Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Bike Shop Blues

I love my bike shop.  The guys in there are awesome, they are super helpful and don't treat you like an idiot.  

I happened to stop in another bike shop this week because I was driving by and needed a tube, some CO2, some chain lube, and maybe a new tire.  The one that flatted at the LADU last weekend is usable for now, but needs to be replaced before a rock or something works its way into the gash.  I guess I ran over something nasty.

I hate to not be completely 100% loyal to my shop, but when you live in Caratunk, you take advantage of any opportunity to get things you need.  I needed bike stuff, and there as I was driving for work, I saw a bike shop. Cool.

The shop was nice, and I had grabbed my CO2, spent some time picking out a tire (looking for guarantee not to flat on label, couldn’t find it, ha), and had collected a spare tube.  I was contemplating the chain lube when the bike guy came up to me.

“Can I help you?”

Now, I always feel funny telling a guy I am just looking for some lube.  But that is what I told him.  Then I giggled, because really I am just a 12 year old boy inside.

I guess I shouldn’t need help with this, but really, there was like 2,000 different kinds of lube there, in all these colors and types, I had no idea what I should get. All I wanted was to clean and lube my chain because, well, it is it time.  I don’t know the difference between wax lube verses synthetic verses blah blah blah lube.  I actually really don’t even care.  I just want something that works.

In my bike shop, the guys would have laughed with me about the lube, then grabbed something and said something like, “This is what we use here.”  Good enough for me, I am not looking for a dissertation on lubes, I just want something that works.

Not this guy, he didn't even crack a smile about the lube (I am giggling right now).  He was like a commercial for Bubba Gump Shrimp Company.  “Well you got your wax lube, you got your synthetic lube, you got your green lube, you got…So and so likes this, and do do likes this and ya ya uses this...”

You get the picture. 

He kept talking, trying to educate me on the finer points of the various types of lube.  I finally grabbed something that looked right and the guy told me it was a good choice because of blah blah chain runs smoothly blah blah.  Yeah, OK good. Thanks dude.

Then he looked at the tire I grabbed and asked, “Why did you get that tire? The color?”

I wanted to hit him over the head with the black and red tire, but I said, “No, it says resists cutting, it is the right size, I like the look of the tread.  Plus, you don’t really have much for choices for road bike tires.”

He grabbed the tire from my hand.

“You don’t want that tire.”

Oh! I don't? That is good because I really thought that was what I wanted, but I guess I must be stupid. Thank you for saving me from myself.

He sticks a different tire in my hand and asks me what kind of riding I am doing, I tell him.  He says THIS tire is the bomb, super tough, a little rougher ride but much less likely to get a flat.  It was also about $30 more, was the wrong size, and although it said resists cutting as well, it had a hybrid type tread on it.

I didn't want it, and I told him as much, but he was pretty sure I did.

This schmo was either treating me like a stupid girl or trying to impress me.  I don’t know which.  I hope it is the second option, because the first one just makes him a jerk, and my ego could really use the boost.

I ended up getting the tube, CO2, and the lube.  I told him I would have to wait on the tire.  I am going to wait until I get to my shop to get the tire, the heck with that guy.  I wouldn't have gotten anything but I really like to have 2 spare tubes and 3 CO2's, and my chain was kind of blackish. 

Sunday, June 27, 2010

LADU Race Report

There were so many things that were great about this race, it is really hard for me to figure out a place to start.  Exceptionally run, and thoughtfully planned, this is a race I definitely will come back to.

And next time I am bringing friends. 

It is kind of cool that this race was put on by a museum.  Along with awesome detailed race maps, the swag bag included a historic guide of the course (along with all kinds of goodies).  The volunteers were amazing, there was a smiling flag waving, encouraging volunteer on every corner.  There were also plenty of water stations and the post race food was great. 

On to the race report....

Setting up Transition
I mention this because it was weird not having swim stuff.  Or really needing a towel.  It just didn't feel right - I kept going back thinking I forgot something.

Run 1 - 2.6 miles - 20:36 ~ 7:56/mile

I can't believe I ran that fast either.

I felt really good on this run.  My leg was feeling good, and I was feeling strong, like my old self again.  It dawned on me that my age group was small (7) and that I might actually place in my AG since I was pretty sure I was within a minute of the leaders. 

T1 - 1:05
I have no idea what the heck took me so long.

Bike - 14 miles - 1 flat tire - 1:08:47
Yeah, that sucked.

I was hammering on my bike, feeling strong, passing people, and feeling really good. All of a sudden, about 2.5 miles into the ride, I noticed my tires were really loud.  I thought at first, "Gee, this is loud pavement."  Then I looked down, and my rear tire was flat. Crap.  There goes my chances of AG placement.  Off the bike, flip it over, dumping out my hydration (Aerobottle).

Triathetes/bikers/duathletes/people are awesome.  Everyone that went by me asked if I had what I needed or if I needed help, then offered condolences.  That was really cool of you guys, thanks.

I grabbed my kit and took off my rear wheel, ripped out the tube, found the problem (little sharp thing, why do you hate my tire so?? WHY??).  Changed the tube, and got my tire back on.

I covered every part of my body in bike grease in the process.  I wasn't sure what to do with the blown tube, not wanting to litter and leave it there, but it wasn't going back to where I got the old one from easily (Why won't you go to your home little tube? Don't you know where your home is?).  I was rushing and stupidly tied it to to my rear water bottle cage.  I made sure nothing was hanging off and took off.

Yes, I know, right there in black and white is proof that I am not very smart.  I was just thinking about getting going.

I pushed as hard as I could on the rest of the bike course, but I am not Chrissie Wellington, and you I just can't make up that much time.

About 2 miles away from finishing the bike, (some of you could have predicted this, I am sure) that tube decided to unwrap from my rear bottle cage and wrap itself tightly around my rear cog set.  Yes, I am an idiot and that was completely my fault, I shouldn't have put it there.

The knife on my mini-leatherman took care of the issue, and I left the tube there, next to an empty pack of cigarettes, a few bud cans, and a pair of sexy pink sparkly undies.  I mention the undies because I actually paused in my ripping up of the tube and thought to myself, "I bet those things could tell some stories." 

I hopped back on my bike and finished the ride.  I noted on my bike computer that my actual riding time was 47 minutes (where I had hoped my time would be), so I spent about 20 minutes screwing around with tires and tubes. 

T2 - :51
Not much to say here, except I was happy to have the bike behind me.

Run 2 - 3.1 miles - 26:05 - 8:52/mile
I was a bit bummed about the whole bike thing and ran the start of this with my head in the clouds.  La la la la out for a jog. Oooooo pretty river... I finally decided I should run harder, and I think the second part of this run was much faster than the first part - which is as it should be I guess, except to say I was a total dub for the first mile and I know it.  Again, no leg issues.

When people saw I was covered with grease, the light came on and they said, "OH! You are that girl who got the flat! That sucks!"  I thanked them kindly for acknowledging the suckage. 

What was interesting to me is that most of these folks said one of two things:
  1. I don't know how to change a flat, I would have been screwed.
  2. I would have quit and started walking back.
I kind of don't get the first one. I kinda think that is something that bikers should know how to do.  Maybe it is just that I am used to doing things myself - I am training alone 99.9% of the time and can't rely on anyone but me to fix stuff, so I learn how to fix basic stuff.

As for the second comment, I don't see the point of quitting over a diddly flat really, I mean, how do you know you can finish if you quit just because things don't go exactly as planned?  Adjust! Fix it. Do what you can.

Oh, and the age group thing.  I came in 4/7.  The woman who came in first beat me by 18 minutes, two minutes less than the time I spent screwing around with tire/tube stuff.  So I probably would have had her by about 2 minutes without the incidents.  Oh well, next time I am going for it!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Tired Thursday

This has been a crazy week between work and training. I am pooped.  The good news is, I have fit it all in, training, work, life, and sometimes sleep. 

Because I am kind of tired, here is my week so far in pictures (with short sometimes witty captions).

 I have way too much fun with Bailey at work.

You should have seen Bailey's paws.

Bailey loves his job.  Here he is eating donuts checking the crew.

If this stuff is wrong, I don't want to be right.

I rode my bike 35 miles in this starting at 4:30am.  No one in this house understands why I do it. I know you do.

This is my other swimming pool, Pleasant Pond.  I love it.

The water is really clear there.
I am super psyched I am doing my first Duathlon this weekend - the LADU

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Benefits of Injury

Running has been my go-to therapy for pretty much everything for as long as I can remember.  Upset? Go for a run.  Frustrated? Go for a run.  Hungover? Go for a run. Happy? Go for a run.

You get the picture.  I find my head clears best on runs that go beyond 5-6 miles.  Actually, the longer the better for my mental state, until you get over 20 miles....then I just start thinking about how my legs kind of hurt and how I am really hungry for anything but sweet sticky GU.

Running hasn't been a very happy thing for me over the past few months.  Actually, it just has not been very fun so I haven't been doing it.

Since being grudgingly sidelined by injury in April, I have done no training runs at all, just runs in races.  Yeah, I know, weird.  One of them was a marathon, and two were triathlons (Polar Bear and Pirate).  This probably baffles most sensible people, but you are talking to someone who rode 100 miles on a trainer just because a friend said she couldn't do it.   My supreme talents are stubbornness and refusal to quit - just ask my boyfriend.

So, looking over the past two months, that is only about 15 miles a month of running, none of it really what I would consider enjoyable without the help of Advil. 

True, this was nothing more than a hangnail compared to what some people have to deal with, but it took me a while to get my head together and actually productively move forward.  I didn't let the pity party last too long, but I had a solid week of walking around like a Milano-eating zombie wondering if my months of training for marathon and triathlon had just gone down the drain.

Without being able to run, I changed my focus to biking, which turned out to be a pretty awesome thing.

Ironically (or not so ironically), I am now actually seeing a benefit from my calf injury - I have better bike skills.  I have always loved biking, but it was always an additional thing I did as part of triathlon training.  This injury changed that for the better.  For the first time I am actually seeing improvements in my speed and hill climbing ability on the bike - improvements that might not have been so pronounced if running had been comfortably available to me.

And really, in triathlon, you spend more time on the bike than anywhere else, so being strong as you can on the bike is really crucial to having a good race.  I am not negating the importance of the swim and the run, just saying, you sure do spend a lot of time on the bike in the race, so you might as well be as strong as you can there. 

The good news is that injury is coming around.  I ran 3 miles today pain-free (and drug free) for the first time in 2 months, and I am pretty darn thrilled about that.  I have enough time to slowly build my run leading up to Timberman in August, and providing this thing continues to improve, I am pretty psyched. 

Speaking of things that I am psyched about - I just won some Anti Monkey Butt Powder from Jeff at Dangle the Carrot!  It is totally going to come in handy for this monkey butt on these long rides I have scheduled for the next few months.  Thanks Jeff!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day!

My dad holding me while I pet a frog.  Or pull it's head off.  Not sure which.

To all of you dad and granddad's out there - Happy Father's Day!  After I finish this post I am off to visit my special guys.

Jackman Ride
I had a great 58 mile ride this morning.  There was a fair amount of hill climbing, and this was the longest ride (not counting the Hundred Miles of Nowhere) I have done this year.  I feel good, and I know I have to keep working on those hills.  I love riding early mornings on Sunday's - I get Route 201 all to myself.

Elevation profile of today's ride.

The only bummer about today's ride was that I forgot my camera.  I had a great moment with a moose - she came out into the road and just stared at me until I was about 10 feet away.  I had to brake and talk to her ("Um, hi moose.  Please do something.") because I wasn't sure what her plan was and really didn't want to have another close call.  I had plenty of time for a great photo, too bad my camera was in my truck.

I also could have gotten a great shot of a fox watching me ride by - he had a mouse in his mouth with the tail dangling.  I guess I had my breakfast before he did.  But that was pretty cool too, he just watched me.  I also saw 2 deer, another fox, and a coyote.  It was pretty good, although really, the moose count was unusually low for this area.

I am convinced animals do not know what to make of the bike.  They kind of know cars are bad (even though they get on the wrong side of one sometimes), and two-leggers (humans) are bad, but this weird wheely thing that is kind of quiet...they just don't know what to make of it.  Until I open my mouth and say hi, then they know I am a two-legger and they scoot.

This is going to be my go-to long ride because of all of the climbing, I think it should really help prepare me for Timberman.  It took me 2.5 hrs to get the 29 miles to Jackman, and it took me just under an hour and a half to get back.  I like having benchmarks to improve upon, so I hope by next month I am doing this ride a little quicker.

This Weeks Numbers
Swim - 2 miles
All of my swimming is open water.  I know I am lucky to have two lakes that are gator/shark/things that would consider me a snack - free within 3 miles to choose from.  Saw my first leech of the year though. Ech.  I felt like a weenie for cringing after hearing some of you folks swim with gators.
Bike - 134 miles 
I am happy with my rides this week, concentrating on hills and working on my spinning.  Bike name?  I think I have a winner, more on that later.
Run - 5 miles
These numbers are pretty weak, but I am trying to fight through this injury with half a brain.  Running hurts right now, my gait is all screwed up.  I am a mess.  The pain is no longer so much in my calf, it is more Flexor Digitorom Longus area (using this cool interactive diagram).  Ice seems to relieve the pain, and I have learned that warming up some helps a lot. We will see.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Thursday Randomness

Good Luck Racers!
Good luck to all racing this weekend!  I know these guys are going to BRING IT to the races this weekend.  Stop by and send them along some good mojo!
  • Miss Zippy is running a 10 mile race in Baltimore this weekend.  I am not sure which one, but I know she is going to rock it.
  • DR is running Grandma's Marathon after struggling with a frustrating injury for about a month.  I feel his pain and frustration, literally, just in a different place.  Have fun DR, I know you are going to bring it!
  • Glenn is going to do the Billy Goat's Half Marathon Hill Climb - sounds like a fun race, I bet that hill work is going to pay off Glenn!
  • Anne Marie will be rocking the San Jose International Distance Triathlon.  Best of luck Anne Marie, rock it!
I hope I didn't leave anyone out that is racing this weekend.  Wicked sorry if I did, I really try to get everyone, I really really do!

Ironman Lake Placid
I have decided to go to Ironman Lake Placid and volunteer.  This is the closest Ironman race to where I live and is in all likelihood the one I will do next year.  Actually unless I see something completely horrifying, I will be signing up for IMLP 2011 the day after the race.  I am psyched to see the race, kind of be part of it, and support the athletes.  I think I am going to be on a water station somewhere during the run, that is all I know at this point.

My nutrition sucks.  I have lost some weight (2lbs) but could definitely be doing better.  I drive a lot for work and find that my worst eating is on the way home.  Just for reference, this is the drive into my office:

Welcome to mile 12 on the Holeb Road

And this is my office:
Welcome to downtown Holeb

So lunch is generally a sandwich.  Something I can keep in a cooler and try to keep my dog from eating before I get to it.  It also helps if it tastes good with a side of black flies, because they usually end up in my mouth too (extra protein!)  I also try to bring some healthy snacks (baby carrots) as I am usually hungry at 5am, 7am, 10am, 12pm, 2pm, 5pm, 7pm.  Kind of like an infant.
Anyone have any ideas for something better for lunch on the go?  I am reading Chris Carmichael's Food for Fitness (or rather skimming through it) and find it does have some good recipes.

Word of Caution
Be careful out there on the roads.  A blogger buddy, Jason at Tech-Tri, had his back wheel clipped from behind by a car, which sent him flying.  The car just drove away, even after they realized they had hit him.
May the fleas of a thousand camels moose infest the crotch of this person and may his or her arms be too short to scratch. ~ Old Caratunk Curse
Jason had moved over to the shoulder as he saw the car approach, but the car went to the shoulder too, (probably because they were text messaging, putting on lipstick, or something besides being an alert driver) and clipped him anyway.

He is fortunately mostly OK (some nasty road rash), I haven't heard about his bike yet, but I hope it is OK too.  This reminded me that we really have to be riding our bikes and mentally driving all the cars around us at all times, and even then we are at risk.  Ride safely out there folks.

Weekend Training
Some good training planned for the weekend.  A run and a swim on Saturday and a 60ish mile hilly ride to Jackman on Sunday.  I will start posting my weekly numbers here every Sunday - this will help keep me motivated since I am making this public.   In theory anyway! 

Tracking/Measuring Training
A few folks were wondering how I measured and tracked and measured my training.  I track my training on Daily Mile, it allows you to track swim, bike, run, weights, pretty much anything you want.  I have been using it for a year now and I like it.

The downside is that there is no elevation graph option, so if I want to see how much I climbed on my bike I head to MapMyRun (I know there is a MapMyRide too, but I am already registered with MapMyRun and don't feel like filling out another form.)

The Big Decision...
Now, this is the most important one folks. Big Daddy Diesel had a great post on naming your bike.  My bike is nameless.   I am pretty sure it is a he, and that he would be faster if he had a name.   So here is my bike:
Last year at the Lobsterman Triathlon

It is yellow and black (I guess you can see that).  Playing on the color theme, I thought of yellow jacket (the bad tempered wasp) or bumble bee (BDD pointed out that is the fast Camaro on the movie Transformers, which I thought was really cool), I kind of like how bumble bees are not supposed to fly but do anyway...but it just doesn't work for me, I tried it out today on my ride, and my bike just didn't like it.

And we all know how important it is for our bikes to like their names. Right now, I am thinking Studmuffin, but I haven't talked to my bike about it yet.

Pirate Fundraiser
Thank you all for your support of my Pirate Triathlon fundraiser.  We were able to raise enough money to sponsor a family to attend Camp Sunshine, a place for sick children and their families.  I will notify you directly if you won one of our fabulous prizes drawn by (none of my blogger friends who donated won, or else I would give a mention)! Thank you again Brooks Running, Adventure Bound, and Fieldstone Media for your donations!

The Calf
I am going to go for a run this afternoon.  I have been doing the PT exercises and pressure point releasing recommended, and I think I am FINALLY on the upside of this thing.  I hope.  My running numbers are going to be really low this week, but I am going to ease into it at the PT suggested, not put my head down bull through it for miles like I do everything else (save that for race day I guess).  SO I am tentatively optimistic that this thing is getting better.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Two a Days, Starting Today

I woke up at 4:30am and met my buddy Beth for a 25 mile ride.  This is the same 25 miler I usually do, with about 6 miles of good climbing (2 of which is 9% grade, at least that is what the sign says).

This woman is an animal, we were back in an hour and a half, and she has a hybrid bike, no clips (just pedals and sneakers), no aerobar, and one hell of a motor.  She caught me on the climb and left me in the dust.  I had her on the flats and the downhills.  I want to get her on a road bike so she can blow my doors off on the flats and I have someone to chase.

Then, ofcourse, work.  But I had a great lunch break.

Beth had the day off and she offered to kayak so I could swim a longish swim at my local pool (Wyman Lake).  I planned on swimming after work but this was something that just seemed to work out so I went with it.

I am figuring the only way I am going to be able to work on swim speed is to do fartlek work in the lake.  There is no way I am driving 75 minutes to be immersed in chlorine staring at the mind-numbing line when I could drive 3 minutes and be swimming in fresh clean water looking into the darkness with loons watching over me.

Anyway, we got there and the wind was blowing something fierce.  It was cool because really, it was gusting, so it would be calm, and then this big burst of wind would come and there would be whitecaps.  Beth asked, "Is this a good idea?"

I ofcourse, thought it was a brilliant idea.

I also noticed that the water looked a bit higher than normal.  Wyman Lake is really the Kennebec River, and where I swim there is always a light current, except when they release water from the dam upstream, and then there is...a little more current.  How is that for an exact science? I just usually know when I have to swim at a bit of an angle to get across.

I donned my wetsuit and Beth got into her kayak.  I pointed to the triangle course I had planned out for myself (that would be planned out in my little head, I didn't take the time to measure it or anything drastic like that).

I jumped in, took a few strokes, and the wind started gusting.  Beth couldn't even get to me.  The wind was blowing downstream, and I was swimming across the lake, so bi-lateral breathing wasn't really working.  Plus the current was pushing me downstream, so I had to swim at an angle.

You probably are guessing that I said the heck with the fartlek.  Just swim.

When the gusts would settle, Beth would catch up to me and I could swim pretty comfortably.  This was repeated across the lake.

See, this is when I realize there is probably really something wrong with me.  Because I was having fun battling the waves, adjusting to what was happening as I was being thrown around.  I must have been dropped on my head a few times as a kid or something, because when the elements get hard, I like to dig in.

Arriving at the other side of the lake, feeling like a champ, I pointed north and told Beth I wanted to swim to the point.

"OK.  You know that is upstream, directly into the wind, right?"

Yeah, I did.  But really, it wasn't terrible current.  And it was gusting, not blowing constantly, so the whitecaps were only out there sometimes.  I told her it was good practice in case there is wind on race day.  She shrugged and agreed.

This is where I need to point out something.  You know you have a good friend when she is willing to get up at 4:30 am to ride 25 miles with you ON HER DAY OFF (she is not training for any race in particular) AND THEN later on the same DAY OFF paddle upstream into the wind as a safety boat on a ridiculously windy day.

I am apparently not so great a friend.  I fought my way to the point, and that is when we both realized Beth didn't have a life jacket.  Oops.  That would be my bad, I told her I had everything she needed.  I did, the life jacket is here at my house.  We actually have a plethora of them being raft guides and all.

This is totally where these stories that you read about come from. "Two women found dead in Wyman Lake.  One, a licensed whitewater guide, appeared to be attempting to swim across the lake in a windstorm, the other, apparently there for safety, did not have a life jacket."

I mentioned this to Beth, we both laughed, and she promised not to tip over.  She never breaks her promises so I felt pretty good about this.  Plus, we both had to get back to the truck somehow.

I was a hero on the way back to the boat launch.  I had the wind pushing me, the current pushing me, I wasn't fighting nearly as much, and I just flew.  I felt I my catch was much improved on the way back, but it could have been the fact I had a little lot of help.  It was pretty cool and a good ego boost. 

Total swim (I measured it later): .9 miles in 43 minutes (consider the current and wind help at the end).  Not bad for the battling I did, I am OK with it and have a benchmark to work to improve upon now.  I even had time for a snack and a shower before I had to work again.

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Versatile Blogger

Anne Marie at Goals for the Week passed along this award.  Thanks Anne Marie - sorry it took me so long to get to this!  I am not sure what I am supposed to write about here, so here are 7 things that just come to mind.
  1. I worked in a store called Bait, Bolts, and Bullets from when I was 16-19.  I sold guns, ammo, bait, fishing supplies, and hardware.
  2. I have been a whitewater raft guide since 1993, although I haven't guided commercially for a while (I don't know how long).  I still get on the river about 5-6 times a year with friends.
  3. Given that I have been guiding rafts through whitewater for so long, it is funny swimming is so hard for me in triathlon.  Until you realize that for the past (many) years of private rafting trips, my swimming consisted of being pushed by current wearing lifejacket and holding a beer. 
  4. I was once carried around The Blue Ox in Millinocket, Maine in a giant pack basket by a giant man named Little Harold.  Go ahead, check out the link to the bar - there is even a coupon for free beer. 
  5. Sometimes I get stuck at the office.
  6. Every vacation I have ever had had nothing at all to do with sitting around.  There must be something wrong with me, but I guess I am a bad sit stiller. Except maybe at night, around the campfire, where really I am often dancing anyway. 
  7. Jane and I backcountry Colorado     
    North end of Baxter State Park, Maine     
    18 Day Trip (self-guided) on Grand Canyon   
  8. When I bought my truck I spent extra money to install a beer window just for my dog Bailey.  See, I know he doesn't look too impressed, but he really likes it!

SOOO there is my seven things folks! I am not going to pass this on to anyone, but if anyone wants to do this, consider yourself tagged! :)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Pirate Triathlon Race Report - ARRGGHH!

Final time was 1:36:43 - 13 minutes faster than last year. 

Last year I did the Pirate Triathlon as my first triathlon, and not only is it well run, it supports a great cause - to send sick children from all over the US and Canada and their families to Camp Sunshine.  Thank you all again for your wonderful support for the fundraiser, we were super duper close to raising enough money to send a family to Camp Sunshine for a week!  I am very happy and thankful for that! The drawing for prizes will be tomorrow!

A family from Texas who was starting a week at Camp Sunshine spoke before the pre-race meeting, and between that and their sick little girl reading a thank-you letter she wrote to Camp Sunshine (they attended Camp Sunshine the year before), not many folks had dry eyes.  I think it gave everyone a little extra push when they were out on the course too.

The Swim - .3 miles - 13:08
 Pre-race in my pink goggles...I don't know why pink

Yeah, my time here sucks.  But there is a good story to it. 

 Pirate Tri Swim Course Battlefield

First, this is not the reason for my poor swim time, but they made the course bigger than last year, but only big enough to be actually .3 miles instead of...well, whatever it was last year, which everyone seemed to think was around 400 yards.   Makes me think I was pretty bad last year if that is the truth, but I digress.

 Pirate Tri Swim Course

Besides the fact I need to swim a whole lot more, I also apparently need to learn how to better fight in the water.  It was super tight out there today, and there was a whole lot of contact, and not the nice, "oh, whoops I bumped you" kind, but the "wham bam thank you ma'am" kind. 

 Into the Fray - I think I am the one with the high elbow in the center

I was swum over 4 times, not over my head, but across my back, perpendicular to the course.  Weird, right?  I mean, where the hell were these people going?  It started to freak me out a bit, so I did a few Tarzan strokes to reset (you know, head up looking around for coconuts, or in my case, buoys).

Back in my freestyle, feet were still everywhere, but weirdly, I had a hard time grabbing a draft. I got punched accidentally hit in the side by one person, and then a few minutes later was kicked in the leg by someone doing the breast stroke.  I will not lie, this kind of sucked.  Finally to the last turn to head in to shore, the water got really murky, and I almost ran into someone who was standing up walking.  WALKING?  WHAT?  Who are these people? 

After that I was able to swim in without incident, but I just couldn't get my head together for the swim.

T1 - 1:44

Not much to say here, transition went well except I struggled with getting my socks on.  I am thinking about skipping socks from now on, I will see how that feels in training.

The Bike - 14 miles - 51:48 ~ 16.2 mph

It is a hilly and scenic ride. I wanted to be faster (doesn't everybody?) but really, I am happy with this time even though I had hoped for under 50 minutes.  I hit a max speed of 45 mph which was cool.    I feel like I rode this as well as I could have and I know I am stronger than last year on hills, and I know I have lots of room to improve.  More hill repeats on the menu!

Mom took this, a view from the top of one of the hills.

T2 - 1:15
Good transition, I need to get speed laces.
Run - 28:50 ~ 9:37/mile
Pirate triathlon run course

This year, I have had very unusual training program when it comes to running.  I didn't run the month leading up to the Sugarloaf Marathon, and I haven't run since the marathon, which was about a month ago.  

Coming into the finish

All that said, I am happy with this run.  It is about a minute/mile less than where I want to be, but given my injury (that is healing!) and lack of run training, I will take it.  

It took me a while to get my legs under me, the first half was kind of a grind.  But in the second half my legs came alive, and I feel like I was running at a pretty good pace.  I found a girl who was in my age group and reeled her in, then passed her.  That felt so good!  I always seem to wish the run was longer in a sprint race, I feel I just find my rhythm at around 3 miles, and then it is over.  

The race was well run and organized as all Tri-Maine events are, and it was fun to do my first triathlon again and improve my time.  The race sold out this year, and it is a very popular race and in all likelihood, I will sign up for this race again next year.

The thing is, I really want to do another race before Timberman so I can get over that swim - I don't want that in my head before that race.  So I will probably find a random race to sign up for sometime in July, preferably an Olympic distance, but we will see what I can find close to home.

Friday, June 11, 2010

I Found A Winner!

I am really pleased with my first visit to a Physical Therapist at OA.  I have to say that there is a huge difference when you get a PT that actually really wants to get you running instead of just collecting a bunch of appointments.  I guess that sounds harsh but that is how I see my last PT.

After I told him the issues I have with my calf and how long I have been dealing with it. He was shocked when he heard about my 3 doctor's reactions and how things went with my first PT.  He looked at a few things as far as flexibility and strength and then asked me to get on the treadmill - first barefoot, then with my sneakers.

From that point I was pretty sure I had a winner.  One of my followers, Ron (check him out guys!) is a PT and mentioned in a comment that it was really important that the PT watch me run and give me a biomechanics evaluation.  Thanks Ron for the info.

So I felt like we were on the right track - and this guy is a runner.  I liked this guy, he told me he wanted to get me running again.  I am even pretty sure he meant it.  He videoed my running for a bit, then we sat down together and took a look.

My PT (see how he is all mine now?) pointed to a few things and then explained it to me - when running with shoes, I was heel striking on my right foot and fore-foot/mid-foot striking on my left (that is the bad one).  Barefoot, my gait was fore/mid-foot on both feet.  Weird, right?  And I am was whipping my heel on the left foot.

I could get into the nitty gritty, but really, all of this stuff is putting extra stress on my calf, which caused a strain that keeps re-occurring.  So besides working on my gait, concentrating on heel strike*, and not heel whipping, I have a bit of strengthening to work on.  Before I left, he said it was 100% fixable.  That was really good to hear.

SO that is good news!

This weekend:  Pirate Triathlon!! I can't wait! 

*Yes, I understand that this is against the latest rage of fore/mid-foot running, but right now I have other fish to fry.  Like making my calf happy again.  He said if I really want to switch to fore-foot running I should wait until my calf is fully healed and ease into it.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Peach Moonshine and other things...

 Heaven in a jar

A friend of ours, Dave, comes up from Georgia  to stay with us for about a month each summer.  He is a tall happy guy with a big smile. Dave came into the house today with all of his stuff and his big happy smile, ready to move in for a month of whitewater paddling.  After catching up he put down his cooler and pulled out a large Ball Jar filled with this clear liquid resembling water and said,

"You have got to try this.  I got it from an Episcopal Preacher in Alabama.  But just take a really little sip it is kind of strong.  It is Peach Moonshine."

I had no idea there was such a thing.  I sniffed it suspiciously.  It smelled so good - literally like fresh peaches. 

So of course I took a swig.

It was so good.  Like biting into a peach - not one of those dry squished up crappy peaches you get up here in Maine, I mean it tasted like the juicy fresh peaches I have eaten down south.  Bliss.

Dave wrestled the jar out of my hand and put the goods into my freezer.  I think he was afraid I was going to forget my ride and sit there for the rest of the evening sipping his peach moonshine.

But I did put down the juice and go for a couple of good rides...
Starting the climb up Pleasant Pond Road

Cool fog along the Kennebec River

I have had a few good rides this week, both with a good long climbs.  Basically I did this route twice, but one time I turned around a little sooner.  The top of this hill is in Jackman, another 20 miles away.

I am really working at getting stronger on hills, and I can see a little difference in just the two weeks I have been working on it.  The first ride was 22 miles and pretty uneventful.  The second was 25 miles and in all seriousness it was the coldest I have been on my bike in a long time. It was good for me because I don't think I have been really miserable on my bike before then, even in last years Trek Across Maine 3 days of downpour. I am not a masochist or anything, I just would rather experience that kind of thing outside of a race so if it happens in a race, I have more gumption to push through.

Pirate Triathlon this weekend!!
I am really looking forward to the Pirate Triathlon this weekend.  I can't believe it has been a year since I did my first triathlon.  I am excited to see how much I have improved.  I anticipate a better swim and bike time than before, and probably a not so great run time given I haven't run since the Sugarloaf Marathon and the leg still isn't really happy yet when I run, although it seems better in all other activities.

The leg.
I am going to a quality (I hope) PT Friday, I can't wait.

I got the shirt, did you?
Patrick at The Road has a really cool give-away right now.  He has some really cool shirts that he is willing to send you if you check out his awesome blog and leave 5 comments.  You really should check out his blog anyway, because it is always a fun, interesting, and funny read.  Thanks for the shirt Patrick!

Good luck to all who are racing this weekend!
This has been a crazy week and I have some catching up to do on blogs, so I am not sure who is racing.  But tonight I will catch up and wish you all good luck this weekend via comments. 

That is it for me today, I am off to make a long drive for work.


Sunday, June 6, 2010

Clipless Initiation

I was bragging to my boyfriend Thursday night about how I just seemed to take to the clipless pedals because I haven't had one of those "initiation falls" at a stop sign that I have been hearing about.

I was really excited, probably more excited than I really needed to be because I am very clumsy, and if anyone was going to forget to unclip at a stop sign, it would definitely me be.  But I had to mention that it hadn't happened to me yet.

Silly girl.

Friday after work I grabbed my bike, ran outside and clipped in.  I toppled over in my own driveway, not even moving.  At all.  I looked around to see if anyone saw. The streets were empty. I checked my bike.  It was OK.  The only thing bruised was my ego.

I rode some hill repeats on Saturday, I was feeling really strong and capable.  On one of the repeats, I climbed to the top of the hill and as I was making a turn, I fell over.  I don't even know what I did wrong.  Laying down, still attached to my bike, I unclipped and looked around for witnesses.  Again, no one.  Cool.  The bike was OK too.  Just a wee little scrape on my knee, no one will even notice.

But alas, karma wasn't done slapping me around for my smack talk.

I met up with my friend Molly to ride the Pirate Triathlon bike course with her and her friend Lauren.  We approached a stop sign at a busy intersection, they stopped and unclipped, waiting for the cars to go by so we could cross.

I took a different approach.  I stopped and tipped over.  Equally effective, and it actually helped traffic to clear because people had to stop their cars so they could point and laugh.  After Molly and Lauren were done laughing at me they asked if I was OK (I was, more importantly, so was my bike).

So I am officially initiated.  I hope for the last time in a while!
I hope everyone had great races this weekend, I am looking forward to everyone's race reports.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Thursday Randomness

Yeah, I am pretty lucky.  I got my friend Beth to paddle with me for my swim across Wyman Lake.  This is my 3rd time across this year, and the water just keeps getting warmer.   I think we must be around 56-58 degrees now?  Not sure.

Check out my swim spot the other night:
Take a look upstream, it was bliss.  That point is part of a triangle course I made up.
As you can tell, I really love open water swimming.

I love that I am getting stronger swimming now after not swimming for most of the winter. I am more comfortable in open water than a pool, which may sound strange, but I feel so confined in a pool.  Training is going well and I plan on bike hill repeats tonight, swimming and biking for the next 3 days and then evaluate my schedule and maybe try a run since I have the Pirate Triathlon in just over a week.

Next Race!

Speaking of my next race, the Pirate Triathlon is fast approaching!  I am psyched, this was the first triathlon I ever did, and I am  meeting my buddy Molly this weekend to do some open water swimming and to check out the bike course.  This will be her first open water triathlon, she is a strong swimmer and is going to be just fine once I show her a few open water sighting things (what little I know). 

I can't believe it has been a year since I became an addict.  I am sure I will bust my old swim and bike numbers to pieces, but I am not so sure about that running thing since I haven't set foot to pavement in a few weeks.

Speaking of the Pirate Triathlon, thank you all so much for your support of my fundraiser - we are only $400 short of our goal to send a family to Camp Sunshine, thanks largely to your support.  There is still time to donate and be eligible for some awesome prizes (Brooks Sneakers! White Water Rafting Trip! LL Bean Gift Certificate!)  If you are interested, the donation page is HERE.

Fenway Faithful
I went to Fenway Park to see the Red Sox play last night.  I really love Fenway Park, we had amazing seats, 4 rows up from the field along the 3rd base line.  I forgot my camera, I am so mad!  But we were basically here (I stole this off of the internet, we were more toward left field, but that close to the field!):

I think I came close to drinking my body weight in beer (even at $8 a pop) and led the Sweet Caroline singing in my section in the 8th inning.  I made John proud.  I guess he had a long drive home, I slept the whole way.

Good Luck!
Good luck to all who are racing this weekend! If you get a chance, stop by their blogs and send along some good mojo!
  • Jon and Regina are both in the Mooseman HIM this weekend!  You guys are both going to do awesome!
  • Amanda is running Kansas City Hospital Hill 1/2 Marathon on Saturday - go get them Amanda!
  • Laura B is running Race for The Land 1/2 Marathon on Saturday as well!  WOOT! Best of luck to you Laura! 
  • Tri-James is racing in the Heat Wave triathlon this weekend.  Swim, bike and run hard!
And to anyone else who is racing this weekend that I didn't mention - best of luck!
H2O Audio - Beat The Boredom