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

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Nugget

Yesterday my man John, my buddy Steve, and I snowmobiled over to a secret little back country ski spot, we are calling "The Nugget".  Well, that is what Steve calls it.  It is a sweet little chute that is fairly accessible if you are willing to work a little to get there, Caratunk's own little private stash of back country skiing.

"The Nugget" - that white line down the center of the mountain
As you can see, we are in full on winter still around here.  And I know it looks all sunny and warm, but yesterday it there was a high of about 20 degrees with a windchill factor of WTF (for you Jon - ha ha). Seriously, it was not typical spring skiing weather at all, more like mid-Feburary than mid-March.

We snowmobiled across Pleasant Pond (my swimming pool, to give you an indication when I will be getting into open water to swim) and on a local snowmobile trail. Someone had to ride in the tote sled that was behind the snowmobile.

We picked Steve because he was the only one with a helmet.  Things went well for the most part.
The purple sled is for wind protection.  We are all about safety.
Except we dumped him out of the sled twice.
I made him lay back down to re-enact the crash.
After John and I were done laughing made sure Steve was OK, we loaded everything back in and kept going to The Nugget.  We put our skins on our skis (these attach to the base of your ski, so you can ski up hill)
Climbing skins

It was a short 15 minute ski to the bottom of the chute. 

The Nugget, lower portion
It was a good 45 minute climb to the top with really awesome views to the northeast. 

Check out the wind blowing the snow around.  It was blowing pretty hard.
We had tons of fun skiing down, conditions were really nice, some powder, some ice, some crud.  Lots of face plants (funny, we didn't take pictures of that!)   If this weather stays cold like it is supposed to, this hill will be skiable into April.  We will definitely hit it again this year.

I love where I live, I love that I can ride into the woods for 20 minutes and find a place to ski that is this good, and I just really feel fortunate that I am surrounded by people who love to be outside as much as I do.

After a 10 mile run in the morning and this playing around in the afternoon, I was pretty wiped out and ready for this rest/recovery week. 

117 days until Ironman Lake Placid

Muttley Monday - Barkwheats WINNERS

Bailey is kind of tired from his busy weekend, so he asked me to pick the two winners of his giveaway. He wanted to say thank you to everyone who entered.

The winners were picked using

The first winner of 2 10oz boxes of Barkwheats dog treats is Tracy from Our Life with 3 Guys and a Doll!

The second winner of 2 10oz boxes of Barkwheats dog treats is Kovas from Midwest Multisport Life!

Congratulations!  Send me an email to manfarr1974 (at) yahoo (dot) com with your address and what 2 flavors of Barkwheats you would like to try (well, that you think your dog would like to try.  You can try them too if you want to.)

Thank you all for entering!  Have an awesome day!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

First Quarter Report Card...

I am copying Big Daddy Diesel and DRog and doing an evaluation of my last quarter in Ironman training.
  • Swim - B+ ~ I am giving myself the plus for making the drive every week all winter, and for flashing the little lifeguard.  I have been hitting all of my scheduled workouts, and have seen some dramatic improvement.  I now feel a difference between hard, moderate, and easy swimming, and can recover on the swim instead of doggie paddling or breast stroking to recover.  That is HUGE for me, it used to be just all hard. I credit my coach with this improvement (thank you so much Ange!)  This is still without a doubt my weakest event, but I am already a better swimmer now than I was at the end of last season, so I am happy with that.
  • Bike - B ~ I haven't missed a workout, and I have had a few 3hr + trainer rides.  I do think I am spinning better but need to focus more on my intensity.  I think HR training is really helping me here, and I gave myself a B because I think I can do a lot better and have more focus.  Sometimes I ride and look down and realize I am not riding all that hard or as hard as I should be.  Need. More. Focus.
  • Also, I am very anxious to get outside. 
  • Run - B- ~ Like with the bike, I haven't missed a workout.  That is really good and I am happy with that, but I have not been pushing myself as much as I should.  I do intensity pretty well, but on longer runs, not so much.  For example, when I am told to do repeats, I do them at intensity - so for short bursts - but to run 10 miles in zone 2 requires focus on my part.  Running in my zone 2 does not come easily to me, and this is because I have spent most all of my running years running in zone 1 and spacing out.  This is a hard habit to break, and running 10 miles in zone 2 feels a lot different than running 10 miles in zone 1 with your head in the clouds.  I need to work on my focus when I am running and do a better job at keeping my head in the game.
  • Nutrition - C ~ I would say I get an A for breakfast, a D for lunch, a B- for dinner, and a C for snacks.  Lunch is hardest for me, I am usually driving through lunch, I can't sit down and eat or warm something up.  It is just the nature of my job.  I have been working on tackling that, and know that if I skip any meal or don't get my morning/afternoon snack (I am like a pre-schooler) I lose control of my eating.  
  • I am doing better now, but do have a portion control problem.  Along with a chocolate problem. And a pizza problem.  When I drive, I get bored, I eat. I started packing baby carrots for my longer rides, and this does work.  Anyway, I am working on bringing up this grade for next quarter.
  • Social/Family/Balance - B ~ I think this is really important because the pull of family and friends often is in conflict with Ironman training.  I plan on going out socially (or having someone at the house for dinner) at least 2x a week during training.  It might sound silly to have to plan that, but the fact is, it is really easy for me (and most people training for an IM) to get so focused on training (and the fact that Ironman Lake Placid is only 121 days away) that we neglect the ones who we actually need to support us - our friends and family.  I am going to work hard to not let that happen to me.
  • Rest/Recovery - A- ~ I am a pretty good at taking days off and following that part of my schedule.  A problem I have is that work often forces me to have a very non-restful day of snowshoeing on my scheduled rest days.  
  • Oh, and next week is a rest week..ahhh.
    Don't forget to enter Bailey's Barkwheat's Giveaway!
    E. McLaughlin photo

Monday, March 21, 2011

Muttley Monday - Barkwheats Review and Giveaway

Bailey likes his treats.

He gets one when ever he comes in, whenever he stares at the treat jar, and pretty much whenever he wants, so I thought it was fitting for him to do a review of his favorite treats, Barkwheats

For his review, Bailey is trying the Ginger and Parsley flavor treats.

I let him inspect the packaging (I buy by the 1 lb bag), he almost tore a hole in it.
Oh good, I get the WHOLE bag all to myself!
Maybe that wasn't the best idea.

I could tell he liked how they smelled. So I decided to let him try one.
Give me that Barkwheat!

Crunch, crunch, yummy, crunch, crunch
I gave him another one, to make sure he liked them.
I love product testing!! This is GREAT
My Take
I for one am a huge fan of Barkwheats because they are a Maine company who supports the local economy by using primarily local ingredients in their products.  I also like how they operate - with a triple bottom line - meaning all stakeholders are considered in their business.  You can read more about Barkwheats Mission HERE, but here is some information from their website:
Barkwheats are all-natural, grain-free, wheat-free dog biscuits baked with organic, local & fair trade ingredients, and come in 100% biodegradable packaging. We chose ingredients that are easily produced in our home state of Maine and have great nutritional value, such as parsley, sea vegetables, pumpkin, blueberries, sage, chamomile, lavender & honey.
Our Ginger & Parsley flavor biscuit is the first ever pet product to carry the Fair Trade Certified™ label, empowering farmers and farm workers to lift themselves out of poverty by investing in their farms and communities.
So, do you want your dog to have a chance to try some Barkwheats?   
Bailey is having his first giveaway.  There will be two winners - each of the two winners will receive two 10oz boxes of Barkwheats in the flavors that they (their dog) choose.  So 2 winners, each get 2 boxes of treats for their best buddy.  Winners will be drawn using

There are 4 ways to enter (please leave a separate comment for each entry):
1. Be a follower of this blog, leave a comment.
2. Go to the Barkwheats web page and leave a comment here telling me something interesting you found there.
3. Like Barkwheats on Facebook - Leave me a comment to tell me you did so.
4. Follow Barkwheats on Twitter.  Leave a comment to tell me you did so.

The contest will run from today through Sunday 3/27.  Bailey will announce the winners on Monday 3/28.

Thanks for reading!

Mandy and Bailey

Disclaimer: This review shows Bailey's honest opinion of the product.  And mine I guess.  He likes them. 

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Seen at the Gym, and Today's Run

Yesterday I showed up at my gym for my Saturday swim to find that the lifeguard had gotten drunk the night before and didn't show up for work.  All the other lifeguards were at the party (and probably also hungover) and no one could get in touch with them.

So the pool was closed.

After driving an hour and a half, it wasn't the news I wanted to hear.  I promised I wouldn't drown, but they just couldn't let me in (I get why, but I had to ask anyway).  I sat down, bummed, trying to figure out what to do.

So there I was, feeling kind of sorry for myself and gauging the distance to the next pool, when Dyana walked through the door.  She was last semester's lifeguard (I swim at a college pool), who I hadn't seen at the pool since the new year.  Looking like she was ready to hit the gym herself, she asked the girls at the front desk what was going on.

They talked for a minute, she looked at me.  Then she said she would lifeguard for two hours or until they found someone, whatever came first.

Yes, she is incredibly cool.  It was definitely her day off and I am pretty sure she took that shift because I was sitting in the corner looking completely pathetic.  I need to figure out a really good way to thank her.   

So that she saved my swim.  4050 yards later, I went into the locker room to change and stepped into an unknown level of hell.  About 5 women in their 50's - 70's were walking around naked with their towels IN THEIR HANDS.

Actually, that is not true.  One of them had two towels - a towel on her head and one in her hand.  I guess at least she covered up the hair on her head.

This is a very small locker room. It is impossible to walk around it without bumping into people and parts of naked people.  These women were chatting and laughing as if they were standing around a coffee machine.

I would at least be a little cold after a while. 

I always pick a corner locker, and this time I was super thankful, because I could look into that corner and not have to see what was going on behind me.  I looked into the corner and got dressed as quickly as possible.  I turned around, figuring that they would all be dressed by then.


Still holding towels, still chatting away, arching their backs, laughing.  I got out of there STAT.

Today's Run
On a completely different note, I thought I would try posting a video from today's run (fully clothed).  This is my first video that I have posted here that I shot myself, I really don't know what I am doing with this stuff.

I don't know if it worked or not. I think it did, at least it did on my preview. 

I talk about the Boise Road a lot on this blog, and I do most of my runs over 6 miles there.  I thought it would be fun to show you where I like to run, on the run.   It is a snowmobile trail now if you get all technical, but I prefer to call it my personal running trail.

So anyway, this was shot on the run today on the Boise Road with my borrowed dog Austin (Bailey is NOT a runner) - this is what it looked like here today.

This week:
Swim: 4050 yards
Bike: 101 miles
Run: 23 miles
12 hours

Friday, March 18, 2011

It is Getting Warmer!

Yesterday we had weather in the low high 40's to low 50's - it was awesome.  I could have ran in shorts if they were not buried underneath all of my winter crap.  I am so used to bundling up I don't think I believed it was really that warm out.

I went with running tights and a thin long sleeve shirt with a wind breaker vest.  I was hot as Hades for the entire run.  I mean, look at me, I am bright red and sweating my butt off.

I am a little overdressed...

I guess I should have dug out my warm weather stuff.

You might be wondering why the heck I didn't take my bike outside since it was so warm.   Well the truth is I just didn't want to deal with taking it off the trainer, changing the rear tire, riding, changing the rear tire, putting it back on the trainer (because it will snow again).  Lame excuse, but it is the truth.

That and I only had a run scheduled yesterday.

And there is approximately a foot of sand in the road and I don't want to take my new bike out in that yet.

See, listen to me, I am nothing but a bunch of lame excuses.  Apparently I didn't want to ride outside that badly.

Anyway, I am working on my roadie tonight so I can get it outside and keep my tri bike on the trainer until I am ready to take it out.  Then I will probably switch them so I have another riding option in crappy weather this summer.  I stripped my roadie of some stuff and need to get that all put back on before I can ride it.

I love my Kestrel, it feels really great and I am sure I have a great fit thanks to Kurt at Personal Best Multisport.  But I do have a bit of a problem.  My lady parts are getting squished by the seat now that my pelvis is in a different position.  At first I thought I was just being wimpy so I tried to ignore it.  Then I messed with the seat. 

Nada.  I would say that the limiting factor in me staying aero is that it gets very owie down there so I sit back up.  It freaking hurts, and that is not a fun place to ice, let me tell you.

So I asked some folks and decided to order a Cobb Cycling V-Flow Max from (use code GOTRAKKERS for 15% off!) I am putting it on today for a 2 1/2 hr ride after work.  I am running off the bike for about 30 minutes so it will be a good test of the whole set up. 

Cobb Cycling V-Flow Max
I will let you know what I think, but I really like the design of this.  I am using a cloth so the metal on the seat does not get scratched or harmed in anyway so if it doesn't work for me I can return it.

Not a lot else here to say except that Bailey is planning a fun review of one of his favorite products on Monday that MIGHT include his very first giveaway.  

Monday, March 14, 2011

Muttley Monday - The Nose Knows

This week:
Swim: 3400yds
Bike: 96 miles
Run: 22 miles
11 hours/120 miles

Thursday, March 10, 2011

That ABC Thing

I do not have a ton to write about today, and I was saving the ABC thing everyone has been doing for a day when I was a bit...speechless (it doesn't happen very often).  ANYWAY, here are the ABCs of Caratunk Girl.

A - Age: 36 until April
B - Bed size: Queen - am I the only one in the blogsphere without a California King?
C - Chore you hate: is there one that I like?
D - Dogs?  Bailey of course!
Never miss a chance to put a picture of you pet in your blog.

E - Essential start to you day: breakfast.  I can't skip breakfast or else I eat everything in sight the rest of the day. 
F - Favorite Color: Blue
G - Gold or Silver: Silver
H - Height: 5' 1.25" (yes, the .25 counts) but I act I am like 6'3"
I - Instruments you play: None, but have been known to blow over to top of an empty beer bottle to an unknown tune.
J - Job Title:  Management Forester
K - Kids: None (does Bailey count?)
L - Live: Caratunk, Maine, population 60
M - Mom's name: Mary
N - Nickname: Man, Mand, Manderella, Mandykins, Shorty, Bam Bam (think Fred Flintstone), Scooter...I probably have some more but that is all I can think of.
O - Overnight hospital stays: None that I know of.
P - Pet Peeve -Being late.
Q - Quote from a movie: "I've got two guns. One for each of ya." and "Nonsense, I have not yet begun to defile myself." OH AND "Are you gonna do something, or just stand there and bleed?" all from Tombstone.  I love that movie and can probably recite most of the script.  Actually I typed out about 8 more quotes but just deleted it thinking I might have overdone it.
R - Right or Left handed? Right, but I think every guy I have ever dated was left handed. Isn't that a strange and uninteresting fact?
S - Siblings: None.
T - Time you wake up: In the winter 6ish, it is so cold and dark!! In the summer, 4:00-4:30.
U - Underwear...what kind of question is that? Yes I wear them.  This is my favorite picture of myself in them:
I wish I still had these.

V - Vegetable you dislike: Are olives vegetables?  I hate those.  All of them.
W - What makes you run late: Bad planning.
X - X-Rays you've had done: Teeth, knees
Y - Yummy food you make: I don't know - John likes the Beef Stroganoff that I make.
Z - Zoo, favorite animal:  I have never really been to the zoo, and am not really a big zoo fan (sorry zoo lovers).  Outside I really like otters though, they are my favorite animal because they just know how to have a good time.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Old Man and The Pool

I am the type of person people like to talk to.

You know, random people I don't know. 

It happens to me in grocery stores ("Excuse me, but where do you guys keep the Pop Tarts?"), in hotels ("Could you let your staff know my room - #232 needs towels?"), and in other random public places where I really don't want to talk to strangers, but they come to me to chat anyway.

It doesn't even matter how dirty I am or how badly I smell, people just like to talk to me.  I was in Phoenix, Arizona after my 18 day Grand Canyon trip.  There were 12 of us, and we had just gotten off the river.  We were over tanned and had sand and silt in every orifice you can imagine, and had just ridden in a dusty van the 30 hours or so it takes to get from Diamond Creek (on Hualapai land) to Phoenix.

Maybe it wasn't 30 hours.

Anyway we got to the hotel, and it was late, all of us had flights home the next morning and wanted things we hadn't seen in 18 days - like showers and flushing toilets.

We were all checking into our rooms, 12 of us crowded around the reservation desk - and this lady walks in and just starts talking to me.  There is no way I smelled good enough to randomly approach, but she just started blathering on and on about...something.  It took me about 5-10 minutes to extract myself from her, and I even felt a little guilty as I backed away and said, "Well nice talking to you, you probably noticed, I need a shower. Bye!"

I generally come out of these situations wondering what it is about me that makes me so...approachable.  I have never been thankful for that trait even if my friends find it hilarious that I collect people.

Which leads me to yesterdays swim.

I arrived later than normal, the roads were crappy and I wasn't into the drive (90 minutes for those who think I am being a wuss for not being into the drive).  I got there at the time when I am usually leaving, so the parking lot was full.  There were approximately 7,000 screaming kids in the three lanes that have the lines pulled for public swimming.  The other 3 lanes, saved for laps, each had a swimmer in them.  Two of the lanes had fast looking swimmer dudes in them, the other had this 80ish year old man kicking on his back wearing Teva Sandals.

The lifeguard put me with him. 

Actually, I figured it wasn't a bad idea, I was going to be there for more than an hour, and was willing to bet that this guy was on his way home within the next 15 minutes.  Then I would have the lane to myself which is what I am used to and really wanted anyway.

I begin my warm up (12 x 75 with 10 sec RI).  As I reached the end of my third 75, the old man was taking a break too.  I smiled hello as I looked past him at the clock.

He just started talking.

"I was run over with my tractor and was stuck under there for 8 hours.  My neighbor found me.  He saved me.  I used to swim like you. They said I wouldn't walk but I kept trying anyway.  I can walk now, I am not strong yet though. Here, look at my leg."

10 seconds more than blown by, I take a look and am shocked to see most of his right lower leg muscles look like they were shaved off.  I could see some damage on the upper part of his leg too.  His left calf was pretty muscular, so I can only imagine that the other was once the same.

I am suddenly looking at this "old man" kicking on his back much differently than I was before, and am much less annoyed (and a little embarrassed that I was annoyed in the first place) that he interrupted my swim to chat.

"Holy cow!  That looks nasty! So you are doing PT here?"

"Yes, it is better than it was.  I am lucky to be alive. I am 80 you know.  I had to tell my neighbor where my skidder was and he had use that to pull the tractor off of me."

I cringe.  Holy crap. That poor guy.  I just shake my head as he continues.

"It was my fault, I wasn't paying attention.  I had the blade down and I was working on (something mechanical that I do not understand. So I nodded as if I did).  And it just slipped and got me.  I protected my other leg with the one that got mangled. I was pinned to the ground and just couldn't move."

My swim is forgotten for the moment, I am immersed in this story, albeit it completely random and from a complete stranger, I am pulled in.

"I knew I was alone. I knew there was a chance that no one would find me. I could move my upper body though.  All I thought about was how to get out from under that blade, because I just didn't want to die there.  I was about to give up when my neighbor came.  Now I am just trying to get better and back out working on the farm."

I admire that man's spirit.  I would like to think I have that much fight in me - I mean, I think I do. But you never know until you are tested what is really in you, what you really have got inside.  I think that is why I love endurance sports - it allows you to push your limits and test yourself without having to be dropped in a crevasse or something that actually causes horrific injury (hopefully).

We talked a little more then he swam his last 25 and left and I had the lane to myself.  For once, I was pretty happy to be so approachable. I was given some much needed perspective - my measly 3hr drive that I am always whining about is nothing.  I mean, I am doing this to train for a race - not so that maybe I can walk and get my normal life back again some day.  I drove home feeling lucky and content, my perspective completely reset.

This week:
Recovery Week - Next Week, IM build starts (only 139 days to Ironman Lake Placid!)
Swim - 3500 yds
Bike - 41 miles
Run -  15 miles

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Thursday Randomness

Maine likes to focus on really important things...
You know, things like naming the Whoopie Pie Maine's State Dessert Treat before Pennsylvania can.

You see, this is very important for state officials to spend tax payer-funded time on.  I mean really, compared to job creation, welfare reform, financial reform, and childhood obesity, I can see how spending time and money on the Whoopie Pie is of utmost importance to the future of the state.  

For those of you that don't know what a Whoopie Pie is, basically it is two halves of chocolate cake filled with lard or shortening and sugar frosting. And it fits in your hand, so it is very convenient to chow down on the run.   Maine thinks the Whoopie Pie was invented in 1925 in Maine at LaBree's Bakery in Old Town. The problem is, Pennsylvania is pretty sure that the Whoopie Pie was created in their state by the Amish sometime in the mid-1800's, and they are very wound up about Maine wanting to claim the Whoopie Pie as their own.

I mean, really, look how angry these protesters are:

We can thank Maine Rep. Paul Davis (R - Sangerville) for sponsoring this bill.  Or really, he can thank us since we are paying for it. 

Cupcake Marathon
Just to show that I am not anti-dessert (I am just anti-our government wasting taxpayer money on a dessert) I am really excited to tell you I am signed up for the Cupcake Marathon over at Jason's blog CookTrainEatRace. You need to check out this virtual marathon (or half marathon)!  He and Christel have collected a bunch of sponsors for the race.  It is free to enter and you run the distance over 2 weeks in March.

Team Fight Raffle!
Have you visited Ben's blog yet?  You really should.  He is an awesome super inspiring guy.  He is doing Rev3 Cedar Point this year as his first Ironman distance race.  As if that wasn't enough of a challenge, he is working to raise $1500 for TEAM FIGHT.  He has put together an amazing raffle with some fantastic prizes.  Check it out HERE. 

So..that is what great recovery is all about..
I started using First Endurance nutrition a year ago.  I used the EFS drink and liquid shot last season and loved it, using it exclusively in my races (I did live off the land -use what was on the race course- some in my Half Ironman).  I had used Ultragen a bit last year (I scored a sample from a friend - sample being a few scoops from their supply into a baggie) and I really loved it.  I didn't have enough to try long term to really test it out, but had decided that I was going to get some for the upcoming season because I really liked their products.

Needless to say, I was THRILLED when I found out that First Endurance is a Team Trakkers sponsor for 2011.  I have been using Ultragen after my workouts for the past few weeks, and I have got to say - the stuff is seriously freaking awesome.  After hard workouts, I do not get as sore or tired as I did in the past.  This lets me hit the next workout stronger (and more mentally ready since I am not as tired) than I was before.  I like the Cappuccino, it mixes well with water and is super yummy.

Ironman Build Starts Next Week...
I got an email from my coach telling me to expect an increase in volume as "things are starting to build."  This week is a recovery week so the volume will be pretty low.  I am eager for the snow to melt and to get outside on my bike.  I really want to take a quick run to go for a swim instead of driving 90 minutes one way.  All this makes me appreciate the summer that much more.  The days are getting longer, and it will get here, I just am feeling a bit...impatient. 

142 days until Ironman Lake Placid

Feburary numbers
Swim: 12,300 yds (lets not talk about hours driving)
Bike: 279 miles (17 hours)
Run:  52 mile (13 hours)
XC Ski: 16 miles
H2O Audio - Beat The Boredom