Thursday, April 29, 2010

Dog Walk

Bailey usually gets to go for a walk every day, and he really looks forward to it.  Lately since I haven't been running, I have been really looking forward to it too.
I get to take Bailey to a lot of great places around here, but the walk on the Esker is one of my favorites. Only about a mile from my house, it one of my favorite places to run too, with really amaizing views of Wyman Lake and the Kennebec River.

According to Austin, the lake is warm enough to swim in, but I checked it and it is 45 degrees.  I just can't take it yet. He is tougher than me, and a better swimmer.

If you squint and look at these next two pictures, you can see a white strip of sandy looking stuff across the way - that is the Caratunk Boat Launch, and I swim from there to this shore and back in the summer months.  It is closer than it looks, I don't think it is 3/4 mile round trip. 
I am actually not sure how far it is, I just made up the 3/4 mile thing.
The great thing about this walk is that no one in town really knows it is here or how easy it is to get to.  I kind of want to keep it a secret as much as I can, because it is my own little retreat in the summer when things get crazy around here. 
Once you leave the lake and climb up onto the Esker itself, it kind of looks like an old road, one of the cool things about Eskers. The lake, then later the river is on one side and a cool kettle pond is on the other. I forgot to take a picture of that kettle pond, but I will some other time.
Just thought I would share another one of my favorite places (to run) with you all.  I am going to be back on the trails soon.  Happy Thursday!

Thursday Randomness

Good luck Ironman St. George competitors!
I want to wish a big good luck and lots of positive (warm) mojo to all those heading out to Ironman St. George this weekend.  I know that Training Payne is going to be there, along with my Beginner Triathlete buddy Steve A, The Fat Cyclist and his wife, The Runner, Caleb at Daily Mile, Onehourironman, and Scott K.  Best of luck to you all (and anyone I forgot to mention!)


I recently read the story of Rosie Swale-Pope and her 5 year run around the world (including Greenland and Siberia) for various charities and to highlight the importance of cancer awareness and early detection.  After she completed her run around the world she wasn't as tired as she thought she would be, so she decided to run 26 marathons in 26 days for charity.  Today should be marathon number 25 if all goes as planned.  And she happens to pull this thing behind her, which she sleeps and carries all needed gear in.  Oh, yeah, she is 63.


I am nearing the end of my second week without running.  I am about to explode - not so much for not running as for not being able to.  I am feeling good about the time on the bike.  Working on sneaking in a swim somewhere too - I can't wait for the water to get above 42 degrees so I can swim without driving an hour and fifteen minutes first.

The good news is, I am pretty sure the calf is getting better, but I am waiting until Sunday before I try a light 3 miler.  Thanks for the great suggestions to use compression, The Stick, and foam roller - I have some X2U compression sleeves that I use and love, but am thinking that I might invest in a pair of X2U socks as well.  I have been beating my calves alternately with The Stick and the foam roller and it definitely has helped a lot.

Good Advice

I want to close with this, my plan for my two upcoming races.

I mentioned to my buddy Steve (who talked me into my first marathon) that I was a wee little bit (a lot) stressed about my upcoming marathon given my lack of running (for a week and a half now).  His advice come race time?
It’s simple – go until you stop and if you are not done, go some more. Piece of cake.
~ Steve W

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Hill. Repeat.

My calf is still restricting my running, I am trying to remain calm and not freak out that I haven't run for a week and I have a triathlon and a marathon coming up in the next two weeks.  Advil will be my friend at both of those races, just saying. 

Trying to keep focused on what I can do, I grabbed my bike and decided to do some hill repeats.

The 3.3 mile climb up Pleasant Pond Hill is steady, and not ridiculously steep - varying between 4%-7% grade (based on MapMyRun anyway), the traffic is primarily local, and there are only 60 of us, so as you can imagine, it is a pretty quiet ride.  Most of the folks who come here in the summer will get a car ride up the hill so they can ride their bike down it.  They think there is something wrong with me because I ride that hill, but I really love it. 

Plus, I personally think you have to earn the right to fly down that marvelous hill by climbing up it.  

I waved to my neighbor Chris who was driving up the hill as I was climbing the portion of the hill where I had planned on doing my hill repeats.  Once at the top, I rode down half a mile, turned around, and started back up.  Chris went by again, driving down the hill this time.  I waved and laughed to myself, because he had to be wondering why I was so slow climbing that darned hill.

Four repeats later, rode down the hill in aero position big goofy smile on my face.  Ride earned.

Still needing to do some standing repeats, I rode up the hill in town that is about a 6%-7% grade.  Since it is in town, right near the Post Office, and there is so much going on right now, a girl on a bike climbing the "town hill" draws people outside to watch her climb up, ride down, climb up, ride down.  I wish they would at least cheer for me instead of staring at me, mouths agape, wondering what the heck I am doing.  Next time I am going to make signs  to hand out - "Go Mandy!" "One More Repeat!" "You Can Do It!"  It will be awesome, my own private cheering squad.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

10 Great Things About Sunday

  1. An early morning bike ride.
  2. My daffodils in bloom.  I think that really, really, the snow is done for the year! 
  3. Bailey.  Really, he makes me smile every day.  Today he looks like this.  He is super impressed I woke him up to take his picture before my ride.
  4. The fact that mom got me these socks for my birthday because she said she really liked the, "Cute little bunnies on them." Ahem. 
  5. The Kennebec River.  It is awesome, everyday.
  6. 2 for 1 pizza night at The Marshall's starts up again Wednesday, May 5th. Bliss! Only one more Wednesday without Chris and Karen's yummy hand tossed pizza, the most likely reason I can't shed that extra10 lbs.
  7. Peanut butter banana smoothies...mmmm
  8. One of my favorite pros, Bree Wee is completing Ironman South Africa as I type.  Go #49!
  9. My first tri of 2010 is two weeks away! 
  10. My primary "sponsor" Adventure Bound has an awesome new website, fabulously designed by my friends at Fieldstone Media! How is that for a shameless plug? 

    Speaking of shameless plugs, check out this video (made by one of Adventure Bound's employees on his time off this winter), you get to see the river I love and all the fun stuff we do with kids to get them outside and love it. 
video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

    Thursday, April 22, 2010

    Moose Ride

    This is day #3 of my RICE (Ride, Ice, Compression, and Elevation) program for my calf (KC, I love the changed acronym, thanks!  I am a bad rester.)  I was all excited to ride today because I just got my bike tuned, and since I am not running now I am kind of like a caged animal, chomping at the bit to do something.

    And, I really do love to ride.

    The thing I like most about riding a road bike is that it is as close as you can get to flying without actually leaving the ground.  Well, I mean, except in those rare cases you crash.  But I digress.

    Today was gorgeous, but I didn't have a lot of time, so I thought I would knock off a quick 16 miles to Berry's General Store and back.  There was a light wind, the road was mostly clear, there was little traffic for a change. 

    Enjoying the sounds tastes, and smells of spring, I smiled as I heard the peepers in the bog, spit out the first bug to fly in my mouth this season (it didn't even bother me this time), and inhaled the musky smell of the river. 

    I really love the Kennebec River, and it was so nice tonight.  When I ride, I give the road ahead of me my full attention, but I do occasionally glance over at the river, I can't help myself.  The light was playing on the waves and I was really cranking hard in this awesome stretch that I love to fly on.  Really, it was gorgeous, I was in the zone, comfortably in aero position, on my endorphin enduced high.  I lazily turned my head back to the road ahead of me.

    Moose. Big. Freaking. Moose.

    I don't know what happened after that.  What I remember is:
    • He had brown eyes, the whites of them were kind of bloodshot.
    • I think he was as surprised as I was, because when I hollered "HOLY S%#T!" more white showed.
    • He smelled like the black mud of a swamp.
    • He was missing a quarter-sized patch of hair on his left flank (butt cheek.  Do moose have butt cheeks?)
    • I could have touched said quarter-sized patch of hair on his left butt cheek if I didn't have a death grip on my aerobars and my mouth wide open. 
    • It was a he.  
    • Somehow, we missed each other.
    I have seen a lot of moose, been fairly close to a lot of them.  Had a few close encounters with my truck, but so far, this is the closest I have ever come to a collision with a moose.

    And I was on my freaking bicycle.  Not that I would have rather been in my truck, in all likelihood, that would have hurt like hell too.  But on a bike, well...You all know who would have come out hurting or worse on that one.  He was solid.

    I continued the ride to Berry's in a daze, turned around, and headed back toward home.  The moose wasn't there on the way back, and I was almost over it by the end of the ride.  Sort of.

    Wednesday, April 21, 2010

    Honest Scrap Award

    Big Daddy Diesel picked me Honest Scrap Award.  Now I have to list ten honest things about myself.  Whoa! 2 blog entries in one day - this is crazy stuff!

    1. I am a voracious reader.  I go nowhere without a book or three.  My interests float from fiction, to non-fiction, to historical accounts, to reference books.  Currently I am reading The Prince of Tides and The Lady in the Tower along with The Triathletes Training Bible.  Yeah, all at once.
    2. Pizza is the finest food ever invented.
    3. People often look to me to be the life of the party, when really all I want to do is stand in a corner and be entertained.  I like to sit at a quiet bar and have a beer with a friend or two, but not with 100 or more people in a bar so loud you can't talk. I really hate that.
    4. Along with #2 - at parties and bars, I usually order a beer and then walk around with it all night so people don't bug me to drink. 
    5. I want to make people happy, usually at the expense of making myself unhappy so they are not disappointed.  I am getting better at this, but it isn't easy for me.
    6. My dog Bailey is my best buddy.  When I go places without him, I feel like I am missing something.
    7. There are days when all I want to do is curl up in a ball and sleep all day and not have to talk to anyone.
    8. I like who I am now better than who I was 5 years ago.  Most of my friends like who I was 5 years ago better, they think I was more fun then.  But, I am happier now.  They don't understand this triathlon/running thing (you know, as if it is some kind of disease) and are eagerly awaiting me to "get over it".  Don't hold your breath kiddos.
    9. Running is my therapy.  When I get depressed, down, or something terrible happens, I go for a run.  It doesn't fix anything, but it clears my head.  I am not a fast runner, just a consistent one.  I think I choose it because it is so portable, I can run pretty much anywhere.  This injury has really thrown me for a loop, I am not sure what to do now that I can't (OK shouldn't) go for a run.
    10. My 90 year old grandfather is one of my biggest inspirations.  Strength, independence, caring, and capability, all rolled up into one. I want to be like him when I grow up.
    SO now I am supposed to pick a 7 fellow blogger to do this too.  I apologize if you have already been picked, but I don't think I have seen you guys post this yet:
    1. Regina at Chiu on This
    2. Laura at MadCity Mounts
    3. KC at 140 Point 6 Miles
    4. Velma at Running With Boys
    5. Theresa at Tri-A-Licious
    6. Midwestern Dot (Maria) at 2010 Brings Racine
    7. Laura at My Reason to Run

    Tri Swim Training - Funny Video

    I had to post this, it made me laugh.  Do any of you train like this?

    Hope you enjoy:

    Sunday, April 18, 2010

    The "I" Word

    Am I the only one who misses Underoos?

    Apparently, I am no longer Wonder Woman.

    I think I might be a little injured.

    Just a little.

    I am frustrated and admittedly a little discouraged by this revelation.

    The light came on last weekend when I did some weight training and realized that I can easily jump vertically 8 inches or more on my right leg (dunk style), but I can't even get off the ground on my left.  No left legged hopscotch for me.  I might be wrong, but I think maybe your legs should be a little more even in this activity.

    As you all know, it takes me a while to figure this kind of stuff out.  I got another hint today when I tried to run with Beth.  I limped out of the house at 6am and Beth said, "Are you sure this is a good idea?"  I of course answered confidently, "Oh yeah, it will be fine once I get going."  I mean, really, this tactic has been working since Feburary, so why wouldn't it work today?

    We started to run and I slowly hobbled for a mile and a half before I told Beth to go ahead, I will try to "walk this off" and "catch up to you later".  Yeah, I am pretty sure she didn't believe me either.  So I moved 6.5 miles today, using a method I like to refer to as the run/shuffle/walk/gimp. Repeat.

    I see you shaking your head at me, calling me stubborn.  Or dense.  I might not argue with you.

    Here is the thing:  I have been hurt before, but never injured.  I might not be first across the finish line, but I do eventually get there.   The Goofy Challenge Debacle (story coming soon, I promise) proved to me that I can push myself through hours upon hours of discomfort simply for the pleasure of a couple of medals and the joy of getting my picture taken with Minnie Mouse mere seconds before puking up the Cliff Shot Blocks I just tried to ingest. 

    I will never eat those things again.  Ever. 

    As I have mentioned a bazillion times, my key race this year is Timberman HIM so I don't want to screw that up.  I am a little concerned about the fact that I have the Sugarloaf Marathon scheduled in about a month, and right now, I kind of can't run very well.

    After much thought and consideration, I have decided upon the four possible courses of action:
    1. Keep beating on it, running along, hoping it will finally submit and realize that it isn't supposed to be injured.  This of course, to me, seems to be the obvious course of action.
    2. Focus on the bike and swim, let the leg start to heal, then run the Sugarloaf Marathon. Another viable alternative, I guess.
    3. Pout about being injured and be grumpy.  This might be inevitable.
    4. Ditch the Sugarloaf Marathon, focus on the bike and swim, let the leg heal.  Train for Timberman.  This is not really an option. I thought I would throw it out there just so you don't think me a complete nimrod.
    Yeah, so you see where I am going with this.  With ice on my leg and Advil running through my veins, I will be running the Sugarloaf Marathon in a month. Besides, I hate to disappoint my adoring fan (my mom) who has been eagerly anticipating another season of waiting around for me to finish events. I think she has a stack of books and a lawn chair ready. 

    Oh, and for the record - if I don't BQ or PR at Sugarloaf, it is totally because of this calf thing I have, it has nothing to do with my actual training or ability.  :)

    Saturday, April 17, 2010

    Pools Open!

    But it is a little chilly today, especially with the fresh snow. 

    Isn't it pretty?  Yup.  Thank you for reminding me I live in Maine snow, now, please go away and don't come back until sometime in late November.

    Now that I have carried my bike back upstairs and onto the trainer (yeah, I have it set up on the second floor.  Long story, but really, it makes sense), I am going to ride it for an hour and think about my 10 mile run tomorrow.  I am pretty pumped for it - but also hoping my calf holds up - fingers crossed! 

    Thursday, April 15, 2010

    Thursday Randomness

    I don't have a lot to say today, which is probably pretty surprising to anyone who knows me.  But really, work has taken over my life this week (yet again) and taken my training time away.  One more week of this and I am back to my normal schedule and away from Fart Town.
    1. My left calf/lower leg hurts like hell this week.  Probably from my neighbors dog running into it at 90 mph during one of our dog walks.  It can't be from running 21 miles on Saturday, I deny that fully.  I also deny that biking a short, measly little 15 miles the next day (recover ride, I call it) has anything to do with it.  
    2. It sucks, I ran through all the cold, snow, sleet, and slush of winter to now be hobbling around, semi-injured and questioning the intelligence of running the Sugarloaf Marathon in a month.  Whine. Sniff. Cry.
    3. Yeah, I just decided I am going to run it anyway.  I am not that smart really.
    4. People think I must see a lot of cool stuff working in the woods.  They are right, sometimes I do.  But mostly, well, I see stuff much less interesting.  Yesterday I saw this for a few hours while walking in the woods:

      Really, it wasn't all that cool, I am still picking spruce and fir needles out of unmentionable places.  I also saw this really big bear poop - honestly, it was impressive enough to mention.  Bear do not poop in the woods by the way, they poop on the gravel road.  Just some more useless information that I gathered this week.
    5. The lake near my house has warmed up to a balmy 39 degrees!  I only need like 10 or 11 more degrees before I think I can swim in open water.  I really, really can't wait.
    6. I am opting to bike instead of run tomorrow to take it easy on the sore leg.
    7. Dinner tonight is Chicken Fajitas, I better get cooking because I am hungry.  Have a great weekend all!

      Saturday, April 10, 2010

      Wrong Turn Run

      Have you ever gone out for say, an 18 mile run and accidently run 21 or so?  I figure, it must happen to everybody, right?  As you all know, I have been known to take wrong turns before, so this run shouldn't come as much of a surprise.

      The run started out gorgeous, it had snowed about an inch, and the snow was clinging to the trees, making them sag into the road, giving you this running through a tunnel-like feeling.  I was following Beth's footprints, laughing at the messages she was writing me in the snow, and cursing myself for not bringing my camera.  The snowy patches gave way to deep, muddy patches in places, but I figured, that is what you get for running on the Boise Road in the spring.

      Beth waited for me at the turn-off to the Divide Road, our 5 mile cut off back to Route 201 which lead to a 3ish mile run home.  It really was a perfect plan.

      At this point, we were nearly 10 miles into the run and we were both feeling pretty darn good.  I think the beauty of the run was making us giddy.  She ran with me for a short time, and then sped off ahead with her effortless stride that I envy.  As I ran alone, I was concentrating on matching her footprints, extending my stride, being faster.

      Then I started noticing the road degrading, grass peeking up through the snow.  More washouts.  That creeping feeling of knowing you are going the wrong way, but forging ahead regardless.  Then I saw Beth running back to me, she had a funny look on her face.

      We both stopped.  Our eyes met.  We both cracked up laughing.

      We decided to see where this dirt road went, since most roads around here lead back to Route 201 eventually.  Emphasis on most.  Turning around didn't really occur to either of us.

      Many of you might consider it absurd to continue running down an unknown road in the middle of the woods, unsure of where we were, probably heading in the wrong direction.  Which is funny, because it made perfect sense to both of us at the time, and even now makes sense to me to check it out while I was there. 

      The road continued to degrade as we pushed ahead, running with big goofy smiles on our faces.  It changed from road to game trail, back to really bad road.  We were laughing like a couple of school girls, whooping, rock hopping, puddle jumping, and occasionally getting bogged down in the mud, which was funny too.

      It felt like we were heading in a good direction.  The reality was that we had no idea where we were going. At that point, I didn't really care, I am pretty sure Beth didn't either.  We knew we would get back eventually.

      The road seemed to improve suddenly, turning from not really a road to good gravel that didn't suck us down.  I think I even said to Beth, "Holy crap, I think we are going to make it out to 201!"  She seemed as surprised as I was.  Testament to the the fact we were completely lost, but having a heck of a good time.

      So we made it onto Route 201 about 6 miles from my house.  A wee bit further away than Plan A, but I figure you always have to be ready for Plan B, just in case something happens, like taking a wrong turn, which turned out to really be the right way to go today as far as I am concerned. 

      The last 6 miles were kind of tough actually.  No rocks to hop on, no puddles to skip, no quick sand mud.  Not much to look at.  Boring really.  But we cranked it out (Beth much faster than I) and were pretty impressed with the new route we found.  We might wait until the dryness of summer before we try it again though.

      Thursday, April 8, 2010

      Stupid Work

      Work is really getting in the way of my training this week.  I really need to talk to my boss and tell him to get his priorities straight.  Geez, doesn't my upcoming races mean anything to him?  I mean, really, how am I supposed to get any training in staying at a hotel in Lincoln, Maine with a schedule like this:

      Monday - 4:30am-7pm
      Tuesday - 5:30am-7pm
      Wednesday - 5:30am-7pm, drive home, pass out.

      And for the record, Lincoln, Maine smells like a big fart thanks to the local mill.  Sorry Lincoln, but it is true.  I blamed my co-worker Adam at first, but it was the mill.

      Somehow I need to sneak in 3 rides, an 18 mile run, and a swim into the 4 days left of this week and not wreak havoc on my healing Achilles Tendinitis.

      I feel like I have lost something.  What is it?  Momentum? Fitness level? I am not sure.

      I have been consistent in my training through the winter, it really is hard for me to mess with it because once you miss one or two workouts, seeds of doubt are sown.  Every doubt you have about yourself seems to settle in your body somewhere, rearing its ugly head when you want to perform your best.  That is why I think I can do anything, avoid the word "can't", and try to avoid self-doubt. But man, I missed three days this week.  Stupid work. 

      As I look at April spreading before me, (and realizing I am going to be in a town that smells like a fart) I see that work is going to make it especially challenging to get my runs, rides, and swims in.  OK, I admit it, I am kind of freaked out about it.

      The good news is that I finally got a run in this morning, it was a fabulous 6 miler with my friend Beth.  I think she might run Sugarloaf with me (ahem, well, ahead of me) and I have really enjoyed running with her and her dog Austin a few times a week.  It kicks my butt out of bed knowing I have to meet someone, and she is a strong runner so I try to make sure I run with her on my tempo days because she pushes me and makes me a better runner.

      On tap for what is left of this week:
      Thursday - 6 mi run (DONE); 20 mile bike
      Friday - Swim! First time in about a month.  20 mile bike
      Sat - 18 mile run
      Sun - longish bike ride @30-40 miles.

      Sunday, April 4, 2010

      Coyote Run

      Just a short and sweet post hoping today was a good day for you all.

      I completed a 13 mile run yesterday morning - such a difference from last week, I could have worn shorts on this run.  I ran on the Boise Road again with my buddies Austin and Beth (who, by the way, is officially an animal - she decided to do an extra 4 miles at the end, just for the fun of it.  Austin went home with me).  The run was good overall, with two minor issues:
      1. Coyotes were yapping around us, fairly close.  It really wasn't cool, that is my favorite road to run on and it kind of freaked me out.  I am over it now.  I think.
      2. I felt like I struggled for every mile on the second half of the run, which I realized later was mostly uphill.  
      So all in all, a good run.  The Achilles tendinitis didn't flare up, and my long easy run pace was faster than it had been in a while, much closer to where I wanted to be before the injury.

      Today I hopped on my bike for a quick 15 miles before all the hustle and bustle of Easter and overeating started.  I wanted to ride longer, but just didn't have the time today.  Gorgeous morning riding in a new place, all I wanted to do was explore and ride ride ride.  That will have to wait until next weekend, I can't wait!   

      Thursday, April 1, 2010

      Mud Run

      Brooks Infiniti 2's....

      Meet the Boise Road...

      It doesn't look too muddy, right?  Well, it has warmed up considerably today (yeah, 50's!) so I decided to sneak in a lunchtime run and an afternoon bike ride today.  Good day for it.  I can tell you right now that bike ride is going to be awesome.

      Remember back a while ago when I was all happy the Boise Road was open and I said I need to remember to hit it in the morning in the spring?  Here is why:

      I took this on the way back from the 9 miler I ran today, it was like this the entire way, a little bit harder work, but man, it was fun.  I really do love getting muddy.

      After my run I made a quick check on the other pool in town to see if it was open yet.  It is still closed, this one probably won't be open until May.

      I really want to get back out into the open water and swim again.  But it would be a tough go here.
      H2O Audio - Beat The Boredom