27 September 2008

23 years ago yesterday

For some, New years brings a time of self reflection, revelation, and for some, revolutions. I, on the other hand, tend to use my birthday as my mark of reflection on the past, where I currently stand, and where I hope to grow.

Thursday night I met up with the team for a happy hour/Savageman Wall viewing. My friend Robin is a flight attendant, and came back from Frankfurt shortly before the gathering bearing gifts from Germany.

Here is Robin presenting me with a beer straight from Germany..
in her awesome dollar store dress from Frankfurt.

**note: and then I got sidetracked... and never finished writing this post. So, here goes the rest:

Robin brought back a German beer, fruit bars (really good to eat on the bike!), and an absolutely fantastic poppy seed pound cake. I will fail any drug test I have to take, but it was totally worth it.

Friday I woke up, ran some errands since I had the day off, and went to Tysons. While driving around trying to find a parking spot, I encountered this:

.... Are you kidding me? We now have spots reserved for Hybrid Vehicles next to the handicapped parking spots? After I sent this off to a few friends out of state (who all wrote back "f'ing hippies...") I wondered though the mall to find a dress for my brothers wedding. FAIL. What is it with dresses these days? They are either weird and tiered, which kind of makes me look like the trunk of a tropical plant, or short and ruffled. Seriously, who is buying these dresses, and where are they wearing them to? The fashion industry sucks. While I do love the malls in DC, I'm going to opt for looking for a dress in Toledo, Ohio while I am visiting friends at Bowling Green State University. For some reason, when I absolutely must have a dress, I've had awesome luck finding dresses at Franklin Park. They just carry more practical clothing, instead of wannabe high fashion or whatever that Tysons sometimes seems to endorse. I dread dress shopping, to be honest... I'm not very comfortable wearing a dress. On a side note, anyone want to go with me to my brothers wedding October 18th? Since it seems like I'll be the only one there not married or engaged... Moving on.

Began my trek home to Ohio around 4:15pm.. on a Friday. Again, not one of my most brilliant ideas. It took about 7 hours to get home, versus the usual 5 hours and 45 minutes. Met up with my friend Matt, who took me up to our favorite spot on Headlands beach in Mentor. It was a cool, crystal clear night, and we just laid on a blanket in the sand, listening to the waves crash in while drinking Jester's Blush (one of my new favorite wines..) Sounds quite romantic, but anyone who knows Matt and I understands we're just dysfunctional like that. Lived together for almost 2 years, attempted dating on an off, but we just work better without the relationship stress. I had a wonderful night though.

I'll update more tomorrow with my adventures though the rest of the week. :)

24 September 2008

But its only September...

Yes, the 2009 race season is now upon me. I've been evaluating what our team is doing, and what races I want to do.... so without further ado, I present the 2008-2009 Race Calendar

Jingle All the Way 10K
Sunday December 14, 2008
Washington, DC

Christmas Light Run (4-5 miles)
Wednesday December 17, 2008 (7pm)
Washington, DC

Myrtle Beach Marathon
Saturday February 14, 2009
Myrtle Beach, SC

Cherry Blossom 10 Miler
Sunday April 5, 2009
Washington, DC

Kinetic Half Iron Triathlon
Saturday May 9, 2009
Lake Anna State Park, VA

Kinetic Sprint Triathlon
(I've always wanted to do a back to back..)
Sunday May 10, 2009
Lake Anna State Park, VA

Ironman Training Weekend (Team Z)
May 22-25, 2009
Lake Placid, NY

Mooseman Half Iron Triathlon
Saturday June 6, 2009
Newfound Lake, NH

Sunday July 26, 2009
Lake Placid, NY


Okay, well, thats actually all that is planned so far. In the running for post Ironman include the Nation's Triathlon, Patriots Oly (Nice flat course), or Bassman sprint or half in October. I guess it depends on how much I like the half iron distance.

I'd also love to throw in some sort of cycling race. My brother is big into road racing, and I'd like to do a few and earn up in the "cat" division.

So there you go. The season ahead looks both challenging and terrifying. I'll be shattering all sorts of records for myself in terms of distances.

23 September 2008

Ignore that last week...

You know, the one where I didn't post for a week? Shame on me.

I didn't do anything overly exciting last week. Had my VO2 Max test done, and thats about it.

Over the weekend, I went to Deep Creek Lake, MD to compete in a relay for the Savageman Half Iron. I drove over on Friday evening, arriving around 8:30. Since our team has close connections with Kyle Yost (Sadist himself who created this monster of a course), I went over to his house and had some dinner, made smores, and generally just relaxed. Saturday a group of us rode the Oly course. Brennimen road is tough, to say the least. .4 miles or so, around a 23% grade in spots. I'm not a magnificent hill climber as it is, and this one hurt. There are some very fun descents along the course, however some are a bit technical. One particular decent ended with a 90 degree turn (I was riding the brakes going around 35), which then goes into a 15-20% pitch back up hill. There were 4 of my teammates ahead of me. Frank, who had taken the lead down the hill, forgot to close his front brakes. He knew he wouldn't make the turn, so he picks the woods on the other side of the road, flips over a rock, and lands soundly on the ground. I didn't see him go over; however Kerry (next down the hill) and another girl ran into the woods to see if he was okay. Damon, who was infront of me, yells back "Was that Kerry?" I hear "Is that a bear?", look up, and see a bunch of rustling in the wood. I turn the corner, go 20 feet up the hill, and unclip to see why we were stopping if there's a bear in the woods. As I look down the hill, I see Kerry and Kitty running out of the woods like crazy people, waving their arms frantically. Then Frank comes running out, doing much of the same dance, only with his bike strewn over his shoulder. I come to find out, Frank landed directly below a hornets nest in the woods. Apparently, hornets do NOT like to have a 200# guy slam into their tree at high rates of speed. Kerry and Frank ended up with stings, and frank a few scratches, flat tire, and untrue front wheel. Things could have been much worse (there could have been a bear...). We continued our ride, headed back to the houses and went to packet pickup. Enjoyed a nice dinner out, and hung out for a while before heading to bed.

Deep Creek has become notorious for its fog. The race was delayed for 30 minutes to allow some more fog to burn off, but it wasn't happening. Unfortunatly, there was a misdirected kayaker on the course, who told the pro's to turn when they still had one more buoy left to go. Shattered my hopes of beating a pro in the swim. I finished my swim around 37 min, which was about 5 minutes over what I expected. Not sure if I was having an off day due to sighting, or if the course was long. A few others felt that the course was long too. I ran up the steep hill and steps to transition, and passed off my chip to Will, who smoked the bike course. Meanwhile, my teammate Es and I dressed up like angels (to compliment the devils on top of Savage Mountain) and headed up to Killer Miller. With a bottle of rum. Needless to say, 1/3 bottle of rum after not really drinking much anymore is not good. Nor is going back to the team tents and shotgunning a few beers (classy, I know). Ended up being quite a mess, and called it a day around 7pm when I went to bed. Lessons learned, and I'm going back to not drinking anymore. I'm sure I'll have a glass of wine at christmas, a glass of champagne at new years, and maybe a post-marathon drink in February, but that is most likely it. Sunday ranks as not one of my proudest moments.

The next two weeks will be short recovery runs and rides, maybe a few swims. I'm going on vacation next week, which I am looking forward. I need to get some things straightened out in life, and so far I have not had the time.

I'll try to find some pictures from Deep Creek to post later.

16 September 2008

Projectile Potomac...

Sunday was the third annual Nations Triathlon (first year being a duathlon that I did not participate in; however, I raced last year). The Nations Triathlon was my first olympic distance race, and I did so on essentially zero training. I had completed two other sprint distances earlier in the year, but complications from improper healing with my broken leg (snapped the bone, damaged my Achilles, and tore all ligaments on the outside of my foot). Work picked up, and I didn't have any time to train through August/September. I hadn't joined Team Z yet, and at that point in my life, I was planning on returning to Ohio in a few months anyways, so I was out doing as much as I could in the city outside of work as possible instead of training. I posted a time around 4:18 or something of the sort. Flipped out on the swim and had to swim parts on my back, couldn't battle the headwinds coming back around Hains Point, and was just overall exhausted by the time the run came around.

This year, I had a few goals in mind for the race. The morning started very warm, and I knew I was in for a rough day. I took down most of a bottle of Gatorade AM, suggested by a friend of mine. I stood in the swim pen forever, until my race started at 8:20 or so. Hopped into the water quickly, swam around for a few minutes to get accustomed to the water, and lined up right at the front of the pack. Started my watch at the 30 second countdown (otherwise I forget..), and then we were off. I was easily leading the pack at first, dealing with a bit of contact. The girl next to me couldn't swim well, and was flailing into me. I gave her a kind push to get her out of my water... first time I've ever intentionally moved someone in a race. It felt slightly empowering. Water was wide open, and I continued my trek towards the Memorial Bridge. About halfway, there was a good deal of wake in the water from boats going to pick people up. I turned to breath on my left side (bilateral breathing..), and got slammed in the face with a wave. I swallowed a good deal of water, but continued on, rocking back and forth in the continual wake.
And then it happened.

I felt sick... Oh my gosh... I don't GET sea sick, EVER... whats going on??? I make it to the turnaround buoy, and promptly get rid of all the gatorade and potomac water I had drank. I'm not sure how many people have thrown up while in the water, but it is not a pleasant experience. Matter of fact, it made swimming in the already murky river a little less nice for me. 2 or 3 minutes go by, and I decide I'm okay to move on. Surprisingly, no kayak came up to me to see if I was alright, as I was spewing orangish red liquid all over. The rest of the swim remained uneventful. Passed back under the bridge, and had a hard time sighting the final buoy; however I made it back without too much issues. My swim was far slower than it should have been, coming in around 34 minutes or so. It should have been down around the 25ish minute range. No problem up the ladders, and out to transition. I fumbled through my bag for a minute to find some anti-nausea chewables I had still in my bag from a while ago. I ate one of those on my way out to the bike. Hop on, no issues, and I was feeling okay.

And then I tried to eat a cliff block and some gatorade.

I think I permanently scarred the woman from the wave infront of me, as I began to hurl Gatorade right back up while riding shortly after passing her. I didn't have the reaction time to stop and unclip, so I just kept trying to pedal to keep speed. This continued for a majority of the ride, and I realized that there was no way I was keeping calories down. Excellent. Finished the bike, and headed out on the run. Ran a 7:50 for the first mile, and my legs felt great coming off the bike. Unfortunately, my head decided this wasn't a good idea, and I became extremely light headed and felt like I was going to throw up again. I was reduced down to a pathetic 45 second jog, two minute walk. I was pouring cold water over my head to cool down, and tried to eat some ice. Came back up. At this point, I completely gave up on putting anything else in me, I just wanted to finish. By about mile 3.5, I had stopped sweating, and I was completely covered in goosebumps. A medic on wheels came by me and asked if I was okay. I explained to him the situation, told him I had raced a lot and I know my body pretty well, and that I was sure I would be okay to finish. He didn't really like my answer as I continued to shake like it was 15 degrees out instead of 95, but I wasn't being pulled off course.

My parents came into town, and I saw them around mile 5, and my mom knew something was wrong since I was walking. They walked along the sidewalk and I explained everything that happened, and told them I just wanted to be done. My dad jogged (I don't think I've ever seen my dad jog in my life...) along with me for about a half mile, and I was tearing up a little under my visor with that support. I hurt bad and from lack of any calories, salt, fluids, etc, but I kept pushing because my dad was out there jogging with me. Amazing what a simple act can do. :) I finished at a miserably embarrassing 4 hour time. Somehow, inbetween all the puking... I still managed to finish above 10-12 other people. And slightly ahead of my time last year.

My oly's this year have generally been around the 3:10 mark, so this was a complete failure in my book. Lessons learned. Third times a charm, right? My goal for next year will be top 10 in my age group. I'm sure post Ironman, it shouldn't be much of an issue. My bike time is what kills me on the oly's... so that will be this winter's focus. I think a proper fit on a new bike will also assist in my goals.

I'm taking this week off from the bike and run while my blisters heal up. I'll most likely be swimming only this week in preparation for Savageman, where I'll be relaying the swim portion for the half. I'm looking forward to a pure swim segment, as I always feel I need to hold back so much on the swim to get through the bike. I have a running VO2 Max test scheduled for Thursday, which will help with the winter marathon training as well. Anyone up for the Myrtle Beach Marathon?

All for now.

12 September 2008

Oh my gosh, thats MY car

So last night, I hop in my car to go test ride a few more bikes, and then to my Thursday night swim. I head out of the parking lot, and there's a Honda in front of me. I think to myself, man, that's a loud exhaust. Upon rolling down my windows, I realize that it is MY exhaust that sounds like a dragster. So, I immediately call my dad and ask him what's going on... as if he should instantly be able to tell me from 400 miles away. After pulling into the parking lot of a LBS, I checked the front of the car, nada. Look in the back... and my tail pipe is corroded off, and there's a hole in the side of my muffler. Sonofa.. Called one of my co-workers who had previously recommended a mechanic and had him send me the info. Continued with some bike testing (which, fyi LBS employees, i do NOT want a pink bike. Stop trying to sell me a pink bike. I realize I'm short, blond, and a girl, but that does not mean I want a pink bike. Nor do I want a a light blue bike. I want a predomenantly black, carbon fiber bike), and then went to swim practice number 2 for the day. I went to our 5:30-6:30 practice, and did the same z4 work again at night. Slightly exhausting. Went out to grab some sushi with a few teammates afterwards (forgoing the beer due to the onset of some resperitory thing, and an upcoming race).

Result of 5 years living in the snowbelt... salt corrosion.

Today I scheduled an appointment at the car doctor, and decided it would be a perfect opportunity to get in some extra riding. I planned on stopping by a bike shop on my journey, so I looked up some directions via Google "walking directions". FYI - these do not work well for walking, nor bike riding. I rode across multiple on ramps for 95/395 following these directions.

Google or Garmin - please invent an "Avoid Ghetto" option on your maps and GPS. I wandered down Duke street and some other side streets today, and rode through some areas even I, the "bad ass city girl", was nervous riding my bike through. I passed a bum fight, a taxi driver and their passanger in a screaming match outside the car, and a bum who actually got up as I was approaching near him, and started yelling "Hey baby". Needless to say, I rode as fast as I could, prayed for no flats, and wished I would have eaten breakfast. The plan was to take the remaining few sips of gatorade along with me from last night, and then stop along the way at CVS, 7/11, or something of the sort. No chance I was stopping. On my way back to the house, a Starbucks came out of no where, and looked amazing. I'm not much of a starbucks coffee person, as I can make better tasting stuff at home, but today it sounded delicious. I grabbed a light coffee frapp, sans the whipped cream. Just as I got it, the mechanic called and my car was ready. So, I decided ride back since it was only about 3 miles away.

I was excited it fit in my cage. I had to stop though and pour it into a bottle.. the lid was rubbing against my legs as I pedaled. And, to avoid getting flamed - I realized I was out of CO2 cartridges today, so i had to strap on my old school hand pump.

I got in a good 4+ hours of riding, and realized I LOVE LOVE LOVE my saddle... this is the most I've been on it at once since I bought it. Ass is still happy. :)

All for now. Next update will most likely be after the Nation's Tri... My parents are coming into town. Hopefully the upper resperatory crap clears up. Its supposed to be in the mid 90's for the race... ugh. Can't I have DECENT weather for a race this year? Its either been pouring rain, rained out, or scortching hot.

11 September 2008

okay, I'm sticking with it this time...

Seriously. Its been a month since my last post! My new resolution is to post every day in the morning, so I don't forget about it later on. This works well, considering now I get to work around 7:15 in the morning, and often don't start charging my time until 7:45. Perfect half hour to update the blog. Kinda like how my 30minute lunch is turning into right now.

Since the last update, the training has been rather.. relaxed. I built up some longer distances cycling, in preparation for the Patriot's Half Iron that was supposed to take place last weekend. Thanks to Tropical Storm (formally Hurricane) Hanna, the race was washed out. Now all that's left is Nation's Tri, and the swim for Savageman Half. Kinda a bum way to end the season, but thats okay. Its all about prep for Ironman next year anyways.

I'm working on upgrading my bike. First investment was a better saddle. The previous was a $30 saddle from a magazine, which I bought to replace my brothers saddle on his mountain bike when he let me use it for my first triathlon. The seat that came on my specialized Dolce Multi-sport was horrendous, so I switched it out for the cheapo saddle I bought previously.

It's pretty much AMAZING. I used to be very anti-thin seat. Okay, well more or less I just thought they looked insanely uncomfortable. I instantly feel "perched' ontop of my bike, effortlessly pedalling away (on the W&OD at least...). Its surprisingly wonderful to bike on. I had my sit bones measured by the Specialized ass-o-meter, and I need a 130 saddle. Apparently thats very rare. I guess I really do have small hips. It came at a bit higher price tag than I would normally have spent, but, I do love my ass, and I had some spare cash from dog-sitting at my old bosses house. The folks at Conte's hooked me us as well after our Tuesday night rides.

I'm actually in the market for a new bike. I have it narrowed down to two bikes, based on price range and fit. I need to ride both again a few more times before making the final decision

2008 Trek Madone 5.2 (Carbon in Black and Pearl White)

2007 Cervelo Soloist Team (Aluminum, in Anodized Gray)

Both are absolutely stunning bikes. I like the anodized gray frame on the Cervelo, but I'm not sure if I'm ready to join the Cervelo Mafia. It does have the flippable seat post, which is a plus, but I'm not sure if I really want a tri-set up anyways. On a course like Placid, the key is to get up the hills. I have no issues on decents whatsoever. I'll have to throw clip-on aerobars to both bikes anyways. I'm not sure if I'd really ever change into the "aero" set up. Being as short as I am, the aero set up isn't much different than the way the standard seat tube angle for the 51cm Cervelo, or the 50cm Madone. The madone is one seeeexxxy looking bike though, and not one that you see often. I like it a lot. I'd love to see a set of Hed 3's on either of these for race day!

All for now. I need to eat my turkey sandwich and yogurt before getting back to work. :)