Monday, December 27, 2010

Welcome 2011....

....I am ready for you.




Good bye 2010, I've had enough of you. Thanks for some fun times in Tuscon and Oregon, and seeing my 7 year old lose his top 2 teeth, play soccer and wrestle.

Thanks for an amazing cyclcross season and seeing my athletes qualify for Boston, Clearwater and World events.

But I've had enough of you 2010, I'm bored with you now and am ready for your friend 2011.

2011 can give me new challenges, new goals, a new coach, a new start to a New Year and a new season. Some new races, and new places.

2010 is pretty much history, in the books. All those workouts, races and performances (good and bad) are just that... history now. 2011 gives you the chance to start with a clean slate, lay the foundation down right for great performances all year long.

TBC even has new logo and for me a stylin' new blog look.

Happy New Year

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Oregon Run


I started my Christmas celebrating early by making a run home to Oregon. My dad turned 65 and I was in the mood for some TLC, and early holiday fun at home in the suburbs of Portland and foothills of Mt. Hood.

We crammed all the typical holiday traditions in a short 5 day visit just to get this season started off right. I'll skip the details of all the tree trimming, cookie baking, shopping (Oregon has no sales tax.....also will soon be the first state to ban plastic grocery sacks!! ) and gift exchanges. But 1 event that topped the list on this trip was a ride on the Polar Express. If you doubt there is a Santa or stopped believing then you should make a trek to Hood River Oregon and board the Polar Express that takes you to the North Pole. Along the way you get all the goodies just like the movie, Hot Chocolate, cookies, music...the hobo, and of course....Santa who will give you a bell and tell you to "believe". How can you not believe after that ! The highlight for me was the bathroom break on the drive there at Multnomah Falls.


how is this for a pit stop!

Traveling home to Oregon always gives me a great chance to get in some scenic and HILLY running. A very welcome change of pace this time of year and much different than the treadmill or the frozen subdivision loops. With no bike, and not easy access to a pool I ran every day. Nothing crazy or long or fast, no special workouts just ran in the hills. I ran on a trail along the Clackamas River, I ran a hard hilly loop curved up hills and down into valleys with grade's steep enough that I could reach out and almost touch the road. I had runs where I turned the corner and had views of Mt. Hood in the distance. Every run I could smell Christmas trees, and wasn't layered in all weather gear. And.... I only got sprinkled on for part of 1 run. During my running I thought a lot about 2010, the good and the bad and changes for 2011. As an athlete with a new year, new season on the horizon it is hard not to get excited for new goals, new challenges and new perspectives. For some reason at 42 I still feel the need to set goals and challenge myself. It may not always be in the sport of triathlon, but have always tried to have something out there.

As a coach this time of year gets busy setting up the yearly plan for athletes. Encouraging them to pick out races, or camps and convincing them to set high goals (and to be specific). Dream big. Why not. There is nothing to lose. In the last few days of 2010, give yourself a holiday treat and go for a run, leave the Ipod at home and indulge yourself on dreaming big and ......
BELIEVE!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Frozen Evidence.....


Many of my triathlon friends have been asking...did you really ride your bike outside last weekend to race? Well.... I did and here is the proof! I'm have like 3 base layers of various forms and fabric, tights and leg warmers and a race kit, plus socks (2 pair), super thick gloves and headband for my ears. The only thing cold were my feet and face. Such an extreme contrast to racing in say....Memphis this year!




The real question though, is that if I could do this then technically I should be able to keep riding going outside....at 25 deg or warmer! Ha, that is a challenge to myself! We'll see. I don't like the trainer except for short hard intervals, I don't like the treadmill, except maybe...some hard intervals, but I also don't like extreme cold. That makes training this time of year for me a challenge. I realized that I am doing a half IM in roughly 4 months. Luckily my new awesome coach has me pretty motivated so I better suck it up buttercup, layer up, and get out there as much as I can.

Today I tried Bikram Hot Yoga. It is 90 min of manipulating yourself into unnatural poses in a room that is heated (not sure ..but it felt like 90 deg!) I have made my way to my fair share of yoga classes especially in the fall and winter. I do really like it, but I've never done it HOT. It was very intense and challenging. Maybe if I lure myself to Hot Yoga after riding or running out in the cold, I'll be more likely to get out there. It is also quite evident that I have spent way too many hours biking and running and I do not move the same way the yogi's do into these positions and could really benefit from sweating and stretching it out regularly.

Monday, December 6, 2010

5th OA in Chicago Cross Cup!!!!!!

The final race of the CCC took place in the city on Sunday Dec. 5. It was 25 deg. and snow covered.....I am not a lover of bitter cold, but was so excited to race I didn't think twice about bundling up and racing.Maybe I should have been dressed like this guy:



I had so many layers on I look at least 10 lbs. heavier in the pictures and it took 24 hours for my feet to fully defrost, but I loved it. I even stayed after to cheer on friends. I need to figure out the cold though, because Nationals Cross Nationals are in Madison next January.....brrrr!

It was an awesome day and all the really fast girls were out to race. I had a good start but had issues with snow and ice freezing to my cleats and I raced for pretty much 45 min unclipped. I didn't have any issues with gravity though and kept the wheels on the ground, which is huge improvement for me under these slippery conditions. It was more of a technical race (not my favorite) vs. one to really go hard all out for 45 min and race but that is part of cyclocross. I finished 8th on the day, but that kept me 5th OA in the series which I am thrilled with. I had to claw my way up through the rankings after 1 mechanical and 1missed race which = 2 races without points, but I was aiming for top 5 once I upgraded to cat 3. My 5th in the women's 1,2,3...which was 2nd (by only 1 point) in the women's 3.

I have to say I loved racing with the top girls. In the races I had good starts and rode with them for a lap, or ...part of a lap in some cases I was pushing myself so hard. I think it only made me a better rider and pushed me to get good starts and just ride frickin hard, almost like when riding Colonial on Tues nights. With more girls upgrading to 3 next year, I still hope we race as the women 1,2 ,3's because racing the best only makes you better.

Thanks CCC for putting on such an awesome series, and thanks to Rob Kelley my cyclocross coach, Bicycle Heaven, and all my cyclocross friends who were so supportive all season long.

Up next....a trip home to Oregon (can't wait)the holidays, then bring on 2011!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Just a little bit......

of cross racing left :( .....

and with that brings some changes.

First are some changes with my training. Its no secret that the CCC series has been as important to me as any triathlon I did this year. Everything has been going great, but last weekend was a double race weekend and it comes sort of late in the season and I couldn't really find my legs. Hellooooo legs where are you?...I have taken for granted that they should always be there because the hours per week of training is so little compared to triathlon season....but as Joe Friel would say...I have lit a LOT of matches. I have tried to maintain some decent run form which I honestly think has helped me in cyclocross, but it is still a match lit with some track workouts and tempo runs, that with lots of fast racing every weekend and pooof I was tired at Indian Lakes. I didn't place as high, the conditions were the toughest so far with down pouring rain 1 day creating a mud slide....



to wind and bitter cold the next day. But I did manage to hold on to 5th place in the series but felt fried. So we made some changes to the training and wow what a difference.



I actually found my way to my first masters practice since sometime in Aug. I had to dig a suit, cap, and goggles out of the depths of the back of the garage. Some of that stuff was HIDDEN in my tri bag way back behind all the bikes and helmets. (we have a LOT of bikes in our garage!) Several months off from swimming and you will pay in the water!!!, but I have found that it comes back fairly quick IF 2 things are true:

1. you have some depth...years of experience and aren't a newbie. While I did not start swimming for real until after college and was never on a swim team until I joined a masters team....I have been "swimming" for a lot of years now, and it does come back !

2. you have some consistency in the water....well that is what I didn't do so great with last year but plan to be better about this year.

So my first time back in the water we swam over and hour and more than 3600 yds. Aerobically I felt fine, but my arms have been forgotten with all the cross racing and pooped out at about 2000!!! I resorted to solo swimming on the weekend to just practice form and get used to swimming again. But I forgot how much I dislike solo swimming burnt myself out on that rather quick.

Another change is my triathlon coach for next year. I LOVED Simon THOMO and have no complaints what- so -ever! He pulled me out of triathlon burnout ...and helped re light some fire in triathlon and actually helped me pull out some decent performances on half assed training. But he is kicking butt in AUS with TREK AUS and has stayed down under. Sometimes a change is good and I LOVED the idea of a local coach. So, I have Scott Iott, coaching me for triathlon next year. He is a TBC coach too and just broke 9 hrs. at IM Florida and will be heading to Kona next year......and yes I hired him before he broke 9!!!! I think change is good...sometimes scary, but can take you to another level when you mix it up. He has been very patient with me and my cyclocross habit.

And finally, another good change!




I had a great start at the Northbrook race and stayed in a pack with the lead girls through about 1/2 a lap before the top 2 broke away on an open section and I later found myself on the ground on a slippery slope :)

Only 1 more race, the state championships on Dec. 5 at Montrose after a week off to eat turkey! Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Rolling.....

Through the off season! Or is it?

Woodstock....the barrier run up/ my favorite part of the course/ Thanks to Bill Draper for this pic and Chris in the background for heckling me.



I have to say I am just having so much fun doing "off season" with cyclocross, but is it really an off season for me or...a change of focus? I can't tell. Its too fun, and manageable to feel totally serious, and I am going out and being social and having fun...so it feels like off season, but....I do care tremendously about cyclocross season and doing well, so much so that I gave up on some late season triathlons and races and even some running races to do well in the series. So I'm confused, off season? or ......what? I've even T O Y E D with the idea of going to Bend for cyclocross NATIONALS ....because of course Bend Oregon is 1 of my favorite places on this earth.....but a girl can only do so much!

Trust me the hours per week training are way down compared to triathlon season, but what I do do is short and sweet and I am racing every weekend. I haven't been swimming (oh my ...that day is coming that will not be pretty in the water!!) but I have still been running some to include 1 track workout a week, doing weights and of course biking, but the biking is on trails, off road and a total change from triathlon training. I haven't visited my Scotty P since Chicago Tri. It feels like a walk in the park in terms of commitment and time, but today when I went on my easy 40 min run with some strides....I was shuffling for the first 20 min because I was sore. Seriously....sore from a 45 min race on Sunday? YES! Either I truly went ALL OUT in Woodstock which was my best race yet, or...it is off season and I'm getting out of shape !

This past weekend we had the annual Multisportmadness Triathlon Year End banquet which is always fun. So of course it feels like off season. Seeing all those friends that you see so rarely, receiving the crazy awards, and watching the year end video surely means its off season. Each year a video is compiled of a summary of pictures and videos clips from the year into 1 awesome DVD with music. This years was so cool, thanks to Megan Martin Becker and her cool husband for putting it together. I saw friends I haven't seen in a long time and Megan and I decided to put together an off season WILD TURKEY TROT! oh my.


Carla, Megan and I planning a Turkey Trot

So rolling through off season has been fun! I keep rolling up in the CCC standings!!! Now 5th!!! Upcoming a double cross weekend at Indian Lakes resort. Not many races left!!!! and not much daylight left :( Get out and ride and enjoy the off season!

Monday, November 1, 2010

wicked weekend....




The last weekend in Oct. was crammed with big fun, cyclcross at home, and of course Halloween.

Friday started the weekend off wild with a girls night to the city to see the Blackhawks play! Carla's client set us up right and chauffeured us to the city and showed us the ropes at the United Center and how to cheer like Blackhawks fans do.




Even though they played bad and lost; it was still fun to dance to that song they play and high 5 your neighbors when they score. Lucky for us it was a fairly high scoring game just to keep it interesting. Add to that it being Halloween weekend, and the United Center was full of all kinds of crazy fans dressed up. I am really out shape and de-conditioned for staying up past my bedtime and was bonking fairly early in the night compared to a die hard Blackhawk fan who is superbly trained for this kind of event. Not too much harm done though, because this was just the first leg of my wild and wicked weekend.

Jack's last soccer game of the season was bright and early Saturday morning. We were lucky enough (ha ha) to have the first game of the morning out in the very chilly temps. It was like torture standing in the freezing wind watching 6 and 7 yr olds try to play who hadn't had practice for 2 weeks in the cold early morning and stand around and kind of act like they want to play this make up game that was added on. I think all they were thinking about was how much candy they would get the next day and when they could put on their costume. Later in the day we headed out to venue for Campton Cross to help set up the course. I have to say this is my absolute favorite course on the circuit. Not just because its close to home, but it is the craziest and wildest course because there are actually some hills and a single track section through some woods. FUN! I had gone out there Thurs night with my cyclocross coach, Rob Kelley, to practice starts and he came up with some FUN additions to the course. There is actually a lot of work that goes into setting up 1 of these courses. There are tons of stakes and flags, and taped off sections that go into making 1 crazy loop. The Bicycle Heaven guys did an AWESOME job making a fabulous course and great race. I only helped a little setting up the course. I can't imagine taking it down. Thanks guys!

Sunday of course.....Halloween and cyclocross ! What a fun mix! I pseudo dressed up as Pippy Longstocking with crazy striped tights and braids, but I wanted to be able to race hard and not have a cape or some costume get in the way.




I was so psyched to race this course, and the field was more competitive than the week before. We lined up and again I had a slow start. All the good practice didn't help when I was caught off guard. They didn't start us in the usual way....most the time they give us a warning......but for some reason they didn't this time and the start came fast and I wasn't ready.......but caught 3 or 4 people by the first uphill section. I felt great the entire racing and kept gaining on the girl in front of me each loop. The crazy uphill off camber section that stressed me out in practice went great and I tried to just power up all the uphills and fly through the barriers. I finished 5th and scored some more $$ again. I feel more proud of this probably than the 3rd place last week because of the strength of the field. The winner is phenomenal. I heard she was like 2 minutes off the front??? Seriously? My pippy longstocking leggings came down cause I was pushing so hard and I probably finished with snot coming out of my nose and mouth but was happy with the result and finally am moving up in the series now in a 3 way tie for 7th!!!




Jack had so much fun practicing on the course he decided to race too. He was in costume and even got a call up! He was so excited to race. For his age he would do 2 loops. After lap 1 I thought he was going to be done. He looked soooo tired, but determined. He kept going and did the whole 2nd loop and was so focused that he forgot and started a 3rd lap! I had to run across the field to stop him! Hmmm do you think there is some competitiveness in there from somewhere?



Adam also raced 2 x (ouch)!. This is about as opposite from Ironman training there is...but he did awesome. We all had to hustle home to get ready for the Main Event...trick or treating. We had a Ninja and Camouflage fairy in the house anxious to get out there. (see ....all my training is not just for racing, its for weekends like these!) After trick or treating at threshold levels we finished with way too much candy in the house.

I was not rested and tapered for a weekend like this, I went into it head first with a bit of fatigue but managed to pull off a stellar performance on all events!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Podium Shot



Amongst some rain and mud I found my way to the podium on Sunday! I won't do race reports each week........that would get old, but a podium finish is fun and walking away with cash even cooler. I managed to keep the wheels on the ground when there were lots sliding out in the mud (if you only knew how much I was on the ground last year!). I was getting oh so close to 2nd but got too cautious the last lap!

Next up Campton Cross! My home course......come out and watch the craziness on Halloween day...yes there will be costumes!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Back on the Mainland....

.....life is moving on at a really fast pace. I luckily returned to really nice fall weather and warm temps which makes facing reality easier . Returning from a week away at "paradise island" and we are half way through October, the leaves have turned more and are falling, and I am searching for gloves in the morning when walking Jack to school. When away in Hawaii, you are in another world so far away from real life and even though it was only a week...the dogs racked up a huge bill at the kennel, Jack got bigger, and I fell to number 22 in the CCC standings!!! Ouch, a mechanical in race 1, missing a race being kona bound and others cat ing up with some points left me in 22nd on the Sunday flying home from Kona :( That does not make a competitive girl happy. Luckily I had a double cross weekend to try an score some points and do some catching up.

Saturday's race was way up North in Wauconda at Psycho cross (how cool is that name). The course was very flat with long straight sections. It was a crit or road racers dream/ not very technical. The trickiest section was some dirt/ gravel transitioning to a grassy dip. There was also a flyover in the middle of this course, but I have grown to love these and use them as a chance to pass people running my bike up the stairs.



I had a good start at this race (finally) and stayed with the lead pack until the soft gravel section going into grass where I lost contact with them. When you start a race like this you are redline from the go, I feel like I am dying and how can I possibly make it 45 min. Somewhere though in that first lap I found my groove and road strong catching a couple girls. As the laps went by I could myself gaining on 2 of the girls ahead of me. I kept ...getting...so ...close ....and by this time...I was feeling good and wanted 1 more lap. I have to say I love the 45 min of cat 1,2 3! I finished in 8th amongst the field.

Sunday's race was in Carpentersville. This was my first race ever last year, and I was remembering how clueless I was when I showed up to the start last year. They had the course set differently and I got there early enough to check it out and warm up the legs. (its hard to believe you can get sore from 45 min of work!) This course was more technical with off camber steep downhills, tight, narrow turns and a bmx style pump section coming out of a hard left turn into soft dirt. I had a good start (getting better) and again was with the leaders until a tricky tight uphill section when 1 of the girls went down right in front of me causing me to have to clip out and go around her on an uphill!!! Damn again off the lead girls. BUT, this course was trickier and had enough power sections that I tried to hammer and attack on. At the tricky dirty pump and bump section I managed to get through quite quick and would go ahead of girls here (go figure did I miss my calling as a bmx'er?)



Again, as the laps wore down I found myself catching girls and feeling stronger. I found myself cat and mousing with a couple girls. I tried to pass on the hard sections and never let up. I raced so hard and again the 45 min did me good. I could have used another lap because I was getting oh so close to catching 1 more. I finished 7th and really had raced to the point of my lungs and legs almost exploding, yet with a huge smile on my face because that was fun.

So with 2 more decent races under my belt in 1 weekend, I moved to 11th. This is more tolerable but I want to move up higher than that. The fun part about racing in a series is to see how far you can go. Its not about getting a time or distance on 1 event, its about racing week after week and scoring points.

I am truly having a blast doing these races, I had set my whole triathlon season up around doing as much of the series as I could and I don't regret saying no to going after other options 1 bit. I passed up on some races and travel and other triathlon stuff to help afford a new cross bike.......and it is all worth it because my Cannondale Super X is like a dream :)

Ride on!

Friday, October 15, 2010

My Kona Adventure


Stepping off the plane at the Kona airport in the nearly pitch black is a feeling I always look forward too. It is warm humid and often smells really good like flowers. This was the 4th time I've stepped off the plane there. On this trip I was looking forward to hooking up with my friend Jenny Marine who is now a local resident of almost 2 years and taking off on many island adventures, as well as do some training and of course support Adam and our other MSM friends racing.

Day 1 Jenny and I headed to the beach and just chilled. We swam along a reef and saw amazing fish and an eel. We hung out and chatted. I don't talk to Jenny much throughout the year but it is becoming a tradition seeing her once a year on the big island and its like I saw her yesterday. It is interesting to hear what her life is like on the island, especially when Ironman is not in town. Kona is a much different place.



This day was also was the first my arms have swum a stroke since the Chicago Tri! What a great way to get back into it. I also saw a Honu and was on such a roll with swimming I went again later with Adam and some friends at the Kona Athletic Center. Who can beat swimming outdoors in a beautiful huge pool. I certainly wasn't swimming too fast, but the cool thing is that it didn't feel completely foreign to me.

As each day gets closer to the IM, Alii drive becomes more crowded with triathletes, more structures start going up that comprise of the actual finish line and long stretch you see athletes running down at the end of their day. Also as each day goes by you see that serious, focused look become more intense. The same holds true for Adam, but I must say it was the most relaxed I have seen him going into this race. I knew and he knew he would have a spectacular day.

I had dinner 1 night with my client Sarah Arnold and her husband Jim out at the Four Seasons. What and amazing place and beautiful place. They are a very fun couple and Sarah was getting in some solid training for Clearwater.



Because I was without a bike to train on, I was doing a lot of running. 1 day I had hill repeats on Palani. Um, this is a long tough hill. I got up early and ran the 2 miles down to the hill and proceeded to do the hill repeats. Of course some must of thought I was nuts, but it was a good hard workout. The 2 mile run back home I was hurting pretty good. And what better way to recover than going stand up paddling later in the day! Adam's coach Jim and I rented stand up boards and paddled out into the ocean. Trust me this isn't a super easy thing. Think wall squat on a bosu ball while paddling, and with Palani hills in my quads, my legs were shaking the whole time.



Later in the week I had a longish run to do and was really getting bored with Alii Drive and all the compression socks, M dots, and logos. Jenny had told me of a trail up the hill and away. To get there you had to run up the mountain a good 3 miles, once on the trail it is a long gradual uphill along the side of the mountain with spectacular view of the ocean. When you see the ocean and coast line from up there you really see that you are truly on a rock in the middle of the Pacific.

The night before the race I cooked Adam's traditional pre-race pasta. Nothing special or fancy, and left him to chill,and finish packing his stuff. I headed out with Jim,Yuri, Joe, Trevor and others to a party called TGINR.........thank god I'm not racing!!! LOL It was hosted by Competitor Magazine and attended by many supporters, pros, elites etc not racing. They had open bar, buffet, right on the edge of the beach. They even had baseball caps made up with TGINR on it. They also had good mai tai's!

But we didn't stay out late because as anyone who cheers and spectates knows it is a very long day and in Kona.........it is hot, tiring, you don't get to see as much as other Ironman. Race morning I was nervous, I had butterflies like I was doing the race. When the one you love puts so much into an event you just want everything to go right and have it pay off. We found a good spot to watch the swim. There is so much energy at the start. The athletes are nervous, they have to tread water for quit a while before the gun goes off and you are just waiting anxiously. The Hawaiian drums and chants start it gets pretty intense waiting for the cannon. You can't see much at the start but it is always worth it to me to get down there and feel that energy. The cannon goes off, and they are on their way.

AFter getting MORE coffee, I made my way over to Palani Hill. I like to watch the start of the bike there because they are slow and climbing. I saw Adam and he looked great, focused and climbed it fast, and after that I cheered on the rest of our friends, then had several hours to kill. I had kept getting texts from home with Adam's splits. He was doing so great at each time check and I knew things were coming together for him, and before long I realized he was going to break 5 hrs on the bike! I usually watch the run on an out/back section on Kuakini Hwy. I found my spot and watched the pro's start the run. Before long, though the top age group men starting coming. Adam finished the bike 4th in his AG. I yelled this to him as he started the run. He looked fast. I could see it in his face, and knew that it was his day. After he comes back on this spot it is about mile 10 and he still looked great. This is where I grab a bike sprint up palani and ride out onto the Queen K. I like to do this for selfish reasons too. It gets hard just standing there in the heat. Hopping on the bike and riding out there you can see more athletes, cheer, get off your feet and feel a breeze. At mile 13, Adam was still flying, and he yelled out 1:32! I told him he was only a little more than 2 min down from Tim Hola who is an amazing racer in Kona. I road on to the energy lab. At the entrance you can not go in, only the athletes. So I cheered like crazy as he headed in, then parked myself on a rock. The athletes coming out of there looked horrible. Not many were running, those who were....shuffled. The women pro's were coming out some looking bad. Some of the top guys in front of Adam were looking rough. I told him it was getting ugly in front and to get it going. He told me he was on a mission, was going to dig deep, was fine, and head to the finish line.

I found myself a spot close to the finish, but where there were no barriers in the way. It wasn't until then that I finally looked at the clock to see what time it was and what his time might be. I had to count backwards because I leave my watch set on Chicago time. (I'm a dork I know, its a mom thing wanting to know what time it is at home. I had to do it several times to check myself. When I looked and figured it out it was 9:08 into the race.....and Adam was so close to the finish. Tears started rolling down my face because I knew this was going to be amazing. He high 5'd me hard flying down the finish and Mike Reilly said same very cool stuff,as I sprinted around all the barriers and people to get to the post race area. Is is messy back there and I have usually found him near the medical tent. When I found him he was already eating pizza, looking like no big deal!!!!



All the hard work paid off and I am so proud of him. Watching an event and performance like that leaves you pretty motivated. The next day I said good bye to Jenny and told her we'd most likely be back next year :)

Monday, October 4, 2010

what to do with 4 hrs....

So I am in LAX on a 4 hr layover to kona. When was the last time I had 4 hrs to kill...without needing to squeeze in a workout, go to the grocery store, fold and put away laundry, go to work, write schedules for athletes etc.

I am sitting here and paid the 7.99 to be able to connect to the Internet to surf the Internet and kill some time. I bought a book at home..but it is just so so and not keeping my interest. Partly because I am excited to get to Kona, still not relaxed from getting everything set to leave. I felt so nervous this time leaving. It is hard to be gone for a week, and my parents are the best to come step in and keep it all going. This has become a yearly trek over to the island each October. I said today I don't know if I'd keep going if my parents couldn't come help. So as I sit here trying to figure out what to do with 4 hrs.... and a nice man is serenading us at the gate with some acoustic guitar playing. It is actually nice and not annoying.

I did my first race as a cat 3 yesterday in the women's 1,2 ,3 field. It was very hard and I made myself hurt a lot. I think I will have the sexiest legs on the island...with a few new bruises, and a nice gash on my shin thanks to a tree trunk that flipped me on lap 1. This was a fun course complete with a flyover which consisted of running up a flight of stairs carrying my bike.....mounting at the top (and I tell you there was not a lot of room) then flying down a steep decline.



It reminded me of a jump my brother's used to make to do with their big wheels only adult style! This was scary at first, but then was no big deal. I actually loved the stairs and the 1 hill with barriers. The top girls start Fast. They are powerhouses and I lost contact with the top 4 -5 pretty quick, but held my own throughout the race trying to gain a few spots. There aren't a lot of girls in this field so I was glad when the men that started behind us came through so I could catch a wheel. I was lucky to have friends and family at this race cheering me on while racing against the big girls. Thanks to Kristi coming out on a Sunday and cheering, she took some great pictures, and my parents were there with Jack who rode his bike the entire time and cheered me on from his bike telling me go faster!!!





I finished 9th in the women's 123, 6th in cat 3. I have a lot to learn still, but have always been one to want to put myself in a position to race against the best to make myself faster and a better athlete, even if it means finishing a few places lower in the process.

I am just a few hours away from Kona now where I get to cheer for Adam and my Illinois friends racing at the Ironman World Championships. I plan to do a little running, and biking and maybe I'll put some goggles on and swim a little which I haven't done since Aug!!!! Then I will hike to the beach and cross train with surfing or stand up paddling.

Aloha!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Preparation...

There is a lot of preparing going on around our house. The reality of heading across the Pacific to Kona is staring us right in the face. The time is finally here after months of preparation. Yes for Adam the prep has been much different than mine !!
The packing has started, my lists of things that need done and taken care of before leaving have started. Never fails....I tried to be so organized to get it all covered and I am still scrambling at the last minute. Thankfully I have awesome parents who are coming from Oregon to stay at the house and keep a 7 yr old on track with school and soccer along with keeping 2 crazy yellow dogs in line.

As an athlete I know the hard work, and dedication it takes to get into peak shape for the biggest race of the year...whatever it may be, and to finally get to the starting line after so much hard work and sacrifice. It is a feeling that can't be described. I've been there and it is worth it all when you have the race you've dreamt about for months. It makes all the pain and suffering through hard workouts worth it when you toe the line at the big event. Standing there at the start against the big competition with chills down your spine, butterflies in your tummy and a lump in your throat ....you are ready. All those workouts the ones you rocked and took it to a new level to the ones that were a struggle leaving you questioning yourself have prepared you to race and be your best. Truly though you are just ready to race. Enough preparation. Lets do this thing!

As a wife and IM supporter, I have seen all the hard work and dedication made towards getting ready for the biggest race of the year, felt the super soaked sweaty clothes, piles of sticky water bottles, and witnessed the hours of swimming biking and running logged in while gone training. As a super fan and supporter I am ready to do this thing too. I am ready to watch and cheer my a$% off. Adam has been so focused and worked so hard. He is ready and I can't wait to watch it unfold.


I am now a cat 3 cyclocross rider. I took the leap and upgraded. Yikes this means racing with the big girls for 45 min. Trust me, on lap 3 45 min will seem long compared to the 30 min I was doing. Its definitely not Ironman training but I have been hitting it HARD on the bike and even on some runs. I also started heading back to the killer trainer....for some of what looks a lot like this:




....except I'm not quite as graceful as Lindsey Vonn.

I've been preparing to get myself in the best shape I can to toe the line with these fast girls. Sure I'm nervous, but its pushing me to work harder.
Sunday will be the first race in the new category about 24 hrs before I leave for Kona. And on Saturday there is soccer. Jack has been practicing and preparing with his team the Monsters.

Good Luck to everyone who is stepping up to the start line soon in their big race

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

And the fun begins!



Jackson Park was the first Cross race of the season. I was so rev ed up to race, and was even a little nervous mostly because I knew it would hurt, and my fitness for this type of racing has been feeling great, but would the technical skills be there and I wanted a top 3 finish! I had been coming on strong last season with a 4th and a 2nd crawling my way towards the top 10 overall due to getting a late start on points from missing the first 3 races. I was out having fun in Kona!

The course was all flat, some tight turns but nothing really crazy. The key would be getting a good start. Since this was the first race there were no top 10 places in the series for call ups so they randomly pulled names from a hat to start on the front, then all 50+ of us lined up behind them. Think mass swim start but on a bike, a few elbow nudging here and there to get up front. I held my own and had great spot right behind the front girls who got the lucky call.



When the whistle finally blew, I took off along with a mass of women. I had a great start and quickly moved up to a front group of about 5. I was feeling great and was hammering hard through the few straight sections, and somewhere just past the first set of barriers moved ahead into 3rd place and was going strong.



After the first lap the bike started feeling squirrely going around turns and I was sliding out a bit, and just thought I was rusty with the tight turns and cornering...I real possibility. It kept getting worse though and when I would go to hammer the straights and I wasn't going anywhere I finally looked down and saw a squishy front tire. I thought I would ride it out, but it kept getting flatter to completely flat and I simply couldn't corner those tight turns in the dirt without completely sliding out. Plus I was on a set of borrowed race wheels and bike. Bad karma I guess borrowing a bike and a set of race wheels. I have a new cross bike on order..... and have been waiting and waiting and waiting for it.

I also should have used the wheel pit. In bike racing you can stash a set of wheels or even a bike to replace if you have a mechanical. I just didn't take advantage of this luxury! You can bet I will next time! Lesson learned.

Despite the mechanical I had a great time as always, am sporting at least3 lovely bruises, and am excited that my fitness and technical skills are leaps and bounds better at the start of this season compared to last when I started rather clueless!

Next up Hopkins Park in 2 weeks.....1 day before I leave for Kona!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Finish Line!

With all my years of racing, I have crossed a lot of finish lines, mostly all triathlons, a good number of running finish lines, and lately some cycling finishes. Too many finish lines to count and they have been all over the world. It is a great feeling working so hard towards a goal, sacrificing, working hard, putting yourself through painful workouts, getting up early and to finally cross the finish line in that big race is a true victory. I was at Geneva Running Outfitters the other day, a cool new local running store and a new employee there asked me what my favorite race was. I had to think because I've had lots of favorites. Of course Worlds in New Zealand was the top of my list because I loved the course, the day was perfect, and it was one of those races where it all came together. Crossing the finish line at my first ever Ironman (Florida) was of course another favorite. It seemed surreal at the time. Back then I had no coach, didn't have a clue about Ironman racing and just trained with my friends and had a great day. I felt like I was in a different world crossing the finish line.

This past weekend I had 2 athletes cross the finish line in their very first Ironman. For both it took a lot of hard work and sacrifice to make it there. I have to say I was so excited for both of them to see their dream come true.
Diana is a breast cancer survivor, and has worked her way back from chemo and radiation 2 years ago to an Ironman finisher this year in 13:35! She put so much hard work into her training, planning and preparation. She followed the workouts, followed the plan and executed the perfect race. She had an awesome day. Courtney is a new triathlete and has the personality that will take on anything. She is so positive and that energy is fun to work with. She worked so hard on learning how to swim and bike like and Ironman while balancing work, at Lululemmon, and a teaching career. She too is an Ironman.

For many athletes this is the end of the season. I had so many athletes have great finishes this year. John qualified for Boston, Carmen finished the Big Sur 20 miler, Tonya raced in Budapest at Worlds. Andy completed a 12 hour cycling road ride (yes nonstop), Paula finished her first 1/2 IM. All fabulous performances with lots of hard work along the way to get them there. The greatest part about these performances is the work and sacrifices they made to reach their goal, regular people with big time jobs and families.

For some athletes the big finish line is still out there. It is getting closer. You can see it in the distance now. Hard work, sacrifice and discipline will get you there and it will be worth it.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

XXX Cross!

Bring on the CCC! (Chicago Cross Cup) Its 2 weeks out from the first race and I am getting ready for the kick off race.

Last year I was nervous and clueless going into my first cross race ever, but this year I know more what I am getting into and am psyched to race these crazy things again!

I have been getting a lot of questions about cross: mostly why? or what is it!

A few years ago I watched Adam and friends from group ride do the cross race in St. Charles and always thought, that it looked so fun and wanted to try it, but by the end of tri season was always ready to hang up the bike, or was always focused on just running in the fall. Last year I finally gave it a shot and loved it. I didn't know you could hurt that bad, and have that blood/mental taste in your mouth from just 30 min on the bike. It hurt so bad but was so fun at the same time.

The courses are always different but include barriers, mud and or sand, a few hills or whatever they else the race organizers can find to make it challenging such as a toilet bowl....(a continuous turn that goes around and around itself getting smaller, with a 180 going in the opposite direction to go around and around to come out of it), or BMX jumps! The courses are usually 1 mile or less, and you go around it as hard as you can as many times as you can for the duration of the race. Women's cat 4 is 30 min.


Some skills you need for cyclocross:




>Starts: a fast sprint to find a good position in the front. Sometimes the courses get narrow quickly making it difficult to pass or get around people and yes sometimes there is some bumping going on

>Barriers: dismounting, lifting your bike and running over a barrier and getting back on quickly...they are about 16-18 inches high



>Run ups: sometimes there is a hill so steep or muddy it is easier and faster to get off and run your bike up it then get back on. I always like it when there are some of these on the course because I think my tri fitness gives me a boost.

>Riding through sand: (i'm still learning this one!)and the question is always can I run through it better than riding through!



>Cornering tight: keeping your speed up while going through sharp turns; ie. not braking!

I'm sure there are more, and I am still learning.

You also need: some guts, leave fear and your ego at home crazy stuff can happen like some silly wipe outs and there are hecklers on the sidelines ready to heckle or pass out hand ups of $$, or food. You also need some lungs because you'll be breathing hard


(a little winded!)

I got hooked on it last year because it is a super hard workout, but fun and different. I loved going out and riding off road through dirt and mud to train. Its also great for bike handling skills. The races are a blast; and you start to see and race the same people each week. The atmosphere is fun, laid back, and a little crazy but still competitive..a welcome change from the super focused, serious triathlon world. The Chicago Cross Cup is a series, that you score points in each week. You can keep accumulating points each week and the series itself becomes a race and new type of challenge to accumulate a lot of points.

I'm still going to run some, and do some 5ks, with very little swimming on the schedule. I'll head back to the pool when the time is right and I have my sights on next year. For now, season number 2 is about to begin!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Ugly Betty

.....that was me on Sunday in Chicago!

or maybe I should title this...'where did that go' as a sequel to my last post! HA!HA!

The crazy thing is that I was feeling good about things going into this race and crazy enough this was supposed to be my big race of the year, and the 70.3's the side races which I was really unprepared for! I had some great workouts on the bike, running, and even in the pool going into Chicago.

Doing the Chicago triathlon is always an adventure. Many people swear it off, others do it every year. I find it hard to pass up a big competitive local race. With the elite wave you can bypass SOME of the congestion and race against some REALLy fast people. That is exactly why I like to put up with the huge expo, the very early morning start (my alarm went off at 3:30!), the massive transition area, biking over the bumps and cracks on Lakeshore Dr., the ordeal it is to get your bike out of transition after the race, the huge hotels and crowds everywhere. But I like the competition and going fast, especially when it all comes together.

So when Sunday finally came, I was ready to race. It had felt like a long time since I raced last. I woke up before my alarm and didn't have the Ugh feeling like...yikes what am I doing!!! I was fired up to race. It was not going to be cold like last year, ick,...I hadn't raced in a while so bring it! I wanted to race, no holding bike for 70.3 efforts, hard!

The I lined up for the swim and my wave was the elite women and a lot of men......not sure what age or who they were but it was a big wave. They were actually quite nice to talk to at the transition area. My instructions were to be aggressive and go out hard and then find your pace. The start was so crazy and fast I was pummeled. Worse than Iroman. The narrow section of water and short distance to the first bouy with elite people and big men trying to go fast made for a CRAZY start. I inhaled so much water and hyperventilated so much I wanted to either die or swim to the wall and get out. Now my swimming is not where it used to be, nor where it should be, but even unless I were Michael Phelps I think it would still have been just as crazy. But...I knew if I just made the turn at the bouy I'd get some open water find some feet and be fine. Which is exactly what happened, I think I got swum over by some big men, but did find some feet after the turn. However it felt like I was swimming upriver the entire way to swim finish.

Biking on Lakeshore Dr. is its own beast. Its flat (really not my strength, but who cares), its fast, sometimes you can see your competition coming at you or behind you at the turns. But the road is awful. You really have to be careful of those seams and bumps and the sprint wave out there. I felt good on the bike and rode hard. The second loop was definitely more congested but I felt strong and tried to push it hard. This was the best part of the day. I have biked faster there, but knowing how I used to train and what I do now, I was happy with the effort.

The run felt good for about .5 miles. I felt good on the grassy section until you hit the pavement near the museum, and then it was sooo ugly. Sorry to those who came up behind me. After being bent over puking 2x, I wanted to quit, again. I at 1 point even started walking backwards on the course because I felt so bad after throwing up that I just wanted to quit and be done. That is so lame though unless you are dying or a pro making a living off of your results. So I turned my sorry AS@ around and shuffled to the next aid station drank a bunch of water and mosied on. I started to feel a little better at mile 4 and then cruised it in. I simply could not go fast. Seriously......isn't this what people experience in Ironman! Near the finish I saw Adam. Waiting. He probably thought I died on the course because I was soooo slow. I ran over to him 200 ft. from the finish and bent over so embarrassed with tears, and frustrated. I do not know what happened, I felt great going into the race, yes it was HOT, but its been hot all summer. Yes I inhaled a ton of lake Michigan, but I've done that before too. Who knows, its wasted energy trying to figure it out.

In every race, key workout, or test set you do there is something to be learned. Good or Bad. My Dad,( an awesome coach ), told this to me before the race. What did I learn from this ugly performance?? Hmm still trying to put my finger exactly on it this time, but maybe that I'm not a quitter, or I like to step up to the challenge and compete, or I should not do Chicago Tri anymore, or get to the pool more often, or time move on to cylclocross. Its 1 lesson learned the hard way.

Friday, August 20, 2010

where did that come from?

My track workout today was a workout to remember. Don't you love those? They are so rare or they wouldn't be worth remembering. I have plenty of icky ones stuck in my vault of workout memories, more than I'd like to share, but some really good ones too and now a new 1 for the collection of greats. My workout was a version of a set of 1000s which I have been I've been doing off and on all season. Thomo and I even talked by skype week and he gave me a good pep talk (he is awesome for that) about my fitness, racing next weekend and specifically this workout. He gave me a set of times to hit and I'll admit that I might have choked on my water and raised an eyebrow when he said the splits.......see, its been a while since I've run like that, but I was up to the challenge.

So today I headed to the track like I have been doing off and all summer. I was psyched to run on the track, because I love those workouts, but was a bit nervous and somewhat doubtful. I didn't let the doubt get in the way though, because that can be the death of the workout. Instead I just let it fire me up..something to really shoot for. It was so hot and muggy already in the morning, and I felt awful warming up and even thought, maybe I just don't even want to do Chicago. Its an insanely crazy race, but I kep warming up, did my dynamic warm up, drills, and strides and started feeling better. So off I go on the first 1000 feeling good thinking about cadence and turnover. I felt good but only peaked at the watch just a smidge because I didn't want the numbers to get in the way. I felt great and thought I'd be close to the high end of times that I did last week, but no! To my surprise I hit the exact time he wanted me to! I was thrilled; almost did a cartwheel on the track but probably would have cramped up. So I continued on with a little more pep in my step for the next few even going 1 sec. faster on 1 of them! I did my cool down with a big smile on my face trying to remember the last time I ran those times and I believe it was the year I was training for Worlds in Switzerland, which was 2006! Yikes (which by the way is 1 race I would love to have back; all others I'm sure I got what I deserved good and bad...this one though I think I was in my best shape of my life and got a flat tire).

I"ve been working with Thomo for about 1.5 years now,

and this season we have had about 2 key run workouts that have been the staple through the entire season. Nothing fancy or earth shattering, or magical; just different versions of the same key workouts each week, like more intervals shorter rest, or fewer intervals more rest various paces based on where I am with racing. Needless to say I have run a lot of 1000s and I've grown to like that distance on the track. I've been consistent with the workouts and plugged along having many decent ones, some ugly ones too. But today it came together. I think we as athletes forget how the training accumulates and all feeds into the overall fitness leading to a great performance.

Whatever happens next weekend in the mass of thousands racing, this is a fun little win for me to nail the times on the track back down to where they were pre-40ish!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Surviving Solo

For the last week I have been manning the fort, been captain of the ship, president of the estate or maybe more like the Queen B! Adam has been gone Kona training in California which I'm sure is more interesting than riding and running a zillion miles around tall corn fields, at least the heat and humidity lately has been close to Kona like giving me my own bit of Kona training at least to spectate. So for all those Kona bound or want to be Kona Ironmen... I say get out there and feel it. Its been ALMOST like it is in Kona. I've been overheated just watching the race and my feet burn from just standing on the Queen K. But I digress, that's not the point of this post.

I usually do very well, I must say, at keeping things running smooth and getting everything done plus some. So far, I have had only had 1 minor catastrophe involving milk left outside in the Oberweis cooler, but the big milk drinker is gone anyway so no harm done. Yesterday though I did come the the realization that I need a wife. My own wife. One that will do the laundry and actually put it away, keep the cupboards stocked full of the right food and have a healthy well balanced meal ready for dinner when I get home from work!

My training does go into survival mode. And I have to admit that I sometimes have to go to plan B, and other times priortize workous. I have gotten creative at fitting in some good bike workouts by resorting to the trainer (something I don't like to do mid summer because I love riding outside, but hey it works), and running on several occasions with Jack on his bike. Now that he is older and likes to ride, I can actually run, and do intervals etc. I'm not likely to get more than maybe 1 hr run in doing this (along with maybe a few bribes). My swim workouts end up suffering the most because its difficult to make a 5:30 a.m. masters and an evening masters 40 min away is a challenge when you are trying to fit it ALL in. So I solo swim when I can fit it in amongst everything else.

There is a short list of positives that come with surviving solo, like...the sweat drenched clothes that go into the washing machine are just my own and the laundry pile is a little smaller. I can listen to my playlist or choice loud while cleaning or paying the bills, or watch chick flicks when I crash at night(hmm sounds good, but I haven't done that one yet). I can fix a kid his favorite meal which might be something simple and pour myself a bowl of cereal (easy yes, but I don't recommend it if a big training day is on the horizon). Trust me on this one.

I know the hard work and dedication it takes just to make it to Kona, let alone the effort it takes prepare to perform your best there. Surviving solo can be challenging at times but I've mastered it and it will be worth it in the end to see the Ironman run down Alii Dr, hopefully with a smile on his face.

Monday, August 9, 2010

shifting gears....


Do you know when its the right time to shift gears? Do you sometimes find yourself in the wrong gear going up or downhill? or maybe when trying to surge ahead and drop someone when passing in a race. I have on occasion found myself in the wrong gear trying to stay on a wheel going up Town Hall, or trying to sprint at the end of a crit race. It leaves you feeling kind of helpless for a short moment until you shift and get it in gear! the right gear that is.

What about in some of the choices we make as athletes....(like Lance in the tour this year;) do you ever find yourself pushing the limits maybe 1 too many times and wind up injured or blowing up huge and ending on a sour note? OR on a more positive turn.... things are clicking along great with training so why not switch gears and step it up a notch, enter a race in the elite wave, or go off to Nationals or pick a race with some real competition. Shift gears and move ahead and take it to the next level!

This year August has come so fast and I am already feeling a shift in gears so to speak. I have to turn lights on earlier in the morning and in the evening, I've been school supply shopping for a 2nd grader and seen football on tv. Adam is gone off Kona training and I have only 1 more triathlon on the schedule. Work is slammed, and I say SLAMMED with people wanting to come in hurt, to be fixed and put back together before school starts back up. I had seriously thought about ramping it up for Nationals or another 70.3 ..but laughed at myself in the mirror realized I would be crazy to attempt this now and I might wind up like Lance with a big L on my forehead. So after Chicago its time to shift gears.

I already feel the shift in my training too. Shorter more intense workouts, the kind I LOVE and fit best into my world. Chicago Tri is the last triathlon on the schedule for me so I've been trying to find more speed and snap with workouts involving a lot more intensity.OUCH but love it. While Chicago is the last tri, it not the last race for me. I'll be stepping up the biking and gearing up for cylcocross season which begins in Sept.and finishes in Dec. at Montrose. Like here

I hope to make it on the call up list each week and race at the front of the pack. So even though 1 race season is coming to an end, another one is just beginning!

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Look

We headed to Michigan for the Steelhead 70.3 this past weekend; me to coach and cheer on friends/ athletes, Adam to race. I did manage a little training along the way with a stop in Naperville for an outdoor masters swim on our way out of town Thurs night, and a good ride on the course Friday.

Watching a race is never easy for many reasons; its a long day, its hard standing around waiting, if you're an athlete you'd rather be racing. The Steelhead course isn' too spectator friendly and the day started with rain. If you do watch, you can learn some things from some of the best, like when the fastest win.....most of the time they look like it hurts too. Its not a cake walk. You can also witness some crazy things of what not to do in a race like put your helmet on backwards, take off on the run with your helmet still ! (yes I've seen it)

This weekend though, I witnessed "the look". I saw it on more than 1 occasion. The look of pure determination, 100% focused, in the moment that you are going to do this thing! I've seen this look from our kids when they are giving it their all trying something new and big. Andy Schlek had this look chasing down Contador after he made the gutsy move to attack him during a mechanical.

Jack racing in his first triathlon

I saw it on Kelly Williamsons' face,(first place female pro) as she was coming into the finishing chute to win her first 70.3. It made an appearance on my client Sara's face who was digging deep and finished her very first 1/2 IM ever, doing so under 5 hrs.

I showed up in its greatest form this weekend on Adam's face as he was rounding the corner into the last finishing stretch. I had just said to the friends I was with "if he is having a good day we should see him any minute"....and a few seconds later there he was running fast.....with that look. I wished I'd had the camera, but don't know if I would have captured it. I knew from that look he was having his day and it had all come together. I sprinted through the sand and people to the end of the finish (got sore calves from that!) and find him. When I did, the look was still there, because it was one of those races we all are in search of. Where it ALL comes together.

I don't think "the look" is something you can just pull out of anywhere on some random day, or workout. You can fake one sometimes but it is just an false image of that true "look". You may see glimpse's of it at times when you are digging deep and putting out a good effort, but it really makes rare appearances and when it does show up you know there is something amazing happening!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Turning Point

I am at a point in this season where I have come to a crossroads. Where do I go from here? What should I do next? Keep training and racing? I am motivated to, although its also that part of the season where that hard workout and race soreness is taking a little bit longer to go away....or maybe that is because I have spent 2 separate weekends water skiing and wakeboarding. I love doing this but haven't done this in years and... wow, you really use some muscles that are untapped swimming biking and running.

This season hasn't had a lot of direction other than to train, get fit, and race. No big goal to qualify for anything, go to Nationals etc. I wanted to do some different races than normal and race some 1/2's which I hadn't done in a long time. I didn't start the season with a set race schedule set in stone back in January. For some this would drive them crazy not having every race planned to a T for the entire summer and fall. I have to say this was new to me too, but having things a little open ended has been good because it has allowed for some flexibility and room to play around and adjust based on how training is going, time I've had to train etc. But that leaves me where I am now.....in a bit of a strange spot, still motivated to get out there and swim bike and run, but not sure what exactly to do next which isn't a bad thing. I had signed up for Chicago Tri (grr I have a love/hate relationship with this race). It is huge competitive, and close to home, I love the course, but hate the logistics and ordeal it can become. I had signed up for it a few weeks ago, thinking it might fill and it was 1 of the few races I knew I wanted to do. But recently I checked to confirm my entry and I must have been have asleep, short on caffeine or something because I clicked the wrong box putting me in the AG waves, not the elite wave. This would probably start me in wave 36 or higher, leaving the bike course an absolute zoo to navigate and try to go fast. I'm sure I might sound like a princess here , but I just don't want to race it that way. Of course I missed the deadline to make changes in your entry. Maybe this is a blessing in disguise or a sign just to do something else.

So here I am at the start of August trying to figure out whats next.

Another 70.3? ....this would take big travel and bigger $$$ coordinating with back to school schedules etc... but not totally out of the question

Kiss the tri -season good bye, and focus on getting ready for cyclocross (which I am so excited for), and do some crits etc.....not a bad option since all the pools around me seem to be doing their yearly cleaning and maintenance at the same time.

Find another local race I've never done before and make it an adventure

Become a regular person and just walk the dogs....might be fun for 3 days, but then I'd get antsy

Train just for wakeboarding and water skiing...sounds fun but that will be very short lived as summer is coming to an end; and I don't like cold water

All are good options but so hard to pick! In the meantime we are headed off to Michigan this weekend for Steelhead. Nooo I'm definitely not racing although several were really trying to convince me to race again 13 days after Racine. I still don't feel normal so more power to those who can race 1/2's so close together. I'll be coaching and cheering. Good Luck to my incredible athletes racing there Wellman, and S. A. doing her first 1/2 ever!

Monday, July 19, 2010

what it takes

I know what it takes to be world class, and finish at the top. It takes dedicating everything you have, the majority of your time energy and thoughts towards racing to to top. Many sacrafices are made along the way and you become 1 with your goal. I know this because I have followed this path in my triathlon career and had much success making it to World Championships and tops of podiums. Right now though I do not have the time or metal focus to follow such a narrow road. Mostly because I have been there, done that for a lot of years and now there is a lot more going on around me with kids, work, and an Ironman training 20+ hrs a week. In fact someone asked me this weekend when we were geting ready to race in Racine, "I thought you retired". Well I guess I sort of did from that kind of racing/training. But it got me really thinking.

I started this season with no particular goal or accomplishment that I was after other than I was motivated to train and race and see how fast I can go without tipping over the balance point where it stops being fun... my kids say, "mom why do you have your bike clothes on AGAIN"... the house collapses in a hole.... I miss out on too many other things that look fun.....or I have to just invite a babysitter to live at the house because the 2 of us are training like crazy. I've made it to soccer games and practices, hosted a block party and acutally gone to a couple other of our Flamingo Fridays in our subdivision and met our neighbors without workout clothes on. I had a fabulous long vacation that was actually a vacation in which I had fun playing with my kids and family and not stressing about fitting in training. I actually signed up for Racine while on vacation when I was out there without a bike, barely swimming and really not training much ! (mostly because I didn't want to just spectate that race again)

I raced hard in the HOT steamy conditions in Racine and after bad swim. The start was so shallow you had to dolphin a bunch on the way out my goggle filled up, I had to stop and fix them, then I was in a bad position and then I was just plain slow. This started me too far back from the front of my AG. I road strong but smart and caught a lot of girls in my AG. Simon and I have been working on a strategy of not biking my brains out so I can run better off the bike. It has worked but I was about 7 min slower than my best time there. So was I too conservative or ...maybe some lack of saddle time. And BTW I am not exactly sure why everyone loves this race so much. The roads are terrible. They must have run out of orange day glow spray paint in Racine marking all the holes and cracks. I came off the bike feeling great right away and ran strong in the heat and a torrential downpour which was a blast and caught a few more girls. I was happy with my race know I gave it my all and felt strong even on a sticky hot day and knowing haven't tipped the balance point. I gave it all I had with what I have done training, but to be at the top...I know I haven't put in the time. And I am ok with that.



But...I am competitive and it is sometimes hard to accept finishing a few places lower than you'd like.....knowing very well you have the ability to be a few places higher up if you put in the time. So I guess I am my own kind of world class right now..... training and racing, but doing what it takes to keep life in check, and not miss out on some of the fun things going on around me that I would have said no to before.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

integrity.....

On one of my solo long rides recently I was thinking about integrity. Hang with me on this one, maybe the heat and humidity was getting to me, but this post may become deep. A number of strange situations have come up lately both inside and out of the triathlon world that got me thinking about integrity. Details aren't important but 1of these events included credit card fraud on the internet with my card! Who does this and feels good about themselves. I knew integrity had to do with being honest and moral but was curious as to the exact definition so I looked it up.

Noun: adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.

I like the part about adherence to moral principles, and soundness of character. It is so easy to act all moral when it come to things that are easy or part of your passion or dream...or if it is to your benefit, but fall short in parts of life that are hard or something that you don't like or care about. In the same respect, its easy to point out the flaws in others without taking a good look inside at yourself. To truly have integrity is to adhere to those moral principles in all aspects of your life, not just the ones you pick.

Being a mom I am constantly telling kids, finish your vegetables, turn the light out when you leave the room, pick up your wet towel off the floor, or try your very best .....but then I sometimes have to check myself; am I doing these things myself. ?? If I want my kids to do these adhere to these principles, am I setting a good example and adhering to them myself or am I just all talk and no action. Same holds true for me as a coach and therapist. Its easy to want others to be honest and moral and treat you accordingly, but are you doing that yourself? and gut check here....throughout all aspects of your life?

Integrity can be seen on the outside by others in your actions and relationships, but integrity can be between you and yourself and what is happening on the inside. Are you honest with yourself; do you uphold the moral character you present to others on all those little things on the inside that no one else can see. Like, did you try your very best on those intervals, do you really have that much time to train for an Ironman, or.... if you want to qualify for Kona or Worlds or Boston.....are you truly willing to do whatever it takes to get there? and what about honesty with your diet/ did you go back for seconds... or eat the whole thing?
Or what about something simple like replacing the toilet paper roll, or throwing out the box when its empty if you take the last one?

Something deep and thought provoking for the next long workout.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

HOT and STEAMY

Since returning to the Midwest from Oregon its been nothing but humid and hot! I'm not complaining though, it is summer after all and its nice to have it actually feel like summer, plus before I know it I'll be hauling that warm weather gear back out of the closets. NO! I'll take covering up with sunscreen over base layers, hats and gloves any day.

I spent the long holiday weekend sitting on my bum. On the bike that is...working on my biker tan in the heat and getting in a lot of good miles after being off my the bike for 10 days during vacation. I signed up to do Racine, so getting some riding in was probably a good idea! Racine isn't my favorite race, the bike is too flat, but I'm tired of being the cheerleader there so decided to race this year. Last time I raced the 1/2 there it was 107 degrees and the weather channel was featured all the crazy athletes out racing in those conditions. We crawled our way to the lake after crossing the finish line and just floated. Lets hope its a few degrees cooler than that this year.

I was even hot and sweaty leaving the pool last night. I finally made it back to masters in Naperville after being such an MIA masters swimmer. It was good to finally work hard enough in the water to get hot and not have to dodge water aerobics classes or kids doing cannon balls.

And you know its HOT when the Tour is on! Hot for a lot of reasons.... Great competition, amazing bikes and uniforms, fabulous racing, cool accents, and yes I'll come right out and say it great looking legs :) The tour is on in our house 2-3 x a day, and we don't get tired of it. Some of the stages are more exciting and it really heats up when they start to climb the mountains. I can't wait for that. I don't know who my favorite rider of the tour is yet; I have to see the competition heat up some more to pick a favorite.

I was hosing myself down in the backyard the other day after a run where I was melting. My fast version of a pseudo ice bath when short on time and ice. Why can't the Deschutes River run through my backyard in Blackberry Creek that would work so much better. My neighbors were shaking their heads!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Pacific Crest Weekend

The highlight of my vacation to Oregon was the days we spent in Sunriver just outside of Bend. Getting my family all together for a weekend and racing in the Pacific Crest weekend was something I have been looking forward to for a long time. Adam the kids and I headed over Mt. Hood from Portland to a house we rented for the weekend.
Mt. Hood

We were planning on racing in the Pacific Crest endurance sports festival as well as have lots of family fun. 2 of my brothers and their families along with my parents were all part of a wild and crazy mix. Sunriver is an this awesome place in the mountains with amazing views of Mt. Bachelor. In my college days we'd spend weekends there for house dances with the fraternities or head over to go skiing. I was in vacation mode much of this trip and didn't want to stress out about racing a big 1/2 IM, but the course looked so much fun I think I need to go back and do the 1/2.
My plan was to run enough to hold onto some fitness and race the 1/2 marathon, but to also have fun and enjoy Sunriver. I did manage to get a little training in the water done.



As well as a few bike workouts!


I cross trained by riding horses,


and then took an ice bath in one of the many Cascade lakes near the top of Mt. Bachelor.





Saturday was race morning and Adam headed towards the top of the Mtn. and me to the run start. He's all bundled up because its chilly up there in the morning, but it warmed up to mid 80's in the day.

I wasn't sure how I would race. I had been in a low key training mode since KS and enjoying lots of vacation fun, but decided to just go give what I had and enjoy the beautiful course. There were about 1000 racers in the 1/2 marathon and some of the women looked like "real" runners, Oregon style! Fast! The run had some false flats and a couple gradual hills, but what made the course tough was the continual winding sharp turns and curves on the paved trails through Sunriver. It made keeping a constant pace challenging. I did my best to run the tangents and keep the turnover going. I felt surprisingly good and was running the first 7 miles like it was a 10k (too fast!)But what the heck I was having fun At about mile 8 on the course you come out of the wooded section into a meadow and get this awesome view of Bachelor off in the distance. About this time I started feeling my legs get heavy and started slowing down, not just to check out the view either!!!! The last few miles were slow and hurt, (thats what you get for starting way to fast), but a fun finish. I learned later I had won my AG (because really 1st place was in the top 3 OA) and was 11th OA female with 10th just a few seconds ahead. Cool prizes a Widmer Brewing mug and a free micro beer from Widmer Brewing Co.


Now we are home and facing reality again. Loads of laundry and thigs to unpack, back to work, and oh yea. I signed up for Racine. Crazy me. I found my bike yesterday and went for a hard ride hanging on Adam's wheel for a 2 hrs. Vacation is over.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

trying to stay in shape on vacation!



Lucky for me when I go home to visit my family, I travel west to the mountains. I have been looking forward to this vacation for months! A trip home to Portland, Oregon! Vacations for most mean indulging in treats, staying up past bedtimes, sleeping in without an alarm clock, playing, having fun and spending the day on all kinds of adventures, napping and sitting around doing nothing. A vacation like this for us in the summer is a challenge. It is race season, not just for Adam and I, but all of the clients we coach. However, we have managed to plan a great week out in Oregon with a little something for everyone  My goal on this trip is to relax some, train some, and have the time to take off on adventures and not stress about fitting in a ton of workouts. I didn’t even bring my bike. I questioned it several times knowing how awesome the riding would be, but opted to go without. I did pack my running and swimming gear though.

The running has been great, cooler temps perfect for running and hills. Lots of them. Long ones, steep ones, rolling ones. Hills with awesome views when you get to the top making it all worth it, hills through trees with rushing streams off to the side, and hills with fresh air that smells like pine and evergreen. I did find a pool for some lap swimming. From the website it sounded great as a few club teams swim out of there. Adam and I showed up in the morning to swim and it was mostly “old timers” and the pool was nice but for some reason everyone was “open water” swim training because they didn’t have the lane lines in. They must also be training for Midwestern races with water temps of 77.5 and wetsuit legal. Nice warm water that feels good going in but ½ way through your set can feel your head sweating under your swim cap. I’ll be ready for the next “hot” swim on my schedule 

When on vacation and back in this part of the country you always want to try out the good stuff you can’t get at home. There are awesome coffee shops (the local kind!) with incredible baked goods, awesome restaurants and local micro-brews Oregon is famous for. Restaurants with outside seating and amazing views. We ate last night at the Stone Cliff…..famous now for being filmed in “TWIGLIGHT”

The adventures have already been amazing. We spent one day at Cannon Beach during the Sand Castle weekend.





Now here is a competition for you. Spending your day building the most creative and amazing sand castle. We tested the waters. Typically ocean water here is very cold. On this day it wasn’t so bad. If my legs had actually been trashed or sore, it would have made for an excellent ice bath…Pacific Style! We also headed into downtown Portland 1 day taking our kids with their cousins to an amusement park. Chasing after them in a place like this is a workout. They “ran” from ride to ride. By the end I felt like I had done a huge brick!

Today we head over the mountains to Bend. On the weekend are the Pacific Crest races. There is a race of every distance and type throughout the weekend. Because its vacation I opted to just run the ½ marathon. Adam is racing the ½ and Olympic distances triathlons. We rented a house, the whole family is coming and we are going to fill the day’s fun. Hopefully I can manage to keep some fitness together with all the fun.