Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Random Thoughts

I don't think I've had a Random Thoughts post since I started my new blog. Well, there's no time like the present, is there? Let the Randomness commence!!!

Here are my random thoughts, in of course, random order!

I've been wanting to share this snap for a while. I wonder how many people can relate to this photo. I am calling it Ironman Trunk Syndrome. All summer this is what the trunk of my car has looked like. Ready to go, three sports, any time, anywhere. I can only say that the smell emanating from the trunk is truly horrible. Four pairs of shoes will do that.

I have added 'clean out trunk' to my list of post-Ironman tasks. That list, it is growing every day.

In other randomness, I do not recommend living mostly at sea level and then doing a speed run workout at altitude. It is a rough feeling. I am pretty sure a few people at the park this morning thought I was asphyxiating when I ran past them. Not to worry folks, just not acclimated.

I bought a new toy. It is a Garmin 305 or something. I don't even know, but I know that I love it. I am obsessed I tell you, obsessed!! All this data!!! Now I want to wear it doing everything to see how long things take. Like running, walking, riding my cruiser, etc. It is one of those pieces of technology that makes you wonder how you ever lived without it. God I need to get a life.

I love swimming right now also. What?! I know. It is weird. I have despised swimming pretty much ever since I started. But right now it is so peaceful and Zen and I have really reduced my stroke count which is excellent. I am hitting some times in the pool I never thought I could before. Hopefully this improvement will stick and lead to more improvement!! I must say I am shocked by how much I am enjoying swimming!!

I think that should do it for the random thoughts. Now I am off for a little bicycle ride!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Two Weeks!!!

Well I seem to have survived most of Ironman training, and we are two weeks to MOO!!! I can't believe it. Where has the summer gone? I'm pretty sure it happened when I was on my bike. This weekend I spent some quality time on the bicycle. I also had a house guest named Bodie. She looked really cute. I don't know if you an tell from this picture but she had TWO toys in her mouth. That behavior only happens when she is a very bad dog and wants to apologize, or when she is very happy to see me. In this case she was a happy hound dog.


So hanging out with Bodie was fun. I had a super fun day with my little mother on Saturday also. She rode sag for me on my ride which was a great time. She really enjoyed the drive and we had some nice quality driving time together also. She is definitely welcome to do it again, we are going to try to put together a fall ride with my brother in a few weeks.

I also had a super fun run with my friend Cathy this morning. She's training for a marathon so she had to run a little more than I did, which worked well for me as I had company for all two hours of my run. Then I rode which was fun albeit somewhat dramatic as there was an organized ride with a bunch of people who frankly did not know how to ride bikes out on the roads. Always fun. I had one girl crash right in front of me. Luckily I was in super defensive mode so I managed to stay upright.

After the ride I was supposed to swim but instead Cathy and I checked out this cool new place in Boulder which is basically a recovery club (in fact that is exactly what it's called - AllSports Recovery Club). It was so cool!! They have all kinds of cool stuff like ice baths, an upside down person hanger (I forget what this is called), cold lasers, ultrasound, and these awesome recovery compression boots. These things are crazy. They basically give your legs a massage for 30 minutes by blowing air in different weird ways. Here is a picture of me and Cathy in our recovery boots!

It was so cool. So we both joined for a month and then we'll reassess. I figure if I go once or twice a week it's worth it. I am totally going in for an ice bath and a session in the boots next Sunday. Gotta love Boulder. It was packed in there by the time we left!

So I had a really good talk with my friend Chad and I am feeling a-okay about my plan for MOO. The biggest thing I learned today is that something is bound to go wrong and you just have to adjust. Troubling for a Type A person like me but what can you do. Just keep on rolling! And here we go into another week, another week closer to fall!

Thursday, August 25, 2011


Now that my first Ironman is less than three weeks away, I am changing my focus. From the physical to the mental, the brass tacks to the vision. At this point, even if I sat on the couch eating Cheetos instead of training, I have put the miles in the bank to finish the race. It is weird to look at my schedule and see a taper. And to feel like this weekend I don’t have to do anything because I only have to ride for 5:10 one day and run for 2:00 one day, and somewhere fit in another 3:00 ride. Ironman training is weird, it creates a new sense of ‘normal’ where it is not out of the ordinary to train for 7-8 hours a day both weekend days. So when I only have 6 hours, that is like what the heck do I do with all this free time?! And my credit cards run away in fear because they know I have not shopped in months. But anyway, I digress. How does one train the mind? Well in my opinion it comes down to a few things.

First off, get lonely. Get really lonely. Ride your bike all by yourself for over 6 hours. That’s what I did this past Sunday. My brother was going to ride with me but he seems to have gotten himself into an overtrained state. My mom was going to ride sag for us but since it would just be me I told her not to bother. So I rode, and I rode, and I rode.

I got a very sub-par picture taken of Estes Park unfortunately. This was a really cool view, or maybe I just told myself it was really cool because I had just climbed one of those ‘you’ve got to be kidding me’ hills – you know that one, you look up and say ‘you’ve got to be kidding me!!!’ because it is so freaking steep and you’ve already climbed for 15 hours. Or that’s what it feels like.

It was just after I stopped in a cute little town called Glen Haven for provisions. I didn’t have a cinnamon roll but holy buckets they looked and smelled phenomenal. It was a good thing I didn’t, I think I would have hurled on the crazy climb. I did get a Snickers to save for later, put it in my jersey pocket, and threw it away that night because it was gross and melted. So sad.

While I was there, I parked my bike next to a sweet car and took a snap. I thought it was kind of cool, if you think about it the Cervelo is probably the most Ferrari-like bicycle, next to a real Ferrari. 

I rode by this Estes Park institution, the Stanley Hotel. If you’ve never been to Estes Park it is a landmark. It is also famous for being the setting of The Shining, a creepy Stephen King novel that was turned into a super creepy movie. Even this picture I think looks kind of creepy with the ominous clouds in the background.

By the time I got to Estes I was pretty sure I was screwed time-wise, I thought my ride would be way over my allotted 6:10. But the ride back went quickly, quickly enough that I had to add on one 10 minute loop. That worked out well considering my terrible math skills!

So that was solid. The other exciting news was that I swam a 6000 this weekend. I had maybe two or three 6000 yard/meter swims on my schedule before but I never completed them. I had time this weekend and I had skipped some other swimming so I figured I would do it. The main set was 40 x 100 which sounded torturous so I modified it to include some 100’s and some longer straight swims so I wouldn’t lose my mind (too much). I have to say it wasn’t that bad but I don’t think I’ll be doing it again. I just don’t really see the value, over a 6000 my form degrades and I don’t think it’s good to practice swimming that tired. But maybe I’m just lazy!

And in yet more news I found a sweet quarry out here in Northern California and had a quarry-swimming adventure on Tuesday night. It was freaking awesome. You just roll up, change, and jump into a very nice little lake, and swim to your heart’s content. All for a $6 parking fee. Thumbs up, California! I practiced some open water starts because I feel like in most races I do everyone starts like a gunshot and I am kind of whimpering along. That was a lot of fun.

And last but not least, here is my thought on training the mind. The key is the power of positivity. I am visualizing the race. I am visualizing the success I want to have in all areas of life. I am living positive, to obtain positive results. I think it is the way to go. How do you train your mind?

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Last 7:00 Ride of 2011!!!

I have to say I am delighted to report that I finished my last seven hour ride of Ironman training yesterday. In the words of my brother, it was EPIC!!! There were highs, there were lows, there was extremely bitchy behavior (by me), there was long ride-induced dementia, and of course there was the food of the Gods, SNICKERS!!!! 

I woke up at 5:30 am and went to Boulder. I was rolling at 6:59 am per my plan. One minute early in fact, because that's how I roll. Some people call it obsessive, I call it planning for optimal Ironman training success. I rode by myself for two hours. Nothing of note occurred except that I really, really had to pee once, could not be bothered to hide, and dropped trou at the side of the road. I hope you enjoyed that, vehicle traffic on 95th Street. 

Then I picked up my brother, a.k.a. my glutton for punishment for the day. There was some organized ride going up Lefthand Canyon so we headed down US 36 to Lyons and then we started climbing. And climbing. And climbing some more. I had never done that loop from that direction, I must say it is significantly harder, although there aren't as many steep pitches. At one point I totally wussed out and yelled at my brother and soft pedaled for a bit.

But the payoff was worth it. Here is the view at Brainard Lake.

I just love it there. Since I spend most of the week at Sea Level every week, I was highly amused that I rode to 10,300 feet. Or I just thought I was an idiot. Hard to say. Me at Brainard with the 10,300 feet of elevation sign...

It took a lot of restraint not to jump into the lake. Especially since when we got there we had been climbing for 3.5 hours. And we were loopy as crap.  I honestly don't know how we didn't. Scott knew I was in desperate need of Snickers so we started our descent and ended up in Ward, part Nirvana, part hippie burnout heaven. Compared to Brainard it was a bit of a letdown. Check out Ward.

But it was worth it. They had a new kind of Snickers I had never had - almond! It was so good. I don't know how I even took a picture, since I ate it in about 20 seconds.

It may have been the best Snickers I've ever had. So then we are like 'heck yeah, we get to descend for a while and then we're done!!' And then we got a nice headwind so we had to pedal hard all the way down. I took a nice pull so I actually didn't feel terrible. That was surprising!

At the very end when we were almost done I had a great idea that we should sprint for a minute. What a jackass. I think this pushed my brother over the edge. This is how he ended his day.

He did great though. This was his longest and farthest ride to date, and it was a son of a gun man. No joke.

My legs felt pretty busted this morning but I managed to ride 65 with some more climbing, which seemed pretty cute after yesterday. I am feeling pretty good actually. And now we are on the downhill slide towards the Ironman. Happy day!!!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Weekend from my Bike

I spent a large portion of the weekend on my bicycle, and it was a lot of fun!! For the most part. As per usual, with over 10 hours of time in the saddle, there were emotional highs, emotional lows, and times when I just zoned out for long periods of time.

Saturday was a long solo day. I knew I was climbing on Sunday so I rode a number of flats and a few smaller climbs (except for one wrong turn, which led to five miles of easiest gear on my bike mailman behavior). I also found a gas station with Snickers Dark, which was amazing!! That is my favorite. This place was like a mirage.

Most of the views kind of looked like this - we have lots of farms just east of Boulder.

Then I climbed up to Carter Lake (twice actually, I am terrible at judging how long things take so I had to keep turning and adding on). I cannot describe how much I wanted to jump into the water. Pretty sure sheer stubbornness kept me out of the water, it looked amazing, and it was SO hot!

I also really need to meet someone as a nice friend who has a boat. Then I could ride from Carter Lake and go on the boat and in the water after. I think the water in this lake is all runoff so it is cold as crap.

On the way back I needed to add on mileage yet again so I rode through Boulder. This was ill-advised - lots of traffic and annoying lights - but I rode by the University of Colorado which was fun, I never do that! It is a pretty campus, all the architecture is kind of Spanish looking.

And then I was done for Saturday! That wasn't so bad. No brick run although it was a mild 93 degrees when I finished which is cool for the weather lately so I was almost a little bit sad. Not that sad though.

After a fun swim and pizza with Tamra, I got home at 9:15 and went straight to bed. I had to get up at 6:15 to go ride with my brother. He is turning into quite the cyclist, he dropped me like a bad habit on the way up to Ward. Luckily he was nice enough to take a very cute picture of me at the top of the climb, so I forgave him.

It was a great ride except for the ridiculous headwind we encountered for the last two hours or so. Luckily I was having a great time with my bro so I couldn't be too mad. Then we met Katie for an awesome brunch and I swam again. And now I am crashed out on the floor of my living room catching up on So You Think You Can Dance (don't judge me, it's a great show) and getting ready to do it all again next week!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Good Week!

This has been a really good week (I find that I actually blog if I have my computer up and running on the plane for working, I just write my entries in Word and then copy them over to the blog). Why, you might ask? Well, you know I haven’t done a list on my new blog, so here goes!!
1.     I trained exactly as much as I wanted to when I was out of town, for what I believe is the first time. I rode twice, swam twice, lifted once, and ran three times. WHAM!!! Not bad since I also worked a pretty solid amount! I took a revolting self-portrait of my sweaty self doing a speed workout on the spin bike at my trashy California gym. Good times. Some girl accosted me in the pool the next day and said I looked pro. That was nice of her since I thought I just looked like a raving maniac. Photo evidence - you be the judge, I'm pretty sure I'm right!

2.     When I trained, it was awesome!! Well except for riding the spin bike. That is just dumb and boring but what can you do. My favorite workout I think was a track workout. I found a track at the high school which is about a 20-25 minute run from my hotel, which is basically perfect. The track is in great shape and it is such a nice setting. One of these days I’ll run there with my camera and take a few pictures. I had a good workout on the track also which was a bonus. I did have to keep running around an old couple who decided they needed to walk very slowly in Lane One. Well, you know things can’t be perfect. It was cute when the old lady took a break and sat down in a folding chair in the infield staring at me while her husband walked around the track backwards. Seriously, I couldn’t make this stuff up.
3.     I actually swam somewhat well this week. What?! I know. I like 25 yard pools. It didn’t hurt to have a cute little fan in the pool saying I was pro-looking.
4.     I totally rocked work this week. That is a good feeling. I am really enjoying my new job and I think it is a great fit for me and also that I am motivated to excel. Do I miss training whenever I want and leaving work no later than 4:30? Well, sometimes, but not really. I find that I really enjoy being challenged and stepping up to the plate.
5.     My personal life is good. I have great friends and a super-great family. I am very proud of my mother right now, she is confronting some issues she has faced for many years. That takes a lot of courage. Good job Mother!!!

I am on the plane heading back to Denver and looking forward to a sweet three-hour run tomorrow very early in the morning. This will be my longest run in Ironman training so I am excited to get that knocked out! Two more big weekends and we are on the decline to MOO!!!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Six Weeks?!

Well, time flies when you train for an Ironman, switch jobs, and are basically as busy as a one-legged cocktail waitress (or insert your metaphor of choice here). The fact that it is August just blows my mind. Then again you’d think I would know since I basically feel that every weekend I go home, train in a large furnace for three days, and get a heat stroke. Holy buckets it has been hot in Colorado. Yesterday I had to ride around 2:00 in the afternoon and it was ridiculous. There was a nice hot wind blowing, my water bottles were practically boiling, and it was just disgusting. I seriously don’t think I stopped sweating for three days. I keep feeling like crap on my brick runs, getting into the car after, realizing it is 96 degrees, and feeling pretty okay about feeling terrible.

The only thing you can do when it is a million degrees and you have to ride for five and a half hours is CLIMB!!! Luckily climbing is my favorite thing to do on my bicycle, following closely by descending. I was waxing poetic to myself yesterday about how much I love to ride and then I almost got hit by a car, so that was dramatic. I hate cars sometimes. And people. And everything. That is mostly when I need a Snickers bar, but this was really scary, it was right where another cyclist was killed about a month ago so needless to say it REALLY freaked me out.

Anyway, back on topic, long ride. So I had never ridden to Estes Park before and I decided Saturday was the day to check it out. I only had a 5:30 ride so I figured it couldn’t be too bad if it sucked. I went up Highway 7 which is one of my favorite climbs and descents, through a cute little town called Allenspark, and down to Estes Park. Then I came back on Highway 36, because at that point I was over 50 miles and had climbed a bunch. It was a really fun loop and I would do it again. Of course somehow by the time I got back to the flats, it was a million degrees and I was under on time, so I did a few flat loops to end up with 5:30 and 95 miles. I’ll take it. I rode by myself (my brother was camping and Katie has retired from training like an insane person), but I met a few people and rode with them a few times. Beth wrote recently that she doesn’t think about much on her bike. I had a lot of solo training time this weekend, and I don’t think I thought about much, or if I did, I forgot everything. Nothing of note I guess! Lots of times I just get really annoying songs stuck in my head and try to get them out and find other ones that I do like.

Sunday was a fun day of training also. I started running at 7:30 and holy buckets was it hot already. As much as I hated waking up at 5:00 am last weekend, it was nice to run in relative cool for a while. I did a fun big out and back with a loop in the middle starting in South Boulder at my favorite trailhead, running up Marshall Mesa, and across 93 to this trail that I guess eventually goes up a canyon. It was really nice and there were a number of professional runners out including my all-time running hero, Colleen de Reuck. She passed me like I was standing still and said hi, she is so nice. I would guess I ran around 17 miles but I’m not really sure.

After the run and a great brunch with Katie I had to ride in the furnace. I didn't really feel like climbing, but it was too hot to do anything else. So I headed to Jamestown!

I also swam a decent amount this weekend although I thought I had the plague or something on Friday so I took to my bed at 4:00 pm. I finished the week about 6000 short of where I was supposed to be. Oh well, swimming is stupid. I can’t believe I have two more really intense weeks and then my taper for IM MOO starts. You know, in the words of Joan Benoit Samuelson, a famous Bowdoin grad and endurance athlete, this isn’t so bad!