Tuesday, September 30, 2008

the anatomy of selecting a race

me: xterra nationals are in tahoe again, as they are every year. you shuold go.
me: no, I get headaches and nausea every time I go to the mountains.
me: you should go. try it. you'll never know until you try.
me: the race is in october. I train in warm weather to go to a national competition that is in october in the mountains. doesn't that seem kind of stupid?
me: yes, its stupid. but you should go anyways.
me: the water will be very cold.
me: that's why you bought a full sleeve wetsuit, stupid.
me: oh yeah, that's not a good excuse. but the trail is tons of sand, often deep, lots of climbing.

me: you can climb, and so what if you don't pratice in sand. just go try it.
me: i don't know. it just seems so silly to go all the way out there for a race at altitude, when I live at sea level, and don't get to practice on that kind of terrain, and it could be real cold, and a million other reasons not to go. and now the hammy is acting up.
me: suck it up princess. you already bought your plane ticket!
me: yeah, you are right. it will be an adventure.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

I love saran wrap

I desperately wanted to get in a mountain bike ride today. I leave for xterra nationals on Friday, and my hamstring has been annoying me and kept me from 2 days of any workout. SO I had read this summer about some pro wrapping their hamstring in saran wrap, so I tried it. And it worked! I rode the whole ride without a single pedal stroke where I had any hamstring issues! Now I'll try a run tomorrow wrapped in saran wrap.

Here are a few pics from the ride.
Low clouds hang in the park when we arrive.

local flock of geese

Saran wrap under my shorts - yes, it was rose colored saran wrap (from Christmas time)

Angela and Mike:


Thursday, September 25, 2008

niggles and jiggles

What is a niggle? A niggle is the unexplicable stab of pain/discomfort I get on random steps while running or walking. I’m just going along, minding my business, getting in my morning tempo run, or walking here in the office, and randomly, with no warning, and no trigger (like a step up or down, or a turn to either side), and my stupid hamstring seizes with a sharp pain. Sometimes it lasts for just one step, sometimes 2. Then its gone. And it might be gone for a minute, or an hour, or many hours. Its most annoying.

What is a jiggle? Well, that’s easy, that’s the little bounce in the soft spot around my midsection as I bound up the stairs. Caused by too many hohos, ice cream, birthday cake, and other sensational sweets! I better get myself back on track.

In the fight against jiggles, I’ve noticed the 3 of my male coworkers started riding their bikes to work this summer! Yeah for them! I think they have all lost a few pounds, and are actually enjoying it, and adding a few minutes onto the life of planet earth. I’ve been thinking I will try once again to ride my bike to work through winter, instead of wimping out and driving in when the weather turns angry. We’ll see how that goes. Maybe a new commuter bike will help!

Which is more green? Tossing rotting bananas in the composter or making banana bread. Last night I was ready to toss them, and went for the bread instead. I think the bread is less green, since I use the energy to run the oven for 45 minutes. Oh well. My oven doesn’t get much use since I’m a craptastic cook(thanks to Randi for the new word in my vocabulary – craptastic. I like that).

On my run this morning I was thinking about my upcoming trip to Tahoe (10/3), and was feeling guilty that I am flying on an airplane. The money, the fuel burned up by planes, the noise pollution. I hate planes. I hate flying. I get nervous, and I think they are so NOT green. I was googling ‘passenger miles per gallon’, and planes generally rank well below buses, and slightly below automobiles. If a car has more than one person, it doubles a planes passenger miles per gallon. So, carpool everyone (when you have to drive)! I keep thinking next year I will go back to Maui for Xterra Worlds (assuming I qualify), but oh the flying really gets to me! And then I look at other races I want to do, and a few others could require flying! Ack! I’ll be scaling it back.

I wonder if solar panels for residential homes in Indiana are even feasible – its not like we get 300+ days of sun each year. I’ll have to look into it.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

France, springtime, pave, rain, mud

Well, not exactly. Its September, Indiana, 80 degrees, and dry. But last nights ride was over 'pavement' that doesn't deserve the word 'paved'. The June flood ravaged roads in the valleys east of town were washed away down to the dirt and gravel, or chunky, at best. Then there was the farmer plowing his corn field, dust and fine corn stalk particles burning my eyes, and three big climbs. This ride could dislocate joints and knock teeth loose! I don't know how 6 of us came out of it without a single flat. It was enough to make me cross this route off my list for years to come!

In other news... I'm hiring a coach for next year!

Monday, September 22, 2008

save 11 Illinois state parks

The state of Illinois is threatening to shut down 11 state parks (some of which have excellent mountain bike trails).

Please fill out this petition to stop this from happening.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

what I can learn from Junior (my 1 year old cat)

This week Junior spent his first night outside - all night. I was so worried for him, and just wanted him to come back home. He did - 12 hours later, looking quite content. I wonder if he made some new friends?
What can I learn -> be adventerous! Life is short, step outside your comfort zone sometimes.

I carried him inside and he ate some food, and crashed on the sofa, asleep in 5 seconds.
What can I learn -> there is no place like home. You alwyas have to return to your comfort zone sometime. And rest is good. It renews you and gets you ready for the next adventure.

I called the dogs to let them outside before I went to work, it was going to be a beautiful day for them to enjoy. Junior had other ideas than sleeping the day away inside, and he bolted out the door, even before the dogs!
What can I learn -> Be excited about the next opportunity, who knows what lies outside the door, maybe you'll find another chipmunk (although I hope not for the chipmunks sake).

Enjoy the weekend! I'm going for a mountain bike ride shortly - always an adventure.

In fact, here is where I'll be riding:

Friday, September 19, 2008

beautiful birds

ok, so I was just checking out some info on bats and hawks, because I was worried that my little Junior spent the whole night outside last night, and we have bats (see previous post of one that got in my house!) and I was wondering what the likelihoof of them infecting my poor little Jr with rabies was. Also recently saw a hawk swoop down in my backyard to go after a cardinal, and worried about him picking up Jr and taking him far away from home.

But I got a little distracted by this site that had the most beautiful photographs of birds. Here are a few of my favorites. I don't see birds/ducks like this in Indiana!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

if I were to advertise companies on my self as I raced

here's who I'd be willing to have plastered on my clothes (or my skin - temp tattoos only!)

1) Splish - I am a swimsuit-a-holic. I have always owned tons of swimsuits, usually kept near 20 suits in my rotation at a time, and when I discovered Splish, the numbers grew. Maybe if I start self-designing suits from them with splish.com on the butt, they'll realize how good an advertiser I am, and send me some freebies.
2) I always wear socks on the bike and run, I just have not gotten to the point where I can go without. And this sock girl loves the Sock Guy socks (they are as fun a splish swimsuits, almost)
3) tifosi sunnies - these glasses are great , and affordable, and mine have lasted forever, even after flying off the roof of the moving car
4) petzl headlamps - I average 2 hours a day using my headlamps (walking the dogs and running) in the dark mornings, more than most campers/hikers probably use in a year.

1) honey stinger - simply the only energy bars I've found that I actually really like the taste of. I could eat as a snack (if I didn't have chocolate or cookies or ice cream around)
2) sharkies - yum, and what swimmer wouldn't be a good advertiser with a little sharkie tattoo swimming up her arm during a race
3) gatorade - not gatorade endurance,not infinit, not any other. Just plain old Fierce Grape flavored gatorade. I LOVE it.

favorite foods
1) Graeters ice cream - I grew up in Cincinnati eating chocolate ice cream every night of my childhood. Graeters also was born and grew up in Cincinnati, and every Cincinnatan knows it is the BEST ice cream in the world. I would wear their logo over a big ice cream cone anyday
2) hostess hoho's - I loved these as a kid, and still love them as an adult. And I'm not ashamed to say it! ;-)
3) hershey's chocolate - might as well go with 3 unhealthy food choices!

local Bloomington companies
1) Pizza Express - pizza must be on any athletes list. They might not be my favorite pizza, but they are in the top 3. And they are fast delivery. And they will take old used batteries and recycle them! How cool is that (of course I use recyclable batteries whenever possible - see headlamp usage above), but sometimes you have to use normal batteries.
2) Bloomington Bagel Company - the best bagels in town , the BEST chocolate cookies anywhere, and fortunately right across the street from my office. I'm a regular. They know my order. And the owner is a top triathlete age grouper in the area. And they recycle, use local products, show local artists work, they are a great local company! (congrats Sue on your achievements as a local female businesswoman, and a triathlete - kick some a$$ at IM AZ!)

ok, that's all. Its time for a run.

Monday, September 15, 2008

book review

Over the weekend I read ‘Stuffed’ by Patricia Volk. This is Patricia’s memoirs, funny stories about her extended family, about growing up in New York City in a family that was in the restaurant business. This book is funny, and her love and enjoyment of her family makes you look at your own past and reach back into your memories for those special times with your own family.

It also reminds me of another book I read this past year, ‘The Glass Castle', by Jeanette Walls. Another memoir about a woman’s childhood. The stories and experiences are quite opposite, but both are great reads.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

editorial rant

This mornig I watched cnn as they re-entered a Texan woman's house after she returned from evacuating furing hurricane Ike. The water had risen 3-4 feet in her home, and had already receeded. She walked through her house thenstarted crying as she came upon a dog crate and she whispered that her 2 lab puppies had to be left behind in the crate and had drowned.

I AM LIVID. How can you be a pet owner, and leave your pets behind in an emergancy. She and her son left in a suburban. I'd say there was enough room for 2 puppies! And why did she have to leave them in a crate to drown. At least if they had been free in the house they could have swum, and climbed on counters or other high things.

I hope she is prosecuted for cruelty to animals for torturing her dogs and leaving them to die a certain painful death.

If I ever evacuate due to emergency the only things I even will care to take are my dogs and cats. They are the only things of value in my home.

I'm so sorry little Texan lab puppies. Rest in peace.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Wapehani – its no longer ‘whop my heiney!’

Wapehani is a local set of mtb trails just a couple miles outside of Bloomington. Its small, but challenging. There’s not much there for beginners, and I remember the first time I rode there, years ago, on a very basic mountain bike, with no mtb skills at all. I crashed, and a vein across my shin swelled up, skin did not break, and it looked like I had a blue sausage link across my shin. It was soooo attractive.

Last night I rode at ‘the Wap’. And now I love this trail. Its fun, challenging, and a great change of pace from the smooth rolling singletrack at Brown County. The Wap doesn’t get a lot of traffic anymore with Brown County being so close, and being such a fantastic set of trails, so the trail is narrow, at times overgrown, debris (branches, twigs, pine cones, nuts, rocks, piles of dirt) covered, which makes even the few smooth sections a challenge. There are also roots. Lots of them, in places to give you that extra challenge going up over a short steep climb. The first third of the trail is narrow, rooty,tight and twisty. Very challenging if you ride it with any speed. The back half is a set of maybe 6 hill pairs. Up and down, six times. Steep, loose, rooty, rutty, and super fun! One of the uphills is so steep, the front wheel is often off the ground. You have to stay low over the handlebars, or you are off the bike. Throw in more rocks, and branches, and lots of loose dirt and this uphill is the toughest around. The hills are not long, they take a few minutes to climb, but with your heart maxing out from the steepness, the challenge is always there. I love this trail. I used to call Wapehani ‘whop my heiney’ because it always did whop my heiney. But not anymore! That’s not to say I don’t screw up sometimes. I still do. But I can ride the trail, and enjoy it, and often ride laps cleanly. It may be an ugly lap, but it is clean.

The name Wapehani must be Indian. But its odd that I don’t know of any other cities, towns, parks, or places in the area with Indian names. So its weird that this little park is called Wapehani. And for those Hawaiian readers out there, did you notice that it only contains letters in the Hawaiian alphabet. My college roommate grew up in Kailua. I visited her one summer in college, and she tried to teach me to pronounce Hawaiian words properly. Its not always easy, or obvious, when you are a novice. One day she had me pronouncing street signs. We came to an exit on the highway for ‘Dune St’. I yell out ‘Doo-nay’ and she cracks up at me. Its just the English word ‘dune’, as in sand dune. So, I was a slow learner. But I can say humuhumunukunukuapuaa! And I'm from the midwest! Can you?

Tomorrow is my mom’s birthday… HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

living young

Some good things about living in a college town is that it makes you live young. I'm always around people in the 18-14 age bracket. No matter how many years go by in my life, I'm always around 30000 other 18-24 year olds. They never age!

Life is good.

So is Junior's. This week I started to let him spend the days outside with the dogs. He loves it outside, in fact, I can hardly keep him inside. Yesterday I got home, and this is where I found him.

Monday, September 8, 2008

You know summer is almost over when

You can ride yourbike to work and arrive without being too sweaty..

The students come back to town and you fear for your life riding my bike a measley 2.5 miles to work. They are crazy drivers, lawless bike commuters, and even worse pedestrians.

Fresh fruit at the grocery stores sucks. Its tasteless, mushy or hard. Ick.

The dogs actually don’t mind going outside for the day when I go to work, since the weather has mellowed out a lot.

You look back on your season, and can’t decide if you are ready for it to be over, or not..

You try to decide how you are going to train in the off season.

You have to design and buy more splish suits to keep your motivation up for going to the pool to get you through your last race.

Pre-work runs are done in complete darkness, and headlamps are once again required.

You wonder if you will be a wuss again this winter and not ride outside when it gets below 40.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

ohhh, almost forgot...

best purchase of the weekend is my new splish fishy suit, designed by me!

surely that will get me to the pool more often.

my best crash of the year so far!

Today I hit the trails at BCSP with all the usual suspects. Was a little tired as I had already taken Daisy for a little trail run early. On the beginner loop I was second in line, following Kenny (who had just done the Leadville 100 this summer - yep, we had people from Indian, do the Leadville 100!). Anyways, one small split in the trail where some folks had gone off the trail, and he went the wrong way, yelled for me not to follow, but I was going way too fast , corrected too late, and I was heading straight for a tree. In a split second I thought, oh, this is so gonna hurt. I corrected slightly to the left, and smashed the right handlebar, plus right hand fingers into the tree, flipped over the bars, somehow told myself to go limp, tumbled, and stood up. I thought for sure, I was going to be hurting somewhere, but I moved the neck, legs, arms, and all that hurt was my right index finger, which took the brunt of the tree. The bike is ok except for a little shifting problem now, I'll work on that tomorrow. I was shaky for the next 10 minutes, just getting my mind back in the game. But somehow got it back together, and back on the technical trail, with Heather leaving early, and Kenny riding ahead, I rode my pace, constantly reminedd myself to look ahead, and cleared the whole trail, one small dab, but it didn't even break my pace. First time ever to ride that stretch so cleanly. Going the other direction opn the same stretch is not so good. but we took the road back today, and I will keep working on that stretch this fall. Off to the pool this evening for my own local triathlon (ok, its broken up over 10 hours), and I'm only swimming out of guilt since I haven't been in the water since Monday!

After Tahoe, its time to come up with my swim goals for the winter. I just checked the USMS top 10 results for the year. I wound up top 10 in my AG for 4 events, all places a tad lower than last year. I guess I shouldn't expect any more than that considering how little I actually train in the water. One of these years, I'm going to have a 6 month swim focus, and go to USMS nationsal and see what I can do. If I could just crack 1:03 in the 100fly and 100back I would be a happy 40+ year old girl! Its time to really work on the underwater - think Micheal Phelps off the walls.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

baaaaaaaaaddddddddddd hammies

My hard run on Monday really tweaked my hamstrings. Still sore yesterday, especially the right one, I took my TP massage ball to work and sat on it a good part of the day, rolling it around. Then I got the neglected road bike down and Todd and I went for an easy hour spin to the water treatment plant and back. They felt weak, but the worst part was the last downhill before home, I tried to get my chin down to the bar to be aero for the descent, but half way between upright and the handlebar, my hamstrings screamed loudly enough that I could go down no further! OUCH! I have got to get myself on a new program to improve the strength and flexibility of this 40something year old body. I need Dara's program! ok, I don't have a few millions lying around for that, I'll have to create my own.

Monday, September 1, 2008

a day in Louisville

however you pronounce tha name of the city Loiusville, one thing is for sure, if you go there in summer, its going to be HOT! I woke up at 4:30 and met Heather in Columbus at 5:30 and we headed down to L'ville with our mountain bikes, and a plan to watch parts of Ironman Louisville, try to find some of our friends who are racing, and get in a mtb ride, and get some ice cream at Graeters!

We arrived before the start, stationed ourselves at the swim finish, heard the cannon fire, and waited for 45 minutes for the first pros to arrive. Tri swims are usually pretty uneventful, and not all that strategic, as to the lines a swimmer shooses, but swimming in a river, the 4 lead swimmers opted 50 yards away from the buoys, out toward the middle of the river to catch more downriver current. They had a good lead, who knows if they took a faster line, or if they are just faster swimmers. Maybe both. Either way, we watched swimmers stream out of the river, and watched a t1 area filled with what I'd estimate at $6,000,000 worth of bicycles dwindle down as swimmers became bike riders.

Time for Heather and I to become bike riders too - but of the trail variety. We found Cherokee Park and hit the dirt. The first section was pretty technical, rocky rooty, and I was a bit anxious about the rest of the trails being like this. But it eased up and we found a few guys and asked if we could follow them. They led us around the loop which dumps in and out of the woods and crosses the road frequently. But it was a fun trail! We soon learned they don't even ride that technical section we rode! We had a great ride, finished with a nice layer of dust, no crashes! and a good hunger growing in our tummies.

Off to lunch, we found a brewery that had pizza, and then we hit Graeters. They have the best ice cream in the entire world. I grew up with Graeters, and while they have expanded to a few cities outside of Cincinnati, they haven't made it to Bloomington! But they are in Louisville, and I made sure to find the closest one so I could introduce Heather to Graeters.

Back into town to catch the bike to run transition. It was super hot! Some runners setting out with a shuffle , some looking strong, like they were ready to take this marathon by the throat. It is pretty motivating to watch athletes really push themselves. It didn't make me want to do an ironman, but it made me want to train hard, and keep racing.

on that note, this morning, I headed out for an out and back run. 4.6 miles, 4.6 miles back. The out was in 41 minutes, the back in 36. 9 miles at 8:22 average, or something like that. That is a good run for me! A little cold bath, some chocolate milk, a little blog reading, and I have the day off work! The outdoor pool is calling me today for my last outdoor swim.