Monday, September 28, 2009

Augusta 70.3 weekend

Friday morning I started out on my 12 hour drive to Augusta. Yep, 12 hours. (Next summer, I'm only doing local-ish races, no 4 day weekends). When I was a small girl, 4-5 years old, I lived in Georgia. My only memories are diving off teh steps of the pool and cutting my head open, getting the chicken pox, and coming back to Cincinnati and being made fun of because as a young kid, I picked up a nice southern accent. I've driven through Georgia a few times, and went to a mountain bike camp there a few years ago, and now I was heading back for a 70.3 race. I stopped in Lexington to pick up my mom (my travel companion for the weekend), and off we went. The miles of I-40 east of Asheville are like driving on a roller coaster. I just wanted to throw up my hands and have fun, but I could tell by my mom's grabbing of the door handles, that she wasn't fond of the speed I was taking the curves at. Oh well, you gotta find your thrills somewhere!

We finally arrived, checked in to the hotel, and found an italian restaurant a block away. WHile sitting outside waiting for our table, I had my first tri-geek encounter - man wearing his swim goggles at the restaurant ! LMAO!

Second tri-geek encounter was the next morning at breakfast, 2 woman just back from a swim in the river, come into the restaurant wearing swimsuits and towels. I mean, really, no shirt no service! Have some decency please!

SO, I check in, check my bike in, walk around in the heat a little, and just rested. Another walk the other direction of the hotel looking for Saturday evening food, found little, but a cafe where they lost our order (other than the smoothie I got), and I gave some local girls the gift certificates they gave us as apologies (they would not refund our money). So, I was feeling awfully generous, and hoping for some good pay forward at the race Sunday morning.

Which dawned early for me, up around 4am, I just don't sleep late, and definitely not before a race. Got down to set up transition, and the shuttle bus line back to swim start was so long, I just walked alone, it was only 15 minutes, and I had 2 hours before my start (I was the last wave, 9:06 start time). Went and found my mom, and went and sat around and watched every one else start.

9:06 did finally roll around, and I jumped in the water, and the 1/2knot current was noticeable, you could just hang in the water and float down river. There was a lot of 'sea'-weed in the river, did not like that. The gun went off and a few girls sprinted to my right, no one to my left, and within 30 seconds they were all behind me. I swam in pretty clear water most of the way, had to navigate around a few people in earlier waves, narrowly missed 2 kayaks and a few piers, and somehow managed to find the swim exit, looking into the sun with my clear goggles (it was dark heavy clouds at 7am, so I opted for clear, at 9am the sun came out, of course). It was a ridiculously fast swim with the current pushing us along.

Onto the bike, I was worried about a smallish saddle sore I have been nursing for a couple of weeks, and I have to say that today it is an angry saddle sore (from TN I called the dermatologist today and have an appt tomorrow to get it 'taken care of'). Anyways, I loved the course, lots of gently rolling hills. Being in the last wave, I passed lots of people, and I can't tell you how many awesome men cheered me on, telling me to go get 'em, and looking strong. That goes a long way in helping to push you on. Eventually a few girls in my AG passed me, I kept pushing on, trying to alleviate the saddle sore pressure, and still, after the whole summer on the bike, I still have to work on dialing in my position. At home, when I ride the TT bike, there are so many hills sprinkled in to every ride, that are non-aerobar hills, that I must not ever be able to be aero long enough to notice the leg stiffness/cramps. So there is more homework to be done this winter to get the bike ready for Louisville in 11 months. With 5 miles left, a groups of 4 girls in my AG blew by me, all riding in a little pack, and I laughed and said to myself, shame on them if they have been like all of the ride. I hope they weren't, I don't like to think that my competitors cheat. But since all of them kept forging ahead together, my gut feeling was not 'shame on me' for thinking that. ANyways, they have t live with it, not me! I think I ate and drank well on the bike, 2 bottles of gatorade, 1.5 bottles of water, and a half a gel flask. I was not feeling energy depleted at the end of the bike.

On to the run, and it was hot! Out of t2, I was running with a tall lanky runner girl, and I tried to stay with her. At the first aid station, the water and gatorade was warm, and right then, I knew I'd have to slow down or I'd blow up in this heat. SO I did, and some of the aid stations had ice, some did not. The ones that did, I walked more and more, and on lap 2, I was carrying cups of ice away from those with me just to stay cool. I drank way too much liquid at those iced up aid stations, and had to deep belly breathe to settle the side stitch. I knew it would happen with the amount I was drinking, but I was so hot, I had to drink. I knew I was not prepared to handle the heat. I had been running in the mornings at home, where it was 60 degrees, until the last week and I remembered I better run later. But even then, it wasn't hot enough, or long enough in hot weather to be ready to cope. It was a good lesson for ironman Louisville next summer.

I felt a bit nauseous after the race, and couldn't really eat. I stiffened up fast, and it was a chore to get down to the transition area and gather up my things. As I was walking from our parked care a quarter mile from the transition entrance, another athlete offered me a ride, he said he was going to drive up as far as he could get. I cannot tell you how nice that was. I was having such trouble walking. The groin hurt from the positions I was sitting on the bike for the saddle sore, and the heat of the run was cramping me up. It was a small act of kindness, but one I will remember.

After slowly loading up the car, we set off, aiming for Asheville, NC, 3 hours away. Mom drove, and she made me so nervous! (sorry mom). But I'm sure my champion back seat driving made her even more nervous. I just like to be in control in my car. 45 minutes of sitting in stopped construction, 14 miles before our selected exit, left me longing for pizza. How lucky that dominos delivered to our hotel (and I don't even like Dominos, but at that time, any pizza was top notch!).

I drove the rest of the way home Monday, with a stop to pick up my mom's cat (who was staying at the luxury pet suite), and we crossed the Ohio River back to her house, via the car ferry. I always loved to take the ferry when I was a young girl, and it had been a while. The wind today was super high, 30+mph, and the river was moving. Those guys know how to read that current, and landed the ferry perfectly. I was wondering what it would have been like to do the IM Lou swim in the river today. I think they would have canceled the swim, it was really rough.

Anyways, I'm back home, and before I got home, my work called, they were having database problems, so I was online working from home within 15 minutes of my arrival. Home Sweet Home!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

almost there!

In a few days, I’ll be racing my last tri of the year, Augusta 70.3. It’s been a long season. I’ve never done a race as early as NOLA (first week of April), and that was a half IM, which meant training for it started in very early 2009. And now it is the end of September. I admit, my motivation is waning, so it is good that the season is wrapping up.

That said, it’s been my BEST ever year of training (thanks Jen!). I have NOT been injured (I just knocked on wood), and that is just the cat’s meow as far as I’m concerned! And I’ve backed up good workouts with good workouts. There were times I’d read the workout on the schedule, and I wasn’t sure I was capable of getting it done, but I surprised myself with my effort and with my consistency. Ok, I’ll admit, I did skip a few swim workouts this year (sorry Jen!), but I’m pretty sure I did every other workout on the plan, and most of the time I think I did them pretty much as they were supposed to be done.

I learned a lot this year. The biggest thing was learning to push myself in workouts so I was really suffering (in a good way), and knowing I can survive them. Now I have to go to Augusta and suffer a little, and know it won’t kill me. It just gets me to ice cream that much sooner!

So, off I go. Knowing that my body is ready for a good race. I’m trying to keep the mind in check, so the mind doesn’t blow it for me!

And when I get back… I’ll show my mountain bike some LOVE. And I’ll slowly get Daisy back out on the trails for some walks/runs. And I’ll stay away from the pool for a month! Yes, a whole month. I need the break from the swimming. And after a month I’m sure I’ll have to buy myself a new swimsuit for some inspiration to get back in the pool.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The calendar says mid-September, but…

The weather says its still summer! And I am loving every day. We have had almost no rain in weeks (I know we need some, but we had a lot all summer, so I’ll take a few dry weeks). And the weather has been downright balmy, above average for September. I wouldn’t be surprised if our average highs for September are higher than the average high was in August.

Last week, I got to swim outside at the lake twice. And WITHOUT a wetsuit! The water temperature must be upper 70’s, it was soooooo pleasant. I’m hoping that means Augusta will be no wetsuit, I mean, how can Georgia water temperatures be lower than Indiana water temperatures? Of course, I'm sure the RD will 'find' a spot in the river where the temperature is low enough to allow wetsuits. All I can say is I'm taking my speedsuit, and if its wetsuit legal, but in what I think is a fudged temperature, I'm wearing the speedsuit, and not a wetsuit! fingers are crossed!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Thursday, September 10, 2009

My Love-Hate relationship with Training

I really do love training. Most of the time. But there are just some things, and some times, when I REALLY HATE it.

I do all my swim training by myself. I do 90% of my run training bymyself, and this summer I have done more than 50% of my bike training by myself. I really don't mind training by myself. It provides a lot of time to reflect and be thoughtful. Or just be brain dead. Living in a small university town, so many of the people I know and spend time around have advanced degrees, masters and doctorates, and me with my lowly bachelors, I feel pretty humbled by all the academics around here. So the tendency for me to lean toward the brain dead side of thought when I'm alone is just a reflection of the direction my intellect has taken in the twenty years since I graduated with my little degree. Seriously, swimming, riding, and running alone does provide a lot of time to keep myself company. And you know what, I'm pretty damn boring company for myself! When I swim, I count. Over and Over. You'd think I'm in grade school again trying to learn my math tables. But no. I'm just counting laps, counting strokes, counting seconds until I'll be finished with the set, with the interval, with the lap. And then I move to advanced math, yes, I do occasionally stretch the reaches of my little pea brain and try to do multiplication and division
while I'm swimming. I calculate what percentage of weekly yardage I do now compared to when I was in college or an age grouper, then calculate how much slower I am at a particular interval, or race, and see how the 2 percentages compare. Usually I get so confused though, I have to stop and go back to the simple counting. Its much more mesmerizing. Put me in open water and I still count. I count strokes up to one hundred, and then start over. Then I try to remember how many one hundreds I got to during the whole swim, then figure that in open water I probably average 40 strokes per 50 meters, 80 per 100 meters, so then to make the math easy, I round up and say 100 strokes per 100 meters and guestimate how far I swam, then I multiply it by a factor of 1.1, (or just add on 10% for those of you mathematically challenged folks :-) and have a pretty good approximation of how far I swam. And that's it for what I think about when I swim. Now if that doesn't bore anyone to death, I don't know what will. Now you see why I'm such boring company for myself!

But, wait, you ask, where it the lova/hate in all that math? Thanks for reminding me! There is no love/hate in math. Math is so pure, it just is. (hahahah - only a loser math major would say that). Really, I do love swimming. I have been swimming as long as I can remember! But there are times I do hate it. I hate it when I feel slow, and when I compare myself now to what I could do when I was an uber competitive swimmer. I hate it when I have to do long freestyle sets. And I hate it when I do breaststroke and my knee decides it does not what to come out to play. Or when I do backstroke and my shoulder decides its checking out for the day. But in every swim there is always one point that I love it. When I jump into the water, and push off the bottom in a nice tight streamline and kick half or a whole lap just gliding through the water. Like a fish. That's when I love it. So I feel that every time I swim, and it reminds me why I will always love swimming. There is no feeling like that glide through the water.

This morning I had a bike workout to do. I normally ride in the evenings, but I have to work late tonight, so I get to do an unusual morning ride. Its not getting light here until 7am, and I was chomping at the bit to get going - since I get up at 5am every day! At 7am I rolled out, with a light on the front of my bike, and a red flasher on the back of my jersey. I was on my TT bike. I have a love/hate relationships with bikes. All my bikes! Well, all my 'road' bikes. I only have a love relationship with my mountain bike. It always makes me smile, even when it decides to crash me into a rock or a log or a tree, or just nothing at all. But the road bikes, argh! Why somedays I just want to kick them. All winter I ride my road bike and get all comfy and happy on it, and I ride with the girls, and I'm so happy. Then it gets warmer and I have to start riding the TT bike to be ready to race, and my neck hurts, my shoulders hurt, my crotch hurts (ok that hurts on the road bike too), and I ride by myself a lot so I can do the proper workout, and do it on the TT bike without freaking out other folks on road bikes, or having them laugh at me (because Bloomington is the land of roadies-a-plenty, and I love them!). But then as summer moves along, the TT bike becomes my friend and on the rare occasion that I hop on the road bike, then my shoulders and neck hurt, and I want to be back on the TT bike (I can't believe I'm saying I love the TT bike right now more than the road bike!). I'm so fickle! SO, back and forth I go, happy one day with one bike unhappy with the other, then I flip flop. Anyways, today I was on my TT bike, very happily riding along. Except for my other hate relationship with riding (not bikes specifically). Pavement. I mean, seriously, why can the county I live in not pave roads properly. And why do squirrels like to play kamikaze with me, and almost make me crash just so I don't kill them. And why is it when I'm alone, the only thing my mind does it make bets with myself as to what will hurt first, the girl bits, or the neck and shoulders? But I can't complain too much. Where I live, the riding is absolutely fantastic. And when I do ride with others, they are the BEST riding partners a girl could want!

I should say something about running. Its the toughest for me. My body is designed for swimming , not for running (short legs, long torso). But I keep plugging away.
I know my age is soon to be a limiter. I'm not getting any younger. I don't think of much when I run. Mainly how much it hurts. Except z1 running. I love z1 running. Everything else is hard for me. When I see z4 on the schedule, I weep. But when I hit the trails, I am all smiles. No matter how short or how long, or how hilly, or how wet or how cold or how hot or how painful. The trails are my friend. And when I get to take my best friend (Daisy) to the trail and see how happy she is running around, smelling every tree, branch, rock, peeing on every blade of grass, I forget the pain and I just smile. And run.

ahhh, I wish I was on the trails right now.

Friday, September 4, 2009

IM Louisville 2010

In a moment of delirium I signed up for IM Louisville 2010! It’s been 10 years since I did an ironman. This time around I will be expecting more from myself.

But for now, I’m going to try to put it out of my mind for 6 months. (is that possible?)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


So, I love to read interesting blogs, and always curious as to what my friends will post on facebook, but truly, twitter is where its at! I don't tweet myself, but I follow a lot of famous athletes, and a few other famous folks.

My favorites:
from the world of Triathlon
Conrad Stoltz - he is just one bad ass caveman, and his blog is the BEST ever
Julie Dibens - poor Julie - I hope she doesn't crash anymore this year. I always pull for her if she is racing - gotta stick with the swimmers!
Mel McQuaid
the clan (Heather, Paula, Roch, Huddle)

Dara Torres - she is the UBER twitter! She tweets about anything and everything.
Ryan Lochte - jeah! (if you have to ask, then you don't follow Ryan)
Natalie Coughlin - olympic swimmer, dancing with the stars 'star', cook and gardner

Lance - he is the master of twitter. He has turned it into his own PR system. One morning Lance tweets that he is in Glasgow, Scotland, and will be riding at such and such a park at 5pm, and asks people to join him, and over a thousand bike riders show up!
Levi, Hincapie, Phil Ligget, Johan Bruyneel all tweet here and there, between them you can stay up on what's up with cycling

Ryan Hall & Josh Cox tweet about some of their unusual runs out in Mammoth, Josh has frequent give aways via twitter.

Shaq! - he is the funniest! Love his new show where he challenges other athletes in other sports. He is funny, humble, giving, and an incredible athlete.
Andy Roddick and Serena Williams are frequent and sometimes funny tennis tweeters
Tom Crean - new IU basketball coach is twitter crazy. If you want to know whats going on with IU basketball, follow him. He loves and lives basketball. As do most Hoosiers.

ok, time to go see who's tweeting what!