Friday, November 21, 2014

Post-IM and 2015 plans

I know, its been a while since I've posted.  Part of that was IM Boulder didn't go as I had hoped.  It wasn't fun.  It should have been fun.  Instead the training was meh at best (solid training but very very meh on the fun scale, mostly due to heat) and the race itself - or major parts of it - were sucky.  Not because of my body or lack of preparation, just heat and a soul sucking un-fun bike course.

Then I got a viral infection for a month.  (I strongly suspect the Boulder Res gave this to me).  Apparently I left my immune system out on the IM course, because I was toast.

And then I got laid off.  Which was actually a mostly good thing.  Sure, not really having money isn't so great.  But for months I'd be at work for ~25 hrs/week, only got paid for the little work I could find (like 10 hrs/week) and would constantly be checking my phone/computer for work emails in case some more work appeared.  My free time wasn't really free because I was constantly trying to rustle up work that just wasn't there.  So I got laid off and now I am not glued to my phone or my computer, constantly checking and waiting for something to happen.  Now I decide my day and my schedule.  Its been almost 3 months and I really don't think I've been so relaxed and happy in a long time.

The funny thing is that I'm rarely by a computer anymore and so I really haven't wanted to sit down and blog.  I'm actually busier than I have been in a long time.

The first month I did a ton of home improvement.  I re-tiled both of my fireplaces, which included learning how to dry wall, how to operate a wet tile saw, and actually tiling things.  It looks kick ass.
I also painted a bunch and did some landscaping.
Zipper approves of the fireplace and paint job
We had an amazing fall - complete Indian Summer.  So, so nice.  So Tuesdays became Trail Run Tuesdays and Thursdays became hike days.  There was also some bike rides thrown in there, but all very relaxed rides.  This gave me a chance to reconnect with nature, see new things, and feel like ME.

just one of my many trail runs this fall
Now its November and well, I need a job because I'm getting bored and a bit fuzzy around the edges.  I still have to paint every baseboard in my house - I've been saying this for a month.  Its not very exciting.  And its snowy out which means less trail work and more tready work.  Again, not so fun.

This past month has actually been really, really good on a relationship level.  I can go and have fun, meaning I eat/drink whatever I want (beer! pizza!  wings!) instead of being "serious triathlete Erin" who is very careful about diet and sleep because of training demands.  Will and I have been doing something fun every weekend - because I have time and energy.  We needed this.  I know he did.  He puts up with a lot of things - things that he didn't sign up for - when I'm training.
birthday beer for the birthday boy
So 2015 will be the year of fun.  Once I get past the Disney Dopey.  I hope it will be fun, but I'm not sure doing a 5k, 10k, half marathon, and full marathon over 4 days will be fun.  Or marathon training in Colorado in the winter.  Once I'm past that, its only fun things for me.  Trail runs, skiing, Boulder 70.3, sprint tris, and an Xterra tri.  Fun and different.  Work on speed and mountain biking.  And if I want to take a weekend off and go camping and fishing, I can do just that and not worry about how it will set my training back.

A bunch of my friends lemminged and signed up for IMAZ through the charity spots.  I have IMAZ on my radar for 2016 but having a good support system for 2015 is really pulling at my heart strings and is making my resolve for "no IMs in 2015" weak.  But then I remember how burned out I was after Boulder and how I need to let my spirit and my body recover in 2015.  And really, I promised Will that he'd have his wife back in 2015, and I intend to keep that promise.

So here's to a fun filled 2015, full of spirit and adventures.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

IM Boulder 2014 prelim recap

I want to do a proper swimbikerun recap, but for now, I'm stealing Heather Wurtle's idea of doing a stream of consciousness race report.  It was super clever.


3:30 AM alarm.  Ugh.  Its early

4:15 get in the car and drive ~15 min to Boulder high school.

hey, loads of parking!

its dark, do I need my headlamp?

T1 and T2 drop off went really smooth.

Walk to the HS track to put my frozen run bottle in my run bag.  Its dark and the path isn't super well marked.  Do not trip!

Back to stand in line for the bus to the Rez. 

Hey, this line is moving fast.  Awesome. 

There's my CDA buddy Ryan.  Jump in line and ride with me.

Pretty quick ride to the Rez.

Oooh, pretty sunrise.  REALLY pretty.

ok, off to load my bike up and pump up my tires. 

now to walk to the far end of the area to drop stuff off at my bike bag.

And now its time to figure out where to get a replacement timing chip, since I'm an idiot and left mine at home.

I have to walk way over where?

Hi nice IM staffer can I have a chip?  You want me to wait until the swim start?  Um no, can I get it now?

Timing chip #6 in hand, I hope the timing people manage to link my IM Live status to it or my online friends are going to freak out.

15 min before swim start.  Crap.  And I need to pee.  And the lines are long.

No time for lines, I'm going to sit in the grass and pee.  No one will notice and I'll be swimming soon anyways.

Crap, that was the cannon for the pros and I'm still getting into my wetsuit.

Wetsuit is wrestled on.  Went on much smoother than the day before.

I have to walk way over WHERE again to drop off my morning clothes?!?!

Oh hey, Melissa is here at the bag drop.  Good timing.

How do we manage to get into our proper seeded area for the swim start?  There's so many people and not much space to move.

There are soooo many green caps.

Ok, time to start walking into the water.  At what point do I get excited for this?

Oh, hey, there's SUAR right in front of me.   Should I make a funny comment about her toes so she remembers me?

Still not excited.  Ok, this is an Ironman.  Lets go swim.


Crap, I didn't get my goggles wet.  Hopefully they won't fog.

*flip over and get them wet because they did indeed fog up.*

Crap, I didn't start my watch for my total race time.  Its started now, we'll just add 5 min to that time to be safe.

just keep swimming, just keep swimming

find feet..... where are the feet?  why is everyone WAY to the right?

hug the buoy line, just keep swimming, where are the feet?

hmmm, I wonder if that's my friend Melissa?

why is everyone still way over to the right?

oops, too close to the buoy, had to swim under it.  At least I'm on target.

yay, red turn buoy!

weird, that was a clean turn.

swim swim swim

I could do without the occasional seaweed in the face.

yay, the buoys turned orange!  halfway point! 

wait, how many yellow buoys were there?  9?  so 9 orange ones too?

swim swim swim 

why are people STILL way over to the right and I'm next to the buoys and have clean water?

I could swim with the masses and probably draft, but it looks ugly.  I'll just stay where I am.

swim swim swim

Dude, how do you not know I'm here and swim right into me hard enough to bump me off course?

I think it was 9 buoys, we're getting close.

This still doesn't feel like I'm doing an Ironman.  Weird.

Ohhh, I see the red swim out arch and I hear music. 

Probably a 1:20 swim.  And this swim feels long.

stroke stroke, hit cement, stand up, lets go!


crap, my wetsuit arm is stuck on my watch.

oooh, strippers. Quick, pull my arm off first! (I have a 2 piece wetsuit)

Now its time for the bottoms.  Pull the strap off my shoulder.  Wait!  That was my bra strap.  WRONG STRAP!  Ha!

Wetsuit off, gear bag in hand, change tent.

yay, empty chairs but no empty helpers.

Sit down, put my jersey on.

Ohhh, there's an empty helper.  Quick - run over to her for help!

Man, these cool wings suck to wrestle on when you're wet. I'm glad I have help.

That's a long way to run in bike shoes.  Ugh.

hey, there's a LOT of bikes here.  I must have had a decent swim.  Sweet!



Wow, my HR is HIGH.  Chill out and get that HR down.

you know this is uphill at the start.  Be ok with getting passed and get that HR down.

hmmm, I thought some of my people would be out here cheering at Nelson.  Nope.

Brian just passed me, that means I had a good swim.

I'm still a bit sleepy.  Am I sure I'm really doing an Ironman right now?

Oooh, every little downhill drops my HR down 5 beats.  Things are getting better.

Why are they telling us to slow down going down St Vrain?  If I have to turn around and climb back up this dumb hill, I'm going to enjoy the way down.

Wheeeeeeee - 40 MPH Baby!

The RMTC aid station was pretty funny.  Nice mood brightener.

I remember the climb up St Vrain being much harder.  That was easy.  Sweet!  And my HR didn't explode!

Now its time for a nice long downhill to Lyons.  Yay!

eat, drink, eat, drink.

Lyons Strong! Nice cheering from the good people in Lyons.  I love local races!

mmm, I love this stretch along Hwy 66.  20 mph and I'm cruising!

Turning to head up to Carter Lake!  Its actually pretty cool knowing the roads around here!

There's Melissa (at mile 25).  I must be doing pretty good if it took her that long to catch me.

And I'm out of drinking fluids right at mile 30.  I'm drinking water pretty fast.

Crap, I can't do everything I need to do without stopping at the aid station.  2 bottles in the speedfill, some Osmo concentrate, stretch the adductor.  Ok, lets ride.

More familiar roads!

eat drink eat drink

Ok, here's a part I haven't been on.  Hills and turns.  I like this!

Ok, I'd better just get a bottle of water and add Osmo at every aid station.  I'm really worried if I go every 2 aid stations that I'll run out of water.

I'm feeling the love in Loveland!

Hey, there's my cheering squad!  High fives!

Wow, David has a stout high five.  He damn near knocked me off my bike.  No more high fives!

Yay, there's Will.  I'm doing good!

Ok, lets ride east and be prepared for the way south.

Solid bike splits - over 16 mph.  Keep it up!

Special needs for more food and Tums!  Never stopped at SN before, this went really slick.

Why is all the water at the aid stations warm?

Oooh, a hill.  And I'm passing people!

And now for the icky soul crushing false flats.  Keep that HR in check.

Its hot.  really hot.

I cannot eat another bonk breaker.  Gross.

Aid station at mile 75 signals the end of the false flat.  Lets stop there and get some different food to eat.

Yay - cold water!

Stomach feels a bit iffy.  Lets try Tums.

mmmm, cashew and ginger Kind bars.  Tasty!

hey white puffy clouds, come over here and cool me off!

oooh, my stomach did not like that Kind bar.  Bummer.

Why do my tums taste like mint?!?!  I swear I bought fruit flavored tums.  Weird....

OMG its HOT.

Let's try a SunRype fruit snack.

Ok, stomach liked that.  But let's eat another Tums for good measure.

There's a good amount of people out on this stretch cheering.  Way cool.  We need it.

so. freaking. hot.

when will this bike end?

this bike course is cooking me.

just try and eat more.  Honey Stinger Chew time.  You barely have to chew those. 

hey, there's my cheering squad again!  What are they doing here at mile 90?  I don't think they'll make it to T2 to see me....

me to Will: I am so over riding my bike (with ~25 miles to go)

FINALLY - Highway 52 and the turn west back to Boulder

its hot.  so hot.

here's the hill on Hwy 52 that's right before the 3Bs. 

Why does this dumb hill feel so hard?

303 is watching you - nice sign.

Hey, there's one of my facebook "friends" Dana.  Hi Dana!

Ok, down the hill, turn left and get up the 3Bs.

First hill: 5.8 mph.  Just. stay. on. the. bike.

Wow, there's a lot of people on the sides of the road cheering.  This is really cool.

First hill done.  The rest are easy.

Girl on a bike coming through!  Passing on your left!

Dude said one last bump and we're done.  He's lying. You're not done until you see the church.  Why are you lying to these poor people?

Here's the church and the last hill.

Ok, those hills weren't bad at all.

Oooh, and the race photographer.  Victory fist in the air!

Sweet, sweet downhill on more roads that I know.

I'm supposed to have more friends out here cheering, where are they?  bummer.

just make it to aid station #7 at mile 104 with your tri club.  Then you're home.

the entire aid station just lit up screaming your name.  *eyes mist up*  Man, that was cool.

and now I'm in Boulder.  Just keep pedaling, the HS and T2 are coming up soon.

And there's 7 hours and you missed your time goal.  Boo.

Hey, there's Kristen directing traffic.  Hi Kristen!

Hmm, I drove this road yesterday. At least I know where I am now.

how am I going to run?  I'm cooked.

Finally.  Bike dismount.


wow, long awkward walk in bike shoes to the track where I can drop my bike off.

no cheering squad.  boo.

they're offering to spray people's feet down with water before they get on the track.  that's a bad sign.

wow, its hot

Nice, there's my friend Carla!  *hug*

Sweet, a volunteer grabbed my run bag so I didn't have to bend down.

And I get my own helper in the change tent - nice!

Hey, there's Melissa!

Bummer, my frozen water bottle is boiling hot.

Wait, did I miss the timing mat for the run start?  Probably.  Ugh.


Ok, I can run.  I can run.  I can run.  Just run.

5 minutes later.  Wow, I'm cooked.  Walk break.

Just try to run as long as you can.

4 minutes later - walk break.  Crap.

Why is EVERYONE walking?!?!?  This is bad.

mmmm, ice.  Down my sleeves, in my handheld, down my top, down my throat.

just try to eat something.  You can get down 2-3 chews every mile.  Drink. eat. drink.

run. walk. run. walk.

There's the 2nd and 3rd place women's pros.  I didn't expect to see them on the run....

I love ice.

hmm, lots of sneaky uphills with the underpasses.  I thought that would be the case.

There's Sonja.  She just told me to keep my goals manageable.  She didn't yell at me to run.  It must be bad out here.

Goals are now to run the downhills, walk the uphills, and 1:1 intervals for everything else. 

its HOT.

Yay, more friends cheering!

Daria is so awesome to keep me company for a few hundred feet and talk to me.

Lots of people walking.  Wow.

I'm 5 miles in and my feet are killing me.  This is going to be a long marathon.

High fives to my club-mates.  We're all hurting.

Holy crap, they're making us go over an overpass for the run?  SUCKY.

Down the overpass.  RUN

Mile 7 and I'm finally peeing for the first time all day.  Not good.

Back UP the overpass.  RUN down

Oof, I'm dizzy.  Laying off the running.

I am drinking water like its running out of style.  10 oz between aid stations.  Wow.

The crowd support is amazing.  They're all cheering for us by our names.

Daria again.  She's so nice.  Ryan's here too.

Christina and the kids are here.  Cool.

There's my cheering squad.  yay! 

Maybe a little coke will help.

It is all uphill to the ~11 mile turn around.  Crap.

GRAPES.  Finally, something that sounds good to eat.

13.1 miles done.  Ok, I only have 1 more "lap" and I'm done.  I can do this.

More grapes and coke.  I'm actually feeling better.

I see Will again, tell him I'm perking up. 

Its true, I feel better and I'm cracking jokes and doing a bit more running.  who knew grapes were magical?

Ok, you know the trail now.  Stick to your goals.  Run the downs, walk the ups, 1:1 intervals.

grapes and coke.  mmmm.

wait, wasn't that a woman pro?  I shouldn't be seeing her as I start the 2nd loop....

This section where the MHM tent is awesome.  Its lined with people ALL screaming your name.  *gets misty again*

the amount of people cheering for me as I run is amazing. 

I don't think many people are running anymore.

1st turn around of the run section is done!  2 more turn arounds to go.

ok, the combo of grapes + coke is making my GI system feel "interesting" .  that don't trust a fart sign?  yeah

drink drink drink, ice ice ice

dumb overpass again.  Sooo sucky.

hmm, there's that hotel.  I wonder if I could sneak in there and use their bathroom...

Turn around #2!

Mile 20.  I can do this!

Mental calculations = time goal.  I should be able to finish in under 15 hours, no problem.  Just keep running.

This aid station must be my port-o-potty stop, since I also used it last time I was through.  It wasn't too disgusting and there was toilet paper.  I feel WAY better now, good call to stop.

Wow, Sonja asked me if I was doing 1:1 intervals and told me to keep it up.  No yelling at me to run more, like at CDA.  Things must be bad out here....

just keep running as much as you can

ok, time to run.  I must really hate myself.

triathletes in general must really hate themselves.

run walk run walk

coke grapes coke grapes

ooh, sun is starting to go down.  Its cooling off.

There's my cheering squad again!

Ok, up Boulder Canyon to the turn around and I'm done.  Do this.

Wow, its DARK.  I wish I grabbed that headlamp from the kid at special needs.

I'd like to run but I can't see.  I don't want to trip and get hurt with 4 miles left.

Ok, we're at this weird little park thing.  That means we're almost done.

NO!  I DO NOT WANT A GLOW NECKLACE!  *runs wide to avoid dude handing them out*

Wow, its really dark.

Was that my friend Melanie being told by a medic that she needs to stop and rest because she's stumbling around?  wow.

Turn around #3!  Downhill to the finish!

Try to run more.  Especially when you can see.

There's Will and Ryan.  Almost done!

Less than a mile - get running!


Up 13th street - RUN

Um, there's a random camera guy talking to me.  This could be cool.

I think random camera guy just asked me where the finish line is - and we're 100 yards away from it.

There's no one ahead or behind me.  I have the entire chute to myself.

soooo awesome.

high fives everyone!

Its so loud here.  I think Mike Reilly said my name but I'm not sure.

Do I jump? 

YES of course I jump!

hey, I didn't land on my ass :)

And my catchers are Chase and Deanna (my family)

wow, am I salty.

~~the end~~

Friday, August 01, 2014

IM Boulder - here we go!

The butterflies finally hit me before I went to check-in yesterday.  And wow, did they hit.  (and then then went away and I was tired again - ha!)

I think I'm ready.  I'm packing ALL of my swim options - my full wetsuit, my sleeveless wetsuit, and my swimskin.  Its been cool and rainy here the past few days and the Res has dropped to ~71.  Might be full wetsuit temps.

I'm kinda keeping my goals on the down-low, mainly because I really don't know what to expect.  It all depends on the weather.  I think I've got a PR in me but I don't want to get my hopes up and be disappointed.

Instead, my goals are:

Have an ok swim.  I'm not as fast as last year, because my shoulder has been tweaked since Feb.  I think 1:15 to 1:20 will be just fine.

Don't chat with my friends in the transition tents. (really)

Don't blow myself up on the bike.  The stretch south is going to be a killer - ~10 miles of a false flat with a potential headwind.  Watch my HR and stick to that number like fly paper.  Also be ready for those nasty hills on 79th at mile 99.  I predict a lot of people will be walking.  Really.

Run as long as possible, keep the walk breaks down to 1 minute in duration, run more than I walk.  Enjoy all the out and backs and the TONS of friendly faces.  I'm racing on my home course - enjoy cheering your friends on and enjoy the personalized cheers coming from your friends.

Try to get a good finish line jump in.

Enjoy the Avery beers at the finish line beer garden.

Soak it all in.

To track me:

I rented a GPS tracker.  Go here and look for my name:

Or use the (crappy) IM website for tracking until the website crashes during the run.

Lets do this!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Taper Blahs

I don't know what it is, but I am so. over. swimbikerun.  I really don't remember feeling this way for my other two Ironman races.  IMTX was my first and I was nervous/excited.  IMCDA was my second and I was excited and ready to have a great day.  This year, I'm just a big old shell of blah.

I think that the main reasons for this are:

  • I'm not scared of this race.  Its not the hardest thing I've ever done.  Apparently I need scary to get excited.
  • Its hot.  I got snowed on while training for IMTX.  And IMCDA was in late June, so it wasn't really that hot.  I really do not like the heat.  It just sucks the life out of me.  And IM Boulder will be hot.  So to prepare, I've been purposely training in the heat.  And to make things even more "fun" I've been cruising around town with my windows rolled up and my AC off, for even more "heat".  I have been purposely roasting myself for 2 months, all for race prep.  Yuck.
  • Its hot.  That warrants a second mention.  I just do not get excited to be out in the heat. 
Its 6 days before IM Boulder.  I haven't even begun to go through my gear.  Its almost like if I start laying it out, I'm admitting that the race is here.  I'm not sure I want to the race to be here, but I'm pretty sure I want the training to be over.

See, blah!

I have had little twinges of excitement here and there.  Every once in a while, usually while riding my bike, I get a flashback of CDA and the residual excitement from that incredible day.  Today the butterflies have started up a tiny bit.

I've put in the training and I'm ready.  Now my job is just to rest up, pack up my gear, and crush it.  Hopefully.

Monday, July 21, 2014

What a week!

I really don't know what the heck was going on this past week, but I sure hope I got all of this weirdness/injury/bad mojo out of my system.

Friday (over a week ago), I tripped during a trail run and did this:

Wednesday, I was at swim practice EXTRA early (5 AM) to get in 4,000 m and at 5:45 I was literally fumigated by an acid mist and had to get out.  Lifetime, in all of their brilliance, decided to let unsupervised pool contractors clean the indoor pool with high pressure muriatic acid and vent the mist outside to the outdoor pool.  I came up in the middle of a 200 set literally coughing and gagging from the acid.  I was dumb stubborn and stayed in for a good 30 min while this was going on because I was GOING to get in that 4,000 m.  Instead I got acid burned lungs (which is fun with asthma!) and a whole lot of non-accountability by the Lifetime GM.

Then the following Friday (3 days ago) I was 2 miles away from home, spinning out the end of my 4 hour ride on the trail.  I came around the corner under a bridge and was surprised to see a woman with her dog WAY out on its leash.  I turned too sharp, slid on some sand, and laid my bike down.  I crashed 2 weeks before my Ironman.  Holy crap.  I remember realizing I was down, unclipping my top foot, unclipping my bottom foot, standing up, taking inventory, telling myself to walk, walking, and then checking on my bike.  All while the woman was frantically apologizing.  I scared the crap out of her (and me).  Somehow, I must have 9 lives and I was pretty unscathed.  My shorts are in one piece.  My hip is a bit bruised but ok.  My right hand (I fell on my right side and must have put my hand out) was bruised and I thought I may have broken a finger, but the xray said I was fine.  And my bike only has minor scratches to the rear bottle cage and rear derailleur.  LUCKY.

about 4 days later
I've been instructed by my coach to wrap myself in bubble wrap for the next 12 days....

Monday, July 14, 2014

Race Report - Chase the Moon Ultra Trail Relay

aka - begging my coach "I won the entry and want to do it.  I'll just do the first 10 mile loop before the sun goes down.  I'll be careful, promise!"

aaka - I am damn lucky I didn't really hurt myself.  Dumb idea so close to IMBoulder.

aaaka - sooo beautiful and fun.  I wanna do it again!

So, some backstory....  I randomly go to Thurs night run club at my local running store.  This particular Thursday (1.5 weeks ago), they were doing a Hoka demo and there was some promo about this overnight trail race.  Will had been talking about buying some Hokas so I made him go to the run so he could try them out for free.  Long story short, Will ended up winning a raffle for a free entry to the Chase the Moon 12 hour overnight ultra trail relay.  We knew it was an expensive race ($345) so we (me and my friend Ryan) made him accept it and we signed up for the 5 person relay.  I somehow managed to assemble a team in a day through my triathlon club (we're all crazy).  And after a quick conversation with my coach (I was also supposed to race Boulder Peak that weekend) I was good to go.  The deal was that I'd run the first 10 mile loop (mostly before it got dark) then go home and sleep in my own bed.  Kinda sucky for my teammates but also kinda awesome for me.

The Premise:
Do as many 10 mile loops as you can.  The race went from 7 PM to 7 AM - yes, overnight.  The race was in the Highlands Ranch Backcountry, which is a suburb (with a huge amount of open space) south of Denver.

This one was a bit weird, with the 7 PM start.  I had NO IDEA what/when to eat for lunch/dinner since I'd be running 10 miles that night.  I probably under-ate but eh.  I got there around 6 PM and set my tent up as Team Altitude Multisport HQ in the field right next to the start line.

3/5ths of our team.  Note the dark skies - it DUMPED right before the race.
We immediately sensed a much different vibe to this pre-race scene.  No nerves, no egos, no checking people out.  Just people hanging out getting ready to run.  Very different from triathlon.  You could also sense an undercurrent of quiet, un-assuming crazy.  Ultra runners are a very special kind of crazy.  They make triathletes look sane.

race start
10.3 miles, ~770 ft climbing
notes from teammate Jeff, who lived a mile away:
The first .5 mile is the hardest uphill towards Highlands Point
The Metro trail is down and up – watch your feet
The next section Rocky Gulch has its name for a reason.  Relatively flat on top of the point but watch the loose rocks.
The final climb to Highlands Point is a steep short run, then the EastWest Trail is fast.  No speed bumps on the path.
After looping back (after station) to go down Buck Snort, Buck Snort is a steep downhill and rocky.
The right on Longhorn Ledge is a sharp turn and the track along the top is fast and relatively clear.  There are speed bumps.  When you start downhill, there are some s curves to be aware of.
A sharp left on Brandon Cutoff is next and then more downhill.  I twisted my knee once trying to take the turn to fast…
A gentle merge onto Tenderfoot is more down and up with speed bumps to the outlaw station.
Outlaw trail is more of the same, many S curves, gentle up and downs.
At the gate, the turn to the right takes you up the east west trail all the way back to the school.  More speed bumps.

This was my first true trail race.  I did a trail 12k but it was more on dirt roads where you had room.  This race was mostly on single track.  So that meant if you needed to walk, you were walking in the grass/trees/bushes/rocks.  And that made passing people a bit tricky too.

The first 3/4 mile was a pretty steady uphill.  I turned my garmin HR alarm off and just really enjoyed running up the hill.  The cool thing about ultra runners is that this was their first loop of many, so no one was really out running aggressively.  People were pretty chill.  I really enjoyed being in a pack on the singletrack and just letting the people ahead of me pull me up the hill with them.

Once you got up the front side of the hill, we had rollers and then were at the top of the hill for a nice little plateau.  Nothing was too steep or too long.  Just very enjoyable.
still in the pack running up the hill!
We got to the top, hit an aid station, turned around and started running on the west/south side of the hill.  The view was SPECTACULAR.  I really wish I had my phone on me.  The sky was cloudy from the earlier rain but the sun was peaking through, setting, and reflecting off of Chatfield Reservoir with the mountains in the distance, all misty blue.  It was stunning.  I had really had to focus on keeping my footing and not looking around too much.  The footing was really tricky - lots of rocks and roots.

some people brought their phones...

yet another "Colorado is just so ugly" photos
Then the run became super fun.  Not only was it BEAUTIFUL, but the terrain was really fun.  Lots of rollers, lots of hairpin turns, nothing too steep or too hard.  Just super fun.  And a net downhill.
still working on my jumps...
So. much. fun.  I actually want to go back here and do some regular runs.  I did do some walking over here, mainly because my HR was blowing up (>170).  Considering I'm still in IM training mode, I tried to keep my HR more around 160-165.

Then around ~mile 8 (in single track with deep scrub oak brush) I heard some voices behind me and figured they needed to pass me.  I pulled off to the side of the trail to let them pass.  Saw one guy.  Cool.  Oh, there's a 2nd guy.  Ok.  I went to step out to run again and there was a 3rd guy passing me.  No words were uttered by ANY of these guys the entire time.  The 3rd guy caught me off guard and distracted me to the point where I didn't look at my footing as I started running and I went down.  I remember going down hands first, somersaulting, and popping up with a scraped knee and a whole bunch of cursing.  THEN the guys asked if I was ok.  I'm pretty sure I growled some impolite things back at them.  The really sucky thing was that the adrenaline hit my lungs and they immediately seized up. Where was my inhaler?  In my truck.  2 MILES AWAY.  Crapola.

I did a quick inventory of myself.  Lots of dirt.  Knee was now bleeding.  But things felt ok.  I ended up run/walking the rest of the 2 miles back, doing as best I could with dysfunctional lungs.  Apparently I'm a bleeder because I had streaks nearly to my ankle - and spatter!
my friend captioned this "Trail meets trail"
somersault evidence 
I had a goal of coming in around 1:45, which was probably on the aggressive/unrealistic side.  but with the fall, I came in around 2:01 (chip time, which included saying hi to a friend at an aid station for a minute and the fall).

I had a really great time.  I didn't really like falling, but I did secretly enjoy being properly initiated into trail running with a bloody knee.
getting cleaned up
Although, it was pretty lame that I was the first runner who was bleeding (out of the entire race) AND I was the only member of my team who bled, even though everyone else ran in the dark (and one person had a dead headlamp and had to run by moonlight).

Our team did 6 loops, so 60 miles.  Everyone got one loop in and we had an overachiever who did 2 loops. The winning relay did 9 loops for ~93 miles.  In the dark.  That's bananas.
this tiny little scratch sure bled a lot...
I'm damn lucky I didn't hurt myself worse.  I woke up the next morning not sore and had no issues running another 5+ miles.  I guess having to run 2 miles after falling to the finish was a good thing - it didn't let things stiffen up.

I am banned from all dirt surfaces until Aug 4th though.  Coaches orders.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Recipe: cole slaw

I've been looking for some cheap and easy side dishes for the summer.  Cole slaw is great because its cheap and one cabbage makes a TON of food.  Added bonus: you don't actually have to heat anything.

This is a paleo-version of cole slaw.  I make my own mayo and add herbs to it to make it a bit more zippy.

Mandoline (I love this one - and its CHEAP!).  If you don't have one, use a knife
blender or food processor for the dressing
big bowl

1/2 a cabbage
1 red pepper
red onion (as much as you like)
cilantro (optional, but I loves me some cilantro)

herbs of your choice - I do a mexican/zippy dressing, so I use cilantro, garlic, and green onion
1 lime - grated zest and juice
Alternate: you could just buy some salad dressing of your choosing or buy mayo and doctor it at home

Make this mayo (I promise its not hard and you'll be amazed at how easy mayo is to make yourself)
Once the mayo is emulsified, add herbs of your choosing (I did garlic, cilantro, green onion, lime zest and lime juice, and some salt) to the food processor and blend until the green stuff has turned into specs.
Set aside

Slice your cabbage and red pepper fairly fine (1/4-inch thick?)
Slice your red onion even thinner (or thicker if you prefer big chunks of onion - I do not and like paper thin slices)
Chop cilantro

Place everything into a bowl and mix.  I find that, while messy, your hands do the most effective job.

This usually makes enough for 2 people (as a side dish) for ~3 nights.

Chill and enjoy!

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

I survived peak weekend

It wasn't exactly fun or pretty, but I got it done and that's what counts.  I always need to remind myself that the training needs to be very hard so race day, by comparison, is "easy".  Soul crushing is kinda required for training.  And yet, I keep signing up for these things...  Last week was my biggest volume ever, at 21:15.  Fri-Sat-Sun was huge, with nearly 16 hours of exercising.  (and yes, I know that's ridiculous)

so here's a rundown on the weekend:


4,000 m pool swim.  I was nice to myself and "slept in" to 5:30 AM and was in the pool by 6:10.

3.5 hr bike ride.  Coach said hilly, I asked if my neighborhood was good enough and she said Deer Creek. Against my better judgement, I loaded up my crap and drove to DC to ride.  I did a warmup loop around Chatfield and felt pretty good.  I started up DC and immediately felt blah.  My heart rate was soaring (165+) and I wasn't anywhere close to the hard stuff.  Finally after stopping twice, I pulled the plug 30 min into the climb (usually 1:40) and drove back home to finish my ride.  2 hours of riding around my neighborhood (with a few big hills) and I was feeling fine.  No idea.  It was hot and I wasn't in a happy headspace.  I was also cranky because if I would have just ridden from home, I would have been done with my workouts ~2 hours earlier in the day.  But I had to give DC a try.  I pulled the plug because my HR was just too high and I didn't want to put myself in a hole on day 1 of a really hard 3 day training weekend.

This day was capped off my a 45 min run.  Fortunately it had started to sprinkle and the temps went down.  My run was actually ok and I saw a tiny baby deer.  Very cool.

Will was really awesome and went to the store for dinner supplies while I was out training.  He made dinner (grilled elk/beef burgers, sweet potatoes, zucchini) and never once said anything about how I killed his 4th of July.  He is amazing and I will keep him.  I started getting ready for bed around 9:30 and was greeted with the local firework show outside my bedroom window.  So I got to see some fireworks, all while sitting on the arm of a couch.  Not too shabby.


1:15 swim at the Gravel Pond.  I got up at 6:30 (pretty late for a weekend anymore... sigh), made sure I was out there at 7:15 to wrestle into my wetsuit and be one of the first swimmers in the water at 7:30.  I started out at a good pace but got tired 45 min in.  And I kept getting lost.  I know, its a POND.  But sighting is really hard,  They have a few buoys to the halfway point and then you're on your own.  I try to use rock formations up on the foothills as a reference point, but that only works until the trees block them out of sight.  And using trees is challenging, since most trees look the same when you're glancing at them through foggy goggles for a half a second every 10 strokes or so.  Still, I got it done and the pace was ok.  Practice OWS are always slower than race day anyways, mainly because of the poor sighting conditions and because I have to swim by myself.

Immediately after the swim I had a 2:30 run.  I originally wanted to run early to avoid the heat, but I was specifically told to run after to run in the heat.  Great.  Also: blech.  A few days prior, out of the blue a friend sent me a text offering to run with me.  I immediately took her up on that offer and I am so thankful to her.  I tired brain couldn't properly calculate the time I was supposed to arrive at the Waterton parking lot to meet her (I told her 9 AM when it should have been 9:30).  She's so nice that this wasn't a problem, she just did an out and back and found me in the canyon.  And no surprise, it was hot.  I think I did about as much running as I did walking.  I didn't let my HR get above 155-160 and took a ton of walking breaks to get it down to 140-145.  I kept apologizing the whole time because this wasn't really running, and Amy was just so nice and was happy to get out of the house and have some adult time (she's got a 1.5 yr old).  I was just thankful because she talked my ear off and distracted me from my cranky thoughts.  If I was by myself, I know I would have been beating myself the whole time about all the walking and thinking about how Boulder was going to be a shit show with the heat.  Instead, we had a nice conversation and ran across 3 groups of bighorn sheep:

On the negative side, I ran farther last weekend in ~20 min less time (I also started 3 hours earlier and it was probably 20 deg cooler).  On the plus side, my hydration was just right and my legs felt good.  It took me 2:38 to go 11.7 miles, which is SLOW.  But in all honestly, if I could hold that pace in Boulder in 85 degree temps, I would be ecstatic.  That would be a 6 hr marathon, which isn't super fast, but I would take it in hot conditions.

I got home, got cleaned up, and Will took me for pie milkshakes.  Yes.  There's a place by our house that will take a slice of pie (you pick the kind of pie) and blend it with vanilla ice cream to make a milkshake.  I'd been wanting to go there for a year but couldn't justify the calorie-bomb.  This was my weekend.  It was delicious.
cherry for me, pecan for Will.  I don't know what Will did to justify the calories (or his 2 naps that day) but I wasn't going
to question it.


This was my 6 hr bike ride.  The forecast was a high of 95.  Yay?  Torture is always better with friends, and I had a nice little group with me.  Thank goodness.  We did 2 loops of Harvest Moon, which is a local 70.3 course.  Its all exposed, which means sun, heat, and wind.  With hills!  This ride isn't exactly fun, but the nice part is that you come back to your car after 45 miles and can re-stock supplies.  And you can take a dip in the Res afterwards if you need a cool down.

We started at 7 AM and it was already windy.  The first 20 miles are a nice, gradual downhill which makes for a nice warmup.  My legs didn't really want to play, my adductor kept getting tight and I had to stretch it 3 times in the first 50 miles.  It was also pretty windy on the first loop, with a headwind on the way back to the cars, which also has all the hill climbing.  I didn't want to blow my legs out on the first loop of a long day so I took the hills super easy.  Like e-a-s-y easy.  I never do that.  But I also didn't want to make my adductor worse.  For another fun feature, at mile 25 I started to literally dry heave on my nutrition (Bonk Breakers peanut butter chocolate chip).  Not cool, especially 1/4 of the way through a long day and when most of your ride nutrition is Bonk Breakers.  I really don't know what the deal was.  I made myself nibble on the bar for the way back (a little over an hour).  Back at my truck I ate some Tums (randomly in my gear bag) and swapped out my nutrition to other stuff.  I barely had enough honey stinger chews and SunRype bars to get me through the 2nd half of the ride.  I tried to eat more of the pb-cc flavor bars and each time resulted in gagging.  I think they're too sweet when its hot out.  The PB&J ones were a bit easier to get down.  This was my planned race nutrition, so I really don't know if this was a fluke or if this will keep happening.  What I do know is that I have Tums in my special needs bag (or in a pocket), as that saved my ass.  And I need to have back-up nutrition if things go south.  I get tired of eating HS chews all day, but they don't take much effort to get down and my stomach seems to like them.

The first loop was a big MEH (wind, nutrition, legs) but you just have to let go of that and keep moving.  The second loop, fortunately, was much better.  It was hotter (way hotter) but there's something nice about knowing its your last loop.  But holy crap, it was hot.  Thoughts on the last 25 miles of the 2nd loop were something like this:
ok its hot, but I'm drinking ok, and I'm still on my bike.  I've got this.
why am I riding in front of the other 2 people I'm with? (they were way ahead of me on loop 1)
really guys, you can pass me if you want
response: I couldn't pass you if I tried
hills are starting, legs actually feel decent.  Sweet!
and here's the heat.  Wow its hot.
whyyyyy do I keep signing up for hot races?  didn't I learn my lesson during IMTX?
I never want to do Kona, ever
I really don't want to do Boulder, either.  This is horrible
eat, drink, eat drink, pedal.
wow, its hot
I just want to go sit in the Res when this ride is done.
ok, last big hill, now its 5 miles to my truck.  I can do this
wow, I'm actually out of water.  I went through 4 hrs worth in less than 3 hours time.  crap its hot
oh yay, my truck.
oh crap, I've got another 45 min or at least 12 miles.  I guess I need to suck it up and just get it done.  It won't be easie
r on race day....

We finished the 2nd loop and got back to our cars.  Brian was totally out of water.  I had one bottle left.  Melanie had 2 ice cold cans of Coke and gave one to me and Brian to split.  It was magic.  I don't drink Coke anymore, but this was amazing.  And it made me think of coke slurpees for the rest of the ride.  I had another 12 miles, Brian had 9 miles (he did some looping to keep track of us earlier in the ride).  Both Brian and Melanie were out of water, so we rode into the Res to get more water.  At that point, Melanie started overheating and was having issues completing sentences, so she went to go sit in the Res and didn't finish the ride.  Brian and I decided to suck it up and get 100 miles done.  We rode to the traditional left turn at Watkins Road, and that easily got us to 100 miles.  We had some clouds on those last miles, and I swear, the temps dropped at least 10 degrees in the shadow.  It felt so good.

Then we were done for the day.  It was Brian's first century ride, it was my 2nd hottest century ride ever.  Overall time wasn't too bad, considering the heat.  I drank 8 bottles in 6 hours - normally I'd drink 5-6.  No slurpee on the way home, either.  I got Jamba Juice - I figured it had a bit more nutrition.

Random lessons from the ride:

  • I need back-up nutrition available.  I want to use real food but I just don't know if I can actually eat it.  I do know that I can get HS chews down and I have a bazillion SunRype fruit snacks that I can also eat.  (I actually raided my truck stash for loop 2 to ensure I had enough calories).  I'll have to be smart with Special Needs and maybe have extra nutrition stashed on my bike.
  • We all drank WAY more than we had planned.  Holy crap it was hot.
  • Osmo seemed to work.  I only had a slight heat headache.
  • Calories, while low, seemed to be ok.  I was a bit wobbly, but I think that was from the heat, not lack of calories.  I ended up eating 3-5 chews every 30 minutes (or maybe ever 15) and I tried to nibble on the PB&J Bonk Breakers in between to get some more "food" in.  The PB&J ones went down a bit better than the choc ones.  I may just have to play with flavors on the course during the race (they have 4 flavors) and see what works.
  • Legs actually felt pretty good.  We got done and it was hot, but my legs felt like they could do more.
  • Bike comfort was actually good on the 2nd lap.  Maybe I was distracted by the heat, but I really didn't have any "get me off my bike" thoughts.  I do love my bike.

Closing Thoughts

  • I am really thankful for my friends, who kept me company for most of this crazy weekend.  It really helped to keep the negative thoughts out of my head.
  • That pie milkshake was awesome.  I may have one again this coming weekend.
  • I may need to let go of any time goals for Boulder.  If its hot, I really can't have pace expectations. It becomes more of a "lets keep moving" situation.  I'd like to go under 14 hours but it all depends on the heat.  And I need to be ok with that.
  • On Monday, I slept in until 9 AM and took a 1 hour nap.  I wasn't sore, which is weird, but I was TUCKERED.
  • I have the most awesome husband ever.  Not once did he complain about how I ruined his holiday weekend.  Instead, he took care of me.  I don't know what I did to deserve someone so awesome but I am incredibly thankful for him.
  • I think I'm ready for one more hard week and then taper.  I can do this. :)

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Peak Week Crabbiness

I am ridiculously crabby and I need to get over it.  I signed up for this race and to do well, I need to just put my head down and get to work.

What I didn't think about when I signed up for IMBoulder is that I effectively killed my summer.  There's not much free time for fun when your race is Aug 3rd.  And really, its the missing out on stuff that's making me crabby.  Instead, I should be focusing on the experiences and fun I am having while training in Colorado in the summer.  As far as training places go, CO is hard to beat.
The view during my 12 mi run last weekend.  
Instead of focusing on how strong I'm getting and how pretty my training rides/runs/swims are, I'm focusing on what I'm missing out on.

Case in point: this weekend. The 4th of July.  A holiday weekend with bbqs and camping and fun.  And what will I be doing?  s/b/r'ing, sleeping, eating, and spending time on the couch with my feet up.

Really, I would have mentally been ok if it weren't for a random invitation to a BBQ on Friday from 11-2. There's really no way I can go, because I'll be s/b/r'ing for nearly 6 hours.  And who has a bbq party that ends at 2?  In all honestly, this is just IM peak week fatigue getting to me.  The invite was from a HS friend who lives in town but I never see. I can't say I've been invited to his house for a party ever.  I may have invited him, not sure, but he's never been over our way.  Essentially, he's not a close friend, but I am tweaked that I can't go to his BBQ.  I think its more the fact that I can't do something holiday-ish because I have 6 hours of s/b/r.  If it was any other Friday, I wouldn't even be complaining.

Then to add insult, I might not even get to stay up late enough to enjoy fireworks.  I have a 1:15 swim and a 2:30 run.  I was going to run first and then swim, which meant that I needed to start running at 5:45 AM (and leave my house at 5:15).  Yep, no fireworks with that alarm time.  My coach informed me that I need to swim first and then run, and the pond doesn't open until 7:30, so I won't need to leave my house until 6:45. Which makes firework viewing more likely.  But then I'm cranky that I have to run for 2:30 in the heat.

I was talking to my best friend yesterday, trying to arrange weekend plans for July 19th.  She's coming here and doing a memorial service for her deceased husband in the mountains.  This is not ideal timing for me (time or money) to spend a weekend in the mountains.  But she's my sister, I'm Auntie E to her kids, and my ass needs to be up there for support.  But the logistics are stressing me out.  I've got Saturday morning blocked out for her, but I need to be s/b/r'ing the rest of the time.  Not to mention getting sleep and eating properly.  The poor thing caught me yesterday afternoon when I was coming home from work and just got a very unhappy version of me.  I recognized that, took a nap, and and my mood was better.  Sorta.  She at least saw my panic and booked me my own room at the lodge instead of asking me to share a room with a stranger in a house full of kids, so I'd have my space and some quiet for sleep.  The food concerns me a bit (I will be in a hotel room for 4 days but can walk over to their cabin to cook).  And the logistics will be interesting.  Not to mention the pressure of spending time with people at a time when I'm at my most selfish and I quite literally don't have very much of me to give.  Just just just, but but but.... ugh.

I just need to survive the next ~3+ weeks and get to taper.

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

June 2014 Training Totals

Alrighty - here's June, one month before crazy big IM Boulder month.  June was a bit tricky, mainly because I was in Idaho for 12 days and had some hard conflicts - 2 days driving (really, 3 if you count driving up to Meadows to surprise Chase with his restored pick-up) and a wedding.  I think I probably lost 5 days there, and I didn't have access to a pool while I was up there.  

Pretty solid totals, though.  I was really only down the equivalent of 3 swim practices (despite missing 4-6).  Bike mileage is solid.  I really enjoyed my rides in Idaho.  And my run volume is ok.  I think it was down a bit to give me some recovery after Boise - but once I got back things picked up again.

July should be a big month.

June 2014
Swim: 10h 29m 03s - 28867.82 Yd
Bike: 30h 34m 57s - 466.5 M
Run: 12h 28m 30s - 64.12 M
Walking: 35 min

May 2014
Swim: 13h 35m 58s - 37092.18 Yd
Bike: 22h 10m 13s - 297.42 M
Run: 14h 11m 42s - 76.69 M
Yoga: 30 min

Monday, June 30, 2014

Ramblings - IM Peak Training Edition

Here I am 33 days out from IM Boulder - here's what rattling around in my little brain.

The training this year doesn't seem nearly as scary/hard as the past two IM builds.  Really, it seems like I've just been s/b/r'ing along at a "normal" volume.  Things didn't really start to feel too crazy until last week when I hit 16+ hours.  I know I've been training a bunch, it just hasn't felt like it.  Probably because this volume has become my new normal.

I officially went into food lockdown mode last week.  No bread, no sweets (except my nightly dose of dark chocolate), no fruit.  Just lots of meat, veg, sweet potatoes, avocado, and nuts.  I dropped weight successfully last year and am hoping to do the same this year.  For whatever reason, I think I'll be a bit heavier than last year, but I do think I've gained more muscle since then.

My motto is now "just survive the next 3 weeks".  I figure I have 2 really hard 20+ hour week, a medium-hard week, and then sweet, sweet taper.  One of my friends actually asked me if I was starting my taper soon and I just laughed.  I'm a month out.  Its too early to think of taper.

I need to stop comparing myself to my friend's training schedules.  I have several friends who already have several 100 mile rides under them.  My longest ride (yesterday) was 87 miles.  I was so wrapped up in this that last week, I went and printed off my TrainingPeaks schedule from 2013 IMCDA and compared it to where I am now.  Turns out, I'm the same to even slightly ahead of last year.  I will be fine.  Deep breaths. Chill the f out.

As usual, I'm still dinking around with my nutrition.  I'm trying to eat real food.  Do you know how much crap you have to carry with you for a 7 hour bike ride, fueled by real food?!?!  Its a ton of food.  I quickly learned that the FeedZone rice cakes, while tasty, are not at all practical for IM bike rides.  I've been trying to use Salty Balls, but they get really sticky and are hard to swallow (insert joke here....).  They're enough of a pain where I find that I'm not eating enough of them.  And I have to carry them around (bento box, special needs).  So this past weekend I tried Bonk Breakers.  They're at the aid stations for Boulder (so I don't need to carry 7 hours worth) and are gluten free.  Each one is 220-270 calories, so I'd need to eat ~1 1/3 per hour. They're also less sticky and go down a bit easier.  For this weekend's ride, I packed 6 bars and 2 packs of Honey Stinger Chews and did ok.  The main issue is that real food takes freaking forever to chew and swallow.  I even timed myself - 3 minutes.  And when you're eating something every 15 minutes, I'm spending 12 minutes PER HOUR chewing.  Blech.  My stomach was happy though, so I think I just need to get over the chewing thing and consider it race entertainment.

My shoulder is finally happy.  I did something gnarly to my left rotator cuff, causing it to snap like a rubber band.  I finally found a chiro/ART guy who is pretty aggressive with my treatment.  I've had 4 pain-free swims.  No time like a month before your IM to get your shoulders back and happy, right?

My 20 year high school reunion was this past weekend.  They had a Friday night happy hour and a Saturday afternoon BBQ.  The Friday thing was downtown and cost $40/per person and from what I could tell only covered the cost of a private room and some appetizers.  Doesn't that seem excessive?  I mean, if I was travelling to town for this, I'd probably go with it and call it a "vacation expense".  But to spend $80 for both of us and only get appetizers?  Not to mention the fact that it was going to be a lot of "on my feet time", I'd likely have to go and eat dinner somewhere else before the event, and I'd probably have to leave early since I had to get up at 5:20 and run/swim before the BBQ.  I dunno, maybe I was being cheap, but it was hard for me to see many pluses.  I went to the BBQ, only got 2 plates in me.  Will continued to be a great sherpa, telling me to quit talking and get more food.  I saw some people I really enjoyed catching up with, but again, I don't know.  With facebook, it seems that you can find people you want to re-connect with and develop relationships.  Talking to someone for 5 minutes every 10 years doesn't seem all that meaningful.  Maybe I was just tired and cranky, who knows.

The long training stuff is starting to build up.  I'm trying to find pretty places so it isn't so awful.  Saturday I had a 2:15 run and a 0:45 OWS.  So I parked my truck at Chatfield (where I swim) and decided to run up Waterton Canyon.  This run is a bit deceiving, as it is a pretty steady uphill as you go up the canyon (and then downhill on the way back).  But I think the IM Boulder run course has shallow uphill grades, so this type of terrain should be good for me.  Plus, its pretty:

I'm not really working much right now (long story that I don't want to get into here).  On the bright side, this gives me plenty of time for training and napping.  On the not-so-good side I don't have much money and with me being home more, I have access to more food.  So I'm eating more.  But I kinda don't like being at work when I'm not being paid, so....

I'm more than a little worried about the heat for Boulder.  I'm pretty heat sensitive (IMTX didn't go well for me - it has h.o.t !!)  The good thing about not being trapped in an office for 9 hours day means I can do my shorter rides/runs at the hottest time of the day.  That way I get some heat training in but I can also recover.  (My long runs are early in the morning - I have no desire to run for 2+ hours in the heat).

We did a ride in Boulder yesterday where I tried to hit the "highlights": St Vrain out and back, the eastern portion of the course (not really a highlight, but we needed to see it), and the "3 Sisters" (3-ish hills at mile 99 of the Boulder bike course).  The forecast was 95 degrees and this would be a great test to see how Osmo would treat me.  Normally I get heat headaches and afterwards, I feel like I have a hangover.  After 5:15 of riding (87 miles) no heat headaches, no stomach issues, and today I don't have that familiar "I've been run over by a bus" feeling.  Awesome!  Also, the course isn't so bad.  While St Vrain is a mean trick on the part of race organizers (you zoom down the hill at 40+ mph only to turn around and ride back up the hill), there's really only one steep bit where you have to work.  AND its early in the ride, like mile 15 so you're fresh.  The "3 Sisters" at mile 99 are doable.  The first hill is the steepest, so you just need to turn the corner and immediately gear down and you'll be fine.  Remember to not be a hero and things will be ok.  (but they'll still suck - any hill at mile 99 on a ride sucks).  The true trick to the Boulder course is the 10+ miles of false flat, into the wind portion east of I-25 on CR-19.  Its not hard, but there's nothing to look at but farms and oil fields.  You feel like you should be going a whole lot faster than you are.  And if you're not smart, you'll cook yourself.  Definitely a good place to ride by power/HR to avoid killing yourself.
Miller Farms, along the Boulder bike course.  Aka Radiator Springs from Cars.
There's my brain dump!  Happy training!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Just one of those days

Today was a day where very few things went right.  But boy am I happy those things did go right.  I had my usual Friday swim-bike day (no run, thank goodness).  Swim practice was ok.  Then I was going to meet a swim team friend at 9 AM to ride up Deer Creek Canyon (13.5 miles and 3k ft climbing).  She had a 2 hr ride, I had a 3 hr.

I left the house and immediately realized my nutrition was on the counter.  Turned around, retrieved it, and also discovered that my Garmin was sitting on my desk in the home office.

The whole drive over (a whopping 30 min) I wanted to pull over and take a nap.  I was so tired that I missed my exit.

I parked, got my bike set up, and quickly realized that my Garmin was d-e-a-d DEAD.   Ugh.  Ok, backup plan was to set the timer on my phone and map things out afterwards.

My friend shows up, we start riding.  I do NOT feel well, my stomach is revolting and my perceived HR (dead Garmin = who knows what it really was).  I gave it 25 min and a few steep-ish hills and I knew I wouldn't be going all the way to the top.  I probably could have made it, but it really wouldn't have been fun.  We stopped, agreed to do something else.  I checked my phone and it decided to shut off.  Lovely.  So no time.

We rode for 2 (estimated) hours, I returned my friend to her car and I continued onward. 

I stopped to refill my speedfill with my rear bottle of Osmo and dumped a good 1/4 of it on the ground.  Awesome.

About 5 minutes later, I heard an incredibly loud POP and realized my rear tire had exploded.  The force was so great that it blew the tire off the rim.  The tube had a good 3-4 inch gash along the rim side.  I have no idea what happened.  And I hadn't swapped out my emergency supplies after Boise, so I still had my very expensive 80 mm tubes.  I took my time and successfully fixed my rear tire.  Hurray.

I rode on and ran out of Osmo about 15 minutes of my car.  Lame.

And then I got back to my car, went home, and took a nap.

So, the good parts were that I did my time on the bike, even if I didn't do the specified route (I was short ~1k of climbing).  And I did a good job of fixing my flat.

Hopefully I got all of the cycling bad mojo out of my system now.  It seems like I hit all the highlights in this one ride.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Adventures in Idaho

We actually took a 12 (!!) day vacation to Idaho, in what I ended up calling our "Idaho World Tour".  I think the longest we stuck at one place was 5 days.  I really hate living out of a suitcase, but as is the case with these sorts of trips, you end up doing a bunch of travelling in order to see everyone.

This trip was hatched when I had to pull out of the Boulder 70.3 to be a bridesmaid for my friend that I've known since 6th grade that is marrying my husband's cousin.  That's been a mouthful to explain and I'm so happy that I can now simply refer to them as "my cousins".

The whole point behind doing the Boulder half and full was to keep things local and to keep costs down.  With Boulder out I had a few options.  A) skip the 70.3 and just do the full (HA.  and no).  B) do other Colo 70.3s (HITS in Grand Junction or a race in Steamboat).  Both of these would require driving and lodging, which takes away the cheap part of racing.  or C) race Boise the week before the wedding, stay with family, and hang out for a week until the wedding.

Obviously we chose C.

Thurs - Saturday (days 1 - 3) are chronicled in my Boise 70.3 Race Report.

The rest of the trip is probably better told with photos and a bit of text.

Sunday after the race was nearly a luxury day.  We slept in.  Cousin Jason (1 of 7 of my husband's cousins) made us waffles and home-grown beef bacon (they're ranchers).  We then went out into the desert to check on some spring.  Jason and another family friend went in his pickup, Will was on a dirt bike, and I was on the side by side (off-road golf cart).  It was dusty but super fun.
happy husband on a dirt bike

ranch roads

its not a ranch adventure unless something breaks down.  This time a wire got loose on the Toyota.  Simple fix.

foreground: me  middle: Will  distance: Jason and Patty

hello ladies (and babies)

this is one of my happy places

We got back from our ranch shenanigans to find that the wedding couple had arrived from their drive from Boulder.  We had dinner and stayed up until midnight talking and drinking beer.

Monday was a super fun day.  Chase (the groom) had an old ~1969 (?) Chevy pickup ("Belle) that he was restoring.  It was housed in his dad's barn in central Idaho.  The family decided to pitch in and restore Belle as a wedding present surprise.  Monday was the day Belle would be unveiled.

The logistics were interesting.  The happy couple woke up at the ranch by Mountain Home, went into town to get their marriage license, then headed up to Chase's home in New Meadows.  Jason was storing Belle in his barn (which we locked to prevent snooping!) and we had to drive the pickup (on a flatbed) up to New Meadows before Chase and Deanna got there.  This meant a whole bunch of back-road driving and sneaky texts and phone calls by various family members to get ETAs from everyone.

The surprise was worth it:

I think we spent 6 hours in a pickup that day (which is terrible when you're recovering from a 70.3) and we got home at midnight.  But it was soooo worth it.

Tuesday I got in a 40 min run on the ranch, just going along the ranch dirt roads and exploring things.  Thankfully, I didn't see a rattlesnake.  Then a trip in a cool old water truck to water the cattle. And then it was a 2 hour backtrack east to my mother-in-law's house in Kimberly for a few days.

Sidenote: I think I averaged about one hamburger a day.  That's the thing about cattle ranchers, there's a ton of ground beef to go around.  It will be a while before I want to eat a burger.  Some days I even had 2.  Oof.

Wednesday I needed to get in a 3 hour bike ride.  At first I was kinda cranky, because the Kimberly trip was a bit last minute. We were hoping to spend the week at the ranch, but when your mother in law asks you to stay for a few days, well.....  Her area is pretty flat and very agricultural.  There's a lot of dairies (Chobani just built a huge factory there, Cliff bars is building a huge bakery).  There's a lot of farms.  And a lot of smells.  There's also a lot of big trucks/equipment that aren't used to looking for cyclists.  After some research, I found out that I could ride from her house south to the South Hills Recreation Area, which is in national forest.  Boom.  I was now excited to ride out there.

The ride was pretty cool.  Lots of cool rock formations.  I surprised a snake who was sunning himself on the concrete in front a pit toilet.  And there was a mild amount of climbing.  Lots of blue skies and extremely friendly but minimal traffic.  And only one dairy, which I swear had me gagging.  Oof.

Basalt cliffs

I was really happy there was a 2nd pit toilet.....

way better than riding along dairies.
I think this seals my mother in law's thinking that I'm certifiable.  I kept hearing for the rest of the week, third party, about how I rode my bike for 45 miles when I stayed with her.  I suppose her other house guests don't really do that.

Staying at her place was actually really nice.  It was quiet, we took a nap, and we went to bed at a normal time.  Thursday I got up a bit early and did an hour run on quiet country roads.  I somehow managed to miss the ONLY turn on my way back and did a little bonus running.  I must have been in the zone, I really have no idea how the hell I missed it.  I came home to be greeted by my husband cooking me breakfast.  YAY.  Then it was off again, 5.5 hours north to New Meadows / McCall for the big wedding.

We got to our amazing cabin rental, which was 5 minutes from another aunt/uncle's ranch (the groom's family), settled in and headed to a beach on Payette Lake for a bbq dinner (featuring you guessed it - more burgers!).  The family brought out their boat and were giving rides on the lake.  So pretty.

Friday I was maybe (?) in the bridal doghouse because they were decorating the reception at 10 AM and I had a 4 hour bike ride.  I chose the bike ride, figuring there was more than enough family to help decorate.  I did some research and ended up riding from Payette Lake up Warren Wagon Road.  This was BEAUTIFUL.  It was also cold - I think it was ~45 degrees out at 8 AM when I started riding.  I started in my short gloves, road 3 minutes and went back to the car to get my long gloves.  Thank goodness they were in the bag I had randomly chucked in the car when we left for the trip.

The ride was really beautiful and I told myself to soak it all in, including the cold.  This ride was a privilege and I'm certain I'll be begging for cooler temps on August 3rd.  I got to see lakes, crystal clear rivers, forested mountains, fresh snow on those mountains, waterfalls, clouds that looked like rain, then rain, a rainbow, and then sleet.  Yep, I got sleeted on at the top.  I had my short Couer shorts on (of all days to wear my short cycling shorts) and I kept looking at the water drops on my legs, which were oddly staying put, and checking them to see if they were frozen.  The drops were still liquid but my feet were soaked and turned into blocks of frozen toes.  My hands weren't much better.  Thank goodness I had a rain jacket.  It was 2 hours up and slow 2 hours down, with lots of stopping to stomp my feet and warm my hands.  When the ride was done, I didn't touch my cold recovery drink but instead booked it to the nearest coffee house for a mexican mocha and a huckleberry muffin.  mmm, I love huckleberries.  I then went back to our rental and warmed up for a bit, then headed over to decorate the reception area just in time to get pizza and to learn that they were done decorating.  Good timing, bridesmaid!
morning on Payette Lake

happy Merlin by the river
bathroom break selfie

I know, its just so ugly here.  

misty mountains

frozen Erin

We then went to the 4 PM wedding rehearsal and then the rehearsal dinner.  Then we invited everyone over to our rental cabin for beers.  I was hoping to utilize our fire pit, but it was raining.  Up until midnight again.

Saturday was the wedding day - we woke up to dense fog in the valley.  It was beautiful.  I was supposed to get in a 30 min run, but our cabin was halfway up a mountain, so there was a whole lot more hiking than running.  I picked a snowmobile trail and made a whole lot of noise in case I came across a bear.

Sidenote #2: I saw ZERO wildlife this whole trip (unless you count cows and antelope).  There were moose and bear signs all over and I saw nothing.  :sad Erin:

The hike was really pretty. The fog was lifting off of the road, exposing the mountain and the valley.  Ahhh.
view of Meadows Valley from the deck of our rental
And then it was time to get our hair done and get the wedding on the road.  I got a fancy updo (reverse braid in the back and curls at the top).  The wedding was fantastic.  I somehow managed not to cry (unlike the rehearsal, where we all cried).  Will and I signed the marriage licence (we are the reason Chase and Deanna met).  We then did a wedding party only (no parents!) photo shoot in a family meadow with Belle.  That was so much fun.  And then the reception, which included PIE.  A family friend made huckleberry apple and I made the catering company save me a slice.  It was delicious.
fancy wedding hair

my adorable 8 month old nephew in his wedding finest

don't we all wish our wedding photos were this amazing?!?!?
I ended up recreating my Boise finish line jump

Sunday was a family brunch.  I blew off my 2 hour bike ride.  And then it was a 5.5 hour ride BACK to Kimberly for the night.  Then a 6 AM departure and an ~11 hour trip back to Denver.

Vacation success  :)