Monday, April 26, 2010

Duathlon Madness.

(Top 5 women overall! GO TNM!)

Yep, we live in this cold weather climate that makes for zero triathlons in our area this time of year. With Honu 70.3 quickly approaching the "man with the plan" felt the Mt Rainier duathlon would be good practice (I didn't so much agree), but soon found myself registering online. This was going to be a whole different experience RUN/BIKE/RUN.

The first run, 5.1 miles, made me nauseous, probably didn't warm up enough, probably took it out a little fast, probably over dressed for the run- but at 40 degrees and a bike ride ahead you kinda had to be overdressed, and probably underestimated what it REALLY feels like to race 5 miles (I shoot the for 13.1 plus races). I was pre-warned that the swim and bike are typically my "warm-up" into the run so my colitis symptoms are more "under" control. Typically on the run if HR gets too high my gut can flare. So I backed off at the initial stages of sickies and still held my comfortable pace of 7:15 (I seem to run this pace whether it be a 5K or marathon:)).

Next up a 28 something mile bike ride. Figured this would be good practice going into my first pro race because I need to learn to play "catch up" a bit more. And catching up was exactly what I needed to do. I had some time to make up, all of a sudden the "fire" came back and I felt as strong as I did last year. I rode with lots of people around the first loop. From previous race years (I always spectated) I had been warned of "MUD Mountain" a 2 mile climb (or maybe 1.5 mile climb...but I like to round up). I have put a lot of time in on the hills so was anxious to see how these legs would respond. I had zero trouble on the hill and was begging for more...thinking "that was it?"....okay, I take that back, I was not begging for more...but definitely felt better on a climb than I ever have. Loop two got a bit lonely. I had a friend from V02 hanging out with me but sometimes wondered if I was even going the right would think it was a second loop so I should know the route, but I truly check out when racing. Semi-solo I rode for awhile and then saw a little group ahead and recognized it as my friend/athlete/training buddy Johnna. This girl can run like a gazelle, but I pushed hard on the downhill pedaling as much as possible to catch the lead, well knowing she would be flash by like lightening on the run :)

(finish chute...think I am trying to wave here too or dance to the beat of my own drum....hmmm???)

The next run came up....once again running the 7:15'ish pace, but without the nauseousness. Please just let me run off the bike ALWAYS....never off the start of a race ;). I could hear the breathes and patters of runners making up ground and by mile three Johnna took over the lead with her super speedy spring-like legs. I held on for second place, Laura for 3rd, Bridget for 4th (poor girl was sick and still raced), and Heather for 5th (whom I forgot to send the race wheel memo too). Yep, all the girls in the photos from the previous weekend bachelorette party took 1-5, love that we can work, play and race together...and get faster together!

Mark placed 5th in the sprint bettering his time from previous years by 2 min. (race results are 30 sec off on the first run). Yeah!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Bachelorette Weekend

(The most amazing girls inside and out EVER)

Call me crazy but my bachelorette weekend was filled with endless training, eating healthy (because chocolate is not considered a food but a drug), bed times at 10:30 and wake up calls at 7 (well most were earlier, but I am a sleeper!). But in between all this training FUN were ab workouts created through laughter, emotional highs and lows, snickers bars, and memories to last a lifetime.

Friday a handful of us were off early to Wenatchee to kick off the training (or more like our tan lines). Laura opened up her in-laws house (which is not in the middle of a field in Cashmere) for the weekend blast or as Natalie termed it the "PHAT farm". We quickly dropped off our goods and were off to a super fast/flat'ish course. 80 miles and 3:50 hours later we were quickly reminded that we do not need boys (although they were missed) to include a few smash fest, ride until your legs cant move or you puke moments. These girls were fast and furious and on a mission. Ironically we popped out two flat tires in the last 5 miles, with a little pat on my back for having them switched out in less than 5 min (did I mention girls rule!).

(T, Laura, Heather, Johnna at the only mini mart that was owned by Beth's grandpa!)

Next up an ice bath in the river, where our feet soaked in the mud like quick sand and we took advantage of the laughter associated with it. Until later I had a leech sucking at my foot....YUCK!!!

(Laura, Nat, Johnna, T, Heather)

Made a quick stop and Papa Murphy's to settle our low calorie giggly minds. We soon realized that 3 chicken breasts for the following nights dinner would just not be nearly enough for these athletic girls (Nat- you crack us up). As more and more girls continued to arrive with each holding a Costco size box of snickers and bananas for good health, we realized we could be at this weekend FOREVER!

Followed the night up with 2 ginormous blocks of chocoloate and some good laughs playing games. Watching Laura try to get us to figure out the word "sperm whale" had us thinking she was saying her first bad word or choking on chocolate. Which reminds me, does anyone know what a burrito rat is?

Next morning you can only picture getting 10 girls ready for an all day bike ride....but the amazing oatmeal Laura made kept us all in check. We set off for another LONG day in the saddle, but quickly noticed (through two more immediate flats) that I had busted the side wall of the front tire with the flat from the previous day. I-phone maniacs were able to call all bike shops and we made it to the ONE that was open, waiting 20 min for it to open we vowed that if it came down to it we would buy or rent this bike for the day to get in a ride (after all it does have a 650 front wheel):

Bought the LAST 650 tire. Couple hours behind schedule and we were finally off with the veil in tow (until I got another flat at mile 14 GRRR!!).

(thanks Bridget for the veil surprise...your the best maid of honor ever!)

A super challenging ride to go that left some of us turning back (ie:me), others in contemplating life and basically a ride making each and every girl stronger in some way and later appreciating the days adventures. (Stay posted in the next few weeks for a post titled REDEMPTION).

The night was then filled with amazing fajitas, home made guacamole and a 7 lb cake that was down 6.5 lbs by the time we were done with it. And a little Sangria that didn't hurt us, it was the fruit....and as H*mentioned the drink was like a "reset" button....changed the challenging day around in a heart beat.

The girls picked out some amazing girly lingerie. Someone mentioned I love hanky panky underpants in an email round. Beth thought they were circulating that I loved the real deal "hanky panky". We learned a little about Canadian strip clubs and how they stir your drinks, about the tired paw and a new word (otherwise now known as our new passcode) "sorney", which I am sure Rebecca (miss mediocre athlete) will post on soon, wait, then again she mentioned that the grandparents do read her blog :)

We finished the night with a couple matchy-matchy lululemon headbands, that similar to shoes, you just can't have enough of them.

The next morning was beauty rest before our long run....on a beautifully gorgeous back country road (and once again focusing on the tan lines).

(Heather, Lisa, Nat)

We finished up with lunch that resulted in enough food for us to go on two more long runs. Bridget's husband convinced her that three loafs of bread and about 8 lbs of meat and cheese would keep us full!

This trip has started a tradition (I believe). It was a weekend of girls being girls, and girls being amazingly tough athletes at the same time. I am so blessed to have these fabulous girls in my life, that would go the extra mile (or gazillion miles by car, bike, foot and all) to make this weekend special. I am the luckiest bride ever (in more ways that one). We still have a century ride to master and aplets and cotlets to be had and many more memories to be made!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me.

op·por·tu·ni·ty: a good position, chance, or prospect, as for advancement or success.

I thought long and hard on what I could get myself for this special day, because we all by ourselves presents right?! I figure the best present I can give myself (besides a new pair of William Rast's) is the gift of opportunity. To learn, to challenge, to advance and to grow...not to mention get to know myself a little bit more. I am opening a new door that will hand me all that has been mentioned.

Life is too short, I am healthy (which I can NEVER take for granted), I am surrounded by amazing supporters and I don't want to pass up a dream of mine for the sake of "fear" I bring on my own personal challenge for 2010, an opportunity long awaited for...diving in feet first OR the best way I know how!

Here's to the gift of aiming high and pushing the limits.....Life is GRAND!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sunday Girls Ride.

We have been logging a lot of long, hard, scared-to-even-look-at-on-the-schedule-miles on the bike. As Sunday rolled around we were missing several of our "normal" Sunday training buddies. As much as we missed them (races, Masters, and other courses took them away), sad as it was, it turned out that we had a "girls only" ride. Immediately we made a pact that there would be no "smash-fest", ride until you puke, race to be king of the mountain type riding. This was going to be a steady, stay in your prescribed HR, have some fun, have some laughs and enjoy the day, a gorgeous day too. And we started an hour later to ensure our "beauty" rest.
.(Laura and T)

And folks, this is EXACTLY what it turned out to be. A ride that ended wanting to do a little more, a ride that ended going into "overtime". A ride done as prescribed and left feeling GREAT at the end of a 20+ something training week.

Was it the steady effort, the constant fueling, or the fact that it was 100% enjoyed with some amazing girls! I believe it was the latter. We took turns leading, we stopped for chocolate, and we rode our buns off...literally.

(Laura and Heather riding in their shadows)

Passing the "boys" on their bikes saying on your left and having 4 chix's pass by, I have to admit, left a little grin on our faces for a few moments throughout the day.

This change in pace gave us all a little more confidence than some of our normal Sunday "race" to the the finish rides.

(Us girls....with Laura taking the photo)

Girls...thanks..for the ride that was perfectly perfect!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Trampoline Dodgeball

(the jumpers and the master b-day man in front)

Our GREAT friend and training buddy, Brent, hosted a birthday bash like none other. He had dreamed of the day to rent out the trampoline gym and when his birthday rolled around he made it happen.

(Mark and Tracy)
Prior to the bash we had a 3+ hour ride. I have NEVER seen Brent ride so fast and so "giddy" as he did on this day. He could not wait to get to "his" party. The handful of us on the ride chose to go home and shower and get something to eat, Brent opted to head straight to the trampoline.

2 hours of trampoline dodgeball you would think would be enough for this 20-something year old. But when the 3 minute warning came these athletes were scrambling to figure out "what more" they could do. Another game of dodgeball, some synchronized back flips, and a photo op, oh...and a happy birthday song were all crammed into the final minutes.

(Birthday Brent and his girl Jess)

The video does zero justice to the laughs, the smack talk, and the ball handling skills had by all.

A blast it was....and a few sore muscles!

Happy Birthday Brent!

Monday, April 05, 2010

Easter Weekend

We had lots of plans for Easter weekend and some weather that caused for some creative training.
Friday we pulled off another 4 hour plus trainer ride, not because we were concerned about the rain and the wind, but more the tremendous flying debris caused by the two. The streets were covered. And there was no chance in cycling over the floating bridges, as with just driving them you were bound to end up in the ocean. Johnna and Ryan opened up their home for the fun computrainer ride...not to mentioned opened all their windows to keep it cool (or better yet filter out the sweet smell we were creating).
Somewhere along the way I decided to play "wifey" and make some cupcakes for the holiday. Now this was a two day process because who really has two hours to bake in one day with all this training.

Next we were off to Vio Tribanali with mom and her boyfriend, Chris. We ate three pizzas and then some....and I was somehow still searching for more!
Post eat-fest we swung by our friend Elizabeth's 30th birthday party:
Sunday was great...we started our workouts a little later (a full 15 min) but it made for a nice little extra snooze time. Had a gorgeousand somewhat speedy (for me at least) run on Alki with more friends before the weather decided to strike again. Luckily we did not have to ride (as Mr. Mark did). Apparently there were headwinds in every direction and all rides were taking twice as long (well, maybe a little bit of an exaggeration, but that is what I was told :))
Then we were off to Easter dinner. The boys were stoked to try on their tuxes for the wedding, and were feeling handsome! (Yes, it is cheaper to buy kids tuxes than to rent them!)

By 8:30 pm Sunday I was in bed, whether it was a food coma, a sugar crash, or just plain tired, it was some well needed rest.

Until next weekend- have fun, train on and maybe even find a little time to bake!

Thursday, April 01, 2010

You flip?

The question that tends to be asked most frequently when it comes to pool swimming:

Do you flip?

Do I have to flip?

Why flip?

In all my swimming life "flipping" was never an just did it!

The famous lines:

"I can't go to masters because I don't flip."

"I don't need to know how to flip because I don't have to in the open water."

"I did flip turns on the main set."
I giggle inside nearly every time I hear it. Simply because I remember those days of "attempting" a flip turn at every wall and half the time ending up in another lane, or drawing blood from my ankles, or water going straight up the nostrils or missing the wall completely. I would laugh at myself and try again, better yet, I would go to open swim AFTER the swim practice just to practice flip turns...determined I was!

I have learned I need to "write" flipping into athlete workouts, just as you would remind athletes to bilateral breathe.

My giggling back fired with the tailbone injury.
Coach wrote on my schedule "masters but NO flip turns".
The first thing I fired back was:
"What's the point in masters swimming if you can't flip".

Lesson learned....flipping is an art, a practice, that once learned is taken for granted.

Flip on...or at least try your best to!