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!

Crocus

Double crocus

Snowdrop
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.

Swearing.

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. 

Almost.

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.
CUTIE!


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.
YOU'RE LEAVING ME???
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

Swim
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.

Bike
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?

Duh.

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.

Run
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