Monday, June 27, 2011


Our totally traditonal Chicago western suburban home has become IHOT. Who would have thought a house in Kane County would be such a sought out training destination this summer. If the breakfeast world has IHOP….our house has become IHOT; International House of Triathletes!

Add 1 Aussie with his wife arriving next month (and yes she is a triathlete too) and 1 Venezualan arriving this week, to our house of 2 Americans made of 1 midwesterner, and 1 transplanted Oregonian, plus two kids and there you have IHOT! Getting fit, racing fast and having fun is on the agenda for everyone this summer. Some are getting ready for IM, while others just finished one, some are racing 70.3’s. The kids are both on swim teams gearing up to race 25 fly, 50 free, and relays while perfecting tennis or gymnastics on the side. If my neighbors didn’t think I was crazy before, they most definitely do now.

It’s a busy IHOT. The dishwasher runs more often full of water bottles, there is a lot of food being consumed, a lot of sweaty clothes, the garage is full of bikes, wheels, and gear. At night there has been a lot of smack talk about how training that day has gone. As expected there have been epic performances and total blow ups by all. Even the 8 yr olds have fun training stories about their practices or events.

We’ve had pros stay at our house before. The biggest difference between the pros and the rest of us is that they definitely treat triathlon training and racing as a profession. I notice they take recovery much more seriously, make more of an effort to eat properly, and they don’t get as frustrated if they don’t nail every workout. Most likely this is because they have the time to focus more on these other important parts of our sport. Recovery, nutrition, mental edge are things we all know are important but in our busy life it gets so easy to slack somewhere. I always have good intentions but resort to heating up frozen food from Trader Joe’s way to much. I try to stretch at night (I preach this daily) but get busy.
I think Courtney thought I was a crazed woman on Saturday as I got up early to volunteer at Jack’s swim meet for 4 hrs before heading up to Lake Geneva all before packet pick up for Bigfoot Triathlon shut down for Sunday’s race. I swung by home ran in the house to pick him up plus a few forgotten things, and was throwing some food together to eat for lunch as we headed north. This was my attempt at being healthy vs. hitting the drive through. He was helping put together some assemblance of something nutritious as he said did you even eat a “proper breakfeast, mate !”, knowing I was racing the next morning. We laughed at the thought of me relaxing with my feet up to focus on the race!

Pro, elite age grouper or even the 8 yr old kids there is one common theme running through the house right now and that is hard work and determination. Courtney has a stress fx right now so today he did a double swim....gasp!

As for Bigfoot, I had a great race considering all of the above and not making that race a priority. Finally a decent swim, I was out of the water in about 5th in my wave, and passed several up in the long transition run and on the bike. My powertap read 1:04:08 when uploaded to Trainingpeaks and I ran a 45. It was all for good measure and love of doing it. It seems my chip wasn’t recording because there were NO results for me to be found. Chalk that one up as a great workout all for the better good of fitness for the next race.

Scott and I laughing at how we need to swim more if we are going to do well at OLY distance

With this much triathlon going on in the house I may need a spa day, or a night out in the city! Check back once the house is at fully capacity for more IHOT adventures.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Follow The Yellow Brick Road.....

After 3 races in 2 weeks, plus work, organizing a clinic, meeting other deadlines for articles, performing gait annals and training clients I feel like one of those flying monkeys in the Wizard of Oz.... or maybe like Dorothy as she just got blown out of the tornado. There have been moments I wish I could just click my ruby shoes to get the job done, but that might just mean that everything that is going so well right is just a dream. 

At times over the past few weeks, I have felt a little like the scarecrow who needs a brain because with taking on so many projects, during this time of year which is so busy …I have wondered what was I thinking, and did I even have a brain? Other times I have felt like the cowardly lion wanting to run and hide (i.e. my adventure with the K Swiss team on my rented bike), or jumping into the fast lane at masters with Adam, Kelly, and Keith. As for the tin man, I have only felt like him after the Elgin Fox trot and a few other hard workouts; like I needed my joints oiled and I might have been making a few creaking sounds as I walked around. He was in search of a heart, I think mine is there.

I have been looking forward to KS 70.3 since last year. I love this race, and the challenging course. It is so much more fun to have hills! And um, there happen to be just a few in Vegas. At New Orleans my goal was to qualify for Vegas. I wanted to get it early so I could have less pressure the rest of the summer. With that accomplished, my goal in KS was to be aggressive, take more risks, without the pressure to qualify, plus I wanted to win my AG. So we loaded up and drove down to Friday afternoon with our good friend Danny Delgado. Listening to disco, and 90’s hard rock music helped us to make the 8 hr drive go by fast.

The course is out in a state park which makes for a nice race, but it does have its share of logistical challenges making the pre race ordeal quite a process. We got through it as quickly as we could, checked in our bikes and covered them with bags because huge thunderstorms were predicted. The radar looked like a bomb was going to explode over Lawrence right at 7 am. I was thinking great another duathlon, but race morning the storms stayed off in the distance and the bikes stayed dry.

Swim: I had a great start this time; no goggles getting kicked off like at Leon’s, and made it to the first buoy with the leaders. But then it got ugly. The wind was blowing across the lake making a huge chop, making the swim challenging too. It was really hard to get a normal rhythm going. I have been working on my swim trying to get it back to where it used to be, but you sure wouldn’t know it by that performance! I was so glad to finally hit land; I sprinted through transition and was so happy to be on my bike.

Bike: I immediately felt great even going up and down the steep rollers heading out of the park. I didn’t think about time, power etc. I attacked the hills, and passed several girls in my AG pretty quickly. I was having a great ride, but not completely sure where I stood in the AG but tried to just keep riding strong. At about mile 45 Adam passed me going so fast. He started like 34 min behind me, and I had made a bet with him that he wouldn’t catch me. Ha Ha, there was a day that might have been enough time, to hold him off but he has simply just gotten too fast.

Run: I love this run. 2 loops through a campground with 3 / turnarounds to see where you are, and 1 big hill to cover twice. I felt great right away, tried to get it up to pace and keep it there through the hills and turns. At about mile 3.5 I passed the girl who won the AG last year. I was pretty sure at that point I was in 1st, but couldn’t tell who was coming from behind. So I just kept running strong. I felt good until about 4 miles left and then it started to get painful. My quads were feeling those hills from the bike, but my energy was good and I just kept pushing. 1 girl passed from my AG passed me on the run at about mile 7. She was flying, and left me in the dust pretty quickly. My friend Jen Harrison informed me she had the fastest AG women’s marathon in Kona a few years ago. I can see why!

I finished 2nd in AG with 8th fastest swim, 2nd fastest bike and 2nd fastest run in my AG. A solid second. And, what can I say about Adam, other than he totally crushed my bet. I lost big time. If you are looking here for any secrets on his training and why he keeps getting faster, I can only say a massive amount of hard work!  And now he has a new friend to play with. Courtney Ogden is here from AUS staying with us now. Check him out here: He is super fast, has a really cool accent and already fixed our garage door! I warned the neighbors there will be more boys running in spandex around the neighborhood. Who would have thought Elburn would be a triathlon headquarters!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Trying to Catch my Breath!

I have managed to stuff myself pretty good the past few weeks with an over indulgence of saying yes. My days have been maxed out with work, extra projects, training, racing and a few birthday parties. It’s been fun, a little bit exhausting and definitely not boring. Some people ask how do I do all these things…my answer is, I have no idea.

It started in early May with our trip to Vegas. We met family on the strip for a mini vacation, with a smidge of training. I have grown to really love our trips to the desert. Day one we mtn biked through Red Rock canyon for a couple hours and I absolutely LOVED it. I would SO mtn bike more if we had um…mtns and trails to train on. It’s a little more exciting than riding in squares around corn fields. I wiped out once and found cactus parts in my rear, but couldn’t stop smiling. We raced back to the Mirage to get dressed up, meet up with the family and see “0” Cirqde Soleil, which was one of the main reasons why we went to Vegas in the first place.

(i can't resist the chance to blow dry my hair and dress like a girl once in awhile)

While there, we were invited to train with some of the K-Swiss team out on the 70.3 course who happened to be there at the same time. This really wasn’t intended to be a “training trip”, but we couldn’t resist the chance to see and train on the course, with some of the fastest cyclists in the sport. Gulp. Not wanting to fly our bikes out for one ride, Adam borrowed a bike, and I rented a lovely aluminum, heavy, Cannondale road bike that didn’t fit quite right. I was so nervous I almost peed my pants, but was laughing at myself so bad inside for showing up to ride with THIS crew on their brand new Trek TT bikes, and me on that rental. I had to get over myself swallow some pride if I wanted to see this course. We all took off on these desert roads which are VERY hilly, and with lots of climbing. Between heat, desert wind, and never ending climbs, it will be a tough race in September. You will definitely want to be in shape for that one. I road my tail off to stay with them for as long as I could. I lasted a little over ½ the course before my legs fell off, but I kept riding all out sucking air up and down these hills that never ended because I didn’t want to fall farther back. I did a 3 mile T run on these tired legs at the Lake Las Vegas Resort, and the next day I felt more sore than after New Orleans!

From that point forward, I have been 1 step behind, trying to catch my breath and get on top of a few extra work projects that have come my way, keep my training going with great group ride efforts, nailing track workouts, and surviving end of school activities. It’s crazy, but good, and I feel lucky to have so many opportunities!

Memorial Day weekend was a whirlwind with 2 birthdays, a kid’s triathlon, and a Fox Trot. Who was I kidding to think we would do some traditional Memorial Day things and BBQ and do a few projects around the house. I haven't even planted any flowers yet, but something has to give and with as busy as we are they would probably die from lack of attention. The kids were simply amazing finishing their first triathlon, I was hyperventilating inside for them, but they were rock stars!

(they left their numbers on for a week)

Monday morning we did the annual Fox Trot. It finally decided to warm up and my body forgot what it was like to sweat! It was a hot hilly 10 miler. I hadn’t done it in a few years and had forgotten about some of the hills. My job was to go out and race it. I started off feeling sluggish, and actually felt stronger over the 2nd half of the course. Maybe this is a good thing. I came within less than a minute of my best time ever there, finishing 5th OA woman!! 5 days later we headed to Hammond IN, to race Leon’s. This race is called Worlds fastest, and it drew a big crowd of some of the fastest local athletes. Its not pretty, the roads are full of cracks, it smells bad, and the bike was 3 miles long so I’m not sure it is really worlds fastest, but the competition was awesome, and the race director did a great job of treating amateur athletes like celebrities. Comcast was there interviewing athletes, and covering the race. Look for the Zuccos on Comcast in 3 weeks!! Thanks Mike Adamle! My race was an average performance. I left some of myself back in Elgin at the Fox trot. My goggles got knocked off leading to a slow start on my swim, it took 30 min to get my legs moving 100% on the bike, and my legs did not have high end on the run. Even with all that I was moving up in the field on the bike, caught 1 girl and was gaining on 5th place. I was trying so hard to get the high end going to catch her and she kept getting closer, but I finished 6th by just seconds. I normally don’t like to race tired, but feel good about my effort and it was fun racing with so many great local athletes.

I see no chance to catch my breath in the near future, maybe after we go to Hawaii in Oct! Did I mention we have some pros arriving this week to live at our house for some of the summer and Friday we head to Lawrence to race Kansas 70.3?