Sunday, September 28, 2008

Off Season


I am officially slamming the door on the 2008 season. Done with it. I want to rid of it and flush it away and move on. So, I posted a few favorite pics from Nationals to finish it off. I had a great spot in transition, last rack and near end of rack at the bike out. I guess since the 40 yr olds went nearly last they gave us a good spot! The course in Oregon is beautiful and the run pic shows an uphill section and how green the trees are. Then there is the pic of my "manager" helping me back to the car! :)

Its been 1 week since the race and I am in full off season/ vacation mode. There was no working out unless you count:

* 1 walk around a forest preserve with Lucy, our golden
* 1 teaching of core strength class to MSM kids team (even then I only demonstrated) * 1 run, very it was more of a jog, again with Lucy, my current training partner. The IRONMAN met up with us, but he is so fit and focused right now he was gone in a flash.

Its been nice to relax, but wow. It is amazing how much more time there is to do things when you're not training umpteen hours a day. I actually sat still and read a book, something rare unless I'm on confined to an airplane. I also drug out all the Halloween stuff, and then still had say what? When you're used to cramming it all in and going at mock speed to fit it all in it always feels like there should be more. I had to remind myself its ok to chill. This will get old though, and I'm searching out things to keep me busy, and not turn into a frumpy fatty. I'm not a golfer, not enough patience. I have thrown golf clubs before in frustration. That is not relaxing! I used to want to rock climb......even went to the rock climbing (what do you say, gym? club? studio?, indoor rock?) in Naperville to try it out a few years ago. Somewhere there is a picture of me upside down hanging from a rock. However, I need convenience, ...there really aren't too many rocks to climb without driving 2 hrs north to Wisconsin. Surfing. Yes. I have taken lessons and loved it. But again, unless its really windy on Lake Michigan with some big chop, its not going to happen. So I'm still searching.

For now though I will be starting my Kona prep this week. I'm probably the only athlete starting their Kona prep just a few short days before leaving for the big Island. My prep involves, getting everything squared away at home to pack up and leave for a week. Child, dog, laundry bills all caught up. 1 birthday party to plan for Kaitlin's 6th. I need to make sure I have enough bikini's to pack, flip flops, sunscreen, cute shorts and t-shirts, comfy shoes for cheering race day,and beach towel. Check in to surfing lessons, or at least boogie board, and camera battery charged, decide on taking bike or not. Not to I am on vacation!, but to tool around esp. out on the run course race day. Its a lot of work, good thing I am well rested!

Monday, September 22, 2008


My trip to Nationals was worth every minute. Any time I can travel back to Oregon I am like a kid in a toy store. While my results weren't what I was after at the race, the experience and trip made up for some of that disappointment.

I don't like writing detailed race reports, and I don't think most people care about what I eat for break feast race morning, how many gels or water I had, how I slept etc. But, here are some of the highlights, and (lowlights) of the race and weekend. The temps were cool, normally not my favorite conditions I think only 55 deg?, but I didn't even care because Hagg Lake is such a beautiful place to race, I love the course and was excited to be racing there. My swim and bike were good, and based on last years results for my age group worthy of close to top 10. The swim start was a 1 hand touch on the pontoon with everyone lined up side by side. This is how they do a lot of World events. It made for a nice clean, and fast start. The water was perfect and it was a pretty decent swim for me. The bike is a hilly 2 loop course and really fun. I was frozen/numb for the first 15 min of the bike and I and kept saying just ride harder to warm up. After a few climbs I was fine and had a strong ride. Coming off the bike, I felt tight and had those numb toes, but once I tried to hammer the first big downhill I realized how tight my hip/hamstring that I've been battling were. I think the cooler temps caused it to tighten. I simply did not have what I needed on the run, and won't go into much more than that. You can't show up to Nationals not 100% and expect to do well. In an attempt to seek the positive, I was reminded that 5-6 weeks ago I was walking with a limp and ice strapped to my butt 3 x a day, not even running, and I should be glad that I made it to the starting line. (the true competitor inside though says...yea whatever, it wasn't good enough and leaves some dissatisfaction)

Some other FUN parts of the trip:
1. Seeing my Dad and Jack at the finish line, they don't care where you finish and always make you think you're a superstar!

2. Seeing a deer run right out in front of my when I was descending going over 30 mph! Yikes, but very cool

3. Having Jack ask if he could walk my bike for me after the race back to the shuttle

4. My dad making me homemade waffles the morning after the race like he did when I was in high school

After the age group race the elites had their Nationals so part of the course was shut down for them. There was quite a haul from transition back to there were shuttles. Bikes were not allowed on the buses....they were using separate vans to move bikes. I was freezing and didn't feel like waiting so I road my bike back to the was probably 8 miles reverse direction around the lake, up and down the hills again. While riding back I had some time to think about some things. I thought of my friend Jen H. who, the week of the race was in a pretty serious car accident. Thankfully she was ok, but she couldn't come race because of this and it was one of those reminders that it is easy to cruise along each day taking a lot of things for granted and when something huge like this happens it wakes you up. So as I rode slowly along back to the car with tears in my eyes for pouting over how my season has ended up, I thought I was being a little pathetic and needed to shake it off. I had words from my Dad and Cheryl Hart in my head reminding me of what things are most important, and making me think of all the success I have had in triathlon over the years.

On this ride I also decided I am going to take a "vacation" from triathlon for awhile. I have raced and trained non-stop every year minus the months of pregnancy (even then I swam, waddled, elipticaled did what I could) for 18 years. I did my first tri when I was still in college. Then each year after got more and more hooked, kept getting better and faster and this is how you get hooked. Obviously I love the sport, love being competitive, and love the lifestyle. But, it is time for a vacation from it. Both physically, ( I have never had an injury that has affected my season), and mentally I think new goals and changes can be good. Plus it is getting really tough to fit in training the way you need to, to be competitive. The mom guilt gets in the way, and I'm just not the type to ride my trainer at soccer practice. I won't be sitting on the couch scrap booking though. Once the body rests and heals I'll be looking for some run races and setting some new types of goals.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Big Lady Shoes

I had to bring out the Big Lady shoes and strap them on today...several times.

There were neighborhood issues spinning out of the 10 inches of rain in 1 day we received here in Bumbleburn over the weekend. We did not get water in our basement thankfully but, the retention ponds were backed up apparently 6 ft. higher than normal and causing havoc with some of the sump pumps in our neighborhood. We have nosey neighbors with too much time on their hands that worked themselves into a tizzy. (The things people obsess about when they have too much free time, really it amazes me.)I came home and wasn't even out of my car when the guy with a beer in his hand who never is nice or says hi, demands to come check our basement because with the water backing up he doesn't belive me when I said our basement is fine. Mind you not...they had rang (wrung?) my doorbell this morning saying the same thing! I am not a confrontational person, but I put on my big sassy shoes and said.."No you may not come take a look and I'm letting the professionals handle the situation." Meanwhile my groceries (yes,...more!) were spilling out of the back of our SUV because I hadn't even had a chance to get in the door before they came intruding over!!!

All this...while trying on my day off to be super organized and get things ready for my big trip to Portland for Nationals. It never fails....weird and strange things like this happen when trying to get ready to leave for a trip and husband is traveling for work.

My bike of course wasn't shifting right...after I had spent the better part of a day taking it to be tuned up last week. I have no spare time to make another trip to get it worked on, so I fiddle with the barrel myself like I've been shown and yes... it is shifting like a dream now! And, the bike is packed and ready to go tonight. Yep, I can take apart my bike, pack it and put it back together. I get pretty greasy and messy, but it takes me 30 min or less now, where in the early days I needed help from Rich Ducar of the Bike Shop, or it took an hour or more!!!

So, in 2 days I leave for Nationals in Portland. I'll really need the Big Bad A$% Lady shoes this weekend. I packed them too. Age group Nationals is always very competitive, and it happens to be on a really tough, but super fun course. I am from Oregon, love it and am excited to race there. Its been a long haul getting here, with injury and a different kind of season but I am ready and looking to end the season at such a cool place and event.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

BeWare, Read lightly

Its early morning and I am highly caffinated. So, beware. I left for early morning masters and it was dark and very brisk; I had a great swim thanks to Carla's good workout and my lane mates pushing me, but once done I was headed for caffeine. I have some bike hill repeats to do and thankfully the sun is out but we'll be wearing layers for sure. I tend to put away a little more caffeine than usual when its cold out cautiously as I am not sure what may wind up spilling out of my mouth (fingers) this morning. My normal ability to keep my opinions to myself might be lost!

I think Ironman fever has hit the entire tri-city area and all of Chicagoland. It is everywhere. I turn on my computer and there are 57 messages a day from the club about who is in, who signed up for 09; I show up to swim and there is more talk of who is in, who signed up for Ironmoo. It was a 2 day process for some of determining how to sign up and get in because the race fills so fast. Madison, Louisville? Early a.m. road trips were planned to be in line first, some volunteered to get early registration, some were talking community fund..a whopping 1300$ just to get in.......its Ironman mania! At one point in my life I was there, and did 1 Ironman a year for 3 years in a row, chasing that perfect Ironman. Then you actually had time to think through what you were signing up for. I believe I signed up for Ironman FL once in Jan.! Then I did 3/4 of an IM in Madison the year it was 107 degrees and ended up in the gutter with my insides coming out. I admit I was even caught up in some of this mania last year as I signed up for Lake Placid sending poor Papa Joel Zucco to stand in line for me! It was suggested that since I am older, longer races would be my thing as the high end speed starts to go! Ha! That maybe so, I bought into it, but the parts that were forgotten were the 6 hr bike rides, the 7 hr bricks, mostly solo becuase of my crazy schedule: the fact that hard intervals, hard track workouts, triple bricks ...the fun stuff really isn't included in Ironman training. Just go ride in zone 2 for 6 hrs, run 2 hr s and......have fun! Turn into a slug, then go to work and be professional the next day without falling asleep!

Ironmania is in full swing at home. There are times when I"m talking to the Hot, IRON MAN at home when he'll say "so here's my plan>..." and I'll think he means about dinner, or what to do tomorrow, but instead he starts giving me his run pacing plan. When in full Iron mode it is always on your mind, and, it needs to be, because it is huge. Not to mention when you spend 6 hrs with yourself you might think about the race a little. And, if you've done an Ironman before... you know you can do better if you just tweak this or that, or just eat this or that. That is what sucked me into do 3 in a row , then a 4th A.J. (after Jack)

All kidding aside. Yes, I am exaggerating (some). Mostly poking fun at myself for starting out to do an IM this year than completely switching gears. Who decides not to do an Ironman 4 weeks before, unless injured? Ironman North America made $$ off my mom guilt and me deciding to follow what I like doing most. I have said before my Ironman Florida training was the most fun training and racing I have ever had. And, I love coaching my athletes to finish their first or improve on past Ironman performances. Crossing the finish line at an Ironman is a huge accomplishment and by far some of the most memorable triathlon experiences there is.

Monday, September 1, 2008

1/2 Madness Weekend!

The starting line/ look for the Madness
Mark Dzubian, course marshall on his spiffy Vino scooter
Race Director, Danny
Pre-race, Carla was in charge of volunteers (yes that is a beer in her hand early morning, Megan was the lead runner escort on her bike

Multisportmadness put on the Batavia 1/2 Madness 1/2 marathon yesterday. I know many club members and friends worked very hard all year organizing this; congrats to them for putting on such a well run 1st time event. Trainingbible was a sponsor and the finish line had a big mat to cross and banners with Trainingbible on it. Very cool. I think there were about 900 runners who showed up to run. I had several athletes, many friends, 1 husband running, and I was a volunteer along with many other club members. A big heck ya, out to Andy Wellman who PR'd in the midst of his huge bike training to get ready for Fall Fling.

I have never volunteered at a race before. I have thanked many myself along the way at a zillion races I've done, and it was probably about time to volunteer myself. My job yesterday was chip removal. On a hot day, it was interesting. Mark Livesay, timing specialist of Ultramax events offered us surgical gloves to use. I raised my eyebrow, really? But once the finishers starting coming across, I quickly saw why. ( I guess crossing the line myself, I never noticed they wore gloves) Wow. Some people can really sweat. I had other people's sweat drip all over me. I felt like I needed a shower when I was done, but still had to run and ride myself. Even so, it was great to see so many racers out there giving it their all and having fun. From what I hear the course was really nice, with great aid stops.

Now this is true Madness..... keeping food in my house during Adam's Ironman training. He is in big time Hawaii training, and is always hungry, or always tired, or always hungry and tired! I can't keep food in the house. Help! I try to buy healthy food of course, and its gone fast because you can't buy bulk or it goes bad. I buy the junk food...gone even faster and expensive. I've gone domestic, even and made homemade cookies or brownies. He came home bonkish today after a big ride, the cupboards were bare once again. Nothing to fuel the bonk. So today I went back to the store, once again. 3rd time this week I think. I really dislike grocery shopping. I would rather scrub toilets, clean up dog poop from the backyard than go grocery shopping. But I have become very familiar with Jewel and Fresh Market lately and I love keeping my Ironman fed and happy :) But, have you noticed how many times you handle the food in just one trip the the grocery store. It seems so inefficient. You pick it off the shelf, then put it in the cart. From the cart it goes on the belt to check out, then bagged and into the cart. Then from the cart to the car and if your lucky they put more than 1 thing in the silly sack.( those sacks drive me crazy, yes I am a little bit "green". I think I buy too many things to use the cloth sacks. Once home you get to take it from the car to the counter, and then again, from the counter to the cupboards.

My friend from work uses Peapod. Now this is a great idea! I love it. She informs me they bring the food right to your counter for you! They give you the prices, deals and specials and the cost is apparently quite similar to going to the store. My friend however, lives in civilization. I live in Bumbleburn, land of corn. Peapod hasn't made it this far west yet. I am patiently waiting their arrival!!!!! I don't know if they'll make it out here by the end of Ironman training. In the meantime I'll look for ways to be a more efficient grocery shopper and haul my loads of "jewel sacks" back with me to try to re-cycle them. They have started spewing out of the drawer I store them in making it hard to shut!

I am open to any tips on more efficient grocery shopping or saving of jewel sacks!!!
Have a great week!