Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Great Migration

I have migrated my blog over to WordPress - and if I did this right, no one will end up on this page.

But if you are here, looking for an update or to read about a funny (stupid) thing I did recently - the url is the same - - but some who follow me through RSS feed, emails, or even google might need to update these - and also might need to update your blogrolls (if you are so kind as to have me there).

So head on over to my blog and check out the new site!

Rock on.


Monday, May 23, 2011

Muttley Monday - First Meeting

So how do you pick out a puppy from this mess of 4 week old cuteness?
Bailey is the one laying down by the stove, watching the action
I didn't.  The puppy picked me.  I got on the floor to get a good look at these guys.  They were all interested in playing with each other, as puppies are.

Except for one. One looked at me, walked over, crawled into my lap, and fell asleep.

I picked that one, but I always say he picked me.

My friend Andrea holding Bailey, one of his siblings wanting in on the action
Bailey was quiet, mellow, and sweet right from the start.   I had to wait 4 more weeks before I could take him home, but we got one last parting action shot of him before we left.
Bailey doing his thing

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sunday Random Stuff...and Giveaway WINNER!

Thank you all so much for your kind words, support, emails, phone calls, messages, cards, everything...Losing Bailey has really knocked the wind out of me, but the overwhelming response is a testament to what an incredible guy he was.  Thank you.

I might not wash all of my gear every day.  I do the sniff test on all of my running gear. Is that weird?

Todays running shirt was questionable.  I wore it anyway.

I am pretty stoked about today's brick.  I rode 42 miles then ran 3 off the bike.  What I am stoked about was that it was a hilly, windy ride.  Really windy.  I took one First Endurance liquid shot during the ride, something, I admit, I have been skipping because I prefer Fig Newtons to any gel.  My run splits off the bike were 8:58; 8:32; 8:06 and I felt great (thank you FE).  Might my speed FINALLY be coming back to me after last years injury?  Oh please oh please oh please!

I think I should stick to those liquid shots for long rides.  Maybe a few Fig Newtons too.  Hard to give those up.

The water temp of our lake is 50 degrees.  Guess I will be making the big drive to the pool for a few more weeks.

Oh crap.  That means my first open water swim is going to be at Rev3 Quassy Half.


I had a great swim this weekend, I swam 1650 yards straight, which is a pretty big deal for someone who not too long ago could barely swim 50 without going to a breast stroke.

Yes, my boobs stayed in my bathing suit, thank you for asking.

A great big CONGRATULATIONS to Jeff and Bob on their Ironman Texas finishes!!  Actually, congrats to all finishers - you guys FREAKING ROCK!

CONGRATULATIONS to Miss Zippy! She is the winner of my Tommie Copper compression giveaway!  I have contacted her and she is on her way to some new compression wear.  Congratulations Miss Zippy!  Sorry I am announcing this a few days later than I promised.  If you read this blog, you know why.

Have a great week everyone, train hard.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Where I Am At

The food and water dish I just can't pick up.

The empty truck that makes me burst into tears as I approach.

The little piles of hair on the floor that I can't sweep up.

The collar I hold onto and carry around like a security blanket, refusing to let go.

Those things, and so many other things pierce my shattered heart.  I miss my boy so much.  The amount of comments and messages I have received on my blog, on Facebook and twitter, in my email, and on my phone are testament to what an amazing boy my Bailey was.  He touched so many lives, and not one person who came in contact with him - in real life or virtually through my blog or Facebook - left without a smile on their face.

Bailey just made life better.  For everyone he came in contact with.

Everyone's dog is special.  Bailey was supremely special in a way I can't put into words.  He and I had a connection that started when he was 4 weeks old and crawled into my lap.  I swear, he picked me.  Numerous strangers would tell me as they watched Bailey watch me and move where I moved, "That dog sure loves you."

I didn't have to train him to walk with me.  He just did it.  It was like he knew what John and I wanted him to do, and he just did it with minimal encouragement.

Bailey worked with me in the Allagash when I was a ranger in northern Maine, he went to grad school with me (he was allowed with me in the building), then came with me to work in the woods as a forester.  He spent office days under my desk with his chin on my foot, and days in the field running through the woods, never out of sight.

Unless he saw a moose.  He had a thing for moose.

When I say we were never apart, I mean it.  He has been by my side through every move, every sadness, every joy, and every celebration.  He was always there.

So to say it is hard to be without him is an understatement.  John and I are never going to be used to him being gone.  He gave us the best 10 years of our lives.   Now a part of us is missing - it is like walking around without an arm...or more accurately, with a hole in your core.

Thank you everyone for your support and kind words - if I haven't gotten back to you it isn't because I don't appreciate it, I am truly overwhelmed at the volume of response I have gotten - like I said it is a true testament to the wonderful special boy that Bailey was.

In an attempt to focus on the best memories, and maybe heal this hole in my heart just a little - I am going to continue Muttley Monday's for the time being.  I am going to be posting some pictures from some of the good times when Bailey was with us, starting with puppy pictures.

Thank you all for your support.   I am going to start training again tomorrow - I mentally have not been able to train for the past week because of what was going on with Bailey.  I wanted to spend every last second with him that I could, soak in every single thing I could.

I miss you Bailey, Bubba, Bailey Boo, Dubba, Doo Doo, Baby Dog, my sweet Baby Boy - for the rest of my life, I will miss you.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Heart. Broken.

Bailey 1/22/01 - 5/17/11 Always in our hearts, we miss you so much my friend.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Muttley Monday - Sherpa Dog

Don't expect me to get out of this car. It is raining.
Bailey helped out on my rainy 90 mile bike ride this weekend, providing water refills, bagels, hugs, and a ride home.

Looking for some FREE compression gear?  
Don't forget to enter my Tommy Copper Compression Giveaway!! You can ALWAYS use more compression products, right? And this stuff is the BOMB.
Check it out HERE.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Tommie Copper Review and Giveaway

I honestly have never tried a copper bracelet to make all of my aches and pains melt away - it really has never been on my radar.  But when I was approached by Tommie Copper to review their new compression sleeves, I have to admit, I was intrigued.  It wasn't some funky magic bracelet - it was something I already use and love (compression) with a bit of a twist.

Most of you have probably heard of compression clothing - take a walk around almost any road race or triathlon, and you will likely see people wearing some sort of compression.  It is a great way to increase performance and recover more quickly for all types of athletes.  I guess research shows some mixed results, but most people I have talked to feel that compression aids their performance through faster recovery.

I was offered the opportunity to test one of four types of compression - elbow, knee, calf, or ankle (FYI - they also have compression shirts).  I picked the calf sleeves because I have very angry calves and I am putting on a lot of miles, which tends to only make them more angry.

When I got my sleeves, the first thing I noticed was that they were super lightweight when compared to other compression sleeves I have used. They are kind of soft and luxurious actually (I have been wanting to use luxurious in a sentence for a long time).  I kind of wondered how these were going to work.

The thing that is different about Tommie Copper is that their compression garments are all constructed out of copper-infused yarn, so you get the benefits of copper therapy.  I honestly do not know a lot about copper therapy, like I said before, it wasn't something that really grabbed my attention in the past, but if something claims to make my calves happy, I am willing to give it a try.

I tried the sleeves for a 2 week period in the build part of my Ironman Lake Placid training (only 72 days away).  On these weeks, I was training between 11-15 hours/week.  When my running mileage goes up, my calves take a beating, and lately the inside of my calves had been bugging me and getting sore.  I found that the Tommie Copper sleeves helped me recover much more quickly from training, allowing me to train hard again another day.

The best example of this during the test period for me was after a 12 mile run, my inner calves were really bugging me, enough so that I was a little worried about them.  I put on the sleeves, they felt really good on, almost like I wasn't wearing anything. I think I actually forgot I had them on because I wore them the rest of the day, and then to bed.  These are that comfortable - I slept in them.

The next day, my inner calves were no longer sore.  Not kidding.  My quads were.  But not my inner calves.

  • These are lightweight and comfortable.  You can wear these sleeves all day, even overnight.
  • So far, for me, these seem to be pretty durable.  This was a concern of mine given the fabric was so light weight, but they are holding strong with frequent use.
  • These are effective at decreasing soreness, increasing circulation, and reducing inflammation.
They didn't make my legs look like this:
Really, I liked these a lot.  I had a hard time finding any cons with this, I was suspecting a durability issue to be honest, but found no problems.

Want a chance to WIN your own Tommie Copper compression garment?

Here is how to enter:

First, you MUST be a follower of my blog! If you are not already a follower, go ahead and click the FOLLOW button on the right. 
Then there are four ways to earn an entry - Please leave a separate comment for each entry! 
  1. Like Tommie Copper on Facebook and tell them Mandy from Caratunk Girl sent you. Tell them which compression item you would pick and why! 
  2. Follow Tommie Copper on Twitter and tweet about this giveaway.  Please include @caratunkgirl and @TommieCopper in your tweet!
  3. Visit the Tommie Copper website and sign up for their newsletter - keep updated on the latest Tommie Copper gear! 
  4. Put a link to this contest or mention this contest on your blog.
I will accept entries until Thursday, May 19th at midnight and then a winner will be selected at random from all eligible entries.  

Disclosure: I was sent this product by Tommie Copper for my honest review and did not receive any type of compensation for my positive review. All opinions expressed here are my own.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Muttley Monday - Basking in the sun

This is MY yard.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Happy Mother's Day & A Story with No Point

Hey Mom - thanks for being you and for always supporting me in everything I do.  I hope you have a fabulous day!

That's right, I had a cool Lassie lunch box for my first day of school. 
Pointless Yet Slightly Entertaining Story...

I had some pretty good rides this week, I finished off the week with an 80 miler, riding from Farmington to RangelyRangley is a super cool spot in Maine, beautiful, surrounded by lakes and mountains. 

Lets talk about the mountains:
That downhill isn't as downhill as it looks, and the uphill at mile 60 sucks.
So, it was kind of a hilly ride.  You would think I would be used to that by now, but I am not.  Miles 60-80 are kind of hard, always.  I have ridden 80+ miles a few times now, and that seems to always be the case for some reason.  I am hoping as I ride more that changes. 

You will have to trust me on the lakes.  I didn't get around to taking a picture, I was way too interested in the IGA. 

It is the very best IGA in the world. 

That is what I thought today anyway. 

I should also point out that the only thing between Farmington and the Rangley the Rangley IGA.

That makes it that much more special.  

I was starving by the time I got there and definitely didn't want any more gel.  And I was out of Fig Newtons.

I wanted an apple.  Or pizza.  OR ICE CREAM!! They had all of it.

I stayed mostly healthy, getting an apple, water, and a box of Fig Newtons. 

Yes, a whole box.

Obviously I didn't think that out very well, a whole box of Fig Newtons 1) does not fit in my Bento Box and 2) does not fit in that back pocket of my bike jersey. 

As I sat there contemplating this problem (I was considering eating the entire box), a guy walks up to me and asks, "HEY! Are you biking?"

The bike helmet, shoes, and bike must have given it away.  Oh, what CSI has done for the masses.  The guy talked to me for a while and I ended up giving him my leftover Newtons.

I hopped on my bike, mentally ready for a glorious downhill, when I was blasted back by a vicious headwind.

Balls.  What is it with me and headwinds lately? 

It was a slog back to Farmington.  I couldn't really ride aero as much as I would like because the headwinds and cross winds were so strong I was really getting pushed around.  I am not good enough in aero position to have much control over that.

Or much control over anything.  I am pretty much out of control when in aero.

I am considering getting a "Student Driver" sticker for my bike.  If you see me, give me some space.

This week:
Swim - 3600yds
I don't want to talk about it.  I have turned into a rock. Or maybe a cat?  Enough said.

Bike - 159 miles
Run - 22 miles - including a 15 miler that went really well.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011



I am in grad school, my first day as a teaching assistant.  I am an utterly clueless nervous wreck.  One of my students comes up to pat Bailey.  He introduces himself as Hugh, and talks to me for a few seconds before the lab begins.


Hugh and I are deep in the woods flagging a brook.  He is on one side of the brook, I am on the other. We are talking, laughing. Suddenly he says, "Mandy, get over here."

It seems urgent, so I drop my flagging half tied and hop across the brook to stand next to him.  He grabs my arm as I get there, backing up.  He and points to the space where I was just standing.  Directly above my last flag sits a gigantic papery gray white faced hornets nest, churning with the angry bastards. 

I can see them crawling on the blue flagging tape I just hung.


Bailey is missing. He has been gone for an hour, it is getting dark and we are 30 miles into the woods.  I am freaking out.  Hugh says, "We are not leaving here until we get him back, we will get him back."  The two of us go back into the woods with flashlights in hand.


Hugh hands me a reflective vest.  "Here, wear this if you are going to be a crazy fool and run at 4am." 


We are in a bar in Calais, ME.  It was a wet miserable day in the woods.  Hugh is buying rounds of drinks, winding everyone up, and watching the show, laughing.


Hugh, Adam and I are having a beer.  Hugh's eyes are twinkling, I don't think I have seen him so happy.  "So, Mandy, I wanted to tell you before the big announcement - I am engaged."

The three of us raise our glasses in celebration.


I call Adam. My heart is racing and my hands are shaking.

"Adam. It isn't true is it?  Tell me it is not true."

"I wish I could Mandy. I really wish I could."

We talk, we cry, we even laugh a little.  I wish like hell that I wasn't 4 hours away.


A bottle of Old Forester Whiskey sits between Tom and I, we drink straight from the bottle, taking turns.  Tom picks up the bottle and puts it down.  Then he looks at me, looks at the bottle and says, "I don't know if I can buy this anymore.  I will always think when I see this label this is what Hugh should have gotten to be, an old forester."


I am on my bike, tears streaming down my face.  I am trying to ride out my sadness at the loss of one of my best friends, I am trying to beat it out. 

I want my body to hurt more than my heart does. 

I attack Durgin Hill like a maniac, mashing all the way up.  It helps for a little while, because instead of thinking about Hugh, I am thinking about how my legs and lungs are burning.  I am thinking of the beauty of the swollen river, slapping over the bank.  I think of the things he loved - the outdoors, nature, friends, and family - and how those are the same things I love, which is probably why we were such fast friends.

At the top of Durgin Hill I stop, breathing heavy, my legs all wobbly.  I take in the view for a second before I turn around, and head back down the hill.

I let go. 

I never do that on this hill, I always ride the brake. The hill is long and steep, and the pavement is dicey - vertical cracks, frost heaves and chunks of loose pavement litter the shoulder.  Log trucks go by and the wind from their passing shoves you around.

So you play it smart, and take it kind of easy on this stretch.

To hell with all that.  I moved a little into the road, away from all the crap, and started pedaling, pushing until the pedals were just spinning around in a useless whir.  Hugh would tell me I was crazy and to be careful.  Maybe I was trying to get his attention, who knows.

I hit 49 mph somewhere on the way down. 

I passed the 35 mph speed limit sign at the bottom of the hill going 41 mph.  There is a certain glee in that.

The road flattened and I slowed down. 

Flashes of memories come flooding back to me. 


He is laughing at something Adam and Tom just did.


We are driving woods roads drinking beer.


We are eating ice cream in Ashland, not wanting to go back to the office.


He has those damn hip waders on again.


Gritting my teeth, I pedal on, moving persistently, relentlessly forward - it is the only thing I know to do.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Making Hay

Recovery weeks are kind of hard. 

You go from weeks of frantically squeezing in 15 hours of workouts around work and life to frantically squeezing in 9 or 10 hours.

It should be easier right?  I mean, less time dedicated to training for the week, it is all good.

But somehow, it feels harder. All the workouts are a bit shorter and it is really easy to "do it later" which can turn into "do it never."   I am a bit neurotic about getting that workout done though - I like to cross it off my calender, it feels really good.  On the 15 hour + weeks, I have no problem sticking with the program and making it work.  It never fails that work, weather, and life throws me a few curve balls on my recovery week.

Or is it me?  Don't I get those same curve balls thrown at me all the time?

I take my training seriously and sort of see each workout as a bale of hay that I am putting away in a barn, experience and fitness I am putting away for when I need to tap into it (83 days). 

This isn't my concept, I mean, I didn't come up with it or anything.  I picked it up on some forum last year on Beginner Triathlete and it stuck with me.    But there are days when I feel like I am standing there next to that bale of hay, just looking at it, not sure I  am in the mood to pick it up. 

Maybe it looks a lot heavier than the last few bales I threw in.  Or maybe I really only want to lift half a bale. 

Or maybe I just want to lay in the field and chew on a piece of straw.

Take this morning.  It was below 20 degrees, and a thick white frost covered everything outside.  I stood there looking outside holding my bike, watching as my breath came out in white puffs.

Suddenly, a later bike ride sounded pretty darn good. 

Except I have plans with friends that require me to get my ass out the door and get that hay loaded in the barn - if the hay is to be put up at all.

Twenty degrees is the perfect running temperature (IMAO), but not perfect biking temperature.  AND had I stuck with the plan my coach had laid out for me, today would have been a run (hi Ange! Sorry about that).  I had to go and switch things around for some reason that seemed completely legitimate at the time that I switched them, but now I can't remember for the life of me what it was. 

Now I was looking at a freaking heavy, wet, cold bale of hay.

So I snuggled with Bailey for a little while.  He is so warm and is the only one in the house who is happy I am up at 5 in the morning. Not that he got up to greet me or anything, but he wags his tail so I know he is happy.  I wanted to stay right there, warm fur in my face, listening to the thump, thump, thump of his tail banging on the floor.

It is days like these that I long for a training partner.  A group to bike with.  Something.  Someone else I could physically see that was on some part of this journey with me.

But I don't have that - all I have is me.  I am OK with that 99.9% of the time.  What I have is my resolve.  My stubbornness. In the end it is really up to me to get out there anyway.  I ripped myself away from Bailey and finally got out the door.

It was a cold ride, that got not much warmer towards the end.  My hands were useless claws by the end of the ride, I didn't bother to shift the last 8 miles.  Surprisingly, that is all I have to say about that.  My run off the bike was good, but slow to get moving. 

I wouldn't call this my favorite or best or most efficient workout ever, but at least I got that darned hay in the barn.

This week: Recovery Week
Swim: 3200 yds
Bike: 80 miles
Run: 23 miles

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Signs of Spring...finally

When we moved here, I planted some bulbs that bloom in early spring to brighten the drab dreariness of April.  Spring came late this year, the snow really hung on (and kept coming), and my harbingers of spring stayed hidden for most of the month.

So sad. 

Ahh, but today, they appeared!


Double crocus

And so I went to my garden and pushed the soil around.  It wasn't a frozen mass of soil, and it was slimy mud.  It was soil!! That means it is time to plant peas (and beets, kale, and spinach).  It is way to early to plant too much else around here, we are still going to get lots of frosts between now and the end of May.

Yes, I said end of May.  Our growing season is a bit short I guess.  It just means you have to get a little creative.

But back to the garden, I am mostly excited about planting the peas.  They are the first real crop you can harvest and I like them better than beets (which I only grow for the greens anyway).
Pea fence is IN!  Must work on the dog fence though.
Peas are planted!
WAIT! I am not done! 

Check it out, I was lucky enough to be nominated by BDD to be featured on Jason's (CookTrainEatRace) weekly Athlete's Plate.  I get to nominate someone for next week's Athlete's Plate, and I have someone in mind that I think Jason will enjoy making a menu for.  Thank you Jason, I can't wait to make everything on the menu, it all looks so good!!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Muttley Monday - Out on the Town

Things are pretty quiet in Caratunk right now, but Bailey still does his evening patrols....

Patrolling his territory...
Checking on the north end of town...

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Weekend Report

Swim - 3200 yds this week

I made the drive to Farmington on Saturday and got my swim in.  I am stoked that so far, I have not missed a swim.  I should be in the lake in another month.

Bike - 133 miles this week
I biked mostly outside this week!! YAY!  Except on the days it snowed, I rode inside those days.


Today I biked this. 
I love my Garmin 310XT

It was super windy, with a strong headwind and some good swirly crosswinds thrown in there for good measure.  It was hard work getting to the top of the hill, actually feel that I battled more on this ride than I have any other just because of the way the wind was pushing me around.   

I decided to stop during this ride and eat a few Fig Newtons (thought of you KC!).  I kept 1 foot clipped in and was standing and chewing (maybe my first mistake) when this big wind came and flipped me over.  It was kind of crazy. 

I totally blame the wind.  That is my story and I am sticking to it. 

Run - 31 miles this week

Last year at this time, I was injured.  Before that injury, my easy runs were averaging about 9ish minute miles, and my strong runs were close to 8 minute miles, with a few sub-8 runs showing up.  I was was advancing in my speed and confidence and was sure that I was going to PR in my spring marathon.

Then wham-mo.  My calf gets very angry and I am unable to run.  Actually, I was barely able to walk comfortably (I, of course ran the marathon anyway, because I am a moron).  I had never been injured before, and I really think my ego took a hit.  Not my "I am all fast and great" ego but the "I am invincible" ego.  I limped through the rest of the season, gun shy even after the injury seemed to heal.  I barely ran at all in training leading up to my Half Ironman.

Fast forward to now.  My easy runs are 10ish minute miles (emphasis on -ish), and my strong runs are about 9:30ish pace.  I have taken a step back to where I was a few years ago.  It kind of sucks.  But on my 13 miler on Friday morning, as I watched the Garmin tell me I was running 10:20; 10:40; 9:40 - I was getting really frustrated.  I weigh less than I did a year ago.  I am more fit than I was a year ago. WHY am I slower?

What is going on here?

Then I worked it out over the miles.  Long runs are good for that.

I am still gun shy.

I think I am a little scared to push, scared of getting injured.  I lost running for an entire summer last year, and that really sucked.  I just don't want that to happen again, so I think I am playing it a little safe.

OK.  A lot safe. 

Running is 90% mental.  We hold ourselves back for all sorts of reasons, but it all boils down to a positive attitude, hard work, and getting your head into the game.
"Whether you think you can or you can't, you are right."  ~ Henry Ford
I just pushed the reset button on running.

Only 90 days until Ironman Lake Placid!!!  

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Three Things Thursday

Tuckerman Inferno Race Report
OK, I do not have much of a race report for this.  I biked 18 miles and had a blast and would absolutely do it again.  I do not have a lot of pictures from the race, but as you may remember, the bike portion is a little hilly.  

Except for that one downhill

The Tuckerman Inferno is a pentathalon - run, kayak, bike, hike, ski.  It can be done as an individual (Tuckerman/Tuckerwoman), in teams of 5 or in teams of 2.  We had a team of 5.  It is a low key and super fun race, if you are thinking about doing it, you should definitely sign up.  I would really like to try to do this race as part of a 2 person team sometime.  Preferably someone who can ski the Tuckerman area better than me.
Just finished the ride...brr...where is my puffy coat?
What I remember about the race itself?  I was thankful for the gearing on my Kestrel bike and for my Pearl Izumi Booties. It wasn't warm, I could see my breath coming out in white puffs as I made the climb toward Pinkham Notch.  I was freezing the instant I stopped biking. I felt kind of funny not going for a run or something off the bike. 

I got into my truck and changed, found my puffy coat, then met up with the rest of the team to wait and cheer for Callie, our pro skier, to come down. 
Ski racer Callie and I (note puffy coat) after our team finish

Our team was a bunch of rockstars, running, kayaking, biking, hiking, and skiing around Mount Washington. I am not even really sure where we placed - we were not first, we were not last - but we all agreed we were all in it for fun and as long as we finished the course, it didn't matter.

I got a new toy...
My parents got me a Garmin 310XT for my birthday.  Holy crap, what a present!
I am already an addict.  This thing rocks.  Between that and the Garmin Connect online software, I am a complete junky.  Thanks Mom and Dad!

New Wetsuit Makes Caratunk Girl into Wonder Woman!
I feel so fortunate to have such amazing sponsors as a member of Team Trakkers.   TYR is an amazing sponsor, I have been a fan of their products for a long time.  This year they let all team members pick out a wetsuit for the season. PINCH ME!  I got my Hurricane Category 5 wetsuit this week!  

I am super stoked to start swimming in it, I need all of the help I can get that is for sure and putting on this suit makes me feel like aqua woman! 
Yes, I am wearing socks. It snowed yesterday.
Thank you TYR, I am so grateful, I know this will be well used this season!

Now if the ice would just go out...

Monday, April 18, 2011

Muttley Monday - Bailey Cottontail

Bailey, 12 weeks old.
Yeah, he is super psyched I picked him, can't you tell how impressed he is?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Inferno Weekend (Or HOLY CRAP, That's a Lot of Climbing!)

A few months ago, my good friend Callie sent me an email asking if I would like to be part of her relay team for the Tuckerman Inferno.  This is an annual pentathlon (kayak, run, bike, hike, ski) whose entry fees help raise money for the Friends of Tuckerman Ravine.   This organization helps to protect and preserve the unique alpine areas and eastern slops of Mount Washington.

She told me that they were looking for a biker, and that the bike was 18ish miles.

Also there was something about free pizza.

I really love pizza, and I agreed right away.  After all, 18 miles isn't that far for me considering the volume I am building for Ironman training (EEK! 99 days until Ironman Lake Placid!!)

This should be fun.

So what if I have only biked outside two times since October.  And I have only biked outside on my new bike once and still suck at shifting it at the "opportune times." 

To be honest, I looked at the elevation profile back when she asked me and I thought, huh. There is some climbing there, but it shouldn't be too bad.

I just looked at it again this afternoon just for kicks.

whimper, whine, gulp

So, miles 2-5 don't look so bad.

I figure, if I get to mile 7, I am pretty sure I can get to 18.  According to what I read, that first little "hump" is a 16% grade, and the backside is a crazy 19% grade with bad pavement.  Sweet.

That can't be true.

Now I am just hoping I don't have to walk my bike up that thing, and that I don't kill myself going down the backside. 

All joking (am I joking?) aside, I am stoked for this race.  It is a gorgeous area and will be a great time, I am going to hike up to Tuckerman's after my bike to meet the team at the finish.  Can't wait! 

Lots of people are racing this weekend, good luck to all of you!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Outside Ride!

I was pretty excited about today's forecast because I knew that it meant that I could finally take my bike off the trainer and get it ready for its first outside ride.  Basically that means putting a new pair of sneakers on his wheels.  Pardon my fingers...
I hate that part. Why is that part always so hard?
I rode to the Attean Overlook in Jackman, just under 30 miles from my house, but almost all of it is climbing, with a few rollers.
My bike computer reads 59.6 - I am calling it 60 MapMyRide. Take that.
It was a solid ride, I spend a good amount of time in aero position.  I was feeling great all the way to the overlook, which was closed still because of snow.
Bike taking a break, Attean Overlook.
I sucked down a gel (wishing I had taken the time to make a PB and J) and spent a few minutes checking out the view. I never get sick of it even though I drive by it almost every day for work.

I was looking forward to the ride back.  Because it was mostly downhill with some rollers, I was feeling good about this being a pretty fast 30 miles.

Not so much.

Apparently, on the way up, I was being pushed along by some wind that I just didn't feel (no wonder I felt so solid).  On the way back, I was faced with some pretty stiff head and cross winds.  There was no coasting down any hill, and I really had to stay on the hood to keep the bike from getting thrown around.  It was kind of crazy and a good test of how I can handle those conditions.  I guess that is another tool to huck in the tool box come race day.

Anyway, my bike really needed another break, and I needed some more fuel at the Parlin Pond rest area.

Yup, we still have some snow.
I fought my way back into The Forks, and I was feeling pretty low - I knew right away that I screwed up on fueling (throw that one in the toolbox as well).  I just didn't eat well before I left the house or during the ride.  What a bonehead I can be sometimes.  I completely know better, I just wasn't thinking at all when I left in the morning, I was so excited about biking outside.

After getting home (kicking myself the whole way for my fueling mistake), the first thing I saw was a carton of freshly baked BIG ginger cookies.  I ate 3.

I would show you a picture of them but they are all gone now.

I wiped the crumbs from my face, changed, and went for a 20 minute transition run that I just wasn't into because I didn't fuel properly on the bike.  I got it done and learned an important lesson that I thought I already knew - never take fueling for granted. 

I hope you all had a great weekend, thanks for reading!

This week:
Swim - 3000yds (all strength work in pool)
Bike - 117 miles
Run - 25 miles
146 miles total ~ 13 hours

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Slushy Repeats

Why do I do this?

That is what I was thinking today, as I willed myself outside while slivers of ice fell from the sky and splatted the ground at my feet. 

I didn't want to be here. I wanted to be inside my warm dry house. I wanted to be anywhere but shivering alone on the side of Pleasant Pond, looking down the empty road contemplating mile repeats in the sleet.

My hands were cold; the ice was hitting my face and landing in my ears.

I sighed. I pulled down my hat and pulled up my hood. 

Might as well get warmed up.  I started walking.  Then I slowly started jogging, hiding my hands in my now drenched and semi-frozen rain jacket.  The jacket is well worn and completely soaked through.

This sucks.

I started walking again.  Who says you have to run the entirety of a warm up?

But when the sky isn't sure if it wants to rain or snow, it is warmer when you run. So I started running again.

This isn't so terrible. I am almost warm after about 20 minutes - in that I am actually kind of cold but might as well tell myself I am warm kind of way.

I guess I am ready for the mile repeats. I only have to do 2 for Pete's sake.  Suck it up. 

I start out slow and build to a solid tempo pace, the icy sleet stinging my face as I run.  As I pick up speed I begin to feel better about this run, like it was maybe worth it to leave the warmth of the house to head into the cold, wet outside.  The first repeat complete, I run easily for a few minutes before starting the second repeat.  This one went much like the first, except I think I am faster and feel more solid. 

I almost wish for another one. 


I run a cool down instead, sticking to the plan.  I prepare for drills.  As my body starts to cool down, the pull to just get into my truck and skip the drills is compelling.  Ice, snow, and water are running in my eyes and mouth, and now down my back because I heated up on the repeats and took off my hood. Not the brightest move.

I am cool again, not shivering, but on the edge.  Tell myself, I am almost done.  I will myself to keep going.  This is crazy, it hasn't been an hour and I am wanting to quit?  SUCK IT UP.  I hop, skip, kick, and sprint through my drills, concentrating on doing them well, but really just wanting to get this over with. 

Then I am done.  I stand there for a minute, looking down the empty road.  It strikes me that in the hour I have been here, not a single vehicle has gone by.  The sleet has coated the trees in a thin coat of ice; the road is covered in a slick of slushy ice and snow.  I listen for a minute to the wind whipping across the frozen pond, to the ice balls falling from the sky.

I start to shiver.  I put my head down and walk back to my truck and head home to dryness and warmth.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Muttley Monday - Guest Dogger

Bailey decided that it was time to highlight one of his loyal followers, Ginga.

Ginga is Jason (from CookTrainEatRace) and Karen's pug.  As you can see, she advises Jason on all of his blog posts.
Then write about the treats! YEAH YEAH!

She was kind of sad when Jason and Karen were gone this past weekend...Seriously, look at this face.
Jason and Karen had an incredible greeting when they got home, Ginga is a sweet girl.  Congrats to Jason on a kick butt race!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Weekend Recap

This weeks swim included a swim test.   My last swim test I came in at 2:23/100yds.  I know that is many of your 200 yrd paces (yes, I am jealous).  I do not come from a swimming background at all.

Sure, I was (am) a whitewater raft guide, but most of our swimming involves being pushed down the river wearing a life jacket, timing your breathing so you do not breath in when the next wave hits you, and then Tarzan swimming your butt off away from the nasty stuff and toward where you want to go. 

Pool swimming and triathlon swimming are much harder, trust me.

Anyway, I did the swim test this weekend and I am now at 2:01/100 yards - that is a 22 second/100 yard improvement only going to the pool 1 time a week.  I am more than happy with that, and 100% credit my coach Ange for getting me there.  Sure, I did the workouts (and that FREAKING DRIVE), but she planned them and I definitely couldn't have made that kind of improvement without her guidance. 

Oh yes, I plan to be under 2:00/100 yards on the next test for sure.

I got to ride outside today! YEAH.  I was stoked, today called for a high of 40 degrees and I took my road bike Rico out to do the bike portion of today's brick workout.  It was super windy but I ended up riding 16 miles in 54:25 which is include a stop to unlock my rear break from my rear tire.

Yes, I am a bonehead.

I thought it was awfully hard to pedal. I was kind of freaking out about it thinking I was WAY out of shape, I couldn't even pick up speed down hill. I rode 2 miles DYING thinking...WTF is going on here?  And what is that squeaky sound?


Anyway when I was messing with my break, a bald eagle flew by (we see a lot of them as they nest on the nearby river and lake) and landed in the white pine tree.  I tried to get closer but it flew off, so this is the best picture I got of it.
Blurry Bald Eagle.  Crappy picture, I know, but I had to give Jon proof.
Just to give an idea what we have left for snow...and the road also is FULL of sand, so you have to be super careful riding.  I am thinking of putting off taking out my new bike until this gets cleaned up some more.
Pretty good sized snowbanks still....
The one thing that I couldn't live without is my Pearl Izumi Barrier Shoe Covers. My feet were super happy and warm on my ride today.  These babies rank up there with my favorite pieces of gear.

I transitioned quickly and hit the road.  I felt super strong on this run, nothing too much to say except it was a really gorgeous day and the river was all sparkly.  I ran 6.4 miles in 58:28 which is a 9:08 pace.  I want to get closer to 8:30, because that is where I was before last year's injury, but I am happy with this run.
Kennebec River looking south.
Sled-olympics (or what happens when you get a bunch of raft guides together in the off-season)

Fulfilling my minimum 2 times a week of non-triathlon stuff, I spent some time with some friends sledding.  There is this awesome hill behind our house.  It is the hill we took the kids sledding on with the mini raft but this time since it was all adults, we thought it was a really good idea to build a kicker. 
Building the kicker (we are trained professionals, don't try this at home)
The shuttle (we are trained professionals, don't try this at home)

Before too long it turned into a competition to see who could get the most air.  The next logical step was to do an Evel Knievel type thing, so the sled could jump people.  
(we are trained professionals, don't try this at home)
I have some great video of this stuff, but I just don't have time to post it right now.  The winner (competing for bragging rights) went almost 20 feet before landing! Here is a photo of my nephew Luke in the air.
Luke trying to beat the record. (we are trained professionals, don't try this at home)
That's a wrap on the weekend recap! 
This week: Rest/Recovery week
Swim: 3800 yds

Bike: 78 miles

Run: 15 miles
96 miles total

Friday, April 1, 2011

April Fools

Thursday, March 31, 2011

I Am A Cool Kid..

Short girl can get some air!

Yeah. I've. Freaking. GOT. This.  114 days to IMLP

Thanks Emz!  You. Freaking. Rock.  (And Peanut, Muttley and I thought your note was extra special, thank you so much.)

I think Emz is doing something super cool crazy.  She is doing a 24 hour treadmill run (oh. MY. god. I haven't spent 24 minutes on a treadmill. In. my. LIFE.) to raise money for the Sojourner Center - the nations largest domestic violence shelter.  If you want to donate to Emz's run, go on over to her blog and hit the donate button at the top right. 


March numbers
Swim ~ 14,080 yds - I didn't miss a week of the 90 min "swim drive"
Bike ~ 376 miles - On. The. FING. Trainer.
Run ~ 94 miles
H2O Audio - Beat The Boredom