Friday, May 30, 2008

TTT 2009

I've been reading race reports from the TTT, and I GOTTA do this race next year.

I suppose I should focus on this month for now, instead of 12 months from now. I've got a lot coming up in the next few weeks!

I came to work this morning, thinking that my dogs are so lucky. They get to spend the day outside, napping, chasing chipmunks, being a general nuisance to each other. And I get to sit on my ass for 9 hours at a computer, with the nearest window 20 feet away. I might as well be a mushroom.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Mental Toughness - I hope I have it

So, last month I decided to actually start loosely following the ironman training plan I purchased last year, and didn't use (because I didn't do ironman arizona - too wimpy to train throughout the winter, bike issues...). Now things are going swimmingly (except for my swimming), so I decided to start following the training plan. And I have this little race penciled in on my calendar, called Silverman. They offer a half IM and a full IM. Its an incredibly beautiful setting for a race (go to their website and read one of the race reports, originally posted on slowtwitch, the pics are fabulous). When I read the race report I decided I wanted to do one of the races someday. This year seems like a great time to do it. I am planning to give IM Lou 2009 a shot, so I could use silverman as a practice run at the training, and use it as a great practice race, pacing, nutrition.... Its a super hard race, lots of climbing on the bike (10000ft) and run (2000ft), so it won't be a fast race, but it will give me a great test. And will give me a great base for next years training.

So, as I said, I started the training plan. I'm not following it exactly, because I do my own swim workouts, the ones on the plan are too boring for me. And since I still race xterra and mountain bikes, I swap an occasional road ride for an mtb ride. I'm two weeks into the plan, woohoo, and so far, so good. I wonder how mentally tough I will be at sticking to the plan in two months. I think I will have help on the long runs. This morning when I ran with Emily I asked her if she would be able to do her long runs (in prep for a fall marathon) on Thursday mornings so we can do them together. I think she will be able to. That will be a huge help - for both of us!

Now is the time for me to start getting tough, mentally tough. I think I'm finally ready, 9 years after IM Lake Placid 1999! But I also have to chill out and enjoy. After all, this is all just for fun!!!!!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Good Weekend

It was great to have a three day weekend of training. Saturday started with a hilly 7mile trail run with Daisy (she did some swimming too).

Then a 3.5 hour mtb at Brown County. The pace ranged from easy to time at zone 5, and we got to hit the new trail which has some new technical things to practice on, including some very cool rock bridges. I did ok on the way out, but the return trip was a little sketchy. Tired legs after the hills on the run and the earlier part of the ride, had me riding not so smart. Tired legs on the road bike just mean you go slower, or hurt more. Tired legs on the mtb mean potential crashes, or lots of dabbing, or even stopping to prevent a crash. Rode with Angela, Meredith and Heather, all great riders, Heather puts the hurt to me every time we ride. She always says she is slow and out of shape, but she is undoubtedly one of the top 2 women riders in the state (along with Sally - who by the way is doing RAAM next month!).

Sunday was more of the same, but this time started with the ride, 3.5 hrs mtb again, my legs were toast by the end. Next weekend is the local mtb race at Brown County, and unfortunately it is on Sunday, and Saturday will be a hard training day. But that's just the way it goes. I'll do the race, but it will be a good hard training day, because the real race for me is June 8, at Pelham. My first outdoor swim of the season was yesterday afternoon. The water felt fantastic, although a little warm (82 degrees), I hope they shut off the heater, or I'll be forced back into the indoor pool in a few weeks because the outdoor pool will be too hot. Managed a ladder of 200m->50m on 1:30 sendoff, holding 1:20-25ish pace. Not great, but since I have been averaging 1500 yards per week, my swiming is really off. I hope I don't lose a lot of minutes at Pelham compared to last year. Monday morning and I wanted to hit the TT bike, since I have a whole day off, but Daisy was going crazy this morning so I opted for another hilly trail run this AM, (Pelham has a killer killy 10k run at the end, so the more practice I get on the hills the better, and it was wamr and very humid, the first time we've had a warm morning, so it was good practice for Alabama , where its probably 15+ degrees warmer than we are). Thought maybe I'd ride this afternoon. But my legs are tired, and I have an interval TT ride on the training calendar for tomorrow, so I'm just going to mellow out and do some work around the house this afternoon.

I've read some of the TTT race reports, and think 2009 will be the time to give that race a try. Next summer will be a big focus on ironman, I'm excited about that, and enjoying riding the TT bike right now and getting myself confortable with it.

Also got to watch another stage of the Giro - a big mountain stage. Those guys are monsters climbing those mountains! Someday I want to go Eurpoe and climb some of the big famous climbs, or at least try to.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Be Green

As an athlete who spends a lot of hours outdoors training and racing, I want to see my world be healthier, safer, greener, for the rest of my life. The David Suzuki Foundation has a lot of tips on how you can contribute to a greener planet. Take their challenge. I'm going to.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Entered Xterra Southeast & East championships

So, I decided to race the fast girls two weekends in a row. I've entered the Xterra Southeast Championships in Pelham, AL on June 8. I raced there last year, second in my AG. This year I'm going to double up and also race the East championships in Richmond, VA on June 15. I can't wait to see the Richmond course, I've heard it is a lot of fun, and some good technical challenges. At Pelham I hope for a good preride of the Blood Rock section, because I don't want to walk my bike through that section during the race. I found this good youtube clip of a mtb race on the same trail. Check it out

Thursday, May 15, 2008

I'm tired...

Tired of all the rain. Tired of not being able to ride my mountain bike whenever I want to because the trails are too wet. I'm tired of watching the lawn grow so fast that it could use a mowing more than once a week (I don't do it, but it could use it). Tired of having to clean the dogs every time they come in from outside, which leads to more dirty towels to clean! Tired of having to carry a bunch of extra crap when I ride my bike to work to stay dry on the way to work, or to be dry at work, or not get soaked on the way home.

I'm tired of my hamstrings being sore - I know I should do something about that! And I'm tired of swimming like a slug every time I go to the pool for my measley 30 minute swims. I'm also tired of work. I want a sabbatical for the summer.

On a brighter note. I'm happy that I've got my diet/nutrition under control. Things are looking good there. In the one mtb ride I did get in the past two weeks, I rode really well, no crashes, cleared pretty much everything, and had a blast. And my bathroom remodel is almost finished! Soo, I won't have to walk to the other end of the house when I wake up at 2am to go to the bathroom.

And I'm thankful that my parents have kindly volunteered to come over a few days this week and next week while Todd is out of town so I can work and get in my training, without neglecting the dogs, and have someone at the house while the bathroom remodel work is being completed.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Dances with Dirt Gnaw Bone recap

'Welcome to the dark side of running.

Weak, wimpy, treadmill running pansies who are afraid to get some dirt in their shorts need not apply.

Expect to be scratched, muddied and bruised by the beauty of this unpolished gem.

Expect to get out near the edge where life is full color.

Expect a day that leaves you knowing you are fully alive, awake and crankin' on all cylinders.

Expect insanity, stupidity and nirvana. '

That is the welcome you get from the DWD website.

Yesterday 14 friends and myself danced with dirt and mud in the hills of Brown County State Park (yes, there are hills in Indiana, ask anyone who rode in the PanAm cycling road race back in the 90's what they thought of the hills). This second year race, attracted teams from as far away as Florida! They give out awards for the best costumes. Some folks were chasing beer cans hanging from their hats. Other fun costumes included, men running in kilts, tie-dyed hippies, a team handing off a fuzzy pink bunny rabbit backpack at each exchange, men wearing Kentucky Fried Chicken buckets on their heads. While there are some super fast runners, most are here for fun. Probably half of the runs are on established trail, half are off trail through the woods, follow the flags, if you miss one you could be lost for a while - last year one person was lost for 4 hours! Last year every one on our team got lost once. This year we fared much better with not a single person getting off track. It was a perfect day, sunny, highs near 70. Lots of mud, lots of water crossings, lots of smiles, and laughs.

If you have 4 friends you want to enjoy a fun day in the woods with, give this event a try.

And, yes, there really is a town in Indiana, called Gnaw Bone! Population 5, or something like that.

What's up with the Giro d'Italia podium girls

I love to watch professional cycling, but today I noticed that the podium girls at the Giro give the stage awards, and then each girl stands next to the winner, ina posed photo shot with each girl kissing one cheek of the winner. Its just so non-athletic. Isn't it enough that they give the flowers and champagne, or whatever it is they give. Do they have to do the posed kissing shot!

ok, done with my rant.

Happy Mothers Day!

Happy mother's day to all the moms out there, and especially my mom.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Tomorrow we will be dancing with dirt

Tomorrow , myself and 14 women from Bloomington, will be doing the second annual Dances with Dirt GnawBone 100k relay in beautiful Brown County State park. We've had a lot of rain the last two days and more on the way this evening, so we might be dancing in some mud too. But it should be a fun day, forecast is sunny and 60's. Will post more after the race, hopefully with a few pictures.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

My dogs

Daisy is the best trail running partner ever. She LOVES running. Her longest trail run is 18+miles. This picture was obvioulsy taken in winter, but it just shows her true joy to run. We hit the trails at least once a week.

Sam, on the other hand, hates the car (as do I), so he doesn't go to the trails. But he is a cutie!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

First weigh-in of 2008

So, I have not weighed myself since Christmas! This morning seemed the time to do it. Yesterday I started recording my food in fitday again, and had a good day. The weigh-in this morning was not as bad as I feared. I have a few pounds to lose, but just cutting out the empty calories will do it quickly. Yesterday it was easy to do, everytime I think about writing down what I eat, its easier for me not to eat it. Training is going ok. Consistent, even if not much volume, some quality work, and the swimming consistency is coming back. This weekend is Dances with Dirt 100k relay, a fun day running through the woods with 14 other girls from town. First xterra will either be Ft Bragg, or Pelham. I have not been on the mtb in a week, just had weird schedule, weather, and Todd out of town, which makes me feel a little guilty being gone all day for work, and all evening on a mtb ridde, making the dogs fend for themselves for entertainment, love and affection. After all, I chose to have dogs (and cats), I have to provide them with a happy life.

Monday, May 5, 2008

it was a good weekend!!

I got to ride my new bike (the Guru) twice, and go to coldstone creamery twice! ack! I know I shouldn't have. But I always go once a week, so I went on Saturday, and then my parents came for a visit, and they wanted to go on Sunday, and I couldn't say no!

My new bike is SWEET! And coldstone chocolate devotion is sweeter. Too bad my waistline doesn't like it so well.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Trail Run - wildlife sightings

Gorgeous trail run this morning. Paynetown is exploding in green. The redbuds and dogwoods are flowering, ferns are popping up everywhere. Daisy flushed out a big wild turkey, and we saw our first turtle of the year - at the top of a hill - a good 300 vertical feet from the nearest stream - isn't that odd? Yep, box turtle, if I remember him correctly compared to the photos here.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

First Speedwork of 2008

Finally, I did something fast. Or at least I tried to go fast. Last week it was the 10mile TT (on my road bike) in :28:13 ouch. This morning was a tempo run, 15 minutes of fast (sort of), but it was all downhill, flat, downhill... I needed all the help I could get.

SwimBikeRun Goals for 2008

I figure if I put these out in writing for anyone to see, I'll feel more pressure to try to meet them all:

Race more mountain bike races
Improve mountain bike technical skills
Learn how to do a track stand
Learn how to pedal wheelie over a 8-12 inch log
Qualify for Xterra World Championships
Race two half ironman races
Break 5:05 at half ironman distance
Stay injury free
Don't overtrain
Enjoy every race
Ride mtb's with Todd
Run the trails with Daisy every week
Enjoy the time I get to spend with my training partners
Enjoy Life!

My First Expert MTB Race

So, I've only ever done two mountain bike races, and a handful of xterras over the last two years that I’ve been mountain biking. Since Randi and Angela both upgraded to expert this year,I figure I should race the big girls also! My upgrade was approved a few weeks ago. We decided to venture down to one of the Kentucky Points Series races, at Younger's Creek. We pre-rode the 14 mile loop Saturday afternoon. And I was a bit worried for the 2 laps due the experts on Sunday. There are switchbacks, steep, and very loose, the likes of which I have never ridden before. A long set for 500 feet elevation up at the start, lots of fun stuff on top, more difficult switchbacks in the middle, down and back up, more fun stuff, including the drop, what looked to me like straight down for 30 feet, off a completely horizontal lip. More hard stuff, and more awful switchbacks down. I seriously thought about dropping after one lap, but I thought if I could just pedal one more stroke, each pedal moved me past the half way point and toward the finish. The second lap was hard. I felt slow, and tired, and sloppy. But I managed a big smile going down the drop, as it was like an amusement park ride. I finished third. Out of only four women racing expert. Ok, so I felt a little out of my league, but I'm happy that I did the race, and finished, and had a few smiles along the way. I think there were only 9 women total at all levels of the race, its a challenging course. Every ride is a new learning experience for me, and I try to look at it that way. Did I have fun? What did I learn? What can I improve? And this one was probably the hardest course I've ever ridden. And had things I don't get to ever practice, so maybe I'll get myself back down there some weekend just for some switchback practice.

Just starting out

So, here I am, 41 years old. I grew up a fish. After years and years of swimming, I had a pretty good engine, and a decent tolerance for pain. After college swimming, I tried to run, tried to bike, and put it all together to compete in triathlon. I had very little success. I could complete races, but I was always middle of the pack (MOP). I always had bigger dreams. But running did not agree with me. Its better now (after compartment syndrome surgery, and other occasional visits for massage and ART therapy). I’ve learned to manage a decent run. And a decent bike, and my swim has not escaped me yet. Two years ago I took up mountain biking. I loved it. So I started doing xterra triathlons. And did quite well. In my second season, I qualified for the Xterra World Championships, went and competed, and finished 8th in my age group. I hope to go back again and try to improve on my performance on that course. But I still have dreams of road triathlons. I always dreamed of making it to the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii, but was never in the league of the girls who qualified. Last summer, the mountain bike training set me up with some girls who also train hard on the roads. And that helped my road racing too. I entered my first half ironman in years. I went 5:15, a PR by 20 minutes, at age 40, finished 7th out of 80+ in a very competitive AG field. I was inspired by this, especially since I had issues with poor bike position that cramped by legs throughout the bike ride, and took a couple miles of the run to work out. My ironman dreams are alive again. But how do I get there? I really believe I need a TT bike I can be comfortable on. And I just bought one, a Guru Crono (will post pic later). It was very comfy when I test rode it last week, so I’m very excited to get out there and ride it, and do some road tris this summer. I have a fantastic mountain bike that I train and race on (Specialized ERA full suspension). And now my goals have multiplied. I want to go back to Maui for the xterra world champs. I have dreams of one day qualifying for the Hawaii Ironman. And so, the next couple of years I’m going to work toward qualifying for both! And I’ll track it all here .