Friday, July 30, 2010

Odds and Ends

Don't feel very focused lately, so here's just a lot of random...

Swift-kitty is not doing so awesome lately, which sucks.  She's 15, which is old, but she's kinda supposed to live forever, right?  Around January, her she got really skinny and her fur was greasy looking, so I took her to a new vet.  She was diagnosed with high blood pressure - so now we get to give her 1/4 of a very crumbly pill daily.  Before Boise, I didn't want to saddle our house-sitter with force-feeding a crumbly pill to our cat (who actually takes pills well), so I got tuna flavored custom compounded medicine treats.  Well, I think Swift decided that she liked the medicine treats a bit too much, and she went on a hunger strike.  In her 15 years, she's never been picky.  And now she is.  My daily life is governed by my cat's eating habits.  She'll like something for a while, long enough for me to decide its safe to buy a bunch of that variety, only to have her flat out snub it completely right after I buy 10 cans.  I'm now afraid to buy lots of any kind of kitty food, so I'm running to the store 2x a week for food.  2 weeks ago, she still wasn't eating much and even Will got concerned, so we took her back to the vet.  Bloodwork showed that she likely has either one or a combination of IBS, lymphoma, or pancreatitis.  Only way to tell for sure is surgical biopsy.  And there's no cure, only treatment, which involves chemo.  None of which are super fun for a 15 year old cat.  Sucky.  Fortunately (?) my vet's own cat is having the same health issues, so she's well versed on how to handle this.  We're trying weekly B-12 shots for 6 weeks and see if that doesn't help perk her up.  And we're trying to feed her 2-3 times a day to try and get her weight up.  She's actually eating ok-ish but she's not that perky.  Normally Swift is glued to me 24-7.  She's my nap buddy, tv watching buddy, sleep buddy.  Now she just hangs out on the cat stand on the other side of the room.  Barely even cuddles with me.  Its almost like she's trying to prepare me.  Not cool.  She's my nap buddy and I need her for all my recovery naps for IMTX training.  Ugh.  So yeah, daily happiness is directly related to if Swift will eat nasty-smelling fish cat food, while my other kitty is very unhappy to be locked in the spare bathroom, away from the food he so very much wants to eat.

Will's job is not awesome.  Will is mostly not that awesome, but I can't fix it.  He's stressed and working too much, not really having time or desire to do much else.  He may have a way out soon..... I hope so for his sake and mine.  Boo.

I really try not to blog too much about work, but this is probably safe.  For the past year, I basically have been officed in a cubicle area that I refer to as "siberia".  (I purposely wanted to be in siberia, so this is a good thing).  The other cubicles were empty, it was quiet, and I was happy.  Our office is growing and now siberia is populated with loud people.  Including a whistler.  Today I had enough of the whistling (as did my friend), so it was up to me to put an end of it.  Slightly comical, as he'd whistle and I'd stand up to figure out who the hell was doing it, only to have him stop.  This went on for ~10 minutes until I just said screw it and made a broadcast announcement asking for the whistling to end.  I then sat back down and the whistling started back up.  Turns out this guy had headphones on and didn't hear me.  He had no idea he was whistling or that it was becoming very disruptive.  He's been quiet for the rest of the day - we'll see if this sticks.

I'm the activities coordinator for the office, and since work is a bit slow, I've got time to do some fun things.  My main "fun" project is a food collection drive, where I've split the office into 6 teams and we compete against eachother for the longest linear distance of food donated.  The winning team will get a prize (no idea what the prize is yet, probably a lunch or something).  Contest is for a month and we'll be doing weekly updates to keep the buzz going.  I'm very curious to see what sort of turn out we get.

I was told yesterday by our office manager that our "fun" budget has drastically increased, which means I have 6 months to spend $$ for morale and fun things.  We have problems getting volunteers to coordinate "events", so I'm mainly going the gift certificate route.  GCs to a nice chain of restaurants (Pappas), smaller $ GCs to Starbucks, company logo swag (bags, leatherman, etc).  This will be given away at meetings or random drawings.  The trick is to find something easy to do (since we're all busy) that reaches people regardless of how often they are in the office or attend meetings.  Random name drawings isn't very creative, but its easy.  I think we're also going to do monthly breakfasts, but make each business group be responsible for a month (we'll pay but they have to buy and organize).  Anyone have any other ideas that are easy to implement?

My "non-training" is going well.  I'm swimming 2x a week, running 2-3 x a week, doing yoga once a week, fitting in pilates occasionally, and randomly riding my bike.  Its nice to not have a set schedule or feel like I HAVE to get my training time in.  I'm doing the Lazy-Hazy-Crazy 5k on Aug 7th for Team Jamba Juice and TriGirl sprint August 15th - neither of which require very much training.  Actually, TriGirl might hurt, but that's fine.  I can handle 75 minutes of hurt.  Especially since most of my workouts are at least that long. 

I have my very first purple toenail.  Got it from the century ride 2 weeks ago, which is actually pretty strange.  I'm actually surprised that this is the first toenail issue I've had.  Purple toenails are *awesome*.

Oh, and I chopped 7 inches of my hair off - its now to my jawline.  I now have earrings longer than my hair.  That's a bit strange.  Still trying to figure out if I like it and what to do with it.  Still having issues using way too much styling product.  General concensus is that its cute and looks good.  I don't recognize myself and occasionally I get flashes of my mom in the mirror.  I will say, however, that its awesome to have "intentionally messy" hair.  Honestly, the messier it is, the better it seems to look.  That's pretty cool.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Katy Flatlands Century Ride

Yesterday was my first ever century ride.  This became a goal of mine last year, where I rode the 55 mile distance at Flatlands.  This distance, at the time was my longest to date - I think I had one or two 40 mile rides before I did this one.  The ride was hot, but manageable, and I made it a goal to ride the 100 mile route in 2010.

This year I've ridden 50+ miles several times this year for HIM training.  My longest ride was in May, a 63 mile ride in Chappell Hill (4 hrs).  I've been taking a break after Boise, only riding my bike twice in the past 2 weeks.  The first ride was supposed to be a 60 mile in Chappell Hill, but ended early with 2 flat tires by mile 18.  The second ride was a 50 mile ride during a club training ride.  I was able to hold a good mph on that ride and wasn't sore, so I decided that doing the 100 route at KfC was possible and not a terrible idea.  Besides, I need to do several more century rides for IMTX, so better to start early.

I have to carry 100% of my nutrition with me, so this was a great time to practice for IMTX.  I have a 28 oz profile aero bottle, a 40 oz speedfill, and a cage for a regular bike bottle - enough for 4 hrs regular strength Infinit.  For this ride, I decided to mix the aero and speedfill at regular strength (3 hrs) and to concentrate 4 hrs worth on Infinit into a standard bike bottle.  The concentrated mix was fairly thick but it was still fluid enough to pour into the speedfill at water stations.  After I drank the aero bottle, I kept that as "water only" (sometimes I just want plain water after a few hours).   The aero bottle also served as a container to refill with water to dump into the speedfill, since it wasn't practical to haul my bike over to the water station to fill the bottle attached to my frame.  I labeled the concentrated bottle into quarters and dumped half the bottle into my speedfill (roughly a 2 hr mix) at the appropriately times rest stations.  I topped it off with fresh water and assumed it would mix.  I assumed wrong - the first hour was pretty concentrated.  I needed to do a better job mixing things as the concentrated mix just sank to the bottom.  The result was that it was VERY strong and I didn't want to drink it.  I forced myself though, because I knew I'd need the calories.  At the second fill-up I did a better job mixing by blowing bubbles through the straw to mix it from the bottom up.

I supplemented my Infinit with Hammer Gels.  I like Hammer for 2 reasons:  they're a Montana company and I love to support Montana and they have the smallest amt of straight sugar in their gels.  I'm sugar sensitive, so its nice knowing there are gels which won't send my blood sugar zooming.  I brought 5 gels and had 3.  One at hour 1, 2, and 4.  Towards the end of the ride I just wasn't feeling the gels.  I had good energy so I went by instincts and it worked out ok.

I was also a bit hungry at the 3 hr mark so I tried to eat a cookie.  Not a good idea - too sweet and the texture was all wrong.  I had a orange slice at subsequent rest stops which worked much better.

The Plan
There were a total of 8 rest stops for the century ride - distance between stops was between 8 - 14 miles.  I didn't want to be in "race mode" with minimal stops, but I didn't think it was necessary to stop at every rest stop.  The plan was to stop at #s 2, 4, 6, and 8.
The Ride
Even though I showed up earlier than last year, I understimated the time to get ready.  Packet pickup, bathroom stop, drink mix, airing tires, etc.  They didn't have announcements down in the parking area, and I knew that the ride started at 7 but couldn't hear if they were on time.  I looked at my watch and saw 7:05, so I rushed off, hoping to catch the tail end of the 100 mile group and that I didn't forget anything crutial.  Fortunately, there were quite a few on the century group waiting to ride and we all left within a few minutes of me arriving at the start.

The nice high clouds that were there on my drive over to the ride start  rapidly vanished when the sun came up.  This ride is typically hot, so its not like I didn't know better.

The first 21 miles was along the route I'd ridden the week before.  Good pavement and flat.  I hit RS#1 and was feeling fine and I wanted to try and catch up with the main group, so I stayed on-plan and went on through.  I stopped at RS#2 for a quick bathroom break and to fill my aero bottle with straight water.  On the way to RS#3 I picked up a couple of guys.  There was a long slight incline with a mild headwind, and they decided to pace off of me (aka let me do the work as they draft off of me).  We hit RS#3 and I convinced them to keep moving since the next RS was only 13 miles away.  I left the guys behind me, but somewhere around mile 40 they passed me in this huge pace line.  I've never ridden a pace line before but I decided to try and tag on to the tail of it and see what it was like.  I LOVE pacelines!  I had to be careful since I was riding aero but I could easily maintain 19 mph.  It was so much fun!  Then the road we were on (Hwy 39?)  got very crappy.  It was cobble chip-seal and most of the cobbles were missing.  I ended up riding right on the white line (the paint was the smoothest part of the shoulder) and even though there was plenty of room for cars, several trucks were total assholes, blowing by us close to the shoulder honking the whole time.  Lovely.  As we turned off of 39, a BNSF train was blowing across the intersection so we had to stop for ~5 minutes and wait for it to pass.  From there, we were pretty congested all the way to RS#4.

I felt really good at RS#4 (mile 49), except for the heat.  I was ok temperature-wise riding but when I stopped I just got really hot.  All my regular strength Infinit was gone so I refilled my speedfill with the concentrate, tried to eat a cookie (not a good idea), and hit the bathroom.  I was still keeping to my plan of skipping every other RS, so I skipped #5 (mile 62).  Once I got to mile 65, things got ugly.  I got really hot, my heart rate was 160+, I was pretty much riding by myself, and all my contact points (saddle, elbows, feet) were hurting.  I'd have to fidget every few miles, which made it a long 10 mile ride to RS#6.  Once I got there, I decided to take a long-ish break.  I got cold water, sat by the fan, dumped ice down my jersey, got fresh water for my bike.  At that rest stop, I met up with one of the guys I'd friended around RS#4.  He lost his buddy, so we decided to ride together to the next rest stop.  It was just too hot to stick to the every-other-RS plan.  So off we went.  For the first ~5 miles I zoomed off ahead, but just a I did on the previous leg, I got uncomfortable and fidgety.  The only nice thing is that the clouds were building and looked like we could get rain.  Stopped at RS#7. More resting, oranges, water, ice, hoping for rain.  We had 20 miles left but decided to stop at the next rest stop anyways.  Mentally, I couldn't process 20 miles but I could handle 12 and 8 mile segments.  About 5 minutes into our ride, the sky broke and we got ~10 minutes of torrential downpours.  Now that it wasn't hot, my HR went under 150 and I could cruise.  Plus, I was so busy focusing on the rain that the other things that were bothering me got ignored.  Twelve miles went by fairly fast and we were at the final rest stop.  Normally I would have felt ridiculous stopping with 8 miles left, but by that point I was just happy for the mental break.  I messaged Will to let him know I was alive, got some more water, and we were off.  The rain was pretty bad for this leg - nearly consistent downpour for all 8 miles.  There were times where you'd hear someone go "is it hailing? nope" because the rain hurt that bad.  It sucked, but it was still less sucky than riding in the heat.  We finally got back to the stadium and I was done.  101.2 miles on the Garmin.  I did bring my running shoes but with the rain, it was pretty ridiculous.  I have 10 months to practice long bricks.  No need to start today.

Closing thoughts
It became very obvious I need to spend a lot of time in the saddle.  Leg strength/endurance was good, nutrition was good.  But those dang contact points hurt so much.  No other way around it but time in the saddle.  Not sure what to do about the heat other than just continue to watch my HR and not push too hard when its hot.

I have my work cut out for me for IMTX.  Yowzers.

Friday, July 09, 2010

June Totals

Amusing because there's not much to June....

Bike: 8h 29m 31s - 115.38 Mi

Run: 6h 29m 09s - 32.51 Mi
Swim: 6h 35m 08s - 16612 Yd
Pilates: 2h 00m
Yoga: 3h 00m

Checking in on June's goals....

Have fun at the Boise 70.3 done

Try not to have to walk up any hills on the bike portion of the race I still have to finish my race report, but there really was only one monster hill.  Fortunately we had a tailwind for that so I made it up just fine.  The race directors were strange and decided to put aid station #2 IN THE MIDDLE OF AN UPHILL CLIMB.  I was with Jeff and we both had to get water and knew we had to physically stop due to the hill.  Fine.  But me being stubborn and my "no walking up hills" goal decided that I was going to clip in and ride up this hill.  Even though almost everyone else was walking.  So, I clipped one foot in and of course, couldn't turn my foot over in time to get clipped in and moving, so I did the super awesome slow motion side crash, in front of everyone at the water station.  And somehow I managed to cut my leg so I was bleeding.  So, I just walked up the hill, being slightly mortified.  But I'm not counting this one against me.  Jeff was very happy to report to the entire family in T2 that "Erin is bleeding and its awesome."  Lovely.

Enjoy my vacation done

Take the rest of June "easy" done
Goals for July are a bit of a joke.... I'm playing it by ear since IMTX has thrown a wrench in my fall plans.  I'm not really training for anything, but should do a century ride next weekend (funny since I really haven't been riding much) and I need to start training for my January 2011 marathon.  But sleeping in and being a bum is just soooooo nice right now.