Saturday, April 28, 2012

Race Ready

It’s finally almost time to race! This year I have been extra antsy to get out there, step up to the line and race already! (ask me that next Sunday when I’m crawling up The Beast in St. Croix) Cyclocross Nationals seem like forever ago, lots of training days have come and gone, and it’s finally time to put it all the work to the test. Usually I can find even a 5k or 10k to jump into, a little duathlon or something to work out the kinks, but it never worked out with my schedule. In fact, I SO wanted to race that on the Thursday afternoon before NOLA 70.3 Adam and I were seriously discussing signing up, flying or driving down last minute! Neither of us was in a physical state to do well (can we say a bit cooked), but the idea of racing and heading south to some warmer weather was soooooo tempting. That would have been big bucks for a fancy duathlon brick workout. As it turns out it sounds like we made the right choice to stay home and not spend the $$. I did end up getting a little racing in at Leland Kermesse….
a local road race through flat windy farm roads, with several gravel sections. This was my first road race. I have 2 crits, tons of cyclocross races, and even more TT’s as part of a triathlon under my bike racing experience belt. I know there must be some strategy to racing on the road, but I don’t know it! I was looking for a hard bike effort at the end of some hard training weeks to top off my fitness for St. Croix. I thought the race was fairly uneventful…..cyclocross is way more fun. I went to the front right away and didn’t mind taking some long pulls. I was feeling decent but not full of awesomeness. There weren’t many girls willing to move to the front and if they did it was short lived. Hmm that must be how to race the road! But there were a few of us who took turns pulling. After the first gravel section, I tried to move up in a break away when my cleat came unclipped. I must not have been all the way clipped in that whole time thanks to my toe booties (yea I wimped and wore them). So I lost contact with the lead group of about 4, but re grouped with a group off the back. At the start of the 2nd lap this group became 3. I decided I was just going to ride hard for the 2nd lap, if someone wanted to join in then great. I didn’t go all the way to Leland IL to ride in wind and gravel just to ride like I could at home. I pulled the majority of the second lap. My motivation was I could see a few riders that had fallen off …. getting closer. The joy of the wide open prairie. We were gaining and I wanted to catch them. I gritted my teeth put my head down and just rode. When we hit gravel I rode harder. I liked riding the gravel and my smooth Challenge Tires were awesome. I liked the gravel sections and here we picked up a straggler. By the final stretch before the turn to the finish we caught a pack of about 4 which made for a lovely sprint finish. I had nothing to SPRINT with after all that work and finished 10th. I felt stronger on the 2nd lap than the first, and could have done more. I got my race in and …..a big boost in power. Thank you Leland. Besides some solid efforts going into the the taper week, … being Race Ready to me also means: ~Making sure the race wheels are spiffy and fast ~Trying out race day shoes in some race specific efforts KSWISS QT2 are making the trip to St. Croix
~A massage, a big one, to work out the many tight knots that have found their way into my muscles ~Packing tri gear and beach party clothes ~Trying to find a Hot Yoga class with a class time that actually is convenient for someone who works…..I need to feel the sweat ~Resting…. Some.
Finally…. I have had the fun experience of being part of a couple photo shoots. One with my Tri Mom friends for a VERY fun project/book we’ve been working on. I have kept quiet about it, but it has actually just finished being professionally edited and will HOPEFULLY be published.(fingers crossed) It was a fun to see my tri mom friends I hadn’t seen in awhile. We all have kids of varying ages now, but we all used to train with each other in training …kid free. The second photo shoot was with friend and fellow BH rider who is a photographer and trying to expand his portfolio. He took some really cool shots at fun angles and has done some sweet editing. Thanks Matt Dula!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Maximum Overdrive

I usually do a better job at keeping up with writing something of relevance on this blog. Even this has been mostly written for a few days, but never finished. This spring has kept me moving at full speed ahead. I actually used to sit and read many more blogs than I do now, but I can’t even keep up with that. I have so many new Wattie friends to stalk (I mean read up on) but I can’t even get through reading all my emails on most days.

Coming home from vacation I was staring at about 5 weeks left of training until St. Croix, finishing up my last few weeks at Cosport and getting ready to start my new adventure in physical therapy, wrapping up other fun projects (which I can’t wait to share!!) along with many fun presents showing up reminding me race season is near.


Oh yea, to top it off, I had several trips to THE BIKE SHOP to get my new bike…Scotty P the II.

my new boyfriend Scotty PII

the perfect fit

I’ve already spent a good number of quality bonding hours with him. While getting ready for our first date, I was feeling so pro playing bike mechanic putting on the new Challenge Tires, and hooking up my power tap, all by my big girl self so I could roll out the next morning for a big brick. Ride time came the next morning and I realized I put the cradle for the power tap on backwards but didn’t want to, or have time to fix it, so I did my brick staring at the numbers upside down! Good news is that the tires held, the power worked and my first smashfest with Scotty P was a success.

My coach, Scott Iott, has really poured on the training. Sometimes I look at whats there and wonder....How? Not only just completing it, but usually how am I going to fit this in amongst … life. I feel myself getting fit because I am recovering better between workouts and able to get through the next hard session. My pull ups are coming back,

full body weight pull up PR bar

and I am hitting the times I want on tired legs. I don’t have tons of time, so luckily for me I respond better to quality vs. quantity. Lots of hard work has left me sore, crawling up stair and I recently found my way to my first ice bath of the year!

Next week I start my new job at Advanced Physical Medicine. With that comes, a new schedule, new people, a little more independence, a commute, and new challenges. Leaving a place you’ve worked for umpteen years is bittersweet but a new chance to move forward with my career is too hard to pass up.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Resort Savvy...

Paradise Island! Bahamas

It is very unusual for us to take a vacation that isn’t centered around a training trip or a race, especially so close to the race season during spring break. I love training trips and trips to races and for me, they are a type of vacation, but there is usually an agenda and a schedule and constant movement from one workout to the next, with little down time. This year we took our kids to Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas. It is unprecedented for us to escape like this especially at the end of March. A vacation like this isn’t typical, and at times I wondered what the 4 of us would do for 5 days on an island without going crazy. I was, however, looking forward to some down time to relax without a real agenda.

My Brain, just before vacation started...from lots of work

I tried to fit in a lot of training prior to the trip so the pressure would be low, my plan was to run and swim. Luckily the resort had a nice outdoor lap pool specifically for lap swimming. I swam most every day and loved seeing this out my goggles when I did some recovery back stroke:

We arrived to the resort around 3 in the afternoon. After traveling since 3:30 in the morning Chicago time and after a little exploring at the beach and pools it was time to hit our first dinner on our meal plan which included breakfast and dinner buffets. The food was fabulous and rows of it went on and on. From the looks of the people and their plates, the buffet tables were as much as a part of the vacation as the water slides casino and beach. They had no problem going back for seconds, thirds of main entrees, sides, and deserts and then not being afraid to squeeze into swimsuits, or bikinis the next day. I was amazed at what people could put on their plates, and as well as what they could drink poolside in the way of island beverages.

It was also apparent that I was clueless in the art of finding the right poolside spot and chair. Finding a spot strategically located near the bathrooms, concessions stand, and spot where you could keep an eye on the kids is an art form. It is evident you have to get out there early and scope your spot and put your towel down to save it. My lack of experience left us way back in the corner 1 chair on the first day.

I also lacked gym savvy on this trip. I am not much of a gym rat, and don’t even own a gym membership anymore. We have a TM, trainers in the basement and I workout with a personal trainer in his own gym. I buy a swim pass, but try to workout outside as much as possible. The fitness center at the resort was very nice, new and clean. The island is small and congested with not a lot of open road to run, so I ran every day on the TM, trying to do some hard tready sets to get quality work done in a short amount of time. Sharing the equipment running so close to someone on a TM next to me when they smelled, or breathe to heavy is a distraction I had to get used to again. Trying to share weights and gym equipment with the muscle heads to fit in a strength session was a challenge. I did get some great runs in however along with some heat training for St. Croix. The gym didn’t have fans and didn’t seem to be air conditioned well so every run I was completely soaked and drenched. One day in particular I must have looked in sorry shape doing some hard intervals because the fitness center attendant handed me a cold wet towel roll that had been soaked in some kind of mineral salt. It was amazing. It was cold and smelled so good. I need that guy to pass those out on the St. Croix run course! I was like a new person!

We managed to survive the buffet lines, pool lines and beach. No major catastrophe, child meltdown or lost child for that matter. We went through ¾ a bottle of SPF 50 and most of an SPF 30 while we were there swimming, parasailing, body surfing, hair braiding, and jet skiing.

We came home tan, relaxed and full!I managed to get in some solid running and swimming and came home in time to squeeze in super hard brick to work off some of the buffet trips.

So now it’s back to work, literally. I have 2 more weeks at my long time position as a physical therapist at Cosport, and then I am on to a new adventure in physical therapy. More on that to come. And…back to big training, it was fun and motivating to see so many friends and athletes starting their season off with a bang!
Rock On!