Tuesday, December 22, 2009

There's Place Like Home....




Especially during the holidays!!!!

I was able to score a quick trip home to Oregon, at the cost of Adam having to do some work out there. Business for him in Oregon and I got to tag along, lucky me!!! I needed a "mountain and fresh air fix" and headed west for a few days. Along with visiting my family, I was planning on doing some running, and playing in the mountains.

I packed my "medium" warm running gear. No need for the heavy stuff running in the outskirts of Portland, even in December. However 10 min. into my first run, I am stripping off a layer. It was a damp 50 deg, out in the morning and I was too hot. I have taken some down time from training since my last cross race, so I was looking forward to just going out for a run with no agenda. My parents live in the foothills of the Cascades 40 miles from Mt. Hood. So it is very hilly there....like real hills, and way too scenic. I had a big fat smile on my face the whole run. Even huffing up the hills.

We also did a little Christmas shopping, Christmas cookie baking, relaxing, and decorated a tree.....but

the other part of this trip was supposed to be a "no work, no computer, no Blackberry, no "training or racing" trip for Adam and I. I try to nail him down on this 1 x a year. I think the only way for this to really happen would be to take a cruise (no cell towers.....but I'm not a big fan of cruises), or trek off some remote location like Mt. Everest. But we came really close with a trip up to the top of Mt. Hood and a night stay at Timberline Lodge. We weren't looking to summit the peak, just hang out in the mountains. The ride up there is amazing, even when raining. We hadn't planned to ski, or really know what we were going to do, which makes it even more adventuresome. I had wanted to snowshoe/hike, but daylight hours were limited by the time we got up there. We checked out the lodge (very cool old place actually filmed in parts of THE SHINING!), with the snow has high as the windows on the 2nd floor. My only request was to get out there and do something in the snow. So we decided on night skiing, and it was awesome. The slopes weren't crowded and as the sun started going down it cleared up and it looked like you could see all the way to California!


Its always hard to leave there, but stepping off the plane back in Chicago, and I am faced with work, a Christmas party, 2 days left until Christmas, hosting Christmas eve dinner, and the start of our basement being framed and dry/walled. I may have gotten a little out of shape during the past 2 weeks, but I am up to the task. I know how to dig deep during crunch time like late in a race when you've dropped your gu, or salt tabs, ( or like the time during Horribly Hilly when I missed the last aid stop and its 100 deg. out) Its exhausting, sometimes but worth it in the end!

Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Ick

The brown and pink explosion template was over the top, too much for me!
The basic black is much better :)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Winter Wonderland



Winter has arrived with BLAST. With it are all the fun things that makes winter in Chicago so enjoyable....hats, gloves, many layers, cracked skin,( I have looked like Rudloph for 3 days with a red nose.) And the gloves....I can never manage to find a matching pair... I have to say though, I do like the snow. It makes winter a little more fun to be able to go out and play in the snow. I'll take 30 and snowing any day over 2 degrees and dry.

My first cyclocross season has come to an end. The last race was held at Montrose in the city and Brr it was very cold and winter like, but the snow just missed us by a day. For a newbie to cylcross I was reminded frequently that it was a "cakewalk" with the weather this year. Most of the races we wore shorts and short sleeves. I wonder what it would be like to race accross the snow? Since my main weakness in cyclocross seems to be riding through sand......as evident by many wipeouts at Montrose, riding through snow could be interesting. The last race was fun and I have to say of the races I did the most technical. These courses are harder to use your fitness as a strength (give me the hills and hard run ups!), especially when you wind up on the ground 2 x in the first lap. I finished up 8th in the series using a couple 9th places, then 6th, then 4th, then 2nd place finishes to score points to move myself up in the standings. I had only intended on giving a few races a try, but I got hooked and it was great having a new challenge, racing in some different places, and racing against different people (many of the girls are crit racers) Many thanks to Rob Kelly for helping me with some great workouts and teaching me how to do starts, barriers, and run ups, along with Ara and the other Bicycle Heavan guys for all their useful tips, and to Thomo for the awesome run workots, they were a huge in having the high end fitness. Of course thanks to Adam for helping with the kids. There are races every week,and if you want to do well, you better show up each week which means they had to be carted along for a few of them. They must think their mom is nuts!

In the midst of the end of cyclocross, it has become full blown Christmas around our house. I LOVE Christmas and have gone all out already. I am sad to report though that we broke down and got a fake tree. :( For the first time ever. It is frustrating for an Oregon girl to fork out big dough for a tree that is lame, drops needles, doesn't smell Chritmasy enough. The fake one is very perfect looking. We kicked of Christmas by spending the weekend after Thanksgiving in the city, going to Macy's, the Walnut Room, Daley Plaza tree and Santa, and seeing the Zoo Lights. The kids had a blast and the city was nice to us.

Now I think I'll break out my snow shoes, for some snow shoe running, and show up to a few more swims per week in Naperville. My poor cross bike is toast. It wasn't in great shape to begin with, thanks to several years of Ride n Ties....and literally throwing it to the ground to my partner. Then add many rides through MUD this fall. I'm not really looking forward to indoor trainer rides. Other than 1 short session per week, for hard intervals, I have managed to stay riding outside. I'll give the biking legs a break for a bit. But, Mt. Lemmon is calling me. I want to see the top again this spring!

Monday, November 23, 2009

STUFFED



No, its not Thanksgiving quite yet, but today on my run I realized my legs were stuffed. Stuffed full of Cotton, fuzz, or turkey stuffing. Simon had on my schedule was an abbreviated tempo run session, shortened because I am running a Turkey Trot Race on Thursday. Initially thought to really go for it. But today my legs were gone. M.I.A. I think they were left in Woodstock; the venue of the most recent cross race.

My little tempo run turned into just making it home without walking. Yet plodding along wasn't much better. Visions of hanging Christmas lights on the porch when I got home kept me moving. After all it is 50 deg in NOV!!! There is no way I was putting it off anymore and hanging the lights when it is 20 deg when we've had all these nice days!.

My legs were stuffed. I had all the motivation and intention of doing the hard set. In my mind I had recovered from the cross race yesterday. After all its only 30 min. HA! Reality set in as I hit 20 min into my run and I stop to do some drills and foot work and the legs still aren't coming around. Hmmm. This is a little pathetic. I had put in some really hard efforts of training last week. Basically no garbage but a lot of hard efforts both running, and biking, plus some hard work with the personal trainer. Oh and I started swimming again making my shoulders sore. I wouldn't call it a HARD training week, but an intense training week. My legs felt pretty beat up going into the cross race this week. The course was open with several hills and open sections. Less technical good for someone with some fitness. I just went as hard as I could for 30 min. I had my best finish yet with a second and moved up a few more places in the overall. But, I think I lit my last match in the legs for a few days. (quoting Joe Friel there). There wasn't much left in the legs today.

So looking back my legs were done. Which makes me wonder how the Turkey Trot will go. In the past I have done the Turkey Trot attempting for a PR... post removal of a screw from my knee..for fun.. for speed post pregnant... under all types of attempts I have turkey trotted. This year it will be attempted with some running and with bruised cyclocrossed legs. I love doing the Turkey Trot. It makes the turkey and pumpkin pie taste so much better. I think it may be snowing/ raining this year...all the more fun.

Only 1 more cyclocross race left in the series, Montrose... in the big bad city. Its been a crazy off season, of not really being completely off.....just shifted into different focus which can be "off". If that makes any sense.

Go stuff yourself, with workouts, races, hard efforts, or Thanksgiving feast!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Gearing UP




Believe it or not I still have 3 athletes still waiting for their " A " race of the season! What a long haul! But their day is finally almost here and they are ready to go. Good Luck to my IM AZ and IM Cozumel athlets racing in just a couple weeks. Clearwater is finally almost here for those athletes too! Good Luck

I think the retailers are gearing up for the holidays before anyone else is really ready. Isn't it always that way? I love Christmas and the holidays but dont' want to be sick of it before it even gets here. Patience people. Let me eat my Turkey and pumpkin pie first!

I was talking to my coach Thomo the other day and telling him I still haven't a clue what races or goals I'd like to chase next year. After 20 years of doing triathlon every single year minus 1 to have a baby...I am left to wonder what motivates me in the triathlon world. For a while I thought I might try ..a couple 70.3 races and Clearwater, but .........I would never want to still be triathlon training this time of year, and Ironman is so not appealing to me anymore and I've done the nationals and worlds thing with some great success. So what to do. Hmm. The jury is still out, but ....as long as I'm still having fun and getting fit and fast then there is a goal out there for me. But this is the cool part and my coach even agrees....I don't have to decide right now! Plus, I am having so much fun doing the cyclocross series, that I havent' even been thinking about next triathlon season. Same routine, same triathlon races, same goals....= stagant and boring.

With this off season my goals started off the same as the always are. Run.....because its easy to fit in, and do a bunch of 5ks. But this year I threw in "try a couple cyclocross races". Change is good. Same old Same old gets very boring. Riding through the trails and woods even when the weather is a little nasty has been fun. Its as close as I can get to the feeling of being in the mountains back home as I can around here. The Chicago Cross Series has been a blast and what a great change of pace. Different people, differnt attitutdes. The courses are so crazy and different every week you never know what to expect, and the venues have been so awesome and the crazy crowds just make me laugh. You'd NEVER see this at a triathlon......I guess thats why it seems so fun to me.

This week's race was called "Save Ferris", not sure why, but what a cool name. Bueller? Anyone? The hecklers were out, this time 1 guy dressed in a type of Belgian get up with an antler as megaphone....I had my best race yet on a tough technical course, and who can top, short sleeves in Nov.! The best part of the course was a barrier right before a gully at the base of a steep uphill. At one point I even found myself in about 4th place until I kissed a hay bail coming out of the sand pit 2nd time through..... still not sure how that happened. I finished 6th and keep moving my way up in the overall standings despite missing the first 3 races being on the island. There are just 3 races left in the series, everyone gearing up for the final race in Dec. Secretly I think some are wishing for snow and mud.

Oh and haven't quite made it to any 5ks yet this fall, but have been running some. Maybe I'll get to one of the jingle runs. And....I do still love triathlon, enough to even sign up for Sue Welker's new swim program and I may actually get back to swimming like I used to.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Cyclocross Pics





I tried putting these on facebook, but FB was being testy and making it difficult.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween Mud Ride

Iced Hula
Lap 1



Halloween on a weekend, with the end of daylight savings, and a full moon, who could ask for more?......well how about a Cyclocross race, 10 min from my house complete with mud hills and soggy grass! I needed that extra hour to fit in all the fun extras this weekend.

Halloween was in full force around our house. We really got into it this, year, I even dressed up as a "iced" hula girl. The kids loved it and think its hilarious when we dress up. Trick or Treating with a 6 and 7 year old ninja and lady bug is like watching them complete the race of their dreams. This year they basically sprinted from house to house, had to come home for pit stops, unload, and then head back out. Needless to say there is an over surplus of candy in the house. I'll end up taking it to work where it will be devoured, freezing it, and hiding some. Maybe I should use some of it as ornaments for the Christmas tree.

My 3rd cyclocross race was right here at home at Campton baseball fields. I have been practicing some of my "techniques" here so I knew how tough this would be, but would be the most fun. Then add all the rain we've had and now the hills and turns are saturated and muddy .....to make it even more crazy! So far the races I have done have been very technical, but flat. This was by far the hardest physically. With big hills and powering through mud. I have to say this made the lungs and legs burn the most but, made it the most fun. Adam is in taper mode for IM FL and came with the kids to cheer which was awesome. I've watched him do this the past few years, and always wanted to try it, but am usually triathlon fried and don't even want to look at a bike in the fall.

My start was the best I've done yet and was right with the lead girls through most of the first lap. I'm still not used to accelerating and trying to hammer, but going nowhere because you are in mud or soggy grass. My turns through the sharp 180s have gotten better, but still slowing down too much going over the barriers. I manage to hit my bike on them every time. This course race had several gullies or drainage ditches full of standing mud and water. You basically had to hit it full force to come out the other side without tipping over or getting a wheel stuck sending you face first into mud. I was sucking air and laughing at the same time, with mud flying in my face. I think I even tasted mud here. After the first lap there was so much mud all over, me I did most of the next not clipped in, but the key is to keep moving forward. In 30 minutes we did 3 laps of fun. I wanted more! At the end, I was covered in mud, my bike and shoes,,,,caked.

Now with all the mud washed away I see I am covered in bruises. So pretty.
There are a few more weeks of fun, who knows what the next races will bring!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Cross!

This past Sunday I raced in my first Cylcocross race. This wild race could be summed up as a criterium bike race that is off road, add a little steeplechase add some fun surprises and that is cyclocross. The atmosphere is also so different than triathlon. Its is so laid back and has a little taste of tailgating at a football game with groups grilling brats, and par-taking in Octoberfest beverages.

Its been fun riding the trails and off road since my tri-season has ended. Typically I hang up the bike all fall and early winter, but this has been a fun change and a new challenge. I have been riding around Leroy Oaks through shrubs and tall grass, jumping on and off the bike and come home with mud, grease, sweat and even blood on me. Fun!

So, Sunday we headed to Carpentersville for my first race. An Octoberfest was going on which is always great for the kids and Adam was awesome keeping them occupied and cheering while I was trying to figure out what I was doing! My race didn't start until 12:30,which is awesome for warmer temps and managing kids. We got there early enough to watch some of the men and scope out the course. Trust me, this is an event you want to know what you are in for and where. It is basically guts out for round and round a course for 30 min. This race had a sand pit, many sharp turns, some barriers, a creek and special for this year and my first race a section called "the pump!" sort of like moguls on a ski hill, BMX style. Adam caught this pic of me looking a little out of control (probably going too fast for my own good) but yet even though it looks like it...this is not where I wiped out! I found myself down in turn 1, and the sand pit! :)

The leaders in the series get to start on the line first then everyone else behind. I've missed the first races in the series due to being in Kona, so I tried to start as close to the front as I could. Think mass start in swimming for a competitive sprint tri, but you're on a bike. Its a mad sprint on a straight away until you head off onto the trails. I had a good start but started to lose it on the first sharp turn and end up 1/2 on 1/2 off my bike......suddenly I have in 10th or 11th place that fast! After the first lap, I had a good feel for the course and really started to go hard. I was getting better and the turns and was figuring out how to move my way up. The challenge is keeping as much speed going through sharp turns and sand and over barriers. I definitely need to keep working this. My fitness felt good, as I felt strong and was gaining on some of the girls in the front. In fact, I wish I could have gone the 45 min. (This is basically my first ever bike race, so I am cat 4.....you have to prove yourself worthy to move up! and the Cat 1,2 ,3 girls race for 45 min.)

I finished in 1 piece breathing hard and smiling. I will be back for more!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Island Adventure

Local Kona girl
Worth the hike
Not a bad view


I thought I would give more updates, from Kona but was really having too much fun, plus the condo we were staying decided to be stingy with Internet access.

This was my 4th time going to Kona to spectate. I've done the tri-geek week 3 other times, so was really wanting to experience more that Hawaii had to offer this time. I swear the next time we go must include a trip to 1 of the other islands on the chain.


We arrived late on Sunday and my good friend Jenny Marine met us at the airport and helped us haul our stuff to the condo. I got a quick tour of her home/ yes she is a kona resident, complete with a post flight mai tai made from scratch! Luckily enough her home was less than 1/2 mile from our condo on Alii drive! She teaches at the local high school and had the week off of school for fall break! This meant I had a beach partner..someone not concerned about how much time in the sun during the days leading up to the race.

I did do a a little training while there, but found myself busy cross training and enjoying lots of other fun things besides swimming biking and running. The running I did was HOT, stifling actually. I reminded myself to enjoy because I know whats coming here at home and I despise it more and more every year. I decided that the hotter the better for now. A few times I ran at mid day...and once at 6 a.m. Significant difference in out it felt, but by day 4 of running, I actually thought I was getting used to the oppressiveness.

Day 1 Jenny and I headed to a beach that is definitely off the beaten path. It involved a 20 min drive over lava probably best suited for a H1 Hummer, park, and then hike 30 min over more lava. Once you're there........a beautiful white fluffy sand beach with hardly any one there. Apparently Jenny has done this before because she had beach chairs with straps that you can put on your back like a back pack!!! I was so loving this!!!!! Sitting on this beach you really feel like you're at the edge of the earth, and can see that the Big Island is truly just a big rock in the middle of the Pacific (a beautiful lava rock)

Day 2 I talked Jenny into stop grading papers and go stand up paddling. She had done it once before, me...never. The toughest part was carrying the boards across the street and lava rocks to the water. The boards are actually a lot bigger than I thought, but this was a complete blast. Its a tough workout too. Balancing on a board that keeps getting tipped by the water, then paddling like a canoe. I'd paddle paddle then stop and float. By the end of 2 hrs I felt like trying to ride the waves....but my cockiness got the better of me and wiped out more than once! I wish I had pictures of this, but certainly didn't trust my ability to take a camera out to sea. After we turned in the boards, we pseudo snorkeled around with our goggles in this little bay with a million beautiful fish. I felt like I was inside an aquarium.

One day I pedaled down to Magic Sands beach and body surfed. I pretened to act like I knew what I was doing ....(because I've done this before) , but apparently was looking quite novice as some guy who looked local asked if I wanted to try his flippers because it looked like I was struggling! Ha, I was having fun ....getting pummeled by the waves. I almost kissed a sea turtle that was catching waves also, then pedaled home to cook dinner for some Ironmen.

I did swim while in Kona, but had to borrow goggles and a cap, because I wasn't planning on it. I swam at the pier once with the guys, it was fun seeing the fish and considering I hadn't swam since Chicago Tri.....I actually felt smooth cruising and trying to stay on Adam's feet for portions. One day I got talked into swimming at the Kona Pool. I was more in awe that such an awesome pool is free. I've whined about this before. How can we live in such a populated area supposedly with $$, funds etc, and we have to swim in shallow health club pools for at pretty significant price. Not to mention sharing (no offense) with the water aerobics classes. This is a beautiful outdoor pool actually divided into 2 pools. I swam some and then watched to pros swim in the "fast" pool. Unfortunately my biking amounted to the shortride to Magic Sands beach to body surf, and then again on race day sprinting up and down the Queen K cheering and spectating. I turned it in to my own little crazy workout. I had tennis shoes on top of pedals and I would ride hard for a mile then wait and cheer, then on to the next mile or 2. At some points it was hard because the run has a few hills. Well, I was sweating at least! And...for some reason I thought because I wasn't racing I didn't need water or fluid and was parched by the end. And, I didn't steal from the aid stations even though those sponges and gatorade looked awesome. This year I made it back in time to park the bike, lock it up and actually see Adam finish.

Race day was exhausting. Its hot, and long. Somewhere Jim Vance has a picture of us passed out in the King Kam hotel cooling off and catching a couple zzzzzs before heading back out. But I kept reminding myself of what the athletes were doing so it was hard to feel too sorry for yourself. Yet, as an athlete racing it is acceptable to pee yourself and pour water over yourself, or put ice in your shorts if you get too hot. I'm not sure how good this would go over as a spectator.

I wasn't ready to leave; I could have taken Island life a few more days, but I had a special delivery...... a shark's tooth for a pretty cool 6 yr. old with the best welcome home ever:)

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Island Bound

Kona Calling
FASTER!


In just over 24 hours I will be heading to Ohare to board a plane that will take across the Pacific to beautiful Hawaii. This will be the 4th I've gone to Hawaii, and the 4th time to Kona as a spectator and supporter. Lets just say I am getting good at this!

If you are a triathlete, being in Kona the week of Ironman is a little like being a small fish in a big pond. The fittest and fastest (Ironman) athletes are on the island walking around, training a little enjoying coffee and preparing to race. When race day arrives it is really quite amazing to see the fittest and the best show up to compete. Kind of like the Olympics. I LOVE the Olympics and seeing the athletes compete at the highest level. (although truth be known I'm not too sad Chicago didn't get the Olympics) On this day these athletes will be competeing against the best in the best in the sport (at Ironman). For some, they have done Kona over and over and over again. For others, it will be their first ....experience with it. As the week progresses, it is interesting to watch the tension and faces on the athletes increase. You can usually tell by their face, actions, level of quietness, no Ironman wristband needed.

My goal for this year is to be the best supporter of my Ironman and spectator for the many other athletes we know racing, all while having a great time Hawaiian style. I hope to see a little more of the island and see a little more of the beach this year. I want to go find those dolphins I saw last year, try stand up paddling, take some surfing lessons, go for lots of runs and maybe even a big bike ride. Then come race day I will be out there cheering and spectating like in zone 5 to the best of my ability. I have mastered the art of Ironman cheering and spectating. After the IM WI on 3 hrs of sleep I have rested, regrouped and am re-charged for IM World Champs.

Aloha!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Make it Count




For most of us triathlon season is done. Fall brings a little more time to do whatever it is we weren't doing all summer while swimming biking running, racing, and traveling to and from races. Off season activities for some may include:

~cleaning closets and cupboards
~attending Oktoberfest and sampling German beer
~tailgating at college football games
~picking apples and pumpkins
~vegging out on the coach doing nothing
~even continuing to train like crazy when its not necessary

Insert your favorite! All are quite honorable off season activities

But....in the midst of re-grouping, and re-charging it is good to take some time to think about the past season. What worked, what didnt, as well as what next year's ideal season would be. What can change to make the season better. Lets face it we spend an enormous amount of time, money, and energy training. Sacrifices are made by family and friends. Instead of going through the motions in workouts, training, thoughts about goals, make it count.

Some of what I've learned about goals comes from my Dad, (Coach Freeb) Cheryl Hart sports psychologist, and Thomo. I spend a lot of time writing great workouts for my athletes, encouraging and pushing them along, and want to see that they can do everything possible to achieve what they sacrifice, time, money sleep, sore muscles for.

Setting specific goals for your season is an effective way to increase the likeliness improving performance and achieving the desired outcome. Just thinking about some goals and keeping them to yourself, or talking amongst yourself inside your head likely doesn't make it real enough. The best thing you can do is write it down and share it with someone who cares as much as you do about your goals. It makes it real. Real enough to help:

~get you out of bed at 5 am on a cold dark morning
~lift weights even though you despise the thought
~push yourself harder on an interval even though it is hurting
~complete the workout or test set

insert what your least favorite/ you know what it is!

Fear is what holds athletes back from writing down their goals, or sharing them with those who care and will help. Being chicken and scared of failing holds us back. I've been there, it can be scary to find that your friend partner or coach may laugh at your goals. But really who cares. Get over yourself and set your standards high, write them down and share them with a coach, training partner, husband, mom or whoever is your greatest supporter.

If you are an athlete of mine, get to thinking about next year and what you want; I'm coming after you on this no excuses this year! If you're not, I still encourage you to set some goals and share them with someone!

In the meantime, enjoy some off season fun tailgating, sleeping in, buying Halloween candy, or saying yes to the night out.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

My 360 deg. weekend tour

Straight from Portland OR
360 Deg!
Cheering on State St.




Back in March my brother Mike called me up and asked if I wanted to go see U2 in Sept. The opening night for their U.S. "360 Deg. Tour" was at Soldier Field on Sept. 12th. This is his wife Jen's birthday and he wanted to make it a surprise. We are all very big U2 fans, and actually even know all the pre-Joshua Tree hits! The good stuff! I was in for sure. I don't get to see my brother that much, he lives in Portland OR and I had to be in on a surprise like this. They also have never been to Chicago. After agreeing to this and checked the calendar, I realized it was Ironman weekend. Hmmm. I would have to just drive up race morning for this one.

Mike is a High School football coach for Clackamas High School, so they literally flew in Saturday afternoon and back out early Sunday morning because of Friday night games and Sun. afternoon coaches meetings. I picked them up at the airport and we headed straight in to the city. Jen had no clue where she was headed for the weeks leading up to her birthday. In fact even at the airport she still didn't know where she was going until Mike showed her the concert tickets at the gate to Chicago.

I am not a big concert goer (although this was the 3rd time seeing U2). I don't love huge crowds, traffic, or standing in the midst of a bunch of stinky people bumping into me, but I was soooo excited for this, to see my brother, and to pull off such a cool birthday surprise. I was just as excited for them to see some of Chicago and it was such a perfect day. We parked near the Hilton on Mich Ave, and walked through Grant park to get to Soldier Field. We had just enough time to buy t-shirts, grab a Guinness in honor of Jen's birthday and it also seemed very "Irish". The stage and concert music and everything was phenomenal! It was sooo much fun.

Leaving Soldier after the concert was about as tough as waking up at 4:30 the next morning. All 80,000 people leaving at the same time through the gates was a nightmare. It took quite a while for the pedestrian traffic jam to break, we didn't have open sidewalk until almost back at the parking garage. There were so many people, walking out. The steps of the Field Museum were packed with people who had sat outside listening to the show. Luckily the roads were clear and once in the car we didn't stop once until we were home. I crawled into bed at 1:30 with my alarm set for 4:30 to get them back to the airport and be on my way to Madison. When I woke up, I wasn't sure I was going to make it to Madison. I felt so tired and haven't pulled those kind of hours since studying for anatomy exams in PT school. But I knew they HAD to get to the airport and so I figured I'd pound a few gallons of coffee and I'd be fine. I started thinking about the athletes I knew racing and that I wanted to see them and that woke me up a little more.

I drove through a bunch of fog and darkness on my way to O'Hare. It was barely light when I left them curbside, but as I drove towards Madison the fog started to break and the sun was coming up. It was absolutely gorgeous and I was starting to get that nervous excited feeling I get for those I know doing Ironman. That got me the rest of the way there. And by 7:45 I was in Madison hooking up with my friend Deb who lives up there. We headed to Verona and parked it on the hill and waited for all the athletes. We had a great spectating spot on that nasty hill after the hard left. It was warming up, and especially got hot once the athletes started going by. I was cheering like crazy with not much of a voice left after the concert. Its interesting see the expressions on athletes faces, climbing the hill. Hmmm try not staying aero on this one! and...maybe shift up one and it won't hurt so bad! Some athletes were smiling and just glad to be there, some had that look of what did I get myself into! and others were just all business! 2nd time around......you could tell who had either......gone out too hard, or not prepared well enough!

We headed into town for some lunch, I hit the coffee shop for more, and some food. I hadn't had anything real to eat in 24 hrs and was going down! The STarbucks guy was nice and gave me a little extra in the iced coffee, and we were on our way to State St. to cheer on the runners. I took too much time getting coffee and didn't see Adam start the run, but everyone said he looked great. I saw so many friends and fellow MSMers go by, they all looked great! I think there were like 20 racing! The day started getting long and I was starting to worry if I'd make it home. I had to drive solo back home, because of work and a dog.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

R. A. F




Since Chicago I have been participating in R.A.F. Random Act of Fitness.

Adam uses this term to describe the weekend warrior types, who go for it on the weekends,or short periodic bursts of training but are slugs by the week. Train then rest, rest some more then train like crazy. Its a funny term and makes me laugh. Now I feel like I am part of the R. A. F. crowd. A few bouts of exercise here and there. Mostly I just want to be able to wear a swimsuit in Hawaii because I want to go surfing.

I have been enjoying extra time the past week or so, but unlike last year still have the motivation to go out and do something. Simon says (ha ha ha) take another week easy, and do only what you feel like.

So since Chicago my training has consisted of:
* a few easy runs, some with Lucy the golden girl dog. She is always up for a run, no complaints. No Ipod, no watch just out enjoying to run.

* 1 trip back to the personal trainer. This hurt. Just 2 weeks out of the weights, and I am sore from the easy stuff. The pictures doesn't show me out pulling the sled like a football player through the grass. Now I'm walking down the stairs like I just did Ironman. This just reinforced to me how weak I can get if I don't stick to the weights! Note to self, don't tell Mark its too easy.


* 1 ride on the cross bike after dusting off the cob webs and dirt from last year off. On this ride I had with me 2 6 year olds on their bikes, and 2 Ironman athletes doing and easy run. We had 1 pit stop to pull thorns out of a mini skirt, 1 lost streamer, and lots of talk about Ironman race strategy.

* Lots of walks to and from Jack's school. I literally have enough time in the a.m. to walk him to school, then walk fast / jog back home to get in the car and drive to work just in time to see the first patient. Its worth it to walk, once the nasty weather comes, I"m sure I'll be in that car pool line.

* I even managed 1 swim. Kristin, (pro from Norway) is staying with us. She needed a ride to masters, Adam was biking so I opted to go, knowing it would force me to swim a little because who knows when I'll be motivated to go swim again this off season. It was quite nice though to just slack in the back of the lane and observe all the nervous looking Ironman athletes.

Breaks are good. They let let you re-charge the brain, and body and leave you motivated to get back into it. Being part of team R.A.F is fun for now, but I don't see it being a long lasting relationship.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Chicago Tri

I should have known the day before doing Chicago I was in new territory. At the pre-race expo, you have to walk through a long hallway to get from 1 section of the sprawling expo of every known triathlon gadget, gear, food type you could imagine, to the other. This expo is so big, you must use a long hallway to get from gigantic room full of tri stuff to another. Through this hallway they have hung poster boards from "covers" of prior Aug. issues of ChicagoAA and Windy City sports. Some of these "covers" go waaaaaay back. I won't even say how far back. But as I walked through there, I can remember doing this race back in the day when these issues were on the news stand!!! Yikes. I don't know how many times I've done Chicago Tri, but I have done it when the swim was at Ohio St. Beach, and Navy Pier was the transition area.!!!!! Also, when it was a Hawaii qualifier!

This was my big race of the year. It was big alright. Thousands showed up! Including a competitive field as tough as Nationals. I had no plans this year for anything huge. I just wanted to get fast and have fun along the way. I did accomplish both of these goals, but just wasn't able to put the fastness that I achieved this year out on the Chicago course. I'm not sure why, still can't fully pinpoint what was off, but I was just average on Sunday . That isn't going to cut it in a field that was stacked. There were girls racing I've never heard of who were probably infants in diapers when I was doing this race Ohio St. beach.

We stayed in the city Fri and Sat night before the race. Thanks to Adam's AUS client who is "down under" we had access to a condo that was directly across the street from where I lived my first year of PT school at Northwestern. It brought back a lot of memories of grad school, and my VERY early days of triathlon. Running and biking on the lakefront, living 1 block off Michigan Ave, completely broke and going to school. With us was Thomo! and his girlfriend Kel. Thomo was in town to race, but opted not to race due to a back strain he suffered at Timberman. It was fun having the Aussie pro's around to hang out and train with.

Race morning came and I rode my bike to the transtion in the dark passing all the party goers stumbling home. It was freezing cold, even with all my layers on. It was also pitch dark. I found my spot with wave 20 and got ready to start my day with 9000other triathletes. One reason I signed up for the elite wave was to go off in the front of all the thousands, also.....I'd also rather put myself up against the fastest and finish in the middle of the elite amateur div. vs. first of 40 yr olds! I was wave 20, I think there were something like 50 waves this year!

My swim: after a rough start of getting pummeled and punched like in an Ironman, I felt pretty good after the first turn. I got a good rhythm going and swam decent for me and my 1 -2 x a week of swim fitness. I could see Adam, Joe and Thomo on the side trying to get me to catch the feet in front of me! I did bridge a couple gaps to hang on to some feet for part of the way. I peeled off my wetsuit and sprinted fast to transition. It was really chilly, so I went faster to warm up After several minues of sprinting I finally get to my bike make a quick transition and was on my way. There were a lot of bikes already gone so I knew I had a lot of work to do.

The bike started off right into the wind blowing strong out of the north. It was cold and I tried to be patient to let my legs warm up, but between cold and wind I felt the burn. I don't' mind the wind. As a strong rider, I usually can use it to my advantage. I was riding strong and but couldn't wait to make that turn and have that tailwind. I saw a guy wipe out hard right in front of me. His front tire caught 1 of those seems and it flipped him. I almost stopped, but I saw him get up and go running after his bike across traffic so I knew he was at least alive! Once I made the turn I really tried to get it going. I knew I would start to feel better. I was riding strong at this point but only caught like 2 girls. This is the beauty of the depth of this field. I kept trying to take it to the next level but I couldn't really get it there. No one passed me on the bike, I was pretty much stuck right in the middle making very little headway.

The run; I came into T2 and took off running. My legs felt good, breathing good, and had a great start. I felt decent. Just passed mile 1 I felt a rock in my shoe. It became annoying, so I opted to stop and get it out, because I thought I'd run better with it out of there. I felt good and was running steady, but didn't feel the snap that I've had in some of my training runs. I kept trying to surge, but couldn't find that higher gear again. 1 girl passed me on the run, but after turning back north into the strong wind, I caught her again. It was very windy the last 2 miles, I felt strong not but had no zip.

I was once 4th OA at this race with a 2:22 That wasn't that long ago. This year I was like 25th with a 2:26! I guess triathlon has come a long way in just a couple years. Sometimes I wonder if I am foolish for being out there still. Adam so lovingly pointed out that I was like 15-20 yrs older than some of the field. But I don't FEEL that old (most of the time!)which is why I am still going at it, and I am still having fun so thats what counts. My only disappointment was that I wasn't able to put down the effort and ability in this race that I achieved this year for whatever reason. I had no time to dwell on it because I came home to an awesome first grader. He had homework. It involved writing and filling out questions all about him for his new classroom scrapbook. My day as a triathlete done. But, I wouldn't trade this for anything, not even for 1st or 4th OA at Chicago Tri.

And we achieved a milestone. Jack has his first loose tooth which is "the bomb" when you are 6!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Transitions


Leaving Nationals Last Year....
This was the best part





With the end of summer, school starting, my race season coming to an end, my world seems like 1 big , fast transition.

Transitions in a race are part of the game. I have won races or beat out fellow competitors just by a few seconds, and the difference was...transitions. They are fast, and quick and part of the big picture. Every second counts. Sometimes you feel prepared for them and they go smoothly, other times, like early in the season you feel uncoordinated sloppy and spastic.

Last year I was injured, burnt out and couldn't wait for the season to end. I needed a break, and thought I wouldn't race triathlons this year. I was done in so many ways. Ha. Well fast forward 1 year and I have had so much fun training and racing, that now my last race is just over a week away and I am not burnt out, and am actually thinking and planning of some fun fall events to do before the arctic freeze sets in. I'll hang up (lovingly) my Scott Plasma tri bike(LOVE LOVE LOVE it!) for the fall, and winter and ride my BMC road frame, and my cyclocross bike. I'll keep running probably on trails more, and I probably swim even less than I am now (tsk tsk). I'll find the fun 5ks and 10ks, and maybe even attempt some cyclocross races. I'll have a little more down time to pay attention to all that stuff that gets left behind during the summer, that stuff that gets shoved in the closet, and pushed to the back burner.

This season itself was a transition for me. I wasn't gunning for any big Nationals Worlds, IM or 70.3. I was getting used to the idea of being ok with just doing some local races, and having the big goal just be....see how fast you can go. See how well you can do at these races. Its been enough to keep me motivated, in shape and having fun.

With the start of the school year, Jack begins first grade. Real School. I almost cried taking him to his summer camp at Kensington this week where he has gone for 3 years knowing he is almost done there, and will move on to the real deal next week. It will feel a little more stuck to a traditionals school schedule. With that comes a new schedule for me. Shorter days at work, but going in 4 x instead of 3, so I'll be able to be home when he is done with school. This also means no more day care cost (hooooray) and the ability to take him to whatever practice he is in, help with homework and me more time to be a better IRONMAIDEN.

For my athletes, many of their seasons are also coming to an end or, already have finished up there big races. I have such a great athletes, and they have done so great this year. Many have faced numerous challenges as we all do just to get to the starting line..... and cross it. Several athletes have finished first tri's ever, first 1/2 IM's ever, completed their first IM. Its been fun seeing so many of my athletes do great this year and overcome many ups and downs. But as I write their schedules, I am getting more and more athletes to start thinking about goals for next year as this season winds down, and they transition into a different phase of training.

Good Luck to all racing! upcoming.....Colin at Nationals and Steve at IM Canada. woop woop....go fast!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

That time of year...is here


My post workout Ice Bath


Last year at this time I was injured......and trying to "train through" just so I could race at Nationals. The Steelhead "Duathlon" was the breaker on a leg that been nagging for awhile, but I turned a blind eye. And, I am someone who knows better. It is my profession to rehab and promote injury prevention. The result, a very bad day at a very big race :(

The Chicago Marathoners are into some big miles, the Madison, Kona, and frankly most Ironman athlets are into mega volume and its late in the season. Many have been training since January, and some never stopped after last season. They are starting pop up here and there, the injured athlete.... truly hurt on or edge. They are trickling into the clinic, I see them at workouts, and they find their way into my email, asking for help. "Please, I'll promise to stretch now, just make it go away!" They want to know what the magic shoe, recovery pill/ powder, number of days to just rest it....will fix the aching foot, knee hip shoulder etc.

Unfortunately there is no magic. It takes work just like the work to do the training and working out that gets your body into the state its in. It takes some work and dedication to unwind all the tightening and kinks from daily swimming biking and running. And a little rest every now and then helps. It takes a combination of strength and flexibility to keep the bod in check. Yesterday I helped at a track workout for the MSM kids who have qualified for Worlds. Unfortunately 1 athlete is hurt and had to spin on the trainer and do some core/strength work while the others ran. It is hard when all you've worked for and the race you're gunning for gets interrupted by an injury. The body isn't invincible, even at age 14, or 32, or 41.

The key is doing the work "BEFORE" the injury creeps up. Its easy to slack on the stretching, and core work, when all is well and things a clicking great. You're cranking out workouts, racking up miles and all is good. Until.... you feel that knee lock up in the middle of a run. Or, that pain in the foot when you step out of bed in the morning. Then it takes twice as long to get over, and you miss out on training.

This year I hired a personal trainer to help keep me honest with doing strength, (and to help get an old lady moving fast). It is old school in a basement, and super hard but has been effective. After last year and having my big race go in the pipes because of an ijury, I have doing more to prevent injury and stay strong. Plus I don't want to look like one of those bent over, slouching runners crossing the finish line because their core is so weak.

Be strong, and stay loose !

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Work in Progress

MSM Tri girls/wedding style
All dressed up

Recently we went to my client, our friend and MSM club member Megan's wedding. It was fun to get dressed up like a girl, dry my hair and not be that sweaty chick with a pony tail and workout clothes. My husband wore a tie, and I wore spiky heels and a dress (not great for the calves and the run the next day), but still fun.

It was fun to have a night not thinking about swimming biking and running for just a night and dance to Thriller, Dancing Queen and even the Chicken Dance.

There's nothing like a good wedding to make you think about where you are, where you've been and where you're going (not to mention a few drinks, some crazy dancing, and good looking tri guys in suits). Marriage is a work in progress, just like triathlon. There are a lot of similarities if you look closely.


*You have to do the work and training to get the desired results.

*Skipping workouts and skipping out on something your spouse planned will have a negative outcome

*Devoting oneself to a training plan is similar to devotion to your one and only

*Both can bring happiness and fulfilment

*There is a give and take needed for balance in each relationship. Taking only will leave you injured/ burnt out or .....lonely.

*You can't expect immediate perfection, it takes time and work. For some several years to achieve their triathlon dreams, and a lifetime of work on a marriage.

*Both require dedication for better or worse

Achieving what you want doesn't come easy. It is a work in progress. I started triathlon when it was unheard of to have a coach, and no Internet. I used to wait (this is embarrassing) for Triathlete mag. to come out to figure out how to workout! I worked was very hard and dedicated each season and got a little faster each year. I wasn't a swimmer growing up and had to really work at it to get faster, and I did. It took several years to turn my volleyball self/ team sportster into a triathlete. Even then it took a few more years to get to Worlds, finish Ironman, and finish at the top at races.

For some athletes progress may come a little easier than others, those are the ones with some natural talent. Others are given tremendous work ethic, and dedication. But for both it still requires work to get to the end result and reach full potential. Part of the fun should be the work getting to there. (except maybe for my ride yesterday/ 3 hrs in the cold rain :( It gets challenging in the PT clinic or with athletes when they want to see immediate results. It takes time and work. Post op patients want to be all better and back to normal....1 week later without doing any of the "work". Athletes want to be fast without doing the hard intervals or challenging workouts, or strength workouts.

I am still a work in progress. Even though I have achieved a lot of what I have wanted in triathlon, I still challenge myself to see how fast I can go and do the best I can in the events that I've decided to do this year. Its been a work in progress molding my triathlete self, into a Mom, PT, wife of Ironman, physcial therapist etc. (can you tell I've been working with my Life Coach, Thomo? ha ha.) BTW he got second at Vineman recently.

This year the work has been challenging and fun. The work of getting faster and more fit has been fun along the way.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

It was MADNESS




It was another fabulous weekend of racing in Racine with Madness. This is a huge MSM club event with tons of members racing and it seems to get bigger every year. The last time I actually raced the 1/2 was in 2005. The year it was 107 deg. or whatever the actual temp was it was an inferno. I remember crossing the line on fire, and crawling across the beach to the lake and to submerge myself and cool off. I think there was steam coming off the lake from all the hot bodies floating around to cool off. This year was much different. We felt like we needed to go apple picking, rake leaves then go inside to watch football. But..it made for great racing conditions. I didn't see anyone crawling through sand to get to the lake after crossing the line this year.

Last year I did the bike portion of a relay with my 40 yr old girl buds the day after doing Evergreen Tri. This year.....I chose to race the Blue Wave Racine sprint. I am truly seeing the SORT weekend from all angles! I had been trying to train fairly hard since returning from vacation, so decided to hop into the sprint as a workout (ouch hard!) For some reason they had an all women's race, and a sprint race the same morning. This was nice, because my race started at 9:00 a.m. I'll take a little more sleep and a little more sun and warmer temps. It was a perfect morning which made the 59 deg water a little easier to take!

Its been a couple years since I've done a sprint tri, they don't favor my strengths, but...I do like the pain they can inflict in just about 1 hr of racing.
The lake was cold but calm (thankfully since it took me a week to stop feeling dizzy after Bigfoot). I had a bit of a slow start, and just when I was getting a good rhythm going, I hit sand and sprinted (sort of ) accross the beach to T1. Adam yelled I was 1:50 down on 1st place. Yikes thats a lot in a sprint! But I knew #1 and she is an incredible swimmer. I made a quick transition and then decided to bike as hard as I could. I felt the good burn in the legs. It never went away. I am not sure if thats because I wasn't rested or I was trying to go so hard, but was having a good ride. I couldn't see 1st place, there were a lot of turns on this course making it difficult to see ahead. By the way this race wins the award for bumpiest road cracks. Once back in T2 I found it was weird running through a gigantic transition area, that seemed fairly empty compared to when it is full with all the 1/2 IM racers. I flew threw transition, and was on may way. This is a fun run course along the lake and over a couple hills around the zoo and then back over the hills to the finish. The hills were a bit of a suprise to me because I only remember the first hill. I was trying to run as hard as possible, even with a good quad burn going. There weren't mile markers, so I just ran as hard as possible. There were quite a few Madness members out cheering before doing their pre-race bricks and bike checks which was fun!

I finished 2nd OA female in 1:06, but they gave me 1st place master elite. I laughed at the guy and thought 2nd OA sounded better. When I saw the splits I was glad to see that even a bit tired, I went about as fast as I ever have in a sprint, even as a "master" :) What I know about sprint distance at age 41 is that you just get the rhythm down and all systems a go, then its time to switch gears. Congrats to Colin my client who won the male OA, in his 2nd tri ever!


Then I got to sit back and relax, play with the kids and enjoy the annual pasta dinner and Le Casa de Delgado. Thanks to D and D for letting us invade the beach house. They might need a bigger vacation home if the club pasta dinner gets any bigger. There was a great turn out with lots of club members carbo loading and looking nervous.

Sunday I was the spectator and tried to watch and cheer as much as possible with a couple rug rats in tow. They had sand from head to toe by the end of the day. Go figure its July, so I didn't think to bring fleece, and sweats for cheering clothes. I wanted to build a fire pit. Congratulations to all of Madness. Everyone looked so great and fast this year!

All my athletes have been rockin it; hooray to Lisa for a PR at Trek last weekend, and this weekend, John for finishing his first 1/2, Tonya for an age group win at Evergreen, and Wellman for his PR at Racine.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Tour de Fabulous

It Tour time again and it been on in our house daily. With several showings a day, and our DVR recording non-stop, its hard to not miss whats going on over in France. I have gotten into watching it more that usual this year. I am not sure if its the hype between Lance and Alberto for team leader, or....the HD picture with such great scenery, or the fact that Lance is back out of retirement to "Ride for the Cure". All makes for FABULOUS viewing and good excuses, to have it on while stretching, cleaning, putting mounds of laundry away, writing schedules, or paying bills.

Speaking of scenery, there is a lot of good eye candy to look at. The mountains, and European cities almost make me want to go do one of those Tour/spectator trips. There are also very cool bikes which are fun to check out. Some I've never heard of, some newer versions of already familiar brands. Also.. cool uniforms (whats with the argyle theme though?, 2 teams with argyle uniforms at least they aren't wearing argyle compression socks) Last, but not least, very fit men in spandex. I'll say no more.

I did a long ride today. A ride long enough to remind me why I am not doing Ironman. I had a lot of time to think about my most FABULOUS favs. from this year's tour.

MY FAVS:

Road Bike: Scott/Team Columbia High Road or the Specialized team SaxoBank

TT set up (the whole package/uniform/ helmet etc): Team Astana

Euro. finishing town: Andora

Uniform: Caisse/ D'Epargne black and red of Luis Sanchez

Fit man in spandex: 170+ to pick from can't decide

Favorite commentator: Phil Ligget of course

If you've been watching, what are your favorites?

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Vacation Fireworks


the inside of my legs


We returned home from our family vacation on Mon afternoon, about 24 hrs late. Thanks to DELTA, our flight was canceled and they were so kind to put us on a 6:20 a.m. flight the next morning complete with a 3 1/2 hr layover in Cincinnati. Super efficient especially since the direct flights from Atlanta take only 1 hr 50 min.

The vacation itself was fabulous. Lots of fun outdoor swimming,canoeing, jumping off the docks into the lake, rock/ water slides,kangaroo farm and more. My goal for this vacation was to enjoy a real vacation like normal people do, some relaxing, some play and little stress with cramming in workouts around family functions, no guilt on missing out on what everyone is doing because I'm out training, or work on the computer.

I succeeded !

I busted A#$ prior to vacation to get schedules done for clients, and told Simon, my coach, I just wanted to run some, swim very little. I did do some running because I love it and it is easy to fit in. Gosh how easy life might be if I just ran, (but maybe a little dull) North Georgia is very hilly, very steep hills and absolutely no flats. These are the types of hills you can reach out with your hand and touch the road in some places. Several days of running in a row out there, and my legs felt like the fireworks on the 4th. Nothing like climbing a hill of stairs, and sliding down a rock slide into cold lake water for recovery! And, how about smor'es for a re-fueling and recovery (j/k!) The kids devoured them.

I came home with a little more suntan, a bunch of mosquito bites, a new appreciation for a flat run, and a ton of great memories.

Monday, June 29, 2009

First Day?


Its those 40 yr old women again!


Ok, I have been racing for like (OMG< 20 yrs now. is it possible?) But yesterday at Big foot Tri, I had so many weird things happened at times it felt like my first day ever! I was a spaz. Was the moon full, just for me yesterday Ha! Seemed like it

I had been looking forward to racing in Lake Geneva again this year, this race is fun with another off road run. (thats 3 for me this year, I've been loving them, but still no xterra in my future) We woke up to cooler temps, but a vicious and sick wind! Nice. I was happy for this for the bike.. bring it on, but the swim........no thanks. The water had white caps, and big waves. It was a toilet bowl. In the past 2years I seem to get from vertigo, and get it fairly easily. Even some days at Delnor when the sun comes in through the windows and shines on the water moving around, I'll get so dizzy I just have to get out. Once after getting extremely sick in the back of Mark D's private plane, I was dizzy for 2 weeks. Even taking a corner too fast in the car would send my head spinning. So yesterday's swim was horrible. I got pretty dizzy and wanted out so bad. Several times, I was looking for the side of the road and wanted to crawl out and lay still, just to make the world stop. But I really wanted to race yesterday. So I kept going. The water was so shallow, you could stand up which helped, but made for a pathetically slow swim. A had a swim time like in the beginning of my triathlon career. yikes.

I walked out of the water to transition, stood there took a deep breath, tried to uncross my eyes, and got on my bike, and took off. I felt great right away and wanted to just hammer. I usually don't start the bike, so far back and wanted to catch as many people as I could. So I am hammering away, feeling very strong. After a turn, the wind must have been behind us and I shift down and my chain drops....and gets stuck. Damn. So I have to stop, get off my bike, fix it and get rolling again. I was mad, because the bike was shifting perfectly on the pre-race brick and riding to the race from the hotel. Hmm. wonder what happened there. I start to hammer away again to catch as many more people as I could. Much of the ride was into a nice head wind, making it tough, but I just road hard knowing this would help me. Then the turn for home and the wind is behind us. Wow that was fun and I am really riding hard, shift down again....and the SAME thing happens with the chain. I am thinking no WAY, why!!!! I just caught all those girls! So I get off, fix it again and ride AS HARD AS I COULD to transition, because I am mad now. I make a fast T2, and take off run. Thankfully I felt great from the start on the run, and try to run down whoever I can. I catch a couple girls who and am having so much fun running on the hilly trails, and so happy my running is feeling good. Then... at the top on a flat grassy section, I step in a grassy hole I couldn't see, twist my foot and take a face plant. I am now laughing ....because I just want to finish this race!!!! I must have looked like a spaz! Thanks to the 2 guys who stopped and help me up whoever they are.! I walk it off a little, start to run, ankle feel ok, and I gradually get it going to reasonable pace again. Inside I am mad, because so many weird hurdles were being thrown at me, but it is driving me to just do the best a I can and not quit. With about 1/2 mile left of the run, this woman in my age group passed me. As she gets in front of me I am mad. I have worked to hard to overcome a these little set backs to have her beat me. I see that she isn't pulling away, so I start to sprint (at least what sprint is for me! ), and I am gaining on her, and I end up beating her at the line, by 1 sec.

In the end after all the mishaps, I ended up 2nd in my age group, with a horrible swim time probably 7 min. slower than it should be normally. I don't like to write big detailed race reports, but I did this time to show that when things go wrong in a race.....if you just keep it together in the head, stay focused and determined, you will be fine. The good thing is that physically (vertigo aside), I felt great. The training is working!!! Thank you Simon!

Remember to stay tenacious. Never give up.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Feel the heat

Man is it HOT, and I love it. No complaints here!

I have been so busy. (whats new) I am barely keeping my head above water right now but, the end is near with vacation next week! I need it. I have been feeling pulled at like gumby in a 100 directions. When it gets busy it seems like it does so in all parts of my life at the same time. Cosport is crazy right now. It seems every athlete decided to come get fixed and there must have been a sale on Total Knee replacements. Coaching is going great too.....I have a couple new athletes (young!! the 20 somethings!) and fast! Then you add in a little training, and taking care of the Iron house hold and whew.....its HOT around here :)

In other news I have a new coach....Simon Thompson. I have been working with him for about a month and it has been so great. He incorporates "Life Coaching" with the triathlon coaching. It has been very helpful with balancing all of the above :) That is a blog post in itself. In the meantime here is an article about 1 of his recent races.

http://www.dailycamera.com/news/2009/jun/22/triathlon-australian-olympian-wins-5430/

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Fun and Games

BFF Deb finishing with her sons
Still smiling at the end
Haven't had one of these in awhile





I have to say Madison is one of the coolest towns ever. I spent this past weekend there visiting my close friend Deb who moved there in Dec. She has been begging us to come up and see her and has been almost taunting Adam, "the IM bikers are out on the course training!" She lives 1 block off the IM Wisconsin bike course, on "the arm" out to Verona. So we decided to head up north, and Adam was going to do some long rides and then we'd do the race up there called Capital View Tri on Sunday.

I had done a lot of training in the week leading up to the race and knew I'd be tired going into the race. Normally I don't like to race like this, but was up for doing something totally new and fun. Deb had told us the course was pretty tough. I knew it would be hilly and hard, but would be a great workout and adventure. Plus, it was great seeing my old friend. Deb knew me when I was first really getting into triathlons. We used to swim together at Norris Center in St. Charles with workouts her husband gave us to do. He was a former US National Team swimmer and almost made the 96 Olympic team! So they were great workouts. When I swim solo, sometimes I still pull some of them out of my head.

Race morning we headed up to Lake Mendota and Gov. Nelson state park. What a cool place and it looked like it was going to be a very organized race. After a good warm up which I really needed to try and wake up a tired body we waited for the gun.
I raced in the elite wave which wasn't very big and had some fast men in it.
Once we were off, I immediately found myself in no man's land on the swim. Alone. This is sometimes why I don't like doing elite waves if they aren't big but whatever I focused on trying to do my own thing. I didn't have a good swim had trouble siting for some strange reason and kept catching seeweed on my goggles, but the water was beautiful and a perfect temp. The swim seemed long, and I didn't get a good rhythm until it was almost over. The water was shallow for a long way before you actually exited the water, so I dolphin dived a whole bunch, to finish because it was too shallow to swim, but too far to run (too muddy too). Dolphin dive finish....a blast!

I had a good transtion and jumped on my bike and got rolling. We had driven the bike course the day before, and I knew it was going to be hard. THere were a lot of hard rights that turned into steep hills giving you no momentum into the hill. I could feel my quads on every hill and hard acceleration reminding me of all I had done that week, but I was riding pretty strong. I caught the 2 girls ahead of me pretty quick on the up hill climbs and then just tried to ride hard. The course was so well marked. Even out in the middle of the dairyland there were volunteers and people directing you. It was a nice ride back, after a really long climb, there was some down hill and I finally started to feel like I had all my legs with me. I entered T2 and took off running. The run course was 98% on trails, mostly grass, some wood chip and VERY hilly. Ouch it was hard! It hurt on those uphills with no footing. But........it was very fun and I loved the challenge! It was so fun and crazy. The trails zig zagged back and forth all over the park over the hills and through the woods. It was crazy because you were all over the park. My quads were talking to me again, and I didn't feel great running until about mile 3, but I was having a blast. Again great volunteers, and a well marked course. It made me think I'd probably have fun doing an Xterra, but I'd probably kill myself trying to hammer on a mtn. bike. I finished strong and was happy for putting out a good effort on such a tough course. I ended up first elite wave female, but was 4th OA Female. I would definitely do this race again!

After the race we headed back to Deb's. I was supposed to do a 1 hr cool down ride. So out I went with tired and sore legs a beautiful blister to ride easy. Ha. I make a right and another right and I am on Whalen Rd. Anyone who knows the IM course should be familiar with these hills, esp. on the way back in to town at the end of 100 miles. Ouch! Tons of people were out training on the course. I must of looked like a dork with my aero helmet race wheels and body marking still on!

Thanks to Deb for letting us hang out her house. I'm sure we'll be back :)

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Mile Markers






Sometimes when I do race or workout the mile markers can just fly by. Before you know it the next one is there and they are just ticking away. Of course when things are feeling good, and everything is in check things can click and the miles will fly by. This happened at Memphis on the bike and run for me. I couldn't believe it when I was already rounding the corner to transition, and on the run mile 3 came before I knew it. I did fade over the last 1.5 miles and that section seemed like 3 miles.

There are times though, when the opposite happens. Those miles markers.....where are they? Surely they must be off, or maybe the course isn't marked? Why is it taking so long. The very next week I did the Fox Trot 5k. Just a 5k! and because my legs were flat and not cooperating while my mind and will was trying to make myself go and go fast...those mile markers seemed a million miles apart because my feet felt like they were stuck to the pavement. Even in just a little 5k!

Mile markers can be other milestones in the sport like:

finishing your first triathlon ever, or
finishing your first Ironman ever,
getting your first real racing bike,
breaking 10 hrs in an Iroman
changing your own flat tire
qualifying for worlds
breaking a 5 min mile (hooray to Adam, he did this on the track this week)
actually completing every workout on the schedule
overcoming an injury

Sometimes it seems like it may take for ever to get to that mile marker, but patience and perseverance will get you there. But...you must do the work, believe, keep going after it even when it hurts, or your feet are stuck to the pavement. These things don't come easy. No magic workout, no magic techy training device, wonder shoe, will get you to that marker. Just patience, work and perseverance. Simply, nothing comes easy. If it does...pick something bigger to shoot for!


This week Jack turned 6 and graduated from kindergarten. That was a big mile marker for me (him too of course). Little does he know he is entering real school with more homework, tests, grades etc. fewer parties. There are times when he was 2 and testing my patience it never seemed he would get potty trained or be able to tie his shoes. Other times, I can't believe he is 6, and going on to first grade. No more little school with a door code, locked doors and mom walking you all the way in all nice and safe. Now he tells me, (mom...I can do it myself) We've made it through getting potty trained, tieing our own shoes, dressing ourselves, counting to 100 and many more. But,, there are more to come...learning to drive (yikes) this mile marker can take its time!

I have to say awesome job to a couple clients who completed Triple T. Di and her teammate did awesome finished and had tons of fun a long the way. And, TK, I am so happy for overcame a lot to get through the 3 races and finished smiling!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Elvis Sighting

I saw Elvis this past weekend, but only briefly. I had wanted to get my picture with him this year but, didn't have my camera with me when I spotted him post race. I couldn't find him pre- race.....probably because it was too cold that early in the morning. Sunday morning Memphis had a front come through that brought big wind and temps I have never seen there for Memphis in May. Unusual. (I'm sure its the global warming)

I had no intentions of doing Memphis in May this year, with my mission to keep things simple and local this year a 9 hr drive 1 way to a big competitive race in May wasn't in the plans. I had actually signed up to do Galena. But Adam's travel partners bailed on him and he really wanted to do this race so I went. Its been a while since just the 2 of us have gone to a race together without clients, or others along. Also I have to admit the warmer temps were calling.

Friday we drove through more rain than seemed imaginable, and a few hrs later after crossing that line somewhere in mid to southern Illinois it went from 55 deg to 80 in a few miles! Nice. :) Now the trip is worth it!!!

I think this is the most relaxed, least nervous for a race I have ever been. Mostly because I hadn't planned on doing it....there fore really had no expectations ...at all, and in my mind feel I haven't been training enough really have any pressure to really go for it. But too my suprise, I felt really strong, and ended having a great race.

I was shivering at the start even standing in my wetsuit fully zipped waiting for my start. I didn't see the guy with the wetsuit wedgy..that I saw last year, but did see a few familiar faces. Once it was my turn to go, and in the water I finally warmed up. I had a bad start to the swim heading straight on into some choppy water, and starting in the later portion of the race, had a ton of people to swim through. 1/2 way through the swim I finally got the rhythm going, and remembered what it was like to swim in open water and in a wetsuit. A little late for a fast swim (maybe I should have warmed up in the water ....but then I would have to stand around in the cold wet). I came out of the swim, and was onto my bike quickly. I was definitely cold and it took a few minutes to get the blood to the legs. By the time I was out of the park and onto the roads I realized ..wow I feel great, and really started to pick it up and was passing tons of people. It was very windy, I have never seen it like this down there, but nothing new to us and the crazy wind we train in all the time. I figured since I felt good on the bike I would just ride as hard as I could since I really had no idea what would happen on the run anyway. Between a few group rides and my new bike which is incredible I was riding very strong. The only issue I had on the bike was getting caught behind some cars that were blocking the road. One lady was probably mad and wouldn't let me go around her through a narrow section of road. She was having road rage with cyclists. I tried to pass on the right...she'd veer right, I'd go left she'd move over....nice. Finally the road opened up, and I could get by. The bike seemed to go by fast. Another quick transition, and on to the run. I started off quickly, my legs came to me right away. I was trying some new racing flats....Brooks. They were awesome and made me feel fast right away. I ran strong for the first 3-4 miles, then faded. This is due to just not having enough strong running miles in me, but really I felt better than I had in a long time running off the bike.

I finished, saw Elvis briefly, chatted with friends Liz and Eric a little, and we loaded up right away to head home. We didn't stay to see results, and just wanted to get on the road. I was very satisfied and where ever I had finished I had to be happy with because I knew I did all I could with where I was in my season. In end I finished second in my age group by less than a minute. A nice bonus, to feeling good about how I raced.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Multi-Mom



I'm definitely not your typical mom, but like it that way.

Multi-sport Mom, and coach



Ironmaiden mom-wife of super star Ironman



I am mom of Jack and step mom to Kaitlin

Here are some random thoughts on my life as a mom, which isn't typical but is always exciting, adventuresome, and never dull. All I hope is that I am helping create great memories, examples and lifestyle for our kids, like I had growing up.


I was telling a newly pregnant co-worker the other day that being a mom is the absolutely best, yet challenging jobs there is. It is true. All you want is for your kids to be healthy, happy, and safe, and you spend your days making sure all their needs are met, making all kinds of sacrafices for them so hopefully they will turn out all right. Just this friday, I spent a warm Friday afternoon perfect for riding out doors, at "kinderspa" hosted by Jack's kindergarten. I was treated with cucumbers to my eyes, finger nail painting and a massage by Jack. It was timeless, seeing him try to pamper me and interact with his friends at school. I wouldn't have had it any other way.


We spent Saturday watching t-ball, and then later a gymnastics presentation. This was one of our first weekends with multiple kid events, a true glimpse of things to come. It consumed a good chunk of time Saturday, not leaving a lot of time to be an elite athlete, but it was worth every minute seeing Jack hit the ball, and make plays to first, and Kaitlin balance on the beam on do a back walk over.

I just finished reading Dara Torres' book.....about being a mom, competitive athlete, and "older athlete". Sometimes when I go to the pool, I feel like Dara Torres, (ha -only not nearly as fast in the water) I swim the the MSM kids team, and drag up the rear of the lane that is often led by kids that are 14 years old. (41-14 yrs...don't even want to know. I think Im old enough to be their mom). They swim like rock stars, but in the locker room they are giddy, giggly, and talk about boys, make up, dances, etc. I'm out the door as fast as I can, back to being a mom. Even Dara wrestles with mom-guilt that comes with training tons, and being away from her daughter.

Moms make all kinds of sacrafices for their kids and family (like driving a mini van!) I have found myself taking fewer training and triathlon trips even in the dead of winter just to help keep things stable and sane at home. Maybe its a control thing, but even though at times I'd rather be getting the heck out of here once a month, it just creates disorder and leaves me feeling out of control. I've chosen just a few trips to paradise that are worth disorder. Hawaii is one, a benefit of being an Iron-maiden and helping support the Ironman for sure.

Even though I am a mom, I still like to swim bike and run. I can still ride Colonial group ride, still like to try to go as fast as I can on the track, and still like to race. This year I have managed to find a balance that allows me to still do these things, yet be there as a mom the way I feel I should. So far it seems to be working because I'm having fun, getting in shape, but have gotten to see Jack catch his first fish, take swimming lessons, play t-ball, learn to read, learn 48/50 states at age 5! Any mom knows these things are worth the sacrafices.

Jack made a picture/ card of me. I hope my lips really aren't that big. Maybe only after riding into our viscious spring headwinds. At the bottom it says (in his writing and version of spelling) My Mom is speshl bcauos she helps me read. She allwos plas with me. I lov hr so much. She is the best mom evr.

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms trying to be the best mom ever!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Doing Peanut Butter


(the picture is bad these shoes were light blue, and socks were white)



Its May and time to start racing.

I have done some training this winter, nothing like years past, in fact I feel like a slacker a lot of the time compared to what I'm used to. But with May here the races are starting and its time to see what the indoor training and winter full of fun has left me. I had signed up for the TriZou Tri at the Univ. of Missouri (formally Race For Sight). I have done this race a bunch of times, in all kinds of formats, venues and weather conditions, and love it. It is always competitive and a great way to start the season. However, this is roughly a 6 hr drive that I was looking at doing solo, and wasn't loving the idea of that for a sprint tri. Adam is off on the islands racing St Croix (yooo Mahn!), and I am just getting waaaaaay to practical these days. I still wanted to race and was searching for some 5ks or 10ks and found the Peanut Butter Duathlon. Hmmm. Yumm. and sounds intriguing, best yet only 1 hr from home. The distances were roughly the same minus the swim, add a run and lots of fun!

The race was held at Rock Cut State Park in Rockford and was a 2 mile trail run, 14 mile bike and 2 mile trail run and was to benefit the Rockford area food pantry. With all the rain we've had daily, I knew it would be an interesting day. The sun finally came out and the day was beautiful. Perfect for racing. The race was small and VERY local/laid back, but I was just out for a good workout and and to test out my fitness and my NEW BIKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Scott Plasma....red and black. I feel so lucky. Thank you Adam thank you Rich and Anthony!!!!

I'm not much of a duathlete, and have only done 1 or 2 so it felt like a strange start but was glad not to be jumping in freezing cold water. After a good warm up, finally I was off and running. The run was on grassy trails.The first mile was relatively dry with a nice uphill. I was running strong but felt a bit sluggish, maybe it was the grass, but was surprised to see mile 1 at 6:22! The second mile was basically all through mud, and wet swamp that soaked your socks and splashed mud everywhere. My shoe just about came off at one point. I was laughing because this was truly fun. I felt like I was running through peanut butter! 2 miles of fun and I was caked in mud from shoes to shorts! Transition...oh yea a good time to practice. I haven't done this since last September, but I breezed through and was off on my new ride. The bike course is hilly and curvy, lots of potholes. It was fun doing loops around the park. I guess this is where they have Rockman Tri and much of the run is where we were riding. Ouch, it looks like a tough run for a 1/2 IM! The bike felt awesome. The position great, just a few tweaks to make. Another fast transition and 2 more miles of peanut butter. I had been leading for the women the whole time, but still didn't want to let up. The second run felt good. I was pretty much by myself in the woods I could see a guy in front I was trying to catch. I trying to go fast through mud is tough. The effort is there but you go now where. A little backwards, a little sideways, but this was really fun. In the end I finished first female, 13th overall. I even won some cash!!! What a nice surprise. What is it about local small races. Great prizes, and low entry fees (only 40$ for this) and an hour drive. Congrats also to Scott Iott, fellow Trainingbible athlete who won for the men.
For a small local race this was very well organized and a good start to the season.

Here's to race season.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Sub 3!



Andy and I post Mt. Lemmon ride. We are laughing because until the Tuscon camp he
was logging more running miles than biking miles!!! It paid off in the end!


Congratulations to my client Andy Wellman who PR'd and ran sub 3 hrs at the Boston Marathon today!!! He is a machine and worked so hard all winter, doing those long runs in the freezing cold. I was jumping up and down like a little kid when I heard the news !!