Monday, December 17, 2012

Santa's Stampede 10k Race Report

This winter, I signed up for the local Winter Distance Series, which is a monthly race comprised of 5/10k in Dec, 5/10 mile in Jan, and 5/10 mile in Feb. I signed up for the longer distance of each race in an effort to keep me honest this winter. Last winter I signed up for the local duathlon series and I discovered that it wasn't nearly scary enough to keep me training. You can run 3 miles on zero training and bike 11 miles on little training. You can't run 10 miles with zero training. This forces me to run this winter, which is probably a good thing considering my heel rehab and IMCDA this June.


Registration and Packet Pick-Up is crazy easy for this race. If you register at Runner's Roost you save the Active.com registration fee. You can pick up your packet early at the RR store by my office. Or you can pick your packet up the morning of the race. Easy and stress free!

Will and I were doing this race together. He was doing the 5k (his first!) and I was doing the 10k (oddly enough, my first!). My hope was that we could run the first part together and then I'd go off and run the longer 10k while he turned around to the finish. Unfortunately, the race was not set up that way. The 5k was at 9 AM and the 10k was at 10:30 AM. Ugh. And we had a packed schedule Saturday with brewery anniversary parties and uncle's 60th birthdays, so we had to drive separate and Will took off when he was done with his 5k. Very fuel efficient (eye roll). On the positive side, this meant I got to play cheerleader for him and other people in my tri club. I had a big sherpa fail, though, as while I was set up to take a finish line photo, the camera had other ideas and went to sleep on me. That meant no photo of Will. Boo. Fortunately, the race photographer got shots of him running. *phew*
Very rare and never before documented husband while running
I was FROZEN after standing outside for 40 min during the 5k. I had on extra pants and an extra jacket but I was still frozen. It was ~30 degrees and cloudy, and boy does that cloud cover make a difference. I could barely feel my toes and once Will finished we both went inside to so I could defrost. Then I decided to hit the small expo and hand out my ~40 strawberry banana Sunrype Fruit Strips to people. I’m getting better at randomly approaching people and handing out free stuff. It is still a bit awkward but generally, people are happy for free stuff. By that point Will took off and I went inside again to warm up and get ready for my race.
 
This was my first running race since May, which was a half marathon that I PR’d and where I probably also broke my heel. I was both excited and a bit nervous for this 10k. For starters, my longest training run was 5.7 miles, had a HR limit of 142, and included 10 minutes of walking (5 min at the start and end). I had not run 6.2 miles straight since breaking my heel and I really didn’t know how this race was going to go. I had a pep talk from my coach and we were both thinking that my I was in much better shape than I thought I was. My race plan was:
  • Eat a normal breakfast since the race wasn’t until 10:30.
  • About 45-60 min, eat a gel (I had ~100 of some First Endurance Liquid Shot about 45 min before the race)
  • Warmup with easy jogging and drills for 20 min before the race. Time it so I’m not standing around getting cold.
  • Mile 1: go easy and hold back
  • Mile 2: go a bit faster, but still not “fast”
  • Mile 3: same as above
  • Mile 4 – 6: Its go time. Go as fast as you can sustain.
Given that I haven’t run the race distance, and most of my training runs were at a ~12:30 pace, I wasn’t sure I had much speed. And I was worried that if I went kinda fast, that I could sustain it. Conservatively, I set a goal pace of 11:00 min/miles and a 1:07 race finish.
 
Due to some distractions (samples, freezing, visiting with friends) I got my nutrition down at 45 minutes before my race. That was maybe a bit late as I had some side cramps later on in the race. My warmup was also only 15 minutes, due to the distractions. Mainly, I was inside and warm and didn’t want to go outside into the cold. After some debate on my clothing choices, I decided to ditch my jacket but keep my gloves and headed out for my warmup. I normally never, ever warm up. And the idea of doing a warm up nearly 1/3 the total time as my race was silly to me. But those were my coach’s orders and well, she is the professional. So I did the warm up.
 
The race course goes along the South Platte River trail and is fairly flat. The only “hills” are where the trail crosses streets (bridges or underpasses) and one nasty hill at the finish. The path is concrete but there is some crushed gravel on the side, which I ran on when it was available.
 
I started towards the back, as I had no idea how my pace would align with the other racers. Holding back during the first mile was hard. I was getting passed and I wanted to GO. I held back as best I could, but in reality, it wasn’t by very much. I kept seeing paces around 11 minutes or faster, and my HR was around 160. A bit too fast. But I felt fine so I went with it.
 
Miles 2 and 3, I tried to latch onto some people with similar pacing but then that turned into me wanting to race people. I reminded myself to run my own race and to slow down (for now). Still got passed a bit and I had to remind myself that I would soon be passing people in a few miles.
 
Legs still felt good at the turn around and it was time to GO. My heart rate crept up into the upper 160’s which is higher than I wanted but my legs felt good and my breathing was fine. And I was passing people – finally! Around mile 4.5, I realized that perhaps I was running a bit too fast as I got a side cramp that was a bit stubborn. I tried some deep breathing and I slowed down slightly and that seemed to help. At mile 5 you could hear the finish line announcer and see the trail back into the race venue (and nasty hill) and I just pushed it as much as I could sustain. Run run run, remember to stay loose and have good form, breathe, and have fun. Up the nasty (but short hill) and to the finish. Breathing pretty hard and running fast, but I felt good. I found my friends at the finish and had my usual post-cold weather race asthma attack. Fun times!
post-asthma attack pic with Santa and friends
Did a bit of expo wandering, mainly for warm drinks. The coffee sponsor ran out of coffee (!?!?) and only had hot chocolate. I got a half cup (mostly to warm myself) and I went back ~5 min later and they had run out of that as well. Lame.
 
My cool down consisted of the walk to my truck. Probably not the best thing, but my legs felt fine the next day (skiing).
 
Results:
Time: 1:04:38 (10:26 pace)
Stats: 65/60 AG, 436/582 OA
 
Overall, I think I ran this race just right. Hard effort at the end, but no so hard that I hurt anything. And I was really pleased with my pace, as I was MUCH faster than I thought I would be.
 
Bonus: really good race photos. It doesn’t even look like I’m running….


 

Friday, December 14, 2012

I get to race tomorrow!

I haven't been able to do a race since May 20th, a loooong (almost) 6 months ago.  Stupid broken heel killed my summer racing plans.  But tomorrow is a day for celebration as I get to return to racing.

I kind of want to put racing in quotation marks because I am s.l.o.w.  And tomorrow's race is a 10k.  My longest training run has been 5.7 miles, which included 5 min of walking at the start and 5 min of walking at the end.  Not exactly "racing a 10k" in the slightest.

Hopefully I will discover that I am in better shape than I think I am.  Hopefully.

Tomorrow's plan (per my coach) is this:
  • 20 minute warmup.  This will be interesting because I NEVER warm up for a race.  Ever.  And the warmup is almost 1/3 of the time I'll be racing.  But that's why I've hired a coach.  We'll do what she says and I may be suprised.
  • Mile 1 - take it easy
  • Mile 2 - go slightly faster
  • Mile 3 - go even more slightly faster
  • Mile 4-6 - RACE.  But keep focus on form and if anything hurts, back off.
My goal time is ~1:07, which is an 11 min/mile pace.  Considering most of my runs have been MAF runs with a ~12:30 pace and HR limit of 142, going 1:30/mile faster will be interesting.  I did a 2 mile test run yesterday at that pace and it was a bit hard, so we'll see if I can sustain it for another 4 miles.

The good part is that I've somehow never done a 10k before, so no matter what, I will PR. :)

Really, this is just a test to see how I do with some speed and a medium distance race.  I have no expectations other than to just enjoy being able to run and to race.  That's it.  Just have fun.  (and not die)

The other fun thing about tomorrow is that it is Will's first 5k.  Woo hoo!  I was hoping that our races would start at the same time, so I could run the first half of his race with him.  But the race is dumb and the 5k goes at 9 AM and the 10k goes at 10:30.  Dumb!  So I will show up at the 5k time and cheer on my club-mates and husband and take some photos.  Then I will do my warmup and my race.  Weird set up but that's what we've got.

Hurray for racing!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Ironman Training, Month 1 (and other odds and ends)

First, a bragging revelation. I told someone today that I’m training for another Ironman. Not “I’m training for an Ironman.” But “another Ironman”. As in I’ve already done one. Ok, its bragging. But that’s also pretty cool.


I’ve been working with Coach Michelle for a month now (already, a month?) and incorporating some new running moves, as recommended by my PT.

MAF Running

AKA running as slow as humanly possible and then run even slower. Kinda. This actually has been really enjoyable, once I got past the first few weeks of frustration. Honestly, I kind-of felt like I was in the movie Speed, only the opposite concept. Go too fast and your Garmin won’t quit beeping. And something may blow up. Any minor distraction or loss in focus and my HR would creep (or zoom) up. It takes an incredible amount of focus to run so slowly.

Strangely enough, I really like running this way now. For starters, my sore spots aren’t sore anymore. NO TIGHT CALVES. Crazy. Also, its not boring. Before, I needed (no required) music for most runs. Now, my brain is so busy focusing on going slow (or moving more efficiently) that I don’t miss music and time flies by. I’ve been doing hour long runs in silence (except the occasional beep from my Garmin) and I’ve really enjoyed it.

I think this fully cements my status as a runner. From “only runs when being chased” to “enjoys long runs in silence.” Who am I?!?!

Glute Strength

My glutes don’t like to work. My PT did a whole bunch of exercises to try and get them to fire, and my left (injured) side would just stutter. The damn thing wouldn’t even contract, it would just stutter along. So I have a bunch of very subtle exercises to try and trick that muscle into firing, with the idea that once it gets used to working, it will decide to work when I run. Thereby saving other muscles (my lower calf) from doing all the work in compensation. I think its working as I’ve actually felt it engage a few times (speed work or hills) and it has been sore.

Video Gait Analysis

I got the results back of my video gait and a bunch of recommended drills. Things like “kitty paw”, “kick butt”, and “a skips”. All are to be done with very light footing. I try to incorporate these drills as part of my 5 min walking warmup for each runs.

ChiRunning

The PT who did my gait analysis strongly suggested I get this book and try to incorporate this style into my current running practice. I’m about 2/3 of the way through the book and have read about the theory and background, areas of focus, drills, and technique. Enough to be dangerous. The whole idea behind this technique is to let gravity do the work for you, to have a tight core and a relaxed rest of your body. Oh, and breathe. I practiced some of these techniques (breathing, peeling my feet up – heel first, keeping my ankles relaxed) during my MAF run last Sunday and it helped. I should have had a terrible run (I went skiing the day before and was sore… and I stuffed myself full of Thankgiving food the night prior). Anytime my HR would creep up I would take deep breaths and my HR would go down. If I felt a little tight, I relaxed my ankles. I practiced good /efficient feet and worked on peeling my foot up from the heel. I was almost 1 min/mile faster than the same route and distance a week earlier. Wow.

Swimming and Biking

Michelle had me to a 1,000 for time and it was sad. About 5 seconds per 100 yd slower than I should be. I’ve got a ways to go.

Biking is just fine. I’ve got trainer interval days (which aren’t as bad as you’d think) and easy cruise days. Fortunately, the easy days and coincided with nice weather, so I’ve used the bike time to explore trails around my house that I haven’t been on. Its been fun.

Skiing

And I went skiing the Saturday after Thanksgiving. The snow is terrible. Scary, actually. The open trails, where the snow was manmade and probably bulldozed into place, were ok, considering the snow was manmade. But directly adjacent to the trail was mostly dirt. It was scary. We need snow. My new rock skis (Ramp Frenzy’s) did the trick though. Easy grabbing onto crusty stuff and stable at speed, as advertised. You really have to get on it to get them to engage. Messing around means you will smear your skis all over. And your knee will be sore. Will did great, though!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

running slow is hard!

Today's run:
  • 5 min warmup walking
  • 30 min with a HR limit of 142, with 8 strides
  • 5 min cool down walking
I was actually invited to happy hour tonight (people seem to forget I exist at work... however, the one time I'm invited is also the same time this annoying girl shows up with the intention of happy hour.  sigh).  I was supposed to run tonight with Will (on flat trails) but instead I ran during my lunch.  The trail at work is the opposite of flat, with a big long climb and some rollers.

It turns out, it's impossible to run with a heart rate of 142 up a hill.
I forgot my MP3 player today.  Turns out, that wasn't a problem since my Garmin was beeping at me nearly constantly to slow down.  I attempted to lower my HR by slowing down (like I did Sunday) but it really wasn't working.  I let my garmin beep at me 3-4 times, then I'd run one of my strides, and then I'd walk until my HR went down to ~138, then I'd run again.  And repeat the scenario.

I was really focusing on running slow and smooth but my watch kept beeping at me.  Very frustrating.  Hopefully this gets easier over time.

Monday, October 29, 2012

learning how to run

Running is a complicated thing.  You think to yourself, you just run and its that easy.  But apparently (for me), its not.

I've been running regularly since 2008, so I'm not a novice.  I try to run ~20 miles a week.  My longest training run has been 16 miles.  So I should know what I'm doing.  Except, I just found out that I don't.

I have chronically tight calves.  They hurt.  And they make my right foot go numb.  I keep getting my calf worked on (dry needling, massage) to loosen it up.  Then a few runs later, it's like I was never treated.  I'm 99% sure my calf caused my heel fracture.  I was discussing my most recent calf tightness with my PT and she suggested I go and see her friend that does video running gait analysis.  We're thinking I'm doing something wrong (root cause) and that is causing all these calf issues and related injuries.

Video gait testing went something like this:
  • run ~10 minutes on the treadmill at a comfy pace to get used to running on a treadmill
  • run at above pace with your preferred shoes on while being videotaped from the back and side
  • remove shoes and repeat video from the back and side.
I did not like the barefoot running.  Immediately I knew my left foot was misbehaving because with each step, because there was a SMACK everytime that foot hit the treadmill. 

After the treadmill video session, I was asked to do a few tests:
  • stand on a box, balance on one foot, squat down and tap your heel on the floor down in front of you (evaluates glutes)
  • balance on one foot and do toe raises w/out setting your heel down (evaluates ankle)
I passed the toe raise test but miserably failed the step down test on my left side.  Awesome.

After a prelim evaluation of the video, I felt like I got a D- in running.  I am STILL heel striking (in Newtons!  Imagine how sad it would be w/out them!) and worse, I am not engaging my muscles when I run.  Most people get nice and pretty calf contractions as they run.  I have calf muscles (I see them when I do calf raises!) but when running the back of my leg is smooth.  There's no calf contraction.  I'm also not engaging my glutes.  STILL.

Sucky.

So I have more PT exercises to work on.  And in 3 weeks I get the full video evaluation and corrective measures.  And I'm going to work with my normal PT to evaluate my neural transfer.  I master my PT exercises pretty quickly (meaning they become too easy) and I KNOW I have muscles.  There could be something weird going on between my brain and my feet that makes it so I'm not engaging those muscles.

I'm also working with a new triathlon coach, and she's introducing MAF heart rate training.  You take your target fat-burning-zone heart rate (HR) and set that as your maximum HR for workouts.  This teaches your body to use fat as fuel.  And I suppose it does something to increase your fitness, as it teaches you to run faster at a lower HR.  Eventually.  I'm skeptical, but at this point, running slower is probably good for me.

Yesterday was my MAF test, which consisted of the following:
  • 5 min walk
  • 10 min easy jog to warm up (during which my Garmin was FREAKING out, showing a HR of 180.  dumb technology)
  • 25 min of running with a max HR of 142, keeping track of 1 mile splits.
  • 5 min walking to cool down
I ended up taking splits every 1/2 mile because I wasn't sure I'd get in 2 miles.  I'm slow.  I was just hoping I could keep things slow enough  controlled without having to do much walking. The first lap wasn't too bad.  I had to focus a bit to keep my HR down, but it wasn't awful.  Same for the next lap.  The third lap required a bit more focus.  I was literally saying "slow, light steps" and trying to be very efficient and not waste energy to keep my HR down.  The last lap really required 100% focus.  Any momentary lapse and my HR zoomed up to >150 bpm, which required 5-10 sec of walking to bring it back down.

Essentially, it was a test to see how slowly something could resemble a run while keeping my HR down.  It was tricky, mentally.  But afterwards, I didn't have my usual calf tightness.  There may be something to this.
  • Lap 1: pace 12:37, avg HR 141, max HR 146
  • Lap 2: pace 12:50,  avg HR 142, max HR 145
  • Lap 3: pace 13:22, avg HR 142, max HR 148
  • Lap 3: pace 13:47, avg HR 141, max HR 153
I imagine that I'll be doing this test in a few months to see how I'm progressing.  Ideally, my pace will increase at that HR max. 

    Friday, October 19, 2012

    trail run

    I got a State Park pass this spring, with the idea that I'd go trail running at some of the parks by my house.  My foot had different ideas.

    I'd been building up my time and distance with my doctor-prescribed run/walk program and was up to nearly 4 miles.  I had a friend in town for GABF and she had running on her schedule.  We decided to go for a trail run at Castlewood Canyon State Park.  I looked at the topo map and decided it wasn't that bad.  I've also seen photos of other run groups there and it looked pretty.  I decided to take the creek trail at the bottom of the canyon.  How bad could it be?

    We got there at 9:30 AM and narrowly escaped a pack of kids, presumably on a field trip.  We decided to not take our phones (for photos), debated on clothing (I decided the canyon bottom could be shady and cold so I wore a long sleeve shirt over my short sleeve shirt), got our Garmins rev'd up and took off down the trail.

    Funny thing.  The park name had "canyon" in it and we were running along the creek at the bottom of the canyon.  Only the parking lot was at the top of the canyon.  That meant our "run" involved a whole bunch of stairs at the start of our run to get to the bottom on the canyon.  Which also meant that we had to go up the stairs at the end of our run.  Oops.  I think my friend was thinking about killing me at this point and we were only 3 minutes in.  I am such a good friend.
    
    View from the scenic overlook, taken after our run.
    Once we got to the bottom, it was really pretty but also pretty tricky.  The trail was singletrack with a ton of large rocks sticking out of the ground.  And in some cases, boulders we had to scrabble up, down, around, or over.  (Jumping over was my favorite.)  My orange Newons were probably a terrible choice.  Easy for my friend to follow but with the lugs on the bottom, they were a bit unsteady.  I tried to twist my ankle twice but thankfully my closed-eye balance exercises actually did something and my ankles were nice and strong.
    The trail only got wide and level in one place, a meadow upstream of an old dam.  But it was thick/loose gravel/sand, so it wasn't the easiest stuff to run in.  I did my best to maintain some semblance of running where I could, sometimes darting around or over rocks.  I definitely had to slow down for most of the climbing and any sort of scrabbling.  And as a bonus, my calf acted up and my whole left foot when numb at the end of the run.  That made things interesting.

    It was actually a super fun run, probably one of the best I've had all year.  It was challenging and not boring.  Dodging all those rocks keeps your mind occupied.  Plus, the canyon and fall colors were so pretty.  For longer distances, I probably would go do the rim trail or try a different park.  But for something quick this was definitely fun.  Even if it was the slowest 4 mile "run" of my life.
    The orange Newts are back!

    Tuesday, October 16, 2012

    I need a new liver

    so while more serious athletes were battling it out in Kona, I was drinking beer with 5 of my closest friends. 

    Beer week actually started before their arrival, as Will and I went to some rare beer tasting.  Highlights were a raspberry sour from AC Golden (what's wrong with me!?!?), an apple cider with lavender and rosemary, and many, many whisky/bourbon/brandy aged dark beers.  Lets just say that Thursday morning was a bit rougher than it should have been.

    Friday was Day 1, which all in the Boulder area and included:
    • Oskar Blues Tasty Weasel - I just had sips of what others were drinking
    • Pumphouse Brewery and Grill - Ryetoberfest
    • Gravity - Will and I split a sampler
    • Upslope - pumpkin ale, so good
    • Avery - Salvation (9% Belgian Strong, because that's smart at the last stop of the day when you're driving home).  I also sampled some Rumpkin, Tweak (15%), and some other bottle of beer that was 18% ABV and cost $24.  for a 12 oz bottle.  Also: sweet potato tater tots with green chile.  Awesomeness.
    yum.  and also dangerous
    Saturday was Great American Beer Festival Day!  We had members only session tickets (Sat afternoon) and our friend was entered in the ProAm contest, so we had tickets to the awards ceremony.  The awards ceremony also included breakfast beer at 10:30 AM.  Awesome again.
    note: this is not my hand
    GABF had 580 breweries and 2,700 beers.  Wowzers.  Highlights included:
    • Cigar City Good Gourd Imperial Pumpkin.  I may or may not have gone back 3 times for this.  In a very long line.  It was my favorite of the day.
    • some random mid-west brewery's PB&J beer.  Weird, but it worked.
    • Shorts Brewery Bloody Mary beer.  I do not like bloody marys.  I have no idea why I liked this beer.
    • New Glarus Rasperry Tart.  so good.  I wish they distributed here.
    • And many, many others.
    Part of the challenge with GABF is simply being overwhelmed by all the choices.  You can only drink so many beers, so you don't want to waste your opportunities with crappy beers.  However, the point is to try NEW beer, so you have to take a risk.  I know, first world problems.  My life is rough sometimes.  Fortunately, there are dump buckets at each table, so if you don't like your sample, its easy to get rid of it and move on.

    Sunday was even more drinking:
    • Renegade brewing - Banana Split beer (chocolate hefeweisen) and some brunch from a food truck.  I'm still sad they didn't have their Sunday Morning coffee strong ale.  That would have been brilliant with bacon and french toast.
    • Prost Brewing - I got the sampler and an extra sample of the Tivoli beer (historic Denver beer that went out of production in the 1960's).  Then my friend got this brilliant creation - a Russian - consisting of a Hefeweisen and Italian Lemon Soda.  Amazing.  So I had to get one as well.  This will be my summer 2013 beverage, for sure.
    • Strange Brewing - Cherry Kreik (so good)
    Russian at Prost.  Seriously delicious.
    We wanted to also hit Wit's End, but it closed at 5 PM on Sunday.  We realized this at 5:20 PM.  Fail.

    Monday (dear good lord) (after a 4 mile trail run) was:
    • Rockyard Grill and Brewery - lunch and a pumpkin beer
    • side trip to a liquor store for some Crooked Stave beer (hard to find sour beer)
    • Lone Tree Brewery - Ariadne Belgian Blonde (and an order of 3 x 1/6 kegs for my tri club party for next weekend)
    • Copper Kettle Brewery - I drank water and had sips of other people's beers.
    • More beer from our personal stash.
    And now my liver needs about a month's detox.  Definitely fun but not something I can do very often.

    Glade Expressions

    *This post is sponsored by BzzAgent Glade Expressions*

    About a month ago, I got a BzzKit for a Glade Expressions home scent package.  I was able to get an oil diffuser and a fragrance mist.  Scent options include Cotton & Italian Mandarin, Fuji Apple & Cardamom Spice, Lavender & Juniper Berry, and Pineapple & Mangosteen.  I went with the Pineapple/Mangosteen because of the fresh fruity scent and the pretty wood panelling on the oil diffuser.  For scent consistency, I went the same direction for the mist.

    Here's the oil diffuser hanging out on my side table:

    cute, right?
    The scent is nice and fruity without being fake.  The oil diffuser does a great job in scenting my large front room.  I can't wait to try out the other scents.

    Friday, October 05, 2012

    SNOW!

    The news has been hyping snow for Saturday.  Well a snow/rain mix in the morning.

    This morning (Friday), I went to 5:30 swim practice.  WeatherBug said it was 32 degrees out, so I grabbed my hat and gloves.  I stood out on my driveway and realized it wasn't all that cold out, so I ditched the gloves.  Roads were damp but fine.  I went to swim practice, spent 60 minutes face down starring at the black line in my lane.  At the end of practice, we looked up and saw white suff on the hill outside of the pool.

    I wandered over to the window to check it out and saw little fluffy flakes coming down.  I may have done a little dance at that point.

    Last year, the first snowfall was on Oct 8th.  The day before the Denver RnR Half Marathon.  I think I cried that morning.  Last year, I had serious PTSD from Ironman training the previous winter.  Snow days meant 4.5 hours on the bike trainer.  Cold and dry days meant 6 hrs on the bike freezing and stopping at public bathrooms to thaw out.

    Last winter's mission was to enjoy winter and learn to love snow again.  Snow should be happy.  I should not want to cry each time I see snow.  I season of skiing and playing and I love snow again.

    We'll see how I feel about snow in April 2013, with CDA on the horzion....

    Monday, October 01, 2012

    Back on my feet

    I have "ran" a whole 6.5 miles in the month of September!  Yay!  It still isn't real running, but its getting there.  So far I have done:

    • 14 minutes, alternating 1 min walking, 1 min running.  That sure was tough! (/sarcasm)
    • 17 minutes of the 1 min walk/run deal
    • 20 minutes of 1 min walking, 2 min running
    • 28 minutes of the 1 min walk/run deal
    The fun part is that Will is running with me.  Its pretty funny because even though I've been broken all summer, I am still in much better shape.  The last couple of minutes back to our house is up a small hill and I always push that hill.  Will was breathing pretty hard and I was being very helpful, trying to make him talk and pushing the pace.  I'm supportive like that.

    The other great part is that I've been running just before sunset and the weather is fantastic.  The light is amazing, the fall colors are great.  I try to not think about the fact that snow will be flying soon.  I'm just trying to enjoy things right now, in the moment. 

    I also volunteered at a trail race yesterday - the Bear Chase Race, which consisted of a 10k, half marathon, 50k and 50 mile trail race.  I worked the 5 - 10 AM shift (with a 3:45 wake up time... yowzers) and I got a free reflective vest for my efforts.  It was really early, but it was also fun.

    I brought some of my SunRype along, as I just got a shipment of 480 Just Fruit and Grains bars (summer berry).  I brought a couple of boxes with me, hoping to help out.  I was not prepared for the literal buffet our aid station had.  Seriously, it was crazy.  Oranges, watermelon, banana, nilla wafers, oreos, honey stinger gels and waffles, m&ms (plain and peanut), skittles, pretzles, chips, pb&j sandwiches.  My poor SunRype bars weren't getting a whole lot of love. 

    I was carpooling, so I had to leave right at 10 AM.  In my time at the aid station, I saw the half marathoners (a lot of them grabbed pb&j's.... for a half. marathon. ) and I saw 2 loops of the 50k and 50 milers.  These people had run ~24 miles by the time I saw them.  And most of them looked really good.  I wish I could have stuck around longer, as it was very inspirational to be around these athletes. 

    This volunteer effort meants 5+ hours on my feet, which is something I haven't done in a very long time.  It was sore but I managed to do my "run" last night (28 minutes of the 1 min run/walk deal) and today all is well.
    time stamp was 6:57.  Yep, I was volunteering 2 hrs before this was snapped.


    shot of our aid station buffet.  I was joking that we needed doggie bags for the athletes.

    if you look closely, you can see runners along the road and off in the distance

    helping athletes getting their food on!
    Goooo SunRype!
    

    Thursday, September 20, 2012

    4 minutes

    On Tuesday, my doctor gave me the all clear to start running again.  Honestly, I'm shocked.  I though she'd have me walk for a month and THEN build up to running.  Nope.  She said I could start running immediately.

    I almost ran out of the doctor's office to my truck, in celebration.

    The running plan actually ramps up pretty quickly.  In week 3, I will be running a mile continuously, walk for 3 min, and repeat 2 more times.  Given that my walk on Sunday (3 miles round trip) wiped me out, I'm going to wait until this Sunday to start the program and walk a few more times this week.  As excited as I am to start up, I don't want to rush into it and re-injure my heel.

    After work on Tuesday, after a semi-long search for clothes and a debate over which shoes to wear (do I wear my cushiony [and blocky] Mizunos for support, or do I wear my Newtons for better form?  The Newtons won.  Mainly because I've been wearing the Mizunos daily for 5 weeks and I'm tired of seeing them), I went on a walk.  After some internal debate, I decided to go about 3 miles, walking 10 minutes and running for 1 minute.  I figured it was a good test to see how I felt.

    And wow, those 4 x 1 minute runs were amazing.  It was the first time I've ran since the Colfax Half Marathon.*  I took the first 2 conservatively, focusing on light feet and midfoot running.  The 3rd run I tried to up the pace but it really wasn't there.  And the 4th one, I just wanted to keep it strong.

    It went pretty well.  I can tell certain things aren't used to getting used.  My shins/ankles.  My hips.  My my heel felt GREAT.  I really was the best 4 minutes I've had in quite a while.  I'm looking forward to getting in even more of those minutes. :)

    * Quote from my race report: "My feet hurt, which sucks.  I'm hoping that a regimen of 2 aleve every 12 hours for a few days will fix things, along with RICE.  This is fixable".  Oh the irony.  Yes, fixable with 4 months of being booted and doing nothing.  Crapola.

    Monday, September 17, 2012

    rebuilding

    I can honestly (and finally) say that I am confident that my heel is no longer broken.

    let me repeat:  After 4 months, my heel is no longer broken.

    holy schmoley.

    To get ready for IMCDA, and to prevent this from ever happening again, I am really working on rebuilding myself.  I almost feel like the Bionic Woman, only without the bionic parts.  I'm working with a physical therapist, a chiropractor, and a massage therapist to address all of my issues.  I want to get all the kinks knocked out now before training begins in earnest. 

    Physical therapy is kicking my ass - literally!  Becky feels that my glutes are weak, so my calves have to work extra-hard to make up for that weakness, which in turn causes calf tightness, and in my case a broken heel.  Awesome!  We (well, me) are working hard to address the glute weakness and to also work on a few other trouble spots.  Daily, I get to do:
    • a series of 5 pilates side leg lifts, 1 minute each (5 minutes total, per side)
    • bridge pose, holding one leg up and out, 1 min each side
    • face down leg lifts (2 types), 1 minute each type (2 min total, per side)
    • 2 min of calf raises
    • balance ball bridge pose (hold 10 sec) then roll legs out straight and hold (10 sec) to fatigue
    • theraband front wide walking to fatigue
    • theraband backwards wide walking to fatigue
    • theraband sideways walking to fatigue (each side)
    • 5 minutes wall squat (cumulative time with the goal to hold for 5 min straight)
    This is HARD.  Wowzers.  However, I should have legs of steel from all of this.  Also: everyone I tell about the 5 minutes of wall squats looks at me and laughs.

    I'm still searching for a good chiropractor.  The one I was seeing this spring wasn't taking my calf tightness seriously.  And I had to ask him to adjust my neck.  That annoyed me.  I switched to one closer to work who is sports-certified.  I guess there's a huge difference between knowing sports and being sports-certified, because this guy had no clue about any of the sports that I do.  He insisted on seeing me 2x a week "because I was tight" but never gave any indication of progress.  And when he asked me what activities I'd been doing (swimming and cycling), he'd tell me to quit undoing his work.  I'm not sure he was joking.  But honestly, I'm not doing all that much now and if he thinks I'm "undoing" things now... wow.  His speech mannerisms were also off-putting.  "Get on your tummy" instead of "lie face down".  When adjusting my back, when he was having a hard time he'd call me a "difficult girl".  It was creepy.  So I'm not seeing him anymore.

    I had a groupon-type thing for a massage, so I used that on Friday.  Maybe someday I will get a nice relaxing massage.  But that day was not Friday.  He really worked hard  from my glutes on down to get knots to release.  I was pretty impressed, so I got 5 more sessions with him.  I need to get rid of these knots before I start training in earnest.

    I haven't seen my doctor yet to get cleared for walking.  During our last visit, she wanted me to come back in 4-6 weeks, so I scheduled an appointment for 5 weeks.  I see her tomorrow.  My foot has been feeling good for 2 weeks now, so I decided to go for a walk to the farmers market yesterday as a test.  It's 1.5 miles each way... probably a bit farther than what the Doctor would recommend, but that's what I did.  Foot felt fine, but the rest of my muscles.....Wow.  I can tell that they are NOT used to getting worked in that fashion.  It was pretty sad, really.  Walking 3 miles round trip made me sore.  Damn.  But the foot felt fine, so that's the good news.  I can work on endurance.... slowly.

    Finally, I hit a new bike speed max Saturday, on the hill by my house.  47 mph.  It was awesome.


    Monday, September 10, 2012

    Well, that was hard

    This whooped me good.  It was also very educational.

    The Plan:  I had 2 x 8 oz bottles of First Endurance Liquid Shot (about 4 hrs per bottle) in my jersey and a handfull of SunRype fruit strips for nutrition.    For water I had my 40 oz Speed Fill and I'd fill that up at aid stations.  I'd stop at every aid station and about every hour.  And I'd ride the 100 miles.

    Starting out, things weren't so bad.  We were going uphill, but I could manage in my 2nd ring.  Five miles in, I wasn't dying.  Hooray!  An hour in and I was ok still.  Then there was a HUGE steep hill that didn't seem to ever end (see mile 10, above).  I saw 2.8 mph on my garmin and I was going so slow that it would auto-pause on me, thinking I had stopped.  Awesome!  There were moments where I considered walking, but I figured that each pedal stroke was taking me a greater distance than a step would.  So I kept pedalling.  FINALLY (two hours later) we reached Nederland.  3,000 ft climbed in 15 miles.  Hooray!  Ward is only another 1,000 ft and I have 15 miles to do so.

    Insert ironic laugh, as I was about to get my ass handed to me.

    We had a really fun descend.  I really enjoyed that, but it also scared the crap out of me because what goes down must go up.  Crap.  Then I saw a sign indicating that I had a Cat 2* climb coming up.  Crap again.  Its ok, I managed to stay on my bike in Boulder Canyon.  I can do this.

    It turns out, asthma + 8,000 ft elevation is not a good equation.  My legs felt ok.  My lungs were gone.  And weirdly, my lower back was REALLY sore.  Things weren't fun anymore and my lungs were hurting.  So I got off and walked the steep parts.  I think I walked 3 or 4 times, usually spotting a tree or a rock just below the crest, which would be my re-mounting point.  Each time I walked, I'd take a hit off my inhaler.  It didn't work as 5 minutes later, I couldn't breathe.  That hill just wouldn't end.  There were points where it would level off and I'd go around a curve and see another hill.  Most of the time these later hills weren't bad, but I was almost crying at the thought of going up any more hills.  And I'd only ridden 22 miles.  In a century ride.  If I had seen a SAG vehicle on any of these hills, I would have asked for a ride to the next aid station.  I only saw SAG vehicles on the flats or slight descents, where I was on my bike and too proud to ask for a ride.  From past experience, I know that crying is usually a lack of nutrition.  I wasn't eating or drinking much because I was working so damn hard.  Once I realized that, I took a good hard swig of my nutrition to get some calories down.

    FINALLY somewhere around mile 25 or 26, the hills ended and we had flats and a gradual downhill.  I knew Ward was around mile 28, where the aid station was, so I sucked it up.  I also made a deal with myself:  Ride the descent down St Vrain Canyon (30 miles) and see if I feel any better.  I got the the aid station and they were starting to tear it down.  Awesome.  My friend had been waiting 20 minutes for me.  Even more awesome.  Fortunately, she had some Advil and I took 2 for my back.  I told her about my plan to see how I was at the next aid station (Hygiene, at mile 60) and she was ok with it.

    Then the fun began.  Yay - downhill!  Unfortantely, while we were on Peak to Peak Highway, there were some downhills and some uphills.  Down was fun.  Up was not.  I was done with going up.  Also, Peak to Peak turned into chipseal north of Ward.  Sucky. I just wanted to fly.  Once we got on St Vrain Ave, the chipseal turned into smooooooth pavement and there were no more uphills.  Just really fun downhills and sweeping turns.  I don't think I hit my brakes once on that road.

    We made it to Lyons and the heat started to hit me and I knew I was back on flat land.  Pedalling was actually going well on the flats.  I was holding 18-20 mph.  I had also ran out of water at about mile 50.  Dumb.  I remember actually looking at my water bottle, thinking hmm, there's about an hour left of water in there.  I have 30 miles.  I can do that in one hour.  Yet another sign that I wasn't thinking clearly.  Somehow I trusted myself with 30 miles of fast descending.  Dumb.  So I was dry but I knew the road and I knew I had minutes to get to Hygiene.  So I just kept pedalling.

    It was getting hotter and things were starting to get uncomfortable.  Saddle was ok-ish.  Hands were starting to go numb.  And my feet weren't super happy.  And I was starting to get crabby.  I knew the rest of the ride was flat-ish.  But I also knew it wasn't shaded.  I evaluated myself and my goals, and decided that things would cease to be happy if I continued on.  I had nothing to prove and why torture myself for another 40 miles.  SAG it was.

    I made it to the mile 60 aid station and I was only about a minute behind my friend.  They had cheese pizza there.  I normally don't like cheese pizza.  But this was the BEST cheese pizza EVER.  I told my friend that I was SAGging it, but she understood.  And then I ate more pizza.  And red licorice.  mmmmm!

    Getting a ride back to the race start/finish was super easy.  I had 3 drivers, all volunteering to take me back.  And on the way, I learned that my cousin was at the start/finish waiting for his girlfriend to finish.  That meant I had company for the 2+ hrs until my friend finished.  Hooray!  We hung out.  I drank beer, ate ice cream, ate pasta.  Good times.  The reports from my friends who did the full 100 miles told me that I made the right decision.  It was hot out there.  I would not have been a happy camper.

    Lessons Learned:
    • I need to be better about my nutrition, even when working hard.  When I got to mile 60 (5 miles riding time), I had only had 1/4 of my total nutrition.  That's equivalent to 2 hrs worth.  No shit I felt like crap.  I can't be doing that.
    • I am questioning if I can do rides at altitude because I had SUCH a hard time breathing.  I don't know if this is an acclimation thing or if my lungs are defective.  My legs were ok (back was not, but it was tolerable).  I had to walk because I couldn't breathe.  Not cool.
    • At each aid station, I need to evaluate hydration and nutrition.  Even when its early in the ride.  Running out of water was unacceptable.
    • Good call SAGging it back after 60 miles.  I feel a bit beat up today but mostly ok.  I'm pretty sure I'd be in worse shape today if I did the whole thing.
    I wish I took some pictures, as it was BEAUTIFUL.  The aspen were starting to turn, I had views of some big mountains.  I was just running so late that I didn't want to take the 30 seconds to bust out my phone and snap some pics.

    Overall, the ride was VERY well organized.  Even though I didn't do the full 100 miles, I felt like I got my money's worth.  Maybe I'll think about doing this again next year, but only if I feel ready.  No more doing this on a whim.

    * I thought a Cat 2 climb was the 2nd easiest climb.  I reasearched it this morning.  Turns out its the 2nd HARDEST climb.  No wonder that killed me!

    Friday, September 07, 2012

    Friday update

    PT is going better.  I'm mastering my exercises and I have new ones.  One of which resembles a sideways crab walk and a theraband.  It is not very attractive, but I suppose that's not the point.  Its hard to be graceful when your feet are tied together by a gigantic blue rubberband.

    I actually went to swim practice TWICE this week.  This has not happened since the week of July 8th.  Craziness.  Even more crazy, I could kick fairly hard and not feel my fracture.  Awesome.  Also: that's why I haven't been swimming very much.  Spending 3,000 meters pulling or barely kicking sucks.  Its impossible to motivate myself to go twice a week with that suckage.  Really.

    I have ridden a grand total of 200 miles in the past 2 months.  Most of my rides are on the 45-50 mile range.  So, logically, I signed up for a century ride this Sunday.  Smart!  I figure, I can do Palmer Lake, which is 2k gain in 20 miles ok, and I can ride 45-50 miles and not be sore, so I should be relatively ok for a century ride with 4k gain in 30 miles.  And then another 70 miles after that.  NO PROBLEM!  I mean, there's 30 miles of downhill after the 30 miles of uphill (which really, requires no work what-so-ever), and then 40 miles of relative flatness.
    no problem!  [gulp]
    Honestly, a metric century would have been better.  They had a 70 mile option, but frankly, it was boring.  And I've nearly done that ride on my own for free.  I decided that pretty and painful was the way to go.  As slow as I will go, it will give me plenty of time to enjoy canyons and mountains.  I also plan on taking full advantage of EACH aid station, and not skipping every-other one as I typically do.

    And if I'm dying, I can cut out early and go down Lefthand Canyon or something and simply ride back to the post-ride party.  Or a brewery.  We'll see if I survive.  Its probably not my smartest idea ever, but since when is smart fun?

    Wednesday, August 29, 2012

    physical therapy

    So, last week's therapy was a bit of a wash.  I have been getting assigned roaming PTs (rather than getting a consistent PT or a PT that's right for me).  I had a feeling that last week's exercises weren't quite right, but I'm not the professional.  Last week, I was instructed to:
    • balance on one foot with my eyes closed, 3 x 30 seconds
    • calf stretch
    • scrunch up the width of a hand towel under my foot x 10
    • a whole bunch of ankle exercises with a theraband.  At first, I got an orange one and it was extremely easy.  I asked for something more and we went up 2 levels.  It was still pretty easy.
    Last week's therapist quizzed me on the state of my calf muscle.  I am convinced that the tighness in my calf (which gets so tight while running that my foot goes numb) pulled on my heel bone so much that it caused the fracture.  I mentioned the my calf knots to last week's PT and she kept calling them "cramps" and quizzing me on my banana intake.  :eyeroll:  Thursday she actually touched my calf and only then did she say "wow, these are knots and they are not moving".  Yep.

    Yesterday I met with a new PT (Becky) and she immediately began poking around on the bottom of my foot and noted that my plantar fascae is crazy tight.  She then commented on how that likely contributed to my fracture (ding ding ding!!!)  I told her about my calf and so now we have a bit of a hypothesis going.  I didn't have my calf problems until I moved here and had to run hills.  So my poor calves are freaking out trying to balance out some other muscle imbalances.  Becky tested out some other muscle groups and it was pretty sad.  Apparently I have no glutes.  She is a pilates instructor and I have done years of pilates, so we speak the same language.  The plan is to strengthen my glutes and associated muscles, which will help ease the load on my calves.  And then I get dry needling.  (ick)  But now I feel like I've found someone that is used to working on crazy athletes and knows how to properly treat them.  Hurray! 

    So now, my PT exercises look like:
    • scrunch a towel up with my toes and hold it 10 seconds x 10
    • a series of 5 pilates side leg raises, 10 reps, 3 sets.  That's 150 leg raises PER LEG.  And I get to do that 2x a day.  This kills me.  Its seriously hard.
    • modified bridge pose where I extend one leg straight at 45 degrees and hold 10 sec x 10
    • pilates swimming (legs only) but slower.  one series of 30 reps is leg straight, the other is leg bent up at 90 degrees
    • very slow calf raises x 30
    • and my most recent torment, hold my big toe back to stretch my foot and then massage my plantar fascae.  I was muffling my painful whimpers into a pillow last night.  Holy crap, that hurts!
    As hard and tedious as this is (its about 1 hr of PT daily), I think this is exactly what I need.  I knew something was really wrong and I needed to correct the base problem.  I think working with Beck should do the trick.

    Tuesday, August 21, 2012

    Baby steps towards recovery

    I had a 1-month follow up appointment with my doctor last week, to see how the Stupid Broken Foot was doing.  This whole process is slightly bizarre, mainly because my doctor uses pain as an indicator of healing.  That's fine, unless you're me and the foot really never hurt much in the first place.  Sure, it hurt enough to limp, but it wasn't debilitating pain.  And because I never recognized the pain as "broken", I don't trust myself.  My foot still hurts, no where near as much as it used to, but it still aches.  Does that mean its healed or still broken?  Since I never thought it was broken in the first place, I simply do not trust my pain receptors to tell me anything useful now.

    I was able to walk without limping.  And the pain is mostly gone. I no longer limp (unless I'm booted).  Based on that, my doctor De-Booted me and told me to start physical therapy and to come back in 5 weeks.  THEN maybe I can start to run.  Ugh.

    I had my first PT session today and I wasn't all that impressed.  My legs are visibly different sizes.  I'm beyond cranky that my years of building these muscles are gone and I have to start over.  I was hoping to get some hard core exercises to re-build me.  Instead, I get stretches and balancing.  Apparently, balancing on one foot with your eyes closed for 30 seconds without bobbling is a skill that I need to develop for recovery.  Interesting.  Also: calf stretches.  Duh.  And my arches are flat, so I get to practice bunching up a towel with my toes.  I guess that will give me something to do while watching tv.....

    I also met with a new chiropractor today, in hopes of addressing any biomechanical issues.  My evaluation was eye-opening.  I thought I was pretty bendy.  I am, when moving forward, like, touching my toes, doing pigeon pose (my favorite!), anything that involves bending forward.  When it came time to do the reverse - moving backwards - it was a no-go.  My hip flexors and quads are beyond ridiculously tight.  Awesome.  So, I have even more stretches to work on.

    Stretching, moving towels, balancing with my eyes closed.  When can I start running???

    Friday, August 10, 2012

    just blah

    There's a whole lot of nothing going on here.  Blah.  My next MRI is in a week, but honestly, I think my foot is still broken.  I can feel the fracture, but I'm not sure if the sensation is that of healing or it still being broken.  I was trying to be upbeat and optimistic (hey, I can work on upper body strength and ride my bike tons!) but in all reality, without a race to motivate me, I have become a slug.  I love swim team, but I can't even motivate myself to do that very often, because I can't kick.  Pulling for 3,000 m is no fun at all.  Neither is being significantly slower than everyone else because you can't kick.  Riding my bike is still fun, but I've been busy doing other things and I really need a fit on the roadie before I can really put in the miles.  My fit is tomorrow so hopefully I can get back up on the bike in time for an early September century ride in Boulder.

    Also really sad: my left leg is atrophying.  I can't even describe how sad this makes me feel.

    Also really crappy: we've had visitors nearly every weekend, all from out of town.  Out of town people want to go to the mountains and do active things.  I however, am benched from being active.  I'm really pushing it by fly fishing for a few hours.  Which, really, standing around for a few hours isn't very active.

    I can't really do a whole lot around the house, so its getting more and more messy.  (Will thinks vacuuming every 3 weeks is all the cleaning that the house needs.....)  Thank goodness we have a freezer full of meat and my weekly fruit/veggie deliveries, or we'd starve.  Even going to the grocery store is hard.

    Essentially, my life is frozen and I am being forced into being a couch potato.  I hate it.

    Hopefully my MRI comes back clean and then in a MONTH I can start doing active, weight-bearing activities.  I swear, I can hardly even remember that I have IMCDA coming up next June.  Its just so far off and I'm so down in my little cave of unhappiness that this race just doesn't seem like it will happen.  I know it will, but right now, I can't really think about it.  Mainly because once healed, my next month will be spent cleaning the house and taking care of all the crap that I was supposed to do this summer but haven't been able to.

    /whining

    Tuesday, July 24, 2012

    Beets!

    I'm in Week 7 of my CSA this year, and I've recieved beets every week.  Last year, we were a bit intimidated by the beets.  Will wasn't much of a fan and the only way I knew to cook them was to roast them in the oven.  This was problematic because a) the last thing you want to do in the summer is turn your oven on, so you can make a roasted beet salad, and b) 400 degrees for 1 hour for 4 tiny beets doesn't seem like the best use of electricity.

    As a result, I semi-hoarded the beets last year and cooked them up in large batches.  Only that left us with HUGE amounts of beets, which then went into the freezer, never to be thought of again.  I used some of them, but after freezing the texture was a little off.  (this is the scenario with many things from last year... sigh)

    This year, I've resolved to be better about using my CSA produce immediately.  None of this freezer business.  This is pushing me to try different things with my produce, and thusly, I'm discovering new and tasty ways to enjoy it.

    Beets - three preparations

    Roasted Beet Salad with Wilted Greens
    Ingredients
    • Beets
    • greens of some sort (beet greens, spinach, etc)
    • chevre (soft goat cheese)
    • Citrus vinaigarette (lemon/lime/orange, olive oil, salt, pepper, maybe some vinegar if you want)
    Steps
    Roasted Beets:
    1. Cut tops and bottoms off of beets.  Wrap in aluminum foil and bake at 400 degrees for ~1 hr (you want to easily pierce them with a fork)
    2. Allow beets to cool (you can either roast them the day before and put in the fridge, or submerge them in ice water)
    3. Remove the peel from the beets.  It should slide of pretty easily with your fingers.
    4. Slice as you desire.
    Wilted Greens:
    1. Wash and dry greens
    2. Heat sautee pan and olive oil
    3. Sautee just enough to wilt, not enough to cook down. 
    4. Add salt to taste, if needed
    Make a quick vinaigarette by combining your citrus of choice, olive oil, your choice of vinegar, salt and pepper in a small bowl.  Let it set while you wilt your greens.

    Assemble salad.  Greens on the bottom, then beets, then crumbled goat cheese, then drizzle with the citrus vinaigerette.  Done!

    Raw Beet Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette
    I know, raw beets.  But trust me!  This is better if as you let it sit.  The acid almost cerviches the veggies.  We brought this with us camping and it was super tasty!

    Ingredients
    • beets
    • other crunchy veggie - carrots, jicima, kohlrabi, onion
    • fresh herbs - again, whatever is handy
    • dijon mustard
    • olive oil
    • lemon juice
    • salt/pepper
    • white whine vinegar
    • garlic, minced or crushed.  I love this garlic press - way easier than hand mincing.
    Steps
    1. Slice veggies into matchsticks (you can peel things, but you don't have to).  You want fairly thin, uniform slices to the acid will penetrate.  (full disclosure, I just bought a mandoline because slicing everything by hand was a bit of a pain.  Doable, but much better with toys).
    2. Chop up herbs and garlic.  I used cilantro and green onion because that's what I had on hand, but nearly anything green will work.
    3. In a small bowl, prepare the vinaigrette.  I would suggest ~2 T olive oil, 1 T vinegar, 2T mustard, salt and pepper to taste.  These are to get you started and doctor as needed.
    4. In a large bowl, combine veggies, herbs, garlic, and vinaigrette.  Toss well to combine.
    5. Store in the fridge and let flavors meld.  Everything will end up beet pink, but that's ok.
    Beet Carpaccio
    Ingredients
    • Beets (I used chiogga beets because they're SO PRETTY, but any beet will work).
    • Olive oil
    • fresh herbs
    • salt/pepper
    • maybe some citrus or vinegar if you want.
    seriously.  these are some cool looking beets

    Steps
    1. Heat water to boiling in a saucepan.
    2. Slice beets in uniform, fairly thin slices.  The thinner the better (reason #2 I bought a mandoline).  You can peel the beets if you want, but I didn't and it was just fine.
    3. Once the water is boiling, add beets to the water and cook for 2-3 minutes. You want them to be slightly tender, ie cooked enough to take the crunch out of them.
    4. Once cooked, remove the beets and cool in an ice bath.
    5. Once cooled, drain beets and add to large bowl or the pan you boiled them in (to reduce dishes)
    6. Add olive oil, herbs, salt/pepper, and citrus/vinegar to taste. 
    7. Toss and serve.


    Monday, July 23, 2012

    more bike riding

    In an effort to build into a century ride mid-September, I twisted a friend's arm into riding up to Palmer Lake yesterday.
    up up up then WHEEEE.  Except that bump at the end hurt.
    
    This ride is so beautiful. And it usually hurts with 2000 ft of climbing straight out of the gate.  On this ride we saw:
    • a huge dead elk on the side of the road.  This thing was as big as a horse.  Oddly enough, it was gone by the time we rode back.  Apparently either a) they're quick to clean up early Sunday morning or b) someone took it home for dinner.  I'm pretty sure it was a fresh kill and it was hit by a car.
    • loads of deer, including some 3-4 point bucks in velvet.  I don't know why, but seeing does never excites me.  Seeing bucks is very much "hey, cool!"
    • random, domesticated llamas, including some alpacas.  Are alpacas different than llamas?  I don't know.
    • donkeys.  They always look out of place in a pasture.
    • cows and baby cows.  The babies were especially young looking, not sure what was up with that.
    • The coolest thing was that we were riding down the road on a false flat and we come upon some buffalo in a field (domesticated).  One buffalo was feeling frisky and ran along with us for a few hundred feet.  WAY COOL.  And then he stopped and head-butted his friend.  Very amusing and not something you see every day.
    I took my road bike (90% sure it will be named Billy the Goat) and the hills weren't so awful.  The "attention getting" hill was still done in granny gear, but at no point was there a time on that hill where I thought I was going to tip over from lack of inertia.  My legs also felt pretty fresh.  Although that last bump at the end of the ride about killed me.  I figure it was about Olde Stage steep, but only 1/3 as long, probably 12% grade.  Ick.  We took a small detour to see where the road went.  Turns out it went straight up.  We took it for a few miles, realized it was getting late into the day and decided to head back to the truck.

    Also interesting and very random was that there is a brand new tri shop in Palmer Lake.  This is a town of 2,000 people with a 2-block storefront area.  I usually stop at the gas station for a fluid refill.  The gas station usually has someone very cranky behind the counter and its not very clean.  And its expensive.  We rolled up to the new store (I think we saw the coffee place next to it first) and my friend went "hey, a bike store".  I quickly realized it was a tri store.  Very cool.  They had bike racks out front and FREE water inside.  And the owner seemed super happy to have some tri-geeks in there.
    Cornerstone Multisport.  All 200 sq feet of it.
    We were going to do a 65 mile loop, crossing over I-25 and up to Castle Rock but it was hot out and we just decided to head back downhill and see if we felt like adding miles.  I love this downhill.  I hit 40.5 mph, a new record. 

    The new bike and I are getting along ok.  I swapped out saddles and I'm not sure that was a good idea.  I was uncomfortable after only 1 hour, which makes for a bit of a long ride.  The downhill went better, but probably because I could stand up frequently.  I think I will be getting a proper fit shortly, and probably buy another adamo saddle.

    I think 2 loops of this sucker will be good training for CDA.  One loop, 53 miles was 2,500 ft of climbing. :)

    Thursday, July 19, 2012

    4 more weeks

    I got the results of my follow up MRI yesterday.  The heel is still broken but "may indicate some healing".  But good news, I have not made the fracure worse. 

    No MRI photos to show this time, mainly because the image quality was CRAP.  Really fuzzy and not crystal clear like the first MRI was.  I think I make a pretty good faux-radiologist though, because I could still make out the crack with my own, uneducated eyes.  That, and I could feel the fracture while swimming.  That shouldn't happen.

    So all these races over here to the right?  ------->

    They're not happening.  Not a single one.

    Friday, July 13, 2012

    SheRox Sprint Tri - Race Report

    This is a bit of a strange race report, given that I only did 2/3 of the race.  I tried to sell my entry but no one wanted it.  Then I was debating about being a swim volunteer for the newbie wave.  Only the race failed to send me specific directions regarding when, where, and what my duties would be.  They contacted me saying "yes, we'd love to have you" but failed in any follow up.  Wouldn't you think that a race would be incredibly happy for a volunteer?  pfft.  So, I decided that I paid my damn money and therefore I was going to do what I could.

    We had been camping in the days leading up to the race but got back into town around 2 PM.  I headed over to packet pickup right as it opened.  Pickup was really simple.  I even ran into a few friends.  They had a tiny expo and I got suckered into buying something.  Its a hoodie with a tortise on it, saying I AM RUNNING!  Given my affinity for tortoises, I had to get it.  Then to get the rest of your free swag, you had to go outside to the parking lot and visit the Toyota people.  Ugh.  and gimmicky.  They handed you a flyer, then you had to pick a car, sit inside the car, and stamp the flyer.  And THEN you could finally claim your stuff - a free racebelt.

    Then I raced some rain storms home and hung out, waiting on my friend to come over.  The original idea was that myself and 3 other friends from high school would race together.  I found a screaming Schwaggle deal and we all signed up.  Fun!  I had visions of us training together and other fun things.  In reality, I broke my foot, one girl randomly got married (good for her, but still random), and the other two trained on their own (which is fine).  The newly married one went into a black hole and didn't show up for the race. And with my broken foot I was fairly crabby about the whole thing.  But I still had 2 other friends going, so I figured I would just do whatever I could do. 

    My Boulder friend ended up crashing at my house, to save her 2 trips to south Denver and an ungodly wakeup time.  And as a bonus, we grilled up elk steaks.   And then stayed up much too late (for me, for a race night) chatting.  And then it was 5 AM and time to race.

    The race was at Cherry Creek Reservoir, which isn't my favorite location, but it is easy to get to and centrally located.  They asked that you park at the high school, which was ~1/4 mile (and uphill) from transition.  I had my shiny new State Park Pass and ignored the request and parked in the parking lot right next to transition.  Transition was interesting.... they had traditional bar racks (which I prefer) and the 4-pack rear wheel racks (which I find awkward).  We got there a bit on the late side of things, so it was either be squished up in the bar racks or have some room in the rear wheel racks.  We chose to have room.  The rest of the set up was pretty simple.  Body mark.  Check.  Pit stop.  Check.  Sunscreen.  Check.  Me trying to figure out if I was wearing my wetsuit or my Torque.  Check.  All pretty typical.

    D and I headed down to the beach and I somehow managed to run into even more people I knew.  I really can't emphasize how wonderful it is to be racing around people I know.  Its so nice having friendly faces around!
    go Eagles!
    I opted to wear the Torque and I brought some cushy running shoes for the trek from the swim exit to transition.  Turns out, you had a good long hike up a grassy hill to get to your bike.  Sucky.

    Swim
    So, the swim was an 800 meter skinny rectangle.  All orange buoys, which made it a bit interesting to sight from.  Am I swimming towards the outward line of buoys or the the return set?  Frustrating.  Also frustrating was the fact that my swim was s.l.o.w feeling.  What should I expect.  I took a MONTH off from the pool and my first swim was a race.  Dummy.  I wanted to go faster but my body just wasn't having it.  So, boo.  The swim was pretty clean (water quality and contact).  The wave was maybe 80 people.  I started on the far right and aimed for the farthest buoy, instead of hugging the line the whole time.  Sighthing seemed ok.  My foggle failed me, as my goggles fogged up and I had to quickly come up and defog them.

    Not much else to say about the swim, other than maybe next time I will have touched water a bit closer to the race.

    Swim time: 17:17
    Swim Pace: 2:09
    Swim Rank: 10/41 AG, 52/259 OA

    Disclaimer: the timing mat was at the top of the hill, literally a step outside of transition.  So, my slightly sucky swim time also included my very dainty "do not step on my heel" walk up the hill.  So I'm thinking the walk was about a minute extra.

    T1
    Per my disclaimer, my transition started by me putting on my running shoes and very carefully hiking up the hill.  The whole time, onlookers were saying "great job, you can make it up the hill!"  Because it was a women's race and definitely geared for beginners, they were trying to be very encouraging.  I had to be Oscar the Grouch, grumbling about my Stupid Broken Heel. 

    Once inside transition, I saw D on her way out and was happy that I wasn't too far behind her.  Transition was a bit slow for me, as I had a hard time getting the Torque off.  Then it was socks on, shoes on, glasses on, helmet on and GO.  Well, a walking speed GO.  I got to tip-toe in my cycling shoes across transition then down a sidewalk and then FINALLY to the bike start time.  Given all that tip-toeing, my transition time wasn't too shabby.

    T1 time: 1:18

    Bike
    My plan for the bike was to push myself pretty hard since I didn't have to worry about running afterwards.    I kept my heart rate in the uper 160's.  Average HR was 166, max was 181. 

    The bike is the same as Chilly Cheeks Duathlon #3.  Its a 10.8 mile out and back, with some slightly rough roads and one hill.  I got passed by a few people on the way out.  I hit the hill hard and passed a TON of people.  And on the way back, I'm pretty sure no one else passed me.  I was going hard but I felt good. 
    this doesn't look very aero to me.....
    Funny side-note.  Before the race started, I noticed someone wearing my club kit, only I didn't recognize her.  So I'm crusing up a long shallow hill and I come across her.  Because I'm the considerate type, I said "Hey, random club person, I don't know you!  Who are you?  I'm Erin".  Yes, very considerate, especially up a hill as I was passing her.  Anyways she told me her name and she was very nice to me after the race.

    Winds weren't bad on race day at all and it was actually a nice little ride.  I came up and over the final hill to the bike dismount and that was it.  Race over.

    Bike time: :34:42 <--- I'm pretty sure this included the tip-toe along the sidewalk, because my garmin was stopped at 33:00 even, and I hit it at the mount/dismount line.

    Bike speed: 18.5 mph

    Bike Rank: 8/41, 79/259 <--- one of the rare times my bike rank was higher than my swim rank.  Can we tell what I've been working on lately?

    For comparison, lets refer back to Chilly Cheeks #3, where I biked first:
    Bike time: 39:34 / 16.2 mph
    142/202 OA, 20/29 AG
    Legs felt ok, although I had to granny gear it up some hills.  (I don't know if that was me being out of shape or what)

    In hindsight, I can honestly say that I was very much out of shape in February.  I cut 5 minutes or 3 mph off my bike split.

    Run
    ha, what run?  After I racked my bike I helped some poor woman wrestle her bike into the awkward rack.  Then I handed my chip in (sad panda) and hung out with my friend who had just done IMCDA.

    so, I really didn't cross the finish line, but I felt entitled to a medal anyways.

    Post-Race
    The post-race spread was pretty good.  Burritos, luna bars, muscle milk.  (um, I'm just now remembering that I have a muscle milk somewhere in my race stuff....)  I had a pretty healthy supply of SunRype fruit snacks with me.  I need to start handing these out more, since I have ~300 of them that expire in 1 month.  So I randomly approached people and handed out fruit snacks.  So now I have about 100 fewer of them in my house.  The snacks are crazy tasty so at least its an easy product to endorse!
    Go AMC!
    Overall, I thought the race was well organized (despite poor communication leading up to the race).  The venue was ok.  Race swag was nice: bag, visor, water bottle, race belt.  And with the Schwaggle deal, I think I paid $35.  Definitely a good deal.




    Thursday, July 12, 2012

    Another heel update

    Here's the latest on my Stupid Broken Foot (SBF).

    I've been in this midevil torture device for 2 weeks.  Yes my foot feels better.  No, the boot isn't any less painful to wear.  I honestly think the point of the boot is to make walking so uncomfortable that you simply choose not to walk.  Fun!

    I've had several days in a row with no heel pain.  Cool!  I wasn't wearing my boot when we went camping.  Too awkard, especially with tripping hazards and uneven terrain.  And you can't wear a boot fly fishing.  So I went 5 days w/out the boot.  Yes, those 5 days count as part of my two weeks in the boot.  (ssshh, don't tell my doctor!)  It was a bit sore, but it was more like a reminder of "hey, you broke your foot, take it easy!" instead of the pain I had when it was freshly fractured.

    I went to swim team yesterday... first time in over a month.  Swimming felt ok.  Flip turns were ok, as long as I was careful.  Fins were ok.  Freaking backstroke was most definitely NOT ok.  Shit.  Looks like I'll be pulling at swim practice instead of swimming.

    Went to the doctor today.  Apparently the boot isn't supposed to be uncomfortable.  I fail to see how something that is a leather calf corset with a carbon fiber "shoe" is comfortable.  She wanted me to head back to the boot fitter and I think I'm going to pass.  I'm tired of using vacation time on this fracture and its a minimum 1.5 hr round trip visit to the foot guy.  I can tolerate this crapola for another week or so.  The doctor poked and prodded my heel.  Not the best diagnostic tool since the poking and proding didn't hurt when it was freshly broken.  I had her poke and prod my non-broken heel for comparison and they didn't feel much different.  Still, she's scheduled me for another MRI.  Its next Tuesday.

    So..... running is still a good month off. Bad news: Rattlesnake likely won't happen.  RnR half marathon is iffy.  But she did think that a half ironman in November was feasible.  No fun.

    Tuesday, July 10, 2012

    Camping for the 4th

    Having the 4th of July on a Wednesday was a bit weird, right?  And then you add in the state-wide fire ban and that makes things a bit more strange. 

    I have a personal goal to go camping a bunch this year. We only managed to go once last year, which is fairly sad.  This year I'd like to go 2-3 times and explore new parts of the state.  Initially, we wanted to go up to Red Feather Lakes (west of Ft Collins) but with the fires, we adjusted our plans.  Somehow they got adjusted to being smack in the middle of other fires, but hey, fires are all over the place this year.

    We settled on going Wed-Friday to a place called Lost Park Campground, which is off of Hwy 285 on the far side of Kenosha Pass and at the end of a ~20 mile long dirt road.  Elevation is 10,000 feet.  And we were hoping that the dirt road and lack of water/electricity would keep the idiots away.

    We slept in a bit and finally got on the road by 11 AM.  A short ~1.5 hour drive and we were at the campground.  Since the Park County fire ban included all fires, including campsites, we decided to head up one of the forest service roads and camp at a dispersed campsite. We picked a road that indicated that 2WD was a bad idea (I have 4WD) and went exploring.  The road was rocky and washed out in places, but not bad enough where I needed the 4WD.  About ~30 minutes up the hill we found a nice campsite in a clearing  This was a good option but we continued up the hill... until I chickened out as the road was narrowing and becoming less a road and more like a trail.  So we turned around (with much consternation on my part... I don't like turning around on narrow roads with steep dropoffs!) and headed back to the campsite:
    The campsite had a small meadow and was sheltered from the winds by lots of spruce trees.  We had a teensy creek about 300 yards away and some interesting flowers (which I failed to take pictures of).  We didn't have any great scenic vistas to look at (which is usually a priority for me in a campsite) but the remoteness and wind shelter won out over "something pretty".
    the view from our tent.... lots of sky and trees
    We got camp set up by 3 PM and then took a nice relaxing nap with absolute silence as our background.  The rest of this day was pretty uneventful, just reading a book, cooking dinner, and packing it in as the sun set and things got cold.  Being able to have a fire would have been nice, but with the $1,000 fine, it simply wasn't worth it.  No smores either.  Dessert consisted of leftover rhubarb cobbler.

    Thursday was up at at them at 6:30, courtesy of a friendly woodpecker working in very close proximity to our tent.  Also, it turns out our tent faced due east and by 7 AM the sun hit the tent at full intensity, making things pretty toasty in there.  I made our typical camp breakfast (skillet potatoes, eggs, bacon, french press coffee) and by 10 AM we headed down the road to try our hand at fly fishing.
    Lost Park Campground Beaver Pond - looking south
    pond looking north
    This was a small pond with small fish that were jumping like crazy.  We weren't fishing for world class trout.  We just wanted somewhere to practice casting.  I have no idea what I'm doing, so I put some sort of brown-ish fly on my rod and waded down to start fishing.  Almost immediately, I hear "hey, I got one!" out of Will.
    if only I managed to take a picture showing the side of the fish.....
    I had one strike and saw a ton of jumps, but got nothing.  By noon the flies were starting to bite us and the fish seemed to be sleeping, so we packed it up for the day.  We went over to the campground for a nice lunch and then we drove around on more forest service roads.  We went on road 134, which goes up and over the hill and ends at a meadow with a stream.  This could be a good spot for group camping.  There was also a trailhead which lead into the Colorado Trail.  We met a mountain biker who said he was biking from Denver to Moab.  He only had a medium-sized backpack.  And he took his water straight from the stream (no filter).  Hmmm.

    Not being able to hike was a major bummer, but with this stupid broken heel, hiking was definitely off the list.  I'm not a huge fan of driving around, but that was about all there was to do.  After our little driving tour, we headed back to the campsite for more reading and napping.  Same routine as the night previous, early bed and no fire.

    Friday was up again by 6:30 although the woodpecker was nice enough to be quiet.  Zipper has become a pretty good alarm clock, jumping on us at 6:30.  I asked Will if he prefered the woodpecker alarm or the Zipper alarm.  He said Zipper.  Good choice.

    Will wanted to head back to Denver early because he failed to tell work he was going camping (WTF Will?).  I managed to talk him into a bit more fishing and then at noon we would head back and check his phone for messages. 

    We got the campsite packed up pretty easily.  I think this was the first time we got the tent zipped up on the first try and without wrestling.  After 10 years of owning the tent.  Then we headed back down to the campground pond for more fishing.  I had several more strikes, but no bites.  Will was getting eaten by flies.
    I was getting pretty good at landing the fly gently and aiming.  Somehow I ended up getting a blister on the palm of my hand.  Finally around 11 or so, I had enough of getting bit by the flies and we packed it up.  Pretty decent timing as it started to rain within 30 minutes of us leaving.

    Overall, I'd say this area is worth coming back to.  It wasn't the most beautiful place, in terms of mountain vistas.  But the valley was very pretty, there was zero pine beetle kill, and the area was pretty remote.  I want to come back when I can hike and see what the trails are like, or maybe bring our mountain bikes along and do some riding.