Monday, February 28, 2011

Muttley Monday - I Hate Her


Sunday, February 27, 2011

Off Week


I saw this video of the Ironman Lake Placid swim start and it got me all fired up:



I am going to be IN that mosh pit in 146 days!

I needed to see that video and get excited.  I have the winter blues.  This is unusual for me, I am a winter lover, it is actually my favorite time of year.  I really think spring fever got the best of me this week.  I was really...off.  I mean, I have showed up to play, but my head just hasn't been in the game.  All this week, whenever I went outside for a run, I turned into a weenie.  I had this dread leading up to my runs that I have never had before.  This dread all surrounds me having to put on 15 layers and running waddling around here looking like the Stay Puff Marshmallow Man.

In truth, I yearn to get my bike outside, to run in shorts, to not drive 3 hours round trip to go for a swim.

Yeah, I know, it is crazy.  But what are my options?  Not swim?  I really have to swim!
I am a dork

That drive is really getting to me mentally, it really eats up a lot of my Saturday, and I drive a lot for work.  Yet I see it as a really success that I have made the drive every week since November,  I have only missed one swim week, when I went to Baxter State Park for 5 days.  And the great news is that with Ange's guidance, I am constantly improving in my swim (and bike and run actually!)     

I should be able to get into the lakes around here sometime in May, so I have at least 2 more months of pool swimming (and driving) left this winter season - that isn't bad at all.  Next week is a recovery week, I am looking forward to it!

This week:
Swim - 3200 yds
Bike - 66 miles (should have been more...alarm clock didn't go off, which shortened one of my rides)
Run - 19 miles

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A Little Brisk

I make it a point to never look at the thermometer before I got for a run, especially in the winter.  I like to run in complete ignorance of how cold it is so I don't get that creeping dread of my upcoming run - or even worse, the popping up of the dreaded excuse demon.  It is just another one of the many mental games I play on myself that seems to work to get my lazy butt outside.

This morning was no exception.  I got up early, got dressed in my running tights, two mid-weight layers, a hat, and a thin wind breaking jacket.  This is my normal winter running wear, unless it is really cold.  When it is really cold, I wear...more. 

In my head, it was pretty warm out, I was thinking it had to be at least 15 degrees, if not warmer.  I stepped on the porch (THE PORCH) and was smacked in the face by bitter cold. I thought, well, I guess I should put on another layer, it seems pretty cold.  I grabbed my mini puffy coat (as opposed to the big puffy coat.  I have a thing for puffy coats), and put up the hood and headed out. 

Holy crap.  I was freezing.  I usually start out on the cool side of comfort, but this was kind of ridiculous.  Never wearing gloves unless it is below zero (in my head) I shoved my hands up in the jacket and began my run up the hill in town, figuring I will warm up as I always do. 

When I run, all sorts of things float through my head in a kind of stream of consciousness type conversation with myself (this is why I can't deal with iPods, how am I supposed to listen to the voices in my head AND Eminem?)  On this mornings run, basically the conversation in my head went something like, "F its cold.  My eyelashes are frozen.  F its cold. My left butt cheek is cold. F F F F F WTF?" for about 3.2 miles (for a great of Mainer's take on the weather, listen to this - the video that goes with it isn't worth watching, but Maine comedian Bob Marley nails it).

I finally came through the door and looked at the thermometer. 

Oh.

-5.

In the sun. 

No wonder my left butt cheek was cold. 

Monday, February 21, 2011

Winter Rafting (and Muttley Monday)

We take the nieces and nephews sledding a little differently in Caratunk...turn it up, the sound is totally worth it. 

video

I hope this works, because I think it is super funny. It literally took me hours and hours to get that video up, I have been trying since yesterday.  I felt very not so smart when I went to bed last night.  Still not sure I feel all that smart yet actually.

Oh yes, and Bailey was there.  Here he is with his buddy Riley.
This week:
Swim - 2600 yds
Bike - 94 miles
Run - 18 miles

Thursday, February 17, 2011

No One Ever Has Called Me Stylish...

Except Luke.  He nominated me for the Stylish Blogger Award.
Thanks Luke.  If you haven't been over to his blog, you really should go check it out.  So, without further ado, here are 7 not so stylish things about me...

1.  I am convinced I am the same height as everyone else until I see a picture (proof) that I am indeed, shorter than...everyone else.
2. I think I am probably the last person in the universe to read this book (I am reading it now):
3. I believe everything is better with a little Sriracha.


4. My laugh is loud and very recognizable.  And I laugh a lot (warning to all Trakkers Teammates!) I was once on a ski lift at Sugarloaf laughing with a friend, and a friend skiing down below stopped, looked up and said, "Mandy?"

5. My back country trips feeds my soul more than anything else I do, it is something I need in my life.
View from Jackal Hut, March 2007 trip.  10th Mountain Division Huts, CO.
6. I believe anyone can do anything they really set their mind to, and that often people block the path to achieving their dreams buy using the word "can't".
7. Only 156 days until Ironman Lake Placid!!!

I am supposed to tag people to do this, but honestly I am not sure who has done this already and who hasn't, so if you think you are very stylish or want to do this, consider yourself tagged.

Have a great day!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Muttley Monday - A Good Day

Riding shotgun with mom...
Working in the woods........

Sleeping on the his couch....
Thank you all for voting for Bailey in the Barkwheats cover dog contest.  He came in 10th overall, which is pretty darn good with over 200 entries!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Raise Your Expectations

No matter how high you jump, how fast you run or swim, how powerfully you row, you can do better. But sometimes your mind gets in the way. ~ Gina Kolata in I'm Not Really Running, I'm Not Really Running (NY Times 12/6/2007)
I stumbled across this article today, and I found it really interesting because I am fascinated by the mental aspect of endurance sports.  It covers a few things, one of them being the fact that the top athletes are also pros at dissociation, and that those athletes able to do that tend to perform better (so when their mind tells them to slow down, they don't).  It could be argued that really it isn't so much dissociation but maybe just choosing which part of the experience you are going to focus on - the discomfort that is making you want to slow down or the guy running in front of you with a yellow hat and the funny gait.

I guess you could even boil down to not setting any limits for yourself.

The mind is a funny thing. Last year on an 80 mile ride with one of my buddies, I had dead legs for the majority of the ride.  Honestly, I was dragging.  Then we came around the corner to a spectacular view that stayed with us, and I killed the last 15 hilly miles. Similarly, I remember painfully walking at mile 21 of a marathon, when I started talking to someone (shocker) and we took turns leading and focusing on each others back.   I ran strong the last few miles and sprinted across the finish line. Where the heck was that mojo back at mile 21 when I was pretty sure it would be less painful to just cut my legs off and crawl the last 4 miles?

One thing happened in both instances.  I forgot* I was hurting, and rode and ran stronger as a result. I have done this too many times to count in training and races - always toward the end of a swim, ride, run. 

There is a story in the Kolata article (here it is again) about a Division I champion pole vaulter that always cleared the pole by more than a foot - unless the pole moved up.  If it moved up even an inch, he would hit it every time.  One time, when he wasn't looking, his teammates moved the pole up 6 inches - and he cleared the pole by more than a foot.   

How well would you perform if someone moved the pole up on you and you didn't know it?  Right now, I am a back of middle packer - maybe I am embracing that a little too much, making the same mistake that pole vaulter was making.  I know I can do better, and be faster, but when it comes down to it, maybe I have been stopping myself from clearing that higher pole, "giving in to lowered expectations" as Kolata describes.

So next time you are on a training run or racing, try putting that pole up a bit, raise your expectations instead of giving in to lowered ones.  You might surprise yourself.

*I would like to add a caveat that I am not suggesting you space out on your bike or ignore an injury.  Please use common sense. 

This week:
Swim: 2850 yds
Bike: 94 miles
Run: 20 miles

Thursday, February 10, 2011

These Things Make Me Happy...

My favorite new smoothie recipe for breakfast...(thanks Kelly!)
2c spinach, 1c cherries, 1c almond milk, 1/2c yogurt, 1tbs chia seeds, protein powder...water as needed to mix
Picking this up in the morning at the post office...
Team Trakkers and Rev3 gear!
Riding to work...
Main Street, Holeb, Maine
With Bailey riding shotgun...
EXTREME close up.  He sniffed the camera as I shot the picture.  I liked the photo.
Coming home to this in the afternoon...
Thank you SO much SBR Sports, Inc!! I have been a fan since my first sample in a SWAG bag...
My awesome green Trakkers colored gloves my friends Kristel & Scot gave me...
Seriously, they are perfect, right???
Gearing up for a cold run...
Ok. It wasn't that cold after I got going. But it started out FREEZING!

Ending 8 miles like this...
Sunset on the Kennebec River
Thinking about the fact that it is only 163 days until....
Ironman Lake Placid
Have an awesome evening everyone!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Muttley Monday - Vote for Bailey

You all recognize this guy:
Don't make me beg for your vote!

Well he is trying to get his drawing on one of these boxes:
Vote for Bailey! CLICK HERE!

Barkwheats are Bailey's favorite treats, (OK, maybe they are my favorite to buy for him) and they are made right here in Maine.  I entered Bailey into a contest to be the inspiration for Barkwheats next cover dog on their new Smokehouse flavor treats.

So if you could please click HERE and vote for him (and maybe tell all of your friends to vote for him too) that would be super duper awesome.  It would be really cool to get his drawing done.  Thanks so much for your vote!  Oh. Bailey says WOOF.  You can vote every day too. Like you have nothing better to do. But if you happen to be on Facebook anytime this week (more than once!), please throw Bailey a bone.

Oh. If you are not on Facebook, I don't think you can vote. Sigh.  But Bailey knows you would vote for him if you could! :)

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Bike Porn and Other Random Things

Bike Porn...
I apologize if some of you have already seen this...but you know, you can never get enough good Kestrel bike porn.
Trying out the snow tires
On the trainer.  My old bike Rico in the background sulking.

I rode 2 hours on my trainer with her, and I had to make a saddle change, but other than that, all was smooth sailing.  I am working on getting a good fit in the next few weeks, but I will say that right out of the gate, this is a comfy bike.  I really have to get used to shifting with my fingers, it is kind of weird for me.  Can't wait to get this baby out on the road!

Other Random Things...
I feel so fortunate to be part of Team Trakkers.  The generosity of our sponsors really humbles me.  This time I get to share some discounts with you.  I've updated my side panel with a few awesome discounts that YOU can take advantage of.  The first is for $10 off any REV3 race and the second is for 15% off at All3Sports

On the pool front, I am finally finding out the difference between hard and easy. It used to be all hard.  If only my nostrils would stop rejecting the chlorine, I would be all set.  Nose plugs are ordered.

If I were to do a giveaway on a earpiece fit kit for H2O Audio would anyone be interested?  H2O Audio sent me one to review and one to give away. But I feel weird only giving the fit kit without the system, but it is all I have.  Thoughts?

I am addicted to Brad Meltzers Decoded.  I am such a geek.

I am way behind in my blog reading. Hope to multi-task during the Superbowl and get caught up.  I really don't care who wins, once the Patriots were out I quit paying attention.  Caratunk seems to be pro Packers.  Anyway, I hope to get a little caught up tonight.


This week:
Skiing: 37 miles
Swim: 3000yds
Bike: 55 miles
Run: 8 miles

Friday, February 4, 2011

Baxter Trip Report

I had a fabulous trip into Baxter Park.  As usual, my trip report will be heavy on photos and light on words.  Well, except when I talk about Day 4.  That deserves a few words.  Thank you Steve W for letting me snag a few of your awesome photos.

Day 1 - Shin Pond to South Branch Pond ~ 10 miles ~ 4-5 hours
We all got in late the night before to the Mt. Chase Lodge.  I have stayed here three times and Rick and Sara always are gracious hosts and provide us with a comfortable stay and a hearty pre-trip breakfast.  It is also pretty awesome that Rick takes care of the shuttle for us.  Thanks again guys.
The crew at Mt. Chase Lodge
After divvying up group gear and food and finalizing our packing, we headed out to South Branch Pond from Shin Pond on the Baxter Park Tote Road.  The tote road is the only section of the park that is open to snowmobiling.  This was a pretty uneventful ski there was nice snow cover and the going was easy all the way to South Branch Pond.
John and I skiing on the park tote road

South Branch Pond Bunkhouse
Day 2 - South Branch Pond to Russell Pond ~ 10 miles ~ 4-5 hours
This was my favorite day, a nice long ski with some climbing, a gorgeous day, and great people to hang with.  Towards the middle of the ski, the snow began to fall in these big fat flakes and it felt like you were inside of a giant snow globe. 
South Branch Pond

South Branch Pond...I like this picture because you can see everyone skiing.
The snow on the trees was perfect, almost like it was fake snow you see in department stores.
Department store snow

Russell Pond -inside the snow globe
Scott with the beer he carried 20 miles. Now that is dedication.

Day 3 - Layover day at Russell Pond - skied ~ 6 or so miles


I love Russell Pond.  It is one of my favorite winter places. 
Russell Pond Bunkhouse

Sunrise on Russell Pond
We spent the day breaking out trail toward Wassataquoik Lake to help us a little for our big push the next day.  It was cold and windy, and we didn't cross Wassataquoik Lake thinking it was smart to only deal with the wind tunnel once.
Katahdin - check out the wind on top
We got back to camp to find a pine marten in one of our bunks eating our cookies.  He left pretty quick so we didn't get a picture, but he was super cute and looked like this:
(source)
Day 4 - Russell Pond to Nesowadnehunk Campground ~ 14 miles ~ 11-12 hours


This was a burly day, I would say that it was great training for Ironman Lake Placid (only 169 days away!) because it was super tough work and you had to push beyond being tired.  I really loved this day even though it was hard.


We got out to Wassataquoik Lake fairly quickly because we had broken the trail out the previous day.  The wind wasn't howling quite so bad as the day before, so we were all feeling pretty smart. We bundled up and made the crossing.
I am pretty sure Wassataquoik means F-ing cold in Abenaki


Wassataquoik Lake
Things really started to get interesting after getting across Wassataquoik Lake.  We found the trail and it climbed for a mile or so.  The snow was like dry white sugar, and when you planted your poles it just gave way, and suddenly you were standing on your head.  Or you would plant your skis and you would put your weight on them, and the snow would just give way.  Or you would fall in a brook while trying to cross it. Or you (well, not me, one of the guys) would have to saw through trees to get through.  Things like that made it more challenging for sure, and the terrain was pretty challenging as it was. 
One of the many climbs out of Wassataquoik Lake
We climbed out of Little Wassataquoik Lake and got to the Center Pond Lean-to around 3pm or so.  The original plan was that a few of our friends would come in from Nesowadnehunk Campground and meet us here.  They weren't here, and that worried us.  Either something happened and they didn't make it, or conditions are even worse down below and they were having as hard of a time as we were.

We ate quickly to keep from getting cold and got moving again.  We reached Center Pond around 5 or so, just as twilight began to drop in on us.  When we got there, we found that our buddies had come and broken the last 4 miles of trail all the way to Center Pond for us.  That was so clutch for us I can't explain it, let me just say, we were really excited.   
Center Pond, happy to see the trail was broken out

It was so good, it deserves 2 pictures.
The last 4 miles took us about 2 hours or so by headlamp.  By the looks of things, our friends had at least as tough a time as us, if not tougher breaking that part of the trail because it was full of fallen softwoods that wanted to grab you.  We moved much more quickly with the trail broken though, but it was still a lot of skiing by headlamp with some screeching downhills.

When we arrived at the camp, we were all beat.  Our friends had the camp nice and warm and were really happy to see us.  They said they really thought we weren't going to make it given how awful the conditions were, thinking we would end up in bivouacking near the lean-to.  We swapped stories as we made a quick dinner, it was great to see Ben and Charlie, let me tell you.  They looked as tired as we did.  Needless to say, we all went to bed after dinner.

Day 5 - Nesowadnehunk Campground to Abol Bridge - 16 miles - 6 hours

I think we all woke up a little tired at the Nesowadnehunk cabin.  We had heard that snow was predicted for the area by noon and when we looked out the window, it had already started falling.  We got our stuff packed pretty quickly and headed back out for the 16 mile ski to our cars.  


I don't have a lot to say about the ski, except if anyone tells you it is all downhill from Abol Campground, they are lying.  

We were all stoked to get to the cars and get some dry clothes on and start the trek home through the newly fallen snow.  As always, this was a great crew, everyone stayed positive and kept their heads when things got hard, and we laughed so much my belly still hurts.