Thursday, January 27, 2011

Packing....

Basically this week I have been obsessed with our upcoming trip Baxter State Park.  I have ran and biked every day, but I am having a hard time talking about that because I am slightly distracted (shiny things are everywhere!)  Today was an 11 mile run on the Boise Road (a dirt road near my house that is semi-plowed) that was really nice.  I liked it even better when I found out I had run almost 12 miles (that really drops that pace!)

Let's get back to that trip.  I thought we were leaving today. We leave tomorrow. Oops. 

We usually bring our own breakfasts, lunches, and snacks, and do group dinners with our friends.  The dinner cooks wear aprons with naked ladies on them.  Well, they have basil leaves and tomatoes in key areas, so they are not really naked.  Wearing these are mandatory and the aprons are mine. 

Don't ask.

So as far as trip food goes...I have been working really hard to eat clean with a diet focused on plants for the past month.  I have eaten meat, just a whole lot less of it.  On these trips - where we are carrying all of our food on our backs and skiing many miles in the cold - I throw all of that out the window for convenience, weight (of items), and...well, eating stuff I normally don't.

Enter the McMuffin. 

I eat oatmeal every day and I love it.  I know it is light, healthy, and easy to carry. Yadda yadda yadda.  Oatmeal is my back-up in case we are there for an unexpected extra day.  Yes, I could just make these sammies myself and save some $ and make them more healthy.  I know all of that, but there is something kind of fun of skiing 30 miles into the north Maine woods to a camp, waking up, and getting a McMuffin.  I unwrap them, then foil wrap them, label them, and freeze them (after they cool). They stay frozen and keep the whole trip (this only works in the winter for obvious reasons).

All the guys are jealous when John and I throw our egg sammies on wood stove and they are gumming on their instant oatmeal. 
Yes, that one is mine. Let me be OCD and label everything even if it is the same in both bags.
I love Justin's Nut Butter. Seriously.  Their squeeze packs are perfect because they fit well in a pack and are super convenient.  I get the honey and maple flavored ones and don't bring jelly, because, well...It is just a pain.  The great thing about these babies is that you can eat them out of the package or make them into a roll-up sandwich with a tortilla.
Think I have enough???
It was very hard for me not to split these up evenly and label bags as John and Mandy. John wasn't sure about the almond butter, which is fine by me, that is my favorite.

I would say those are the two key items on my winter trips (that have a wood stove available).  The rest of the stuff we may or may not bring with us looks like this right now:
The phone and the dime are not coming for sure.
That is the scoop right now, we are going to organize this stuff (along with clothes, sleeping bags, etc) into 2 packs so we can grab and go after work tomorrow. 

I just now realized that all of my warm stuff is dirty from running this week and must be washed (it didn't pass the sniff test).  Must do laundry now. Have a great week everyone, I have a few posts scheduled - one is a review of a product I love love love and the other is ofcourse, Muttley Monday. 

Thanks for reading!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Muttley Monday - I Embarass Him

I thought it would be a kind of fun to take some pictures of Bailey and I...I don't think he was all that psyched.
Whatever. Take the picture weirdo. 
Ewwww Mooommmm! Did you have to kiss me?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sunday Random Stuff

  • I am getting really excited for my 5 day vacation in Baxter State Park.  I have talked about this place so many times, it is a really special place and I love it in the winter.  You have to work hard to get there, so there is pretty much no one around.
  • Baxter State Park, looking at Katahdin
    We have a great crew and an excellent plan, we will be skiing about 60 miles on this trip carrying all of our supplies on our back and sleeping in bunkhouses that have woodstoves and plywood bunks.  John and I have been getting our gear together and are looking forward to it.  Bailey will be staying with my parents eating cheese and pouting for the 5 days we are gone.  I am scheduling some posts for when I am gone.
  • My bike isn't ready yet.  I promise to you bike porn when I get it.  Sorry to be a tease.
  • Every time I swim I come home with a clogged nose.  This doesn't happen to me in the summer, so I am thinking chlorine and my nose are not friends. My team mate Andree suggested nose plugs, so I am going to give it a try and see if it helps.  Jason did make the really good suggestion of using a neti pot post swim, which would be great to try if I wasn't so clogged when I get out of the pool.  Anyone else have this problem?  
  • Speaking of swimming, I think I am getting better.  I have gone from 2:20/100yds to 2:00.  I would love to get another 20 seconds of improvement, which I know would happen if I could get to the pool a little more. I have already swam more this winter than all of last winter.  I wish I could go more than once a week, but as I have said before, the pool is a 90 minute drive, and once a week is all I can fit in.
  • Only 181 days until Ironman Lake Placid!
  • It isn't too cold right now, but this is going to be %$#! cold tonight, but warms right back up tomorrow..ha (check out the real feel temps below the big numbers):
This week:
Swim: 2850yds
Bike: 78 miles (I have a 1hr trainer ride tonight, estimating 18-20 more miles)
Run: 18 miles (I have a 3 mile run tonight after my ride.  On the treadmill if it is -23 and feels like -48)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Bike Porn Preview...and other things

If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you already know this...but I came home to find this waiting for me:

My Kestrel Airfoil!!
Thank you Kestrel for supporting Team Trakkers!  You guys seriously rock. And thank you Team Trakkers for making it possible for this bike to be sitting on my porch.  Pinch me, this can't be really happening!

So I tried really hard to work and not open it.  I really honestly did. But I work at home and it was right there winking at me.  I think I even heard it saying something like, "HEY! How long are you going to keep me in here and hide my awesomeness?"

So I had to break it open...
Oh.  Um. What do I do with that?
And I got scared. So I put it back in the box immediately. I can change a tire and grease a chain...but this putting a brand new bike together thing was kind of scary.  So I called my LBS and asked them to put it together. As Matty O told me, "I will pay someone to make it into a bike instead of a cool pile of shiny goodness."

So no bike porn. Yet.  But here is what it is going to look like, a kind of porn preview:
I will be rocking on this at Ironman Lake Placid, only 184 days away!!
The bike (it isn't named yet, and I am not sure if it is a girl or a boy.) is at my LBS now, I am going there on Saturday to get fitted and make some adjustments, so should have some good bike porn for you on Sunday. 

I am looking at getting a FIST fit to really dial it in - has anyone done that?  Any thoughts? Worth it? Not so much?

In other news...
I ran 8 miles in this on Tuesday night:
Huh. This will be interesting.
Here are a few more pictures from the run..
Wow. I look kind of psycho.
This looks better than it was.  Lets just say this was a slog.
I ran back and forth on a 1.5 mile section of dirt road near my parents house. I ran back and forth, back and forth...until I got to 7.5 miles.  And then I thought, well crap.  I had to run 8.  So I ran a little extra, I think it was actually more than 8 in the end.

It was really the only safe place to run as it was snowing so hard that my tracks were filling up on each loop.  My father was driving home the back way, (this road is the back way) and stopped and said, "Yeah Man!! So..I saw someone running, and I thought to myself, who is the idiot out running in this crap? Oh. It is my daughter." ha ha.  I thought that was so funny.  His truck made me some tracks to run in which was awesome.

Anyway, that is pretty much my week so far.  Oh. I saw a mama and baby moose while I was at work on Tuesday.   See:
The baby's butt is facing the camera.  Mooned by a moose, yet again.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Muttley Monday - Skiing

Bailey isn't much of a skier, but he had fun running up Baker Mountain with my buddy Steve and I yesterday.  He likes to be first going up, but is usually last coming down.

WHAT is taking you guys so long????
Yup, I guess he is a powder hound just like me.
Have a great day everyone!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Today I...

Ran...
Biked...
Yes, History channel, yet again.
Ran again...
It is really weird when the only foot prints you ever see are you own.

Then my buddy Steve was up and he wanted to test out his new AT (alpine touring) set up he just got along with some climbing skins.  These are made of mohair (used to be seal skins back in the day, thus the name) and attach to the base of your ski with this sticky stuff (that is the technical name, sticky stuff).  They break in one direction and slide in the other and allow you to climb.  You take them off when you ready to ski downhill.

Anyway, I have telemark set-up, so I told him I would help him break the new gear in at the local ski hill (10 miles away) that is currently closed.  It isn't steep and is a great place to practice and get used to new equipment.
Here I am putting my skins on.
Steve starting to climb, with Bailey in the background.
My tele-boots are happy to have snow on them.
I like this shot of the 2 sets of skin tracks...some powder!
Get it? Unload here?  Yes, we act like a couple of 12 year old boys..

Steve's first unskinning....I showed him how to do it without taking off his skis later.
Skiing down was fun, it always is, that is the whole point of going up.
Lots of snowmobile tracks to the right eating up our powder. 
Steve loved his new set up, we skinned up twice.   Since I was blacked out this weekend at Sugarloaf, I was super happy to get a few runs in, and it is always fun to hang with Steve. 

It was a good day.

This week:
Swim: 2800 yards
Bike: 95 miles on trainer
Run: 24 miles
121 miles total.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Caratunk Treadmill - The Tour..sort of

So I was having a really tough time motivating myself to get out the door today for my 8 mile run.  I am a little ashamed to say that I hit snooze on the alarm this morning, knowing that SUAR and Miss Zippy would do anything to go out and run 8 miles pain free right now (heal quickly you guys - and yes, you are both running Boston). 

Then I got home from work and procrastinated even more and diddled around with different projects.  Suddenly it was dark and I had to get my run in.  So I headed under the bright lights of Caratunk to run the Caratunk Treadmill.

I always kind of dread running this route, the repetitiveness gets to me.  But really, it is a nice run and once I get out there I always enjoy it and am happy I did it.  It is kind of weird to me how the anticipation or dread of something is almost always way worse than the actual doing of that thing.

It was 6 degrees and dark when I stepped outside for my run, and the roads were covered in about 1 inch or so of packed snow - which is like running in sand.  I figure more bang for your buck, right?
Wee, let me waste a little more time before I get running...
Oh. You might notice or think I am not wearing much for single digits.  I run really hot.  I don't wear gloves until it gets below zero, my hands warm up really fast when I run, but are always cold when I ski. Figure that out.  My friend Beth thinks I am nuts to go without gloves, but they turn into a pain for me, I just end up carrying them in the first 5 minutes.  So, I go out on the colder side of comfort and almost always warm up within the first mile and am shedding layers. 

About the Caratunk Treadmill.  I have mentioned this a few times before, but the Caratunk Treadmill is what I run when I have to run and it is dark. I have added to it since THIS post to make it a little longer.  Really, it is my only option that doesn't involve dodging log trucks.  It isn't an actual treadmill, because I am allergic to those deathtraps.  Seriously, I am somehow just not coordinated enough to stay on the things.  Don't believe me? Read THIS (it is embarrassing story #2).

Done laughing?  It is OK, I laugh every time I think about it.  Now you understand my treadmill problem.  Moving on.

Here is a map of the Caratunk Treadmill, which is really the places in town that are lit up, which adds up to a ~ 3.6 mile loop.  So you go back and forth until you get the mileage you want for your run.

Oh. The map, right:
The blue line is the Caratunk Treadmill - where the lights are.

It isn't as bad as it looks, trust me.

I thought it would be kind of fun to show you a virtual tour of what I call the Caratunk Treadmill, let you get a really good feel for the run through town.  What happened was I ended up with 15 pictures that look kind of like this:
The dark and scary south end of town
The bright and boisterous north end of town.
Um. Yeah.  That is about it.  So it is dark, the road is snowy, and there are not many people around.  You don't have to see 13 more of those pictures.  On the spooky south end of town where there are not many houses, you can hear the coyotes howling sometimes.  That coupled with the fact that I have an over active imagination makes me run faster on that end of town.  I swear the smoke monster from LOST was chasing me through the south end of town on my second loop tonight.

I told you, over active imagination and too much sci-fi.
The moon that the coyotes howl at.
My run went well considering the traction issues I had, some places were not so bad, others, it was kind of deep.  I finished the run in 1h17m, including photo stops.  Have a great night!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Muttley Monday - Grand Falls

Bailey, John and I skied (then walked/hiked due to lack of snow - very sad!) into Grand Falls on the Dead River this weekend.  It was lots of fun. 
Who brought the snacks?

John looking at Grand Falls - the river right half anyway.

Well, if you guys are going to look at the silly waterfall and not feed me, I am going to rest.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Northern Exposure

So there is this thing about me.  I have not worn a bathing suit since I was very young.  Like 6.  I was am a tomboy through and through.  See, I noticed that all the boys wore shorts when they swam, and I wanted to wear shorts too.  My mother made me wear a top, which I didn't understand until I was 12.

Anyway, up until sometime in December of 2010, I still wore shorts (tri shorts) and a tankini or a tri top when I swam.  I didn't think it was all that weird until I started frequenting the pool on a regular basis.  This is the first year that I have gotten to the pool every week since the lake got too cold to swim in.  Usually I get to the pool a few token times in the winter and then hit the early season completely out of swim shape.  Once the lake is swimmable (is that a word? I am making it a word.), I am out there much more frequently.

This year is different, with an Ironman on the horizon (just 196 days away), I am swimming every week.  This might not seem like very often, but the closest pool is 85-90 minutes away, so once a week is an effort I am proud of.  I understand this is light years away from what I should be doing to get better, but it is what I have to work with.


At the end of December, I finally bought a suit.  I actually bought 3 out of a grab bag from Splish.  I picked Splish because I thought they had really fun suits and I went with the grab bag because I am cheap.  I was really nervous that I would get something hideous like a pink suit (I also do not like pink. At all. I am 99% guy I swear) but they came and I actually liked them and I wore the first one without incident.  I actually felt like more of a swimmer wearing the suit, maybe even faster!

The next week (this was today) I thought, what the heck, I am going to give that black one a whirl.

That one, well, we had a little incident.

I was feeling pretty good, waltzing into the pool with my shiny new black suit on, a bathing suit still a novelty to me.  The straps were different on this one, but it looked like it fit good, it felt good, and I thought I was pretty cool.  I grabbed my stuff (pull buoy and kick board) and smiled at the nice young man who was lucky enough to have lifeguard duty today.  I had a wall lane and he was sitting right next to that lane.  I actually picked this lane, and there were others free.  This makes this even better.

I jump in and start my warm up.  I do one stroke, and my left boob is out of my suit.  What?  I push it back in and do another stroke. Right boob, out of the suit.  Seriously? Get back in there you. Now I don't want to stop, because I figure I am really going to draw some attention if I stop.  I mean, I am so close to this 20 year old life guard I can see the color of his eyes (blue) and now if I stop, I am right even with him and I am not even really sure everything is in the suit.

That would make this even more awkward.

So I keep going.  Stroking and putting my boobs back in the suit.  I thought that was the longest 25 yards of my life, except that for me to get to the locker room to change into the "safe suit" I need to swim back.  I think, "Maybe he didn't notice, I am just being paranoid."  I look over at the lifeguard.

When I make eye contact with him he looks down really quick at his book of calculus, seeming to be very judicioiusly studying, except that he has a huge smile on his face.

Crap.  He noticed.

OK I just need to get back across this lane.  I figured the breast stroke would be safe (no pun intended).  So I tried it, and when I started to get some speed (like on the first frog kick), the front of the suit filled up with water and both of my boobs popped out the sides of the suit.

Not even kidding.  I wish I could make this up.  That was much harder to try and fix as part of your stroke, because...well...you guys are going to have to figure out why.  I switch back to freestyle, figuring it would be faster.  Stroke, put the boob back, stroke, put the boob back...It turns out that THAT was the longest 25 yards of my life.

I pull myself out of the pool and run to the locker room and change into the suit from last week, which fortunately I brought with me.  The young lifeguard didn't even look up at me when I came back in, but he stayed in that chair for my entire swim - maybe hoping for another show.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Courage

I spent yesterday at the Lafayette Family Cancer Center with my grandfather.  Soon after entering the building, we were directed to the front desk to check my grandfather in.  After filling out piles of paperwork, the receptionist handed him this 1/2 inch thick plastic black half-circle shaped tag to clip to his shirt. It wasn't huge, it was about 2 inches across and had a green switch like thing on it.  Inside of this gadget was a microchip that had all of his information.  He clipped it to his shirt and we joked a little about him being scanned like at the grocery store. 

As we sat in different waiting areas and walked around to various appointments,  I couldn't help but note all of the people who were wearing the black tags, and their tag-less family members with them.  I really hated seeing those things, but of course they were everywhere at the cancer center.  I knew what that tag meant in this building.  Cancer.  The dreaded "C" word that has taken so much from so many.   

I was thinking about this when I was on my run - the people with the tags, my grandfather, the families without the tags.  Then something hit me (a thought, not a truck or a moose).  

The "C" word that those black badges represent is not cancer. 

No way.  I have decided that those badges represent courage.  It was everywhere in that building.  Not the big loud courage we often hear about and gets all the press - I am talking about the quiet strong courage present in our everyday lives.  You don't have to go to a cancer center to find it, but it took me going there and reflecting on the run to really understand what Lt. John B. Putnam Jr meant when he said, Courage is not the lack of fear, but the ability to face it.

I saw it in the piercing blue stare of the young girl wearing a scarf on her head. 

Courage.

In the elderly lady leading 10 relatives down the corridor, head held high.

Courage.

In the couple holding hands sitting across from us, the husband holding back his tears; his wife saying quietly, "I am going to be OK.  I am going to fight."

Courage. 

In my 90 year old grandfather, shaking off the news and staring it down, ready to fight.

Courage.

Thinking about this really fired up my run, and inspired me to work even harder to be my best.  This same thing is going to fuel my 2011.  Thinking of their courage is going to get me through the dark hours on the bike, past the lonely long runs, the rough open water swims that are all sure to come and be part of my training.  It doesn't take courage to do the easy stuff.  It is when things get hard that you have to remind yourself  how lucky you are just to be out there, and push on.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Muttley Monday - Riding Shotgun

Bailey goes to work with me most days.  He likes riding shotgun.
Hey when you run in the store to pay for your gas, grab me a Slim Jim!
It is kind of hard to keep him from chattering all the time on the CB...
Breaker breaker, is it lunch time yet?
And really, mostly, he likes to sleep on the console...
Um, mom, your elbow is in my nose..

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Welcome 2011!!

No big surprise, my plans for 2011 mostly surround Ironman Lake Placid (only 203 days away!!!)

2011 Plans....

January 28 - February 2 - Baxter ski trip kind of like THIS one
February 6 - Mid Winter 10 Mile Classic
April 16 - Tuckerman Inferno (relay)
May ? - 100 Miles to Nowhere
May 15 - Sugarloaf 15k
May 20 - 22 - Fireman Ironman Camp
June 5 - Rev3 Quassy Half Rev
July 24 - Ironman Lake Placid
August - Baxter Trip similar to THIS one

Um. Mandy, what about the fall?
I am feeling kind of non-committal with races post-Ironman right now - mostly because I am trying to figure out if I can swing going to another Rev 3 event or not.  I would love to go to see my team mates and meet some of my blog buddies that are going to be there, I am just not sure that I can get there with time off from work and, well, cash. 

I am feeling pretty sure that I want to do the Maine Marathon this fall.  I have done that race as a relay before and it is pretty cool.  Beyond that, I just am not sure. 

So my fall could look like this:

September 11 - Rev 3 Cedar Point (Half Rev)
October 2 - Maine Marathon

OR it could look like this:
September 11 - Pumpkinman Triathlon (HIM)
October 2 - Maine Marathon

OR it might even look like this:
September 10 - Lobsterman Triathlon (Oly)
October 2 - Maine Marathon

So there it is folks, my 2011 plans.  I am looking forward to what 2011 has to bring, and I feel like I am starting 2011 in much better shape than I started 2010, so that is a really great thing in my mind.

I wish you all the very best the new year has to offer, and thanks for following my journey!