Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Some numbers

Just out of curiosity, I wanted to figure out exactly how much time I'll be training between now and IMFL. Beginning with the first week of my 20 week training plan through the end of IM, I will:

Run 557.1 miles (28 down, 529.1 to go!)
Be running for approximately 107 hours (4.5 days)
Spend 113 hours on my bike (4.7 days)
Spend nearly 51 hours in the pool (2.1 days)
Spend a grand total of 271 hours training (11.3 days)

There is something seriously wrong with that! But at the same time, I feel like it's not ENOUGH time!

Monday, June 25, 2007

My car

THIS is why I love my Element. Two bikes, fully assembled, and all of the associated crap that two people must lug along on a road trip for a race. And room to spare.

QuarterMax race report

QuarterMax was on Saturday, and I wish I could start this post off on a brighter note. Unfortunately, the race was overshadowed by the death of one of the participants during the swim. There were two races going on, OctoMax and QuarterMax. OctoMax was the shorter of the two races, so it started first. The women’s wave went, and then 5 minutes later the men’s wave went off. Approximately 50 yards from the swim exit, one of the men went under and didn’t come back up. We don’t know what happened to cause him to go under, but it took a couple of minutes for volunteers and the other athletes to find him and pull him out. The paramedics that were on hand at the race did everything they could to revive him, and he was transported to a hospital by helicopter. None of it was enough to save him unfortunately, and he passed away. This was a complete shock to us, as triathlon is an inherently safe sport, and the UltraMax events are especially so. There are divers and other safety crew in the water along the swim course at every event, and paramedics and ambulances on hand to handle any situations that come up. He was in my age group (25-29), so fairly young, and we heard that his wife and two young daughters were at the race to watch him. I really feel for them, I can’t imagine what they must be going through.

Aside from that tragic event, I had a wonderful race. Court and I pulled into Innsbrook around 4:00 to pick up our packets and then headed a few miles down the road to our hotel. We got there and discovered that there was a kids baseball team in town for some tournament, and lucky us, they were all staying on our floor. Fantastic. Just what we needed, a bunch of 9 year old boys running around the halls when we were trying to sleep. We grabbed dinner at Applebees and picked up a few necessities at Wally World, then took a quick spin on our bikes through the parking lot of an abandoned mall next to our hotel. We turned in early and set the alarms on both of our phones, plus the alarm clock in the room for 5am.

After we got all of our stuff ready to go in the morning, we walked down to the lobby to partake in the continental breakfast that every hotel known to man provides. Except apparently, for the Holiday Inn in Wentzville. WTF?! What sort of hotel doesn’t have breakfast!? Welp, we were going to have to find somewhere else to eat, because a Clif Bar wasn’t going to cut it. So we loaded up the Element and checked out of the hotel, and drove back towards the race site. We knew there was a Panera (excuse me, St. Louis Bread Co) at one of the exits, so we decided to stop there. Imagine our delight when we found that it had a drive-through! None of the Panera’s here have that!! So that was the first exciting thing of our day.

We got to the race site and unloaded all of our gear and headed over to the TA to get all set up. We were there by 6:30, so were both able to snag a good spot on the racks. OK, everything is all set up…..and its only 6:45. Our heat doesn’t start until 8:50. I like being early and all, but this was a little ridic. I’m not sure why they had such a late start, usually races start by 7:30 or 8. Oh well. I spotted our new teammate Leslie Curley setting up her TA so I went over and chatted with her for a few minutes. Then there was really nothing left to do but walk around and kill time. We took a short little warm up jog and stretched a bit, then headed down to the beach around 8:15. The first wave went off at 8:30, and most of the OctoMax people would be out of the water before we even started, so we wanted to take advantage of actually being able to watch people.

Finally it was time for the QuarterMax women to start, so we all lined up on the beach and waited for the cannon. I wasn’t feeling nervous at all, just excited to get the race started! Last year those buoys had looked SO far out, but this year it didn’t seem like any big deal. It was a .6 mile swim, and I knew I could handle that no problem. I’m a pretty slow swimmer, so I never have any trouble finding some open water to swim in once the pack gets spread out. It took me about 200 yards to get settled into my rhythm, and then I was just able to enjoy the swim. The water was a little warm, at 85 degrees, but it felt good. Before I knew it I was rounding the last turn and heading back to shore. About the last 100 yards or so, another lady and I were right on top of each other, bumping into one another on every stroke. We got out of the water at the same time and had a chuckle about it on our way up the hill to the TA. I grabbed my bike and started heading towards the exit, when I saw a helicopter landing on the beach. One of the volunteers said “they pulled someone out!”, and I remember hoping that they were ok.

Once on the bike I felt great. I knew I had 8 miles of hills inside the resort to get through before I got out onto the highway, but it wasn’t anything worse than the Lotawana ride we’ve been doing. I took it easy, not taxing myself too much, and knew that I could make up a lot of time once I got out of the resort. When we drove the course the night before, I had made a mental note of where the last hill was, so when I came up on that, I just hammered up it and got outta there as quickly as possible. Out on the open road, I cranked it up a notch and started passing people left and right. That sure was a new feeling! I tried to stay around 20mph as much as possible, and I think I did a pretty good job. I always try to keep a positive thought process going through my head, so it went something like this: “Go, go go! Your legs are pistons, you’re a silver bullet! GO!!!” They had mile markers every 5 miles, and each one seemed to come up quickly. I came up on the aid station, grabbed a bottle of water from one of the volunteers and dumped it into my aero bottle which was now almost empty. The thing about swimming is that it makes your nose run. That, coupled with freshly cut grass along most of the route, had me blowing snot all over myself for most of the bike. I haven’t mastered the farmer blow, so it always ends up going all over my arms and hands. Yummy! The lady I had gotten out of the swim with, ended up being with me for most of the bike, too. Back and forth, back and forth. We talked for a minute, and then I finally got ahead of her with about 5 miles to go.

The worst part of the bike, for me, is the last couple of miles before you get back into the resort. There are a couple of relatively steep, long hills, and after I’ve been cranking for 25 miles, they kinda hurt. Plus, that stretch of road is pretty rough and in desperate need of repaving. I hit a pothole at the bottom of a hill going probably 25mph and the sponge in my aero bottle bounced out and smacked me in the face, followed by a huge splash of Gatorade. Fantastic. Should I stop and pick up my sponge? You’re not supposed to drop stuff on the course. Eh, screw it. But man, I found out how well those little things work! I was soaked by the time I got back to the TA from all the Gatorade splashing out all over me. I got off my bike without falling and making an ass of myself (always a worry for me) and got into my running shoes as quickly as possible.

I was NOT looking forward to this run course. It was hilly and mostly gravel. I started running right off the bat, and then about ¾ of a mile in decided that I needed to walk for a minute since I still hadn’t caught my breath after getting off the bike. Damn! There’s a photographer, I cant be walking in a picture! So I started running again. Then walked for a minute once I got past him. I made it to the first aid station and grabbed a cup of water, drank half and dumped the other half over my head. We’d had a nice cloud cover for most of the bike, but now the sun was out in full force. The run course was mostly shaded, but it was still HOT. Hot and hilly. I walked up all of the hills, and tried to run the rest of it, but dang, there were a lot of hills! The second aid station had wet rags, which was awesome to wipe the sweat out of my eyes. It was a two loop course, and when I was getting close to the turn around, I passed Courtney going the opposite direction. I had wondered where she was! She was running up a slight incline, and looked strong. I made the turn, and was ready to get this thing done. I felt a lot better the second loop, my running legs had finally kicked in, but I still felt kind of stiff and heavy. Guess I need to be doing more brick workouts!

I finally got back around to the end of the course, and passed the 6 mile sign. Only half a mile to go! The finish chute is pretty long, probably 50 yards. As I was entering it, another girl was a few yards in front of me. They write your age on the back of your calf, and I saw that she was in my age group. I really wanted to beat her, so I started taking longer strides to catch up to her, and then once I caught her, I turned on a full sprint. I blew by her, and someone yelled to her “she’s in your age group!” and she started sprinting too. She caught back up to me, and we were neck and neck then she pulled ahead of me just as we got to the line. DAMMIT!!! It was my own fault, I turned it on too soon. Lesson learned, if I’m going to sprint someone for the finish, don’t start with 25 yards left, wait until they wont have time to catch me. Oh well, it was still fun. And I was kind of happy to learn that I could actually sprint after having ridden 28 miles and run 6.5.

I found Courtney, and we rested for a few minutes, then headed over to find the massage tent. While we were waiting, it suddenly clouded up, and then started pouring. Crap! It felt really cold since I wasn’t completely cooled down yet. The rain only lasted about 5 minutes though, so it wasn’t too bad. While I was in the chair getting my massage, Mark Livesay (the UltraMax director) got on the mic and made the announcement that Kevin Hunt had died. That was some very sombering news to hear, and it definitely put a cloud on the rest of the day. We packed up our stuff, which was now soaked, and headed back to the hotel for Courtney to pick up her mom’s car. We stopped at Burger King on the way back, and then sat in the parking lot chowing down. A Whopper and fries have never tasted so good! I stopped at the Nine West outlet in Warrenton on the way back and picked up a couple pair of shoes, and the sales lady gave me an extra 10% off because I had raced! How nice of her! I was pretty tired, so it was a long drive home back to KC by myself.

The official results aren’t posted yet, but according to my watch, I came in around 3:24. I had wanted to break 3:15, so that’s a little disappointing, but I beat my time from last year, so I’m happy about that. Next year I can break 3:15!

Results are up. My official time was 3:24:56.7. The chick I sprinted against at the end beat me by 3/10 of a second! Sonofabitch!

Swim- 27:16.3 (they included the hike up the hill to the TA, and T1 in this time. My actual swim was closer to 22)
Bike- 1:40:16.3 Avg Speed- 16.8 mph
Run- 1:17:24.1 Pace- 12:29/mile (not too terribly bad, since i had to walk a lot and I typically average 12 min/mile anyway)

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Race week: QuarterMax

This week’s a doozy, first week of the IM training plan and its QuarterMax race week. Fun stuff! Yesterday was my first day of two-a-day workouts, and it went pretty well. Masters swim practice in the morning and a 3 mile run in the evening. I had to go to a meeting at 6, so it was about 7:30 by the time I got home. I got a couple of salads ready and then told Dan to fire up the grill so we could have burgers when I got back. It wasn’t too terribly hot, but it was HUMID! 3 miles felt really long, and I was wondering where my marathon base fitness had gone. But I realized that the average temp is about 20 degrees higher now, and the humidity is about 50% higher than when I was training for Lincoln. Doesn’t seem like it was only a month and a half ago. I’m a 12 minute/mile girl, and I did my 3 miles last night in 33:40, so that was a pretty good pace for me. Maybe the speed sessions are paying off already!

It was after 10 by the time I got to bed last night, so 5am came pretty quickly. I didn’t really feel like getting up and running again, but I did. And once I was out on the road, I was happy to be running. I had 5 miles scheduled for this morning’s run, which is the longest run I’ve done since Lincoln. I was feeling pretty good for the first 2 miles or so, and then I learned a lesson that I’m sure I’ll carry with me through the rest of my training.

IronMan training lesson #1: when doing a morning run, get up early to give myself enough time to move around and get my system working so that I can take a shit before running. Because as anyone who has done any running knows, if you don’t have to poop before you run, chances are you are going to have to after you get done......or before. Stupid mistake on my part, I should have known better from all my early morning long runs for Runners Edge. I made it home, but it was not comfortable, to say the least. Lesson learned, won’t be making that mistake again.

And now for the fun stuff, QuarterMax is this weekend! Yay! This is such a great course, it was my favorite race last year. It’s held at the lovely Innsbrook resort just west of St. Louis. They don’t allow gas powered boats in the lake, so the water is crystal clear. A nice change from swimming around here. The first 8 miles of the bike are inside the resort, and that portion of the course is a bitch. Nothing but up, down, up, down, up, down, up, down. It’s all hills. The good thing is that most of them aren’t very long, they’re just steep. I feel like I’m getting pretty decent at climbing, so it shouldn’t be too bad. But the bad thing is that the downhills aren’t very long either so you don’t really get a chance to rest your legs and catch your breath. Then you get out on the highway and it’s just gentle rollers until the last few miles before you get back into the resort, where it’s more hills again. The run course is pretty much the same as the first part of the bike course, all hills. I HATE running hills! Uphills make want to lay down and die, and downhills hurt my knees. No fun. And there is not a single flat on this course. Fantastic. This is definitely a very challenging course, which is what makes it so fun. The resort is heavily wooded and beautiful, it’s just a really great location for a race.

Courtney and I are heading out around noon on Friday to drive down there. We had contemplated taking a short swim or ride once we got there, but I think we’ll probably skip that and just take it easy for the evening. This is my first race that Dan hasn’t come to, which is a little sad. There will be nobody waiting for me at the finish line! Actually, Courtney will probably finish ahead of me, so she’ll be there J

And on a more personal note, we met our nephew over the weekend. Long story short, he’s 18 months old and we just found out a couple of months ago that he’s my brother’s kid. Strange stuff, I can’t believe my brother is a dad!

Friday, June 15, 2007

First OWS of the season

I met a few of the DFT ladies out at SMP last night so that they could go through my speed drills with me, and then do an OWS. We actually had SIX of us show up! That’s a record for our Thursday night workouts! The speed drills went a little slow since I was demonstrating them, so I only got through each set once. And I started feeling a little sick towards the end, so we didn’t even get through all of the sets. Oh well, it was still a good workout. It was definitely nice to see some of the gals that I don’t get to see very often, so hopefully more and more people will start coming to the Thursday workouts!

The swim went OK, I was surprised how warm the lake was already. There is always this one part of the lake that is so hot, it’s like swimming through bath water. I guess maybe the water is shallower there or something, but it’s a pretty noticeable difference. And there was a bunch of algae in the water, maybe since the beach just opened and people haven’t been in the water enough to kill it all off? Who knows. I only did a couple of loops around the course because I was heading out to a going away happy hour for one of the RB’s. Of course, I decided to get a jump on my self-induced 20 weeks of lame-ness and not drink, but it was still a good time. I only stayed for about 30 minutes since the dogs had been in their crates since noon. Dan’s been out of town for work this week, so it’s been up to me to go home and let the dogs out. It was 8:30 by the time I got home, and not surprisingly, I had a shittastic mess waiting for me. Poor Walter, I guess he just couldn’t hold it any longer. It’s times like this that I really appreciate living in a house and having a hose outside!!

Thursday, June 14, 2007


I picked up my Runners Edge summer/fall packet last night, and entered all of the run workouts into my IMFL training plan this morning......and just about started crying. This is going to be tough! I am taking every Friday completely off, but the other weekdays are all two-a-day workouts, Saturdays are my long runs, and Sunday's are my long bikes. The good thing about the weekend workouts is that even when I have a 20 mile run, or 5 1/2 hour bike, I can get started early in the morning and still be done by noon. So I'll have the rest of the day. Although, I'll be having to clean the house, go grocery shopping, do laundry, etc. And, talking to Eladio last night at packet pick up really made me get excited about starting my plan. To give you an idea, here is my first week, my "easiest" week of the whole 20 week plan:

am- masters swim
pm- run 3 miles

am- run 5 miles
pm- speed drills, ride bike to and from track

am- masters swim
pm- bike 1 hr

am- run 4 miles
pm- speed drills and open water swim (OWS)


QuarterMax Tri (.6 mile swim/28 mile bike/6.5 mile run)

bike 90 minutes

Whew! I'm tired just typing it all out! So, uh, I'll see you all after November 3rd :)

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

20 weeks

So, my 20-week training plan for IMFL starts on Monday. As in, less than a week from now I will have no social life what so ever. Courtney and I were just talking about this, and quite frankly, the prospect of REALLY truly training for this thing scares the shit out of both of us. I have definitely been feeling more motivated in the last couple of weeks and getting back into the swing of things, but honestly, I’ve still been taking it pretty easy. Skipping workouts here and there, not following a set training plan. But no more. And not that I go out all that much now, but starting next week I just won’t be able to. No mid-week happy hour, since I’ll be getting up at 4 or 5 the next morning to train. No going out on Friday or Saturday nights, since I’ll have to get up the following morning for a long workout. It’s going to be up early to work out, go to work, straight home from work to hit it hard, eat dinner, spend a little time with Dan and the dogs, then go to bed so I can get up in the morning and do it again. I’m going to be exhausted 24/7.

The thing is, I know that I am capable of doing it. I know I can stick to my schedule. The part that’s going to suck the most is getting the “WTH is wrong with you” look from people when I say that I can’t go to happy hour, or that I don’t know if I can go on a float trip because I can’t afford a weekend away from training, or that we can’t spend a long weekend in California for Dan’s cousin’s wedding. A wedding which happens to fall on my peak training week. I already got that look from Dan’s mom when I told her that we’ll be flying in Friday night and having to leave Sunday morning. I’ll just have to take my running gear with me, and pray for an EARLY flight home so that I can still get in my long ride that Sunday. People just don’t understand. Easing up or skipping workouts to do something fun is not an option. Because I know what happens when I “ease up” and skip workouts. I get to my target race and want to kick myself in the head for being lazy and missing workouts. I can’t do that this time. I need to be able to stand on that beach at 7am, November 3, and know that I have done everything within my power to prepare myself. I can’t leave any doubt in my head. “Coulda, shoulda, woulda” will not be playing a part of my Ironman experience.

I don’t expect people to understand. I realize that to most folks, paying a $500 entry fee so that you can put your body through hell for up to 17 hours and end up with blisters the size of silver dollars on your feet, well, that just doesn’t sound like much fun. But I can’t think of anything I’d rather do. There is a reason they say “Swim 2.4 miles. Bike 112 miles. Run 26.2 miles. Brag for the rest of your life.” I intend to find out what it is.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Cheese, please.

I went out to Shawnee Mission Park yesterday to do the bike and run course for the SMP tri. Dan was leaving to go for a conference for the week, and I wanted to wait until after he left, so it was about 3:30 or so by the time I got out there. Nice and muggy, just what I love. Er, not so much. But really, I need to get used to it. I dont know what the deal was, but every friggin person in JoCo seemed to be out at the park, so there were cars and motorcycles driving around all over the place. The park has some nice downhills where I top out at 35mph+ on my bike, but you cant really do that when some jackass is driving his Taurus 10mph looking around for the shelter where his second cousin's niece's grandma's neighbor is having a birthday party. Of course, this is after he followed me up a hill, irritated that some cyclist had the audacity to ride on a PARK road, and then sped around me at the crest of the hill. And so my two loops went.

Usually I prefer to be on my bike, but yesterday I was glad to get off it and start running. I havent been running much lately, and yesterday it just felt really good to get out there and work the cobwebs out of my legs. Well, whatever cobwebs have formed in the last month since Lincoln. I was going along, enjoying the afternoon, when "Eye of the Tiger" came up on my ipod. Lets be honest here. Is there anything better than running to that song?? I didn't think so. Of course, there's nothing cheesier either. But I maintain that it is the best running song. Ever. I was about this close to yelling "Hey! I love running!" to a couple of guys that were fishing. But I decided that I dont need to appear any more insane than I already am :)

Monday, June 4, 2007

Volunteers, hills, and dogs.

I haven't volunteered at a race since Ultramax in 2004, so I was excited to volunteer at Hospital Hill on Saturday. I was at the Runners Edge aid station, and we were the only one that got the 5K, 10K, and half marathon people. It was really fun being able to see the fast runners come through, since I"m usually at the back of the pack and the fast people are long gone by the time I finish. The race started at 7:00, and the course was supposed to stay open until 10:30, but the police started taking it down before 10. Which meant that any runners still out there were forced onto the sidewalks with nobody to monitor the street crossings, so they had to stand there and wait for a light just to cross the street. Let me say, it really sucks being in that position. Thats what happened to me at Lincoln, and let me tell you, it makes you feel pretty stupid. So, being that I know how it feels, I made sure to stay at the aid station until the last person came through. Even though they had come around and taken our tables, a few of us stuck around with some cups of water and Gatorade. At Lincoln, by the time I was on my last 6 miles, only one aid station was left up. That really sucked, so I didnt want to make anyone else deal with that.

After volunteering, I went home for a quick lunch and then headed out to Blue Springs to go for a ride with Courtney. We found a really great route down through Lake Lottawana that mimics pretty closesly (well, as close as we're gonna get around here) the course for Quarter/HalfMax. Honestly, I wasnt looking forward to that hilly ride. I rode it once before with Court and her friend Amy, a couple of months ago when it was my first time out on the bike since September. It kicked my ass that time. But this time it was actually fun! I dont know if it's my bike, or the fact that I've gotten stronger, but it was a lot more enjoyable. I wish it were a little closer to me so it wasnt such a pain to go ride, but I'd like to try to do it a couple of more times in the next few weeks before QuarterMax. After we got done with the lake loop, we rode out a little ways and stopped at a winery in Lee's Summit. Little did we know taht you couldn't buy wine by the glass, it had to be by the bottle. So we each got a bottle and sat out back to drink as much as we could. They had tiny glasses, so I had two, which amounted to maybe 1 regular sized glass. There was a wedding going on out back, so we entertained ourselves watching that. After I got home, Dan and I went out for a date night, which didnt turn out so hot. I think we deserve a do over :)

Sunday, we drove up to Omaha to pick up the latest addition to our family, a rescued Boston that we've named Walter. He's 2 and a half years old, rescued from a puppy mill in Missouri. The poor thing is missing two back toes, likely they were cut off by the wire cage he was forced to live in for his whole life at the mill. He's very timid, but really sweet and he'll be a fantastic dog once he gains some confidence. He isnt potty trained, but they gave us a belly band to put on him while he's in the house. He likes to mark things, and I think once we get him broken of that habit, we'll be able to let him go without the belly band.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Why I do triathlons.

Since I'm being a self proclaimed lazy ass since the marathon, I havent had a whole lot of training stuff to post about. So I figured maybe it would be a good time to remind myself of exactly why I DO train. Here are my reasons, in no particular order:

1. As I was reminded by reading Meg's blog this morning, I dropped close to $500 registering for IMFL. Not to mention the non-refundable $200 deposit I've paid on the condo.

2. It keeps me from getting fat and allows me to eat my much loved Mexican food. (except not the night before a long workout. Mexican food + long workout = bad idea)

3. It's fun.

4. It keeps me from getting bored. I can always go out for a ride or run. Lately I've been going with the "sit on the couch" option more often than not, but it's always there when I want it.

5. Keeps me healthy.

6. It allows me to meet some great people that I wouldnt have met otherwise.

7. I cant imagine NOT doing it. What would I do if I didnt have a race to look forward to? Even when it's December and my next race isn't until May, it's still there for me to look forward to.

Now that the weather is finally starting to turn warmer and cooperate more, and I'm fully recovered from Lincoln, and I've gotten the first tri of the season under my belt, I'm feeling more motivated. Nevermind the fact that IMFL is 154 days away. Yikes! I've got my 20 week training plan set up, which starts in 2 weeks, and the summer/fall session of Runners Edge gets going in 3 weeks. So I'm starting to get revved back up again. Lincoln was a huge race for me, so the build up was pretty intense. I was in desparate need of a break, just a few weeks where I didnt HAVE to go run. Because I was starting to get to the point where it was feeling like a chore. Now I'm about ready to get back into it full steam ahead feeling nice and refreshed.