Thursday, October 30, 2008

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Back in the swim of things

Last night I finally got back into the pool, after more than one month out (excluding the 1500m swim at the race in Tahoe). And it actually felt ok. Somehow I managed to keep myself in the water for 2000 yards, and after about 1000, my strokes felt semi-normal. Then after my swim, I got to be guest coach at the IU swim club practice. This was my second guest coach appearance. When I’m guest coach, I write the workout (3 versions for 3 different group levels), get the kids going, keep the workout moving, give encouragement, occasional stroke advice or other tips, and just try to be motivated by watching these kids (ok, they are 18-25 year old kids!) work hard (and they even have fun while working hard).

I also am reading the Ultra Marathon Man (Dean Karnazes). I actually read this book when it came out, but a friend passed it along to me this weekend, so I thought I’d read it again. A few things that come to mind when I am reading. First, this guy is crazy. Second, he is a strong mental athlete. When he was in high school, his cross country coach told him to ‘run with his heart’. And he does. And another coach of his told him ‘if you are not hurting, you’re probably not working as hard as you can’. I’m going to try to keep these two thoughts in mind when I am doing hard training sessions, or races

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

it feels like winter! almost

This past weekend I rode on Saturday, temp around 40 degrees, windy, and cloudy. It was the first taste of winter riding for the year. I don't know why I always get wussy about riding in the winter, because I probably tend to stay warmer than most of the girls I ride with at colder temperatures.

Sunday is daylight savings, so its dark by the time I get home from work, so weekday rides are on the trainer, or I sneak a day off work when its nice to get outside for a free ride.

This winter I am making a pact that I will ride outside at least one day every weekend, unless the weather is absolute crap (ie, below 20, sleet, ice, snow...). Having the mountain bike option is helpful, because its way better to ride on the trails when its cold, than on the roads - less wind, lower speeds, but you still work just as hard. And the more I can work on my technical skills, the better!

I just hired a coach, and we start on Nov 1! I'm pretty excited to have someone helping me structure my training more specifically to my goals, and my strengths, weaknesses, my life. To that end, I also just became the proud owner of a new wireless Powertap! Yeah, I know I don't need one. But it will be a fun toy to train with on both the road bike and tri bike.

I wonder who it was that decided that the average work day should be 8 hours. I think 6 would be so much better. I can still get a lot of work done in 6 hours, but then I could still have some daylight hours to do something outdoors, even in the shortest days of winter.

I need to find some good dvd's to watch while riding the trainer this winter. Any recommendations?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

morning on the trails

I took Daisy to Pate Hollow, trying to get her back in shape, so we can run together all winter. It was a clear sunny morning, 50 degrees. The leaves seem rather unspectacular to me this year compared to past years. But nonetheless, running on the trails is always beautiful.

just before the sun breaks the top of the hill

there's the sun

Daisy, a little blurry, but happy

even happier, getting to cool off in the lake

while she swam, I snapped a few shots

on top of the highest ridge

Daisy needed one more break before the last climb... she dictates breaktime out on the trail

a tired and happy girl

Friday, October 24, 2008

old vacation photos

When I saw the pics on Bree Wee's blog from her swim with the dolphons, I wondered if I could find any of my old favorite photos (pre digital cameras), maybe saved on cd. I did!, so I thought I'd post a few of my favorites (the quality is not great, but it was fun to find them again).

From a trip to New Zealand many years ago.
we saw lots of seals, they are adorable!

And we hiked on a glacier.

Another trip was to the Cayman Islands, we are both certified divers, and I LOVE to be in the water. I was always camera happy when we snorkled and dove. We were lucky enough that one dive trip a dolphin swam up to the boat, and we stopped and jumped in with our snorkel gear, and swam with him for at least half an hour. He seemed genuinely happy to be with us.

We also did the dive with the sting rays.

Saba is the most unusual island we have been to. WIth some diving that was amazing, and I saw the most unusual fish I've ever seen - a flying gannard. Seriously, this is the coolest fish. It flies along the bottom, by spreading those winglike things, and then snapping them closed down to his side.

and everyone gets excited when they see turtles - see all the ironman hawaii blogs about seeing the turtle at the start of the swim.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

the hunter or the hunted

when I race, I'm always the hunted. When you are a good swimmer, and out at the front, and there are more faster cyclists, and even more faster runners, you are the hunted.

I need to take some cues from Junior, he is adventerous and determined. If I didn't stop him, he'd knock the local mole and bird population silly.

Monday, October 20, 2008

sometimes the husband surprises you

So, a month ago, Todd got the first season of mannix, Mission Impossible and Hawaii Five-0 on dvd. He loved these as a kid, and now he's obsessed with watching these shows. And he tries to torture me with them, but I just find something else to do. However yesterday he was watching one of the Mission Impossible episodes and I was eating my lunch in the same room, and he said 'hey isn't that Victor Newman?' I almost spit my food out, because I haven't heard that name for 20 years, and immediately remembered it from watching Y&R (the Young and the Restless) when I was in college! And here is my 48 year old husband asking me about Victor Newman! I just laughed and asked him how he knew the name Victor Newman, and he couldn't really remember. But he was right, it was a young Victor Newman on a first episode of MI. Even after 16 years, the hubster can still hit me with a surprise.

Today I'm working from home to spare my coworkers from the germs that seem to have taken up residence in my head and chest. Sam (golden retriever) is sitting at the foot of my chair, and I have the Killers playing right now. Sam's legs are moving like he is running. Maybe he's trying to get away from the music. Jr occasionally jumps onto the keyboard and then knocks the straw in my sonic strawberry slush (the best drink around) and makes a mess.

Is this the ugliest baby photo you've ever seen?

I guess I should get back to work.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I'm on tv! sort of

in this highlight of the 2008 xterra national championships in Lake Tahoe, there are a few seconds of me on the bike, at the 3:07-3:13minute time frame

Pain Free!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday I went back to my Brian, my ART guru, and after 2 weeks of no workouts, 3 weeks of pain identification, I was able to much more precisely describe to him my problem (it was not so easy since it was random). He was relieved to hear more description and said its likely not tendonitis (or even worse tendonosis), but more likely a nerve entrapment. So he poked around, and inflicted more pain, and sent me home. The rest of the day I was sore from the session, but not the pain I was having before. Tuesday morning dog walk was pain free, so I ran for 15 minutes, easy, but it was pain free too! Rode my bike to work (whopping 3 miles that it is) and no pain! No pain walking around the office! The pessimism of the past 3 weeks is now replaced with optimism. I saw Brian again this morning (I ran the 1 mile to and from his office), even though the pain is gone, he said the nerve is still swollen. I’ll keep taking it easy, but slowly get back into things. This is the best news I could have asked for. Daisy will be happy too as she has been begging for a run on the trails (her waiting at the garage door when I put on my running shoes is the dog language I understand).

Its funny how an injury can make you so crazy. You spend your free time analyzing every movement, every pain, every possible cause, looking for any possible treatment. As an athlete, it consumes you. And I’m not a pro, I do this for fun, and it should not consume me.

To put things in perspective, my long time training friend, Emily, donated one of her kidneys to her father several years ago. She is doing great, has qualified for Boston even. Her father has done well too. This week he’s having some health issues, and she flew to California to be with him. I’ve been thinking about them all week, and realizing how my little injury is not really that big of a deal when you are looking at the much bigger picture in life. My prayers and thoughts are with them, and I hope all the best for their family.

Monday, October 13, 2008

a walk in the woods

After spending lots of time Saturday following the Hawaii ironman online, yesterday I spent a lot of time outside (it was 80 degrees in mid October!) reading (or rather re-reading) 'A Walk in the Woods' by Bill Bryson. I was supposed t be riding in the Brown County Breakdown, 60 some miles on my mountain bike, but I'm still resting the leg. So some laughter was in order, hence the book. It really is one of my favorite books. I changed the quote at the top of my blog to one from the book.

Friday, October 10, 2008

when you have a lot of free time on your hands

that you used to fill with training, and now have free because you have an injury you are trying to heal, what do you do with it:
1) read the quarterly statement for one of your retirement funds that just came in the mail, and wonder if you will have to work the rest of your life
2) increase the blog stalking you do
3) spend way too much time on the internet reading whatever you can about the Hawaii ironman this weekend
4) scour the internet for any possible sentence about what could be the cause, and more importantly, the solution to your injury. Seriously, how can I get these shooting pain in the hammy/glute/aductor area, about one out of every 1000 steps I take. I'll have minutes, or hours, where everything is fine, then one step, not even up or down or sideways, just a normal step, and a sharp pain. wtf! how the heck is that possible. And I haven't worked out in 12 days, except for that exciting Tahoe race.
5) email complaints to the TSA and United airlines, both of whom ripped me off while travelling (broken/missing luggage, excessive baggage charges), and just receive a bunch of legalese responses back from them, assuring me that I will get absolutely no compensation from them. No more flying for me!!!

Despite all my complaining, I'm getting to enjoy 80 degree weather in October! The leaves are turning gorgeous colors. I'm going to carry my camera today and maybe get some nice fall shots. It is a beautiful time of year in the midwest. And this weekend I'm riding my mountain bike , yeah, I know, what about that injury. Well, it doesn't bother me riding, so I'm going to get outside and burn some calories.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

goals for next 3 months

since I'm finished racing for the year, and sitting here bemoaning the fact that I seem to be always injured, I thought it was a good time to consider my goals for the next few months. here's what I have:

Watch/listen to IM Hawaii this weekend and get inspired!

Get back to race weight

Better job preventing injuries – regular yoga, stretch, core work, massage, ART, and drink lots of water

Slowly build back into running after nagging injuries clear up

Work technical skills on the mountain bike – try the new expert trail at BCSP

More trail running with Daisy

1:02.x for 100fly and 100 back, 2:19 200 back and 200im

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

my Tahoe Mis-adventure

Friday I woke up at 4:30am, was at the airport by 7, paid $210 to take my bike and bag - uh $215! what! I thought about not paying and staying home, but plunked down the credit card and went through the gate (turns out they overcharged me, so I just filed a claim this morning to be reimbursed). First flight was delayed 2 hours, and I missed my connection from Chicago to Reno, and had to get a 2 stop flight through Denver to Reno. My luggage didn't make it and I arrived in Reno to rain and 40 degree weather. We drove to Tahoe, it was snowing when we went over the Mt Rose mountain pass!

It rained all night Friday night, woke Saturday morning to much of the same. And my luggage arrived! Bike box was damaged, and they had taken apart my box and not reassembled the packing the same so I feared for damaged or bent components - damn airlines/TSA! Expected high 40. The xterra Nevada swim was cancelled and turned into a run(bike/run) race. I bid on a shirt for the Jamie Whitmore (see her blog inthe sidebar to read about her fight with cancer) in the slient auction. Next assembled the bike and took it for a spin and it was ok - thank goodness! Then a race dinner, received the regional points winner jersey (very nice sugoi jersey) and off to bed.

Woke Sunday mrning to stars! yeah! Clear skies in the forecast. It was 35 degrees. Headed to race, got there early and picked a spot on the bike racks, and just hung out for a while. Wetsuits on and headed down to the 59 degree crystal clear water. The race started, and the water temp didn't feel that bad. Sun to the left, so I just breathed right so I could see. For not swimming for 9 days, I didn't feel too bad. Getting out after the first lap and running across the beach I felt a bit woozy and a bunch of guys passed me as I stumbled back into the water. Another uneventful lap (for me at least - I still can't figure out why people get so worked up on a swim and try to bash all over other people fighting for space instead of just relaxing and letting things spread out for a few seconds). Anyways, out of the water and I fumbled with cold hands and feet to put on shoes for the 1/4 to 1/2 mile run to t1. I'm always amazed how fast many people run to t1, I just manage to get there without passig out, and spend what seems like 10 minutes trying to get my wetsuit off, then camelback on, socks on, shoes on, gloves on, glasses on. The hands just don't work so well when they are cold! As I was sitting there in the sun I felt so warm, I opted for no additional clothes for the ride. Maybe a mistake.

Out onto the bike, the climb starts right away, in a half mile it turns into a sand road, and it goes on for 3 miles. And its steeper than Aynes loop at BCSP all the way to the top. I was in the granniest of granny gears I had - the entire climb! I gasped for air, and stopped twice just to breathe. Had to push bike to a spot where I could get on again and resume riding each time. I was soooo happy to reach the top. I really did not manage the climb or the altitude well. It was difficult to eat and drink, I tried to get some down, but it was cool and the stomach was not entirely happy. The flume trail section was beautiful as you ride along the edge of the mountain overlooking the lake - 2000 feet higher! You can't really look down, or you'll ride right off the edge and down for a thousand feet. After you round Marlot lake, another climb which forced another short dismount to breathe, then some more rollers and climbing - ARGH! One last dismount - this was really killing me! But then a very cool section of downhill singletrack with rocks everywhere, switchbacks for a few miles. I actually rode this pretty well considering I was in oxygen debt, and my legs and arms were screaming with fatigue. A few dabs, no crashes, and no more dismounts. The descent which took 45 minutes to climb, took just a few minutes to descend. It was a chilly downhill, and my quads were burning so whenever I could sit for a couple seconds on a smooth section, I'd sit for a second,and then get back up. Into t1 2.5 hours later! glad that was over.

Fortunately the run is flat, just snaking around the woods near the transition area. Again I had no idea what to expect, as my hamstring/glute/hip adductor had kept me from any training for 8 days leading to the race. Not the best way to prepare for a race! It actually held up well, I think the lack of O2 slowed me down more than the legs or any small loss of fitness. I managed a slow run the whole 10k, and was just happy to be finished.

My friend Bev finished is national champion in 50-54, and she rocked! From Illinois, and manages the altitude like its sea level. Her time would have podiumed in almost every younger age group.

I felt sick after the race - very bad headache and a bit of nausea. 8 advil and 6 hours later and I felt more human again.

I don't really feel the need to go back to this race. I wish they could move the race from Tahoe to east cost each year so the altitude isn't such a factor. But they won't, so I probably won't go there again. I'm glad I went and know what it was like, but that race is not for me.

Now I'm taking off a couple weeks to let nagging injuries heal. I hope I can control my sweet tooth! Happy October! (my favorite month of the year)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

its honeycrisp time!

If you like apples, and you have never tried a honeycrisp apple, you are missing out on the best apples in the world! They are sweet and always crunchy. If your local grocer does not carry them, you can have them shipped to your house from the apple growers. And they stay crisp and yummy for up to 4 months.