Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Soloist

The conversation went like this:

Me: Next week, the boys head back to school. It's the last week before things really start getting busy, and I was thinking.....

Mike cuts me off here and says: I think that's a great idea. Load up your pack, take a tent, go spend time in the mountains. I'll take care of the kids, get them to school, pick them up. That's a great idea.

Of course, he was right. That's exactly what I was going to say to him.

When it comes to activites or sports, I have two favorites. Two things that are head and shoulders above the rest.

And, they have nothing to do with swimming, biking, or running.

For me, nothing can beat hiking/snowshoeing and sailing.

Everyone is different. What I get out of being in the mountains or being on the ocean is very different than what you get out of it.

As different as hiking and sailing are, they give me the same thing. It's the sense of how powerful Mother Nature is.

When you climb a mountain, (especially heading into Fall), you can feel the power of the mountain. When a storm comes in, you quickly realize how small we as people are compared to the size and power of the earth.

There isn't a race out there that can duplicate the humbling feelings of climbing.

That's why my other love is sailing. Feeling the ocean below and the wind above always draws up images of Zeus and Poseidon battling it out with small humans stuck in between. Being able to reach down and almost touch the water, as you're flying across, salt water spraying your face.

As glamorous as both sound, they also both require strength. Strength to pull yourself up to the next step or strength to pull in the jibsheets or jump or clearing the boom. Both leave me tired, no make that: exhausted, sore, dirty, and sunburned.

That's another aspect that makes both of those appealing.

Maybe it's the work that goes into them that makes the outcome so special. Maybe it is the work it takes to get to a certain point that makes the beauty of your surroundings, that.much.better.

In the meantime, I'm plotting my course.

I'm packing up my gear, going to the sportman's store for a few must have supplies. Then, I'll be heading up.

See you all on the flipside.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Looking Back

I took on an interesting exercise this morning.

I went through and found all my previous race results. I took all these race results and organized them into an Excel spreadsheet, so I would have them easily available to compare.

Of course, I'm completely aware that only a complete dork would do this.

Between maiden and married names and legal and nicknames, my results are all over the place.

In doing this, I learned some very important things.

1.) I joke around about how slow I am. Until 2006, I was FAST. Speedy damn fast. It was in 2006, that I broke my heel. I wasn't able to run for a very very long time. Since then, I've done so many long distance events that I've completely forgotten that I.AM.FAST.

I just have to get back into that mindset that I'm not a plodder.

I'm still shocked by the fact that I let this "slow" mindset take control of me for so long. Forget the recovery time and then building up endurance again. I'm past all that. I can run hard again.

I'm going to run hard again.

2.) I haven't had a half marathon PR since 2003.

I know I've told you differently.

But I really believed it.

I thought in May of this year, I had a half marathon PR. But I didn't. It wasn't even close. It was the fastest time that I've posted since my accident, but it was not even close to a PR.

What would you do with this information?

Here's what I'm going to do....I don't know when I'm going to go for these goals. I haven't gotten that far.

I'm going to start exacting some revenge. Not alot, but some friendly competition.

My plan for my Oct Half marathon was to PR. Now, given that I know what my "true" PR is, I don't know if I can accomplish that. BUT, the stakes have been raised. I will beat my May time (granted it's a different course).....and I'm going for an overall PR next May.

I also want to head back to San Diego to beat my best ever marathon time. Flat and running at sea's pretty great coming from CO. The last time I ran there, I pr'd but I didn't fuel properly. Imagine what I'll do now.

I used to run a race called Running of the Green Lucky 7k. It's in our snowiest month, and the race is always cold. My fastest time in this race was 35:12. I'm going to start training to beat that time.

Next, remember that "fun" Turkey Trot. Yea, well prior to 2006, I was posting some smokin' fast times. This year, I'm going all out for that 4 mile race. None of that, "will I break 40 min?" crap anymore....nope.....


Saturday, August 15, 2009

The unexpected PR

My Oly "race" was this morning. It fell on my last peak weekend, where I do the oly today then ride 4.5 hours tomorrow.

Although it was in the back of my mind that it would be nice to PR, my goals were much simpler:

1.) Get my groove back on the swim. The Dip n Dash Crash was a fluke. Go out easy and just finish the swim.

2.) The bike: test out nutrition, try a negative split but don't sacrifice the legs to get it.

3.) The run: run steady and hold it.


I've never been so calm before a race. I had a funny dream right before the alarm went off. In the dream, the race was canceled due to a blizzard. For some reason, I was very calm in the dream, and I woke with the same frame of mind.

I ate more than I normally would for an oly race for breakfast. This turned out to be a good thing because I felt great during the race.

The Swim:
(I don't have official times, so these are taken from my watch and garmin. MY times are likely off).

Slow and steady....just get through it.

The swim went well. I had one incident where a woman crossed in front of me just like during the Dip n Dash, but I forced myself to move over and I kept saying "nice and worries, you're just out for a swim."

I sorta swam extra long taking wider turns and trying to stay out of the crowds, but I think it helped.

When I exited the water, my time was 35 minutes, which is by far my slowest swim time. But I was very happy. I was nice and calm, and I got thru it.....that's all I wanted.

The bike:
I've talked about this course over and over. So, here's the main point. I averaged 17.8 out and about 16 on the return.

I was thrilled with my speeds because: 1.) I didn't feel like I pushed it 2.) I had plenty left for the run.

The bike is also my nemesis when it comes to nutrition. My plan was to have 1 gu every 30 minutes (one being at the start). I was thinking my time might come in around the 1:30 mark. I had an extra one in my pocket when I finished, but I'm positive I had my 3 GU's.

Either way, it worked.

The next part of the bike was knowing the course. For the first time in my "racing" experience, I was passing people. I heard people cussing at the hills and complaining about it, but I knew every single hill. I knew which ones give me trouble and I need to take slow, and I know the ones that look tough but are actually quite easy climbs. This benefited me as person after person would pass me at the bottom of a hill only to have me them pass them and leave them behind on the climb.

Of the entire day, the biggest confidence booster of the day was the bike. I was grinning from ear to ear when I got to transition. In fact, the volunteers were commenting on it.

I felt so good on the bike. 40k and it was over like that.

The bike was about a 10 min PR.....again, I'm not exactly sure.

The run:
As you know, I didn't know what to expect here. My running has pretty much been in maintenance mode.

I just wanted to take it slow and steady and run the whole thing.

The nice part about training for a half iron is the "distance perspective" issue. As I'm running the 10k, I'm thinking to myself "two 5k's, piece of cake".

And it was, it was very slow, and I did not push the pace at all. I think my average pace came in around 11:55. It felt very good.

I brought 2 GU's with me for the run and walked through the aid stations.

In fact, when I finished the run, I asked, "could you do that for 7 more miles?" I'm pretty sure I could, today, without the benefit of the taper.

I pr'd here, but I don't know by how much, I think it was a 6 minute PR.

I think I messed around in transition. I wasn't in any hurry to get out. It was my first race in a year, so I made sure that I had everything that I needed.

I'm pretty sure that I lost some time here.


The funniest part of this race is that this distance is the one that I suck the most at. Hey, we all have our strengths and weaknesses, and well, I'm not afraid to say that I have never gotten above the 50% in my age group in this distance. (I don't even know if I made the top 50% today. The official results are not posted yet).

The best part, though, is that I PR'd so effortlessly. I wasn't even trying. I know my heart rate only got to z3 on the hardest of climbs. The rest of the time, I just kind of plodded along happily talking to people.

There ya have it.
Tomorrow I'm out for my last long ride (4.5 hours), then I'm on to taper.

If nothing else, this race gave me a huge confidence boost. I feel very ready to go all out and try for a PR in September.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Super Support Crew

When I closed down my old blog, I knew that I was going to lose many readers and friends.

What I didn't expect was to have some people follow me over here. I was also able to meet new people.

For as much as I write this for me, it's really nice to have a true support crew who sticks by me and knows what to say at the right time. If you're reading this, then I'm talking to you.

I can tell what great company I'm in by the comments that were posted the other day....well thought out...and to the point comments. (Sometimes we all need a little more than "good for you!"---not that there's anything wrong with that).

Moving to this blog has turned into a quality over quantity thing, and I'm so appreciative of the comments you all wrote the other day.

I thank each of you for stopping by when you have the time and leave your notes of support.

This weekend is a big weekend. The biggest one of peak time.

Saturday: I'm running 2 hours on the Half iron route. I will get in somewhere between 10-12 miles depending on how I'm feeling and the route I take to get there.

I'm also swimming 1:30. I'm going to the reservoir and doing as much as I can of the route (which isn't much). I think that my best use of time for this swim is by doing running starts, swimming out to about 100m then finding my stride for a total of 1000m. Then I'll exit. I'm going to do this about 3 times. It won't be 1:30, but I think it will address some of the problems that I had during the Dip n Dash (going out to fast and being unable to recover after being knocked about).

On Sunday, I have a 5 hour ride. This will be the longest of my training. I'm going out to the course and will do the route about 1.5 times. Obviously that's not exact, but I'll do whatever distance I can in the 5 hours where I don't end up finishing 10 miles away. :) Seriously, the bike is the hardest to gauge my time. That doesn't matter as much as spending the time going up and down the hills over and over again. I'm planning on being out the door at 6am, so I don't spend my afternoon out there again.

The following weekend seems easier looking at volume, but I know it won't be. I've decided to go ahead and do the oly race. The swim is an individual timed start not a mass start. So, I'll go out find my half iron pace and hold it. Likewise for the bike and run.

Once I get through these two weekends, I'm down to the taper. It's roughly 4 weeks of tapering, but a good bit of it is still full bricks and such. The long rides are gone.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

What just happened?

I guess I was due for a bad week.

We have alot going on personally (family health issues as well as family business issues) and I think it's one of the things affecting my training this week.

On Saturday, I had a long swim and a long run. Both went exceptionally well.

On Sunday, I had a long bike. For many reasons, the bike did not go well. I mentally was not prepared to get lost as many times as I did (my map fell out of my pocket somewhere along the way). I wasn't mentally prepared for the constant climbing (up into the foothills), and I wasn't prepared for the poor road conditions as I road through three different counties. Finally, I wasn't prepared for the....uhhhhh....incident along the way that had something to do with a broken sewer line.

Had I had it mentally on Sunday, even with the bad stuff, I probably would have enjoyed the ride. As it was, for only averaging 11.7 mph, my legs were shot. There were times in which I honestly thought my legs were just going to explode. I felt like I did a century and not metric century.

OK, that was Sunday.

Recently, I've not been sleeping well. This is for several reasons but mostly it's hormonal. It's hard to deal with, but it's also a natural part of a woman's life. It's just the HEAT. The waking up soaking wet. GOODNESS.

This means I'm tired during the day. So on Monday, instead of doing a recovery run, I opted to just do the strength training.

I didn't sleep well Monday night, and that put me on to the day of my Dip n Dash.

I didn't eat well Tuesday.....keep in mind, that I really eat well. Even when I say that I didn't eat well, that's relative.

One thing was for sure, I did not eat enough carbohydrates for fuel for the race. As I stood at the water's edge, I had that feeling. You probably know the feeling. It's the one where you're not thirsty but you know something is missing, right?

Wishing that I had SOME kind of beverage....hell, I would have drank a soda a this point, I scrounge around in my bag and find a two year old bag of Luna Moons.

It's hot out, so they are soft. What the heck. It's better than nothing, and I cram almost the whole bag in my mouth.

I am signed up for the 1500m swim and 5k run.

But, I'm dragging. I run into several women that I've gotten to know over the years from DipnDashes and local races.

My energy level is at it's all time low. I mean that if someone said "here's a cot just lay down and take a nap", I would have done it.

It's hot (95 degrees). I have a wetsuit on when I feel a hot flash hit me. As I'm walking down to the water, I can feel the sweat running down my face down my legs, side. I need to get to the water.

Everyone is talking about how cold it is. But, I go right under, and I've never felt anything so good.

Some women start talking to me. I'm usually very social, but I really need to save my energy.

When it's time to start, I started swimming like crazy. As it is with OW swims, It's frantic. I think to myself, "Wow, the field has really gotten faster."

I know I'm in the front with the faster women. Then, someone swims over me, and under I go. No big deal except that I took in a bunch of water, and the water was pretty rough. I tried to come up for air and got socked with another mouthful of water.

Needing air, I try to do a head out of the water type of swim, but my heart was racing, and I couldn't calm down. I knew that I would be hyperventilating very soon.

I decide to try to swim freestyle again. Just as I start, I look up to find the buoy when someone crosses in front of me and kicks me right in the jaw.

OH geez, that hurt. Now, I can't swim for anything. I wave to a kayaker. I know I need a break.
She starts talking to me and saying things like, "You can do this. I know it's hard. But you can do it. Swim anyway you can, but get back out there."

I'm calmed down and start swimming again. That's when I decide that I'm not doing the 1500m swim. I'm going to do the 750 swim, and I AM GOING to do it.

I'd like to say the rest of the swim was a piece of cake, but it wasn't. The water was turbulent. I kept imagining my wetsuite choking me. Then, I found a guy who was swimming in front of me. I realized that I had actually caught up to the slower guys (who left before the women). I decide to draft him. (For those of you unfamiliar with the swim, drafting is LEGAL in swimming AND it requires less energy because the person in front of you is taking the current. You just get to swim easily behind them).

As I exited the water, my legs felt like lead. My time which should have been around 14 minutes (in training) or much faster (in racing) came in at 17 minutes for 750m.

The funny part is that I would have guessed I was out there for 20minutes! I guess that's good, but now I have to run.

Mike and the boys are sitting there. I must have had a funny look on my face because they start cheering and looking at me as though something isn't right.

I almost burst into tears.

I take off my wetsuit and start running. It's so so hot. Really wishing that I had something other than this now 97 degree heat. My legs just won't "fire". I don't have my garmin. They've changed the route, so I have no idea how far I've gone. I keep thinking "Just turn back. It's just a dip n dash." But I keep going. The route is entirely small steep hills. I decide to walk up and run down each hill.

The race doesn't use timing chips anymore, and I accidentally stopped my stop watch when I got out of the water. But I think my time came in around an hour.

I guess that's not too bad given that I walked half the course.

Again, it was mental.

I was walking/running thinking that maybe it was time for me to retire from the world of triathlon. Maybe I should just do the cycling thing for awhile. Or go back to running, but I really like swimming. Maybe I should just exercise and not compete.

Maybe I shouldn't even bother with Rattlesnake or Harvest Moon. Maybe CDA messed me up more than I realized. Maybe, maybe, maybe....I should give myself a few days of rest.

Last night, I still didn't sleep very well, but it was better than previous nights. I didn't get up until 8:15.

I know that peak weeks are difficult. I know that the volume of work is physically and mentally demanding. That with "other stuff" can really take a toll on the body. So.....

I'm going to do what I can. When I feel like I need to back off, I'm going to.

We'll see where I stand in 10 days when I have my first race of the year: an Oly tri.