mile marker 20. I did a quick check of my GPS (which was hanging off my aerobars - can't wear it on the swim and it might have been too dangerous to try to strap it on my wrist while riding) and it said :57 minutes and some change. sweet. I was aiming for ~20mph pace and was on it. I keep cruising and hit mile 25. Then I see my friend Shannon and give her a cheer as I go by. We're in the same age group and she rocked with a sub-32 minute swim so one of my goals was to catch her. success. Then I hit mile 35 and start noticing the hills. I'm thinking - it'd be nice to be done with these rollers. Sure enough - miles 34 - 41 are just a bunch of rollers! At least my perception was true and I wasn't just getting fatigued. I could feel my left hamstring tightening up a bit around this time (I have to watch out for that) so I came out of aero when it made sense (slower climbs) to stretch it a bit.

Speaking of fatigue, since I usually train at ~6500ft, the altitude of Kansas provides so much more oxygen. I went by feel of my legs rather than breathing/heart rate, and it didn't help that I forgot to turn on the HR monitor part of my GPS so I wore that stupid chest strap for nothing. oh well. I blame the rush at T1. I was lucky I had it turned on to use the auto multisport feature.

When I see mile 45 I am really happy that I am coming down the home stretch. Cruised along some flat spots, and made the last big climb up the dam road then across the dam. Bill, a guy on a sweet purple Javelin bike who I'd been leap-frogging passed me one last time - he had the momentum off the dam. Saw mile 50...really almost done! When I came back into the park, I switched to easier gearing to spin the legs a bit to prepare for the run. I passed one more person on my way into T2 and turns out it was Stacey! Didn't recognize her from behind. I successfully slip my feet out of my shoes (first time doing that in a race!) Then I hear Tim yell, "Go, Nicole!" It was great to see him there as I was now about to embark on the most painful part of a triathlon - the run! My bike goal was to be under 3 hours, ideally 2:45. (20mph would be ~2:48) and I made it in just under 2:50.

Bike Results: 2:49:41, 19.8mph, 29/76 age group, 755/1487 overall

Head into T2 careful not to slip down the grassy hill (The grass field for T2 was about 3 feet lower than the road), turn at the first tree, run all the way down the aisle. Rack bike, transfer GPS to wrist (ok, that took a few extra seconds), open bin, on with socks and shoes, grab fuel belt and hat and I'm off! Race number was pinned to the fuel belt. Thought about stopping at the porty-potties, but there was a line and I really didn't have to go (should have had more fluid on the bike...) Figured there would be plenty on the run course if I needed it.

T2 Results: 1:56

RUN 13.1 miles

Headed out of T2 and the sun was now shining with a few clouds in the sky. I wouldn't have minded a little rain on the run, but temps were still in the 70s so pretty comfy considering what it could have been in Kansas mid-June! Remembered to hit the lap button on my GPS so it now switched over to run (yay for auto multisport!) goal pace was 9:00min/mile and I wanted to settle into it slowly. but I was actually a little faster - around 8:30 but I didn't know if I could maintain that so I tried to back off a little. Wasn't too successful with the low elevation and the slight hills on the course, so I just started to run by feel with some monitoring of pace - could tell when I was going a bit faster my breathing got a little too hard (gasping at mile 4 of a 13 mile run is not good). On the run is really where your bike hydration/nutrition and hydrating plan let you know if you were good or not. I took a gel at the first aid station as planned. Second aid station I grabbed the endurolytes that I had stashed in a baggie in my jersey pocket. Most were icky (cheap plastic bags) but I salvaged a couple that didn't get wet and tossed the rest. Ok - no more endurolytes but I do have 18 oz of HEED on me. Walked a little at most aid stations, taking in some sort of fluid, whether it was water or my HEED. Mile 5 I did another gel. Realized I was taking in a lot of air (all that extra oxygen???) and my fuel belt felt a lot tighter than it should be. So I went to loosen it (velcro) and of course I dropped it. geez! I stop, pick it up, and try to get it back on while moving forward. OK, l got it and it felt a bit better. Had some burps and felt even better after that. The parts of the run course through the campground seemed to take forever, and on a two-loop course you see mile markers for both loops - seeing mile marker 12 near mile 5 can be a little disheartening knowing you have to do it all again. But I kept on chugging and it was really nice to have all the campers on the route cheering us on. Aid stations were well supported. Overall assessment said I was feeling pretty good considering what I was doing! I ran aid station to aid station (walked through most of them, ran through a couple if I was using my own fluid) and grabbed ice and sponges to stay as cool as possible. Sponges went on my left shoulder, hence the sunburn as I most likely washed all my sunscreen off that shoulder! I reached the point to start the next loop and knew I was coming down the home stretch. Hit the lap button on my GPS to try to monitor the second lap and doh! it thought I was done. Forgot on the multisport feature the lap button changes events. But I was able to quickly get it into standard run mode and start the timer again. The first lap took under an hour so if I could just maintain my pace, I'd hit my goal of 2 hours or less. Pace checks showed I was a little slower on the second lap, but still in the 9:00min/mile range, sometimes less. Legs were getting a little heavier and I could tell I was a little fluid depleted. Still didn't need to use the bathroom. Coming back up the hill around mile 9 - decided I could walk it. Hit the top and was running again. Back into the campground and it was time to count down the miles. Someone asked a camper the time and when they said 12:10, I knew I could get my 2-hour goal. But, you still can fall apart at any point so I made sure I was taking in my fluids as best I could. Really wish I had a few more endurolytes. At mile 11 my left hamstring and calf started to twinge - didn't want them to cramp up as I was almost done! Some guy obviously doing the relay (dressed in running shorts) comes flying past me talking to himself. Just push through it, he was saying (or something like that). I quitely thanked him for the unintentional encouragement. Keep the legs moving even though for those last few miles they really don't want to! Turned the corner, found the stretch to the finish line and went as fast (not very) as my legs would take me! Crossed the yellow brick road finish line (it is Kansas) with the KU cheerleaders cheering and was pretty dang happy to be done. Got my finisher's medal and pint glass. Tim was there and I worked my way back. A glance at the finish clock said 6:05, so doing the math from my wave time I came really close to my "amazing race" goal time of 5:30:00.

Run Results: 1:57:29, 8:58min/mile, 27/76 age group, 690/1487 overall

OVERALL RESULTS: 5:36:47, 27/76 age group, 688/1487 overall

Then I just was looking foward to a post-race dinner of pizza, beer, and ice cream!

Friday, April 17, 2009

More Snow and a Banana Smoothie - and I'm published!

Why does the weekend weather have to be snowy, cold and nasty for the last several weeks?! It's mid-April and you'd think of mild temps, but no, it's Spring with storms. It's forcing creative workout planning for sure. The snow started early this morning and it is still hanging around, probably until sometime tomorrow. We've had breaks, but you can see the huge moisture band to the east (Colorado Springs is in the top of the empty spot, near the small cluster of green surrounded by white...) So tomorrow's Team workout will be a spin. We were going to run at Garden of the Gods (great place to run!) but we'll stay off potentially slick roads since it is hilly there.

Here's the latest banana recipe -

Coffee Banana Smoothie
2 small bananas, peeled, cut up & frozen
1 1/2 cup milk or soy milk
1 container (8 oz size) low-fat coffee yogurt (you could also use another flavor or plain yogurt and just replace 1/2 c of the milk with 1/2 c coffee)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 dash ground nutmeg
A great recovery drink with protein, potassium and calcium! Could also boost the protein by adding a scoop of whey protein powder.
Running news
Last Tuesday (4/14) we ran "best effort" miles at our weekly track workout. I ran a 6:47 - my best yet! (previous best was 6:54). Woohoo!
I wrote an article on Team In Training for the local online news site, coloradosprings.com.
I'm working on the next one now, which will be about our Team Heroes. Can't hurt to provide a little extra press for the cause!

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Loooooong workout today!

Today I did all my workouts back-to-back (as race day this is what you have to do). :-)
swim: 2500 yds. drove home, changed into my bike shorts and hopped on the trainer. It was just a little too cold and windy to ride outside today. Plus some of the roads had a little bit of snow near the shoulders. Spent the next 2.5hrs on the bike and watched Gladiator. The movie was the right length for this ride - I was wrapping up when the credits started to roll. Then quick change to running shoes and pants for a 30 minute run. The wind was chilly but sunny so I could keep pretty warm running. Still wouldn't have wanted to have been out there on the bike!!
Got home, had the rest of yesterday's peanut butter/banana/chocolate smoothie from this new food chain here called Froots. Had a tuna wrap yesterday and it was pretty good. Actually a reasonably priced place for healthy food choices. yay!!

Then I napped. Naps are good. After the nap, Tim and I started cleaning up for the 2nd Annual Casino Royale! It's 4 weeks away, but I think we need all that time to get the house ready, especially with my weekends being sucked up by a lot of training.

Yesterday was a good day of training, too. With the storm I scheduled the TNT workout at Bicycle Village for a spin class. We shared the room with a group training for the MS 150. We had a workout projected on a screen (BV folks have a workouts to choose from that tell you what to do each minute) and I yelled out what to do next. A lot of cadence work and some single leg drills. A good workout for everyone! Then I held a nutrition clinic for the TNT folks and let anyone from the MS150 group stay. I thought it went pretty well, even though I was expecting my assistant coach to be there for support, but she was sick. bummer.
After the clinic, time to get a run and swim in. Ran 60 minutes on the treadmill - about all I can take! I changed pace and grade about every five minutes to help keep things interesting. To cool down a little I hopped in the pool for about 20 minutes. I was pretty tired (and hungry) at the end of all that!

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

TNT and a bomb of a banana recipe!

I'm signed up again with Team in Training! This time I will run the Denver Marathon on Oct 18th. That is going to be an adventure, as the longest race I've done is a half marathon. Here's to my IT bands holding up! but I figure if I want to do a full Ironman triathlon in 2011 (IM Florida) then it might be good for my overall endurance training to do a marathon. And since this will be about 2 years prior to the full IM, I should have plenty of recovery time! :-)

But since I am signed up with Team in Training - that means more fundraising! Here's my online page - my goal is $2000.

and since it's been a while since I've posted a banana recipe, here's one from Emeril...

Banana Quesadillas

1 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
2 ripe medium bananas, peeled
10 flour tortillas (7 inches in diameter)
4 tablespoons butter
2 1/2 cups caramel sauce, warm, recipe follows
4 medium bananas
Whipped cream
Fresh mint sprigs
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cheese until smooth. Add the sugar and bananas, continue to beat until smooth. Spread 1/4 cup of the filling over half of each tortilla. Fold the other half over the filling and press slightly. Place on a large plate and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until the filling sets, about 30 minutes. In a large saute pan, over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. Pan-fry the tortillas in batches, 3 at a time, until golden on each side, about 2 minutes per side. Repeat the above process with the remaining butter and filled tortillas. To serve, slice each filled tortilla into thirds. Arrange the slices in the center of each serving plate. Spoon a 1/4 cup of the warm caramel sauce over each plate. Peel the bananas and slice 1/4-inch thick. Garnish each plate with the sliced bananas, a dollop of whipped cream and a sprig of fresh mint.

Recipe from Everyday Is A Party Cookbook, by Emeril Lagasse, with Marcelle
Bienvenu and Felicia Willett, published by William Morrow, 1999
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 cup heavy cream
In a small, heavy saucepan, combine the sugar and water and bring to a boil, stirring often. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is a deep caramel color and has the consistency of a thick syrup, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the heat. Stir in the cream, return the saucepan to high heat, and boil the sauce until it regains the consistency of a thick syrup, about 2 minutes. Yield: about 3/4 cup

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Turn up the Volume!

Training Volume, that is! 2nd week off of work (last week was a "rest" week) and I am putting in a big volume week - about 20 hours of training, which is a lot for me. The goal is for it to kick up my fitness level. This week is also the first first official Coach Matt Training Plan. And what a plan it is! I'm half-way through the training week (Monday is a rest day) and actually feel pretty good. here's what I've been doing - and for those of you who get tired from reading my typical workout days, get the pillow ready!

Tues - morning swim of 2500 yds. working on lengthening my stroke - need a little (a lot) more glide.
lunch time bike ride of 2 hours. the weather was actually decent enough that I headed downtown and back home. I just wish I didn't live on top of a hill - my house is at 6800ft, downtown is just above 6000. that means 800ft of pure elevation gain, more if you count the rolling hills!
evening track practice - 4+ miles of quality running.
Wed - morning run - 45 minutes on mostly soft trail. even though it was an "easy" run, it wasn't really after tuesday's track! legs felt it!
mid-day (11am-2pm) 3 hour ride. I found Highway 24 is pretty flat heading east. too bad it's windy out there! temps were about 37, a few snow flakes, but otherwise I had a really nice ride!
Evening swim turned into a brief 20 minute session - I got kicked out of the pool because of a water aerobics class! oh well, 4 hours of training in one day is pretty good!
Thurs - get the workout in before the snow storm! Got up and did a great 60 minute workout on the trainer, followed by a 30minute run on a local neighborhood path. I will admit I was getting sucked into Bravo's supermodel reality show, but had the will power to pull away so that I could run right off the bike. felt surprisingly good. Then it was time for breakfast at mimi's with Elissa and Joey! honey oat bran muffin rocked!
I planned a lunch time swim, and almost finished my last set (4 more laps to go) when I got kicked out of the pool because the gym was closing - 24 hour fitness wasn't open 24 hours today! But the storm is making the roads pretty nasty and it took me about 20 minutes to go what usually is 5. But I did get in 2300 yards.

Now I'm just trying to relax, going to hit my foam roller and work out most of the muscle groups. Tomorrow is another big day - 30min run, 2hr bike, and 2900yds swimming! The one good thing is that I have to eat to have the energy to do these! and I'm eating pretty healthy, too! Although the snow is putting me in the mood for ice cream - not sure why!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Timeless Taupe

Last year during the 4th of July holiday I painted my bedroom and the tub/sink part of the 5-pc bath: http://bananadeath.blogspot.com/2008/07/paint-pics.html
Never did get around to the shower/toilet area so that is what I did today. Finally got the "Timeless Taupe" up on the walls! This morning I picked up a new quart of paint at Lowe's - the bathroom is small so I figured that would be enough (more later). I also had the can left over from the summer that I had used on the bedroom stripe. Then I tracked down all the painting supplies - tape, drop clothes, plastic trays, brushes, rollers and what not. Good - had everything I needed. Bathrooms with toilets are a challenge (do you paint behind the toilet or not?) but I decided to "do it right" and take off the tank to the toilet. That went surprisingly well. Then the fun of taping the trim and tile as to not get paint everywhere. OK, ready to paint. I'll start with the new can of paint. Squeezed up on a ladder in the shower to get to the high ceilings, but all was well. I really don't mind painting and figured I could be done around lunch time. When I was getting to the area behind the toilet, I realized I was pretty low on paint. Rather than struggle to eek out every bit of coverage from the new can, I went out to the garage to grab the old can. Oops - never leave paint in the garage in Colorado. I'm sure it froze a few times during the winter and now was useless. So now I am back to what I was hoping to avoid - getting every last drop out of that new can! It was painful, but I did it. The walls wouldn't mind a second coat, but I don't see that happening any time soon. Maybe I'll just hang some pictures. :-)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

end of week report and exams

Today is day #5 (wow - it is Friday already!) of the ATMEL 2-week shutdown. Brief recap of the week so far.
1) Coach with a Coach...I've hired a coach to train me. You might ask why a coach would need a coach. There are several reasons - one being that if you spend a lot of your time with your clients, you tend to neglect yourself (especially with a busy schedule like mine). Second, it always helps to have someone else out there motivating you. I met Coach Matt at the USAT Level I Coaching Clinic. We have a similar science background and have similar philosphies regarding training and how it fits into life, so we'll give it a shot.

2) Vision is still stable...I had my annual check-up on Wednesday and all is good. My eye prescription still hasn't changed -it's been stable for at least 4 years now. Going to the eye doctor is not one of your "traumatic" doctor offices, although some might not enjoy the puff of air in the glaucoma test. Every year I try not to flinch and every year I fail. My doc also gives this peripheral vision test - you put a patch over one eye and rest your chin on this rest of a bowl-like contraption that might be an planetarium for mice. You stare at a light spot and then flashes of light go off in different locations in the bowl, and each time you see a light flash, you click a clicker. For some reason I think this is also a reaction time test, and I'm clicking away as fast as I can as soon as I see the light. Haven't missed a flash yet!

3) Neck Poppin'...At last Saturday's race I got a free massage and they were scheduling free evaluations with a chiropractor. Why not check it out - can't hurt, right? I went on Monday, got some x-rays, back on Tuesday and apparently I'm pretty whacked out in my neck and lower back. Though it probably explains some of the little aches in my neck and lower back I ignore or blame on training. Since I've got insurance coverage for this, I figured I would sign up for the treatment that I'm covered for. Every afternoon (good thing I'm off work) I head over there for time in a wobble chair, self-hanging on this neck contraption, 10 minutes of a nice back massage table - it runs along the spine, creating space between the vertebrae, and then an adjustment by the doctor. Boy does my neck crack - yesterday was really loud. I have about 12 more visits over the next few weeks and then they will take more x-rays to see how much my "loss of curve" in my neck and my other misalignments have improved.

4) NEO Endurance Sports and Fitness...been working on the research for my business plans. Also have a lot of documentation to take care of like business cards, waivers, athlete history forms. But I look forward to getting my coaching business rolling!