Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Perfect Foods Bars Review and Giveaway!

I am often on the run with work and training, and so I eat more protein bars than I would like to admit.  I also prefer them to gels, so yeah, I eat a lot of those things in training and when I am out on one of my back country trips.  I am not really nuts about the taste most of the time to be honest, but it is better than sucking down a gel.

Another problem with most bars for me is that most of them really have a lot of crap (artificial/refined sweeteners, artificial flavors, hydrogenated fats or oils, etc) in them and are not really all that great for you or all that filling.

Enter the Perfect Foods Bar.  I was able to try one of these just over a month ago, I had the peanut butter flavor.  They were super good.  I wanted more, and I wanted them NOW!

The bonus?  First ingredient: Natural peanut butter. Second ingredient: raw honey.  I could actually pronounce and identify all of the ingredients.
The peanut butter flavor tastes absolutely amazing. Seriously. It tastes like the filling of a Reese’s Peanut Butter cup.  And it was filling - they are packed with 18g of protein and 3g fiber - so it actually stayed with me (I tested this on the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th sample of the bars).  They are gluten and soy free and contain no refined sugar.  The regular bars are a little high in calories (282 calories), but the Cranberry Crunch isn't bad at 172 calories.

I immediately got online and ordered one of every flavor (there are 4, just so you know. More on that in a minute.  I am on a roll here.) and looked around on their website.

The company philosophy is:  
At Perfect Foods we strongly believe that natural whole foods (not synthetic, artificial, or isolated “non-food” elements) are the best and most effective source of nourishment for the human body.”
One thing about these bars is that they need to be refrigerated - ‘in order to minimize natural oil separation and maintain the consistency.’ I froze mine before a long ride and they worked out just fine.  A little sticky, but a super good energy boost.

I tested all of the flavors (twice).  Here is my take:
  • Peanut Butter: I already covered this one.  It was awesome. If you are a fan of peanut butter, you will be a fan of this.  The honey added the right amount of sweetness.
  • Fruit & Nut: This is the peanut butter bar with raisins and nuts in it.  How can you go wrong?
  • Carob Chip: I am not a lover of Carob. But I really was surprised at how much I liked this bar.  Again, it is that yummy peanut butter bar with carob chips in it.
  • Cranberry Crunch (LITE): This was my favorite flavor and is their ‘lite’ (lower fat/calories) version.  I never thought low calorie and favorite would ever be in the same sentence.  There are crisps and cranberries mixed in the peanut butter yumminess.
Actually, I like them all.  So I wrote to the folks at Perfect Foods and told them so.  I told them I planned a review on my blog and they were kind enough to offer to offer a giveaway to my followers!  I was very excited.

Oh yeah - you are probably wondering what is up for grabs?  2 boxes of Perfect Food Bars (that would be 8 bars) goes to 1 lucky winner!  Lucky you!

SO to enter...do one, two, or all of these things...and comment for each one.
  1. Follow my blog and let me know - or let me know if you already follow.
  2. Like Perfect Foods Bars on Facebook.
  3. Check out the Perfect Foods Bars website and tell me something you like.
  4. Post the giveaway on your blog
Comment each time you do one of those things, each comment is an entry.  I am going to use Random.org to do the drawing this time.  No more cutting out little slips of paper for me.  Nope.  No way, no how.  Contest runs from right now until midnight Saturday September 4th.  A winner will be announced Sunday September 5th. 

Disclaimer:  I purchased Perfect Foods Bars on my own and plan to many more times.  I contacted Perfect Foods after trying the bars.  So what I am saying is this review is what I really think of the product and is not influenced by anything but my taste buds.  Thank you to the kind folks at the Perfect Foods Bar for hosting this giveaway!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Patiently Waiting

Bailey stalking a squirrel

I really want to dive into training right now.  I know I need to take time to recover, so that is what I am doing, under much duress.  Bailey is getting lots of extra walks and I am eating like a pig.

I wasn't overly sore after Timberman, which I guess I should be happy about.  But I am not.  After every marathon I have done I was super stiff to the point of almost needing a walker a few days afterwords.  It is pretty pathetic, and usually everyone who sees me says, "What the heck did you do to yourself?" 

After Timberman, I was a little sore but not crippled, and the soreness was gone after 2 days.  I am a little disappointed - as sick as that sounds - I guess I didn't push hard enough in the race.  I know I didn't, I had so much left in the tank at the end it is ridiculous.

I was cautious, waiting for the bonk to happen or the bomb to drop or whatever.  Marathons are way harder than 70.3's.  That sounds weird maybe, but that is how I feel after doing 5 marathons and 1 HIM - give me the HIM anyday.  Or maybe I just trained properly (for a change) and stayed within myself (for a change).  I don't know. 

I feel fresh and ready and am chomping at the bit a little, which of course, gets me thinking about my next race...
I have lots of energy and drive for my last race of the season, Lobsterman - an Olympic distance race that is tons of fun, a kind of celebration really.  Seriously, if you do a race in Maine, do this one - it is really awesome.  The water is so cold it hurts a little, but it is gorgeous scenery, and there is free beer and a Lobster bake at the end (confession - I HATE lobster, so I skipped it last year - but people were making yummy sounds from the food tent, so I think it was good.  I was making yummy sounds with my beer.) 

I am going to give this race all I have and come out of it with a strong PR.   That is as far as my plan goes at this point.

I have another fun giveaway coming this week, this one short and sweet, so stay tuned! 

This week: Recovery Week
Swim: 3/4 mile
Bike: 16 miles
Run: 4.5 miles

Dog walking: 9 miles (Bailey wanted me to let you know he has been working out more than normal this week)

Thanks for reading and following! And as always, I look forward to and love your comments, so keep them coming!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

GU Giveaway WINNER!!

Thank you all for entering the Great GU Giveaway!  I had TONS of entries! Thank you so much, and many of you made me laugh which was awesome.

Note to self: Use Random.org next time.  Just saying, a little less involved.  But this was fun. 

So I used a word document and each time you entered, I wrote your name...

 Then I cut everything up into a bunch of pieces...and mixed them up really good.


Then I threw them in a had and drew a name...

AND the winner is.....

My bloggy buddy from Ontario, Canada - Adena from She Said I Need a Goal - congratulations Adena!! Send me a note with your contact info so I can drop your goodies in the mail!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Timberman Race Report

70.3 miles ~ 6:50:58


First, thank you for stalking me!  I could feel you all checking on me! And thanks for the awesome comments the past few days.  I am behind on reading your blogs, but promise I will get to them in the next few days!

The Race

The Swim ~ 1.2 miles ~ 46:55


I love this shot.  I am not out there, I am impatiently waiting to start.
The hardest part of the swim was waiting to start.  I was OK for the first 10 waves, but waiting for the next 7 waves (and watching the wind pick up a little) was torture.  It was kind of overcast and cool, and much warmer to be in the water than out.  I hung out in the water with other "late wavers" and watched people start their race.

Finally, it was time.  I tried to line up on the outside so I could angle toward the turn buoy and miss most of the contact.  Most of the other 200 women in the wave had the same idea, so I ended up right in the middle of everything.  At that point, I didn't really care I just wanted to get started.

There was some chop on the swim out that seemed to get worse the further out you went.  It wasn't huge or anything, just enough to make sighting was a bit tough - when I looked up I couldn't see past the water and wave in front of me.  I started following bubbles, but ended up inside one of the guide buoys, which was kind of a bummer.  I decided I had to figure out a way to sight myself and eventually caught sight of a boat with a bright red light that I was pretty sure it was close to the turn buoy and I could see over the waves.  I went for that.

I got into a rhythm but kept running into people who were stopping to sight.  It was kind of a pain in the butt, going along and then WHAM! Someone stopped trying to figure out if they were on course.  The wind was blowing toward us on the way out, so I felt progress was annoyingly slow.  I got to the boat and had about 100 yards or so to the turn buoy, which I could see pretty well.

The rest of the swim is really uneventful.  The waves were coming over my left side after the first turn buoy, so I just took my breaths mostly on my right.  Sighting was much easier.  After the second turn buoy the wind was at my back.  I feel like I came in pretty quickly from there, sighting on a tent on the beach.

Coming out of the swim.

Running to transition
Getting Stripped
I liked this.  I hadn't been stripped before.  People around me were dropping to the ground and getting their wetsuits pulled off. I made eye contact with a guy and laid down, put my feet in the air and said "strip me baby!"

He did and I thanked him, told him he was great. 

Those last two sentences sound like they are straight out of a cheesy smut novel.

ANYWAY, he handed me my wetsuit and I ran toward my bike.

T1 ~ 2:23
I am happy with this, I think I was quick, I like riding sockless now and that saves some time. 

Bike out!
Bike ~ 56 miles ~ 3:30:20

Eh.  I don't know what happened here. I mean, I am fine with this time but thought I would be closer to 3:15.  Next time.

I took a gel as soon as I could on the bike, and drank often.  The first 15 or so miles of this course are hilly, and I planned on just recovering from the swim and hammering on the flats.  The course seemed really empty.  I wasn't passing people or getting passed, just had a few people ahead of me and behind me.  I knew my swim was around 45 minutes, but I didn't think I was last out of the water or anything.

I saw Andy and Chrissie heading in from their bike, they looked awesome, I hollered to them both.

Once I got to the hill at mile 10 I passed a few folks.  I got passed by a few folks too.  I have been working on hills all summer and apparently I need to keep it up. I am better than I was last year, but still am not very quick on the climb.  I have no trouble climbing, I am just not very quick. 

I ate a Lara bar at mile 15 and cruised on the false flat downhill.  I saw lots of people on the return and didn't feel so alone.  I passed some more people which felt good, and when I looked down at my computer I was always in the 20's as far as speed.  I was starting to see and pass some guys heading the same way as me, so I felt like I was making some progress.

I was really sick of the stupid sports drink I had and picked up a water at one of the exchanges about 35-40 miles in.  I felt great but wasn't going very fast - averaging about 16mph.  There was a bit of a headwind with the occasional crosswinds, plus it is a false flat uphill on the way back, but I still thought I should be pushing more speed.

I don't remember much more detail besides I took another gel, I passed some more people, and I hit 40mph twice on the descents.   I wasn't really ready to get off the bike yet, so I think my training there is solid, I just need to get stronger.

I slipped out of my shoes and pedaled into transition with my feet on top.  That was a first for me in a race, I was glad it worked.  I ran to transition feeling with my legs feeling pretty good.

T2 ~ 2:41
Yeah, I am OK with that.  I need to get speed laces.

Run ~ 13.1 miles ~ 2:28:39


The plan was to take it easy and get my running legs on.  I felt pretty good, I felt like running.  I walked the water stations so I could drink, and dumped water on my head at every station.  The turn around station was my favorite, they had pretzels.

I started talking to this random guy who was on his 2nd loop, and we ran together for about a mile or so.  Then I kind of had a problem.

I had to pee.  But I really didn't want to stop.

I thought of Anne Marie and her Vineman HIM race report.  OK I think, I can do this.

I couldn't pull the trigger.  Maybe I can hold it, I think.

Nope, I can't.

I grabbed a big water from a water station and dumped it on my head.  I looked around and realized no one is really paying any attention to me anyway, they are all dealing with their own crap.  So I let it fly.

It was awesome.  I couldn't stop after that.  I think I peed myself like 3-4 times on that run, laughing whenever I did, waving as people told me they liked my smile.  If they only knew.


Heading out for 2nd lap
I felt good as I headed into the second lap (they call it a loop, I say it is a lap), but I just couldn't get my legs to go any faster.  I didn't want to stop, I hated stopping at the water stations, but knew I needed to keep getting fuel and food in me.  I had 2 gels, 1/2 banana, 1/2 powerbar, and some pretzels on the run.  I drank water, I couldn't handle anymore sweet stuff.

The second lap was kind of lonely.  There were not a lot of people left out there. One of the downsides of a late swim start I guess.   I gain my energy at races from the people around me, making them feel better makes me feel good.  The plan to "turn it up" in the last 5k wasn't happening.  Peeing was happening though, so that is a success.  I was just chugging along at a steady pace.

I think this is mostly because I didn't start run training really until mid-July - the injury kept me from running  from before the Sugarloaf Marathon in May through mid-July when it really was back to normal.  So I think more running would have helped here. 

I neared the end of the 2nd loop, I heard my name.  I turned into the finish chute with a big smile running hard to the finish (where does that come from and where the hell is it at mile 9?).  I did the Blais roll through the finish and the guy announced it, which was really cool.
 
This one is for you Jon Blais.

Wahoo! Where is the beer?
I am happy with how I did in this race overall.  I know I have some things to work on, but I approached this race to have fun first (I did that) and to finish in under 7 hours (did that too).  I had a pie in the sky goal of 6:30, but whatever I am really happy with my race and now have something to build on.

Post-Race:

Mmmm...Beer!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

FINISHED!

All done with Timberman!! 6:50:58 - I had a great race, lots of fun. 

I learned a lot too. I didn't get to grab Andy Potts' butt, but I tried.  I did get to see him and Chrissie Wellington which was super cool.

I must now go eat everything in site. Race report up sometime tomorrow.

Thank you all so much for your awesome support! I could feel you stalking me, and I loved it!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Game On!

Race day is fast approaching!  GULP.  It is tomorrow.

If you want to follow me tomorrow (like you don't have anything better to do with your Sunday), go to Ironman.com.  There is an athlete tracker there, the race (as if you haven't heard it from me 1000 times already) is Timberman.  My bib# is 2597.  Amanda is my full name - but if you see Caratunk, ME as the town, you have me.

My wave starts at 8:20am.

If you happen to be there I look like this:
I am much shorter than I appear..
And when I get excited I look like this:
I jump very high for a short girl.
I am focused and ready, it is going to be a blast! 

I am going to leave you with a video I first saw this over on Big Daddy Diesel's blog - it gets me pumped up.  I have watched it about 25 times today.  He even wrote out the script on his blog entry here if you want to read it. 

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

You're Fast

I had what started out as a mediocre swim the other night, but the finish was priceless. 

It was just one of those days.  I couldn't get a rhythm, my arms were tired and sluggish, and as I watched the greenish rocky bottom go by, I felt like I was swimming in jello. 

V-E-R-Y  S-S-L-L-O-O-W-W 

I reached the gray float (My 500 yard mark.  Or at least I think it is 500 yards to there.  I don't want to know if I am wrong) and waved to the folks drinking beer on their camp porch.  I treaded water for a few minutes and took a few breast strokes before heading back to the little beach I started from.  I concentrated on relaxing and breathing, trying to get into some sort of happy place. 

I noticed when I sighted that there were three small looking people standing on the beach.  I kept swimming, made my way through a few weeds, and before long I was standing on the beach looking at 3 children, 2 girls and one boy, ranging in age from 5 to 10. 

"Hi." The youngest girl said.  The other two beamed at me.

"Hello," I answered, noticing their parents nearby putting gear into a boat. "Heading out on the pond for a ride?"

All three nodded enthusiastically.  I grabbed my towel and threw it over my shoulders, pulled off my goggles and swim cap.  I turned back towards them and noticed that they were all still watching me and smiling.   I returned the smile and the boy said,

"You swim every night.  We watch you."

This kind of surprised me.  I always feel really alone on my swims, like no one really notices me.  Or they think I am psychotic and hope if they ignore the crazy person swimming across the pond, she will go away. 

Laughing, I said, "Oh, really? Ha, yeah, I guess I have been out the last few nights."

The three nodded and the youngest girl said to me, "You swim far.  You swam to the point."

I agreed, it was me in the green swim cap who went to the point.  I told them the bottom got really yucky out there, so if they are ever out there don't let their feet touch the bottom.

All three nodded and said, "Yeah.  That is so cool."

The boy piped in, "And you're FAST!"  The two girls both nodded.

Their parents called them and they ran off, jumped into the boat, donned life jackets, and sped off across the pond waving as they went.

It was all pretty quick, but it made my night.  It also made a swim that started out kind of crappy feel pretty great.  It is nice to have a few fans on Pleasant Pond. 

Don't forget to enter my Great Gu Giveaway!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

A Few Random Things on Sunday...

I went for a really cold 50 mile ride early this morning to celebrate that Timberman is only a week way. 

All that nice foggy stuff on the river means the water is getting colder. 
It was pretty, but really cold. I didn't check the temp, but I couldn't feel my hands for the first hour (because I forgot my gloves).  As I was nearing the crest of the turnaround, the sun came out and it was a pretty warm ride back.
Thank you sun.  I needed that.
Anyway, that ride is my last longish ride until race day.  I felt good and my recent tune has my bike changing gears happily.

Speaking of the bike shop...
I seriously always have issues whenever I step into any bike shop.  I must have something tattooed on my forehead that I am not aware of.  I brought my bike in, and the A-hole said (and I quote)

"You have got to get rid of that thing and get a real bike."

That thing?  Rico is not a thing, he is my bike, and he is very real.  And he has feelings.  He is still sulking and he has a very important race to take me on in a week.

I told the guy that I really was looking for sponsors and if he would like to sponsor me with a new bike I would happily ride it in Ironman Lake Placid next year.  I then asked where the next closest bike shop was.

He chuckled and said he was "just kidding" and said that the next closest bike shop was an hour and a half away (I had already driven that far to get to this one).

OH! You were joking!!  So sorry. I get it!! You called my bike a piece of crap. Ha fing ha. Stop crapping on Rico, he is my main man right now and we have had a lot of happy miles together.  Hrmph. I KNOW my bike isn't top of the line but it is what I have and can afford.

And really, he rolls pretty good - plus his motor is in much better shape than last year. 

Reason # 7893 that I need to learn to do EVERYTHING on my bike: so I don't have to deal with these schmucks.

About the race...
I am excited about it.  Thinking about my goals for the race is pretty fun, and this is what I am thinking.
  • Swim ~ 0:45 - I am not very speedy, but I am very stubborn.  Maybe I will even surprise myself.
  • Bike ~ 3:30 - I really hope to be closer to 3:15, it all depends on how I feel after the swim.  My primary goal here is fuel properly and to not blow up on the bike.
  • Run ~ 2:20 - Here is the thing, I am most comfortable with the run.  My run fitness isn't where it should be 100% because of the injury I dealt with most of the spring and early summer.  I really have only been following the run part of my training plan for about a month.  I know I can suffer on the run and keep pushing forward, so my attitude with it is a bit...well, let's see what happens.
More on this later as we get closer.  You are going to get sick of hearing about it probably.

Random Bailey Picture
I just liked this picture of him from work this week.  He was inspecting the road building we have going on at work (and begging for stale donuts).  He is 100% back to himself, which is awesome.
Happy dirty dog
Double Your Chances of Winning in the Great Gu Giveaway!
If you haven't entered my Gu Giveaway yet, you really should.  You should also enter Kelly's contest - her blog is Secrets of a Running Mom and she has a Big Gu Giveaway - she has the same giveaway going on as I do!  SO that means you can all double your chances of winning if you head on over to Kelly's blog and check out her contest. 

This Week Training:

Swim - 2.6 miles
Bike - 102 miles
Run - 17 miles

10.5 hrs

Friday, August 13, 2010

Gu Products Review and Giveaway

I remember when I first saw Gu in a running store.  I wasn't a runner or triathlete, had no interest in becoming one, and was obviously lost trying to find my way to the bar.  I touched the weird foil packet and shook my head at the weird stuff those runners and triathletes eat.

Little did I know that just a year later I would be training for my first marathon and Gu would become a staple of my endurance diet.  It wasn't long before I was buying it in bulk packages and trying to get my friends to try it.

I bought a variety pack, and found out...that I didn't like all of the flavors.  I did like love chocolate Gu though.  Mmm.  I shared my first variety pack with my friend Cindy and actually really wish I could tell you what she said when she first tried the Unflavored Gu.  But I want this to stay as PG-13 as possible, so I will control myself. 

6 years later, I still trust and rely on Gu energy gels to get me through those long runs and rides.  I didn't really know that Gu had other products besides the gel, but I live in Caratunk, Maine and we just quit delivering the mail by horse and buggy.

Not really kidding.

Sorry, I am like a crow. I see shiney stuff and get distracted. Probably why I picked up Gu in the first place.

See, there I go again.  Back to the Gu review.

I was saying I hadn't tried other Gu products besides the gel.  Enter Scott from Outside PR (you guys seriously rock), and now I can tell you lots more about Gu products. Thank you Outside PR and Gu for the opportunity to try all of this fabulous stuff!

Gu Gels
For what exactly is in Gu and why it works, visit the Gu website here.
Gu gels come in a variety of flavors and I have tried most all of them.  Outside PR sent me 8 different flavors along with some unknown "New Flavors" of Gu gel, and I found a new favorite flavor - mint chocolate.  That stuff rocks. 

If I am running long (over 13 miles) it is really awesome to have a few of these on hand to keep me going.  I am not very technical and not really good at telling you it increased my energy by such and such percent. I can tell you that when I start dragging, these make me feel better and have gotten me through every endurance event I have done over the past 6 years.


Gu Chomps
For what exactly is in Gu chomps and why they work, visit the Gu website here.

Honestly, I would love to do a review on these but I haven't been able to do chewy gummy bear consistency stuff on a run since I threw Cliff Shot Blocks up all over Minnie Mouse in the Goofy Challenge Debacle (which I still haven't written about. I will. Someday.)  OK, it was next to Minnie, but I was delirious, it was like 150 degrees with 100 percent humidity, and I was on my 35th mile in less than 24 hours on nothing more than a slice of pizza and a dry bagel.  AND I couldn't find a Gu anywhere.  Just saying, that might have saved my butt.

SO I will say this about Chomps. If you prefer something chewy and not a gel, check these out.  I checked out the ingredients and it is very similar to Gu gel with the exception of the stuff in it to make it chewy instead of like yummy frosting.

GU Roctane
For what exactly is in Gu Roctane and why it works, visit the Gu website here.
Honestly, when I first saw this I thought...just another gel on the market. I kind of turned my nose up at the flavors offered too. I mean, really, where is the chocolate? 

This is different from regular Gu because it has higher sodium and...well...some other stuff.   I tend to look at the sodium and sugar contents and start skimming the rest.  I really did try to read all about the OKG and BCAA amino acid blah de blah recovery blah blah, but honestly, I don't really care about those details.  If you do, you can get those details here.

I tried the vanilla orange (that flavor seemed the safest to me, and was actually rather good) on my 13 mile run.   This stuff has more staying power than regular Gu, it sustained me for the entire run.  I would like to see how it works on a 20 miler though to really test its staying power, but the initial test was very good. 

GU Electrolyte and Recovery Brews

Honestly, I feel like there are so many electrolyte drinks and recovery brews on the market it is completely overwhelming.  That said, I am always happy to try something new out, I am crazy that way. 
For what exactly is in Gu Brew and why it works, visit the Gu website here.
My problem with most electrolyte drinks is that the taste is too strong and sweet. What I liked about this is that it was mild tasting and not overly sweet.  If you are looking for a sports drink that isn't too sweet and has a good amount of electrolytes this is your ticket.

As far as what is in it (didn't I already tell you I don't read that stuff?), there is a higher sodium and lower sugar content then most drinks.  Here, I unabashedly stole this from the Gu website:


Recovery Brew


For what exactly is in Gu Recovery Brew and why it works, visit the Gu website here.

My problem with recovery stuff is that I am not really sure how to tell it works. I mean, after a hard workout or a race that I push really hard on, I hurt a little the next day.  Or a lot.  I am not sure any of these recovery drinks make me hurt any less or make me recover any faster.

I know, "they" say it recovery drinks work.   I am not sure who the heck "they" are, besides scientists paid by the companies who make recovery drinks.  I usually drink some chocolate milk to be honest, I like the taste and I am so sick of the sports drink stuff by that point, I need a change.

Regardless, I gave this stuff a try.

This comes in two flavors, orange pineapple and strawberry watermelon - neither of these really appealed to me, but I gave the orange pineapple a try after my 13 mile run.  The taste wasn't bad - not at all chalky that is for sure which was a nice change from other recovery drinks I have tried. 

My take on this is that if you do like recovery drinks, or want to try one, this one definitely tastes better than others I have tried.  I get sick of that fruity sweet in recovery drinks after a while, and although this doesn't taste bad, it doesn't taste better than chocolate milk. 

THE GIVEAWAY
The guys at Gu and Outside PR completely hooked me up with enough Gu products to try, review, and then share with you guys.  Again, thank you so much.

So here is what is being given away:

  • 20 Gu gels of assorted flavors (I am even giving away the mint chocolate.  I think.)
  • 3 Gu Roctanes
  • 4 packages of Gu Chomps
  • 3 Gu Brew Electrolyte Drinks
  • 1 Gu Brew Recovery Drink
YEAH I KNOW! Lots of stuff right? There are lots of ways to enter too (you don't have to do them all, but isn't it nice to have options?) 

Check it out, I am going to make up little slips of paper and pull the name out of a hat, all old school (cause that is what I want to do), so you can enter it all in one comment if you would like (or 10 if you want). Or in as many comments as you want.  Up to you.  Each thing you do gets your name in the hat again.  You just have to be sure and tell me about doing any or all of these things.
  1. Follow me
  2. Like Outside PR on Facebook
  3. Like Gu on Facebook 
  4. Follow Outside PR on Twitter
  5. Follow Gu on Twitter 
  6. Mention this contest on your blog (on your sidebar of contests counts).
  7. Check out the Gu Website and tell me something you would like to try or a flavor you wish they had.
  8. Say something funny. I like to laugh.
  9. Tweet, blog, Facebook about Angela Naeth (@tri3angela on twitter) and the Adopt a Pro program.  Let's see if we can help get this amazing pro athlete a bike sponsor, because she is hella fast on a bike and really needs a new one.
  10. Send Angela a message on Twitter @tri3angela and wish her luck at Timberman.
Ok the thing is, you need to tell me you did any or all of these things to get your name in the hat as many times as you want - one comment, 10 comments, it is up to you.  This contest is going to run from now through midnight on Friday August 27th.  I will announce the winner on August 28th.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Dead Last

The bib numbers and swim waves are up for Timberman - 9 short days away!!

First of all, I really would love to be stalked and feel the bloggy vibes - so I am bib # 2597 - Amanda Farrar.  If you really can't remember anything else, I am from Caratunk, ME and the only one racing from there, so you could search http://ironman.com that way too. 

I am hoping to win the very elite Short Spunky Girl From Caratunk division.  I think I have this locked up.

Now for the news that I am not so psyched about.  I am in the last swim wave - starting at 8:20 am - an hour and twenty minutes after the official start.  That really bugs me.  I hate starting last.

Really, it isn't a big deal, and I am mostly over it.  I just know how it is when you are in the last wave and come out of the water into transition and it looks like a desert which mentally is a real hit for me for some reason.

OK, I am not really over it. I just said I was because it makes me seem like a much more reasonable person. 

On the up side, I will get to pass some people on the bike which will be really good for my ego.  I just hope I don't blow up on the bike trying to pass people, which could be another problem.  Anyway, more on my Timberman plan later.

Other Stuff
Stay tuned, I am going to have a few cool reviews and fun giveaways coming up tomorrow along with some info on the Mighty Mouse Adoption - helping the amazing pro athlete Angela Naeth get some bike sponsor love through the power of social media.    

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Just Thought I Would Point Out...

Amanda from Run to the Finish is hosting this awesome giveway - a triathlon pendant from TriClique.

Now first, you should really follow her because she is awesome and super funny.  But secondly, this is a really cool unique giveaway, and you should probably check it out.  Now guys, I know this is a necklace for women - but I know more than a few of you have triathlete women in your lives who would love this.

Really I shouldn't even tell you about this because I am the only one entered and therefore will win if none of you enter (evil snicker). 

This is the pendant:

Isn't it awesome? You know you want it.
And HERE is the link to Amanda's contest page.  Good luck!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Weekly Update and Sunday Failure

Friday night I went to the movies with mom.  The local movie theater only charges $6 for tickets and has super comfy seats and shows really recent movies.  I like to take mom because she gets the senior citizen discount and is a cheap date at $4.  

Anyway, we saw Salt.  I really love action movies, especially the ones with a chick as the lead character who is constantly kicking ass.  According to my friends I am programed kind of funny, because any slurpy romance bores me to tears, but I love to see the bullets and fists start flying.  So, anyway, I loved this movie - if you like action flicks and Angelina Jolie at all, you will too.  I think there is probably going to be a sequel. 

I was up at 4:30am on Saturday and got out the door for a 13 mile run on the Boise Road.  The Boise Road is a dirt road that I basically do all of my summer running on to avoid the traffic on Route 201, which I am stuck on most of the winter.  This run was awesome for me because it was the longest run I have done since the Sugarloaf Marathon and the injury frustrations.  Plus, it was a pain free run, I didn't know I could have those anymore.  I took it slow and will not work on speed again until this winter, but it really felt awesome.

I got back and got changed and headed to meet some friends to go down the river.  I have mentioned before that I am a whitewater raft guide and live near the world-class whitewater of the Kennebec River.  Anyway, I do not guide much any more, but I do go down the river with friends just because I love the river.  We had a super fun time and I was off the river by 3:30, just enough time to run home and get showered and changed for a 5pm wedding at the local bar.

These friends of ours eloped in Ireland this spring and wanted to have a party here where all of their friends could celebrate at our favorite bar.  It was awesome, and it took all of the will power in me not to tap into one of the 6 free kegs that were there.  But I was good and stuck to my promise to myself to not drink until Timberman.  I probably didn't need to eat half a chicken and 3 slices of pie (they had like every kind of pie you can imagine. I love pie.) but I did. 

All of this may be responsible for what happened this morning...Epic fail on the bike.

I have never had this happen before ever.  I was up early and was really looking forward to a good 58 mile ride to Jackman and back.  I kind of felt a little funny when I first got up, my stomach didn't feel right.  So I ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to try to settle it.

I headed out the door and I immediately started feeling crappy - nauseous and really cold (it was 38 degrees, so I was probably really legitimately cold).

By mile 6 I just felt like crap and tossed my cookies...Hello PB&J, didn't think I would be seeing you again.  I thought to myself, well, good, that will make me feel better and I can get on with this ride. 

It didn't make me feel better. At all.

So I kept going, and I started getting shaky and more nauseous, and felt really weak.  Then my stomach started gurgling.  Oh man, what the heck is going on?  I pulled into Berry's Store at mile 8 and unclipped and made a bee-line for the porta-potties.

You know what is so not awesome about living in such a small town?  Everyone in town knows that I had the GI issues at 5:30am this morning.  I had messages on my machine at home. Two of them. 

I decided to turn around.  When I got home and went directly to bed for 2 hours. I feel a little bit better now, kind of tired and generally icky feeling.  I am still not 100% sure what the heck happened.

I do wish this had happened a month ago, instead of 2 weeks before my race.  But I also think that I have made my hay (so to speak) for this race and that one bad day isn't going to undo all the training I have been doing (unless I let it mentally). 

Tomorrow is another day, and it is way more productive to look forward rather than back. 

T-minus 14 days an counting!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Pleasant Pond

I kind of love Pleasant Pond.  It is cool (high 60's right now, unseasonable warm!), clear, spring-fed pond that is only about 3 miles from my house.
My local pool, Pleasant Pond...home of the dock intervals.
I have been swimming here instead of Wyman Lake (my other local pool) because I do 99% of my open water swimming alone, and Pleasant Pond is much more safe because there are less motor boats and jet skis, and although it is a deep pond, it is pretty shallow for about 10 feet off of shore.

Plus, I can see the bottom and don't have to worry about lake monsters getting me.  This isn't a problem for me if I swim with someone, but the lake monsters are most likely to attack a lone swimmer.  That is what the voices in my head tell me.

All irrational fears aside, I love swimming in this pond, you get great practice sighting and it is crystal clear.

Not many people get to swim with loons on a daily basis, so I am pretty darn lucky.  Sometime when I have a waterproof camera I will get an awesome shot of a loon really close, but until then, I have another wildlife shot for ya:
Hello Hirudo medicinalis, latin for big F-ing leech.
Yeah, I see these guys once in a while (every time I swim I see one, always in about 2-3 ft of water).  The 12 year old boy in me surfaced when I saw this one, I started poking (provoking) at this guy with my foot to see what would happen.  I either am not the right blood type, eat too much garlic, or he was full, because this guy just wasn't interested.

So I came to the conclusion that if I just keep moving, they probably won't get on me. I haven't gotten one on me yet.  I really hope I don't, because for all of this tough smack talk I will completely freak out if I come out of the water with one of these hanging off of me.  Ugh.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Weekly Recap

Blueberry, raspberries, and blackberries are out in full force around here.  I have been picking them every chance I get, usually on a long run through the woods.  This turns my 9 minute miles into 12 minute miles (due to stuffing my face), but that is OK.

Black and Blue..berries!

62 bulbs of garlic harvested, from my own stock.  Very psyched.
In the garden I harvested garlic, onions, tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers this week. This is my best garden in a long time and I have totally neglected it due to swimming, biking, and running.  Go figure. 

Today's Long Ride
This morning I was up bright and early and met my friend Mike for an 81 mile ride from Caratunk, ME to Greenville, ME.  I think I am supposed to be tapering or something, but it was really hard to pass this one up.  So I didn't. 

The ride was pretty hilly, so we were not moving at a fast clip, especially in the first 29 miles.   I used MapMy Ride to scout out the route and promised Mike that it wasn't that bad, that we had some climbing in the first 30 miles, but that the last 50 or so miles were basically flat or downhill.

Oops.

This ride has a good warm up.
Mike made a few jokes about my idea of flat and downhill, because there were a few good short, steep climbs along the way, and a few longer climbs.  Basically it wasn't flat or downhill much, it was very rolling.  He wasn't complaining at all, just joking around and giving me crap like I would do to him.  

We had a great ride, it was nice to have someone with me on my long rides for a change.

Top of mile 29 - Attean Overlook
My grandmother (89 years old!) and my mom (I can't tell you her age, I am going to need a few more rides) both came to Greenville to pick me up (Mike's family came to get him). 

My grandmother told me that she wanted to give me a trophy because she said she was impressed with the bike ride.  She handed me a meat tenderizer (I call it a meat beater) that had a bow on it.  Apparently it has been around the family for a few generations.  She went on to tell me all the things she likes to beat with it.  I might start swimming with it to beat on jet skiers flying toward the girl in the bright green swim cap 5 feet off of shore.  Just a thought.

Anyway, it was pretty funny, and pretty cool that her and mom were there. 

Family heirloom - the meat beater

Thanks mom & grandma for being my shuttle, you guys are seriously awesome.  I couldn't train and do the stuff I love without your support!  Oh, and thanks for lunch too! 

July Training:
557 total miles
Swim - 13 miles point to point, about as many hours total swimming.
Bike - 491 miles
Run - 53 miles (easing into running post-injury, things are looking good now)

Training Week:
Swim - 3 hours in open water ~ 3 miles in point to point swims plus dock intervals
Bike - 151 miles
Run - 18 miles (a nice 10 mile long run in there though)
Total Hours: 12.5