Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Let’s see what other stupid things I can do…

Monday morning I’m walking the dogs back up the driveway, usually I drop their leashes and they go to the door, and I drop the poopbags in the can on the other corner of the garage. But I saw the neighbor cat, so I didn’t want the dogs to chase him so I hung on to the leashes, and they followed me to the trash.
Oops, there goes Max (cat) flying by again and Sam decides to follow. Unforunately following Max meant Sam had to jump down a 4ft retaining wall. Sam, and his new $3k bionic leg, and me still attached to the leash. I felt myself falling the 4 feet in slow motion, landed on my side, woomph, and knocked the wind out of me, gasped, then cried, then saw Daisy standing on top of the wall staring at me, and Sam yanking my arm out of the shoulder socket trying to get Max (we were still attached!). After a few curse words at Sam, and a few at myself, I took inventory and everything was where it should be, I wasn’t broken! That was a relief.

The I’m riding my bike to work, like any other day. It was a nice breezy morning, and I arrive at the bike rack just outside my office and realize I forgot my bike lock. So I stand at the rack with my 20 year old clunker commuter (which works just fine for my 3 mile ride through neighborhoods), and I nonchalantly leaned it against the rack and fiddled around with my helmet and stuff just pretending like nothing was amiss, then turned and walked away without locking the bike. I’ve been wanting to get a new commuter bike for a few years now, but just have not been able to justify it. Why? Who knows! Its not like I don’t ride it, I ride to work at least 80% of the days all year round, even in winter, so its not like I wouldn’t get use out of it. So I’m secretly thinking all day that maybe its my time to get a new bike and this is fates way of telling me. If I go out after work and the bike is gone, fate was on my side! Well, it was not, because my bike was still there! Only in a small town can you leave a bike outside all day unlocked and still have it waiting for you at the end of the day. But wait, I was going to tempt fate one more time. Because I had to swim after work, and had to leave my bike unlocked again at the pool. One hour later, IT WAS STILL THERE! bummer.

This morning I had a super fun run to do, and 55minutes into it, I was having some serious GI issues (this has happened now 3 times in the past few weeks, dunno whats up with that). Anyways, I was only 5 minutes from home, and thought I could make it, but NO. I had to stop and do the poop walk/stand (you know, stand still, squeeze every muscle in your lower body to keep everything inside) 4 times in 5 minutes! It was sooooooooooo bad. I will spare you the rest, other than to say I was remembering Uta Pippig back in the 80’s (or was it the 90’s) when she ran the Boston marathon and just had all kinds of crap running down her legs during the race. NO! I didn’t have anything running down my legs, I just remembered her and was praying the same didn’t happen to me.

Still rode the old clunker to work this morning, and even locked it. I guess I won’t be getting a new commuter bike anytime soon.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

a train trestle and a few extra unplanned miles

Today we planned a ride to the Tulip Trestle (aka Green County Viaduct) and we actually found it!

The Greene County Viaduct, which is officially known as Bridge X75-6 and also known as the Richland Creek Viaduct and the Tulip Trestle, is a half mile long train bridge in Greene County, between Solsberry and Tulip. Work on the bridge started on May 22, 1905 when a ground breaking ceremony was led by Joe Moss. It was finished in December of 1906 and is the third longest bridge of its kind in the world. It has 18 towers for support. The original cost of the bridge was $246,504 which was estimated in 2004 dollars to be around $20 million.Two 45 foot sections were added to the bridge in 1916. Other than that, the bridge is as it was when it was originally constructed.

I snapped a photo but the one above without trees in full foilage is a better view.

We took a chance on the return trip route, I wouldn't call us lost, well maybe we were a little. We were on roads in the middle of nowhere, a nowhere that none of us had ever been. But we knew what direction we were heading, and eventually made it home, after 4000 feet of climbing! and a few extra miles. and a lot of sunshine and a lot of heat.

The only disappointment of the ride was a much anticipated stop at YoHo's grocery in Solsberry. Often we stop at quaint little country stores, but this one was a dive. Messy, dirty, very little stock, and what stock they had was just piled anywhere they had floor space, and an unfriendly old man at the register who did not know how to make change.

You win some (finding he trestle) and you lose some (Yoho's disappointment).

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Its summer!

everything says its summer

the calendar says its summer

the weather is hot and humid

my (Monica Geller in the caribbean) heat and humidity induced frizzy hair says its summer

the students left town over a month ago, and now we just have families (here for freshman orientation) wandering around asking for directions and occasionally going the wrong way down the one way streets

the pool water temperature is above 85 and its only June 24 (won’t be swimming there anymore!)

even the water temperature in the Lake Monroe is in the mid 80’s – and it’s a large lake! Ok, maybe its just the mile long finger where I swim that is no wake and doesn’t have boats to churn up the cooler deeper water to the surface, but its freaking nasty!

Last night I tested out my new xterra speed suit at the lake. I headed down to the lake with a few friends, 6 of us, 3 kayaks. The speedsuit has an interesting slippery feeling to it when wet, and I’m sure its faster than a plain old training swimsuit. But I didn't feel all slickery and fast. I felt like a slug. Because the water was almost as warm as the air and it was all I could do to get air into my lungs and not feel like I was breathing hot stinky water. I had to flip over and swim backstroke a few times just to breathe more fresher air. Well, at least the speedsuit fit, and felt comfortable, and I guess I’ll be wearing it in my next race, (which I’m guessing will have 90+ degree water, which will be a real treat).

Otherwise, I LOVE LOVE LOVE my new iPhone. Shazam is my favorite app, just hold it up to a song that you hear and it tells you the artist and song, very cool. I also like the Totally Awesome Fact app. It is totally awesome to learn completely irrelevant facts to spew out to your friends and family. Like who knew a beaver can swim a half mile under water on one gulp of air! Or that goldfish lose their color if they are kept in dim light or are placed in a body of running water. Or that porcupines float in water, or that penguins can convert salt water into fresh water (we should figure out how to bottle that!). Or that most of the worlds people must walk at least 3 hours to fetch water! And I am lucky, I don’t have to worry about converting my own salt water to fresh water, or walking 3 hours to get water, and I have an iPhone to entertain me. And speedsuit to wear in non-wetsuit swims. Talk about fortunate, or maybe that should be spoiled. Maybe a little of both.

have a great day!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Much Ado About Nothing

Its been a quiet week since Kansas, except for thunderstorms that roll through every other day. We went from a spring of some warm days sprinkled amongst cooler days, with plenty of rain, to the last 5 days above 90 and very humid. I always say the air is thick as pea soup, and I swear, IT IS! And to top it off, I went to the outdoor pool this morning, and even with all the rain we have had, 5 hot days has shot the water temperature up to 86 already. I can't swim there anymore. So sad. My biggest gripe (and I have plenty of them!) is that our outdoor pool is heated, so in May they fill this nice big 50m pool, and turn the heater on so the temp is at 80 on Memorial Day weekend when it opens. That's great, until 2 weeks go by and heat waves heat the water up to 85-90 with no hopes of cooling off. Why they can't just leave it be cool in May,and warm up naturally, I do not understand! It infuriates me!!!!!! At least for tomorrow, I found a kayaker to go with me down to the lake so I can swim open water. Love that!

Fortunately I got Junior back in the house before I left for work, because the skies busted loose with a torrent of rain,thunder and lightning around 8am. Sam barked at me as I left, he knew the storm was coming (you could hear distant rumbles), and he did not want to be home alone. Hopefully Daisy and Junior gave him some comfort. The roads around campus flooded again because the rain came down so heavy and fast.

Yesterday Heather and I road most of the xterra Versailles course. It was like a jungle in there. Thick green moistness everywhere. My skin was covered by a film of sweat, then scratches from all the overgrown sticker bushes and stinging nettles, then the occasional mud splatter from the peanut butter like mud in some of the corners, and the worst part was the constant fear of ticks falling onto me. I HATE TICKS! They freak me out. Post ride tick inspection found none on me! woohoo! But one on Heather :-(

Fortunately Versailles (pronounced Versails, not Versaiy like in France), is a pretty handy setup. Despite being 1hr45min from home, and out in the middle of nowhere, this state park is fairly compact, and has a pool right by the lake, which is right at the mountain bike trail head, and the hiking trail head. And a full running water bathroom and a small campstore with cold drinks!

So, we rinsed the sweat and mud off, and threw on our running shoes and set out to check out the xterra run course. We did not do the whole thing, the first 3 miles had lots of steep hills, and it was hot now, and we were tired. Sometimes its best to let the race be a surprise!

A freezer pop and cold coke from the camp store tied us over until the DQ at North Vernon, where I tried the new chocolate brownie batter blizzard! YUM! I was a bit hesitant at first, brownie batter in my ice cream? But it was really brownie, not batter. And it was delish! I thoroughly enjoyed it, and once again I just look at it as my post workout recovery food (slightly different from my favorite chocolate milk, but close enough!)

Todd and I got to tear up our deck this weekend, as it has a small termite infestation! ICK! That was hard work. As much as I train to swim, bike and run, when it comes to back breaking yard or construction work, I'm not the most helpful. I give up quickly if I'm not strong enough to do something, and if its hot, and sweat is dripping into my eyes, I'm just pathetic. But Todd is persistent, and he got the job done. Deck demolition complete, termites sprayed. Now we get to plan a little re-landscaping (hard scape and soft scape). Should be fun.

The highlight of this week should be getting my new iPhone!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Where is my bike mojo? not in Kansas!

So, yesterday I raced Kansas 70.3, and then got in my car and drove home 8+ hours. It was a rough day, both the race and the drive. I had a lot of time to think about a lot of things.

My wake up call was for 4am (which is 5am my time, when I get up anyways), so it was not too early for me. I could have waited 30 minutes, but then the parking would have been an even further walk to t2.

I arrive at the park, gather up my things, walk the 1/2 mile to t2, drop off my run things, then walk another 3/4 mile to t1 with my swim and bike things. Then I stood around for an hour waiting for the start. I did get to see Chrissie Wellington pre-race, and she looked super fit (what a surprise, huh?)

At NOLA my swim wave was the last wave, 90minutes after the first. Kansas went pros, then physically challenged, then men over 50 & women over 45 in the next wave (this was a big one, 150 people or so), then my wave, 4 minutes later. I watched the wave before me, they spread out wide and there were many slower swimmers. If I swam the buoys it would have been like a pinball machine, go left, go right, bounce off all these folks, so my plan was to just swim wide out around them. I took off, and went wide, no one else in my wave went with me, so I was on my own. The out leg was marked by green buoys. You know, you can't see green buoys very well, when the surrounding background is green trees! SO I was swimming along about 20 yards (sometimes more, sometimes less, its hard to hold a straight line when you have nothing to follow) right of the buoys, breathing every 1,1,2,1,2,2,1,1,2... Total spastic breathing. In the pool I'm every 3 all the time, unless instructed otherwise. But put me in open water and I breathe all the time. ANd when I say, 1,1 I mean left arm breathe, immediately to right breathe. It feels quite normal, but I could not do it in a pool. I figure it has to do with the fact that in the muddy water I can't see anything to focus on, so I don't get dizzy. In the pool my eyes would go from black line to lane line, to black line, to lane line, and I would go crazy. Anyways, I passed a gazillion yellow caps on the inside, and got out in 28 minutes (I didn't know my split at the time, I could not find the clock). It felt very easy, my swim is pretty decent right now.

On to the bike, and I really wanted to have a good one. I knew this course was harder than NOLA, but I ride a lot of hills at home, so I was not concerned with the hills. The first hour was going well, then I started to get passed by some woman, and I just got into a funk, and the legs did not want to go. They generally passed me on downhills and flats. I was getting angry at myself, and was thinking if you can't manage a half ironman bike without getting into a funk, you will never do ironman again. I tried singing 'Whip it' by Devo, and that didn't even get me going! I was getting weird pulsing pain (not bad pain, just annoying pain) in my right hamstring, and that did not help my mental state. After 2 hours I was beating myself up and finally got back on track and finished up the last hour better. But I just squeaked in under 3 hrs on the bike, not what I was hoping for. I have a lot of work to do , and I also need to work on my bike position. I think when I put on a new saddle a few months ago, I may not have the best position for power, and that might also have contributed to the hamstring niggle. So, forget about it, learn from it, and move on (and go to Brian for the niggle repair!).

I was happy to get off the bike, and the clouds that had been hanging around, immediately broke up and showered us with sun. Just in time to heat us up for the run. That's great (I am NOT a heat person). So off I go, trying to be steady, I actually felt decent, but tons of men were flying past me, so I had to work to really not get discouraged. The run is 2 loops, mostly flat except one big downhill to the t1 area, and then back up. First lap went very well. Melissa and Rachelle were out on the run cheering, and I saw Louisa running - she looked very strong. Second lap started out ok, and a woman who had passed me earlier was inching back to me, so this was good motivation. Then we hit the downhill, and she sprinted down it. My quads said no way, and then my stomach started to cramp and begged for mercy, so I eased off, and re-caught her after the turn around and at the bottom of the uphill. The GI distress was growing (mile 9 now), and I walked part of the hill (I was walking as fast as some people were running so I didn't mind this). By mile 10, I knew I had to stop at a toilet or I was going to be in big trouble. Luckily the last 4 miles go through the campground and have toilets every 1/2 mile or so. I ducked into one, and will spare you the details, but it was a huge relief and my cramping immediately subsided. Then I noticed my right foot seemed to be not listening to my brain. I was telling it to run, and it felt like it was just sort of flopping around. I know it was running, but it definitely felt weird. I think this was also related to the hammy niggle, which is probably another nerve entrapment or something. I get the stupidest injuries! 3 more miles, the heat was getting to me, the Kansas pollen was getting to me, the niggles, but I finished (not strongly), but I finished. My run split, despite the issues was better than last race, so its a positive for me to build on, especially with a few things to be improved.

Chrissie was handing out the medals, super smiler and such a kind person.

I threw my things in the car and headed home for my 8+ hour drive. I basically sat with my trigger point therapy ball under my right glute, hammy, knee, just moved it up and down my leg to relieve pressure. Recovery drink was a chocolate milk shake from Sonic (I love their drinks). I talked on the phone quite a bit to friends and family to stay alert. Drank caffeine, ate sugar, sang loudly, and stopped in IL at a cafe that advertised foot high pie! I did not think I could eat all that cream and not feel sick, so I opted for a more normal sized piece of peach pie.

Today I'm taking the day off from work. I think I'm going to go get an iPhone!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Pros and Cons of Traveling to a race by yourself

Yesterday I drove 8+ hours to Lawrence , KS , by myself. I've gone to plenty of small, local races by myself, but never to a larger one, or one far away by myself. I will admit the drive was incredibly boring! I had my camera out and anytime something caught my eye, I'd click the camera on, and hold it to up to the appropriate window and snap. When I got here last night I looked through the photos, and they were all crap. Imagine that!

So, what are the cons of travelling by yourself to a race:
1. no one to talk to in the car
2. no one to share driving duties with (which is tough for someone like me who does not like to drive)
3. you have to try to read mapquest directions while you are driving (I'm not very good at this).
4. you are probably by yourself for a good reason - I'm having to miss my nieces high school graduation party - sorry Stephanie - hope you have a fun day, and I'll see you soon.

There are some pros:
1. I can stop as often or not as I like (pottie stops, food stops, or just stretching the legs)
2. I can stop for whatever food I want and not whatever someone else wants
3. I can sing as badly and loudly as I want
4. if I have to burp or pass a little gas, well, I can do that anytime I want too!

So, of course, the first thing I did last night was to check out the local news weather forecast. Last night they were calling for strong storms early Sunday morning (race is Sunday!). This morning, they are toning that back a little, but saying stay tuned! I guess they like the saying 'if you don't like the weather in Kansas, just wait 5 minutes!' Indiana likes to use that one also. Its actually cool and cloudy right now (7am), I'm trying to chill about the weather, since I have no control over it.

I have to pick up my race packet, go to athlete meeting and check in my bike (after a little ride to make sure she is all ready to go), then check out the water. Then I have to get away from the athlete craziness, so I think I'll wander around Lawrence . Its supposed to ba a nice little college town, and since I live in a nice little college town a few states away, I hope its a good way to waste a little time. Maybe a little shopping!

tomorrow at this time, I'll be racing!

PS.. I'm sending good vibes to Angela for her mtb race today! Go Ang!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

a Shout out to Brian

Brian is my local ART guru. When I first learned about ART 6 years ago, there was no one in our small town of Bloomingotn who practiced ART. I had to travel 2.5 hours away to find Sophie (triathlete and ART extraordinaire). The 4 years ago Brian moved to Bloomington! This was a fabulous day. I think I was in to meet Brian within a few weeks of his arrival, and have probably seen several dozen times over the years. Sometimes for several treatment on the same problem, sometimes just for a little tune-up. Neck, back, hip, hamstring, ankle, wrist, the list goes on and on and on. Every time I go, I am so thankful that Brian is here.

Back in 1999, I had a snowboarding accident. I crashed in Jackson Hole, and landed on my head, knocked my cervical sping (c6 and c7) out of alignment, and was in a lot of pain for a long time. Ten years later and I still have neck issues, sometimes tweaking it badly doing stupid things like trying to eek out an extra pullup, or even that super strenuous exercise of pulling a sweatshirt on over my head. Then compound it with my less than ergonomic desk that I sit at for 8 hours a day, and riding bikes (and occasionally crashing on the mtb), and my neck is frequently unhappy.

After NOLA 70.3, my neck was very gunked up, and they had some ART guys there, so I asked one to work on my neck. And while it felt better after 10 minutes of work, his technique was way too aggressive and I was scared he was going to paralyze me. I should have asked him to stop. Yesterday I saw Brian for a little neck tune-up, and told him this story (I have not had to see Brian since then - that is a long time for me to go without needing to see him). I remember thinking (at NOLA) that I was so lucky to have Brian and not them! Brian - you are the best! Thanks for keeping me moving!

BTW... Brian was an alternate on the Atlanta track&field Olympic team! yep. so not only is he a great doctor, he is also a top notch athlete. So, even though I'm an older athlete, he can understand my desire to train and compete, and he does everything he can to keep me healthy.


Friday, June 5, 2009

Its National Donut Day

Yes, apparently the first Friday of June is National Donut Day. I wonder how many people will bring donuts to work today. Hoefully I can avoid the temptations. I don't generally go out and buy them (even though there is a Dunkin Donuts right across the street from my office, I have yet to buy anything from it - I hear that today they are giving away free donuts), but I do enjoy them.

Its been a wild week. Ok, not really, but one of lots of wildlife:

Wednesday on the way to work, I spotted a baby deer. I'm sure he was just a few days old, spotted, wobbly legs, and not much bigger than my cat!

Yesterday morning walking the dogs, right at the end of our driveway was a skunk waiting for us. Luckily he ran away when he saw us coming out the door.

Then a coyote (or maybe a fox - couldn't be sure as it was dark) ran across the street on our return trip home.

The rabbits are crazy in numbers around here. Unfortunately Junior likes to play cat and mouse with them. Here he is below after a night out, and I won't tell you what he left in the backyard for me.

He sure knows how to rest and recover!

Sam and Daisy wanted more face time on the blog. Again. SO here they are.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Yesterday I ate pain

Yesterday was the end of 3 long weeks of building hard work before Kansas 70.3 In my brilliant judgement I told Jen I'd really like to race the mountain bike race at my home trail. It was yesterday, day 21 of the 3 week period. What was I thinking! I spent $30 to taste pain and agony for 90 minutes. My HR was sky high, my legs burned and ached, I had nothing. nada. I finished last in the womens expert race. OUCH. The distance felt like a marathon, and the competition kicked my a$$. My climbing sucked, my trail skills did not flow, the only positive thing is that I did not crash!

So, yes, it was a sad result. I ate humble pie. I ate pain. Then I drank a chocolate milk shake. And things were better.