Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Camping Trip

Rather than write a bunch, I thought I'd just post some pretty with commentary:

View as we're driving into Crested Butte.  How is it that I've never been here before?  Its GORGEOUS!
no idea what this was about, but it was pretty cool - Crested Butte
Campsite for 2 nights.  Drove up Gothic Rd (dirt, but not bad), took the turn to Rustler Gulch.  There were some "formal" campsites along the way (with pit toilets) and some "unofficial" campsites where you pull off the road.  Nothing was suiting our fancy, so we decided to keep driving past the gate for RG (after I hiked up a bit to make sure it wasn't too scary).  We saw one camp spot and almost took it, but it was out in the open and not "perfect".  We decided to head up the road to see what's up there.  Another 1/2 mile and we reached the end of the road.  And this campsite, which was PERFECT.  Some trees, but not so many that they block the view.  Pretty view, and no people.
mountain creeks make a good beer cooler
Saturday's activity - hiking along Rustler Gulch
Gothic Peak
The trail called for 2 stream crossings (each way).  I'm so happy I researched the hike and knew to bring along sandals.  We saw the crossing at the trail and thought "surely there's an easier way".  I'm pretty sure our "easier way" was much worse, as we had to cross 2x in the place and it was quite a bit wider than where the trail was.  Snowmelt creeks are COLD and painful.  I think I lasted maybe 20 seconds before the needles hit my feet and I was in pain.  Will was ok, except for the burden of carrying his OWN hiking boots (which he's trying to hand to me in this picture, as I'm safely on the other side)
glacier lily - I love these
columbine - the state flower
humongous flower with Will for reference.  Right about where his head is on the mountain is our destination.
so cheerful - there were fields of these
waist-deep sunflowers, all facing south.  With the sun, it looked like the hill was glowing yellow.
Avery beer with Avery Peak
Gothic Peak with a huge field of sunflowers
Mirror Lake - camp spot for Sunday night.  We had a couple options, stay around Crested Butte (just up a different valley) or go somewhere different.  We did drop $70 on fishing licences, so we decided to camp at a lake.  This place was in a guidebook "50 Best Tent Campsites in CO" and was close to Tincup Pass, which looked like fun.  We were hoping that since it was Sunday, the campground would be empty (which is was - there was only 1 other group out of 10 sites).  What we didn't think of was the mosquitos.  Der.  Lake = mosquitos, even if we were at 11,000 feet.
I think we maybe fished 1 hour?  Fish were jumping all around but not biting.  I ended up losing my spinner after 45 min.  Will lasted a bit longer.  I took this photo when I was sitting on the hill, eating chips and reading a book.  Will also lost his lure.  No fish were caught.  I think we'd better learn how to use our fly rods - we'd have better luck. 

Mirror Lake Campground.  Nice campground but 2 negative things which would make me NOT stay here again.  #1 - mosquitos.  They were bad.  Like swarming me as I was cooking bad.  #2 - Tincup seems to be an ATV paradise, so we got to listen to dirt bikes and 4 wheeler engines all day long.

Driving up Tincup Pass.  Some sections were steep/rocky.  We had to get out and walk a few spots before driving them.  I got out a few times to guide.  We only scraped the bottom of the truck twice.  Success!  Something tells me this would have been more fun in an ATV.  We had to go 4L and took it slow.  ATVs were kicking our ass.
Near the top.  This is going uphill, pretty steeply.
We made it!  ‎12,154 ft.  Ironically, the woman who took this photo was from Clear Lake (Houston).  Funny!
view from the top

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Mid-July Ramblings

Finally starting to feel like I should have a training plan.  After living and breathing by a plan since October, it was kinda nice to just play things by ear.  But now I'm 2.5 months away from a half marathon.  Not to mention I may do 3-4 other tri's before the end of Sept.  I can do a bunch of coasting on my IMTX fitness, but not complete coasting.   A plan keeps me accountable.  If only these silly monsoon season afternoon thunderstorms would stop interfering with my plans.  Grrr.

M - rest day or maybe yoga (assuming I can find a yoga class I like)
Tu - track workout
W - AM masters, PM bike (which hasn't been happening with the rain)
Th - AM run
F - AM masters
Sa - long run
Su - bike ride if I feel like it.  2x a month @ 40 miles is probably fine as long as I actually ride my bike mid-week.

Still undecided about the new gym I joined, specifically for Masters.  My last team was crazy fast.  This one is just not very serious.  And what bothers me the most is the workout schedule.  Mondays are distance, Wed is IM, Fri is sprint.  This is stupid because the people who NEED the distance workouts typically take Monday off to recover from the weekend's running and biking.  When I asked why the schedule was that way, I got an "I dunno, its always been that way" answer.  Not the answer I wanted to hear.  I went to a yoga class on Monday and it was the second worst yoga/pilates class I've attended.  The worst was in 2006, in Windsor, MA (I was there for work) were the instructor was more interested in singing along (out loud) to Prince's greatest hits than actually cueing us.  This class at the new club was like yoga/pilates set to up-beat music and it seemed choreographed to the music.  Which meant that you never held a pose longer than 3 seconds.  That is not yoga.  Also, there was a club employee (I think he taught TRX) who spent the whole class loudly whining about how hard it was.  I don't know if he was trying to be funny - like maybe empathisizing with the less fit people in the room - or what.  But I thought it was disrespectful and annoying.  Half way through the class I actually called him out on his antics and told him to suck it up and be quiet.  Everyone laughed thinking I was joking.  And he didn't shut up.  All the "serious" yoga classes are during the work day - clearly this club, while located in a HUGE office park, is geared to women who do not work.  Awesome.  I did go to a spin class, and that was actually good.  Not sure if this justifies the $101/month fee, though.  Even if I do get freshly washed towels.

I could join the rec center.  I swam with the masters team there, and it was about the same sort of thing.  And they have yoga/spin class where I could buy a punch card.  The net price would be much cheaper.  Just not sure if I'd like it any better. And it doesn't come with freshly washed towels.

Swift-kitty isn't doing awesome.  I spent $2,000 on her in May, between her IBS and high thyroid.  She's not been doing very well (diarreah for 3 weeks) and now her back end is cleared up but she's really lethargic.  We're going away for the weekend and I'm going to kennel her at the vet.  Hopefully they will figure out the issue.  Poor kitty :(

And to end on a high note, we're going camping this weekend.  YAY!  We're headed to Crested Butte, up a 4x4 road past Gothic (an old ghost town) and will do the "pull off the side of a forest service road and camp where we want to".  Apparently the wildflowers are ah-may-zing right now.  I'm excited for 4 days of exploring somewhere new and being outside in the mountains.  I've even purchased gourmet smores supplies with DARK CHOCOLATE.  mmmmm.  They just opened the road this week up to Emerald Lake (due to snow) which is one of our camping options, so we'll see.  Fortuately, there are plenty of options. I'm also hoping it doesn't rain a ton.  We haven't used our tent in 3 years and I'm not sure how waterproof it is.  Also: I hope we don't get eaten by a bear.  I've never had a bear encounter in CO. I more associate bears with MT camping.  But apparently, the bear problems are worse now than when I was a kid, so we need to be careful.  Especially since we're camping in BFE.  I also have to convince Will that 5 miles of hiking every day is FUN.  He's not very excited.  Hopefully he will change his mind once we get there.

I hope to post pics of our adventures next week. :)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Endurance Snobbery

I've been working out with a bunch of different people lately - ranging from newbies to Ironman or multiple-marathon finishers.  Its fun to share the excitement and nervous energy of the newbies but its also fun being the jaded "its not worth my time for X distance".  My swim-snobbery is well documented.  I have a hard time getting in the pool if the workout is less than 2,000 yards.  I once had a recovery-week swim workout of 1200 yards, and I really debated if the 20 minutes of swimming was worth my time (and a second shower for the day).  Lately, I'm becoming more that way for running and biking.  I've been really bad in getting in the shorter runs.  For some reason, its not worth the hassle if I'm not running for at least 45 minutes.  Four miles is now my short run.  I was running with a multi-marathoner on Saturday and she said that she won't even get out of bed for 2 miles.

Funny how far I've come from being a beginner.  I remember the first time I was training for a 5k - and the first time my plan called for 5 miles.  It was intimidating.  For the 5k, I made Will show up to cheer me on and it was the. biggest. deal. ever.  Really.  Until until I discovered endurance events.

My first triathlon was a HUGE deal.  I was so nervous but excited.  I made Will get up at 5 AM so he could document the grande event.  Finishing was the biggest thing ever.

Until I did a Quarter IM 5 months later (and made Will stay overnight with me in Galveston - "I don't know if I'll be able to drive home, I'll be soooo tired").  And a year later, same thing with a HIM.  Then a full IM.

Funny thing - I think I was more nervous for my first sprint triathlon than I was for IMTX.  I think it was because for IMTX, I've done this sort of thing before.  Sure it was my first IM, but I'd trained for it and I knew I would finish.  I had an idea of how much it would hurt (or not hurt, depending on what part of the race I was in).  For my first sprint - and all other distances leading up to IMTX - I was in unchartered territory and I wasn't sure quite what to expect.  That sprint was full of the unknown and "what-ifs", where IMTX was more like a celebration of the past 8 months of hard work.

In my post-IM life, I'm now having to motivate myself for these shorter sessions.  Its so easy to ditch my short mid-week run (especially when I'm not really training for anything).  Short mid-week bike rides are easily excused away.  Long rides and runs - no problem getting those in though.  But even those "long" outings aren't that long.  8 mile runs and 30-40 mile rides.  I get done with the run/ride and feel like I've got a lot more left in the tank.  The focus on these longer rides aren't on the training - they're on the social aspect and meeting new people. The Boulder Peak Oly last week took me nearly 3.5 hours, and THAT didn't even feel very long.  I remember getting to the finish chute going "ummmm, this really isn't that big of a deal.  Should I raise my arms anyways, because that's what you do in a finish line photo?"  How sad/funny is that?  What was once a HUGE deal even a year ago is just ho-hum, no big deal.  Its cool but also really weird.

I suppose I'd better get a training plan set up for the Denver RnR half marathon in October to keep me focused (at least a little bit).  Or at least a bit more accountable for when I feel like skipping my mid-week runs.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

CSA farm shares

A CSA (or Community Supported Agriculture) is something that I've been wanting do to for quite a while.  Basically, its local produce that gets delivered to you in a box.  Its all fresh and seasonal.  In Houston, there weren't many CSA options and none of the delivery locations were close to me.  When I transferred to Denver, I saw that a CSA delivered right to work.  Score!  I immediately signed up for a single share in both veggies and fruit.  I like the idea of CSAs because it forces you to try new things and the food is very fresh.  Not to mention you're supporting your local farmers.

Shares are a bit of a mystery box.  You get whatever the farm has on hand at that week.  I'm in the 5th week and here's a summary of what we've received:

Week 1:
spinach, cilantro, parsley, rhubarb, red leaf lettuce, spring salad mix, and green onion
Week 2:
Lettuce (red and green), spinach, green onion, radishes, rhubarb, and cilantro
Week 3:
 Spinach, mixed salad greens, dill, green onion, garlic scapes, kale, and some sort of green lettuce
Week 4:
Green onion, mixed salad greens, spinach, mystery green lettuce, bag o' rhubarb, cilantro, and mystery purpley kale like stuff
Week 5:
eggs, spinach, kale, green lettuce, baby mixed greens, pea pods, garlic scapes, baby beets, garlic bulb, and brocoli
Finally this week (week 5) we've started to get some non-herb and salad items.  Some random observations:
  • I REALLY like rhubarb.  I can't believe I've never had it before but its AWESOME.  Very tart and soooo yummy in cobbler.  Do not be afraid of this stuff (like I was).  Its the shizzle.
  • Kale on the other hand... I'm not so sure.  I made some kale chips (with bacon salt).  They were weird.  Will liked them, though.  I did make some thai curry chicken with kale last night, and it was pretty dang tasty.  We shall see.
  • I've eaten more salad in the past 4 weeks than I probably did all winter.
  • The first week I actually cooked "real food" with my share.  Made a green onion/spinach quiche.  Salad.  Cobbler.  Now I've got a bit of an herb and spinach overload (really, I have SO MUCH spinach), so I've been cooking the spinach (or drying herbs) and freezing/saving them for later.
  • My mom's turtle is a happy pet.  He's been getting a lot of the leafy things that we just can't eat. (because really, 2 things of lettuce and a bag of greens?!?!?)  He'll love the snap peas this week.
  • It is possible to make scrambled eggs too herb-y.  I used some dill and garlic scapes in scrambled eggs, but used the immersion blender on them before I cooked them.  I literally had green eggs.
  • I do love the suprise every week (even though they email us with the list on Monday, you don't always get what's on the list.). 
Fruit shares started this week.  Bummer is that we had a bad (frosty) spring so all the cherries didn't happen.  So I get cherry or apple cider and cherry wine.  We'll see what we do with that.  I can't wait for August when all the western slope peaches are in season.  I lurve peaches.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Race Report - Boulder Peak

aka - my first Colorado triathlon
aaka - I left my bike legs at home
aaaka - best part was the scenery, the Left Hand beer tent, and meeting Matt Reed!

I have no specific reason for doing this race, other than I was feeling like I wanted to do an Olympic-distance tri in July (no idea why I was thinking this!).  There were 2 options, Boulder Peak (local race recently purchased by WTC for their 5150 series) or a Denver one (inaugural, 2 transitions, $25 more, but a finish at Mile High Stadium).  Even though Boulder Peak has a crazy big hill and was early in July, I decided that the venue, presence of pro triathletes, and the fact that this race had been going on for 20 years would make this a good, solid Colorado debut.  Even if it was hard - it would at least be pretty!

Will and I left early-ish and got to the expo at 11 AM to check in.  There was a mini-expo with local vendors (not overly WTC-influenced, which was nice).  Check-in had the typical WTC steps, but it wasn't crowded and didn't take much time.  We stoped by some tents, got some free samples.  I met a facebook friend who was doing his first triathlon.  Then we headed to the WTC clearance tent - compression gear for $20 and IM-branded race apparel for $5.  THIS is where I have issues.  They had a ton of gear from 2008-2009 races, including FINISHER GEAR for $5.  Its bad enough you have people buying shirts/shorts/hats for races they've never raced in - but to sell FINISHER gear which is EARNED for $5 is outright disrespectful.  I was wearing my IMTX visor, and I had some girls (who did not look like they've even done a 70.3) tell me that they liked my visor and asked me which pile I found it in (!!!!!!).  I somehow managed to just stay quiet and not give them an earful of my opinions.  UGH.

I stood in the reservoir to get a feel for temperatures - it was WARM.  Ok, maybe not warm, but certainly not wetsuit warm.  I was waffling over wearing my new sleeveless wetsuit or my Torque, and standing knee-deep in the water, I knew that I would boil in a wetsuit.  Yay - I get to wear my Torque again!  Then they had the finish line up, so I got a finish line photo, complete in casual clothes and my Chaco sandles. 

I've got the finisher photo - do I still need to race??
After the expo, we were hungry, so we went to the Boulder Brewery for lunch and beers. 
All this for $14!  Carb loading Boulder-style
Boulder is about 1 hour away from my home in South Metro Denver, so I left at 4:30.  This is probably the EARLIEST I've left for a race, but the race start was at 6:30, which is also probably the earliest race start I've had.  One of the guys from my tri-club wanted to ride up as a spectator, and he offered Sherpa duties too.  He seemed like a cool guy from the group ride we did on Monday, so I thought it would be a good way to get to know someone and have company.  And the offer to be my sherpa was awesome too.  The ride up was uneventful, except for when we were on the Diagonal waiting to turn into the Reservoir, I got rear-ended!  It was a non-issue as my bumper is solid steel and we were at a dead stop, but really???  I guess the guy's foot slipped of his clutch and he rolled into me.  I'm just thankful that my bike was INSIDE my SUV, not on a hitch.

Transition was a bit chaotic - no water to fill up bottles, 1600 athletes all trying to get ready.  The main differences between CO and Houston?  It was already light out (no need for a headlamp so I can see my transition spot) and it was BEAUTIFUL.
Sunrise on the Flatirons
Bike racking was a train-wreck.  I don't know if it was because I was racking with the 50+ men or if there were a lot of rookies, but it was so messy.  People were taking up HUGE amounts of space (they had duffel bags!) and not alternating sides.  I really wish the officials would have done something to clean it up - it was really one of the worst transition areas I've seen.  Finally left to head to the swim beach - I was happy that I was in the 5th swim wave (6:50 AM) instead of one of the last.  I put on my Scape 50 SPF sunscreen (its expensive but worth it!) and got my Torque on.  Then my sherpa appeared and I gave him my gear bag.  Perfect!  The PA system was hard to hear (something about an ordinance preventing loud noise before 7 AM), so I didn't hear the anthem, race start, or anything.  I freaked out that I missed my wave, but fortunately that was not the case.
We waded in and treaded water.  It was a bit weird as the official start line wasn't marked at ALL.  It was also weird because most of the people in my wave (W 35-39) were hanging back - far back.  I had prime front row position and no one was jostling for it.

The swim was a 1500 m clockwise rectangle.  The bummer was that the first leg was straight into the sun.  The guns went off and things were a typical wave start with some contact but nothing awful.  I couldn't see the buoys for anything.  I don't know if they just weren't very tall, if they were spaced REALLY far apart, or the sun (or a combination of all 3), but I just couldn't see any buoys.  So I hoped for the best and swam with a pack of people into the sun.  This acutally worked well as my pack stayed on course.  The turns around the buoy were smooth and I really didn't have much contact.  I swam with 2-3 people pretty consistenly, swam through some of the other age-groupers in a previous wave.  I swam a pretty consistenly T pace without really pushing too hard.  I thought about pushing more, but considering I haven't been training that much I thought it was best to swim strong but not hard to save my energy.  Also, the Torque was perfect - the water was much too warm for a wetsuit and I would have been roasting if I was in mine. It was weird being one of 2 people NOT wearing a wetsuit in my wave, but this was definitely the right decision for me.

Swim time: 29:57 - PR by over a minute!

You came out of the water onto a sandy beach, ran up a hill and into transition.  They were nice and put out kiddie pools for you to dash through to rinse off the sand.  Transition was mostly uneventful. I did well getting my Torque unzipped and pulled down to my waist, but I had a bit of a hard time getting it over my hips. Its sooo tight (which is good for swimming - not so good for fast transition times) and I don't want to tear it, so I do take a bit more care than I normally would in a race situation.  Sherpa heckled me about my slowness, and I probably deserved it.

T1 time: 3:20
running into T1
The bike course is definitely different from any other race I've done in Houston.  You leave the reservoir, ride west up to Lee Hill (or Olde Stage) and start climbing almost immediately.  At mile 5-8 you have a big hill, its steepest part being 2/3 of a mile long and a 15% grade.  From that point, you've got a SWEET downhill (that has a 35 mph radar-enforced speed limit), some more dowhills (no speed limit) out of the foothills, then back to open land with rollers.  Going into this I knew I didn't have climbing legs but I would just see how things went.  The goal was to have fun, not to torture myself.
Starting out the ride with a smile
I head out on the bike and almost immediately, I knew it was not going to be a good bike.  We were heading west on Jay Rd, which is pretty flat, and I was barely hitting 13-14 mph.  It honestly felt like I had a brake rub or a flat tire.  Only this wasn't the case - my legs just weren't doing their job.  This happened on a swim-bike brick I did a few weeks ago, where my legs were REALLY sluggish for the first 15 minutes, probably effects from IMTX recovery.  So, I just tried to keep my cadence and hope that my legs would wake up.

We made the turn onto Lee Rd and started climbing.  I don't think I made it even half way up - and certainly not to the steepest portion of the hill before my HR was at 185.  Not good.  A few people were already walking and I decided that it just wasn't worth the torture to ride up the hill.  Especially if my legs weren't working properly AND my HR was sky high.  So I dismounted and hiked up the hill.  Sucky.  Even with walking, though, my HR was in the 170's.  And all the steep walking in my cycling shoes made me concerned about potential blisters - fortunately I was ok. 

I got to the first aid station, which was on a false flat after the 15% grade.  At that point, I decided it was ok to get back on the bike and do the last little bit of the hill.  That went ok, fortunately it wasn't a very long climb.  Then the fun began. 

DOWNHILL.  With the 35 mph speed zone, I just stayed up and tapped my breaks occasionally.  They had a sign which shows your mph, and I saw 33 mph as I went by.  Close to the max but not in the danger zone.  Once you passed that area, the speed zone went away and you could just sail on down.  I'd ridden this portion of the course 2 weeks prior and its beautiful.  You're in a rocky canyon with a creek adjacent to the road and tons of s-shaped curves the whole way down.  Riding in the shade next to the creek made the air COLD.  So cold that I actually had goosebumps - a first during a race.  I definitely wasn't in Texas anymore.  I think I hit 38 mph and passed quite a few people on the descent, so that at least felt good.  I may suck at climbing but at least I can fly downhill!

After we cleared the foothills, we had ~10 miles of rollers back to the reservoir.  My stomach had been giving me issues each time I drank my Infinit - acting like it was wanting to cramp.  I took half of a Hammer gel at 1 hr and again at 1:20, just to try and get some calories in.  I also forced myself to have more Infinit, but still not enough to really be considered fuel.  The rest of the course was wide open and rollers.  By that point my legs were feeling better (but still not 100%).  It helped that I'd been on this part of the course before and knew what to expect.  The goal was to finish the bike as best I could and be set up for a strong run.  The bike was bad, but maybe I could salvage the run. 

Bike: 1:43:19 (15.1 mph)  Note: this was a 42k bike, not the traditional 40k Oly distance bike.  Not really sure why, but that's the way the race has always been.

Even though I walked the transition area before the race, I really didn't pay attention to the bike in being on the left side of transition.  For whatever reason, I got into transition and immediately ran to the center (probably because I ran to the center from the swim).  About halfway over, I realized my mistake and backtracked.  Not a huge mistake, but it probably cost me 15 seconds.  The rest of transition was very smooth.  Helmet off, shoes off, shoes on, race-belt on, grab my water and hat and exit transition.

T2 time: 1:44

The run is an out and back along the reservoir with some small hills and barely any shade.  I actually came off the bike excited to run. 
starting the run with the Expo tents and mountains in the background
Almost immediately, my stomach started rebelling.  UGH.  I was determined to NOT have another run like I did at IMTX.  Besides, it was overcast (for now) and only 6.2 miles.  I could run this.  I spent the first mile debating the pros and cons of puking.  There really wasn't a good place I could hide and puke, and I really hate puking.  My fear is that once I start, I won't stop.  On the bike, I actually thought (briefly) about DNF'ing.  Strangely on the run, I really never thought of that.  Instead, I just decided that we'll see how things go.  Slow the pace down and run 2 miles - just see if things don't improve.  I slowed my pace down to a 11:00-11:30 pace and walked the aid stations and the hills.  I wasn't brave enough to drink gatorade, but I did take tiny sips of water.  My stomach wasn't awesome, but I could maintain this pace.  Much better than the IMTX walkfest.  It was only 6 miles - I could do this.  At the turn around I felt ok and decided to up the pace a bit for a mile or so and see how things were.  I could increase the pace slightly but definitely not to the point where I felt like I was racing.  However, I also realized that as long as I was running, I could PR. I just had to keep my stomach together. By this point, when I burped, I could taste bile.  Really not a good sign.  The sun was also out now, but I dumped ice down my top and focused on the cool ice melting down my back and the beautiful mountains in front of me.  I would have liked to have run the last mile hard, but in all honestly, I was back to an ~11:00 pace.  At least I was running.  Even in the finish chute, I couldn't put it together to sprint.  But I was running, so at least there's that.  I hit the finish line and saw my sherpa (also photographer - added bonus).  I was greeted with a finish medal and a cold wet towel.  We then headed over to the expo for food and to meet other club members who were racing.

Run Time: 1:10:40 (PR!)

don't you just see the enthusiasm here?
I hit the food tent and got a variety of things to eat.  Also got a full sized blueberry-vanilla Mix1 as a recovery drink.  Then we headed over to the run course to watch the pro race.  Boulder Peak is unique, in that the pros race last (9 AM) so the age-groupers can watch the pros finish.  The pro run course was a 1-mile out and back, so you got to see the pros plenty of times as you ate your post-race food.  I managed to get down the Mix1 ok, only ate 1/3 of my sandwich (not unusual, I rarely eat much solid food after a race), and half of an orange.  We saw the pros finish and then I noticed a Left Hand beer tent.  I love CO races - no crappy Michelob Ultra at the finish line - we get good beer!  We headed to that tent and found a few other club members
second best part of the race, right here
I didn't stay and finish my beer because I was driving, and by that point my GI tract was really rebelling.  I swear, I've never had so many issues before.  Its awful!  After a trip to the bathroom I felt better but I also wanted to get home.  I found my sherpa and we headed to transition to rescue my bike.  It just so happened that Matt Reed was ALSO walking to transition to get his bike.  HOW COOL.  Matt won the Lifetime Fitness Oly in MN Saturday, hopped on a plane back to CO, and raced Sunday in Boulder.  He came in 6th overall.  I can't even imagine.  He was awesome and nice enough to endulge my fan-girl moment with a photo.  He even chatted for a bit and admitted that today hurt a fair amount.  Such a nice guy - and definitely made racing this race worthwhile. :)
Sherpa jumped the gun and didn't catch me smiling.  Bummer.  But look how tall Matt Reed is!!!
Swim: 29:57 523/1240 overall, 22/92 AG
T1: 3:20 643/1240 overall, 36/92 AG
Bike: 1:43:19, 15.16 mph, 1128/1240 overall, 80/92 AG
T2: 1:44, 640/1240 overall, 41/92 AG
Run: 1:10:40, 11:23 min/mile, 1102/1240 overall, 78/92 AG
Total: 3:29:00. 1051/1240 overall, 71/92 AG

Post-Race Ramblings
  • Swim was good, run wasn't bad (all things considered).
  • What do I do about my stomach??? I'm going to have to consult the Interwebz to see if this is a lingering effect from IMTX.
  • Strangely enough 3.5 hours of racing went by FAST.  Probably due to a combination of coming off of IMTX and the fact that this course was new to me, so I had lots to look at.  Still, except for the hill climb disaster, none of the course felt long.
  • I'm barely sore, except for my shoulders/neck.  And my abs felt like I spent all day puking.  Lovely!
  • Not sure if I'd do this race again (that hill is a big deterrent), however, I would very likely volunteer or spectate.  The list of pros racing the course is just awesome.  I'm going to try to do races all over so next year I can hit my favorites.

Friday, July 08, 2011

The Plan is to Not Have A Plan

After 8 months of highly regimented traning, where I lived and died by my schedule, I have nothing really planned for the summer.

who am I kidding?

Ok, I don't have anything that requires 8 months of regimented traning planned.  Good thing too, because Will would kill me.  I want to race, I like to train.  But simply put, I don't want to HAVE to do any of this.  The rule: keep it fun; don't think too hard about it.

I've got a rough training schedule blocked up, but if a workout doesn't happen, its no big deal.  If I decide that I want to swim at Chatfield Reservoir on Wednedays after work with a friend (and maybe get in a little bike riding too), its ok to skip masters swim practice that morning.  Don't feel like working out at all - no problem!

I did get picked up by Team Sony Walkman.  As part of my sponsorship agreement, I have to do either the full or half Denver Rock and Roll marathon.  I registered for the full (at the time it was only $89 - cheaper than the half), and I knew I could downgrade.  I've also committed to doing 4 events.  Originally it was supposed to be between July and October, with the marathon in October = very doable.  However, we won't get our kits until August.  Doing 4 tri's in Aug/Sept AND train for an October marathon = disaster.  So, I'm downgrading to the half.

But before I knew about the "no team kits until August" thing, I went and signed up for the
Boulder Peak Olympic
triathlon.  I put all the local races on a calendar, with their venues, distances, etc.  I want to do a few Oly's and a few sprints.  There seem to be 4 major race venues here - Aurora Reservoir, Union Reservoir, Cherry Creek Reservior, and Boulder Reservoir (plus a few random pool ones).  I wanted to do one race per venue this year, so I can get a feel for where I like to race.  There's a few other Oly's this summer (one has you finish at Mile High Staduim), but those are a bit newer and (to me) unproven.  Plus $150 is a LOT to spend for an olympic-distance race.  So, I figured it early, but what the hell.  Boulder Peak it is - besides, there's a ton of pros racing AND its beautiful.  What I really didn't think through was the fact that you have to ride your bike up Olde Stage - a 2/3 of a mile long, 15% climb.  Ouch.  I'm hoping it won't kill me.  (and how does this go int othe "keep it fun rule?" - if you figure it out, please let me know).  So yeah, I'm racing Boulder on Sunday.  Without much thought or a plan.  Sweet!

And past that, I have no plan.  No other races (besides an Oct 9th half marathon) planned.  Just playing it by ear and doing what sounds fun. 

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Life after Ironman Texas

Its been nearly 7 weeks since IMTX - what the hell have I been up to?  Its been a weird (but nice) 7 weeks.  Weird (but nice) because I no longer Live and Die by my Schedule.  If I don't feel like working out, I just don't!  I also have free time.  (I know!  What a concept!).  I actually have been able to enjoy typical weekend-type things, which most normal people experience on a regular basis!

Here's a quick run-down of what I've been up to.

Memorial Day - went to South Fork, CO to hang out with some friends in college.  It was crazy-windy, and there was a bit too much snow on the ground for any amount of hiking.  But I got to sleep in and read books!  And enjoy pretty mountain scenery!

somewhere in the mountains by South Fork, CO
Moved to our New House - We closed on our house May 5th, but there was no way I was going to move AND get ready for IMTX at the same time.  So, we slowly started moving things from our rental house to the new house, a carload or two at a time.  Then we installed hardwood floors on the whole second floor of our house (and had the first floor refinished).  Finally, on June 10th, the movers came and took our furniture from the rental to our permanent home.  The whole weekend was spent moving and unpacking boxes.  I swear, my feet hurt more on Sunday (after standing long hours for 3 days straight) than after IMTX.  Or maybe it was some residual IMTX issues that made them hurt.  I dunno.  Several subsequent weekends have been spent unpacking boxes.  I finally have our bedroom, master bathroom, and kitchen unpacked.  We are still missing some things from our move to Houston (4 glass shelves for a display cabinet) and I still don't have a clue where I'd like to hang our artwork.  But things are functional and feeling more and more like home every day.

Got a Pedicure - my first one in I don't know.... a year and a half?  at least?  Of course, now its been 3 weeks and my pedicure is all chipped and looks terrible now.  But it was fun while it lasted.

Joined a new swim team - With the move, swimming at the old team wasn't practical (5:15 AM start with a 30 min drive - no thanks!).  Soooo, I've joined the swanky private health club by work, purely for their swim team.  I'm still very undecided.  The HR swim team was HARD and I was lonely, but I learned a lot and I was challenged.  This team.... well, they seem to like their toys.  We did a set where it was 100 pull, 100 swim, 200 pull, etc etc.  And even for the 100 pull, they busted out their paddles.  And we did some 50 kick/50 swim sets, and the guy in my lane kept taking his fins on and off for the kick sets.  Just pick one (fins or nekkid feet) and stick with it.  UGH.  I really don't like how they have practice set up.  Monday is distance, Wed is IM, Fri is sprint.  I asked them why they have distance on Monday, because the people who actually need distance workouts usually trash themselves on the weekends and take Monday off as recovery.  The answer: I dunno - its just always been that way.  *smacks forehead*  Also, since practice is only 70 minutes long, the workouts aren't that long.  The Friday sprint coach claims that swimming 4,000 m (with this group of people) would only be junk yardage.  However, if he's doing his job right, 2,500 m should feel like 4,500 m.  I'm not convinced that this is the case - I'm pretty sure that those two distances feel pretty different.  Soooooo, we shall see.  I'm a bit limited on the swim team options over on this end of town, so we'll just try this out for a few months and I'll see if I can deal with it.  (I miss my old MAC team very, very much).

outdoor 25 meter pool
Riding my bike with people - what a strange concept!  I rode from Boulder to Jamestown a few weeks back.  My friend got done with Ride the Rockies (a 5 day, multi-mountain pass, 50-70 miles/day ride) and didn't want to do anything serious.  I wanted to do a "traditional" CO ride, so we did this one.  Only we stopped at the top and had breakfast at the cafe.  There was 8 miles of steady climbing to breakfast.  I am not used to having a upper zone 4 to zone 5 heart rate for 45 minutes.  I was DYING.  If I wasn't bribed with pancakes at the top, I might have turned around early.

pancakes in Jamestown
Buzz in his new native mountain habitat
I'm also starting to do some group rides with my new tri club.  I rode with them on Monday morning, not knowing their pacing or anything.  I'm so used to being a back of the pack rider, that I prefaced my ride with "I'm not good on hills - I will just try to keep up".  Well, I don't know who the hell I've been riding with lately, but apparently I ride with smoking fast people.  With this group, I was consistenly 3rd or 4th and I was the fastest girl.  The hills weren't substantial (mostly rollers, but some STEEP rollers), but still - I was surprised that I was faster than most of the group.  Weirdness!

Running with people - sense a theme here!  My IMTX training was mostly solo, so I'm really enjoying being out with other people.  It really helps that I'm not seriously training for anything, which means I don't have specific targets.  This gives me a LOT of flexibility.  Tuesday nights I've beend going to track workout with my tri club.  There's usually ~8 of us, I'm the slowest (usually).  Track is a bit hard right now as I'm still recovering from IMTX, but its so nice to be out with people and to (at least try) to build some speed.  Also, 6 PM track night in CO is no where near as hot and horrible as track night in Houston.  AND I have a great view of Pikes Peak from the track.  Its awesome!

Back in March, I joined a running club through a local running store.  It was $60 for the year (deal!) and included Saturday supported long runs from the store, 15% store discount, and a 25% discount on Brooks shoes.  I really just joined for the shoe discount (I run in Brooks Adrenaline 11s) and didn't intend to run with them until after IMTX (again, my training schedule didn't mesh with other people).  So last Saturday, I got up for the 7 AM group run.  I planned on just doing 6-7 miles, the most I've run since IMTX.  But I was running WITH people, and those people wanted to do 8 miles.  So I did 8 with them.  Their pacing wasn't great (they went out too fast, I've been trained to negative split).  And the group was small (I'm used to running with 300 people), which didn't give me many options for slower paces.  They were really nice though - training for their first tri, and they asked some questions about training and racing, which helped to pass the time.  At the end of the run, everyone was really hot and some were even dripping with sweat.  I was dry and happy.  It didn't seem very hot at all to me, however, I'm sure next year (once I lose my Houston heat-memories), I will be dying.  Still, I'm loving the fact that I can run in daylight and not be dripping sweat from my pinky fingers.

BREAKFAST - yes, I can actually have breakfast on the weekends with my husband.  Holy schmoley.  The first Saturday after IMTX we went to this place called Snooze, where I got the panckae sampler - coconut snowball, lemon blueberry, and pineapple-upside-down cake.  YUM.

pancakes at Snooze.  YUM
BEER - I can have beer too!  We have yet to really explore our massive list of breweries in the area.  (Lefthand and Oskar Blues, specifically).  However, we have found quite a few places for good beer by the new house, have visited a few breweries (Dry Dock, Elk Mountain, Falcon, Great Divide). 

mostly empty beer sampler at Dry Dock
Baseball games - last Sunday, we went to the 1 PM game at Coors Field.  I LOVE Coors Field.  There's nothing better than a pretty day and a good beer.  (a win would help, but who are we kidding here?)
Coors Field's in-house brewed amber on a pretty Sunday afternoon